I get a lot of requests lately to prepare male and females for fitness competitions. Although I am comfortable with it, I refuse to do it. I had many encounters and consultations with people and too many of them did it for the wrong reasons.
Even though I have all the respect in the world for those who do physique competitions and do well afterwards, I am not getting into it because it can promote, in many ways, these so called disorders, Orthorexia, Anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, or whatever the medical (or facebook professionals) community wants to call them. I have even seen many depressions and health problems post competitions.
Although not as bad as the clinically diagnosed cases, I have seen a lot of competitors fall close more times than I can recall and it is truly disturbing how you can see their surrounding world crumbling around them.
Unfortunately, they never do see it themselves.
Most people who want to go into competitions will hire a coach. This is the game changer. Some have all the knowledge in the world but can’t apply shit except do it for themselves and this is where they got their notoriety. I’ve seen so many times people who did one competition well, suddenly became professionals over night and suddenly knew all they needed to get people in competition shape.
It makes me sick every time I see this.
However, I also see a few who truly have all it takes to get people into competition shape and make sure that they are healthy after all is said and done. They actually care about their clients, and don’t see them as another trophy shape that they can flaunt as reference.
They have all my respect.
Now, I know that some of you will be like
Before you freak out and Ban me or just send me hate mail, please, read on. If not convinced, unfriend away.
A new illness with many gray areas,” says eating disorder specialist Ira Sacker MD. “Orthorexics often also suffer from exercise addiction and may have symptoms that overlap with anorexia and bulimia.” It’s such a new phenomenon, it has yet to be included in diagnostic manuals. But one aspect of orthorexia makes it clearly different from other eating disorders: “While anorexics and bulimics typically recognize that their behaviors are harmful and feel shame about them, orthorexics believe they’re doing something good for themselves,” explains Jodi Krumholz, RD, the director of nutrition at the Renfrew Center of Florida, an eating-disorder treatment clinic in Coconut Creek.
Since 2008, the number of hospital stays for eating disorders other than anorexia and bulimia — known as “eating disorders not otherwise specified,” or EDNOS — has grown by 30 percent, with the highest proportion of cases among adults ages 18 to 44, according to the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Now, we, the healthy and balanced ones, have fell into this categorization by at least one person in our entourage. Those are usually friends who want to test our will power by bringing us down to their level, or want to see how much we can resist or give out. But being categorized ‘’extremists’’ by these so-called friends is not or shouldn’t be a liability.
The question is, how can you spot fitness extremists?
They have the same habits as hardcore crossfitters and vegans. They usually can’t shut up about it and they have to make you feel bad that you are not on their side of the forces. They have the ability to save the world. No matter what habits you have, they own you.
When assessing a client for any disorders, including orthorexia, we look for people who are scared sh*tless about gaining weight and step on the scale a few times a day to see if they did. Missing a workout makes them pull a memorable bitch fit. They are the type to freak out when they are stuck eating junk and when everyone else around them do. Is the person obsessively checking his or her body in the mirror?
Don’t we all do it at least once a year?
But contrary to most, they have all the reasons why they SHOULD go workout.
There is nothing wrong with that but the problem is that it becomes OBSESSIVE and COMPULSIVE. They often end up not eating enough calories for the amount of training they do for extended periods of time.
Some might take this post lightly and some might be offended by it, but I am dead serious about it.
Hey, I’m not a specialist but after 20 years, I’ve seen a few cases where I was concerned. That is why when I do consultations I always screen for these types of behaviors. It’s always nice to see someone dedicated but going on the dark side is not that uncommon, especially in today’s extreme society and constant media feeds. Which leads me to my next point.
Enter Dietainment (click and watch)
Young kids are constantly exposed to unhealthy diet messages disguised as entertainment. It’s called Dietainment.
“Are you ready for bikini season?”
“Celebrity secrets to a hot body.”
“Get skinny in just one week.”
“Ten miracle foods that really work.”
“In every situation, somebody will judge you on the way you look.”
Btw, the last one, we’ve all been guilty of…don’t lie.
As if we didn’t get enough dietainment with the media, most people will go on facebook or instagram for motivation, or what I call, shape critic and comparison time. People compare themselves to their friends and the pics they put up. Think about it, do we put pictures of our best shirtless days or the ones we want to hide at all cost because we can see parts of the muffin top?
People compare themselves with outdated or irrelevant pictures. No wonder why people are somewhat depressed after a little web surfing.
All smokes and mirrors.
Is there a solution?
I’m really not sure.
We are bombarded with big corporation sponsored media to consume food that fuels the obesity pandemic. They tell us what is the ‘’ideal shape’’ for man and woman with thin models appearing in little to no clothes.
They look so happy and dancing in front of craving guys suggesting that it is what we guys want, and also suggesting that to look attractive, girls have to look a certain way and act like they require that much attention to feel important and beautiful.
We are told to eat more grains and milk to help cholesterol and drop scale weight. Yet, independent scientific studies are popping up left and right to prove that it might be the cause of obesity and its related problems.
But wait, eating the recommended servings of cereals, grains and milk products on top of all the ‘’non suggested’’ junk food ‘’that supposedly no one eats’’ will make us sick, and it is proven by independent studies.
Contradictory studies, who support the government health recommendations, are usually these very same corporations who have monetary interests in these so called healthy choices.
We are watching commercials, specially designed with colors, music and messages and at specific times that will make us consume more, subliminally or just by plain lack of commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
They put fast food commercials right after depressing episodes so we dig in those temptations just to make us feel better because the number one and fastest anti depressant mechanism is to shove something down our pie hole.
Now, like I said previously, you also have the opposite extremists. Those who try to test your will power or just those who don’t give a crap about what they eat and whoever tries and dares to help them, are a**holes who are wasting their times.
‘’We are all going to die so why not enjoy life a little’’ they say.
I say ‘’A Little? Looks like you are enjoying it a lot, good for you.’’ And I go on with my day.
Is my message contradictory? If I was Joe Anybody and I was giving my opinion at random, maybe. My problem is that I never do call out someone who is not healthy or fat. It is their choice and if they are happy with it, so be it. If they need help, they will come and ask.
I am talking about those who come and ask for my opinion. Once I dare tell them that they have to change their eating habits, I become the crazy one. I am the great deceiver and basically telling them that they will die soon if they don’t change, just because I told them that they did not eat by accident. I tell them that they have more then a few weeks of hard work and clean eating to bring down the scale and OMG!!! I must not be a good coach since everyone on the news, television or friends on facebook can do it in a few weeks.
Take Maude and Nick as examples. I have been working with them for years. My goal is to have lasting habits that will have an impact on all aspects of your life, body and mind. They have kept their habits for years, can enjoy life at the same time and excel at what they do.
Now my question is, how will we make a difference?
We can’t take this lightly. We have the power to influence not only our clients but those around them.
We have a responsibility. As parents, coach, mentors, friends, or bloggers to spread information that makes sense. It can provoke, it can be hard hitting, it can be biased because of our beliefs and it is all in our hands.
Some will believe that eating meat is evil, and some might believe that vegans can’t hunt…
It’s all a matter of what you know, who you are comfortable working with and knowing your limits. As coaches, we have a duty. Do the best we can, with what we know and to get results, that lasts. Might take time and patience, and most people can’t get it. Our goal is to educate, the why and why not. If you can’t deal with it, don’t have what it takes or just don’t believe in what the person wants to do, refer them to someone who will. It will go a long way believe me.
“You, shall I teach you about knowledge? What you know, you know, what you don’t know, you don’t know. This is knowledge.”-Confucius
So be it!