We need to rethink the whole “cosmetics first, health later,” bias that has people falling all over themselves to try any diet that comes down the pipe. For the purposes of understanding long term consequences of diet applications, if you are considering your “diet” only in terms of cosmetic effects, you are more than likely missing the bigger and brighter picture.
Since the words “metabolic damage” has made its way into the physique world, everyone and anyone seems to have an opinion on the topic. Just because someone is popular on some website or web forum does not mean he/she understands the first thing about metabolic issues, even though they use the term as if they do. You need to be careful and watch out for any wannabe coach who tells you that “their diet” can prevent metabolic damage. This is especially true of coaches who specialize in competition prep. Any diet that takes any client beyond their body fat set-point for too long can create metabolic issues or burnout. The diet is only one part in all of this. Your own genetic makeup and metabolism are the true key determinants of whether or not you’ll be susceptible to metabolic issues or burnout. And no coach alive can look inside you and tell you what your metabolic determinacy is. All a real coach can do is be extremely efficient and aware of accurately reading and assessing client biofeedback as they go along, which is an ongoing thing, not a static thing that exists in a diet.
I know competitors who have dieted three, four, even five times before suffering any metabolic consequences, and yet, they still happened eventually. The only “diet” that prevents this risk is the diet that always considers the individual’s biofeedback as he/she goes along. The only way of relieving this risk is to see the signs and never take a client’s body to a place it does not want to go. And there will always be indicators that a client’s body is at this point if a Coach is able to read them. This is not about knowledge, it is about client-care.
When winning the contest or getting into contest-shape becomes more important than the biofeedback that your body is eliciting, you are under the influence of a very bad coach. There are no diet solutions to prevent metabolic damage; there are, however, operating principles of diet that can do so. I cannot stress enough how important it is to watch out for false coaches in this industry who make fancy promises about this issue that they have no experience, knowledge, or right to make. This is YOUR body after all, and your metabolism could be at stake. Trust me when I say if you ever have to experience the emotional pain of metabolic issues, no contest and no degree of leanness will ever have been worth it.