Counting Calories with a Ballerina


[Music] when I’m dancing ballet I’m completely mentally consumed in it it requires so much focus it’s mentally and physically consuming but I think that’s really part of what I love about it that you’re completely in the zone so am i an athlete yes but the athleticism is a means to an end for the ultimate artistic goal [Music] [Music] I’m a dancer with the corps de ballet of American contemporary ballet I’m in the process of preparing for this season so I’ve been training to get back to my performance weight I am going to eat a pre breakfast so I like to have a corn dog first thing in the morning that I’ll eat while I do my stretches these are actually really delicious and really filling and I don’t think it’s actually that unhealthy it’s a turkey corn dog music elicits it will depend on my mood sometimes I’ll wake up and put on classical and do a slow warmup out here and then other times I’ll either listen to Taylor Swift or like an 80s mix so right now I’m rolling out my muscles I’m sore I’m so I’m rolling out kind of the sides of my hips which are tight and then I’ll roll out my IT bands and my quads sometimes I roll out my back to this next thing I do looks a little bit silly but balancing on one foot with your eyes closed is surprisingly hard and supposedly this helps build your ankles ability to correct itself I injured this foot and so it has a lot more difficulty okay I’m gonna need some more so I get these stuffed peppers with Turkey and rice so it’s 240 for one of them isn’t this what everyone needs for breakfast so many people ask me what I eat and people ask me how to lose weight sometimes I don’t like it when I say I’ve just counted I started dancing when I was 8 years old and I knew for absolute certain I wanted to be a ballet dancer by the time I was 14 I remember seeing a ballet by balancing and it was balancing who brought ballet really to America I’d seen many of his ballets but I just remember sitting there in the audience and thinking I have to do this and that’s why I eventually went away to boarding school for ballet so that my academics could be worked around my ballet training and I could be around and training with other dancers that this was their real focus and life as well so I am 115 and a half pounds and I feel I dance my strongest at 114 pounds because I think I’ve heard this with cyclists you want as much lean muscle as you can so you can propel up the hill as quickly as possible so it’s that balance between being really strong and being able to lift the leg with as much ease as possible if there’s five extra pounds on the leg it’s a lot more work so I feel that that balance right there for me and I am just that far from that and one and two and one the amount of hours I’ll dance in a day varies greatly depending where we are in this season when we’re in full season the day is 11 to 6 this sweat is real huh everyday when I dance especially bar everything goes away except that but there’s also so much to focus on you can’t possibly think of anything else there’s a million things I could have done better and I was thinking of all those things I think it’s just as exhausting mentally as it is physically these are brows six seven straight me on the bottom eight I sometimes get caught in the athletic demands and the technical demands and and can forget about the presentation and ultimately this is a visual art you’re lifting your leg out there you kind of want to tense your shoulders or your face what you can’t keep all of that that out of emotion that’s hard for me and one two and three okay take five minutes to stretch yeah so now I’m going to have a snack and then and then we’ll rehearse for a little while I think this is a cutie those little oranges maybe it’s a Clementine no I usually have oranges on my break a woman my size just to maintain on a normal day is roughly eighteen fifty calories so it’s interesting to know that the two thousand calorie diets for a slightly larger size than I am so to lose half a pound a week I do a two hundred and fifty calorie deficit a day which has me consuming sixteen hundred and four calories a day so I’ll be there in three weeks so what I do is I will just remember what I ate all day and then at night I have this little notebook that I put it all into so we had the three lemon tines are estimating that at 70 I have half of a smoothie so it’s 185 often times people seem to not like the idea of counting calories but for me it’s so much easier because otherwise you’re always wondering are you thinking I should have seen a result by now but if it’s just the math then you just know what’s happening and you don’t have to wonder right before I came here head great chicken 250 on bread which is 130 and ah pasta and 134 chicken so it had 1025 so far and so now now I’ll have something like this you know burn old are just 200 calories I believe yep so I’ll have a big dinner [Applause] so now I’m going to ice my feet well I put my dinner in the microwave you know depending on how much I danced will influence a lot how hungry I am since I work out so much I’ll eat over 2,000 calories but it’ll still bring me in the 1600 range so so far today I’ve eaten 12 25 in calories and so I’m going to put in my exercise because that’s going to subtract even more off of that for want to figure out how much I can eat so I did two and a half hours of dancing and then two hours of stretching so that means I burned 804 calories so I’m going to make a chicken piccata and that’s 380 so I’m going to have it with a Cobb salad which is also 380 so at that point my caloric intake will be in 1985 – the 804 and exercise that’s 1181 so