Food Challenges Promote Obesity

As a man who spent most of his childhood years overweight along with about four years weighing over 300 lbs (137kg), who now completes food challenges all over the world while maintaining a lean physique, I have come to know and understand that there is only 1 concept that promotes obesity. I belonged to the last generation of human beings that were able to grow up with out being slaves to technology. I played outside almost every single day and the treads on my bike tires were always low, and thanks to my loving parents I was fortunate enough to play 5 different sports throughout the year, depending on the season. I did not grow up with iPads and tablets being thrown in my face at a very young age. Facebook was not started until I was in college. Even though I was very active, I still found myself weighing 205lbs (93kg) when I was in only 5th grade. Thanks to the help of my mother and the Weight Watchers program, I lost 40 pounds, and through that I started to realize the importance that nutrition plays in your everyday lifestyle. In an attempt to become a better offensive lineman football player, I gained over 100 pounds in one year from my junior to senior football seasons in high school, peaking at 346lbs (25 stone) with a size 46 waist (now I wear a 36). I remained over 300lbs for the next 4 years until I retired from college football in 2007. I spent the next 3 years attempting to lose weight, but I was unsuccessful and I kept letting obstacles get in the way which caused me to constantly fluctuate. In 2010 I was finally able to start correctly placing all of the little pieces into the puzzle, and I proudly won a national Men’s Health sponsored total body transformation contest called The 2010 Men’s Health / Spartacus Transformation Challenge.

I beat out thousands of other individuals throughout the United States and was flown to Auckland, New Zealand to be filmed as an extra in an episode of Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, the prequel to Spartacus: Blood and Sand on the Starz Network. It was not until after the contest was over that I completed my very first food challenge which was back in March 2010. It has been a long 4+ year journey since then, but I now have over 170 food challenge wins in over 7 different countries, yet I am still wearing the same size 36 jeans that I started with. I have never taken a nutrition class, and everything I know has been learned from many years of research along with a ton of failed trial and error experiences. Through all of my experiences, I have been able to establish one fact that I know to be true. There is absolutely no substitute for a proper nutrition program.

The True Promoters Of Obesity

As mentioned in other articles, competitive eating and food challenges get used as a scapegoat all the time by different groups, and there are many people that claim that food challenges promote obesity. They can claim whatever they want, but the fact is that the true promoters of obesity are any person or company that attempts to sell a supplement, workout regimen, diet plan, fitness product, weight-loss product, surgery, or any other health related product/idea without claiming that the person must change his or her lifestyle and nutrition habits in order to get actual results that last. There is no shortcut, and the obesity epidemic will always exist as long as people think they don’t have to fix their nutrition habits. Nutrition supplements and fitness products are a multi-billion dollar industry, and their are thousands of companies making millions of dollars because they are taking advantage of people that think they can achieve lasting results without changing up their diet. I have taken over 25 different supplements over the years and I have tried different workout programs and products too, and I now fully understand that no supplement or workout plan will compensate for a terrible diet. You don’t have to exercise to lose weight, but it is recommended of course, because that really speeds up the process

It is a known fact around the competitive eating community that you are able to eat at a much higher level when you are fit and in great shape. I firmly agree with that too, because I can eat much more when I am weighing 245lbs than I can when I am weighing 275lbs. I know multiple people who enjoy food challenges that used to weigh a lot more than they do now, just like me. They are in better shape now while “eating” than they were before ever even trying a food challenge. For me, food challenges provide great motivation to stay active and continue working out, so that I can maintain a pretty relaxed diet when not doing competitions. If I stop working out, but continue doing food challenges, I will have to reduce my calories more than I currently do to keep from gaining weight. Since I enjoy food so much, I continue working out so that I can eat more of it. I lift to eat!!

You will never find an article on this site claiming that you can participate in eating competitions without worrying about possible weight gain. If you don’t adjust your diet to compensate for the extra calories, you will gain weight if you are doing large & high calorie challenges. You can increase your level of exercise, but most of the time more exercise is not enough. There is obviously an obesity problem in countries all over the world, and you can go into any public place and see that. ZERO percent of those people are obese because of doing food challenges. They are obese because they have poor nutrition habits. It is pretty hard to beat a food challenge if you have no idea what you are doing, and it is even harder to lose weight if you don’t have a clue what to do. 97% of information about health and fitness today is total crap, and the reason is because most giant supplement companies and product manufacturers are spending millions and millions of dollars to make sure that their products continue to sell, and most products would not sell if people actually knew how to eat properly.

People can say that food challenges promote obesity and weight gain all they want, but the real culprits are your “friends” trying to get you to buy some weight loss shake while saying you don’t have to change your diet. Let a guy who doesn’t understand nutrition have the great personal trainer in the world and workout in the most expensive gym. As long as that person never receives nutrition help, and only receives supplements, pills, and personal training sessions, I will dominate him in a weight loss contest using no equipment other than a pull-up bar and a men’s Shake Weight. Suing McDonald’s and trying to eliminate the selling of large sugary drinks is not going to help the obesity problem, and either is totally getting rid of food challenges and competitive eating.

There are overweight competitive eaters of course, but they are not overweight because they participate in eating competitions. Even they will agree with that. They just have not figured out how to control their daily eating habits yet for a long enough period of time. If you practice moderation when doing food challenges and eating contests, and you counteract the extra calories by eating less for a few days afterwards, you will not gain weight, and you certainly will not become obese. If you don’t control your eating habits for a long period of time though, whether you are doing eating competitions or not, you will gain weight unless you are just really genetically gifted. Just because you are thin though, that does not necessarily mean you are healthy. Along the same lines, not everyone that is overweight is unhealthy. However you want to look at it though, food challenges do not promote obesity, so please blame that fact that you don’t understand nutrition yet before blaming the restaurant down the street with a 6lb burrito challenge spicy wing contest. Your problems are not their fault.

To go back and view other Food Challenges 101 articles, click here.