So now you’re probably saying, ‘ok…then what is?!’
First, let’s look at the things that really aren’t keeping you from reaching your body goals.
Your Metabolism – a common scapegoat, do you ever have that feeling that you just have a slower metabolism? Your metabolism (resting metabolic rate) is the amount of energy your body requires to simply function.
Things to keep in mind – if you lose weight, restrict calories, or lose muscle mass this will negatively impact your metabolism. If you’re holding onto weight even though you feel you’re doing “everything right” there is the slim possibility that you have a thyroid issue.
(1)Hypothyroidism effects 4.6% of the US population over age 12 and can make it difficult to change your weight. If you suspect something is off, definitely get it checked out.
Aside from a thyroid issue, your metabolism is not likely the problem when it comes to reaching your personal best dancer’s body. When you find the food plan that is best for your body (just yours, no one else’s) your metabolic rate will work for you and help you get to where you want to be.
Yes, there are certainly dancers who are fast metabolizers. These tend to be the people who are always eating and always bouncing off the walls with energy and they stay super thin. If you’re not that person, it’s ok (I’m certainly not)! You can still reach your body goals.
You might also think the problem is your genes. One of my clients was actually told by her Artistic Director that the problem with her body was genetic and if she wanted a ballerina body she’d probably have to stick to lettuces – *face palm*. I was obviously shocked and appalled when I heard this.
More and more nutritional research points to the fact that our genes are malleable. Certain ones can be turned on or off depending on your food choices.
When I was dancing, I remember feeling that if I wanted to reach my body goals I needed to just eat as close to nothing as possible. I don’t even remember blaming anything like my metabolism or genes. It just seemed that to be as thin as some of my fellow dancers it would take extremes.
This lead to under – eating throughout high school and college. I kept it up throughout my early years of dancing professionally. Then, when I was working through long days of rehearsals on little food, it started catching up with me.
I’d return home ravenous and uncontrollably eat everything in sight. My weight fluctuated by at least 5 – 10 pounds most of the time. A tutu would fit one week and not the next. If you’ve experienced this on any level, you know it’s pretty devastating.
Throughout my dance training and career I was riddled with constant stress and literal stress fractures. Now, in looking back, I know those injuries and anguish were absolutely connected to my erratic food choices.
So if the problem isn’t genetics or metabolism, what is it? The #1 challenge most dancers need to work on to reach your personal best body is your relationship with food.
You’ve been bombarded by teachers, friends, family and the media with mixed messages about how you should look and what you should do to attain that goal. It’s possible you’ve been told that you’ll only be able to reach your body goals if you go to extremes – or maybe, like me, that’s the conclusion you came to on your own.
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With this cheatsheet and the weekly emails from The Whole Dancer, you can start to identify action steps to take you forward! Did you find this post helpful? Please comment below and share your thoughts!