pros and cons of creatine supplement for dancers

The Pros and Cons of Creatine: Busting the Myths and Revealing the Facts

Did you know that creatine monohydrate is the most extensively studied supplement on the market?  Handy for us since we’re diving into the pros and cons of creatine today!

 

Let’s start with what you know.

What do you think of when you think of the pros and cons of creatine?

 

Lots of people might think, “pro, aides in muscle growth.”

Those same people might think, “con, weight gain.”

But what those people might not realize is that the pros and cons of creatine go much, much deeper than that. 

 

So let’s dive in shall we?

Let’s start with the cons of creatine…or shall we say, the perceived cons. 

 

 

personal training for dancers

 

 

 

The *perceived* Cons

 

Weight Gain 

 

Let’s address the biggie first: weight gain.

Notice that I keep saying weight gain and not fat gain? 

That’s because yes, initially, (male athletes in particular) report an increase in weight. However, studies have shown that creatine does not increase fat mass.  

 

Rather, the weight gain reported is likely a result of the initial water retention observed for the first couple weeks of creatine supplementation. This retention usually begins within the first ten days and is short term. It usually levels out within a couple weeks.  

 

Kidney Damage

 

There are a lot of people out there talking about the potential damage to your kidneys that processing creatine monohydrate can cause. 

However, studies have show no adverse affects to liver and kidneys in people who don’t already have a predisposition to kidney disease. This is especially true when creatine is taken in the recommended doses.

 

 Muscle Cramping and Dehydration

 

I might sound like a broken record, but guess what? There is no scientific evidence that creatine causes muscle cramping and dehydration. 

In fact, due to the initial water retention mentioned earlier, creatine has been studied as a means to hyper-hydrate athletes performing in hot and humid environments and the hypothesis was confirmed! That means when you’re castmates are fading on that outdoor stage in Florida, you’ll still be flying high!

 

I hope that at this point you’re starting to see a trend here. 

The reality is, the cons of creatine are basically non-existent. 

The only real one being that, because it’s a supplement that relies upon saturation, it’s most effective if taken every single day. But don’t worry, even missing a day or two merely delays saturation and decreases efficacy. It does not make consumption of the supplement useless. 

 

And as for timing? Consistency is more important than timing. I like to mix mine into my morning protein shake, that way it’s worked into my daily routine!

 

So when considering the pros and cons of creatine, I think we have deduced that there really aren’t any cons. 

I suppose that means it’s time to discuss the pros.

 

The Pros of Creatine

 

Let’s just start by dropping this little fact maintained by the International Society of Sports Nutrition:

“Creatine monohydrate is the most effective ergogenic nutritional supplement currently available to athletes with the intent of increasing high-intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass during training.”

 

Additionally, 

“Creatine monohydrate supplementation is not only safe, but has been reported to have a number of therapeutic benefits in healthy and diseased populations ranging from infants to the elderly. There is no compelling scientific evidence that the short- or long-term use of creatine monohydrate (up to 30 g/day for 5 years) has any detrimental effects on otherwise healthy individuals or among clinical populations who may benefit from creatine supplementation.”

So now that we know that. Let’s talk about why, when studying the pros and cons of creatine supplementation, scientists agree that the pros outweigh the cons. 

 

It’s Efficient. 

 

According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, creatine monohydrate supplementation is the fastest method of increasing creatine stores in muscles. 

You see, a normal person needs to consume about 1-3 grams of creatine per day. Athletes in intense training (yes, that’s you, dancer!) need to consume 5-10 grams of creatine a day. 

 

So you might be thinking, “Okay, but can’t I consume it naturally in my diet?”

While the answer to this is technically yes, let me give you a reference for just how much you’d have to eat in order to reach your daily creatine goals. 

 

Creatine is found in animal proteins. Beef, pork, tuna, salmon, and cod all naturally contain creatine, but the only contain 1.4-2.3 grams of creatine per pound. 

If you’re an athlete, that means you’d be looking at consuming at least two pounds of meat per day. Not very efficient and kind of…yucky?

 

So do yourself a favor and help your system (and your macros) out by taking a creatine monohydrate supplement.

 

It’s Not Just for the Bros

Women in particular might find this fact interesting considering the fact that women have significantly less creatine stores than men. 70-80% less. And creatine supplementation can offer efficient support for women’s mood and cognition, as well as body composition and muscle growth. 

 

It’s so beneficial for women that some scientists even recommend it for women during their periods, and peri and post-menopause!

   

It’s Useful for All Activities

 

When talking about the pros and cons of creatine, people assume we are referring to teen and pro-athletes looking to optimize their resistance training sessions. 

However, Creatine monohydrate is shown that creatine can be beneficial for all types of activities. What’s more, creatine has been shown to aide in muscle recovery, with athletes using creatine supplements reporting less muscle damage, inflammation, and muscle soreness.  

