Metabolic Damage and Why I’m pissed off!

Hey guys! Its Danny-J.. I have something to get off my chest…
Sighhhhh I don’t even know where to begin here, but I guess I’ll start with a quick re-cap of my situation:

Prior to Sweaty Betties, I was in a different facet of the fitness industry. I competed and modeled did whatever it took to attain the “look” that I thought was marketable for fitness modeling.
I was in the quest that many women find themselves in– the quest for the “PRO CARD”
When I started competing, at the end of 2006, I thought a Pro Card would just make me “more legit” as a trainer, as a professional. It would add to my resume and help me get more clients. As I started to learn, it was really more about who you know, to get you anywhere in the industry and I was luckily successful on my own right, without the competitions. However, in 2009 I decided to go ahead and compete again. I hired a new coach at the last minute, 6 weeks out from my show, so the diet was a little more drastic. I ended up looking the best I’d ever looked onstage and I also saw the new bikini division and wanted to give it a shot. So, thus began a diet that started in May and continued until the end of November. At the time, I thought the diet was extreme, and it was nothing that I would ever give my clients, yet, I thought, I’d try something new, it seemed to be working!

Fast Forward to 2 weeks after the competition– I had gone from being able to do Level 10 on the stairs, to trying Level 5 and having to stop and catch my breath to picking up 5lb. dumbbells and barely able to lift them AND gained 8lbs. over one weekend and steadily gaining. So I tried to crash diet, took all carbs away again, did 2 hours of cardio a day for 4 days and I GAINED 2 lbs. I didn’t understand. Why was I doing everything I did before and gaining???

Add on a year of this– trying to crash diet and another cycle of gaining. Fear of eating ANYTHING because I’d gain weight so easily. I’d cry and not want to train my clients, because I thought that they would see me getting fatter and no longer want to train. I’d get jealous of my clients who were successful and I wasn’t.

I finally started to realize this was bigger than just a thyroid issue and I was finding other women who were experiencing the same things!

Here are some quotes from the emails of just a FEW women going through this, unfortunately, the phone conversations I’ve had and the stories I’ve heard are painful and sad.

“In almost two years, I think I could count the number of times I had a cheat meal on both hands.  I was “allowed” to eat on my wedding day, but only a meal…I’m crying as I write this, because I know a lot of other women suffer from the damage”

 “I am so sick of not wearing shorts or going to a pool … lol. This certainly is a much bigger struggle than any comp prep that is for damn sure.”

“Such a big part of me, while I loved the transformation and good times of competing, wish I never did bc of what it has done to my head.”

“I too, have been to so many docs with lots of $ spent, and no progress.”

“I truly think unless you have gone through it, you have NO IDEA what it feels like”

” I have avoided several of my friends (not even competitors) and many social get togethers, along w vacations bc I am so disgusted w what I look like. Then I get pissed for putting so much of my self worth into my body… It is all such a mind fuck. There are many days I think this may be what Im stuck w but then I keep thinking if we keep fighting we can beat it and be better for it”

“I just all of a sudden have been experiencing so many symptoms and am miserable. I have also gained 17lbs out of no where, extremely fatigued, legs and ankles swell, shortness of breath and extremely weak. “

“I am doing Paleo at this time afraid of eating anything so I won’t gain more weight! But even with exercise I can’t loose any! Ugh!!!!”


It is my mission to FIND a solution. I am currently reading, reading, reading, and working with some professionals on a protocol. I hope that this blog/video will help someone become aware of what is going on, help someone feel like they aren’t crazy, or stop someone  from even going down this path. (FOLLOW-UP BLOG IS HERE)

Print Friendly




  1. Tina Crouch says:

    Thank you Danny J for this. My journey to the stage has stopped because this is exactly what was happening to me. Now granted my training was not crazy, but my body went crazy. I have had a hysterectomy and have had to be on hormones for years with no issues after I started training for the stage and being under a lot of stress my body decided to revolt. Now all I want to do is be healthy and happy again. Thanks for being REAL. We will continue the journey to a healthy body and body image together! Xoxo!

    • I saw some of your posts on FB Tina and wondered. Our hormones are so intricately connected. My issue was made worse with my thyroid and being on a hormonal IUD for 2 years. Now, I’ll be damned if I can lose a lb after a month of clean eating. Its a shame. I WILL get my body back to normal, but right now I’m taking it easy. NO working out at all! Keep me up to date on your progress

      • Tina Crouch says:

        I have been on gym hiatus for a while. I think I have maybe workouted twice in the last month. Been working on relaxation stuff, even cut my hours back at work. Because it was really beginning to take a toll on me. I never want to admit to it because well I feel like I will let people down if they know how depressing it is when your body is not responding correctly, when ur doing everything you are suppose to do.

        • haha… well, I get it. Imagine if you are a trainer and you TELL people everyday to workout, yet, I haven’t worked out in about 8 months:(
          I tried about 2 months ago and it backfired again… so Im taking more time off and another approach. sighhh..
          we’ll figure it out!

          • Tina Crouch says:

            Lol I know it’s got to be hard being trainer. I am still working on my stuf to become a personal trainer and I was ready to quit the whole mess. Like why would anyone listen to me as a trainer if I don’t have my own act together. My dear hubby said “suck it up and push forward on my studying” he always sees the positive side that knowledge is power. That there will be that day that it makes sense and I can help others dealing with the same issues.
            I just keep saying it will get better, and I do believe it will!!

      • I am not as knowledgable as everyone on this page about this…but I know I would be trying everything to try to get my body back…I wanted to let you know that Beachbody came out with a Beachbody Ultimate Reset™ – Every Body Needs a Tune-Up!

        Not sure if this will do the trick…but its worth a try! I hope things workout for you..


      • I’m not sure if this is old news or not, but I foud this blog post, and it talks a bit about the damage done to T3 levels and the role that plays in weight gain after competition.

    • I was looking at the metabolic effect website and saw the Metabolic Rehab Plan. Would you recommend this for someone who is having nearly the exact same issues as you have described? It includes instructional material and modules as well as supplement recommendations and more.

  2. This is why I love you. You’re up front and honest. You have lived these issues; you don’t just “spout” off about stuff to gain fans. And because of this I know I can trust you; I can step back and take a different approach to reaching my goals knowing that you would not direct me in any way that could cause harm. Your willingness to share your experiences makes us all stronger.

  3. Some of those sound so familiar:) We are in this together!!! Xoxo

  4. Crystal Vega says:

    Danny-J I love this. I have thought about competing but this is what scares me to death. I have a ton of friends and family that do compete and I see what they go through on a daily basis and the pressure to look the best. Their diets and the amount of time spent in the gym is just not okay, it takes away from families and I just dont think I could do that to my own family. Thanks for sharing this, you seem very passionate about it. Love ya girl!!

    • Hi, in reading through these I plan to continue to research this issue. Personally I have not experienced this, but I’m always eager to learn about the human body and all the craziness that comes with them. lol But I personally take offense to the comment about competing “is just not okay, it takes away from families and I just don’t think…”. I just want to say that for ME, competing was an amazing thing to do with and FOR my family. It was the vehicle God gave me to get myself where I needed to be – physically and emotionally fit – to be a better wife and mother. And along the way my family has benefited greatly! I do my workouts either early in the morning at home or at our local ymca and I take the kids with me so they too can enjoy the benefits of a healthier lifestyle with me. We also enjoy more bike rides, hiking, etc. Competing does NOT have to be a negative on our families. In fact, just the opposite. :)

      • Crystal Vega says:

        Im not saying with everyone. I am talking about the crazy people that go to the gym for hour and hours and hours. I TOO go to the gym every single day for myself, its the best thing I have ever done, it helps me to be a better mommy. I have tons of friends and family that do compete and I have seen the hard work and dedication first hand. It takes a lot to do a show. I have also seen some of those that do compete neglect (by neglect I mean don’t spend nearly as much time as usual since it is consumed by other things ) their families whether it be because of gym time or making their kids quick and easy meals since the competing diet is so strict..then they have to go practice posing, not to mention have full time jobs on top of it all.. I’m sorry if my post came off that way. But all I was saying was how hard it is on families that I have seen first hand. The end results are awesome and I have seen what it takes to get there all I said is I could not do that to my own family. Im sorry if I offended you at all..I was not trying to knock anyone for what they do, I think its awesome in fact and support them for doing it.

  5. Rachelle says:

    It is hormonal. My doctor told me to get the book “The Metabolism Miracle” and read/head it. I cried reading the first few chapters as there was an explanation as to why I was exercising and eating correctly and no energy and the weight wasn’t budging — I like you am pissed at my body but am struggling through to gain the upper hand again.

    The author is Diane Kress, RD, CDE
    Don’t let the kitchy title turn you off — lots of good info

    • I’ll read it…. and yes, it IS ALL hormonal– all of my hormones are jacked– adrenals, DHEA, testosterone, prostoglandin.. its a mess
      the hard part is Where do you begin? LOL

      • Girls, my Coach and dear friend MIKE MAHLER can help you out of this I’m sure. Check him out and reach out to him…he’ll be re than happy to help.


        • thanks! Currently working with a great team but I will still look him up!

          • I was on the same road and found myself looking in the mirror and constantly crying at what was going on with my body. My friend introduced me to a product and it saved my body and my sanity. cant believe how much t helped me out. However not everything is right for everybody it is worth checking out .

      • I wasn’t and am not a bodybuilder..but my metabolism, hormones, and gut are a MESS :( I’m not keen on medications and doctors scare me. I’m lost. Ammenorheic for years now. Utterly fatigued. Late night binge eating even. Digestion not good and constipation or unhealthy diarrhea spurts. I feel I need to cleanse out my body you know? Like I’m full of toxins and crap and hormones and stuff a mess. But SO much conflicting opinion…paleo, Weston A. Price, ME, etc…I can’t afford a coach or program and all the books contradict one another. I HONESTLY don’t know what to eat more. Not cool. Hoping you can email me Sweatybettie, cause I am so frustrated and discouraged. I’m thinking of trying st.john’s wort too.

  6. Thank you for your honesty…so refreshing in the fitness world. :) I’m a holistic health coach and my first thought is that you need some major detox. When our bodies become overridden with toxins, our liver becomes congested and can’t break down the fat properly. Even the makeup we wear can congest our liver – speaking from experience. I would recommend that you seek out a holistic nutritionist who can recommend a detox plan for you and who can also target your hormonal imbalance that it sounds like you have. Also, you might check out “The Hormone Diet” by Natasha Turner..excellent book that discusses how elevated levels of estrogen, cortisol, progesterone, etc impact our weight. She has a game plan for what to do. Very well written. :) Hugs to you!! xo

    • Thanks Brandi- yes I’ve heard this before. I’ve also worked with a few and I’m reading many books… I’ll add that one to my list. Even after detoxing, still struggling… its going to be a longer battle than I expected :(

    • I’m in the same boat… after a year of detoxing, clean eating, focus on liver detox, working with a naturopath, addressing hormal imbalances, etc. etc., I still am struggling to lose weight. I do body wraps for detox, mostly alkaline diet, mostly green juice diet, etc., and still struggling. Even my naturopath doesn’t have anymore suggestions. :(

      • I’m sorry, its beyond frustrating. I would make sure your calories are at least 1500-1700 a day to get your body back. You can’t lose if you still are undereating. You have to get your body used to more food, before you can pull it away again. Keep your eye on the page, I will share any tips I have as I start to see change

      • I have dealt with these issues and would love to speak with you. I’m a holistic health coach and maybe could suggest some avenues that you haven’t tried. I

  7. Hi Danny-J,

    Thanks for this! I love what Scott Abel has to say about this stuff!

    I wish you all the best on healing! Tracy

  8. Danny…You KNOW I love this. Thank you for sharing your struggles. It will empower women to speak up with their own stories. Our culture is hyper-focused on LOOKS rather than health, and as a trainer myself, I looked the epitome of health, but there was something ugly going on with me that no one saw. Speaking out has helped me, A LOT. Keep speaking and keep researching for those who love competing. See you soon!

  9. Thank you for posting this. I went through the same thing for almost 3 years before finally getting diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease JUST THIS MONTH ( Now I’m 30 lbs overweight, messed up inside and out, and getting married this summer and feeling awful. I’m finally working with a good doctor, but I too am angry about how long it took my to get to this point.

    • Its maddening and anger is one of the emotions I’m dealing with. I’m trying to get past that into acceptance and finding solutions.
      Stay with us and we’ll keep sharing what we learn. Get an adrenal saliva test done as well, often even a bump in thyroid meds doesn’t do anything:(

      • I did get an adrenal saliva test done (part of the $1000 worth of tests I had done in March…ugh) and surprisingly, it was good – everything in range, and in the RIGHT PARTS of the range. However, I have a feeling that for a long time there, my adrenals were HYPER-functioning (hello cortisol) and are now on their way back down, and just happen to be in-range right now. Candida/yeast was the one other problem I DON’T have. But I DO have dysglycemia, some insulin resistance, messed-up sex hormones, high cholesterol but VERY low triglycerides, an H. pylori infection, hardly any good gut bacteria (despite taking probiotics for years), and of course Hashimoto’s disease and the thyroid crap.

        My new doctor – I finally found a good one – works through Dr. Datis Kharrazian’s protocol…I highly recommend this book (Amazon doesn’t have it in stock, but I found it at my local library).

        One more very interesting, yet not at all surprising, test result is that my my Creatine Kinase (or CPK) levels were through the roof – the lab range is 24-170, and my result was 602!! CPK is an enzyme that breaks down muscle tissue for fuel, and its production can increase wildly with – you guessed it – undereating and overexercising. I used to be a marathon runner before the weight gain, and have never eaten over ~1600 cals/day in my life. At my worst, last year, I was working out 3 hours a day and eating 1000 calories…and still gaining weight. Now all the pieces are starting to come together…my body can’t absorb nutrients for a variety of reasons, and I’m hardly giving it any to begin with, so it breaks down my muscle tissue for fuel, and shuttles all the calories I DO eat into body fat. Meanwhile, my thyroid shut down, all T4 is turning into Reverse T3, and more weight piles on. IT’S A MESS. And now the catch-22 is that my metabolism is SO low/slow that I still have to eat very little, lest I gain weight even faster (though I’m still gaining no matter what I eat), but eating such a small amount only reinforces the metabolism’s slowdown.

        ::Scream!:: =/

  10. Lauri Bernard says:

    Thank you! 3 years of hell from only one go at body building ( I won, but for what?!? ). I cannot thank you enough for bravely sharing your experience and heart in this matter. I to am looking for answers. Will share as I find them.

