For Dancer’s the Stakes are even Higher
In the past, I’ve gotten into the idea that those “What I Eat in a Day” posts are worth taking with a grain of salt. You might look to them for some inspiration but you shouldn’t give them too much weight and you definitely shouldn’t copy them outright.
Over the Summer, my point was magnified when I saw some dancer shares on Instagram stories. There was a little trend of sharing a “day in the life” at Summer Intensive, including daily food intake.
Without getting into specifics, because I don’t want to perpetuate the negative message, some dancers shared food intakes that were at anorexic levels. A banana and saltines are not a sufficient lunch for a high level dancer!
I was kind of shocked and considered direct messaging the dancer. I hope that someone in her circle (a parent, friend, teacher) did confront her. She wasn’t taking in anywhere near enough food to fuel a day at a Summer Intensive.
Whether you’re a young dancer, pre-professional, or pro, it’s possible that seeing that sort of food information makes you question things. Are you in fact eating too much? Do you really need to under eat to meet your body goals? Does she know something you don’t?
The short answer is no.
The more complex answer is that food intake can and should be different for everyone but no dancer should be severely under eating or restricting calories to meet body goals. If you want some thoughts on what a dancer should in fact eat in a day, check out this video on The Whole Dancer YouTube channel – subscribe while you’re there!
To the dancers thinking of sharing “What I Eat in a Day” details, please take pause.
If you think you’re a healthy example but you’re not sure, air on the side of caution. It’s really dangerous for other dancer’s to see clear examples of under eating. For the young ones the damage can be lasting. For the older dancer’s it can still make you question things.
Before you share your food, really ask yourself, “Am I eating a full, complete and healthy meal?”
“Is this something I would feed to my future daughter (or son) and be confident that I’m nourishing them?”
“Did I make this meal with the intention of loving and supporting my body and dancing?”
If you can answer yes to all of those questions then sharing is OK. Sharing healthy eat’s for the sake of inspiration can be a really awesome thing. With all sharing online I think we need to remember the impact we can have.
Your influence might be much further reaching than you even realize.
When you’re a viewer, take the time to consider the information you’re taking in as well. If a dancer you admire is casually sharing what she’s eating for lunch, it still doesn’t mean it’s what you should eat.
If you suspect that maybe a dancer isn’t eating enough, trust your instincts and don’t copy what she shares!! Also, remember that you might not be getting the full picture.
When someone shares their food, they might only show the “pretty” parts. They can leave out components of the meal if they don’t think they’re healthy enough.
The mentality that you approach your food choices with is key. If you allow too much influence from dancers (especially when they’re not nutrition professionals) you’re on a dangerous path.
You might be inspired to under eat or miss out on essential micro or macro nutrients.
Instead, find a professional to work with or do your own research (in reputable, science based books, not the internet)!