I don’t profess to be an expert of any kind or a health and fitness guru, but I’ve been a dancer most of my life and living in this body for almost 60 years and I know what does and does not work for me. I’m just going to share a little of my knowledge or old age wisdom here with you.
Feeding your body ~
Every day is a new day and I always tell myself today is the day to start those healthy habits. It doesn’t always work out, but I do know when I eat a good breakfast and hydrate myself well, it’s a much better start than just coffee and donuts.
Water, water, water – First thing in your mouth in the morning should be water. We need at least half our body weight in ounces a day to give us what we need to keep our bodies well. This is where my health started turning around for me.
**See my personal journey below for how just drinking the right amount of water every day changed my life.
Don’t skip breakfast – Fruit and protein is best. Skipping breakfast has gotten to be my bad habit, but when I start the day right, I feel better and my body looks better. Did you know if you skip breakfast, your body holds onto weight, since it doesn’t know when you will feed it next.
Avoid sugar – as much as possible. Sugar is in everything now and places it has no business to be in. Skip all juice and soda in the store.
Read labels. Did you know One teaspoon of granulated sugar equals 4 grams of sugar. To put it another way, 16 grams of sugar in a product is equal to about 4 teaspoons of granulated sugar!
~My favorite kitchen companion for making my own healthy juices, smoothies and other foods is a Vitamix. It is so much more than just a food processor or a blender. It even makes hot soup! One of our morning favorites is Apple pancakes right from the Vitamix cookbook.~
Avoid processed food – If it’s in a box, can, or frozen it’s been processed and probably has sugar in it too. I know it’s a lot easier when you’re tired and in a hurry to feed the family, but there is no health benefit in hamburger helper.
Avoid most fast food restaurants – I never go to McDonald’s or Burger King. Our favorite ‘fast food’ is Papa Murphy’s pizza. You do have to cook it yourself, but that’s still faster than starting from scratch. I will also go to Subway, Pita Pit and Cafe Yumm, where you can choose your own meats and veggies.
Do eat fruits, veggies, nuts, protein.
Keep it moving ~
Move every day. On the days I’m not dancing, I fill in with other things. One of the easiest is just walking. A brisk 15-20 minute walk will do wonders. Take the stairs or park farther from the dance studio or gym. Add yoga, Pilates or Qigong.
Rest, Relax and Rejuvenate ~
Downtime is also essential for your body to refuel and repair. Getting plenty of sleep is important, but adding certain therapies can also be necessary, especially for busy, active and dancing bodies.
- Floatation Therapy
Building immunity and staying well ~
Along with getting enough rest and good nutrition, I do supplement with specific vitamins I like such as vitamin D since we don’t get enough of the sun vitamin here in Oregon. I also will diffuse with essential oils like On Guard from DoTerra and take an immunity booster like Airborne when the germ monsters go back to school and the bugs start getting spread around again. Of course, hand washing is essential. I rarely get sick, but I don’t work or live around kids anymore.
THROW AWAY YOUR SCALE! Do you start every day by hopping on your scale? Does this set your mood for the day? Unless medically necessary for you to own a scale and monitor your weight, I don’t believe anybody should be a slave to the number on a scale. We are all made of different stuff. Each of us has different bone density, muscle mass, water weight and a variety of shapes and body types. Your attitude or outlook for the day should not be about some numbers on a scale, but what you do with your numbers, or in other words, your own body. I have been telling this to my dance students for years. Just focus on moving it, feeding it, hydrating it, resting it and loving it! The numbers don’t matter. Start your day with a new focus and just live to be happy!
My Personal Journey ~
I had a car accident a few years ago that created a painful sciatica problem in my left lower back. Massage and Chiropractic therapy was helping, but then I got into a legal wrangle with my insurance and had to stop all that because they refused to pay. During the months of this stress and no therapy, I became nearly incapacitated with pain and was barely able to walk or drive. I stopped dancing for an entire year and became depressed, desperate and thought there was no hope for having my life back.
After many Drs and bad advice, I finally found the Dr that gave me my dance and ultimately my life back to me.
I’ve never been good at drinking water, but it became mandatory when I started decompression therapy for my back.
** Just sipping water from my coffee cup all day wasn’t cutting it. My massage therapist, who is also my son, suggested I try the big 40 oz. Hydroflask to help monitor my water intake. From the first day I got it in the mail I have been able to make sure I get at least 2 full flasks full a day and sometimes more.
I lost 10 pounds in the first month! I was able to see my ankles again after 10 years of edema. This result motivated me to keep adding more healthy habits as the ones I’ve listed above. I still have work to do, but in 9 months after drinking water, eating better, and moving again, I have lost 25 pounds! I think I am finally OK with being close to 60 now that my weight is less than when I was 40.
It’s your journey and your body ~
Everybody has their own story and what works for their life and lifestyle. You may have a whole different focus of what you like to do and eat, but I can tell you from my experience that I would rather be happy and healthy than depressed and ill. I know my family likes it too. I no longer complain endlessly about my back pain. I have much better things to do now!
As always, your comments, questions, and feedback are always welcome!
Stay healthy and well, my friends, and shimmy on!