CrossFit Games Athlete Under Fire about Controversial Nutrition Advice for Women

CrossFit Games athlete Sheila Barden recently posted the following text on instagram about nutrition and weight loss. 

““Sheila, I want to look like you.”
“I want Ab Veins!”
“Damn Girl! Teach me your ways.”
“You have amazing genetics.”

⬆️ All Real DMs in the Past 24 Hours ⬆️

Y’all, real talk: You want a summer beach body?
Want people to be jealous of your physique?
You’re worried about making sure it fits in your macros or keto or paleo or whatever, and you’re so consumed with following some fad diet that you’ve forgotten the #1 Rule:

During cuts, I go to bed hungry 5 out of 7 nights a week. I eat less food than I’m burning on a daily basis. I force my body to use my stored fat from the winter as fuel.

Put down the cookie, the glass of wine and the second serving of chicken. “Healthy Foods” will still make you fat if you’re eating more calories than you’re burning in a day – #Fact 
Eat less food for 30 days straight and you’ll be amazed at how quickly your body changes ?

No magic pill, just less food.”

Fellow Games athlete Meredith Root fired back 

“@sheila_sue You are negating a few very important factors when it comes to energy balance.

Calories in/out are only one variable of many that determine if and when someone loses body fat. Resting metabolic rate, NEAT, willingness to exercise, desire to eat/not eat are all impacted by calories in AND impact the total calories someone burns.

What happens to the person who has already cut calories and isn’t seeing results because they are not sleeping, don’t want to exercise with intensity, and have stopped moving around during the day because their RMR has decreased to that point? Cut more calories? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

How about increase calories, get the person to sleep and move more and then see what happens? You are speaking to a population of people (especially women) who are likely under eating for their activity level as it is. Recommending that they cut more calories is foolish and dangerous. There are plenty of people who I know have experienced performance and body composition improvements by INCREASING calories. 

I could go on about the effects of a calorie deficit on cortisol and thyroid hormones and the effect those have on your ability to lose body fat, but I don’t feel like being here all day. How about recommend that people seek out coaching or work with a professional to understand where they are at currently from a metabolic health standpoint before deciding if cutting calories is the right path for them? Just a thought.”

As did a selection of her followers


“Girlllll I love you but what you’re saying is soo reminiscent of my eating disorder..I started CrossFit this year after it taking literal years for my body to be stable enough to exercise again,what I found in my CrossFit box (cfperimeter) is unconditional love and support where we celebrate each other’s abilities and encourage growth. We lift each other up in physical strength and mental. CrossFit allows me to appreciate what my body can do and not just focus on the physical.

My recovery has been a fight for balance in how I exercise along with viewing food as FUEL. It’s taken years for me to unlearn what my ED taught me.. I’m not going to sacrifice all I’ve worked for to get a “perfect body.” This is difficult, but today, I accept my body how it is– I’m okay with it, and that’s okay. ?”


“This is HORRIBLE! I cannot believe a CrossFit “role model” would preach this to young girls! Exactly why people have eating disorders. Unbelievable.”


“This is some of the worst advice I’ve ever heard lol. I can’t believe you wrote a post this long with such a over explanation of poor information. If you want short term success and a f$@ked metabolism go for it. 

There’s a reason macros work. Science has a place for a reason. You’re seriously misguided lol.”

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.

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