  11. Dannielle says:

    thank you SOOOO much for writing that. I am not, nor have i ever been a professional athlete or model, but in the past year and a half, my body has turned on me. I went Paleo in January of this year, I quit drinking diet soda and quit smoking, only to find that I can not lose any weight. I try not to be obsessed with the scale, but rather the way my clothes look and feel. But living in sweat pants for the past 6 months has been no fun. Add to that, I had meniscus surgery 8 weeks ago, and have had a terrible recovery. Actually, i have had no recovery. I am in more pain now than I was prior to the surgery. My body is full of inflammation. I just had blood work done this past week. I am hoping that something will show on it to give me some idea as to why my body wont budge. I am sure I am full of toxin due to the pain meds and anti inflams they have been giving me. I am extremely disgusted. I just want to find an answer and feel and look good again. I wish you the best of luck.. maybe your issues can help shed some light on others…

    • this is what I hope too Dannielle (great name, BTW) I would suggest getting on 4-6 krill oil capsules a day to help with inflammation.. I’m also listening to a lot of mediations. You gotta calm the stress in your body down and a surgery is a big stressor, even if its a “small” surgery. I’m sorry you are going through this and stay tuned… I plan on sharing EVERYTHING that I learn as I go along… if I can help ANYONE get through this awful mess I will.

  12. Thanks for doing this video Danny! Several years ago I was on this same track (that’s actually how I met Aubrie…I had her doing some nutritional plans/workouts for me over the phone) but I realized before I did my first show that I was absolutely killing myself to get the results I wanted. The only thing I ever had energy for was my workout and after that I could barely even make it through work or get the dog walked. I couldn’t even go for a hike when my friends wanted to or ride bikes or go rock climbing. I really appreciate what you guys are doing with the Sweaty Betties and how you’re keepin’ it real;)

  13. Hi, I too have been struggling with losing weight due to hypothyroisim and found this link I thought you would be interested in. Ive been looking into the hypothyroid/gluten connection and was wondering what you thought of it.

    • THanks Ashley– well, there are many issues that contribute to hypothyroidism.. Hashimotos, but also adrenal fatigue where hypo thyroid is secondary. I had some issues before and I know gluten intolerance is big. I never ate a lot of gluten to begin with but I’ve been tested and that isn’t my issue. It is, however, good for everyone to explore EVERY avenue until they find the underlying causes and not just be content to pop a pill

  14. Oh wow, sweetheart! Seriously crying here. I’m so pissed off. I’m not like you in the sense that I am not coming from a bodybuilding background but I am in the same boat none the less. A car accident stopped my hypothalamus from working and thus my hormone regulation went awol. I was in for 4 back surgeries as well so I was no longer able to be the athletic dancer I once was. I gained about 15lbs in 6 months and to combat this I restricted my eating 1200 per day. *sigh* I was on pain pills a lot too and everything just slowed down. As I healed and I got my body back I stopped slowly stopped counting and had lost the extra weight. My digestion was poor though and I eliminated grains, dairy…anything to try to make things easier on my stressed system. I even ate high raw low fat for a time. Fast forward a couple of years and my hypothalamus decided it was ready to work again, bringing back my cycle and sparing me from many other problems that come from hormone imbalances. But my poor thyroid didn’t know what was happening and with a very demanding and stressful schedule, my adrenals crashed and down came my thyroid, all at the age of 27. Uncontrollable food cravings, hot flashes, extreme sound and light sensitivity, poor digestion, hair loss, overwhelming anger and depression, hysterics (caused by lack of nutrients like lithium in my body due to the gut shutdown from lack of thyroid function,) and a 20lb weight gain plagued me for 1.5 years now. It was hell. I’m so happy and grateful that say that I’m on the mend and that my formerly high RT3 is gone, and my adrenals are stronger, and I’m backing off the Cytomel. That being said it’s a delicate walk back to health, and I’ve got 20lbs that are not moving and calories and macros are a daily focus. Lots of self-love and forgiveness going on here:o) I know that it was a car accident that got me here but my extreme calorie restriction for the better part of a year, and then a schedule that allowed for 4-5 hours of sleep, didn’t do me any favors. I don’t want to see old friends because of the added weight and I don’t want to be caught on film or in photos. I avoid mirrors and even though I go through moments of when I’m at peace with this process and am so happy to be healing, something in the end reminds me that I’m still stuck in a body that won’t let go of it’s protection. It has helped to tell people about it and I’ve recently made a concerted effort to let people know what has been happening to me, but I’m still embarrassed that I’ve changed so much.Thank you so so much for speaking up about this. I feel slightly less alone in this today:o) Patience, peace and a little bit of grace. Freaking warriors we are, girl. I would really love to hear about how things progress for you. Please keep on sharing and bringing light to this. Sending you all sorts of vibrant and healing energy, honey. Thank you so very much.-Dani

    • oh honey,yes, so much the same.. the only difference is I fucked up my hypothalamus without being in a car.. LOL
      everything you said resonates here… I’ve avoided parties, shows, dates with my husband, wearing my favorite clothes (which don’t fit) getting out of the way of pictures, avoiding seeing someone in a store on accident.
      Its TOUGH. Its a mind fuck thats for sure.
      I’m working on my thought patterns… becoming more accepting and patient, because its obviously going to be a slow process.
      I will share what I learn and do, so keep up with me and keep me informed of your journey.
      I was doing paleo, but now I’m trying to eat 125g of carbs minimum so, I’ve added oats and beans sometimes.
      Get lots of sleep, that is KEY
      Thank you so much for sharing and we will get through this!

      • It’s a total mindfuck!! Ugh. The last week has been especially hard for whatever reason. I feel like a house:o) It’s amazing how things can pick up and I can feel hopeful and then how I can crash and feel that intense frustration. It’s been really lovely to read what other people are posting and to see how we’ve all ended up somewhere slightly similar regardless of the different roads that led us here.

        I started doing Livefit a bit but then moved on to working with James Wilson but I can’t seem to find a number of calories or macro breakdown that works. I know I’ve gone from eating 1400 to about 2000, all whole foods, because I’d just had it. If I’m going to be chubby at least I won’t starve. I would love to know who you are working with. I’ve got a great doc but would really like to consult with someone who can walk me through these next steps in fitness and nutrition. Upping my carbs most definitely helped me recover. I was actually eating about 200 for a bit there and noticed a complete increase in my well-being and energy. Eating a more paleo diet helped my gut tremendously too and as my thyroid has picked up I’ve been able take some dairy again. And sleep IS key. The horrors of a 6 hour night. Must. Have. 8. Hrs. :o)
        Anyways, I could chat forever about this. Thanks again Danny. I welcome any and all insights and info at this point. Can’t wait to hear about what you’ve been learning.
        All the best to you, honey.
        totally just realized we have the same name. Thyroid brain. :o)

        • I’m working with Jade Teta from Metabolic Effect. He has me eating at LEAST 125g of carbs a day.
          I also try to sleep like its my job. I’m getting 7 a night min. but if I can, I’ll sleep for 10 or more.
          I actually slept pretty much my whole summer away, but I think it helped

          • HA!! Oh wow! So funny you said that. I’m listening to a podcast with him right NOW (on Underground Wellness) and just found his phone number. I’ve been reading their stuff on facebook for a bit and was eyeballing their weightloss for women program that starts June 1st. lol! I’m so glad to hear that and I’m totally calling tomorrow.
            I started a program that involved circuit training with heavy weights and the first 2 weeks was great but now I’m crashing and I gained inches on my tummy. I think I have to lift heavy but stay away from any bootcamp style workout. I was so thrilled to be able to push it for a sec. The great news is that my T4 is way too low because I’ve been taking too much T3 to clear the rT3 which is now almost too low as well. Slow and steady girl. 😀

          • oh did Sean interview him?? I gotta listen!
            Well call him! tell him I sent you… he is going to tell you to take some time off.
            Aubrie and I are doing the next class starting June 1st, but I’ll mostly be reading and learning, while still woking w Jade individually.
            People come into your life at the right time, eh?

          • Heck yes they do! Hellloooo universe, and thank you. And thank you, Danny. I just called and made an appt to speak with him at the end of the first week in May! YAY!
            My god, it’s so easy to beat your wings against the bars of this cage but it only serves to take you closer to shattering again. The rage, the sadness. It’s so hard to breath through sometimes. And it’s SO hormonal! It’s still astonishing to me how my perspective on life can swing like the pendulum in my grandfather’s clock. Makes me laugh now but yesterday I wanted to smash the thing.
            I think my mother and I are going to do the class in June. She’s been through oh-so-lovely menopause and now has about 25lbs to loose. I think hearing me go on about it got her inspired and hopeful again. We were never more alike. Shoot me. :o)

          • hang in there! start learning some ways to relax.. and shit.. I hate when I see myself turning into my mom.. LOL
            whaddya do?
            and yes it IS so hormonal.. literally. Luckily I did that video just in time because most days I couldnt talk about this stuff without crying.
            Hang in there, glad you’ll be speaking with Jade soon.. just remember the key to healing at this point is PATIENCE… so start learning it now.. sighhhh

  15. Danny, thank you so much for this! I just became a beachbody coach in April and I’m learning so much about fitness and eating right. Just last night I was talking to my coach and saying we should both do figure competitions. I was excited about doing it until she told me how unhealthy it was to have such a low body fat %! Yeah that scarecrow the crap put of me. Then I had this great idea I told her, why don’t we start a new figure competition with healthy women, and let the world see that healthy is beautiful and not just sad n unhealthy. So if you n the sweaty betties wanted to make a difference in this world of body competitions, then think about what I said, we can work on this together. Let me know what you think please?

    • Hmm I like the idea.. WTF (World Tri Fitness) kind of does that already. They are a great group and the scores aren’t just based on looks but how well you do the SKILLS. I’m all for healthy body image and we don’t need to compete, because as soon as theres a competition, someone always tries to get leaner and.. ughh..
      anyway.. check out WTF they are probably the only organization I can safely promote :)

  16. I didn’t have a coach telling me to crash diet, but I had some major stress in my life and essentially quit eating for about a year. I was “under weight” on the BMI charts. I stopped having a period for 6 months. Now, a year later, I’ve put on all the weight I lost and then some, and my body seems to be way more prone to holding on to everything. Patience is the key, right? I’m focusing on a healthy grain-free (but not at all carb-free) diet of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and beans. And, doing both cardio and weight workouts and trying ever so hard to be gentle with myself.

    Such a tough situation, but so many women are in it. If we could all be gentle and compassionate towards each other, maybe we’d have half a chance of being gentle and compassionate towards ourselves.

    • you sound like you are on the right track nutritionally and emotionally.
      I am taking 3g of Krill Oil a day to help rebuild the cell walls and hopefully its helping.
      Thanks for sharing your story esp because I know its not just competitors

  17. Hey guys. I’d love to talk with you guys about this and get involved in putting message out to girls to train smart. I totally agree with your take on contest dieting. Let’s talk!

  18. Thank you for posting this. I don’t feel alone any more. I to wish I would have never competed because of what it has done to my head. It’s awful. I had an amazing time competeting and love everyone I have met but the mind thing is way to much and it’s destroying my life.

    • I am so sorry Jen. I know and have been there… Please find the affirmations on and read them over and over. Take time to deal with your feelings. I’m seeing a hypnotherapist who’s taught me the EFT technique.. its weird but has made me feel strong enough to talk about this (I have been sooo embarrassed for months) I will keep you in my thoughts…and keep watching our posts because I intend to give as many tools to help as I can.

  19. Ahhh.. that’s so scary and im so sorry to hear you are going through this. Ive heard of girls on these crazy strict diets and doing fasted cardio, then more cardio at night and its so sad because they don’t know better! Im so lucky that my coach keeps me so well-fed with 3 portions of stachy carbs a day until 2 weeks out. and im also fortunate enough to have the common sense that this kind of diet can’t be kept up for months upon months, much less years. its so sad that so many girls don’t realize this and do damage to their bodies.

    I’m here to spread the word though so this doesn’t happen to more people!!

    • thanks Kyra! The sad and unfortunate thing about me was I DID know better… and I never had my clients do that kind of stuff… yet somehow, it was always “just 6 weeks” and then “just another 6” and turned into over 6 months and I didn’t know what to do! Craziness… and so not worth it. Who is your coach? I’m always trying to make sure I know who the decent ones are to refer to.

  20. What a great video! I’m not a competitor, but I did slim waay down a while ago by eating low calories and little carbs. I am now struggling with losing the weight I have gained while injured. I have joined a couple of sites that say in order to lose weight, I would have to eat 1300 calories a day! WHAT? I’m going to eat when hungry, do my strength training and hope I have learned enough over the years to make the changes I need to make. Happy to have found this site!! :)

  21. Ali Hayes says:


    I know exactly what you are going through! I went through
    the same thing!! It wasn’t until I found my current trainer
    who is based in Canada, online, that I learned the right way!
    He trains competitors & non-competitors. Check out his site
    especially since you are starting to research this! It is a common trend
    In the industry & it needs to stop! I currently
    am in training for my second show & let me tell you…..I
    eat carbs & do 15 minutes of cardio twice a week! I am not
    restricted to the same boring foods. Plus the workouts
    are awesome! Last I heard he does have quite the
    Waiting list, but check him out on Facebook & online.
    You can read his articles. Every article I read my response
    was, “that is me, oh that too & yeah I experienced
    That too.” It is nice knowing we weren’t insane and
    that the prep methods were wrong. Email me if you have
    questions. I am more than happy to share the info!!


    Trainer is Erik Ledin, Lean Bodies Consulting

    • Hi Ali-
      thanks, I actually worked with Erik about 8 months after this shit started. I like Erik’s approach with food, I think the metabolic workouts were too tough for me still, and my issues were just too much at the time, so I stopped working with him…. and I rebounded more. I would, however, feel ok about recommending him for anyone looking for a good coach for competition.
      FOr me personally, I met my goals and I have no reason ever to compete again. I’m glad that Erik is still doing great things. Good luck with your shows and thanks for sharing!

  22. Krisotpher Bosch says:

    Hey Girl! We miss you here in Vegas! Sorry to hear you are dealing with this issue, but as usual you have taken on a sensitive topic with the intention of helping others while finding your own answers, and for that I have nothing but love & respect!!! Okay, so I do have to say – you’ve peaked my inner geek! After listening to your explanation, I am curious (and obviously you may not have these answers yet): Is the endocrine stress and rebound the result of the volume of training coupled with the extreme dieting, or is it the long duration of both that seem to do the damage? I was almost a little surprised at first, because you & I have talked in the past about extreme diets and omitting one entire category (like carbs) as being no good. It sounds like this is a much different issue than what we see in some of our professional dancers, who do extreme diet and practice/rehearse for multiple hours a day almost 7 days/week. It also made me wonder about our high level athletes — although there is a different aesthetic component to fitness competition training, it would seem that usually both are looking to maximize lean body mass and decrease % body fat. Our athletes are also caught in the modern sports quandary of ‘bigger, faster, stronger’ in almost every sport. I would not think that someone training for a fitness competition would be calorie restricted, as your body is burning the crap out of them with the amount of training being done, so I assume the issue is in balance rather than intake??? Okay, this became way longer that I intended (see, I’m totally geeking out now!) Feel free to email me directly if that is a more appropriate place to continue the dialogue, I’d love to work more with you on this, as high performance training coupled with PT is coming soon in my world (yup, we’re going there!) Stay strong Danny J, and know that there are tons of us out here who will support you in any way we can!

