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This week, I wanted to discuss an important topic to me- body image and its relationship to nutrition and health. While this applies to many people, I want to focus this post toward dancers.

As dance is a very aesthetically driven sport, many individuals have experienced less than desirable comments about body image from coaches, judges, or teachers stating “you would place better if” or “you would look better on the floor if” your body was smaller, or you lost a few pounds, etc.

These comments promote undesirable relationships with body and food and can actually lead to non desirable effects on performance as well as lead to detrimental health impacts.

If we make nutritional decisions that are focused on significant restriction, while you may end up getting closer to the “look” you are aiming for, it will simultaneously decrease your performance and can lead to injuries that can take you out of dancing.

It is crucial to realize that we all have different body types and builds and should honor the body that we have been given. We can honor our body’s needs by providing ourselves with good nutrition that makes our body’s feel good and fuel us for performance with an appropriate mix of “food for the soul” so we don’t complete restrict ourselves and develop unhealthy dynamics with food where we feel we “can never” eat a certain food or restricts certain foods to an extent that triggers us to binge on those foods. 

Ultimately, we need to honor the body we have been given, work with your instructors to design attire and routines that show off your unique body and strengths in your dancing while, if necessary, also working with an inclusive dietitian to find the appropriate nutrition balance both mentally and physically and it will lead to optimal performance and results on the dance floor along with that, always desired confidence.

I would to hear your thoughts or feedback on this topic and continue exploring it further in other posts! Feel free to contact me if you are looking for support when it comes to nutrition and body image as well, I am here to help!

-Ricci-Lee Hotz, MS, RDN, LD

A Taste of Health

“The Dancesport Dietitian”