Why “Dancers Don’t Diet”?

Because your life as a dancer has a much better purpose than just pursuing thinness.

The 4 reasons why a dancer should never go on a diet (especially if you’re seeking a career in dance and performing arts).

 

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[1] Dieting puts your life on hold

“Until I reach X kg I’m not going to eat ***”

“Until I fit into a size *** I’m not buying new clothes”

“Until I have a bikini body I’m not going to the beach”

Really? Is it really worth halting your life like that? You only live once and oh what a waste to not enjoy every single blitz.

 

[2] Dieting disconnects your mind and body

Whatever diet you choose, there will always be rules. External rules.

“You must eat 6 meals a day.”

“You must fast for 12 hours a day.”

“No carbs after 6pm.” (Or 7pm. Or 8pm. Or whatever that guy on the road told you)

“Say no to candies, chocolates and chips”

Following externally imposed eating rules means you’re often ignoring your intuitive eating signals such as true hunger/fullness, appetite and emotions. This means that your true physical and psychological needs are never met, creating greater body-mind disassociation and lack of intuitive wisdom.

As a dancer it’s crucial for you to be able to fuel your lessons, rehearsals and performances. And to be able to fuel adequately, you need the intuitive skills to trust your body.

[3] Dieting creates bad body image

When you diet, so much of your energy and focus is put on your weight. And this can drive you crazy. Your weight becomes your proof of self-discipline or failure. Your relationship with food becomes abusive as your food choices determines how “good” or “bad” you are. Guilt and shame manifest with every “slips” and “mistakes” you make. Your appearance becomes your worth. Until you lose the weight, (you believe that) you will not be worthy…

What an exhaustive torture!

Look, here’s a question for you.

Would you prefer to use your precious time, energy, and mental health to creating body-hatred, or would you rather use the same to build confidence and self-esteem?

Dieting gives you the former. Non-dieting gives you the latter.

[4] Dieting = more injuries

The reason why so many of the fad diets initially result in weight loss is because they restrict food (= energy deprivation) and cause malnutrition to varying degrees.

As a dancer your body is undergoing an enormous amount of physical (and mental) load. Your body needs so much quality fuel to ensure your cells and tissues can repair and develop each day.

But when you go on a diet and don’t let your body nourish itself, it will only deteriorate. Your risk of injury such as stress fractures will increase and the rate of healing is prolonged too.

 

And an extra important information:

Although dieting may not be the sole cause of eating disorders, it is by far the most common precursor. Approximately 95% of all dieters will rebound – gain back the weight lost and possibly more – and this creates a weight-cycling (more commonly known as yo-yo dieting) effect. This weight cycling can damage both your physical and psychological health.

 

You are born with a body which you will live-in for the rest of your life.

You can fight against it till you exhaust out.

Or you can practice body-acceptance and intuitive eating to nurture a healthy body that is physically and emotionally capable to take you through a life-long career as a dancer.

I hope you choose the latter.

 

 

Fumi x

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