So I did this diet, now I can’t get my period back
“So I did this diet, now I can’t get my period back”
This is something I hear all too often. And by “diet” this includes anything from optifast, isagenix, to 6-12 weeks challenges, and bodybuilding competitions.
Today I want to talk about bodybuilding
The bodybuilding competition season is now in full swing, and after all the glam, glitz, ab veins, and thank you speeches, comes the whole “This is what I was going through!” reality posts.
Instagram and facebook is very dangerous in the way that you can be following a page and only get the highlights.
We would like to think that the people we follow are being honest about how they feel every step of the way. But the thing is, sometimes by telling everyone we are okay on social media, makes us feel okay.
I used to do this when I was competing, I only wanted to share the GOOD about what I was doing.
I never talked about how in both my preps my relationship was seriously on the rocks, that in the weekend I was binging, was unable to sleep through the night from hunger, and lost my menstrual cycle midway through.
No, I’d only post about the good days, the days I woke up feeling lean, and had something positive to say. Half of that was to try and convince MYSELF that what I was doing was fine and “inspiring” – cringe.
I saw a classic example of this on social media the other day. It was girl posting all the thank you’s only to then say – BY THE WAY – I was going through hell, I was starving. The blame was then put on the coach, but here’s the thing…
In order to step on stage for a competition, and have a competitive physique, as a female, you need to be an UNHEALTHY body fat percentage.
There are ways of getting to this body percentage by eating MORE food, which is better for metabolism and post comp rebound.
Now, you a going to read about amazing journeys of girls eating 2500 calories feeling fantastic all the way through. But that doesn’t mean by simply seeing their same coach, you will have the same experience.
Not everyone responds as effectively to a metabolic boosting protocol. Some people can steadily increase their carbs no problem without gaining body fat.
Others, it takes a long time to get calories up. If you are not blessed with that ability to eat more carbs, to boost metabolism, (you may have higher insulin resistance) then your going to be in for a much harder ride.
What do you think coaches have to do when that metabolic boosting protocol they planned for you doesn’t work?
Your tired, you’re hungry, and body fat isn’t shifting fast enough. Do they say hmm.. Your body is resisting this, do some yoga, ease off on the cadio, forget about fat loss and the comp, let’s focus on nourishment and hormonal balance?”
Usually not…you’ve both invested into this comp and to pull out feels like giving up right? So with 4 Weeks to go, all there is to do is drop calories and increase the cadio, and in some cases – take a triple dose of fat burners (yes I’ve actually heard this was recommended…almost ended in liver failure).
And you will probably be told, look it’s just for a few weeks, your body will bounce back after when you reverse diet.
BUT here’s the crunch line …..
IT CAN TAKE OVER TWO YEARS TO RECOVER
I’ve got clients who have only JUST starting getting their cycles back now, after more than a year post comp, and they still aren’t regular.
And same with thyroid function. Once you’ve have disrupted your hormonal balance it’s not just as matter of “eat more carbs and it’ll come right”.
It takes careful monitoring, awareness of stress and lifestyle factors, and ensuring you are always getting vital nutrients to support your hormones.
So to summarise..
A) Don’t be fooled by what you see on social media. It often only shows the glitz, glamour and abbs.
B ) All coaches at some point are going to get put into a compromising position when it comes to getting a client ready to compete. Yes some coaches are better than others, but no one has the magic strategie to get every female they see shredded and on stage with all hormones in balance.
C) If things aren’t going as planned (and this applies to any diet), and your body is resisting, you DO have the option of stopping, and this doesn’t make you a quitter it makes you smart. You are also not letting your coach or team down, and any coach that makes you feel that way doesn’t have the right intentions (i.e. Medals over health)
D) Don’t be fooled into thinking that one comp or “8 week shred” can’t do long-term damage. I HAVE SEEN THIS FIRST HAND. It can take 2 years to get back into a healthy metabolic state, even if you supposedly “reverse diet” properly.
Feel free to message me about this if you are concerned.
This is coming from a combination of own experience as a competitor, my frustration working with female clients who have competed and still battling, and my observations of the bodybuilding scene recently on social media.
I would love to know your experience – have you competed and will you compete again? Have you had issues with hormones? Feel free to comment below x
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