    • I’ll have to call you this week, I have soooo much to say! LOL also I wanted to answer your email in my FB box about the Mud Run, or the race in Oct… I”m awful at FB messages! D’oh!

  23. Hey Danny! I just want to let you know that I love you! You are a great person and sister! You are beautiful and honestly with as often as I have been able to see you the last 2 years I have not noticed any weight change. You are so fit and I am jealous of you! I am here if you would like to unload. Any day any time you are welcome to call or text.

  24. Hey Danny! THANK YOU for sharing this! You are so awesome for talking about this!!!

  25. I never competed – but other than that this story could be me as well.

    • you know, this doesn’t just happen to competitors, but the competition only made it worse for me. A lot of instructors find this happening, even people who’ve had lap band or lost a lot of weight. Take some time off for yourself.

    • Hey Darling! I miss you tons! and yes, I read that and I spent a lot of time discussing this with Terry, Ana and Elaine… over a year ago..
      but Im finally comfortable talking to Everyone.. kinda..
      I think you suffered from this a bit too… sighh.. what can we do? I just need to find good answers for people looking for them now!

  26. Danny it is so wonderful of you to post this and to post your video. I am not a competitor either but had really big issues with weight and energy last year. I chalked it up to getting older and kept trying to ignore it until it got so bad that I had to “coach” myself to get out of bed every day. I’ve always been active and average build and it was so depressing. I had a host of very random health things going on, including thyroid and I read up on adrenal fatigue, etc. and have been able to stage a slow comeback. Lol. While it has been very slow going but I feel like I’m finally coming out of the fog. Its difficult to be patient myself and that has been the biggest lesson thus far.

    I really honestly cried reading your post and watching the video and want to cry now. It makes me sad to know so many are going through this but it also lifted my heart to see you be so honest with us. What a beautiful example you are setting and I’m a follower more than ever. I hope you see from the comments how helpful this is, even if there are no answers. But more importantly how supported you are and very loved!! Hugs to you!! Love your blog and FB posts!! :)

    • aww.. now you’re post made me cry.. :) yeah, I hear you on the getting out of bed thing! dang, I could NOT wake up some days! I felt like I wasn’t really “awake” until I’d been up for 2 hours… but then I’d come home and take a nap for 3-4 hours.
      It doesn’t have to be a competition that causes it— stress, prolonged stress, lack of sleep, etc all contribute.
      I am **hopefully** on my way back too, what it has taken is– lots and lots of sleep and rest. More carbs and NO gym. at all. whew.
      Embarrassing to say.. the personal trainer that doesn’t workout. sad.
      I had a really hard time posting this, I think I lost my mind momentarily, so thank you for posting, because its theses comments that make me realize I did what needed to be done. thank you

  27. When you say “carbs” what do you mean? Like no veggies/furit? Or no grain type carbs? I am considering going no grains but I am very unsure of that move.

    • I did no fruit, no grains, no carbs at all except for asparagus twice a day. it was THAT extreme. I’m fine with no grains and paleo as long as you still get enough carbs from lots of veggies, fruits and even a sweet potato or spaghetti squash. What I did was very extreme and stupid

  28. This is really brave for you to talk about. thank you:)

  29. Hey all –

    I’ve never been a model or in any type of competition – but as a woman I have been yo-yo dieting since I was six years old (thanks mom). It does damage the body (no matter how severe) – and your poor hormones don’t know what to do next. I’ve been on the Slow Carb diet (as outlined in Tim Ferris’ book The 4 Hour Body – which I LOOOVE and highly recommend) and weekly personal training sessions and 30-60 mins cardio 3-4x/week. I feel strong, my body feels great (not sluggish or tired – my digestive system feels happy – if a colon could smile…Also you get 1 cheat day a week – and you’re supposed to go BANANNAS – and it STILL WORKS). I also got a FitBit – so I’m more interested in activity level and my measurements and less obsessed with the scale. The measurement of my gravity on this planet isn’t the key – the key is to burn fat and gain muscle – sometimes that means you get heavier even though you’re losing fat. I’ll be getting a heart rate monitor to feed into my FitBit stats, as well as body fat % measuring device – I love technology + Fitness…it really gets me excited about my health!

    My thoughts are with you – I understand your frustration & you’re in my thoughts. <3

    • aw thanks for your post! I’m glad you are finding something that works for you. Its going to take some time for my body to react to any protocol and 30-60 mins of cardio would be the death of me.. LOL.. slow and steady and patience are the key to me at the moment. I have read the book however and there are a lot of great take aways from it

  30. Crystal Honeycutt says:

    I almost think I could have written this blog…sounds like me to a T.

  31. Michelle says:

    I found you guys on the Metabolic Effect Facebook page, so you may have already read “The Metabolic Effect Diet” by Jade and Keoni Teta, but the hormonal effect (especially on women) on weight/fat loss, diet, exercise and nutrition is the crux of this book. I am no body builder (current or former), but I have learned so much. The wives of the Teta brothers are both fitness competitors.

    Since it has helped me so much in progressing toward a healthier a more fit body, I thought I’d share it with you.

    • thanks so much Michelle. I am actually working “hand in hand” with Jade on this:) they are great… and unfortunately as I knew about this before, I guess I thought it wouldn’t/couldn’t happen to me… and was wrong.

  32. Oh Danny this post hit home for me in so many ways. I competed in my first bikini fitness competition last March. I took 3rd and I thought I had found my niche. I decided to compete in the NPC USA’s. While prepping for USA’s I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Instead of listinging to my body my defiant ass decided that there was no way cancer was going to beat me. Prep for USA’s was the hardest time of my life. No matter how closely I followed my diet I couldn’t lose the fat I needed to. I was doing between 4 and 5 hours of cardio every day. I got onstage at USA’s not looking like I should. I was disappointed and disgusted with my body. 3 days after USA’s I had surgery to have the cancer removed. Since then I’ve continued to have the same problems with losing fat and keeping it off. My hormones are a wreck and I look at myself in the mirror everyday and want to cry. I halfway wish I would have never competed. I will never look as good as I did on my first show day and it fucks with my head.

    • oh girl… first off, I can understand 100%… was the cancer from HPV? If it wasn’t, and was more hormonal, there may be other issues going on.
      If I were you… as much as this is shitty as fuck to hear… take some time OFF> completely off. No gym. for at least 2 weeks.. even better if its 4 weeks.
      Go to yoga or some relaxation classes and eat MORE food. Your weight gain will stop much faster as soon as you start to EAT.
      I got to the point where I said FUCK IT. If I’m getting fat anyway, I might as well enjoy it… and what started as a self-destructive move…. saved me.
      I ate what I wanted. I didn’t do shit at the gym.. didn’t go. and guess what? the weight gain stopped.
      which was HUGE because I’d been eating so good and doing so much cardio, only to keep gaining.
      Go out to dinner with your hubby (or a friend) this week, order a fucking appetizer, drink and dessert… and go home, watch a movie.
      You may need to cut back on every 3 hrs BS with food.
      Now I probably eat 4 meals a day, but I feel better… I’m finally dropping a few lbs. It didn’t happen over night ok..
      I haven’t worked out consistently in 6 months, no lie. Its taken me that long to lose 3 lbs.
      but… BUT… I don’t feel crazy anymore. (well, a little) but Im not burning myself at both ends anymore.. it just couldn’t last..
      Heres a good book “REvitalize your Hormones”might be a good place to start

      • Chubbyones says:

        So do you support the whole eat clean/good for 6 days and take the 7th day off and eat whatever? Has that worked for you. Ditto to all that has been said with the whole eating clean crap…doing for almost three months and have not dropped a pound in fact I actually have gained a couple…I even cut back on all cardio and just doing strength training…so I decided to add a treat day and I am waiting to see if it helps…definitely was nice just to eat and not stress, but my poor tummy was not happy with me. What are your thoughts?

        • I think that route depends on the person and goals. For some, the eat whatever is Pandoras Box and they have a hard time going back to clean during the week. I think if you find something that works for you, thats great. I just don’t believe in cutting out carbs to the extreme or doing cardio to the extreme. Its unhealthy and it sets you up to fail when you stop. I am now finding a balance with food and you can believe, if I go on a date with my husband I’m going to eat whatever the hell I want! :)

          • Chubbyones says:

            So do you eat grains or do you just stick to carbs like fruit and veggies, beans, dairy? Just trying to figure this out. I am sick of being a prisoner..I also have Hypothyroidism…so I just want to find a balance. Thanks for your response

  33. I have never heard of any of this stuff before. I had always thought you had to mess with hormones to create hormone problems. I knew overtraining and under-eating meant disaster. Two years ago I was tested for MS. I would lose all sensation in an arm or leg and wouldn’t know it until I couldn’t move it. I started losing some peripheral vision. And of course the way I found out I may possibly have anything wrong was i tried crossing my eyes and one wouldn’t turn in. Sad in a laughable way haha Fortunately, my symptoms all disappeared and left no sign of MS or permanent damage. After reading all of these testimonies I feel better aware. I am currently training for a competition and now think this will be my last. You ladies, despite your awful suffering, are inspiring. My heart goes out to each and every one of you!

    • thank you Shannon. No, unfortunately you don’t have to “take anything” to get jacked up. A few women I’ve spoken with did, but I never did anything illegal, in fact I didn’t even take fat burners, but I had a very extreme diet for too long and and extreme work schedule which compounded it. Just make sure your coach is giving you carbs if you are training a lot

  34. Thank you for posting ~~ I’ve been dealing with this for about 2 years. I’ve been to my reg doc, naturopath, taken meds, nutraceuticals, read every thyroid & adrenal post/blog etc and really about tapped out of trying every tip, trick, exercise i know. all i have ever known has turned on me. I hope you find resolve and quickly. after all the reading i’ve done, i still haven’t really seen anyone get it turned back around with real, i can see with my eyes; results instead of talking in circles. And if they do, they are withholding the secret. Maybe for financial gain. I just don’t know. It’s horrible that too many beautiful, intelligent woman have to put up with this! I just keep eating clean and w/ every time i up my dose of nature throid for hypothyroidism, i have new hope, but am only discouraged again when NOTHING works. The sense of self-confidence and value I have lost has been the worst part of my experience, by far. It’s a bunch of BS and needs to stop. Keep on fighting, girl!

    • oh honey, what its done to my confidence has crushed me. I cry thinking about it and I know what you mean, I’ve read just about everything and just no solutions. My approach so far has been to take a sabbatical from the gym from “clean food” and just live. It at least helped me stop gaining, so we’ll see where this goes once I start to reincorporate exercise back in

  35. I’ve never compete in my life, but when I was 15 I had exercise bulimia because I wanted to lose the weight so bad. Ever since then my weight has come right back and I’m having the hardest time getting rid of it. Good luck on finding answers.

    • Hey Megan– my best advice.. and this will be/can be very hard in your situation, is take a break from exercise. Completely. do yoga. walk. but don’t set foot in that gym. So far, things are starting to turn around, but I had to take a lot of time off.

  36. Kat Swan says:

    Thank you for this!! I am coming off of 15mos of an oral chemo drug that has affected my thyroid and cholesterol levels. Initially it was hard for me to lose any weight, but I at least wasn’t gaining weight. It tooka few tries, but they were able to get me on the right amount of a thyroid drug to help with the exhaustion, and fortunately my clean diet and exercise has kept me off cholesterol medication. 4mos ago they increased my chemo dose I have steadily gained weight since then….no matter what I do. About 1mo ago I gained 10lbs in 1week. No change in diet or exercise. So I have been struggling for a while not being able to get the results I want and now this happens and I feel so depressed. Nothing fits and my face is so bloated. I, also, avoid pictures and people I haven’t seen in a while for fear they’ll think I’m a fraud because I preach health and fitness ALL the time.

    I’m trying to have patience, and I’m hoping that things change once completely of the drugs, but it’s hard. On the bright side, I am now cancer free!! :)

    Anyway, thank you for this…from the bottom of my heart!

    Kat Swan

    • Kat– man, unfortunately I hear this a lot in cancer patients as well.. on one hand “cancer free” on the other hand, your self- confidence is gone.
      it may take some time and patience, whatever you do, do NOT go crazy and start doing 2 a days in the gym. Just be consistent, maybe even take a little break.
      CHemo is meant to kill cancer, but it kills EVERYTHING. So you may have had damage to you thyroid gland among other things.
      Some homeopathic treatment may help and thanks for posting!

  37. You should try acupuncture and herbs. Mostly likely the acupuncturist will tell you that your spleen Qi and probably kidney Jing (or Qi, not sure) is out of whack. The right treatment protocol and a maintenance level workout and diet plan for the duration should fix you up.

    • thanks Jason, I’ve done acupuncture in the past and loved it. I thought about this actually, but I just recently moved to another state and financially its been tough, I will keep it open as an option soon though

  38. Thank you Danny J.

    You can add me to the list ! I competed in my first show last Oct. I did a 22 week prep. Initially weight fell off me. Then about 8 weeks out, things came to a screeching halt and I started to gain weight. My coach said, ” you need to come back at night and do more cardio, and your fasted AM cardio needs to be more intense”. Well, that didn’t work out. I put on 8 more lbs, and it was NOT muscle. I did the show, very unhappy with where I was bodyfat wise, but I felt that after 22 weeks of dieting, lifting, cardio and all the social things I sacrificed, I was going to step on that stage.
    Post comp rebound was INSANE. I gained around 15 lbs in 2 weeks. I have been fighting to get that off. I still have about 8 more lbs to go. I also had extreme fatigue, I went from overhead pressing 25lbs dumbbells, to struggling with 8 lbs. I did a detox. I took a week off from gym. I have tried everything.

    And now, all I do is question myself……WHAT should I be doing to get this weight off?

    Thanks for putting this out there!

    • sigh… ahhh yes.. If I were you, I’d take a little more time off the gym and come back slowly. Walking only for cardio. Up your carb intake. I’m going to post soon what I’ve been doing and hopefully it will help

  39. Danny— thanks again. CLEARLY theres a lot of love, support, and knowledge here. Together… Hopefully we can all get closer to an answer, and love ourselves along the way!

  40. Hi Danny-I’ve never competed but I work in a weight loss clinic designed around a ketogenic, low carb diet. It is a very successful plan however; it is not meant for long term. I did the diet successfully in 2010 and dropped to about 19-20% body fat. My mistake is that I didn’t increase my intake correctly after. The weight came back on and I am struggling to drop back to the low 20’s body fat (I’m currently at 25%). I contacted Erik @ LBC and he had suggested to increase carbs for about 6 months and then go on a meal plan at that time. I am finding some success but it is very slow. I still work out about 5 days/week and I eat healthy but, I don’t have a formula that drops the weight as fast. And while I am not a trainer, I feel a responsibility to be educated and be an example for our clinic patients. I’m looking forward to what information you find and share. Good luck to you, I look forward to your future postings. Thanks for helping so many!

