If you’ve ever danced Swan Lake, you know that the entire ballet is quite an undertaking. There are very few parts that don’t require a ton of stamina and energy.

Swan Lake requires you to really fuel  yourself well and make good food choices. However, it’s not always easy and you might fall into the trap of “The Swan Lake Diet”.

This is where you might see the extra work of the Swan Corps as an opportunity to drop some weight. You’re just taking advantage of the fact that you are even more active, right?

Unfortunately, times you’re exerting yourself more than normal – as with ballets like Swan Lake are when it’s even more important that you make careful and strategic food choices.

Swan Lake Diet
Photo credit: thisisbossi via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA

To help you stay out of that trap, I wanted to recap a couple of concepts covered in recent workshops.

First, here are 6 things you need to consider when creating your own custom meal plan:

1. What are your goals and intentions for your body?

2. Assess  your current meal plan. Write down the things you eat and see what healthy and unhealthy choices you’re making on a somewhat consistent basis.

3. Look for macronutrient deficiencies (Fats, Proteins and Carbohydrates) and micronutrient deficiencies (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals).

4. Stop counting calories. Do you currently count calories? What is your attachment to counting calories? All calories ARE NOT created equal.

5. Release your need to put yourself in a box. Do you identify with a specific eating style (Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian)? Outside of ethical reasons, these eating styes can be limiting. It’s important that your eating style is adaptable.

6. How much of your food is home cooked? Start to work towards doing more of your own cooking rather than eating out. This takes careful planning and thought but once it’s part of your routine it gets easier.

Check out this related post :   Pantry Essentials for Dancers


Next, here are the 5 things you need to think about before you sit down to your next meal:

1. Assess your hunger level. Sometimes we eat simply because it’s a time when we usually eat. You need to stop and really tune into your body and think about how hungry you really are.

2. Choose your food carefully. Think about what you already ate that day. Then consider what will satisfy your hungry and your nutrient needs.

3. Cook with love and intention. We energetically impact our food. Make sure that you’re preparing food and putting loving effort into it. You’re cooking a meal in order to nourish and honor your body.

4. Set the stage. Use smaller plates – a salad plate instead of a dinner plate or a smaller bowl instead of the huge bowl (unless your meal is mostly greens!). Make sure your place setting is lovely and appealing.

5. Express gratitude and assess your hunger throughout. Before you eat, you don’t necessarily need to say a prayer, unless that appeals to you. However, taking a moment to feel thankful for the amazing and healthful food you get to enjoy will change the way you approach it.

Finally, what foods will work best for you?

You’ll want to prioritize whole, unprocessed foods. Think fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, seeds and legumes. You might also incorporate lean proteins like chicken or fish *always considering the quality of these foods – where were they farmed or fished?

If you eat any packaged foods, look at ingredients instead of calories. It’s much more important to consider what is actually in your food before you consider how many calories, fat grams, carbs or protein it contains.

Avoid foods that might be inflammatory or upset  your stomach. Common allergens include dairy, soy and wheat. You’ve got to be a detective and pay super close attention to how you feel after you consume these foods. Some may work for you and others will not. You need to become an expert on your own body.

Check out this related post :   Reconnecting to your hunger cues.

If you’re ready to really dive deeply into your relationship with food and find the meal plan that helps you achieve your personal best dancer’s body than check out The Dancer’s Best Body Program. This program is a system developed to take you through the self exploration necessary to find the eating style that fuels you and enhances your performance on stage and in the studio. 

The Swan Lake Diet: Don’t fall into this trap.

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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