Yea body image… It is a part of a ballerina’s life. I hate that it is, but the fact is, we have to be conscious of what our bodies look like. Our bodies are our tools. To be physically fit goes hand in hand with a balanced eating lifestyle. I’ve listened to so much advice on this subject and it can make you go crazy. Everyone has a theory. You end up just getting more confused than when you started. Once, I tried cutting all bread and ended up feeling extremely fainty in the studio. NOT WORTH IT. I’ve tried replacing a meal with one of those diet drinks. Oooh bad idea. I did not feel good.
My biggest tip is to tune in to yourself and be aware of how your body feels after you eat certain things. Food is so individual and your body is telling you what you need to know.
For me personally, a truly balanced diet is the way to go. Don’t deprive yourself of anything but be aware of your choices. (not including summer vacation 😉 )
I find that running is a huge benefit in my regime. I was always told that running built the wrong muscles and that ballerinas shouldn’t run. I haven’t found this to be true. Ballet alone isn’t enough for me to maintain the ballerina weight. Running helps me stay in check. There is also a balance to running because you don’t want to exhaust yourself. Some months I run a lot (June, July, August, September) but as the season’s performance schedule increases, I decrease my runs. In December, I don’t run. The Nutcracker marathon is enough exhaustion (When I go for a run, I run between 20-30 minutes. Nothing crazy.)
Here are a few Eating Tips that I keep myself aware of too.
–Bread. Be a bit aware. I feel it right away in my body if I’ve eaten a lot of bread. Other carbs such as potatoes or pasta work much better for me. Something in bread makes me feel puffy. I do not eliminate it completely but rather only have it at one meal per day.
–FISH! I love fish and my body feels great after eating fish. Salmon is a regular for me before a show. I truly recommend.
–Sweets. For me, I don’t crave cakes and pies so much as gummies. Oooh gummies are my weak spot. Don’t cut out all goodies but be realistic, knowing that you can’t eat a ton of sweets everyday and have an athletic ballerina body.
–Popcorn. My go to snack in the evening is popcorn. If I want to nibble after dinner without feeling like I’m entering junk food land. Popcorn satisfies, especially if you are obsessed with Ranch like me and can add a Ranch Seasoning!
–Bananas. Great energy snack. I have at least one everyday.
–Eggs. I love starting the morning with eggs. (My trick. Use the water boiler to cook your eggs. Fill the kettle about half way with water and place two eggs inside. Wait for it to boil and click off, then set your timer for 8 minutes. BOOM! Two perfect soft boiled eggs. and no mess. )
–Water. Never stop. Keep your system hydrated so it can work properly. I’m a fan of adding Emergen-C in my water bottle. I forget more days than not but I’m so happy for it when I remember.
–No Wine. When I’m in season, I don’t feel like drinking all that much, but when I do I never reach for wine. Always hard alcohol or beer. My body reacts to wine by making me feel puffy and my body feels worse the next day as if the inflammation never calmed down after the show.
Never lose the joy of food or all of life’s events that involve food. First and foremost live.