Information & insights for graceful living.
Weight Loss with Ballet: 8 Secrets for SuccessJanuary 12, 2017
Recently a woman sent me this question: How can ballet exercises be used as part of a weight loss regimen? EXCELLENT QUESTION! (Thanks, Gayle!). So here are some no-nonsense tips for how to engage your ballet practice to reach your weight loss goals.
- BE CONSISTENT. As with any exercise and diet regimen, the most important aspect is CONSISTENCY. It is far better to do a little each day (or several times per week) than to binge exercise. I am a total advocate of doing what you enjoy and will look forward to as exercise.
- ENGAGE THE POWER OF INSPIRATION. Ballet is one-stop fitness. Not only does it hit all the right fitness markers (strength, tone, flexibility, balance, agility, coordination, and endurance), but it also draws from a concept of beauty from both the movements and the music. When you allow yourself to be touched, moved, and inspired as you engage your body, the joy itself can be as transformative as the exercise!
- START SIMPLE. The biggest killer of exercise enthusiasm is feeling overwhelmed physically and/or emotionally. Although you may think “I’m going to kill it!”, all you’re really doing is setting yourself up for a cycle of overload→ exhaustion or injury→ guilt→ resistance. All exercise (including ballet) should be approached progressively. As your body develops more ability, your confidence increases right along with your fitness level, giving you more satisfaction and motivation over the long haul.
- DITCH THE GUILT! Instead, do what you naturally ENJOY and then use that empowerment to add to your program. This is exactly why I made Everyday Ballet Members as a library of both full-workouts (of many different varieties), as well as shorter segments and individual exercises. You can choose to do something small and lovely, an intense workout, or anything in between. It’s important to tune-in and give your body the exercise nourishment it craves. None of us can give 100% all the time, so don’t let yourself feel guilty! Instead, do what you can and acknowledge your effort. Feelings of pleasure, accomplishment, and satisfaction are what keep you coming back for more!
- MOVE YOUR BODY (before your mouth). When you feel the urge to break with the sensible dietary parameters you’ve established for yourself, especially if a sense of guilt starts creeping in, try moving your body a little. Heck, turn on some music and dance like no one’s watching! I find that when I start feeling anxious one of the very best antidotes is to pick a piece of music I love and move to it. Oftentimes, just taking a pleasurable little “body break” can bring some happiness and perspective back to a hectic or anxious mind. Also, allowing yourself to connect with your body for a few moments is a wonderful step towards self-awareness and acceptance that will go a long way towards developing a kinder and more effective relationship between you and food, and you and exercise.
- FOCUS ON CORE STRENGTH. It’s not that you have to do core exercises all the time, but rather that you pay attention to your posture and core as you do each ballet movement. You will gain much more strength and ability while also flattening your tummy! If there is one secret to ballet, it is using your core to move. The Everyday Ballet program is designed around proper posture and core engagement with every single exercise. Eventually, using your core becomes a muscle memory habit that’ll keep you toning your midsection without even having to think about it!
- BUILD GOOD HABITS. This is the key to weight loss through diet and exercise. I am a pragmatist. Far too often I see women who are anxious about food and their bodies. My approach is to follow some very simple rules and live easily with them, so that I can have patience and kindness for myself when I don’t always meet my own expectations. My video Eating Like a Ballerina outlines my food philosophy. It’s soooooo important to be gentle and patient as you build good habits! Being kind to yourself goes a very long way to supporting your journey to better health!
- MAKE JOY A PRIORITY. Doing things you love and spending time with people you care about are keys to feeling fulfilled (and less likely to binge or otherwise engage behaviors that try to fill up emptiness). Pleasure naturally keeps you coming back for more, so connecting with your body, exercise, and eating in ways that are enjoyable (instead of guilt-induced) will keep you on a healthy path.
HAPPY DANCING & DINING!
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