The need to live a healthier lifestyle

I am healthier because I take ballet.

That’s a fact that I realize both physically and mentally.

When I returned to ballet at 39, I lost 45 pounds in a year. It was the first form of exercise I was able to consistently do in my adult life.

My sugar, my heart rate, my cholesterol are all at pretty good levels for man my age.

Being a non-smoker also contributes.

But I’ve also come to realize another important fact: Ballet is not enough.

I eventually gained about 15-20 of the pounds back. And even at my lowest weight, I was still a few pounds heavier than I wanted to be, and just couldn’t go any further.

There are a couple of reasons for that.

I may dance anywhere from 3 to 6 days a week, but I don’t eat like a dancer.

I don’t mean the anorexic, I only eat grass kind of dancer.

I eat like the sports writer I once was. I eat like the stressed-out single parent I’ve been most of my adult life. I eat like the late-night copy editor-page designer I’ve become. And the once-again college student pursuing a second degree in me hasn’t helped.

Fast-food, restaurant food, sports bar food, sodas, snack machines, microwave food, they have been the comfort foods, the convenience foods in my life that have been hard to give up.

I have friends who are into all of those “miracle” lose weight plans: ACE, Advocare …ect. I know that works for them. But that’s not me.

I need someone with nutritional knowledge who can help me plan affordable, healthier meals to help me live a more healthier life.

I also need an exercise routine to complement the ballet. I’ll be honest, I am not a self-motivator. Group exercise has always been something easier for me to do. That’s why ballet has worked when other things haven’t. I have someone who leads me, and others who are working toward the same things with me.

And a gym membership probably isn’t the answer. When your schedule revolves around kids, work, school and ballet, I feel I’ll get in a habit of paying for a gym membership I don’t really use. If I can find a place that allows you to pay as you go, that would be ideal.

Trying to come up with that healthier meal plan and coming up with that second form of exercise right now are two of my goals. Neither are that easy.

And they are just as tangible of goals as my dance goals: Being more consistent with my double pirouettes that I move on to triples, dance in a more complicated piece, perform another pas de deux and be a much technically cleaner, more fundamentally sound dancer than I am.

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4 responses to “The need to live a healthier lifestyle

  • Kim

    This isn’t for everyone, but something that I personally find effective for eating healthy on a full schedule and tight budget is to prepare all my food in one go (over the weekend is good) and then to eat the same thing over and over. Bean and vegetable soups are particularly great for this. I also like having healthy snack foods around (apples, veggies, etc) so I don’t buy a baked good at the coffee shop. Frozen grapes taste like popsicles. If you’re interested in more, I’ve written about nutrition stuff here: http://poledancecompetition.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/clean-up-your-diet-starting-with-these-three-steps/

  • loveablestef

    I know the feeling of realizing I need to do more to reach my goals! Recipe For Fitness ( recipeforfitness.com )has free recipes and sample basic plans that you might check out. I, like your other reader, do most of my cooking on one day and repeat a lot. You will figure out what works best for you 😉

  • Rael

    Well maybe you read my blog a couple of days earlier about this exact same subject.. What I mean to say is: I feel your pain!!

    Few tips and tricks for a healthy (budget) diet-plan:
    – Make your own soup. Throw some zucchinis or broccoli (sliced and diced) in a pan with enough water to ‘drown’ them and some of them tablets to make broth with, season it with some fresh grained salt. Let it cook until the zucchini/broccoli is cooked soft and then mush it all together with a mixer or something you can squash the vegetables with. In the meantime, bake some chicken/turkey meat in olive oil (season with salt and pepper) and throw that into your soup. TADA, done. Minimum effort, maximum result. It’s cheap, easy to make and you can eat it for DAYS. (keep refrigerated)

    – Buy a fresh crop of lettuce. Some white cheese, olives, avocado and maybe another vegetable you like. Dice these babies up but only use half. You will have the other half left for the next day, maybe lunch or dinner. If it’s not enough, take a piece of bread with some light butter on it on the side.

    – Lay off the fast food!! Eventually, it’s not cheaper, and you’re not doing your body a favor. If you want to create something that looks like fast food, buy a grill. (we have those little grilling pans, really helpful) You can make your own lean beef burgers, turkey burgers, chicken burgers, whatever. Put some fresh tomatoes on it, some lettuce and your done. (You can even use the remains of the salad to put on the burgers)

    These are just a couple of recipes you can use to get healthier in an easy and budget friendly way. All you need is stuff that is more natural than fastfood. Fresh fruit, fresh veggies, wholegrain pasta, soft curd cheese, chicken/beef/turkey meat and olive oil.

    Good luck!!!! Keep me updated 🙂

  • The Dancing Rider

    Perhaps not as much in the vein as everyone else who has commented, but one way to stretch meals that we use is a crockpot. You can make pretty good stews, soups, and lots of other types of meals which are healthful and last for a couple of meals. Getting kids to eat these selections though can be tougher.

    I loved your entry.

    When I was working, on this small-boned frame of mine (if you’ve seen any of my ballet entries, you can see how tiny my wrist is) I was up to 145 poiunds. That was IT for me. I started ice skating, and lost 10 pounds in a year. Many more years of skating, I became obsessed with skating, and I think actually skated too much. No matter what I ate, I seemed to be losing muscle from spending so many hours on the ice. Now that I have stopped skating, I’ve gained to 135 again, a healthy weight for me. Not the 125 I was.

    In terms of a second form of exercise, I wasn’t sure what you might be looking for. I do weight lifting for mine, along with horseback riding, in addition to the ballet. I don’t belong to a gym, as I hate having to prepare to go to one just to do some free weights. I do that in our garage!

    We all struggle to find a balance between our work, family obligations, eating, and our passions. While I am much older than most everyone here who is doing ballet (and that presents its own body issues, trust me, in terms of weight distribution, ugh), I believe needing a healthier lifestyle and recognizing that will LEAD to a healthier lifestyle. You will do it!

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