Ballerina's Eating Habits
People often ask me what I do or don’t eat to stay in shape. My approach to eating is very similar to my approach to ballet: develop good habits, listen to your body and enjoy everything you do!
Here’s my approach to healthy eating:
1. Drink plenty of water!
I spend a lot of time working out, teaching and talking, therefor it’s extremely important to stay hydrated.
2. Eat snacks/small meals throughout the day to keep your energy level even.
I hate when I don’t eat and my blood sugar drops! I get “hangry” (hungry/angry). To avoids extreme lows I always try to keep some fruit snacks, smoothies or snack bars on hand–in for just such an occasion!
3. Try to make good choices–lean proteins, fruits, veggies, whole grains–but don’t beat yourself every time you don’t.
We all have days where it just doesn’t work out, and sometimes there’s a craving for something specific. There is no harm in partaking in foods that have a lot of animal fats, sugar, etc. We just want those choices to be small selections in a much broader range. I like my chocolate or pizza but I know it can be easily burned by an increased workout on that day or balanced with smaller lunch/dinner portions.
4. When possible, cook and eat with friends or family.
Eating is so satisfying when it is social! And satisfaction of both our biological and emotional needs is key. Food does not fill our emotional needs for relatedness, nor does it soothe anxiety. Having social dinner together to enjoy each other can go a long way to addressing the anxiety factor that drives many people to over eat.
5. Stay away from “fake” foods.
I like to eat real deal–foods. On occasion I might eat something processed, but then I don’t reach for any “low-fat” version. Fats and carbs are not the enemy and never have been! The issue is – to be aware of your portion, current activity ( are you exercising to burn it) as well as the actual reason for eating.
6. Eat as colorfully as you can.
The natural colors of fruits and veggies indicate their wonderful vitamin and mineral content. I always feel best when I eat colorfully!
7. Time to eat.
I don’ like to follow regular food intake schedule. Staying conscious allows my body to tell me when I’m hungry and when it’s time to have something to eat, regardless whether it’s time for lunch or it’s a long way after. In other words I eat when I’m hungry – not when the clock say so.
Finally – over many years of using my body as my instrument I’ve learned that I won’t feel well if I make poor food choices, so I take my sugar and fatty foods in small doses. I let my activity levels and natural hunger tell me when I need to eat and I listen to my cravings when they come up.
What you eat should serve both your health and your happiness without being an obsessively controlled or anxious practice.