When an athlete eats off plan but refuses to track it they are demonstrating denial as it is too much to visibly see that they would go off plan repeatedly. It is easier to only count what is 'good' and deny that you could ever eat something 'bad'. It is easier to have x macros left if you don't track it than tracking it and being x macros over or only having protein left for the day. Denying the reality of the experience because it would mean having to face it or take responsibility.
An athlete might not get the result they want at a show. Instead of recognizing where they could have done better or the reasons this is, they might blame their coach, politics, judges, lighting...you name it! Anything to ease the pain of recognizing a lack within themselves
Satisfying the desire to act on impulse with something outside of the thing which caused it. For example, an athlete who is stressed about their work situation might not take their frustration out on the work itself by throwing the table or investigating the cause of stress, instead they might go to the kitchen and eat to satisfy the need to relieve stress
A competitor who is feeling upset with themselves in their improvement season might think the only way to feel 'safe' or 'comfortable' again is by going back on prep. This is a form of regression because they are going back to a time where they psychologically felt more comfortable instead of finding a way to face the challenges they are in at that point.
An athlete stops caring so much about their programming but knows it would be inappropriate or unacceptable to admit or recognize they don't care too much anymore so instead of recognizing the lack of care, the athlete says their coach doesn't care and isn't helping them do well.
Okay, this one is actually very positive and effective so yay for us! If you ask a lot of competitors about how the gym benefits them they often reference mental health relief like stress, frustration, depression, anxiety, distress in personal life...taking it out on the gym rather than friends or family or yourself is much better!
Strategies for Resolution
If you plan to go at this alone without the support of someone else like a therapist, mentor, or doctor then you can utilize self-reflection to try and be as honest as you can with yourself about areas of insecurity, doubt, fear, and impuslvity. It can help to also shine light on areas of yourself you just don't like or accept. Then, make a list of your common behaviors, especially those you have an inkling may not be 'best' for you. See if any of the anxieties, insecurities, doubts, or impulsive desires from the previous list could be contributing to that.
Once you complete this from an objective perspective, try to come back into your own perspective and form a layer of acceptance. Defense mechanisms are fairly healthy and normal. When you can bring awareness to where they are coming from or why they exist you might be able to be more compassionate with yourself and develop healthier thinking and communication patterns.
A lot of the times, these are deployes unconsciously, so bringing awareness to them and inviting mindful consideration to your behaviors or habits can be a real game changer as you start to understand the balance between your personality parts including your id, ego, and superego. If you do not face your defense mechanisms you might end up having more difficulty with facing your emotions, developing healthy relationships, or resolving the habits which are not serving you.
Recognizing that you are just doing the best you can can support fostering some compassion then you can even ask other people to support you in recognizing when you might be using a defense mechanism. I would make sure first you have a good understanding of the beliefs, reasons, whys, and definitions or standards you would want upheld so you can still live according to your needs and values rather than leaving it up to someone else to determine if your reaction is healthy or not. Getting support from a third party who is unbiased but knowledgeable can also support you in this process!