 

What Now?

 

Now that we know the pros and cons of creatine I think we can all agree that a creatine monohydrate supplement could be incredibly beneficial for dancers. 

From promoting faster recovery, to supporting performance in hot humid environments, to supporting cognition and mood, the cons definitely outweigh the nearly non-existent negatives.

 

But you may still have a few questions. Let’s address those before you leave. 

 

I’ve heard Creatine Has a “Loading Phase” What’s that about?

 

In short, the choice is yours in this area. 

Increasing the amount of creatine you ingest for the first 5-7 days of supplementation might speed saturation and help you see the benefits faster.

 

However, research shows that you don’t need to “load” creatine to reep it’s benefits. Taking a consistent 3-5 grams per day is going to be effective for increasing intramuscular creatine stores, muscle accretion, and muscle performance and recovery.

 

Alright, I’m sold. But what kind do I get?

 

Because creatine has so many benefits there are loads of options out there. And while some forms of creatine might advertise that they are more soluble than others (yummier to drink). 100% pure, Creatine Monohydrate is the most optimal choice when selecting a creatine supplement.

 

So, What do YOU think?

 

It can be surprising when you learn something new about a supplement. For years, I assumed creatine was for the bros and the weight lifting competitors. 

But now, I’ve learned that it can aid in injury recovery, muscle recovery, mental cognition, and mood? Why oh why did it take so long?

Probably because it’s only within the last decade that dancers have started caring for themselves as professional athletes. 

 

So what will you do? Are you going to give creatine a try? If you do, let us know! And if you have more questions about it, feel free to reach out at dancerswholift@gmail.com. We are happy to offer our expertise and nutritional guidance, because at the end of the day, we want you to succeed!

Dancers Who Lift: More Than Just Resistance Training for Dancers

Resistance training for dancers is a long misunderstood subject. But the reality is, weightlifting for dancers (otherwise known as resistance training) is exactly the thing that will take your dancing to the next level. 

That’s why Dancers Who Lift is committed to providing top-tier resistance training for dancers. 

**Don’t believe dancers should train this way? Give “Why Should Dancers Lift Weights?” a read, then come back and join me here.**

Now, that we are on the same page, let’s talk about why we are so passionate about resistance training for dancers here at Dancers Who Lift. 

First of all, resistance training is considered a low impact workout, meaning it’s easy on your joints while still giving you an incredible calorie burn. A recipe for the *perfect* cross-training tool for dancers.

And, if you read the blog mentioned earlier, you learned that resistance training can increase your metabolic rate, without negatively impacting your mobility or flexibility. On top of that, it can increase bone density which prevents stress fractures.

 

What Now?

Okay, so now that you are on the resistance training for dancers band wagon, the question is where do you start?

Anything is better than nothing, but we recommend working with a trainer. 

Why?

Because accountability is one of the most powerful tools when it comes to creating a consistent workout regemine. 

The reality is, there are a lot of really excellent personal trainers out there who can teach you how to lift weights. 

But we know Dancers Who Lift has something extra special. 

You see, anyone can write you a program and call it “resistance training for dancers.” But we are uniquely qualified to teach dancers about resistance training because we are a team of professional and retired professional dancers ourselves. We get it in a way few others can.  

And yes, Dancers Who Lift offers memberships, one-onone training programs, and a load of freebies. But what really sets us apart is our holistic approach to training dancers. 

You see, we know that dancers are not just dancers – they’re human beings. 

We care about their mental and emotional health, as much as we care about their physical health. 

We offer mindfulness resources, blogs about goal setting and journaling, give you tools for stress management, all on top of the top-tier nutrition and resistance training programs. 

But why gab about it when I could just show you?

Below is a complete breakdown of everything Dancers Who Lift offers to their community. 

 

But before we dive into the offers, let’s talk bout who Dancers Who Lift is for.

We cater to serving multi-passionate performers. Whether you’re in-training, pre-professional, professional, an art educator, retired, or even a recreational artist you are welcomed and celebrated within our community.

As working and retired performers ourselves, our team understands the uniques stresses, pressures, and crazy lifestyles that come with the artist’s life.

But we don’t stop there. As mentioned before, Dancers Who Lift is more than just resistance training for dancers. 

From dancers to actors to gymnasts, contortionists, vocal athletes, skaters and more, we can help you reach your athletic, aesthetic, and performance based goals.

If your goals include moving faster, improved flexibility, enhanced balance, and unshakable confidence then YES we can help you.

 

“But, I used to dance when I was young. I’m not really an athlete or a dancer anymore.”

 

At the end of the day,  we want like-minded humans connecting and supporting each other all across the globe.

 

We want to establish a community of hardworking, kind, and inclusive folks all with a simple core belief in the domino effect:

“When you’re empowered, you’ll empower others. Then they’ll empower others. And so on. And that’s how we’ll (sneakily) change the world.”