I’ll probably have a big bowl of cereal which is around 300 calories I eat prepackaged food because I don’t have much time it’s really easy to know what’s in it and I’m not a very good cook I think that people often assume that ballerinas or maybe hungry and they don’t realize that what exercising so much that you can actually eat a lot of food if you choose healthy things ok so what I do now is I’ll eat this while I ice my feet to distract me from how uncomfortable that is it might be a small population that eat dinner with their feet in an ice bucket I know it looks a little sad right here but hello watch TV and so I go back and forth between my feet in my knees I have my picado my salad to get loaves with Magatha up over the tub in a minute just wind down [Music] I’ve heard doctors say that you can put heat on something making good ice on something so if you could you goes I guess the typical career track for a ballet dancer is between the ages of 18 and 22 you begin dancing professionally getting jobs in a professional company and I’d say a lot of dancers retire around 35 but of course you know an injury can come along and cut your career short we’re gonna have a bowl of cereal and then I’m going to fall asleep one thing perhaps of note about my diet is that I do eat from all the food groups I know there’s a lot of diets that say exclude carbs or exclude dairy but I eat from all of the food groups so I’m having one serving of this which is 2 ounces and 200 calories and oldest way it because this is one of those things that it takes a little while to know what a serving size really is and then a cup of skim milk is 90 calories we’ll just sit in bed and eat this and then fall asleep and get up and do it all again tomorrow no 6 a.m. and I’m about to go on a hike I love LA the city here there’s obviously a lot of arts but you can also just go get in your car and go on a hike and then you can go to the ballet or the symphony at night so you have both I like to do a pretty quick hike so that I can keep my cardio up for a while but I don’t run because I’ve always been told that ballet dancers shouldn’t run I think because it hurts your knees I like to do a long hike on the weekends so a lot of times I’ll do like a 10-mile hike on Saturday and then a lot of the repertory dance here at the company is really intense so when I’m building up to a new ballet that’s going to be cardio intensive I’ll often do a hike in the morning as well also hiking really clears my head dad you just let your mind wander [Music] so after hiking for about an hour and a half then then I’ll have an orange and then I’ll maybe go and pick up a salad this is what I would eat on a day that I go for a two-hour hike and do two hours of stretching brings me to a total of two thousand two hundred and seventy-five calories and so and I’ve exercised just under 700 calories so if I eat like this an exercise like this all it was a half a pound a week I think that it’s a lot more food than people expect people often say to me oh you hardly eat don’t you hardly eat and I say no I eat a lot of vegetables and chicken and steak fruit high-fiber this is a very straightforward approach and it does make it feel very easy you’re not you’re not limited I’ll go out to a restaurant and be able to easily choose I’m not confined to needing to bring something along all the time I’m starving so we want to do the wild arugula and can we get the dressing on the side the octopus and then do you want to do like sort of me yes that sounds good where do you in the mood for me to I am fan of me if it doesn’t have meat to me it feels like a snack if I don’t eat meat I just feel that I can’t focus and I feel tired and probably a little Moody thank you I get dressing on the side so that I can know how much I’m using the dressings very calorie dense so this is a tablespoon so one of these with olive oil is 120 calories so if you saw that steak I put on the scale that was a hundred and thirty three calories for that whole big piece of steak versus 1 tablespoon of olive oil so when you’re thinking about what’s going to keep you full all day and if you also think to lose half a pound a week you only have to cut out 250 calories you basically have to just cut out two spoonfuls of olive oil which seems simple trivial okay good people often joke about how much more I eat than they expect I’ll go out to dinner cuz I’ll get a big piece of fish and a big plate of vegetables and I just won’t eat a lot of olive oil and bread and that sort of thing right now I’m trying to do vegetables with every meal just because it kind of helps me to get more full again this tablespoon of olive oil how much kale would you eat for 120 calories would be this much kale you’d be human completely stuffed versus something like that so really I think that the key is figuring out how to not be hungry and that’s actually what the counting helps me do it helps me think ahead so often I’ll talk to a friend that’s on some new diet or something and it becomes such a big part of your focus where this I feel like you can just run in the background I need my body to be like an instrument so I’m not limited to just one note but a number of different dynamics the speeds in which I can dance the ability I have to stop quickly or hold something is my ability to express the athleticism is what makes the expression possible if I get tired quickly I can’t say what I want to say with my body can’t speak for anyone else but for myself I feel that if you’re not getting the nutrition you need you can’t keep up with the mental and physical demands of ballet [Music] you

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