One of the common misconceptions regarding how to prepare to eat a large meal is that you should completely starve your body beforehand so your body is ready to consume a lot of food. This could not be further from the truth. I always see comments under posts about food such as “I wouldn’t eat for a week just to prepare for that delicious looking meal.” If you did not eat for a week, let’s just say that you would not do well. You actually would not be able to eat much at all. If you want to be able to eat a lot, you have to gradually increase your stomach capacity by eating (and/or drinking), and you cannot starve yourself. Here are a few reasons why:

The human body does not respond very well to rapid changes. In most cases, if you try to force your body to do something, the results will be the exact opposite of what you were originally wanting. If you try to lose weight too quickly by exercising too much and not eating enough calories, your hormones and body will be so thrown off that you will end up not being able to handle the situation you put yourself in. Just like most people like to have “structure” during their everyday lives, your body also likes a consistent schedule. It likes when you have similar meals at the ¬†same times every day, and it likes when you have a consistent flow of water coming into your system every day too. It also likes when you exercise around the same time daily or every other day. Your body adapts to these schedules so that it has to work less while processing everything more efficiently. For example, if you consistently drink water every day, and your body always has water readily available to use for everyday body functions, your body will stop retaining water and let it all flow through your body without any really being retained. This is how bodybuilders prepare for contests and shows. They drink a lot of water for multiple days in a row while minimizing their salt intake (sodium retains water) so that their body can get used to having a steady flow of water. Then they quit drinking water altogether 1 or 2 days before the contest so that all of their excess water weight that their body was retaining can “leave” which allows the skin to become tighter and show off more muscular definition. To get rid of excess water weight, drink a lot more water.

This concept is why competitive bodybuilding is no more “healthy” than competitive eating. Bodybuilders are extremely light and toned during their competition, but right afterwards it becomes an entirely different story. Since a bodybuilder followed a mostly bland and boring diet with a reduced amount of calories for a long period of time to get their bodyfat percentage extremely low, their body adapted to this lifestyle during the process. Because of the decreased amount of calories, their metabolism slowed down to counteract the changes. If that bodybuilder goes back to eating a lot more calories once the competition is over, he or she is going to put on some extra weight pretty quickly because they have a reduced metabolism that isn’t burning as many calories as it used to. The same applies to bodybuilders that go 1 or 2 days without water before their show. Because their body had no water coming it, it adapted by retaining every bit of water possible, and it will stay like that for the day or 2 after the contest. If he or she goes back to drinking a lot of water after the contest, that person will put on some excess water weight and then appear bloated for the few days after the contest while their body adapts to having more water readily available again. I have never competed in a bodybuilding contest, but in 2010 I won a national body transformation contest sponsored by Men’s Health Magazine and the TV series Spartacus. I trained for my final photos just like a bodybuilding contest. I looked great during the final photos, but then I put on quite a bit of weight during the 2 weeks afterwards because i went right back to my normal lifestyle of eating a lot and drinking alcohol. You will get bad results if you don’t let your body adapt gradually.

Your stomach works the same way as the examples above in regards to allowing you to eat a lot. If you go a long time without any food, your body will go into “survival mode” and your stomach will shrink up so that your body can survive on smaller amounts of food. Your stomach when empty and completely contracted is only the size of a normal fist (hand), so if you are a person that eats many small meals rather than a few larger ones, your stomach will also stay pretty small because it has never had a reason to expand. If this happens and you then go to eat a big meal, your stomach will be really small and tight, and therefore you won’t be able to eat much at all. Your stomach will counteract what you are trying to do because it hates rapid changes. You may have noticed this before in the past. Have you ever been so hungry that you just want to eat everything in sight? When you got the opportunity to eat everything in sight, your eyes most likely ended up being a lot bigger than your stomach, and you probably were not able to eat nearly as much as you expected. This is because your stomach muscles had shrunk and contracted due to a lack of food and calories to function regularly. I encounter this after taking long breaks from food challenges. My stomach is large and expanded while I am doing challenges almost every week, but my first challenge usually doesn’t go well after taking a few months off. If you want to eat a lot, you have to eat a lot beforehand so that your stomach muscles are relaxed and more “accepting” of the large meal you are trying to eat. By following the plans mentioned in the Stomach Capacity Training section, you can gradually get your stomach muscles used to holding more food and liquids. To eat more, you have to train yourself to eat more, and you won’t be able to eat more if you don’t eat at all. Your body will do what you want it to do, but you have to allow it enough time to make the changes and you have to steer your body in the right direction so that it can successfully make those changes. There are no safe and effective shortcuts.

Thanks for reading reasons why starving yourself does not work and using FoodChallenges.com!!

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