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The Appetite

Dec 12, 2019

Does sport culture need to change? We say, absolutely—and especially around weight! Mary Cain was the fastest high school distance runner in the world until she joined the best distance running program in the country, the Nike Oregon Project, coached by Alberto Salazar. From there, the abusive pressure to become thinner and thinner consumed her running career, leading her to disordered eating and suicidal thoughts, until she finally quit the team. In this episode of The Appetite, Opal Co-Founder and head of the Exercise + Sport Program Kara Bazzi, LMFT, CEDS sits down to talk about how Mary Cain’s story has started a landslide of advocacy within the distance running world. Kara explores how the culture of sport has become toxic, and what coaches can do about it.

Join Opal: Food + Body Wisdom on January 11, 2020 for our coaches workshop (hosted at the University of Washington): Creating a Healthy Sports Culture:  Facilitating Athletes’ Positive Relationship with Food, Body, and Exercise


Watch the NYT Opinion piece on Mary Cain via YouTube: “I Was the Fastest Girl in the World, Until I Joined Nike” 

Read Mary Cain’s OpEd in the New York Times: 

Sports Illustrated on Nike

Mary Cain tells her story on the Clean Sport Collective podcast

Mary Cain on The Science of Sport podcast

The Amelia Boone Interview: How the "Queen of Pain" Faces Down Her Demons

Lauren Fleshman, “I Changed My Body for My Sport. No Girl Should.” | NY OpEd

Jen Rhines on Weight and Body Composition in Running 

Hierarchy of Food Needs 

Relative Energy Deficiency-Syndrome (RED-S) Clinical Assessment Tool



Connect with Opal:


Instagram: @opalfoodandbody




Thank you to our team...

Daniel Guenther at Jack Straw Cultural Center:

Editing by Hans Anderson:

Music by Aaron Davidson:

Host and Producer Carter Umhau: