Double Standards

January 6, 2011

Has it ocurred to anyone that the whole pre-competition loading (for endurance) or post-contest refeeds (for fitness models) are actually part of a restricting-bingeing cycle – and yet this behaviour is generally deemed normal or even necessary? Doesn’t living on protein shakes, egg whites and broccoli qualify as disordered eating? What about stuffing yourself with all kinds of (useless at best and potentially dangerous) supplements or intentionally hampering performance by keeping intake below maintainance level to get “ripped” (see fighterdiet.com as an example, note that I’m not actually criticising her approach). Bulking up and slimming down are just at opposite ends of the spectrum, but they are still extremes. There have to be repercussions, though they might not be apparent. And we’re not even talking about the (Female) Athlete Triad (Disordered Eating/Amenorrhea/Bone Loss) here. In fact, once it becomes pathological (as a full blown ED) and spirals into an obsession*, it all comes down to feeling inadequate and fear of (being) fat in both cases. So what IS the difference? With regard to the psychological aspect, I don’t really see one. Whether you are striving towards bones or muscle striations, the impulse is more than skin-deep.

*And let’s face it, society as a whole is quite obsessed with fitness nowadays, not just looks.

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