I have made more than seven mistakes along my weight loss journey. The most profound ones were when I began dieting quite strictly for bodybuilding competitions. This was the catalyst that leads me to the weight gain problems I experienced thereafter. Although I have to admit to you all, I was never big at all, but I know my body, and something changed for the worst after I did this. Let’s delve a little deeper into the darker side of dieting.
Seven bodybuilding dieting mistakes I made, which you should avoid
- Food restrictions I didn’t need. One thing about bodybuilding competitions, and any regular dieting, is that you restrict most foods, if not all the ones you love – for the sake of becoming lean. I did this for more than a year, and when my competitive streak was over – I started eating and eating and eating! I never knew what happened to my satiety switch, but It’s my bodies way of accumulating calories, should they become restricted again. This happened for a few months; then I realised my pants didn’t fit me, and I gained weight! This continued for years until I finally started a lifestyle plan. From that day forward, I decided that dieting was boring, stupid and didn’t work. Along came Intermittent fasting, and I’ve never looked back. I may not be 100% happy with my body, but I’m a lot healthier, energetic, and flexible with my foods. I’m no longer restricting anything & finally have a nice balance.
- I was eating six meals a day and forceful eating. As many of you know, the old notion for getting lean was to have several meals a day. There is nothing wrong with that if you know what you are doing. For me, when the competitions ended, this way of eating began to backfire. I could no longer tolerate eating so much, and the leanness I once experienced from this plan wasn’t working. Half the time, I was forcing myself to eat – I just wasn’t hungry. This made training hard. I felt bloated, weak and didn’t perform at my best. I hated feeling like this, as I love going to the gym and giving it my all. During this time, I wasn’t giving it anything. If six meals a day don’t work for you, then don’t do it! Now, I eat two meals a day and fast for the rest of the time. That amounts to either 17–18–19 hours fasting per day. I’m used to this and love giving my digestion a break. I will never go back to forcing myself to eat again.
- I was eliminating carbs. Wow, this one was terrible! I know that keto is a great way to lose weight, but it’s just not the best idea when you train. I eliminated carbs for so long, I lacked energy, and my muscles were flat. I just felt like I had fluid in my body. I don’t recommend eliminating anything unless you have an allergy or another issue. If you want to lose weight, then a proper nutrition plan is best. If you must cut carbs, then do try carb cycling. I do that all the time, and it works so well. Just remember that it’s not the carbs that are the problem – it’s the total amount of calories you consume that isn’t used for energy. This is the stuff that gets stored in the body as fat. Stick to those good carbs, which are filled with nutritional value – and ignore anything processed.
- I was not eating any fruit. Now, this one was ridiculous. It’s old bodybuilding essential, and it’s not a very wise one. There is absolutely no reason to give up fruit. Having some berries or a banana isn’t going to do anything for your fat loss results. What can cause problems is drinking sugary filled fruit juices without the excellent fruit pulp. Please don’t eliminate fruit – unless there is a medical or a flavour issue. I’m not too fond of mangos, but I love berries. Everyone is different. Pick and choose those you love, and exercise control as with anything.
- I was only having black coffee. If you have taken on black coffee for the sake of eliminating the milk – you know what I mean. This was hard for me, as I love having a cappuccino once a day. I like to have them in the morning and spend the rest of the day drinking black coffee. Although milk calories can add up, you don’t have to resort to only black coffee. There is always tea, herbal tea and fruit water. You definitely shouldn’t eliminate the kind of coffee you love because of dieting. Moderation is key.
- Too many supplements. I was obsessed with supplements! I used to have lots and lots of them – until my body started reacting negatively to it. I began to experience some liver issues and had to stop. I can’t pinpoint what went wrong, but my doctor told me I was on the verge of fatty liver. I had to eliminate all the supplements I was taking, and I did so immediately. That’s when I began to feel better. What was I taking – I don’t even remember! I probably didn’t need as many supplements – and most likely the dose was too high. We have to add supplementation to our diets because we may get what we need, from the foods we eat. The best person to see about this is a trained naturopath and doctor. Personal trainers don’t know enough about this – and you should seek advice from someone that’s studied it. Beware of what you are taking, and make sure you get blood tests regularly to monitor your progress.
- Overexercising every day. I used to kill myself at the gym to get lean. I would become so exhausted that I had to have a nap! I don’t even know how I developed the energy to do all this exercise – but I did somehow. I did hours of cardio, followed by weight training. It was ideal and led me to burnout. Thankfully I didn’t wait too long after this happened to get back into the gym. Whilst it’s great to have goals when training in the gym, it’s also greater to rest and recuperate regularly. You are human, not a machine that can keep going. I always forget to realise that it’s when you sleep when the magic of muscle growth happens.
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