Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: “Once I stopped weighing myself and blaming myself for an extra piece of food, it became easier to control the diet and maintain weight.”

Posted on 2023-12-15 • No comments yet


Translation of Elizaveta Tuktamysheva’s comments about puberty, diets and weightings.

original source: sports.ru

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Translation of Elizaveta Tuktamysheva’s comments about puberty, diets and weightings posted in her blog on sports.ru

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: In figure skating, many young athletes inevitably face the challenges of puberty. However, not everyone continues their career. How to cope with this complex period and stay in the sport? I’ll share how I managed it and what I went through.

What would I say to my 16-year-old self? An unexpected life hack for puberty.

Puberty is a stage of adolescence when the body undergoes changes, and girls develop more feminine bodies. During this period, it’s challenging to maintain weight – hormones play a role, the body is changing, and adjustments are needed.

I was not an exception; I also went through puberty. There was weight gain, but there was a period when the body started to change and take shape. I was 16 years old. I think, for girls, this period usually occurs between 14-18 years old. Some cope worse, some better, and a lot depends on genetics.

I believe training should adapt to the athlete’s condition during this period – the workload becomes more challenging because the body is already undergoing many changes, and it can’t dedicate all its energy to sports. When internal changes occur, it’s an additional challenge for the body. It’s necessary to reduce the load in some areas and increase it in others.

It’s worth considering that during the transitional age, a person becomes more impulsive. So, the psychological aspect should not be overlooked. The key during this period is to be patient.

If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to listen more to my body, to stop fearing this period. It becomes much easier when you stop controlling it excessively. Once I stopped weighing myself and blaming myself for an extra piece of food, it became easier to control the diet and maintain weight. I would like to convey this thought to my 16-year-old self.

At the same time, I would praise myself for not giving up and continuing to skate despite the emotional and physical challenges.

Of course, maintaining weight is important; you need to control your diet, and it should be balanced. Harmony is crucial here – there should be enough energy for training, and the body should handle the amount of food you consume without storing excess.

During puberty, weight will still increase, but if you adhere to a proper and sensible dietary regimen, it can happen with fewer complications.

Why is puberty considered a challenge? And what should absolutely not be done?

It’s a challenging period. Even if you approach it reasonably and understandingly, problems can still arise. There is no one-size-fits-all solution; everyone is unique.

It happens that, despite proper nutrition and a regulated routine during puberty, athletes face challenges. Patience is required. The most important thing is not to resort to weight loss pills or other radical methods that help maintain weight. This can only harm; it may damage the entire body, making it even more challenging to bring oneself back to normal and recover.

Even if you’ve gained weight, it’s still better to eat less and engage in more sports, but under no circumstances resort to means that can quickly shed kilograms. Because, in the long run, it will have a negative impact on health.

Why is weight measurement such a relevant topic in our sport?
The issue of weighing is frequently raised in figure skating. Coaches sometimes weighed us, both girls and boys. In my case, probably until the age of 20. But there was no strict supervision, it didn’t happen every day.

However, I had strong self-control. I still had the fear of being weighed by coaches. I was afraid of disappointing the coach, so I took this responsibility upon myself – monitoring my shape. So, at that time, the topic of weight was always relevant for me: during every meal, I wondered what the scales would show.

This continued until I decided for myself: I won’t be weighed by coaches anymore; I’ll take control of my own condition. I let go of the pressure and this approach led to me starting to trust myself. Everything fell into place. It’s important to feel yourself, your body. Full control doesn’t suit me; I’m a free spirit, and I cannot be restricted. This only makes things worse.

Of course, I have scales at home – I occasionally step on them. But I can already estimate my weight by my appearance – even by the fingers on my hands. I think many figure skaters can do the same.

Nowadays, I don’t take scales with me for shows, training camps, or other trips, and I live without weighing myself. Before, it was a bit scary – some skaters even bring scales on vacation to avoid gaining extra kilograms.

As long as you are in professional sports, there is always control. Even in the last season, I weighed myself every day to monitor my body. However, it was for informational purposes, not for imposing any restrictions. In any case, I allowed myself to eat something extra – if I really wanted to, I wouldn’t deny myself that. I understood that restricting myself would be worse.

Diets didn’t help me: first, you lose weight, and then you quickly gain it back.

I tried various diets. I attempted the Dukan diet, and it helped me at some point. But as soon as you start eating in a normal routine, everything immediately comes back. I was constantly running, wrapping myself in film, wearing special shorts to burn more calories. I tried citrus diets – eating lemons and a few nuts. And there, the same thing happens: as soon as you start eating, the weight comes back.

So, there was no system: either I didn’t eat at all, or I went on the treadmill after eating. I think the problems were in my head. If I had initially understood how to eat correctly to avoid these calorie and gram concerns, it might have been much easier. Maybe I’m saying this calmly now because I forgot how much my weight used to fluctuate.

I think if you approach nutrition sensibly, avoid excessive weighing and restrictions, this period can be easier to navigate. But it’s better to do this with a knowledgeable specialist.

In our group, there was no professional nutritionist. Usually, athletes monitor this aspect themselves. I know that, for example, in football, there are specialists, but we don’t have them. Some people have these problems, and some don’t; some are born with an ideal figure.

If we had a culture of sports nutrition, it might have been easier. I think such a professional approach in nutrition in Russia appeared not so long ago. Before that, everyone turned to dieticians.

I also went to a dietitian once with a coach – around the age of 15, when puberty was just beginning. During the consultation, the dietitian prescribed a diet for me, and when the coach looked at it, he said: with this ration, you can gain more weight.

It was just a healthy diet that did not consider the needs and loads in sports. In the morning – porridge, for lunch – soup and meat, in the evening – fish with vegetables. It turned out three hearty meals, and at that time, it seemed like overdoing it. Although now I have breakfast, a light lunch, and dinner. If you eat correctly and in moderation, everything is digested well, and nothing is stored. And most importantly – there is energy.

During puberty, you think: if you eat normally, your weight will immediately go up. It’s better to eat a piece of chocolate and drink coffee so that it doesn’t add any weight but gives energy. But this energy quickly goes away, and you’re hungry again after an hour.

It turns out the body is always under stress. And when you start eating in normal amounts – not fatty, not carb-heavy – the body still accumulates enzymes due to stress, makes reserves, just because it didn’t have them before, and it’s afraid it won’t have them again. Even water, coffee – the body will store them because in the evening, you will go running in those pants that remove water. To avoid dehydration, the body will even retain water from simple water. This happens because a person has pushed their body so much that it stores reserves from everything it can.

But when you start eating calmly at the same time, the stress decreases. The body knows that lunch is coming soon, so it can digest breakfast because there won’t be hungry stress during the day. And when this becomes a system, a healthy metabolism develops, the body doesn’t suffer – and you can consistently maintain weight. You need to eat in moderation, not overeat – without pasta for lunch and dinner with cream and bread.

If I’m living in Novogorsk, where we are fed properly during training camps, it’s very easy to maintain weight there. In that environment, I can’t gain weight significantly. If you distribute products wisely, you will have a lot of energy and stable weight. In this case, if you eat pasta or even a burger and relax, nothing bad will happen. Constant thoughts about food and calorie counting are unnecessary.”


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