Competitors report constant emotional and mental exhaustion that they fail to see related to their new emotional relationship to diet and food. This is one of the more worrisome psychological ramifications of metabolic damage associated with “get contest ready at all costs.
Many are suffering in silence and self-blame not realizing these behaviors are actually diet induced. Sometimes with competitors there isn’t a long enough break from a contest to regain mental health because many associate the only way they can be “in shape” is to go back to an “on-season” deprivation diet. So they pick a show and repeat the same destructive force again, going deeper and deeper into the point of no return both metabolically and psychologically. Many competitors write me who are constantly ill, depressed, suffering, but the only time they think they “look good” is when they feel worse.
To any people reading this, if this is you, then you need to make some serious accounts of yourself and why you are pursuing diet and competition. It may lead to your own ruin, not your benefit. This whole sequence leads to a Yo Yo dieting backed by starvation techniques, metabolic shut down, and post contest depression and eating which repeats itself over and over.
Some coaches are giving these crazy no carb, 800 calories diets, and diets where just [protein & 4 lbs of broccoli or green beans are eaten every day for weeks at a time on top of 2 hour cardio sessions per day. These coaches do not seem to understand the first thing about the biology of weight control. Unfortunately many trainees will adhere to whatever is put in front of them out of a strange sense of loyalty to their coach. It is not difficult to starve someone in to contest shape. They may win a show, but they will certainly lose long term
Relative deprivation of calories combined with well timed re-feeds of calories within a short time period of hours will effect metabolism in a positive way. This is of course far different than the contest binge eating. During the re-feed process the metabolism and BMR is sped up efficiently by a higher calorie intake. Consuming large amounts of food (not binge eating) causes a sharp increase in energy burned through the metabolic process.
Lower bodyweights thru extreme diets can be achieved, but it is unlikely to be maintained or sustained as a result of extreme diet choices. Expert diet advice and practice, complete with an understanding of selectively timed re-feeds is the only way to establish and maintain not just weight loss but fat loss long term.
My goal is to educate and inspire with elements of Coaching. For many a little awareness can go a long way for rational people to stop the mentality of extremes when it comes to body image and contest preparation. As a physique transformation specialist in my 2nd decade I can tell you that suffering seldom leads to fulfillment.
Metabolic Damage is a real issue for the competitor in all areas of Figure, Fitness, and Bodybuilding and Pageant competitions. By all means compete, but embrace the rational side of you which tells you it should lead to fulfillment and not devastation. There are experts out there who know the more intelligent, less extreme routes. Besides myself the names that come to mind are Layne Norton, Jason Theobald, Matt Jansen, Scott Abel to name a few.
If you find reading this you exhibit some or many of these warning signs of your diet, then you should consider talking to a real expert and getting real expert advice. There is a difference between the biology of weight control and the science of fat loss.