How Dancing Every Day Helped Me Love My Body

Written by Tasha Blank

Okay, so I'm dancing every day for a year. At the ballet bar, in my sneakers, in clubs, classes, underground warehouse parties and on the streets.

Why? That's a longer story, and you can read it here.

So, how does one train for that?

If you’re me, you change basically everything about the way you relate to food and exercise. You stop worrying about eating too much. You stop being conscious about calories and trying to eat foods with less of them.

You shift your focus to amino acids: getting the right ones, and enough of them, to make sure your muscles have the fuel they need to work hard and repair themselves. Rather than stuffing yourself with just any vegetable to stamp out hunger, you lean towards the most hard core nutrient-dense green stuff so your body can process them efficiently.

When your (brilliant) trainer tells you to “eat one more meal a day,” you balk.

And then you listen to your body, and you realize it’s saying the same thing. When you do, you visualize the food you eat transforming into fuel for your muscles and nerves and blood and brain. You feel the energy you’ve been lacking return in full.

You feel supported, and you start trusting the more subtle signals. You know when you’ve had too much animal protein, when you really need some fish but not eggs, or when whatever-chickpeas-have-in-them is exactly what you need. Your once dull appetite turns into that of a 16 year-old boy, and it’s kind of awesome.

You stop looking in the mirror to figure out whether you might have gained weight since last week, or since yesterday. You realize what a waste of (precious) energy that is, and instead, thank your body for working so hard.

You realize that this body is something you actually live in, that it is you and you are it, and that it is the reason you get to have each moment of your gorgeous human experience. You realize that its intelligence is nothing short of a miracle. That it works 24 hours a day to do the very best it can with everything you feed it physically, emotionally, and spiritually -- even if you’ve treated it like shit for years. You realize that all of that is pretty much the definition of unconditional love.

You feel a pang in your heart because you have never realized this before. Your body has always been something that had to be tamed. Managed. And suddenly it doesn’t. Suddenly, all you have to do is move in the ways that make you happy, and listen. Suddenly, you are free.

And then, my friends? Then you can really dance.

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