I don’t think I want to know how many hours weeks months of my time I have spent playing sports. I honestly think that if I knew I would be terrified.
Don’t get me wrong I love playing sports! I grew up playing at least one sport every season, watching football every Sunday, and listening to baseball games on the radio. I even plan on playing softball at a division three college next year but sports are hard with limited food options.
While every sport and school is different, all require some type of away games, tournaments, meet, or whatever else. Whether you play a team or individual sport, you still have teammates you interact with who will see that you eat differently.
Here a few tips on how to play a sport in high school while staying true to your diet:
1. Talk to your teammates and/or coaches.
Honesty is the best policy. Do you have to go a share your entire life story of struggling with your health? No, definitely not. When you spend a lot of time with a group of people day in and day out, they will notice you choosing not to eat like them. A simple, “I don’t eat (X, Y, Z) because it doesn’t make me feel good” is just fine.
2. Think ahead.
Don’t pack and prepare for the competition that morning. You will likely be rushed and may not have the food or the time you need to be ready. The night before think through where you are going, when you are leaving, how long you are going to be gone for, and then get everything together.
When you leave in the morning to go to school and then compete afterwards, your food won’t be the right temperature. Schools will typically have fridges in teacher lounges. Pick your favorite teacher and ask if he or she will let you use the fridge during the day and if you could grab your lunchbox when you have leave. Just don’t forget it like I did last week!
4. Go home before if you can.
My mom works part time till 12:30 and I live near to my school so I have been able to go home before games. This likely will not work for many of you but if you can, go home between the game and school. Have your food ready to go the night before that way you can grab it and eat a snack when you get home.
Personal story here. For over four months, I could only eat 20 foods (including spices and oils). It was hard to pack anything and go anywhere and of course these four months were right over softball season. For every game, I packed a thermos filled with peas and hamburger because those were two of the three foods I could pack. All the time I got, “How are the peas, E?” All. The. Time.
It was a joke and everyone laughed. They weren’t being mean or putting me down, I was just weird and different from everyone else. They didn’t know how to handle it and humor was their solution. If I had asked them to stop they would have but honestly, it was funny. I mean, come on! I only ever ate peas and hamburgers around them and then I would go home and eat basically the same thing! You need to be able to look at your situation and laugh. Lighten up and look at yourself through their eyes and find the humor.
Hope this helps and good luck with your season!