    • HI Janice– I worked with Erik about 8 months into this crap and I dropped a few lbs with him, but I don’t think my body was ready for the workouts. I do think he’s correct however that you need to increase carbs to make your body carb sensitive again and I like how he structures his carbs, esp post workout. Currently Im trying to eat 125g-150g of carbs a day and I haven’t been doing any exercise, except for a few walks for a months. I’m going to start training again this week, but very slow. 2 days a week no cardio yet. We’ll see how it goes.
      So far since I’ve upped my carbs and stopped the gym, I’ve lost 3 lbs.. which is more than I’ve lost in 2 years.. in fact I haven’t lost anything in 2 years… only gained…everytime I did something “right” so here’s to going about it all wrong !

  41. Hey girl! I dont know if you remember but we traded emails back when you posted about your IUD. Im still struggling horribly with the weight and being tired issues. I was never a competitor or anything..but do you feel like that IUD fucked up your world? Because i fel like i cant get back to normal. My doc is starting tests in a couple of weeks for my thyriod..and b12 levels. But my hormones are crazy. Any advice on how to deal or what to do? Im so sick of dealing with the this and its so depressing :(

    • yes! hey girl! well unfortunately the IUD was inserted around the same time as ALL of this.. so it was like “what caused what?” my hormones are still out of whack, completely. Look into this book “Revitalize your hormones” there may be some answers.. I’m currently reading it. Lately, in order to keep from going crazy and wanting to kill myself.. I’ve been seeing a hypnotherapist, learning the EFT technique (google it) and doing a lot of affirmations and meditation.. and praying for patience as this isn’t going away anytime quickly :(

      • Oh wow :( im so sorry. Thank you for exposing yourself to the world. You really help a lot of us feel like we arent crazy. Ill def take that advice on the book. I just want to feel “normal” but i dont even know what thats like anymore. Good luck on your journey to wellness. And thank you so much for being REAL. If you werent i would probably be more sick than i am now. Luv you girl! You have my blessings!

  42. Coconuts says:

    This WAS me.. I struggled for years.. I gained TONS of weight but still on stick low carb high pro diet.
    SOY!!! it was in ALL protein Suppliments. Soy mimics Estrogen and screws your own hormones. Mine were so wacked.. No periods for 3.5 years. Infertile!!
    Stay clear of regular GPs Synthetic drugs and hormones WILL make it worse.
    I went totally Organic.. NO SOY!!! carfull of environment hormone disruptors eg BPAs in plastic water bottles.. Saw a Natraupath who gave me Vitex and herbs.. ALL back to normal now. After rest/ addressing Adrenal Fatigue.
    So hard, I was RIPPED!!.. gained mega weight yuk, but body is functioning and getting back soon x

    • thanks for sharing. I am currently not even taking any protein powders and I def don’t eat soy, that shit is awful. There are so many factors and your story is a good one to share! thank you and continued luck in your journey!

      • Coconuts says:

        Thank you for finally some honesty in the fitness industry. Adrenal burn out is serious and lonely.
        I screwed up on Fat burners for a while too!!.. NIGHTMARE.
        I tried ALL proffessionals and Natural is the only solution. Natrupath + Herbs + professional grade SUPS + Oesteopath + Acupuncture.
        Stay clear of synthetic products/drugs/hormones..
        VITEX – premular balances hormones naturally.
        Licorice is great for energy . . Lugols Iodine solution for Thyroid. Zinc. Fish oils (metogenics or similar grade)
        Good luck , God Bless. x

        • Vitex sounds familiar is it a homeopathic? Macaroot is awesome for hormone balancing too :) and overall health.

          • Coconuts says:


            VITEX is a herb. I tried many will no result, the quality of suppliments is more important than a high dose!..

            MACA is super!!!.. LOVE it.. but not all the same either. Loving Earth brand is great.

            I found it was important to see a Natrupathic GP and get ALL herbs and doses perfect for me. Guessing didnt work.


  43. Danny, I’ve helped many physique and former-physique athletes out of this precise seemingly bottomless hole. Please email me.

  44. Thank’s for sharing this. Have you heard of Jack Kruse? You should read his blog…it’s all about inflammation, hormones, optimal health and how to get there. Lots of geek stuff, but its worth it.

  45. I stumbled into this article on Facebook through one the fitness models that I follow. I am very new to the fitness industry. I started training in May 2011 and had my first bikini show in September 2011. I actually was always wanting to better my body but had no idea where to get started. I was at work one day and a girl who competes saw me and asked me if I compete…I said to her..compete in what. Then she told me about it and said I have the physique for it, so I contacted one of the ladies that I know who competes and asked her to recommend a trainer. She told me about my current trainer Fatime Leite Kusch who is a WBFF pro. She is amazing. I trained for 3 months and I had carbs in my diet, 3 times a day, I only stopped eating carbs 3 weeks out. I placed third and I was so surprised and overwhelmed. My got my body into a shape that has never been in before….I was so proud of my self. I lost 15lbs in those 3 moths and had 12% body fat. Right after the competition I ate everything and anything I laid my eyes on…second day after I ate so much that I could not move….I had to throw up. Then I was supposed to get my period right around the competition date which never happened for a whole month. I thought I was pregnant…went to a few different doctors to see what was happening with me and they all said that I have put my body through stress and losing 15 lbs in 3 months was to quick. Then I started gaining weight and gained all of the weight back. I was scared and thought this has definitively something to do with my hormones. I didn’t train again until November and I also ate a bit off my nutrition plan. Now I am training again for a competition in July but for figure this time. I stopped eating things on the side and no more cheat meals because the weight did not start coming of until about 2 weeks ago. My point is that the first time I was preparing for the competition I was shredding the weight off so easily and now Its taking forever to get my body going that fast. I forgot to add that the reason why Im competing is to get some knowledge and recognition first because I want to take the course to be a personal trainer. I am collecting all the information I can get and reading all the posts on here made me realize that I wasnt thinking crazy but the hormones and stress are a huge part of all this.

  46. Thank You! Thank You! for this. I have been going through this right now as well.
    It’s not a lot of weight that I’ve gained, but I see it. And it is all in my stomach. Doesn’t matter what I do, or what I eat. Even thyroid meds haven’t helped. I do have energy though, some times too much.
    I wish you all the luck in the world. And hopefully you will get to the bottom of your issues & help other women as well.
    You Rock!

  47. Hello! I know to well How we MUST listen to our bodies FIRST!!!! Listen to our bodies before listening to any OUTSIDE source! I recently lost both my mother AND my father within 3 months. While exercising is great as a stress reducer in my case it would have caused my cortisol levels to skyrocket. I was and still at times under alot of stress as I go through this journey. Last summer I was pretty lean and fit but once the stress started I noticed how I was easily started to put the weight on even though I was still eating clean. I just recently started back at the gym as my body said for my sanity I needed some ME time and Movement ( I am also a stay at home homeschooling mom with 3 children). Since heading back to the gym I have come to the conclusion that in order to keep my hormones intact (now mind you I have not had any hormone testing done) I am NOT listening to music, tv etc. I have actually started going to the gym after hours so it is completely quiet. I have found that I am able to meditate all while lifting weights and truly feel each and every little muscle. My mind is ONLY on working out NOT on my parents, my kids, husband , housework etc ONLY on ME and what I am doing at that moment! Because I also extend breastfeed my daughter which also burns calories I tend to normally eat every 3hrs anyway. I do not eat meat and I have found I feel much better without carbs AND NO Gluten. I eat what my bodies tells me to and if it tells me chocolate I look at WHY I am craving the chocolate ( Though I will eat some at times too)> Our bodies are the Best Dr’s and we should listen to them. I can say both my parents died never truly nourishing their bodies with their Primary food, their emotional needs etc. If we are stressed at our wits ends it does NOT matter how much GOOD clean food we eat or how much we exercise. The clean food will be TOXIC to our system. If we control our stress and at times don’t eat so great our body has the innate ability to pull the nutrients from the not so clean foods 😉 See what I am getting at? My mother died at 80lbs a BIG soda drinker and smoker . I didn’t really think about it until after she died that she NEVER ate ANY good fats. Without realizing it I believe she never ate fats. Her hormones were out of wack, it was questionable if she had cancer and she loved everyone else more then herself. Last year I was working out HARD and by hard I mean I felt like a jackrabbit even though I was controlling while I lifted. However, this time I am much more mindful while I workout. I am invisioning what I WANT to see not what I THINK I see. I am truly my hardest critic ( OH BOY ASK MY HUSBAND) I can pick myself apart to know end. However, practicing being mindful is helping ALOT, When i see myself get off track I quickly focus to what I am doing again. I try not to worry about later on, tomorrow etc. I also make sure to take a good amount of vitamin C in when i remember LOL ( Camu camu is a great source) our bodies do NOT make C and we need it for nerve functioning hormones etc and when we are stressed and our oxidative stress goes UP our C levels go DOWN! I will say I am a big believe in Sunwarrior Protein and also Brendan Bs VEGA products . I don’t sell them :) just really love them . Vega chlorella which is also a good way of detoxing the system. For those that are concerned with their livers another good herb is Milk thistle :) XOXOX MICHELE

    • thanks for your insight Michele, you have a lot of great points.. and my condolences to losing your parents

      • 😉 Thank you! I have not competed yet and I still go back and forth about doing it. IF i do decide it will be more of a competition with myself.. To be on stage saying to myself “MICHELE YOU LOVE YOURSELF” to say this is something my mom could never see herself doing .. she wouldn’t even be seen in a bikini in public. ;(

    • Whoops must add.. when I stated I don’t eat carbs I meant I don’t eat breads and pastas my main source of carbs are from the BIG GUYS…. VEGGIES!!!!!!!!! 😉 OXOX MICHELE

  48. OMG. I feel like I am reading my own autobiography. Verbatim. I had to stop competing because I could not lose weight anymore. I lost my period for 2 years. I went to every doctor, sp[ecialist, naturopath- I went on web sites, message boards, forums – LOOKING FOR ANSWERS
    I did find that self treatment for thyroid was faitly successful but it has been years to undo.
    My “joke” is that I have spent more time recovering from competing than actually competing.
    I am so impressed to see this addressed and I will read thru all the posts.
    I am happy I am not alone.

    • ahhh yes, jesus when you put it that way… taking as long to recover.. thats just sad. .ugh. I hope things are better now… my thyroid meds haven’t helped much

    • Coconuts says:

      I had no periods for 3.5 years.. and DESPERATLY wanted more babies!!.. Conventional GPs messed me up BIG.. told I had Prematire Ovarian Failure!!.. I saw many Natrupaths before I found the right one.. but I recovered.. and now pregnant!!..
      Lugols Iodine solution is great for thyroid.
      NO SOY it is in EVERYTHING!!!!..

      I was ripped and so fit, awwwwww one day!!!.. I burnt out hard. Adrenal Fatigue.

  49. Sometimes I look back to high school and remember when I didn’t think about my weight or body image. It wasn’t until I started working out and caring that I…. CARED.

    pretty crappy I suppose and now i’m stuck with caring about body image and food forever.

  50. You all might want to look into/research oxidative stress and products such as cellfood by lumina health or similar “liquid oxygen” if the body is inflammed ( from foods you eat, stress, yo yo dietin, calorie constricting etc) the body will hold on to fat stores… Alkalinity is also key 😉 Hope that helps! xoxox

    • LOL OK ONE OTher thing.. I have to find the study that I read awhile back but as CRAZY as it sounds.. Are you ready? If our bodies are not fueled with truly nourishing WHOLE foods and we are working out, exercising hard the oxidative stress can BUILD to be COMPARABLE WITH SOMEONE THAT lays on the couch and SMOKES!!!!! This goes to show that when looking @ someone outside it doesn’t always tell what is brewing up in the inside 😉

    • thank you! Im also working on the alkalinity thing:)

  51. This is so amazing to read. I have never competed but last year in January I went on a strict diet (not knowing much about diets) and dropped my calories to 900 a day and no carbs except whats in veggies. I lost 22 lbs in 3 months. I was happy! I was also training so hard in the gym doing workouts from oxygen mag, fitness rx, and tons of cardio and seeing results.. When I started adding carbs in my diet the weight slowly started coming back. I gained about 7 lbs back and remained there for a couple months. My birthday is in Sept so I decided to restrict my carbs again, knowing I shouldnt but still did it. I did it for 3 weeks. I lost one pound. ONE POUND. Before, by the three week mark I had lost 10lbs. I was pissed!! After my birthday the weight just kept creeping. I didnt have a period for 3 months! Not until December. When I finally had a period I lost 4 lbs within a couple of weeks not trying. Well I have been training my ass off and eating a clean diet. Good carbs, I probably cheat once a week maybe once every two. And I have only lost 4 lbs since January. I am constantly pissy and on edge. I want to cry all the time because I am angry at my self for losing 22 lbs and gaining ALL of it back. I look more toned then before when I was this weight, but I am only 5’1″. 20 lbs is A LOT. I dont know what is going on with me, but I know my hormones are out of wack. I got my thyroid checked about 6 months ago, and the levels were fine. It is very frustrating not knowing what is going on. I am now in nursing school and all the stress is not helping me lose any weight either. I wish yall the best of luck in learning to control this. I dont know if I have it, but I sure as heck dont have a clue what is going on I just can relate to how frustrating it is to try SO HARD and see no results. Its a feeling of failure because YOU know how hard you are trying but if your body doesnt show it, then no one else will notice.

    • oh honey… competing or not, my diet was the same. Its such a trap. You gotta do everything opposite of what you think and its scary! Increase your carbs, decrease cardio and sleep sleep sleep!
      Nursing school sure won’t help..
      Try to relax whenever you can. even if its just sitting in your car and deep breathing for 3 mins before walking into class everyday.
      check out some some stuff about the OAT Axis on

    • Coconuts says:

      Where did you get your hormones checked?.. A regular GP will read results very differently than a hollistic GP or Natrupath. Conventional GPs told me I was ‘Normal’ forever when i was completely whacked out.. showing adrenal fatigue.. Low Estrogen , Low Progesterone and LOW LH. Reading hormones is a science. I had to self learn. Good Luck (“,)

      • oh hail no, not a GP. Of course with them all they did was up my thyroid meds. No, I have a team of people who have been working with me.. but even a GP can see my levels are out of whack.. LOL

  52. FOUND IT”

    “It may be surprising to learn that physiological changes like pregnancyand even exercise can cause excess oxidative stress. In a clinical study adults who did moderate exercise, 3 times a week were found to have a higher oxidative stress than similar adults who were considered clinically obese. In fact, in that same study, one group of adults doing moderate exercise was found to have higher oxidative stress then a group of smokers. Does that mean we should all take up smoking and watching tv? Of course not. It is a simple point to illustrate that everyone -even seemingly healthy exercisers- has a need to reduce or eliminate excess free radical activity””

    Overall, we really just need to look at our bodies as how we want to Fuel them to LIVE! Do we want to treat our bodys like a temple or a crypt? Its doing the body great harm when one is focusing on just “Dieting” a certain way to obtain a LOOK INSTEAD of looking into feeding the body for Fuel and longevity :) When we care and treat our body right its just icing on the cake ( lol) what it shows on the outside :) XOOX michele

  53. Very happy to find that I am not alone. I am also a personal trainer and competed in my first comp last year. My body reacted very quickly and I was 7% body 3 weeks out from the show. I was suffering!! As lean as I was I still thought I was fat, all I could think about is food and unfortunately I started binging & purging. I had never had these issues before in life!! I didn’t want to quit so I went ahead and competed. I looked awesome and won 3rd place. I was encouraged by my coach to do another show 1 week later and I refused. I took the rest of the year off and decided to train for another competition again this year. My body fought this time and at 8% body fat on stage I didn’t place and was told that I wasn’t lean enough. It’s been 4 weeks post comp and the 15lbs is back! I feel like I have to compete again just to keep my body tight. I
    After reading several post competition stories I think I may be done. Fortunately, because I took months off to eat I don’t think my hormones are all the way out of whack! I do struggle with the body image but it is much better than it was last year. We have to realize that the effects of dehydration that we do the week before the showa cannot be maintained. I lose 5 – 8lbs alone that week and as soon as I have some sodium – I gain it back. Thanks again for putting this info out!! Wish all you beautiful ladies the best! Xoxo

    • don’t get into the cycle of competing to stay lean.. thats the worst! No one should compete unless they just enjoy it or its a bucket list thing.
      Im glad you took time off to will probably bounce back sooner… just keep eating healthy, healthy carbs and work on some affirmations for the body image. check out a great site for Eating Disorders

    • please dont feel that way! that you have to compete to keep your body in shape. So many people keep body in shape without comps. Its just our heads messing with us, its because we feel like that was the only way we got there so we must do it again to get there again ITS NOT TRUE. you can do it without comps and you can maintain healthy/lean weight forever. I hate that the comps is such a vain world :( it made me feel the same way thats why I did my 2nd show in which I wish I hadnt I was literally crying the day before telling my boyfriend I didnt want to do it anymore, because it just wasnt me.

  54. Im sorry to read your struggles have you heard of Michelle leseur shes on Facebook and has helped other competitors with this exact problem worth a look good luck xx

  55. Sweaty Betties,

    I think you are on to something with the hormones. I help people lose weight primarily with nutrition. I am an AdvoCare Advisor (see website). It has been scientifically proven that we cannot get all the nutrients we need from our diet alone – simply because the soil has been depleted over the years. Then you factor in the time it takes for produce to get to your table, cooking your food, etc. Just getting good nutrition will help your body to work like it is supposed to. This all will affect hormones as well!! We start people with our 24 Day Challenge. This program starts with a gentle 10 day detox (no fasting, no crash diets), and follows with a 2 week “nutrition phase” (which includes thermogenic enhancers and appetite control). The meal program is simple: lots of fresh fruits and veggies, lean protein, with the avoidance of fried foods, processed foods, and sugar (as much as possible). We do recommend going gluten free and dairy free (actually – this may be a part of your problem right here. People are a lot more sensitive to these two things than they think!). We do teach how to eat for a healthy lifestyle – we don’t say “you can’t ever eat this”. After the Challenge, we design a nutrition program that works for the individual. Typically, we stay on the 2nd phase of the 24 Day Challenge until it is time to cleanse again (recommended every season – so we cleanse 4 times a year).

    AdvoCare is getting a LOT of attention (we were just at the White House, we’ve been in Time Magazine, the Dr. Oz Show, Drew Brees is our official spokesperson, we are the official sponsor for the #3 Nascar…). The products are world class, and Certified Banned Substance Free (i.e. any professional athlete can use them, and not worry about something funky showing up in a drug test). I recommend checking it out. I would be happy to get you on a team call to meet some of our folks and get you further information. I think this is probably the missing “piece” you are looking for.

    Regina Downing

    • thanks Regina– unfortunately the problem is much deeper and more medical than a Simple 10 day program for me, but it may be the key for some. Good luck, hopefully this info helps a few

      • Sweaty Betties,

        Oh – I don’t think you can “solve” this in 10 days. It takes 90 days for all your cells to renew. Bringing your body into balance is probably the only thing we can count on to be a constant! Lol. But you’ve got to start somewhere – sounds like you are doing all you can to find a solution that works for you. Any regimen you go with, will take time to “kick in”. And you will have to be consistent. I believe strongly in AdvoCare – as I have had a LOT of personal success with their products, and have also helped others (people who tried EVERYTHING to lose weight). It isn’t for everyone. But – you won’t know unless you check it out for yourself! I LOVE that you are sharing this with us. I have a lot of respect for people who aren’t afraid to be real (maybe they are afraid! But they took the courage to be real any way!)!!!


  56. I can relate…I have never done competition, but I have severely restricted my calories and over-exercised. For awhile, I did a bout of 1200 calories a day, burning 900 in the gym 6x per week. I lost NOTHING. I upped my calories to 1450, reduced the exercise and lost 3 pounds, then got stuck again. It came back on.

    In July of 2011, I went on the Dukan diet, averaging only 900 calories a day in lean meats and non fat dairy, with vegetables here and there. I lost 10 pounds in a month, getting to within 5 pounds of my goal weight of 120 at 5’4. I stalled for a month, so switched to Atkins for 2 months, and still no loss. All the while, I was doing 45 minutes of brisk walking (4.5 mph) 5 days a week.

    In October, I decided to eat more healthily, and went off of Atkins to more clean eating, but within 2 1/2 months, I had gained 20 pounds…10 more than what I had been at before I started calorie restriction.

    I am struggling STILL to lose even 1 pound…and cannot lose anything unless I am at below 1000 calories per day. I gain at 1500. I have been doing strength training and light cardio for the past month, but still nothing. I am cold all of the time, depressed, hair is falling out, low sex drive, constantly tired and worn down, among a list of other things. I am considering getting my thyroid checked, but I don’t know if this will be a waste of my time or not.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It helps myself, along with everybody else on here, remember that we are not alone.

    • well, you have symptoms of hypothyroid, but the problem with that is, your thyroid may be low SECONDARY to adrenal stress.. which means, you’ll get on thyroid meds… “Think” you found the answer and find that nothing changed… except you might not be as cold anymore.
      Even though you gain on 1500 cals, I urge you to just eat 1500-1700 every day. Your gain will stop after a few days when your body realizes that its “Safe”

      this was the SCARIEST thing I had to do, but I was tired of starving. You will NEVER be able to lose again, unless you can reset at a higher calorie so you can drop again. I would honestly aim for 1800 cals, but that might be a little too much to wrap your head around right now.

      The best thing I did, was to “give up”
      because, in that moment, I just ate whatever the fuck.. I just figured “I’m getting fat anyway might as well enjoy it right?”
      but guess what? as soon as I started eating more…. weight gain stopped.
      Its been steady for 5-6 months now and NOW JUST BARELY I started to lose…a little..
      I’m in no rush now.. because I know how easy it was to gain when I kept pushing and pushing..
      I’d rather do NOTHING and be stable… than hours and hours of cardio and starve and GAIN..
      nothing more maddening!

      • Thanks for your reply! 1800 is a little hard to imagine right now, but I think within a few weeks, I can slowly bring myself up to that amount. I have heard so many stories of people having more success with eating more…so I am willing to try it out. And like you said, I am in no hurry to lose the weight. I would rather lose it again slowly and safely than go on a fad diet that fucks me up all over again and worse! …and would rather be stable than miserable, hungry and doing mad cardio again.

        …I forgot to mention before that the beginning of this cycle started in high school. I was 175 pounds and dropped my calories to 650 per day for a full year to lose 55pounds. It should have been my first clue that I was starving myself because at 650 calories a day, I SHOULD have been losing a lot more than 1 pound per week…but I am just now, 10 years later, beginning to realize that it wasn’t due to a slow metabolism…it was due to me starving myself and my body holding on to everything I gave it!

        I have started some weight training 2-3x per week…nothing crazy…usually 30-40 minutes, and I limit my cardio to 2 30 minute session per week…15 minutes of HIIT intervals followed by 15 minutes of a steady 4mph pace. I am hoping that the combination will help me start to lose inches, if not weight.

  57. Thanks for this Danny! Here’s my story:) I had a hysterectomy, had a thyroid issue, quit smoking and turned 50……….put on 50 lbs! I have exercised for the last 30 years. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t take off any weight. I tried “the ideal protein” diet. Calories were limited to 800 to 900 per day. Being a Spin Instructor, the Dr told me to “take it easy” spinning, since you’re not suppose to workout on this plan. Should have been my first clue! Needless to say, I believe it totally messed up my metabolism! I have since changed career paths, to strictly fitness. Adding a variety of classes and I have been using I’m able to monitor my calories and calories burnt throughout workouts. Has helped tremendously……down 13 lbs! So excited, since its been almost 4 years! I look forward to your future videos / info on this subject!

    • glad to hear you’re making some headway now! Quite possibly its just finally “time” and your body has reset. I have a feeling a lot of this has to do with time. The longer I let myself heal, the sooner I will start turning it around.

  58. I see this and it bugs/hurts/angers me so bad!!!! I bet everyone that competed and is on here talking about how they have a problem gaining weight after, got that problem after they took fat burners and all these crazy pre work out drinks to get on stage! Not because they just thought oh I’m gonna take a fat burner out of nowhere but that they had someone tell them that they were what they “needed” to use, “everyone” uses them and if you want “that body” you need to use them! I have NEVER touched one fat burner thank God and do not have any of these problems. Yes I gain weight after a competition but it’s back to my normal weight. People are so misinformed about diet, I’m no nutritionist but from getting my personal training cert you go over nutrition and it says right in my book you need carbs EVERY single meal to lose weight! I ate carbs all day and even my very last meal when I was getting ready for my last show. I did cut down the amount I was intaking though because one gram of carbs hold 2.7oz of water so to deplete I cut down but it was nothing crazy like no carbs! I barely did any cardio maybe 15 minutes 1 time a week, if that, on the stair master or a cardio kickboxing class cause I needed a change up every now and again! I was always in and out of the gym in about an hr give or take a little (depends if I got conversating lol) But for the most part I ate right and lifted weights I did a lot of circuits while I weight trained hitting two birds with one stone, cardio by keeping my heart rate up and building lean muscle which in turn will make you burn more fat. And the higher velocity you work out at the more fat you will actually burn from that work out. You don’t burn the most fat while working out you burn the most fat at rest, but what determines how much fat you actually burn is how hard your work out was. So after having my son and only doing what I just told you helped me win the overall title at NPC Gold Coast! After I competed I did what all competitors do ATE! Oh lord if you could see my bank account from how much I go out to eat you’d be surprised! But my body isn’t really that shocked because basically the only think I cut was sodium i kept all my carbs and fats the whole diet. I sure got sick though because your body gets used to eating real food and not processed overly salted food! Basically I just want people to know that it is possible you don’t need extra help. A fat burner may help you for the time being but when your done your body thinks it will always have that help so your metabolism decreases drastically and then when you stop them you basically took your metabolism away (fat burners) and now everything you put in your mouth you store on your body! It tears me up to see so many girls going through this and I hope people start to get educated I try and do what I can to help who comes to me about advice, but I can only do so much! Thanks Danny for sharing, love and you girls!!

    • Hey Michelle–
      well, this wasn’t caused my fat burners, because I didn’t/don’t take them. I have never liked how they made me feel and I never took pre-workout supplements either.
      This was strictly from diet, cardio and my cocktailing job where I didn’t get enough sleep.
      Like you, my first shows were fine. I competed for 2 years and it was NEVER an issue.
      I always had carbs, I actually never had cravings.. I was fine.
      I changed coaches for my last 3 shows and thats where it all went wrong.
      I could count on both hands how many days I had any carbs besides asapargus. Thats sad. It messes up your hormones so bad.
      While fat burners and pills are terrible, I wish I could blame them in this instance but I can’t.

      • See that’s what I was just saying, people think they don’t need carbs and fats but its a total lie they just need to know how many, how to spread them throughout the day and what kind! That’s where a good nutritionist comes in! Hope the “no carb” diet fad goes away cause its seriously ridiculous! I’m sorry Danny I hate reading this!

        • grrr I know! I hate reading it, typing it… and going through it… esp when I of all people KNEW better… it still blows my mind. I would never have my clients do something like that.. yet I trusted this guy because he was a “pro” that maybe he knew something better than i did, so I’d try it out on myself… fucking 2 years later kicking myself:(

  59. Hey girl, I WAS in the same position as you are. After my first show I thought the only want to keep me in tip top shape and marketable was to compete AGAIN. BAG IDEA! I was exhausted trying to keep up with myself and nothing was fun anymore. After show number 3 I almost went for number three and then something hit me I knew I had to get well first before I ever competed again. I was food obsessed, I rarely slept yet still hitting the gym hard, I had low sex drive, I was irritable, I too was jealous of my clients weight loss success because I who am a competitor wasnt even happy with my results. The way I fixed myself ‘per say’ was I started to add normal things back into my life. For example I had removed all and any fruit for over a year. I started to eat 1/day and yes I felt guilty but I needed to break my fear with food made me fat. I then just slowly up’s my calories. What I did keep the same was my training because although it was excessive it did make me feel good when i was there so I didnt want to reduce/remove the only thing that made me happy. With eating more came sleeping sounder. Then I started to add more calories until m body adjusted I was able to go from 1400 to a now 1700-1800 and still keep a low bodyfat and I’ve only gained 2lbs. I noticed more muscle growth with this. But mind you I did all this on my own and I sort of diconnected from facebook and even people around me who were competitive because I needed time alone to be happy again. Today its been almost 1 yr that I can almost say Im 100% back to normal. I still have food obsession (more in the terms of always wanting to eat perfectly clean) BUT I no longer feel guilty over missed workouts/eating more. I dont know if I was on my way to a metabolic damage but it sure felt like it because it felt like hell. I’m really curious as to what you feel exactly caused this to happen to you. Were you doing no carb and too much cardio? this is really good to know so I dont make that same mistake again. Because to be quite honest I dont know what made me that way there was a combination of so many post comp feelings and actions that I dont know what did it. But Im not sure if I ever plan to compete again because it took me so long to get back to this happy place :(

    • its sounds like you were on the road, but you got yourself back. Wonderful! I cannot workout… at all. just too much!
      Yeah, basically my diet was 900 cals on my regualar day and 1100 (MAYYYBE) on my high days. Only protein and veggies and whey isolate. On high days I got almonds and whole eggs.. that was it.
      I “only” did an hour of cardio, but I was fine with that since I was eating less food.
      It was retarded. I was so lean, there was no reason for it.
      As soon as I added oatmeal and some fruit back.. 8lbs. instantly.
      I piled on ridiculous amounts of weight at a time. It was never 1 or 2 lbs. its was always 6-8lbs at once.

  60. Question–so I’m in the middle of my first ever Competition Prep and after hearing so many stories about what COULD happen I’m dead-set on preventing it, but have NO idea what the guidelines are for making sure I’m doing it the right way. I have a great coach and I’m still about 7 weeks out from my show. I’m still consuming about 90g carbs/day and am doing 75 mins of cardio per day…I don’t feel like that that’s a dangerous level, but I don’t know what the warning signs are and I want to make sure I don’t get to the point where I’m on the brink of doing major damage to my adrenals/metabolism. Do you guys have any insight on what the “limits” are to stay in a healthy carb/cardio level during prep?

    • it just depends on the person and what else is going on. My first show I did 2 hours of cardio a day and I was fine after… the last year I competed I was “ONLY” doing an hour of cardio, but I had zero carbs.
      I’ve seen girls blow up after one show… and some blow up after 10 shows.. for me it was the 10 mark.
      I was also not getting enough sleep>
      I couldn’t say what the warning signs were before, I could only tell you how it felt after.
      SOunds like you’re doing a lot of cardio for 7 weeks out still though, just be careful

  61. angie youngstrom says:

    I know two people who can help!!! Dr. Warren Willey ( and Stephanie Woods ( they work together and are absolutely amazing! I have struggled for years with weight issues and dieting. I just finished the 10 week bootcamp and meal plans and all I can say is….I’ve lost more body fat than ever and signed up for another 10 weeks!!! Stephanie is wonderful!!!! PLEASE PLEASE check it out!!! It’s worth the hard work! The meals are yummy!!:) They both definitely know what they are doing!!:) (tell them I sent you. email me: with questions!!!)

  62. Georgette says:

    I’m not ever planning on doing any type of competing, I’m just trying to drop fat. I’m a 16/14 right now and would just like to be in a 10/12. That’s all, nothing totally major. I dropped 20 pounds last year going very low carb and gained it all back due to job stress since October of last year. I’m trying to find that happy medium for me. I realized today that I cannot run at all and need to stick with walking for cardio and if I can complete 30 minutes to 1 hour a day of walking, for me that is good. I have dropped grains for the most part, I will eat white rice on occassion. I am overcoming PCOS. Due to eating as low carb as I did for 9 weeks last year, my insulin resistance is gone, so is my high bp and also my cholesterol numbers are normal. My numbers to this day are still low. I think I’ve done damage as well with parts of my body and am working on just eating better. Eating primarily protein, fats, veggies and fruit a couple of times a week. I’ve never been a big fan of fruit so this is interesting. I wish someone could just give a damn clue as to what to do about this. It does get frustrating, especially when I realize that 40 is creeping up on me in the next 4 years.

  63. Juliette Martinez-Yaphe says:

    I can relate to all of this. Had no problem losing weight in the past. In 1993 (age 23)I had never attempted to lose weight before. I was 5’2″ and 211 pounds. Went the healthy eating route with exercise and lost 55 pounds in 3 1/2 months. In 1995 I was diagnosed with ITP(blood platelet disorder). I was given steroids and chemo. Gained back all of the weight. After six months, I was in remission. Struggled losing weight for about five years and got VERY SERIOUS with exercise and lost all of the weight again. In 2008, the ITP came back, more steroids and different chemo cocktail this time. After about 8 months or so, we got the blood platelets back in check. I struggled again with weight loss, constipation, heavy periods so my doc decided to start the testing. That was when we found out I have Hashimoto’s disease. Everything is whacked out, monthly cycle is awful, weight loss is slow , more exercise doesn’t seem to make a difference but now it’s everything else going on in the body. SIGH! Well thanks for giving me a place to vent. I have always wanted to try bodybuilding. Probably not a good idea at this point… Have a great day everyone! Juliette

    • well chemo can WRECK The thyroid, not mention with Hashimotos, your own body is fighting thyroid. It will take some time, everyone thinks once you’re on thyroid meds the weight drops off, it doesn’t. Be patient and I’m sorry;(

  64. This is why I love you both- I am a 22 year old female trying to get into a healthier lifestyle for myself personally. You both are honest, open and not afraid to share your highs AND lows. I know you’re going through a rough time but I know you’ll get through it. You inspire me daily and reach so many women.. I am thankful to find women who are REAL to lookup to. Sending prayers your way.. !!!! xoxoxoxo

  65. Jenny Grothe says:

    So very proud of you for sharing this. :)

  66. Can you say who your working with?? Ive been going through the same symptoms for the last 2 years and have had no cycle for 6 years…I competed and modeled too I ve tried a naturopath acupuncture but no one can seem to figure all the pieces together… Im on bioidentical hormones I have no progesterone no testosterone and low estrogen my cortisol is high and my cholesterol kidney and liver enzymes are all elevated… ??? If you could give me some advice to send me in the right direction I would greatly appreciate it!



    My name is Stephanie Vance. I am a licensed Zumba Instructor and Personal Trainer. My BS is in Health Exercise Science, my masters is in Business Science Managment.

    I am in no way wanting to belittle your intelligence. But here is the science. And its quite simple.

    Body building, Bikini, and figure competitions are different sports but the goal is pretty much the same. extremely low %’s of Body Fat and increased muscle mass…

    The problem with this is that the body has an inherent design to move as well as eat.
    The body is powered by fuel…meaning food. When fuel is not will experience: “muscle wasting.” Why because when minimal or insufficient calories are present or not present the body will fuel on what is meatier and what has more energy….and it will always be MUSCLE, not fat. That is why a tell tale sign of whether a client of mine is not consuming adequate calories when exercise on a regular basis is present (cardio & strength), is increased levels of fat and decreased amounts of lean muscle mass.

    So you must fuel the body..unfortuanately your particlular sport requires intense training combined with reduced caloric consumption…I understand the objective but the long term results over time, especially for a female are disastrous.

    There is little success with attempting to train intensely and not consume adequate calories…Cardiovascular exercise for instance requires carbohydrates for optimal performance for this system ( the cardiovascular system) to work. The %’s for Carbohydrate consumption are normally 40 – 60%…You can debate or deny it, however, if you were to put it to the test and consume roughly this amount of the macronutrient Carbohydrates you would see a marked difference in performance.

    My suggestion, if this type sport is something you are serious about considering, be kind to your body and employ reasonable off seasons to allow your body to recover. And really get educated. I am not talking magazines. I am talking research journals and even consider The NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SPORTS MEDICINE (NASM) certification or becoming a member of the NASM DotFit Platform.. its an online fitness tool.

    the education and physiological facts are out there. Get educated and protect your body.

    Healthy Regards,

    Stephanie Vance
    702 533 4464

    • Hi Stephanie– I appreciate your post. The sad thing is: I am NASM certified & I have a Masters Degree in Exercise Science and a strong nutrition background. this is nothing I don’t know and its nothing I would even put on my clients.. .the problem lies in the fact that I thought it was ok FOR ME.. that it was going to be short term (which it ended up not being) and that I would go back to being “normal”
      Didn’t happen.
      I’m very well educated, which is why its all the more embarrassing and tough for me to admit what I did to myself. Its a tough pill to swallow and why its taken 2.5 years for me to even make a public statement.

  68. Janelle Gallo says:

    I have been dealing with metabolic damage for a while now. I finally got a coach, Noel Fuller, who is helping me. He has me doing no cardio and eating carbs. He is trying to reset my metabolism and having my body get used to carbs. It is so tough for me. I cry all the time because of what I have done in the past to step on stage. Low carbs, keto-diet, hours and hours of cardio and now I am paying for it. My body is just not responding and now I have to heal the metabolism. I sooo understand what you are going through and sometimes I feel like I will never be lean again. This whole process has been so hard for me emotionally and physically.

  69. Hey, I too have been going through the same thing. Mine occured prior to my show. I always looked at fitness magazines and went out of my way to do 3 hrs of cardio on 1000calories a day diet. During my prep for the show, I was doing almost 2hrs of high intesity cardio and eating no carbs and worked a full 8 hr day. A year later I have been 100% clean with my diet and doing strict cardio and weights; I cannot lose weight to save my life. I have been working while going to school full time for nursing and managing to get 2.5hr workouts in a day. I feel extremely tired all the time and feel like I’m in a brain fog everyday. I am now 35lbs heavier from comp weight and it is quite depressing. I am too scared to go to the doctor seeing as thyroid issues do run in my family. I took medication for my adrenals, but they kept me up at night. Sometimes I feel like there is no way out. I try to focus on school and on my faith to keep me positive. I hope one day I can feel like my energetic self again and not stress about body image :)

    • OMG! 3 hrs of cardio and 1000 cals?? oh honey.. awful.
      Yes its going to take some time to get back and if you didn’t have thyroid issues before you probably do now, but honestly meds might not help at this point anyway.
      You need to really take like 6-10 weeks… focus on SLEEP. yoga maybe, but no gym.
      eating 1600-1800 cals resting
      it will take some time but I think you can bring it back

  70. christie says:

    I’m so glad to see someone speaking out about this issue. I do not compete but I coach. My athletes are never on a no carbon diet. Carbon reduction? Yes. But even then they are supposed to be getting at least 60 gram minimum. At our show thus past weekend trainers were not permitted in the pump up area and my client told me afterward that a couple of the girls had a nutritionist with them who hadn’t let them drink ANYTHING for two days! I wanted to ho find them and tell them to fire their nutritionist! That is hw people end up in the hospital with dehydration. Wat h out for people who call themselves nutritionists buy have no training. A liscenced RD would never dream of suggesting that!

  71. christie says:

    That was supposed to say carb reduction. Not carbon reduction. Damn autocorrect.

  72. Stephanie says:

    I am beyond thankful to hear your story. About 3 years ago, my boyfriend and I broke up, and that summer was where I caused to worst metabolic damage in my life. First relationship and the last one at that, I lost a tremendous amount of weight. Went from a size 7 to a size 4 in a matter of 6-8 weeks. Not eating due to not being able to stomach… turned my mindset into “it’s because I was too big”… to “he will want me even more if I ever see him again”. As a competitive hockey player, I lost myself and my sense of direction. For the last 2 years, I have been struggling to lose even just a measly 10lbs. Back to a size 7 now and a height of 5″3, I have regretted every step I took towards food and exercise. I would eat less, workout more… and the vicious cycle wouldn’t end. 1000 calories, to binge eating,… Never touched carbs = believing they would make me FAT, 2 workouts a day, to just giving up for a week.. on and on… The endless amounts of research, to hiring trainers.. and each trainer would tell me, “you aren’t putting enough work into it.” At that point, the binge eating stopped, so I was more than frustrated that i have already conquered that daemon and now, my trainer is telling me I am not working hard enough? I can crank 25 pullups, dead-lift my max at 265lbs, eating strict paleo (joined CROSSFIT) and not good enough? Man, oh man… Thoughts would haunt me… Now, I have made a decision that all in all, abs are there, legs are strong, and I can do anything life tackles. Everyday life that is… Lifting boxes, to everyday household shores.. I eat clean because it makes me happy, I work out because I strive on endorphins. However, I am inspired that I am not alone in a world that seems so big. If anyone knows anyone in Toronto, Ontario, that would be an excellent trainer, please let me know! I am looking for someone to keep me going, and to keep my mind in a positive mindset. Ladies, together, we can find a cure… The damage that little months took us, might take us years to fix, but what we do know, IS TO NEVER EVER GIVE UP.

    I can’t wait to hear of results, because I can use it!

    • oh girl! yes same results, different story.. wow you are one strong mofo!! LOL
      just remember to REST when you need it.
      Right now I feel like all I do is rest, but I need it… just trying to honor it

  73. Hey girl! Thanks for the great information! It makes me feel better knowing it happens to other girls other than myself. You’re great!

  74. Jen Mulhall says:

    I experienced this after competing in 2010, my hormones were all over the place, gained about 30lbs in 2 months, plus 10 more pounds a few months after as well. I am a trainer as well, and felt absolutely terrible about gaining the weight, had some comments asking if I was ‘bulking’, not fun.

    I highly recommend Krista Schaus – she helped me balance my hormones and get back to normal. Now I am at a healthy bodyweight, and lean level of bodyfat (however not ‘stage’ levels). I would definitely suggest contacting her, as I was much better within a few months.

    Also, I believe Scott Abel deals with this issue quite alot.

    Good luck!

    • thank you! Yes, I”ve read up on Scott for a long time, I’m actually working with Jade Teta and Michelle LeSueuer.. I will get there.
      But I’m going to make a LIST of people that help, so I’ll put Krista on it too! thanks!

  75. As of today, I just started working with a new coach, 4-weeks out from my first show. When my coach put me on 5-days no carbs, with double cardio, cutting my lifting back to two-days per week, it was the worst week ever, and just created a downward spiral in my training. I no longer had faith in my plan and what I was doing, I didn’t feel good at all. Very bloated, tired, cranky, etc., which also had negative effects on my mental outlook. I am excited to start my new plan and hopefully feel better and start to make some positive changes! I’m terrified to step on stage in 4-weeks, as I know I am no where near ready, but I just have to look at it as a warm-up show to get me ready for the next one!

    Feel free to check out my training page at

    Have a great day!

  76. Hey their, interesting to hear I have this exact problem, I have not been on stage since 2007, I would love to hit it again but don’t think I can go through the weight issues again, fatigue and lack of strength after, my weight went to 69 kilos after competing at 57 kg , I have stuggled with this now for 5 years, my weight is currently sitting at 65 kgs , I am currently trying to lean out to 60kgs very hard!!!!!!

  77. I’m SO interested in this posting (saw it via Rachel Mac). I’ve never competed, but have lost a significant amount of weight years ago and have been dieting/exercising/participating in various types of events (marathons, relay and endurance races) for the last 17 years, which I’m sure takes it’s toll eventually. But have been experiencing the same thing for about 1 1/2 years. Working my butt off at the gym and tracking every calorie and trying different versions of cutting things out of my diet but nothing seems to work, the scale just keeps creeping up and I can’t even get my body fat % to change with weight training and boot camp workouts in addition to cardio. All I could think of was I was doing something wrong – eating too much, not eating the right things, not working out hard enough – or something I would just have to live with as I was getting older (I’m 43). Now I’m beginning to think there may be something else going on that has nothing to do with what I am or am not doing. I look forward to hearing more about your findings and maybe finding a solution or at least a place to start. I just had my first appointment with a holistic approach physician that I am praying will have some answers for me. Best of luck!

    • yes Danna– this really is more of a hormonal issue. Often the adrenals are the root cause– then secondary thyroid and ovarian misfunction.. however, often we treat the thyroid first.
      SO far, my best protocol is rest, rest, rest and more food to get back to a new start point

  78. After being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, instead of going back to the Dr., I prayed and researched… In finding during research, there are foods bad and good for the thyroid if which caused the problems I was having, which consisted of weight gain, swelling, puffiness,l ethargy, amongst others…..I eliminated the food, added others and started not only feeling better but started seeing a difference externally and internally….. Had surgery to remove the cancerous thyroid a few lymph nodes, refuse treatment for I know that God with eating correctly will restore me to the fullest, better than I was before, here on earth or He will take me home……

  79. I went through a similar situation with my body after my first show and totally felt awful about my body. Fast forward a year of trying to figure out what was wrong with me and the Doc pretty much saying it is all in my head. I went and switched to the Paleo diet and read the most AMAZING BOOK ever that I found at my local public library.
    Feeling Fat, Fuzzy, or Frazzled?: A 3-Step Program to: Restore Thyroid, Adrenal, and Reproductive Balance, Beat Hormone Havoc, and Feel Better Fast! [Paperback]
    Richard Shames (Author), Karilee Shames (Author)

    Amazon has an excerpt on their website if anyone wants to check it out but this book helped me figure out my problem. They have homeopathic remedies PLUS what questions to ask your doctor or what tests to ask for. I am not affiliated with anyone I just know what helped put me back on track and hope this helps anyone else out there.

