Is there a quick fix to reach your body goals?
Body transformation for dancers starts in your mind and honestly, your body might not change at all. As much as you might tell yourself your body can or should change easily, that’s not often the case. At least not if you hope to make a sustainable change. If you’re hung up on the idea that restricting for the 3 weeks leading up to your next big audition is the right approach, it’s time for a reframe.
When you attach your goals to a deadline, it’s dangerous. You might tell yourself you should be different before an upcoming show, a summer intensive or the start of a new season. That’s when the quick fix, restrictive approach tends to infiltrate your psyche.
Here’s what to do to avoid that thinking pattern:
Work to accept your natural physical fluctuations. Your body will change over time. It should. It’s completely normal and natural that your body will be different when you’re 15, 19, 25, 35, and so on.
Are some of those fluctuations within your control? Yes. However, there are other factors we can only impact so much. Stress, food availability, pandemic restrictions…these are all things that are not things you can control. And they may impact your body size and composition.
Let go of the diet and “bad” food mentality.
Again, if restriction comes into play for you often, it’s time to shift your thinking. The foods you categorize as “bad” probably got that label sometime in childhood. The way food is presented to us and the connotations around it will impact how we feel about it.
Just like I’ve recommended that you “Rewrite Your Body Story”, you might benefit from revising your relationship to certain foods. Go back to where the “bad” food associations originated. How can you change the way you view those foods? What is GOOD about them? It might just be that you find them tasty or enjoyable! That’s a fine reason to allow that food to lose it’s negative label.
How you think body acceptance and transformation should go…
Dancer’s think the first thing that has to happen is a summoning of colossal amounts of motivation and discipline. When you’re more motivated or more disciplined, you tell yourself you’ll achieve your nutrition and health goals. Discipline is the secret sauce. The reality is, discipline is stifling and motivation only works if the end goal is truly going to bring you joy and happiness. Hint: a thinner body won’t bring those things.
The goal of discipline is often to eat less. Then, your body will shrink and you’ll finally be able to accept yourself. You’ll finally be happy because a smaller body should make you happy. While this path of discipline, less food, smaller body, and finally confidence and acceptance sounds like the path to your greatest achievements in dance, it’s not.
How body acceptance and transformation actually happen…
The path to a place of true acceptance and body transformation actually looks like this. First, accept yourself exactly as you are right now. Then, your relationship to food and your body will start to shift.
WIth those shifts, your mind will begin to transform. Finally, you’ll be more motivated to grow as a dancer, artist and athlete.
That’s a true transformation and it starts from the inside. External change may follow. Or it may not. The result will be your healthiest, happiest self.
Just like your technique, body transformation is an ongoing process.
The process of physical change, starts with acceptance of yourself exactly as you are. This may sound contradictory, and my clients often fear it means “settling”. However, it’s only when you release the impulse to take drastic action to change yourself that things shift.
You know it takes time to improve as a dancer. You’re willing to give technical proficiency years of work. Your body deserves the same freedom from the constraints of time.