Positivity is Possible and an Essential Step

You might be stuck in a spiral of body negativity, under eating and then binge eating. It’s possible you’re in a cycle of dieting that’s getting you nowhere (and costing you energy that you need for dance).

Before you can see any momentum towards your positive body goals, you have to shift the thoughts and feelings you’re experiencing every day around food and your body. 

I talk a lot about the importance of creating a positive relationship with food and your body but I don’t want you to feel alone on the “how-to” part. There are some clear strategies you can start to work on to get things moving in a positive direction. 

These strategies are all part of The Whole Dancer 7 Step Best Body Process and I’m going to share some of them now. Read on, or watch the video:

To Create a Positive Relationship with Food:

View food as fuel…

This doesn’t mean you never indulge. It means you put a focus on creating meals that are not only delicious and pleasing but also provide your body with the macro + micro nutrients that will support your moving body.

You’re an artist and an athlete so you likely require more food than the average person. When you make your food choices based on your desires and what’s going to serve you, your dancing will be enhanced. A top performing athlete requires premium (and enough) fuel.

Don’t label food “good” or “bad”…

When you do this, you’ll then often attribute the label to yourself. So when you eat a “bad” food,  you’ve been bad. When you’re eating “good” foods, you’re good. This thinking is dangerous and can lead to a lot of negative spiraling.

Think about food you might label in this way. What if you just look at it as food?

Eat mindfully…

Engage your senses. Really take in how your food looks, maybe put in a little effort to make it look extra yummy. The way they do at a fancy restaurant.

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Then, give yourself time to chew and process. You have to allow your brain to catch up with your body and register when you’ve had enough. If you’re distracted or speeding through a meal you might go past the point of satisfaction to discomfort. This often leads to guilt which is helpful to avoid.

No foods are off-limits…

Dancers often have a list of food they think they should never eat. Throw out the list. Putting things on an off limits list many times results in over eating or binge eating that food (like my college peanut butter example from this video).

End restriction…

If you get caught up in the thinking, “I’ll be better/I’ll eat less tomorrow,” it’s time to let it go. Under eating leads to over eating and vice versa. If you’re stuck in that place, plan to eat enough at each meal. Give your body what it needs. This will allow you to find balance so things don’t feel so variant and stressful.

Ending restriction must happen for you to create a positive relationship with food and your body.

To Create a Positive Relationship with Your Body:

Undo all the negativity that you and others have projected onto your body over the years…

Rewrite your body story, read this post for full details on how to do that. Essentially, you’ll process all of the body comments and feedback you’ve received so you can invalidate them, let go and move on.

This allows you to take your power back. You get to choose what your best body is.

Have a self-care plan…

Incorporate 1 or 2 of these simple activities each day. When you practice self-care, you’re communicating to your mind and body, through action, that you’re worthy of time and attention.

      1. Dry brushing
      2. Baths
      3. Meditation
      4. Music
      5. Journaling
Daily gratitude…

Each and every day, ask yourself: What does your body do for you that you’re grateful for?

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Incorporate a body appreciation meditation. This is great if you’re newer to meditation as it’s really simple. No pressure. Here’s what you do: lay on a yoga mat or the floor, place a hand on your heart and one on your stomach. Take deep breaths as you send loving, positive vibes to yourself.

Quiet the constant criticism…

When you’re in the studio looking in the mirror, pick out what you’re doing well. When you look around the studio, pick out what others are doing well too! This is key.

If you find you’re criticizing the bodies of others, start to change the way you look at them. Take your focus off of things you think should change and put it onto the things they’re doing well.

All of this takes time and ongoing attention but it is possible to create a positive relationship with food and your body even if you feel like it’s a far off goal.

How-To Create a Positive Relationship with Food and Your Body

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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