  80. This is wonderful and it’s a topic that absolutely needs light shed onto it! I suffered from this after my first show and it was a nightmare. I gained and gained until I was up 30 pounds and nothing could get it off. I refused to wear anything but sweats and baggy clothes because, like you, I’m a fitness professional and nothing is worse than gaining a ton of weight right after a show and having everybody stare at you and wonder what your problem is. I was exhausted, freezing and my hair was falling out. It took me a full year packed full of appointments to doctors and Endocrinologists until I finally just LET my body be. I stopped training so hard and just rolled with it. After about a year, my weight finally plateaued and then slowly started to decline. All in all, it took me about 2 full years to get back to “normal”, and I use that term loosely because I still don’t have a healthy relationship with food or my body image yet.
    My heart goes out to you and every other girl that has to deal with this.
    I think the most we can do is exactly what you are doing – sharing our story and trying to educate women so that they don’t repeat our mistakes.

    • oh girl, I hear ya! its been about 2 years for me now too, but only about 6-7 months since I just “let go” and I”m working on a lot of the emotional/mental stuff that comes along with it

  81. Stephanie says:

    Hey I learned about this post through the Happy Eaters forum. I was wondering if you have heard of Leigh Peele? She’s amazing with girls who has had metabolic adaptation from undereating and overexercising. Basically what you need to do is to eat more, rest and rest. She even had a protocol about it and she’s going to release the new Metabolic Repair Manual sometime this year. Check her out and she’s one of the few fitness professionals who isn’t afraid of carbs. Good luck!

    • hey there! I haven’t heard of Leigh Peel, but will look her up… and yes, so far I am following that exactly– eating more and been resting for 6 months! (seriously, NO GYM)

      • Stephanie says:

        No problem! Eating more means eating at maintenance or even above that. Seriously, Leigh Peele is awesome at this, it’s her specialty. Go check her out! :)

  82. Hey Danny, it’s Suzie from Vegas!! =) Read your post and it made me so sad. I cant imagine how frustrating it must be. I have a dear friend who is currently preparing for a show in about 4 weeks and she was just telling me this morning while we were on the stepmill how she got in trouble for drinking a muscle milk light!!! It’s all fish and broccoli, etc. How drastic is it on the body? What exactly happens to cause it to go so out of control??? It’s a very scary thought, but thank you for being so open and honest. Not too many women are. Usually they want to be preceived as perfect and as though it comes naturally!

    • Oh wow! Who is your friend using for a coach? Aghhh thats so extreme and ridiculous.
      The fact that the diet is coupled with such extreme exercise can cause cortisol levels to skyrocket. If it goes on for long enough the adrenals just stop working well… as soon as that happens, the thyroid shuts down, periods stop… its a chain of events that is hard to stop.
      I would caution her to be careful, make sure she gets carbs post workout, or AT LEAST a full rest day.. sighhh
      it doesn’t happen everytime.. it depends on a lot of things.. I did over 7 or 9 shows before it happened, but I’ve seen a ton of gals have it happen first time out.

  83. Michelle says:

    Its so important to choose a coach that doesn’t go to crazy extremes, and they are out there!!

  84. just remember one thing ladies.. we all struggle with hormones and weight gain and it eventually catches up with all of us. but we are beautiful women inside and out and we will continue to struggle and help each other out in the process… Girl power!!! just love yourself for who you are and know you are special no matter what… thanks for everyone who posted here it really helped me feel better knowing I am not the only one who struggled with this kind of thing.

  85. THANK YOU for speaking out about this. I did my first show last summer, and I have pretty much been miserable every since. I did 16 weeks of show prep. I had oatmeal once a day and went from 30 min cardio daily to 2 hours daily. I did go crazy after the show eating everything I had been missing for 4 months, and the weight came on fast. But when I decided that enough was enough, and I wanted to get back to “normal,” that’s when the frustration set in. I am ashamed to go to the gym because I am SO embarassed about what I have done to myself. I don’t really want to go anywhere or do anything because I hate the way I look. Like others have mentioned I have been living in sweats for months. I don’t know what I’m going to do now that summer is here…ugh. I missed out on having Christmas pictures done with my family because there is no way I’m letting anyone get near me with a camera. I would give anything to go back to the way I was before, and I didn’t even appreciate it then! My family and friends have a hard time understanding what I’m going through. On top of all those issues I’m tired all the time! I fight falling asleep throughout the whole day. And like you said, the hardest thing to accept is that I did this to myself. I will definitely be following you to see what you find out through all of your research!!

    • sweetie– man! I FEEL what you are saying. I know you are tired.. I’d def say you have adrenal exhaustion.. you probably NEED to sleep.. and I mean A LOT.
      I feel like I slept for over 4 months (I thought I had mono)
      BUT I’m feeling better (not 100% but better)
      I will post a blog soon on my progress!

  86. I am looking forward to your findings on how to fix this. I am just at a loss to what would work. I will check here often

  87. Julia Mayerhofer says:

    Thank you sooo much for this!

    I have been on a ketogenic diet since the end of January and doing crazy amounts of cardio at the same time. I got some good results but towards the end it just became harder and harder no matter how much cardio I did – I was frustrated and felt this approach is not the best for me, but my coach just said “Do more cardio”. Last week we had a fight – I felt like I was killing myself slowly from the inside, rings under the eyes, no period anymore, overtraining, sleeping problems etc. This was not worth it for me and I stopped training with him.

    Your post really woke me up and I thought about everything the last days – I know I shouldn’t make very drastic changes, otherwise will have a rebound. But now I reduced my cardio to 1 hrs a day and eating carbs before and after workout. I feel so much happier and better and I have fun again at the gym and can go crazy on the weights – and this is what brought me to bodybuilding at first.

    Danny-J I can completely understand how frustrated you must be about this, but I am sure over time you will find your way. Never give up and stay strong :)

    • wow, I am soooo glad you stood up for yourself and dropped your idiotic coach (Sorry)
      but there are better ways to get the body to respond than to keep pushing pushing pushing. Its insane.
      Thanks for sharing!

  88. Holly Kabler says:

    Same thing happened to me this last prep. I started in AUGUST for an APRIL show. My trainer had me on NO CARBS, Lo Cal, high cardio and heavy weights. In February I started to feel terrible. I had not pooped in a week. I had no energy. I was eating 1100 cal a day and if I ate over that I would gain 3-4 pounds. I went to the Dr. thinking it was my thyroid and he called me and told me to come right in. He said my kidney and liver were not functioning correctly and were unable to process protein. He said my potassium was low and I had low blood sugar. I had realized something was wrong with my diet when I was begging my trainer for a rice cake and he refused to allow me to eat it. I had been referred to a Registered Dietician and had called her before my Dr. appointment. The great thing is she is a National Physique Competitor! She helped me get to my competition. I had been stuck at the same weight from August till March busting my butt at the gym for two hours, eating 1100 calories a day, not an inch or a pound moved. She was able to help me bust through my plateau. What we are doing right now is Metabolism Repair. I had to take 2 and a half weeks off from the gym and not do anything but enjoy life. Then I am backing out of my competition diet. We have slowly added back in carbs..very slowly. We have added a cheat meal that is timed and very specific. I now am eating clean but eating about 1800 calories a day on average. I eat every three hours. I have a very light workout routine. I am only allowed to walk at 3.5 mph at a 4% incline on the treadmill four days a week. My weights are very basic and are currently light. I have maintained my competition day weight but am fully prepared to gain about 8 pounds during this process. She has warned me that I will need to gain in order to ever lose again. Being told that my metabolism is broken by my doctor made me realize if I am going to compete and knowing that it is 80% diet why did I screw around with a trainer for my diet. I now know better and I cannot rave enough about my Dietician. She saved my life! Literally the trainer wanted me to take a water pill for two weeks to get my “water weight” off. My doc said it could have put me into kidney or renal failure. I will leave my diet to a professional from here on out. I will note that I have signed up to work with her for at least a year in order to fix this issue. It may take longer!!!

    • wow! SOOOOO glad you found that dietician because MOST people don’t know how to help anyone back from that!
      you were def on a dangerous path. Can you share who you went to for others? I’m trying to get a list of GOOD references since more doctors are a waste of money and time!

  89. I’m so glad someone is getting this information out there! I did 2 comps last fall and felt great while I was training (other than being constantly hungry). By December, I was exhausted. By March, I could barely get out of bed. I’ve since been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I haven’t put on a lot of weight, but my life has totally changed. I’m on expensive medication just to be able to stay awake and go to work. I’m missing out on so much with my 2 young daughters.

    I’m doing a saliva test for adrenal function this week. I’ve tried massage, energy work, yoga, meditation, positive affirmations, and a long list of supplements. I also want to do a detox soon and find more natural ways to get my strength and energy back.

    PLEASE keep us posted as you learn more!

    • Sounds very much like your adrenals are shot.. Please look up either Jade Teta at Metabolic or Michelle LeSeuer on Facebook… both have helped me more than any doctors

  90. LOVE YOU! I did a blog a month or so back, saying how I would NEVER recommend competing to someone who has any sort of eating disorder. I am in the ‘weight-gain-recovery’ phase right now, lol. I know it’s a mindf*ck, so I ‘play’. I tell myself I’m NOT dieting. I just do what I do, and try to let my work and natural healthy diet bring me back. For me it’s more mental than metabolic I think. But this season, my body definitely was not responding how it did before. And went through a lot of what you just mentioned. Thanks for getting it out there! 😉

    • Hey Nicole– yes I struggle with ED before this, so it only makes things worse, and even though my metabolism is shut down and physically a mess, the mental part really IS the hardest. wow.. its such a game.
      good luck with everything, I will keep posting my findings!

  91. Kristin says:

    So glad I found this! I think my story is similar to so many others being told here. I did a show. No carbs and high amount of cardio. Took a month “off” post show to enjoy holidays and then got back into prep for another show. Not only had I gained 10 lbs in one month but this time the weight wouldn’t budge . My trainer suggested more cardio, less carbs/calories (recommending I replace two of my meals with a soy protein shake product she was promoting). The weight continued to climb…like you I work in fitness (I train but I primarily teach classes-it used to be 20/wk), and I felt like such a fraud! I was on edge, jealous of others’ weight loss, and just so confused about how my body was betraying me. After having to accept the fact that I cannot get my butt into any shorts that were literally falling off of me last summer (pre show prep-back when I was just a 85% clean eater, runner, fitness freak yogi…), I finally broke down and have made an appt just to get my thyroid checked. I am not sure what I am going to do-it seems like the answer is more calories, more sleep, and less exercise and I can only do 2 of the 3 because my job consists of me teaching 2-3 classes daily. Please please please keep your readers updated about your success…and thanks again for making me feel as if I am not alone, crazy, etc

    • I am going to post an update soon… but heres the problem with thyroid readings… HypoThryoid is often SECONDARY to adrenal fatigue… SO that means, even if you get on thyroid meds, the weight won’t budge until the adrenals are healed.
      I would highly suggest getting someone to sub your classes for a month (2 weeks min) so you can rest, rest, rest. It will cost you more in medical (believe me) than what you will lose by not teaching.
      annnnnd you’ll end up having to do the same thing. Take it from me, get the rest now.
      I will have a video next week on what I have been doing thats working

  92. I can’t wait for your new video Danny. I too have the same story as most. I recently bought Scott Abel’s Metabolic Damage E-book and it is really a life changer for me. I’m going to buy more of his stuff. I read all the comment a few weeks ago so i’m not sure if this was mentioned or not :)

    I was eating 40g-60g of carbs and now i’m eating 150g and 2 days at 200g. My weight is the SAME! Although deep down I want to go back to low carb to see if it drops I KNOW my body needs this.

    • DON’T go back to lower carb yet!! spend a good 6-12 weeks keeping your carbs up, it will actually probably start to drop WITH the higher carbs!
      I’m posting a new video and update today.. I have his ebook too

  93. Wow.. Thank you every one who has shared on this page! I am just reading it for the first time…could not stop! I’ve been there!!! I worked my ASS off and felt like my body backfired! And there were NO answers out there!!!! But I didn’t give up, and DID find the answers! I know it’s hard to stay hopeful, but don’t give up!!!

    Yes, hypothyroidism is almost always secondary to adrenal fatigue, which is always secondary to “hidden stressors” (fungus, bacteria, heavy metals, toxins, mold, parasites etc..etc…) that not only cause adrenal fatigue (from chronic stress) but also cause cellular inflammation (damage) which causes autoimmune (in 80% of hypothyroidism). Now, take this person and add a long drawn-out bad break up or intense training for a marathon or super-extreme dieting and BINGO! Its enuf to put you in endocrine meltdown! (the details depend on your genetics). And even tho the marathon ends, you start eating a more balanced diet and you are totally over the selfish ass that broke your heart… Your endocrine system is not coming back w/o some help! But, be hopeful bc whatever genes the body knows how to turn ON, it knows how to turn OFF!

    I fought this so long.. and so hard… that by the time I got my breakthroughs I was so passionate about telling everyone I know, that I actually left my career as a dental hygienist and became a functional nutritionist so I could run labs and put together protocols to help people! I usually let people get in touch with me via my website if they want to talk. But I don’t feel comfortable leaving my website on another professionals page. So I will leave it up to the owners of this page if they would allow me to do that…

    Just remember, your body can heal! Much love!! xo

  94. I also have struggled with this. Severe overtraining and lack of starches…adrenal fatigue, crazy weight gain despite doing everything ‘right’, and the inability to lose. Working with a naturopathic physician (who also is a fitness/fat loss expert & has her pro card) has really helped a lot, and I am finally on the road to healing and feeling restored :) Best of luck to you in your journey and thank you for sharing!

  95. SLEEP. Read up on some of Matt Stone’s diet recovery. SLEEP. Coming from a very happy size 2 with a muscular build and a fully recovered metabolism. Raw fruits and veggies (yup, lots of fruit) have helped me immensely, as well as raw local milk. I can also occasionally eat cake or ice cream without any fear of gaining, thanks to the recovery. My metabolism is healed. I know you will have success healing yours!

  96. Suzanne Innes says:

    I can totally relate to this article. I was not into competitions but I was into crossfit in a big way. I used to do 5-6 sessions of crossfit a week, ride my bike and run 10k’s everynight. I did all this on toast and peanut butter in the morning, tuna sandwhich at lunch and toast agin at night!! Eventually coudn’t sleep, could hardly run due to fluid retention! I have gained around the 10lb’s. I am now eating all the time, good quality food…… I am slowly getting some sleep. Not a lot but more than I have ever got. I took a few months off all exercise. I have started back at crossfit last week and I am now training smarter only 3 x’s a week. I honestly never thought that my body would work so against me. I look at other people that were doing the same workouts as me and they are still going strong!! It does get me down what I have done to myself. But I am hoping this will evetually get better..

