Shredded. Ripped. Cut. Those are not just words you hear on a cooking show. They are also what many fitness and physique models aspire to. Oftentimes, with devastating costs.
If you’ve ever had to slim down to fit into a dress for some upcoming occasion, you probably did what you can to lose that extra inch or two. But sometimes, you might resort to more radical means to achieve the rock-hard, six-pack, beach-body look that bodybuilders and physique models walk on stage with.
The problem is, they are never that shredded year-round. Far from it. What you don’t know is that this look is not only extremely challenging to achieve, it’s incredibly unhealthy and radical. And more important, it’s only done a few weeks out of the show.
Whether you’re interested in competing as a bodybuilder or figure competitor, or whether you’re just looking to drop body fat as fast as possible, it’s important to understand the difference between aesthetics and health…between the once-a-year contest prep, and the daily habits for optimal health. Otherwise, you run the risk of spiraling out of control and irreversibly hurting yourself.
You’ve heard of anorexia, but what you might not know is that there’s a less insidious but equally damaging condition known as orthorexia nervosa. It’s where you resort to constant extreme dieting, eating strictly “clean” foods, counting every single calorie you ingest, and doing endless hours of cardio until you can’t walk for days afterwards.
But extreme caloric restriction and draconian, water-depleting practices that would make even an ascetic monk cringe are never healthy. These unsafe strategies don’t have time to mobilize body fat and largely only help to shed water weight. Unless you’re thinking of stepping on the competitive stage as a bodybuilder, fitness competitor, or figure model, you might want to know what some models choose to do that are far from healthy or balanced, and avoid them at all costs.
I CALL THEM THE “6 DANGEROUS DS.”
Models will restrict their sodium and water intake to absurd levels before a show, or drink strictly coffee to flush out any possible water retention. But, if you plan on exercising during that time, without replenishing electrolytes sufficiently, your body can run the risk of shutting down due to extreme dehydration.
You probably heard of the lemon cleanse or even the colon cleanse. Problem is, you must resort to disgusting concoctions that push you into near starvation mode and borderline barfing. Drink lemon juice sprinkled with cayenne pepper for three days straight? I’ll pass.
Now, I’m not talking about healthy eating choices like my Wild Diet. I’m talking about the cabbage diet and the grapefruit diet — all the way to the “air” diet and even the cotton-ball diet! Temporary as they are, some of these fads are downright dangerous. And for those who resort to them on a regular basis, they’re also unhealthy and disordered forms of eating behavior.
You’ve probably heard of some third-world cultures where body modifications are considered aesthetically pleasing. But we’re no different. Some models resort to compression garments and tight corsets to squeeze their bodies into shape. Some claim that it accelerates weight loss through sweating. Regardless, they can often become a crutch that may even lead to body image dysmorphia, which is serious.
Sounds disgusting because it is. I’ve heard of heartbreaking stories of bulimic men and women who would enjoy delicious, family-cooked meals over the holidays, only to resort to chowing down vomit-inducers or laxatives to expunge the offending invaders. It’s a misguided practice, and I find it alarming.
The worst culprit of them all? Appetite-suppressants and fat-burning, meth-like supplements — as well as prescription drugs and even cocaine — to speed up metabolism. The abuse of drugs of any kind are absolutely dangerous and extremely unhealthy.
Bottom line, the radical extremes celebrities and models often go to in order to achieve their “perfect” bodies are just that. Radical and extreme. Understand that you can be burning fat, become lean, and stay healthy by eating well. Enjoying life doesn’t have to be a competition.