Career Development Plan for Ballet- Building up strength after an eating disorder

Career Development Plan for Ballet- Building up strength after an eating disorder

Dear Odette,
I was wondering if you could help me with a concern I have. I go to a vocational ballet school, and recently I have to admit I got silly with the way I ate. I was cutting out lots of vital food such as carbohydrates and counting calories, and I lost a high percentage of my overall body weight over a small amount of time. I often saw myself as fat, but looking back at old photos I was fine, I was more muscular than most girls and I had a lot of strength, a lot of which I have lost recently. As I broke up for summer staff and my parents were concenered, and I started to realise the risks I caused on my body and agreed it was time I returned back to a good weight. It has been hard, particularly as I still believe at times that I am 'big' and I still believe silly rumours about certain food types on the Internet. I am starting to love my body more, but it is still really difficult at times, particularly as I have felt I could never tell anyone about the problems I have/had. I wondered if you had any tips on good snacks / meals to have to gain muscle weight and how to build up strength both mentally and physically as it has really affected the way I dance.
Thank you so much, your website is always such a help to me whenever I get concenered through my training!


Reply by Odette
To:- Career Development Plan for Ballet- Building up strength after an eating disorder

Thank you so much for your honest message, I am really pleased you found the courage to get into contact with me and share how you really feel inside. I do believe I can definitely help you with my advice to get back on track for where you want to be and more. I understand what you are saying and I know it must have taken a lot of guts for you to be honest like you have.

Firstly, the fact you have realised your goal and you are aware you want to get stronger again is a huge step. You must keep this frame of mind whenever you start to doubt yourself, because I expect your old habits will to creep back in now and again.

It is really important to build up a healthy mind and body as a ballet dancer. You have to see yourself as a training athlete in which you must fuel your body in order to maximize your ability. In the world of professional ballet, there are many different types of bodies and you are not expected to all look identical. Everyone has individual facilities and therefore you must work to focus only on yourself.

I would keep away from getting carried away by reading too much on the internet. There are hundreds of articles which tell you what is good or bad to eat, but utlimately you have to decide for your body what works for you best. Of course, you can educate yourself about the right foods online but don't let it scare you and start restricting your intake again.

From now on, if you aim to build muscle strength, you want to always make sure your body is fueled with enough food. A good guideline is to eat little and often with a balance in food groups, so you have carbohydrates for energy but also protein for muscles.

I like to eat whole grain foods which I know are fueling my body in the right way. A good meal for breakfast for example, would be porridge. That is what I have always most typically eaten as a training ballet dancer. Some snack ideas include nuts, oatcakes, ricecakes, fruit, carrots and hummous. At each meal, you want to be having the balance of protein like chicken, eggs or fish. Then carbohydrates like pasta, cous cous ot sweet potatoe. And, also lots of vegetables like carrots, broccoli or salads.

Try to really listen to your body, which will be hard at first. It will take time for you to experiment and see what foods work best for you, but you musn't loose courage.

Keep in touch with me and ask me any questions you like. I encourage you to read my eBook, particularly for you Virtue 3:Physicality and Virtue 4:Mentality. I teach you here how to build up strength in your mind and body, but it is all bundled into one place for you to keep reading over and over.

As you can see, I love to talk and give advice so it is hard for me to give this all to you in one answer! I hope this has solved some of your thoughts.

Keep in touch.
Best wishes,

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