The F-Word


I’m…not waify. I fall right at the cusp of the healthy weight range. I have hips that have the natural spread of any woman who has given birth, a fleshy stomach, and a heavy top. I do not have the lithe, ultra-slender body type of a typical prima ballerina.

I don’t like the F-word: the word, “fat.” To me, fat is something you have, not something you are. Everyone has fat. Your BMI (Body Mass Index), or how much fat you have, is the question. But you aren’t fat or not fat. There is no line in the sand. To use “fat” as a descriptor is not productive. A woman or man may be a ballet dancer, a graduate, someone’s family member, any number of things. Those things are or are not true. So who decides fat or not fat?

That may all be well and good, but the truth is that fat is something a lot of people, particularly in today’s largely inactive world, struggle with. I am one of many people, on this New Years Day, who wants to get healthier, get into better shape, and hopefully, reduce some of that fat.

Whether your resolution is to quit smoking, or lose weight, or make any healthy change…how do you do it in a positive, do-able way?

Don’t Set Yourself Up for Failure With Unrealistic Expectations

One article shares tips from Dr. Erik Luder, a Virginia based psychologist. The rate of follow-through with New Year’s resolutions is really low,” says Dr. Luder. “Part of the problem is that people set unrealistic ideas for change, and they are often acts of discipline, like a diet.” Instead, he says, choose achievable goals that enhance your mood (like practicing mindfulness) rather than something that you have a sense of obligation to do (like cutting calories).

My personal goal is more exercise, including learning ballet with weekly classes. My target goal is to get on pointe. “Losing weight” (not gaining something positive), is a secondary effect, not the goal itself.

Moderation, Not Deprivation

From Web MD: When women resolve to lose weight, they are often black and white about it, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. She says women tend to want to cut out major food groups, telling themselves they cannot have any candy, dessert, or carbohydrates.

“It’s a setup for failure, because by the time mid-January comes around, those resolutions are already in line for the next new year,” says Taub-Dix. “It would be a much wiser decision to say, for example, ‘I’m going to cut back on desserts.’ Maybe pick a Saturday to have dessert.” Instead of deprivation, practice moderation during the holidays.

Reward Yourself

“It’s important to reward yourself when you reach certain milestones with your resolution. By rewarding yourself, you’re giving yourself something to look forward to if you reach the next milestone,” according to Brian Maher of Philly Personal Training. “However, if you have a weight loss resolution, remember to reward yourself with things that aren’t food. Using food as a reward sets you up to fall off the wagon. Instead, use other forms of reward like getting a massage or buying a new outfit. These rewards will make you feel good and motivated for the next milestone without ruining your goals.”

For me, better ballet and looking better in a leo (maybe a new leo?) is reward in itself!

That’s it — when I’m dancing well and looking fabulous, I’m going to buy myself a stunning, expensive new outfit!

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