Tears on the Dancefloor: Battling Bad Body Image

5 Apr

I joined a ballet class at the weekend and am still unsure as to whether or not it was a good idea. Is the weight-obsessed world of ballet the best place for distressed eater to visit?

I’ve practised ballet before (at a very basic level) and have always enjoyed it, so I thought that signing myself up again would be a positive thing. But, as I stood in front of the wall-to-wall mirrors of the dance studio for my first class, staring back at me was a strange reflection: a rounder figure that was unfamiliar to me.

The last time I donned an pair of unforgivable pink tights for a ballet class, I was thinner… and I admit that, as the dance class commenced, I longed for that slimmer silhouette again. But as that familiar “fat” feeling washed over me, I recalled the harsh food restrictions I placed on myself to maintain the thinner version of myself in the past. I reminded myself that the thinner version was not necessarily the happier version.

They say to overcome eating distress, you must learn to accept yourself and your body as it is now, but I’m finding that this a hard lesson to swallow. On one level, I know is that my self-worth should not determined by a number on a scale or a size on a clothes label. But resisting the widely revered thin ideal of the media and society is an uphill battle.

Although I am by no means overweight, my recent binges have resulted in a curvier me. As I struggle to become comfortable these new curves, I am hoping that ballet will help me to reconnect with my body again.

Bad body image is a bitch. What tools do you use to overcome it?

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