*Photo: A few days ago at the Winter Program in Tampa. Preparing for YAGP Ensembles.
As I mentioned in my "To a Good 2018" post, I want to make self-care and health a priority this year. Health has always been a concern for me, especially since my teenage years. However, I really want to focus on two things: nourish and mental focus.
This is a very delicate subject for dancers. So it was hard to write about it. Nevertheless, here is a bit of my story. I want to keep sharing my journey with you on upcoming posts.
When I was 15, I went on a restrictive diet as my school was going to perform Swan Lake. I say "restrictive" because I prohibited myself to consume certain foods, such as bread, pasta, rice, and everything that had to do with carbs. I was eating meat and vegetables in very small portions, and a lot of eggs every week.
Of course, I looked great. But for a 15-year-old, it was not healthy. Especially on the mental part of it. I used to get devastated by eating bread, felt guilty for eating a whole wheat sandwich, and cried whenever I ate a slice of cake at a birthday party.
When I turned 16 and moved to the United States, my body changed completely. I gained around 13kgs (25+lb), and my confidence was as low as ever.
For the course of my 17th, 18th and 19th birthday, I was trying different ways to eat. Different diets and methods. But nothing made my body change. I felt stuck, embarrassed, and could not see myself in videos or photos.
After I turned 20, I started to work on my mental relationship with food and my body. I made the decision to not get stressed out with everything I was eating. I allowed myself to have those foods I love the most, I started not to worry about eating out once in a while, and I got into cooking more at home.
Also, I had an extra push. Apart from all the information I previously had about nutrition, I spent the whole summer of 2017 taking The Dancer's Best Body Program. Created by the wonderful Jess Spiner through The Whole Dancer, this course allowed me to learn a lot about the mental relationship with food. You can go at your own pace and has great personal exercises that make you realize where you are, what you can do, and where you want to go with your body. I definitely recommend it to any dancer who wants to learn more about nutrition and most importantly, how you can use it to nourish your body in the best way possible.
Of course, my closest relatives and the people I love the most also help me through the process. On those days I felt the most miserable, they helped me get through all the difficulties. Sometimes you don't realize how much these people appreciate you.
So, this is a little bit of my story. Like all dancers, I have gone through ups and downs. As my body gets better and better every day, I now feel comfortable and determined to share my journey with you, all my readers.
Stay tuned for more posts and updates on my health journey and how I plan to keep my goals for nourishing and improving my mental focus.
I hope I can help some of you that have gone through a similar situation.