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Eating Like a Ballerina

March 6, 2016

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People often ask me what I eat (or don’t) to stay in shape. My approach to eating is much like my approach to ballet: develop good habits, listen to your body, and let joy be a part of everything you do! Below is my take on healthy eating:

1. Drink plenty of water!
Because I spend a lot of time both sweating and talking, it’s extremely important to stay hydrated.

2. Eat snacks/small meals throughout the day to keep your energy level even.
I’m the WORST when I don’t eat and my blood sugar drops! I get “hangry” (hungry/angry). Whenever I start to feel a little angry for no apparent reason, I stop to ask myself when was the last time I ate… I try to keep easy protein shakes or bars on hand–in my house, my purse, etc. 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 sweets, cheeseburgers, fries and occasional cocktail or glass of wine, but I also know how crappy my body would feel if those were the majority of my choices.

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. But what it can do is bring people together to enjoy each other–which is a kind of reassurance of belonging that can go a long way to addressing the anxiety factor that drives many people to over eat.

5. Stay away from “fake” foods.
I use the real deal–butter. And if I’m going to eat something processed (e.g., potato chips) then I don’t reach for any “low-fat” version. Fats and carbs are not the enemy and never have been! The issues to be aware of are portion and variety.

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!

Finally–I’ve learned over many years of using my body as my instrument 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. I listen to my cravings when they come up (and that way they don’t start screaming at me :)).

What you eat should serve both your health and your happiness without being an obsessively controlled or anxious practice.





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