 

See? More than just resistance training for dancers. We are changing the world!

 

The Offers:

Body Mechanics Membership: 

Body Mechanics is a program designed to make resistance training for dancers more accessible and most of all educational. We poured our heart and soul into crafting a superior yet budget-friendly resistance training program that homes in on and tackles the specific challenges you encounter as a performer.  

Body Mechanics isn’t just about enhancing your dance skills. We have a vision to arm you with a comprehensive understanding of fitness. 

Why? So you feel confident picking up that barbell while understanding and witnessing firsthand how it’s transforming your performance. 

So , What’s included in Body Mechanics?

Body Mechanics includes a 6 week “Strength For Skills” Method which includes 3 strength training focused workouts per week, plus 2 auxiliary workouts, warm-ups and cardio. These 6 weeks are followed by 3-weeks of conditioning and stamina blasts designed to enhance your performance and skill level. You’ll also receive monthly nutrition guides to complement your training efforts.

Worried about knowing how to do the exercises? Not here!

For each phase of Body Mechanics you’ll not only receive detailed instructions to help you follow the workouts with ease, but you’ll get access to our exercise library filled with how-tos and form tips. 

And if that still sounds like too much work, simply DM your coach for personalized feedback and instruction.

 

Don’t have access to a gym? No problem. Body Mechanics can provide home workouts as well. 

 

And if all that’s not enough, you have access to our in-app thread connecting you to the greater DWL community which is eager to help and encourage you in your journey!

 

And I definitely saved the best for last, it costs less than $3 per day. At $68 a month, joining the Body Mechanics team will ring in at $2.19 per day!

Now that’s a deal! 

 

So if you’re ready to join the team, sign up here and join the fam!

 

 

personal training for dancers

 

 

 

Embodied Artist Academy:

The Embodied Artist Academy, like Body Mechanics is also more than resistance training for dancers. As you might’ve guessed by it’s name, Embodied Artist Academy is actually an educational method. 

It’s designed to not only help you achieve your athletic and aesthetic goals but to give you the tools to sustainably maintain them or change them according to the ever changing demands of our world. 

 

Who is Embodied Artist Academy for?

This program is designed for the person who feels their dance career is stalling or hitting a wall.

It’s for the person who feels slower not just in their body but that opportunities are harder to come by. 

For the person who is stuck in a cycle of negative self-talk and misses how they functioned when they were younger. 

It’s also for the retired performer who has a desk job.

 

What is it exactly?

Embodied artist is a 90-day, one-on-one online coaching program designed to turn frustrated, fatigued dancers into strong, energized, and confident artists. 

The Embodied Artist Academy is educational at heart, providing 6 In-depth Units designed to help you grow into the most optimal version of you- not just your most optimal fitness level. You’ll deep dive into understanding nutrition, training and changing your mindset, on top of being pushed to challenge yourself physically. 

But don’t worry, you won’t be doing it alone. You’ll have direct access to a dedicated coach to ask every question, share every goal, and get feedback and encouragement at any time. 

 

Sounds good, what’s included?

Should you choose to apply to the Embodied Artist Academy you’ll receive 90 days (12 weeks!) of fitness and flexibility workouts designed specifically for you and your needs. 

You’ll gain access to the Dancers Who Lift App to keep track of workout videos and learn form techniques for resistance training for dancers. 

Along with a completely personalized nutrition directive, you’ll receive the Embodied Artist Nutrition Guide to help you incorporate healthy habits into your diet and build your confidence cooking healthy meals. 

You’ll watch and learn from 6 In-Depth Video Units diving deep into nutrition, training, and mindset for dancers, by dancers.

And you’ll do all this along side your dedicated coach who is there to hold you accountable, learn about and tailor to your specific needs and goals, and encourage you. 

On top of all of this you’ll gain access to over 150 masterclasses, follow along workouts, and pre-recorded lessons.

You basically get a dedicated coach plus an entire anthology to grow and learn and challenge yourself endlessly. 

Again, Dancers Who Lift is way more than resistance training for dancers. It is a tool box with every tool you could imagine. 

Oh, and did I mention that the Embodied Artist Academy also comes with season recipe guides, live community coaching calls to learn and connect with others, and two implementation and direction calls?

Yea, it’s THAT comprehensive. 

Think you might be interested? Apply for your slot in the academy here

 

 

personal training for dancers

 

 

 

Okay, but what if I’m not ready to join anything formally?

I totally understand not being ready to join anything off the bat. Whether you’re on a budget or still researching the options for resistance training for dancers it’s okay if you’re not ready to join Body Mechanics or Embodied Artist Academy. 

Dancers Who Lift has TONS of free resources. 

We have a free Minset Reset Course led by our amazing coach Kiersten. This is designed to help you refocus your mind and help you create healthy mental health habits!

