It’s possible to look healthy without actually being healthy...
Sure, we’ve heard of these kinds of horror stories in Hollywood with actresses slimming down to sub-normal weight in order to play a role in a film.
And even though I don’t support actresses using dangerous methods to slim down, I think our culture has come to expect it (which deserves an article of its own)...
But still, Hollywood isn’t the only culprit in the slim down scandal.
Unfortunately, the best example of healthy looking unhealthy people comes from the fitness models we admire most from our favorite magazines, supplement ads, and websites.
It seems kind of like a contradiction, does it not?
That the fitness industry makes an iconic physique out of a rather unhealthy one?
It’s a sad fact that a majority of fitness models, bikini contestants, physique competitors and more have come to know the unhealthy lifestyle of the industry pretty well.
I understand the desire to look your best on stage or in front of the camera.
My husband competed in natural bodybuilding at one point in his life.
The demands are daunting.
But to cut straight to the point, the demands are unhealthy.
What drastic moves do our physique icons make before a photo shoot?
Well, let’s take a peek behind the curtain and find out.
At about a week before the big shoot, fitness models will cut carbohydrates out of their diet completely.
If there is a carbohydrate to be had, it’ll be a bit of spinach served with an 8oz serving of lean protein.
This is a huge problem considering that your body needs carbohydrates for fuel.
Sure, your body can run on protein and fats with a low intake of carbohydrates, but not when your calories are as low as someone who is preparing for a photo shoot a week out.
Which leads me to the next unhealthy technique to trim down for a photo shoot…
Major Caloric Deficit
This is where crash diets come in...
The only difference is that a fitness model has probably been “cutting calories” for a more extended period of time (at least a month) than we typically think about when we consider a crash diet.
But a major caloric deficit is a major caloric deficit. And is dangerous whether you’ve been preparing for it or not.
Some fitness models will get into the sub-700 range the week leading up to the shoot...
That can have some scary health ramifications such as sleep depravity, and a stunted metabolism.
In order to get lean for a photo shoot, many fitness models will drastically dehydrate their bodies.
This can be from water dehydration, but can also come from a laxative stimulant.
One fitness model confessed to having dandelion tea (which works as a laxative) at four separate portions of the day in order to speed up the dehydration process.
This particular model did this for a week leading up to his shoot.
Any form of laxative can put you in jeopardy if you’re using it for dehydration purposes.
But unfortunately, it’s common in the fitness world.
Speaking of dehydration, many fitness models cut their water intake in the week leading up to the photo shoot.
The baseline reaches to just sips of water the day of the photo shoot.
Even at a dangerously low caloric deficit and dehydration to boot, some will sit in saunas, and others in Epsom salt baths in order to pull moisture out from underneath their skin to look as dry as possible in front of the camera.
Sucky Social Life
When preparing for a photo shoot, fitness models will usually try to stay far away from the temptation to break their diet.
As a result, they’ll avoid going out with friends and family for the time leading up to the big day...
Also, lack of calories causes them to feel depleted and exhausted anyways, making a night out the last thing worth exerting energy on.
Over an extended period of time, lack of community can become unhealthy in itself.
People need to be around other people.
Without being involved in relationships with others, even for a short period of time, one could slip into depression ranging anywhere from subtle to severe.
These unhealthy tactics finally lead up to the big day of the photo shoot.
Even though no one individual is the same, carbs will definitely come back into the picture so that the fitness model can fill up her muscles.
But when stepping on stage, many fitness models feel light-headed, cramping dehydrated, and exhausted to say the least.
Still, this is the moment that many fitness models live for.
And to be honest, it’s where many of us draw our inspiration from.
However, it’s unfortunate that our inspiration for good health comes from an unhealthy façade.
I’m sure you’ll agree with me that it’s a contradiction, but one that I hope we won’t shrug off as “the way it is.”
It’s good to be strong.
It’s good to feel confident in our bodies.
It’s good to work incredibly hard to achieve our goals.
But not when we’re spending our health just for the sake of looking healthy.
Don’t get me wrong...
I’m rooting for the ladies that put so much effort into what they do.
I just hope that they’ll choose for health over the mere appearance of it.
And I hope the same for you, too.