The GOALS Program – Intensive Outpatient Treatment for Competitive Athletes

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Athletes are two to three times more likely than the average person to develop an eating disorder. Those impacted by disordered eating or nutritional deficiencies will become be less competitive in sport, more prone to injury and risk permanent physical damage that, in some cases, can be life threatening.

Walden’s GOALS Intensive Outpatient Program is built specifically for adult athletes (18+) who need guidance on how best to optimize the balance between nutritional needs and performance goals.


To equip athletes with the mental and nutritional skills to achieve their full athletic potential and sustain a positive mindset.

Expert Team

Our multidisciplinary team of experts includes counselors, sport psychologists, dietitians, and exercise science professionals. As experienced athletes and licensed professionals, they understand the unique challenges, requirements and high demands of competitive sports. Meet the team.

Program Elements

Each athlete receives an individualized assessment, counseling, group education and exposure to essential life skills that allow them to thrive both inside and outside of their sport.

Our curriculum is built on Five Pillars of Strength:
1) Fueling for Sport and for Life
2) Eating Competence
3) Body Esteem
4) Recovery Skills
5) Resiliency
Learn more

In some cases, treatment can be conducted without interruption of training or sport participation. When athletes can benefit from time off, our team works to fully preserve the athlete identity and ensure the strongest possible return to competition. Our certified exercise specialist ensures this smooth transition.

Program Requirements

  • Participants must be 18 years or older.
  • Current participant in competitive individual or team sport
  • Does not require a higher level of care.


  • Case management, including coordinated care with outpatient team
  • Supervision of one therapeutic meal
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy

Program Schedule

Individuals attend three nights per week, three hours each night, at Walden’s Waltham clinic. Most insurances accepted. Physician referral not required.

News and Blog Posts Related to the GOALS Program

The Opportunity of a Lifetime - Eating Disorder Treatment Just for Athletes

Matt Stranberg - May 2019
Healthy minds are equally as important as healthy bodies in achieving optimal performance in sport. Helping clients to understand that eating disorder treatment is just as integral to their athletic trajectory as physical therapy is after an ACL tear can help athletes to feel less shame in seeking support. Read More

Are Competitive Youth Sports Fueling the Development of Eating Disorders?

Corinne Coia - June 2018
While participating in sports can be very beneficial for growing children and adolescents, there are pieces of competitive athletics that can take a negative toll on their medical and psychological statuses. Here are some things to consider for parents and coaches of young athletes. Read More

Adam Rippon Opens Up About Starving Himself for a Figure Skater’s Body

Healthline - February, 2018
“Athletes are at 2 to 3 times increased risk for developing an eating disorder compared to nonathletes,” said Paula A. Quatromoni, DSc, RD, the chair of health sciences at Boston University who helped create GOALS, an eating disorder treatment program for competitive athletes at Walden Behavioral Care in Waltham, MA. Read More

How Eating Disorders Can Affect Young Athletes

US News & World Report - February 2018
The 2018 Games are producing dazzling displays of athleticism, but they're also a reminder that many young athletes at all levels of their sport grapple with eating disorders. Several high-profile Olympic athletes, such as U.S. figure skater Adam Rippon and Canadian figure skater Gabrielle Daleman, have recently spoken publicly about their struggles with an eating disorder. Read More

Why Are Male Athletes at Risk for Eating Disorders?

Paula Quatromoni - November 2017
Athletes are 2-3 times more likely than the average individual to develop an eating disorder, making male athletes a vulnerable subgroup. So why are male athletes at risk? Here are five reasons to consider. Read More

The Truth Behind Nutritional Supplements for Athletes

Matt Stranberg - November 2017
Athletes are always looking for an edge over their competitors. As such, they are often more vulnerable to (the less than truthful) claims made by nutritional supplement companies. Read More

Disordered Eating And Exercising: What You Need To Know

Women's Running - October 2017
Do you head out for a run or go to the gym maybe two or three times a day? Do you restrict your calories? Do you avoid social situations because you don’t want people to know what your eating habits are? Do you feel isolated because the only thing you make time for in your social calendar is exercise? Read More

I Applaud You, Gracie Gold

Paula Quatromoni - October 2017
I was really sad when my daughter texted me the news that Gracie Gold, a 2014 Winter Olympics bronze medalist, announced she was taking a break from competition because she is suffering from anxiety, depression and an eating disorder. Read More

9 Warning Signs of Exercise Addiction

PsychCentral - June 2017
Exercise addiction is something that impacts thousands of people and can be conceptualized like other process and substance addiction. So how much exercise is too much exercise? here are some universal signs to look out for... Read More

Female Athletes and the Menstrual Cycle

Matt Stranberg - May 2017
One hallmark symptom of underfueling and overtraining in the female athlete however, that cannot and should not be missed, is a change in the menstrual cycle. Read More

5 Myths about Nutrition for Sport that Can Undermine an Athlete’s Performance

Paula Quatromoni & Lauren Smith - April 2017
Athletes can easily find themselves confused by mixed messages and empty promises of products or regimens that simply don’t deliver. Here, we tackle some common misperceptions that can actually undermine an athletes’ performance when myths are not challenged by facts. Read More

Athletes and Eating Disorders: An Infograph

Emily Slager - April 2017
While many who participate in organized sports reap the many benefits such as increased self esteem, connectedness and greater body image, others have a different experience. Pressure to perform and compete at high levels can place undo stress on those who might be at risk for mental health conditions including eating disorders. Read More

Athletes & Eating Disorders: 4 Surprises I’ve Discovered

Lauren Smith - March 2017
This semester, I have the amazing opportunity to serve as a nutrition intern for the Walden GOALS Program for competitive athletes. I''ve discovered these four things, all which came as a surprise (at least to me): Read More

New Point of View: Athletes & Eating Disorders

Training & Conditioning - March 2017
The latest research indicates that athletes with eating disorders should not be treated the same as the general population. In response, a clinic in Massachusetts has developed a unique, athlete-specific program. Read More

How Should Gyms Handle Exercise Addicts?

Pro Talk - March 2017
Compulsive exercise can be tricky to sniff out, given that few people consider exercise a bad thing. In fitness facilities, where more exercise is often assumed to be better, few people are even attuned to the fact that too much physical activity may be dangerous. As a result, they may interpret hallmarks of excessive exercise as signs of prowess or achievement – something to emulate, rather than worry about. Read More