Help! I’m a teenager and my body is changing. I’ve gained weight and my dance teacher notices. What should I do?
A healthy body weight supports the physical demands of dance while balancing the metabolic demands of growth. Antiquated standards of a preconceived “dancer’s body” however, creates a vulnerable environment to the development of restrictive eating habits. What stems from good intentions to improve performance often results in dangerously unsustainable dieting measures. Food transforms from a once beloved experience to an obstacle of avoidance.
Defining a healthy body weight is challenging in a culture that emphasizes leanness and often promotes unhealthy dieting habits. This is especially true for a young dancer undergoing puberty. Eating disorders often develop around the time a young dancer undergoes a growth spurt.
If you’re 19-years-old or younger, and you’re worried about weight gain, understand that it’s healthy for a pre-teen or teen to gain weight. Your body is undergoing a great deal of hormonal changes; it’s critical to allow it to do so!
Dancers balance art with athleticism. Rather than measuring body weight or size, redefine body acceptance with body appreciation. As a dancer, your capabilities will blossom only when you access body confidence.
5 Tips to Help Dancers Build Body Confidence
- Redefine Happiness– Rather than relying on a scale, measure everyday happiness through experiences. Grab coffee with a friend, read a book, or write a blog post.
- Abandon the Scale– Scientifically, this number is a misrepresentation of you and your body. Don’t let this number dictate your lifestyle.
- Give Purpose to Food– Focus on the types of foods that you’re eating. Do you feel energized? Make room for any and all foods that you love. Consider online resources to build a meal plan that best suits your goals.
- Avoid Comparisons– Stop comparing yourself to a peer. We are separate beings who cannot be held to the same standards.
- Turn Acceptance into Appreciation– Mindful practices like yoga and Pilates help dancers gain awareness into their body and its many complexities. Appreciate your strength, endurance, and flexibility.
Body acceptance is a journey.
Start yours now.