Comments by Barb Harris, Editor in Chief, Shape Magazine

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Order The Athletic Woman's Survival Guide - How to win the battle against eating disorders, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis. By Carol L. Otis, MD. and Roger Goldingay.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Billie Jean King

Women, and especially women athletes, have always been judged by their appearance. I'll never forget the time I was told by a good friend and supporter that "You'll be good because you're ugly, Billie Jean." I was sixteen at the time and this comment was devastating.

It was the kind of comment, stated in a friendly, off-handed way that can shatter the confidence of a young woman. Kind of like, "If you just lost a few pounds, you'd be a better runner, swimmer, jumper, tennis player...take your pick." The kind of comment that can kick off a frenzied attempt to please, to lose a few pounds, to do SOMETHING to make yourself more beautiful, attractive, faster or better. We women will bend over backwards to please our critics, despite their thoughtless, inconsiderate and totally unfounded beliefs.

What I love about the "Athletic Women's Survival Guide" is that it lays out all the reasons to ignore these boneheads and helps us to refute these misguided attempts to change us in impossible and health-threatening ways. Here we can learn to recognize the subtle and insidious ways the media, advertising, and society in general tries to make us want to be someone we are not, and in fact can NEVER be. The health risks and damage to our performance and self-esteem can be enormous- even life-threatening.

The Athletic Woman's Survival Guide doesn't just say these people are wrong, but points out how these comments are not based in any kind of science. Dr. Otis and Roger Goldingay give us real tools to deal with these situations, and teach us how to know ourselves. You can learn how to tell if you really are overweight or overtraining, and what to do about it. You can also learn how to deal with those people who have power in our lives, like coaches, parents, teammates, and trainers.

This is a practical book, one I wish I had long ago. It could have saved me many years struggling with my diet, wrestling with weight issues, and trying to find myself in a world that always seemed to want me to be somebody else. Read this book for yourself, and then pass it on to a friend. Get the word out to the young generation of women who now have opportunities to participate that were not available twenty or even ten years ago. Let's make sport and exercise the wonderful, empowering activity we know it can be for all women.

Billie Jean King
May 8, 2000

Sports Medicine Questions?
Contact: Dr. Carol L. Otis, MD. FACSM.

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Contact: Roger Goldingay

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