  97. This article was very good. I started my weightloss journey after my second child in 2010. The weight was falling off, and then stopped. I found out that I had an underactive thyroid…that was frustrating. Not being on medication, I felt similar symptoms to depression. After I started taking meds. I started to feel better and the weight started to come off again. I got to my goal weight and my body was looking how I wanted it to look and then we planned on our 3rd baby and got pregnant in 2011. I was not able to keep it up. I gained 40lbs, which isn’t bad to me. Well 4 months after I had my baby, I noticed that I started to feel the same way. I finally got my thyroid levels checked again and they were elevated so they put me on higher dose and now, I am feeling better and once again the weight is coming off. I topped out at 197, to date I am at 163. My pre-pregnancy weight was 157. I am not eating all that healthy, but trying to make better choices. Between that and my thyroid I am almost back to my original weight. Can’t wait to see what happens when I get back on the band wagon! Since March 2012 I have been trying to get back on the fitness band wagon, however the whole month of march I was having postpartum hemorrhaging, once that was done, I started having stomach issues(horrible stomach aches). My motivation was at zero! I was having a pitty party and pouting about it. I know I will get back there, its just finding that motivation that is enough for me. We all need to share how we feel and our stories because it might help someone else. Hang in there ladies. I have had my fair share of prayers to God, and I keep that continuous, and he keeps me truckin’ along. God Bless! Have a great day ladies! :0)

  98. Kristie L. says:

    I cannot tell you enough how MUCH this is MY story! (Except the competing part). THANK YOU for bringing attention to this!! I was the girl who got so ill she vomited 9 times in 2 days, drank 1 cup of broth and got up to do P90X the next day and still gained 4lbs!! My hypothyroid went full hashimotos after doing low carb / zero carb for 2yrs trying to lose weight and what I ended up getting was a wrecked body that was FIFTY POUNDS heavier!!!!! I’ve been on the healing path now for about 6 months. I don’t even weigh anymore.

  99. I competed for years and ended up with adrenal fatigue and hyporthyroidism! I went back to school for Holistic Health and have been healing myself naturally also. I would love to help and answer any questions and help you! please visit my website at or email me for help

  100. Thanks so much for the post, This was exactly what I needed to see!

  101. Girl!!! Had no idea you went thru this!!!! I did too!!! So much happier now not consistently dieting and on the cardio train….and I feel like I look jue!!!! At my heaviest (Sept 2010) til now I am down 45 lbs. (Due fat, muscle, and water loss) It is SO much more important to love yourself and be happy with the ‘everyday’ figure, than being 9% bf, tired, hungry and still not 100% happy with how you look.until you take dieruritic, tan and are on stage. Thank you so much for speaking out about this and.being real!!!! You are amazing and you will be just fine!!!! Xoxox ♥♥♥

  102. I am waiting for my latest labs to come back, because I have suspected that I have AF. I am ready to be on the road to healing!

  103. Thank u so much for this! I am convinced my metabolism shot. I did 2 shows last August and have never been the same. Post comp blues got the best of me! Combined with drinking vodka seeveral nights a week for a month left me looking like a hot mess. For about 2 months I was carb cycling eating about 30g of carbs on low carb days and about 50-60g on high carb days. I started to feel like ditzy and spacey so I stopped the cycling and stayed at about 60-70g a day. That’s where Im at now. I do fasted cardio, HIIT, 100-120g of protein a day, still hit the weights, and have one cheat meal a week…..and HARDLY any progress. Feeling weak and fatigue even after 8hrs of sleep has become the norm for me. I get headaches, I get dizzy, irritable, my sleep is often interrupted by faint sounds, etc. U name it I got it. I hate this :( There’s not too many in depth.articles on how this can be FIXED. Any tips?

    • yikes! your carb cycling was way too low to even consider that “cycling”
      If I were you, I’d stop fasted and ALL cardio ASAP… LIKE YESTERDAY.
      BUMP UP YOUR CARBS!! Start with 60-70g and increase until you’re eating 120-150g a day.
      Start to add in more fats– whole eggs, eat a tbsp. coconut oil am/pm… and did you see my post on “resources”?
      Check out some of them.. you can scroll to the bottom of the site and type “metabolic resources” in the search

      • Sorry I’m a little late on following up. I will check our ur link for sure! Anything will help at this point. Thank you :)

  104. I left a comment here quite a few months ago, but jut wanted to check back in. I finally got some blood work done, and my cortisol levels are double what they should be ( I believe the doctor said it was around 42) After doing some research on this while waiting on my endocrinologist referral, the term ‘adrenal fatigue’ came up. Not sure if this is it or not, beings there are many different reasons for high cortisol. It would not surprise me though due to my long history of yo-yo dieting, calorie restriction, carb restriction and periods of mad exercising on low calories. I always seem to be tired though, and have been having some hair loss over the past year and a half as well as the inability to lose weight unless I drop to 900 calories a day, and even then, its only a few initial pounds before stalling out. I am hoping that I finally will have my answers though.

    • Hey Ash! yes! sounds like you’re in stage 2-3 of adrenal fatigue
      read up from and get his book!

      • I’ve been reading on the website you gave me and it seems to be saying that with adrenal fatigue, cortisol levels will drop? Mine are very high. Could it still be adrenal fatigue?

        • yes… there is actually a graph, where in the first stages of adrenal fatigue, the adrenals are in overdrive and are SKY HIGH and if it continues, then it drops and has a hard time producing.
          Its actually a good sign, if you’re still in the high stages you may not have done as much damage.. yet.
          But super important to start getting rest, controlling stress and getting sleep

          • I am getting an ultrasound done tonight on my adrenals (doctor referral due to the high cortisol). Hopefully I will have some answers. I have to wait 2 more weeks to see the endo. Can pituitary levels be affected by all of this too? My pituitary/(prolactin?) levels were a bit high as well. It seems cortisol and this go hand in hand, but not quite sure if prolactin levels would be higher with adrenal fatigue. And of course, with all of this going on, I am stressing myself out even more until I get the results!

            And before I forget, thank you so much for all of your help and information!

          • Ash– YES! My prolactin was HIGH, the dr asked if I was LACTATING!! LOL
            I will tell you smthg you may not want to hear.. they aren’t going to find shit on the ultrasound.
            There is nothing physically WRONG w the adrenals.. they are performing in response to what you are doing and outputting very high.
            You need to take a HUGE break. Sleep, relax, stop training, etc.
            The best thing I did was to see a hypnotherapist, learn to meditate and quiet and still my mind
            Dr Jade Teta helped w the hormonal issue.. but I was on TONS of hormones that did nothing until I got my anxiety and stress under control
            Look up he has a giant book that explains this.. but most drs don’t get it
            it also explains why the ultrasound wont find anything.
            maybe try working w him?

  105. April Espinoza says:

    Danny J…..I took your advice of slowly adding more carbs into my diet. With the help of others and my own research I’ve started to eat more trying hard not to feel guilty, I’m doing more things that I enjoy, etc. I am now noticing weight gain, which I knew would be part of the process, but…. I hate it ;( I feel like if I can’t lose weight by dieting, and only gain weight with eating more, then why not just diet and stay the same? Staying the same is much better than gaining. My clothes are more snug and I feel bloated A LOT. It’s depressing because summer is coming :( If I can’t control my weight regardless of what I’m doing then why train? I just feel like I need to go back to 2 a days and the whole 9 yards. Did you go through this?

    • yup. I totally went through it! OMG.. I’ll tell you why you don’t want to go back to 2 a days and dieting to “stay the same” because soon enough, even dieting and 2 a days will result in a gain.. AND your body will shut down.. You’ll have NO energy to DO 2 a days AND you may end up in the hospital.. and it will take you 2-3 times as long to recover, if ever.. because THIS is what I did.
      I kept dieting for 18 months even when I knew I needed to stop… “just to maintain” and I started to gain doing all of that.
      You’re fighting a battle that cannot be won with the same tools that put you there in the first place.

      • April Espinoza says:

        Oooohh Ok…make sense. This is sooooo overwhelming! I was in tears today because I felt my belly hanging over my jeans today when I was sitting down. SMH!

        • April I have gone through the same things and I completely understand your frustration. I am a certified health coach that deals specifically with problems of adrenals, thyroid and metabolism. I have information I would love to share with you. email me at if you want me to send you help or to listen in to my next teleclass

  106. April Espinoza says:

    Oh and to add to my last comment…I’m starting to question whether I even have this problem. There’s nothing on black and white saying I have metabolic damage. This is so mind blowing :(

  107. Stephanie says:

    Can metabolism come from burning more calories than what your body essentially needs? For example my BMR is about 1500 for being a 23 year old 5’7″ 147lb female….I eat about 1800 and then burn about 600-800 calories in the gym…..I have heard rumors about net calories, but then at the same time my current coach has me on a 1500-1700 calorie meal plan, working out 5 days a week with an hour of high intense cardio along with about an hour of weight training…..

    I dont know if my metabolism is already messed up or not as I am always tired, moody, my periods are never on schedule….my bowel movements are not once a day….I dont know!!!

  108. I have been struggling with similar problems, and during my research, stumbled across the work of Dr. Layne Norton. He has a PhD in nutritional science and is a bodybuilding competitor himself, in addition to coaching competitors. Check out his blog post on metabolic damage…it saved me before I was too far gone.

  109. Thank you for this! It’s been a year since my last competition and I’m going through the exact same things that you talk about here. Has anything come of your research? I’m having hormone testing done on Monday and I hope that will be a positive step in the right direction for me. Thank you again for sharing this.

  110. Its sad that there is so much misinformation. After struggling for years with the same conditions and completely wrecking my body I am now completely healed. As a holistic health coach I have studied with Dr Sara Gottfried and studied hormone therapies. I highly recommend her book The Hormone Cure. I have been working with women just like this for several years now! My most recent success is my client Ada who was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in January. After working with me for six months She got a call two weeks ago from her doctor. Her doctor had never seen anything like it tthrough diet, herbal and vitamin supplements ALONE she no longer had a thyroid condition! She never took any medication for it although her doctor recommended it several times. Keep your heads up ladies it is very possible to heal and fix your isssues. It takes time and patience. It took me nearly two years, but I had to reverse years of damage.

  111. I’m in the same boat as y’all and very happy to have found this thread. I too have major thyroid/adrenal/sex hormone issues, and have just gained about 20-25 lbs after doing intnse crossfit workouts while under eating – whoops! (and a life time of yo yo dieting!) who knew :-(

    You might be interested to check out for her perspective on healthy calorie intake – more in the 1800-2200 range for sedentary folks! she’s got a great story of recover from obesity, though not very similar to those of us who’ve really compromised our metabolisms. However, i do think we can all take a lesson from her approach to calorie intake. She’s got a lot of great things to say – and avoids being a money making guru – a lot more real, as Danny seems to be! Good luck to you all in your recovery!

  112. It’s funny how I sign up and boom – here is this person dealing with what I have just been told I have.
    I have had various degrees of this for 10+ years, and needless to say my body and mind aren’t pretty. All my doctors have just told me it was anxiety/ depression and given me meds for that when it was just a tiny part of the real problem.
    It’s good to know that I’m not the only one going through this! x

  113. Maria Gonzalez Puzino says:

    so glad I found you Danni!! I just competed in my first show..(July 26, 2014.Beach Bodies Classic) I am 60 years old ..placed third in the Masters Figure over 40 and 5th in the short Open Figure…. I thought my coaches/trainers were being gentle with me.. because my age….However.. although I am a Bootcamp, Spin, Intense Intervals instructor, they allow me to do NO CARDIO>>>NONE!!!!! They laughed at me when I asks about doing fasted cardio.. they said “:don’t you dare!” also I eat every 2.5 hours… lots of sweet potatoes, pasta, brown rice, … tons of fish, chicken, even lean steak.. they stress water consumption, and I do not take any supplements!!!! Like I said I was checking the web, to see if my trainers are coding right by me… from all these comments.. I guess I know the answer..

  114. Brittany says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this blog, it has really hit close to home for me. I am going through this scenario right now. I did my first figure competition last June and I did restrictive dieting and excessive training for 10 months leading up to the show. I can count the number of cheat meals on my fingers, and when I did get a cheat meal it was also restricted. My diet was high protein, low carb, and basically no fat. In cutting season I basically lived on tilapia and veggies and at one point was only eating about 700 calories a day. I have always been a small frame and was in good shape before my competition. Since my competition, I have gained 35lbs and am 25lbs heavier than I want to be. I switched trainers a few times and whenever they adjusted my calories I would gain 10lbs in the blink of an eye. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. The fatigue, the shame, the guilt, digestive problems, stomach issues, depression, hormone issues, adrenal fatigue, low hcl levels, ect. Very similar to what you have experienced. I even switched gyms at one point because I was so ashamed… I am with a good trainer now and am working on trying to figure out my body and heal from this, but I still have yet to lose weight. It’s ironic because athletes decide to compete to be healthy and for the personal challenge, but I have learned that it’s not healthy at all, especially when some trainers go to extremes and jeopardize people’s health for the stage. I did great and placed in the competition, but question if it was all worth it.

    Thank you again for sharing your story and all of the information


  1. […] articles published explaining why previous weight loss attempts such as mine are not healthy ( and This […]

  2. […] If  you didn’t see my first video on this subject, please watch it HERE […]

  3. […] you are completely lost watch my first video– Metabolic Damage and Why I’m Pissed off and then check out the follow-up : Metabolic Damage Follow-Up and […]

  4. […] I was.. for a few years… but eventually my body rebelled and it left me with metabolic damage and why I’m pissed off. (first video) I would have never guessed, that one year ago (October 2011) when I basically […]

  5. […] done my research and I certainly do NOT want to damage my metabolism. You can actually check out The Sweaty Betties website. Danny J talks about how she damaged hers and how she is making a come back from it. I will […]

  6. […] asked to speak to the ladies of UNLV Rebel Girls (dance team). I came in and told them my story of Metabolic Damage and how restrictive eating and over exercising can really cause damage. The girls were touched and […]

  7. […] Danny Johnson (aka “The Sweaty Betties”): Metabolic Damage and Why I’m Pissed Off! […]

  8. […] stores emergency fuel, you put weight back on then start the whole cycle again.  This can lead to Metabolic and Adrenal Burnout.  Metabolic and adrenal burnout is predominant in sports like body-building from years of […]

  9. […] and I’ll be honest, I was not happy with what was going on. I had been dealing with metabolic damage and adrenal fatigue for the better part of two years, and I had started to make some GREAT headway, […]

  10. […] women only look that way for two or three days at the very most.  (And you never hear about the models and figure competitors who wrecked their metabolisms by following high-exercise, low-calorie routines.)  Every single fucking magazine that promotes […]

  11. […] since I struggled with metabolic damage and hormonal issues stemming for over-dieting and exercise I have been even MORE consumed with […]

Leave a Reply to Jeanne Cancel reply