BodySense WordmarkNavigating body image, relationships with food, and disordered eating with young athletes can be intimidating for coaches and caregivers. The stakes are high, and athletes aren’t always open to having honest conversations about these sensitive topics.

To support learning about a holistic approach to athlete well-being, the CCES developed BodySense – an interactive e-learning course that includes self-reflection and self-assessment activities as well as tools, resources, and useful links for athletes to explore. The course will:

  • educate and enhance athletes’ awareness and knowledge on how to navigate body image,
  • bring balance to both their physical and mental health, and
  • work towards greater respect and compassion for their body within and outside of sport.

BodySense is designed for athletes of all genders, and the primary audience is adolescents in the Train to Train and Train to Compete stages of the Long-Term Development in Sport and Physical Activity framework. BodySense also aligns with True Sport – an initiative designed to give Canadians a platform to express their commitment to good sport and foster positive sport experiences. The True Sport Principles are integrated into the course and are presented as actions that athletes can take to live the values of fairness, excellence, inclusion, and fun.

The course was developed with researchers and sport leaders to leverage their subject matter expertise. It takes a preventative approach to body image and disordered eating and aims to foster sport environments that provide positive, healthy, safe, and fulfilling sport experiences.

Note: This is the second iteration of BodySense. In this version, the focus has changed from “positive body image” to the concept of body liberation or neutrality. Not everyone always has a positive body image and by removing this impossibly high bar, BodySense avoids toxic body positivity, which is capitalized on by influencers and the diet industry.

Course Formats

BodySense is available in two e-learning formats – web and online learning portal. The functional difference between the two is that the learner’s progress and reflections are saved when the course is accessed in the portal, but not for the web version. See below for complete list of differences:

Web

Your progress will not be saved if you leave a module before it’s complete. 
At the end of each module, you will be prompted to download the information and resources. 
You must download the files when prompted because you won’t be able retrieve them later. 
No account needed 
No cost 
No course certificate
Launch modules from course overview below

Online Learning Portal

Your progress will be saved if you leave a module before it’s complete. 
You can go back and retrieve resources at the end of the course. 
Create an account in the CCES online learning portal 
Cost: $9.99 per course registration 
Includes a course certificate
Launch course from the CCES online learning portal

Course Overview

  • Module 1: Introduction – Provides an overview of BodySense, the CCES and True Sport. Details course objectives: help athletes navigate body image, bring balance to their physical and mental health, and work towards greater respect and compassion for one’s body within and outside of sport. Start Module 1

  • Module 2: Starting with a Positive Approach to Food – Examines how to neutralize food language and “rules,” practice intuitive eating and the enjoyment of food and eating, question supplements and be aware of diet culture. Start Module 2

  • Module 3: Understanding Disordered Eating – Addresses mental health concerns, explains disordered eating, and considers how sport culture can affect athletes. Start Module 3

  • Module 4: Respecting Body Diversity – Provides an understanding of body diversity, recognizing natural body size, and celebrating differences. Explains the concepts of body oppression and body liberation. Start Module 4

  • Module 5: Your Whole Self – Asks athletes to question how much of their identity is tied up in being an athlete, and what impact athletic performance has on self-worth. Reviews positive and negative approaches to training and exercise while exploring the concepts of self-esteem, compassion, and the importance of a growth mindset. Start Module 5

  • Module 6 : Your Authentic Self – Reflects on social media use, developing mental health assets, how to advocate for yourself and others, as well as assertion skills. Start Module 6

  • Module 7: Giving Back – Encourages athletes to reflect on their experiences in sport and the people who have helped develop their holistic identity. Explains how being a role model in the community is one way to give back. Start Module 7

Questions?

To contact the CCES if you have questions about BodySense: complete the request form, email [email protected], or call 613-521-3340.

Acknowledgements

Advisory Group

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this resource through the BodySense advisory group:

  • National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) practitioners 
  • Western University Body Image & Health Lab researchers
  • University of British Columbia researchers
  • University of Manitoba 
  • Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba
  • A team of registered dieticians who specialize in eating disorders in sport
  • PhD students who are specializing in eating disorder prevention and treatment at the University of Toronto and Toronto Metropolitan University
  • Coaches and athletes in the "Experts from the Field" consultation group
  • Canadian Sport Psychology Association practitioners

Special thanks to:

Special thank you to Dr. Shaunna Taylor, PhD CMPC CCC Past Chair, Canadian Sport Psychology Association (CSPA), Member, Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) for her development of course content.

NEDIC logoThe assistance and collaboration of the National Eating Disorder Information Centre is gratefully acknowledged.

Thank you to the many athletes from across Canada who made a significant contribution to the development of this resource. We are grateful for the diverse perspectives of many athletes and sport participants.
 

Resources

National Eating Disorder Information Centre: The National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) provides information, referrals and support to people in Canada affected by eating disorders.

National Suicide Prevention Support line: A safe space to talk, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Government of Canada Mental Health Support Resources: Mental health resources for all and includes a list of provincial and territorial resources.

Kids Help Phone: Available to young Canadians between 5 to 29 years old who are seeking 24-hour confidential and anonymous care with professional counsellors. 

Abuse-Free Sport Helpline: The Abuse-Free Sport Helpline is a free, anonymous, confidential and independent service in both official languages.

NeedHelpNow.ca: Helps teens stop the spread of sexual pictures or videos and provides support along the way.

Canadian Centre for Mental Health and Sport: A registered charity supporting the mental health and performance of competitive and high-performance athletes, coaches, performing artists, and support staff.

Help with Substance Use and Addiction: Canada-wide services for help with substance use, including overdose prevention and tobacco cessation.

Hope for Wellness Help Line: This helpline offers support for all Indigenous peoples across Canada for immediate crisis intervention. Experienced and culturally competent Help Line counsellors can help if you want to talk or are distressed. 

Trans Lifeline: A grassroots hotline and microgrants non-profit organization offering direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis – for the trans community, by the trans community.

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