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How it started.

At age 16, I went on my first diet. I decided that if I wanted to be a better dancer, I needed to lose weight. Long story short, this diet eventually turned into full-blown disordered eating.  

After successfully restricting my food intake for almost 3 years, things went downhill. I began the yo-yo cycle of restricting and binge eating. This continued for 2 or 3 years before I started to think about getting help.    

I kept telling myself I was fine. I had never reached the point of being underweight, and I was finding a lot of success in my dancing when I was successfully restricting. However, eventually, I started dealing with more frequent injuries, slow recovery, brain fog, and poor body image.  

When the yo-yo cycle started, in addition to all the other things I was dealing with due to lack of nutrition, my dancing suffered. I was tired all the time, sluggish, had horrible body image, and just felt really badly about my body and my dancing. 

Finally getting support.

I had been considering getting help for a while, but never pulled the trigger. I thought it would be too big of a financial investment for something that I didn’t think would help me. At one point, I truly believed I was a lost cause and would have to quit dancing altogether.  

Eventually, after a couple of personal life incidents during college, I signed up for free counseling through my university. Three sessions later, I finally came to terms with the fact that I was struggling with disordered eating, and it was serious.  

I started reading a lot of books and online articles about intuitive eating and recovering from restrictive and binge eating, and it was very healing. I was so driven to heal.  

At this point, I had been following The Whole Dancer for a while. The message really resonated with me because Jess teaches balance. A lot of anti-diet dietitians emphasize the importance of allowing yourself to eat whatever you want, whenever you want. They teach that you shouldn’t care about the size of your body, and that you should have complete food freedom.  

dancer group coaching

Help for the professional or aspiring professional dancer.

These are great principles, however, I knew that as an athlete and aspiring dancer, I wanted to be a little more discerning about what I was putting into my body. Although I needed to work through my disordered eating, I still cared about nutrition and wanted to make thoughtful choices about the food I was eating. When I was in the first steps of my recovery, I was missing that piece.  

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The Whole Dancer’s message really aligned with my needs, and I soon saw that Jess was offering a scholarship to the Dancer’s Best Body Course + Group Coaching Program. I had always been skeptical of online courses and was quite strict with myself financially through college. I also was still living in denial that I actually needed specialized help.  

I kept telling myself that I just needed to work harder and be more disciplined. I ended up applying for the scholarship and receiving it. Upon my first email exchange with Jess, she asked me what was holding me back from seeking support earlier. I told her that I wasn’t sure it was worth the investment. Looking back now, I realize how wrong I was!  

Throughout the 8-week program, my relationship to food and my body completely changed. 

Jess is so relatable. Even during the first session we had as a group, I felt like I already knew her. Jess doesn’t give you specific rules to follow — rules that could be very triggering for those in an unhealthy relationship with food.  

She guides you on how to discover the path to your personal best body, to finding joy in your dancing again, and to truly taking care of yourself. The Dancer’s Best Body Program was the missing piece in my recovery. As a dancer and athlete, you need specific support. You can’t expect to make big shifts in your life if you do not have a support system that truly understands you and what you’re going through.  

Looking back on my time in the program and my thought process prior to receiving the scholarship, I get a little bit frustrated! Why was I so resistant to help? Why didn’t I trust a coach who works specifically with dancers? Why was I scared to take the financial leap?  

An investment in your future.

Now, seeing how my life and dancing has changed since the program (I am 2 years out), I have developed such a different view on investing in myself financially.  

I have always been very financially conscious. I like to contemplate all of my purchases before I make them so I don’t “waste” my money. However, as I have gotten older (23), I have begun to see the value of relaxing in my spending a bit.  

Just like with food, deprivation and restriction leads to a lot of stress. Instead of overthinking everything around financially investing in myself, I now readily do it. Instead of convincing myself I don’t need help, I now see it as, “If I need help, then I need help. Let’s do this.” It’s not bad to need things — especially when it comes to healing and working through long-standing personal struggles. 

Had I not enrolled in the program, I probably would have quit dancing and still been struggling with destructive patterns. Now, I am dancing professionally for a mid-sized company in a major city — something I never thought I‘d be able to achieve, let alone sustain.  

On the days I struggle, I think about how far I have come from 2 years ago. My mindset and confidence in myself, as well as my ability to maintain healthy habits (or come back to them when I’ve gotten off track) has improved tremendously since participating in the Dancer’s Best Body Program.  

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A lasting change worth way more than the price.

The Dancer’s Best Body Course + Group Coaching Program is worth way more than the price. Not only because of what’s inside it but because of the lasting results. For anyone hesitating, or still in a bit of denial that they need help, just take the leap. 

The work that Jess does through The Whole Dancer is so valuable; I promise you won’t regret it. Don’t do what I did and wait 6 years to get help. For those who are struggling to justify the investment financially, think of it this way: it can be a one-time monthly payment!  

Think about all the other things you invest in. They aren’t financial “hits,” they are things that you need (or want) that benefit you. Getting help when you need it in pursuit of finding happiness in your life again is not a financial hit, it is an investment that becomes a huge benefit.  

*Disclaimer:

These are the words of a former participant in this online course and group coaching program. This program is not created or intended to treat, diagnose or cure eating disorders. If you think you’re struggling with an eating disorder, check out: https://equip.health. This program can serve as a connection to dance, or as a bridge after you’ve achieved eating disorder recovery. 

Jess works within the scope of practice as a health and nutrition coach. Please read The Whole Dancer policies and health coaching disclaimer prior to enrolling in this program.*

Dancer Testimonial: Group Coaching

Jess Spinner

Jess is a former professional ballet dancer turned Holistic Health, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Coach for high level dancers. She founded The Whole Dancer in 2015 after identifying a greater need for balance, wellness and support in the dance world. Since The Whole Dancer was founded, Jess has worked with 100's of dancers worldwide at top companies and schools. She has been featured in or written for Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine, Pointe Magazine, and Dance Spirit Magazine.

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