Disordered eating is a struggle for many dancers (here’s why). An influx of misinformation from self-proclaimed nutrition experts is often the reason. Those misinformed about how dancers can fuse the principles of intuitve eating with the fundamentals of sports nutrition translate recommendations into polarizing ideas like “eat whatever you want, when you want” and “clean” eating regimens. This is when dancers feel easily triggered into short-term habits sold to manipulate their body weight, shape, and size.
The Healthy Dancer® is designed to not only help dancers build supportive habits, but also, to move the industry away from oppressive values that support dangerous food and body beliefs. This article shares an inspiring testimony from one dancer within The Healthy Dancer community.
It was time to seek support
I wanted to update you on my progress with fueling myself for this performance season. I’ve been implementing what we’ve worked on together and it’s been helping me so much! I’ve had a few big wins lately. I finally allowed myself to eat more after my show, regardless of the time. I disregarded the clock (or any fear/guilty thoughts) and listened to my hunger cues. I went with what we planned out for me in regard to those meals and snack ideas. Not only did I really enjoy them, but I went to bed not feeling hungry like I have in the past. And because of this, I was finally able to get a full night’s sleep.
I wanted to thank you for all this work we’ve done together. I am truly grateful for you.
The work was practical and manageable
I also stuck to our plan for fueling on double show days and found that it works much better than what I used to do. Thank you so so much for this personal support and guidance. I feel confident now that I have the knowledge to help me optimize my performance and well-being while navigating this tricky lifestyle as a dancer, as well as my personal health challenges.
The triggers diminished
I also had another huge win recently. There’s a dancer in the company who continuously talks negatively about her body and purposely doesn’t eat or eats very little, and I am usually tempted to compare my eating with hers and feel guilty for what I eat. It will generally send me into a very negative spiral that’s hard to pull myself out of. I will end up not only very stressed out and upset but punishing myself by not eating. But this time I was able to stop those thoughts right away and redirect them. I was able to recognize that I need to do what I need to do for my health and well-being, which can and will be different from hers, and that’s ok. And I was also able to recognize that what matters on stage is my dancing, not what I look like. If I don’t have the strength or energy to make it through the show then what do I have? It wouldn’t matter what I look like if I can’t even dance! So instead I choose to adequately nourish and fuel my body so therefore I can show up and give the audience my fullest and purest energy.