Would you consider yourself a jumper or a turner? Whether you’re trying to land a your first double or master a challenging turn sequence for a show, the free Five Day Turn Course will have you spinning like a top. 

If you’ve got your resistance training on lockdown but you need help breaking down your macros, you can use our Energy Estimator at any time to create a simple nutrition outline designed just for you. 

But the real freebie everyone is overlooking is the Dancers Who Lift Blog

This blog posts weekly workouts, training technique tips, nutritional info, and more. It is a resource chock-full of helpful information for dancers, athletes, and humans alike. 

Bonus? Reading the blog will give you good insight into how we like to operate and think here at Dancers Who Lift.

So, take your time, think it over. But we hope you’ll join us on Instagram, Tiktok, and the DWL blog while you do!

Because most of all, we want to connect with other likeminded humans, who prefer to dance their way through life. 

BCAAs, Supplements, What are BCAAs

The ABCs of BCAAs: The Science-Based Facts, Revealed

If you’ve been in the fitness world for a while you’ve likely heard people talk about BCAAs, pre-workouts, and other supplements designed to give you energy, boost performance, and stimulate muscle growth.

 

And with this buzz about BCAAs comes a slurry of questions like, 

What are BCAAs?

Are BCAA supplements worth it?

Should I be taking BCAAs?

We’re going to tackle these questions and more as we dive into the ABCs of BCAAs (see what I did there?). 

 

First things First, What Are BCAAs?

BCAAs=Branched-Chain Amino Acids

What are Branched-Chain Amino Acids?

 

Branched-chain amino acids are a group of three essential amino acids- leucine, isoleucine, and valine- that are “burned” for energy and aid in building muscle tissue protein. 

Because of their role in building muscle tissue, BCAAs are excellent at preventing D.O.M.S. especially when eaten before and after exercise. 

The thing about BCAAs is that your body does not manufacture them. They must be consumed. 

And this leads us right to our next question.

 

If I Don’t Take BCAA Supplements, How Do I Consume Them?

BCAAs are naturally occurring in a high-protein diet. Yes, this means that you can get enough BCAAs to support an active life without adding in the supplement – though there may be other benefits to using a supplement depending on your goals. 

 

Here’s a list of foods high in BCAAs. You might be surprised how many foods on this list you’re already consuming! 

  • Why, Milk, and Soy Proteins (Yes, including Tofu and Tempeh!)
  • Beef, Poultry, Fish, and Eggs
  • Chickpeas, Lentils, Corn, Beans, Pumpkin Seeds
  • Whole Wheat, Brown Rice
  • Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Pistachios, Cashews

If you’re looking at this list and thinking, “Gee, that’s most of the foods I eat.”

Yes. Correct. If you are eating intentionally to fuel your body for dancing, performing, and lifting, you’re likely getting all of the BCAAs you need from your diet. 

 

So Why Do People Take BCAA Supplements?

This is where we get into the nitty-gritty.

For a long time, people believed that taking BCAA supplements before a workout was a great way to speed up muscle growth because Leucine (one of the amino acids in BCAAs) is an integral player in muscle tissue growth. 

However, studies have shown that, despite common belief, athletes who use  BCAAs as a pre-workout saw a decrease rather than an increase in protein synthesis.

Instead, combining BCAAs with WHEY protein creates a complete protein that has shown to increase muscle protein synthesis

 

 

personal training for dancers

 

 

But If I Get BCAAs In My Diet, Why Add Them to My Protein?

The thing BCAAs do very well, outside of preventing D.O.M.S., is increasing your athletic performance by keeping your energy levels high. 

You see, these supplements decrease the amount of Serotonin your body produces during a workout which prevents fatigue. 

 

What does this mean? 

It means you’ll be able to work out harder and longer with the immediate support of BCAAs than you would without it.

 

However, use this power with wisdom as this added intensity without the support of WHEY protein and a well-fueled diet can lead to a decrease in muscle protein synthesis.

 

So… TLDR What Should I Do?

It all depends on your goals. 

If you are working tirelessly to build muscle, it may be best to get your pre-workout energy from quick energy sources like an apple, honey, or even a cup of coffee. 

However, if you are eating a balanced diet and are struggling with stamina and muscle recovery during and after your workouts, BCAA supplements could be beneficial for a season. 

 

At the end of the day, we always recommend that you try to get all of your important nutrients from whole foods. If you’re eating the protein and fiber required of the professional athlete you are, you likely don’t need to add BCAAs to your supplement regimen. 

Want some more insight into your nutrition needs? Check out Body Mechanics. A fully realized personal training program designed to teach you while you train.

Should Dancers Take a Cheat Day?: A Cool Take on a Hot Topic

 

Cheat Days. I remember the first time I heard the phrase in high school. It seemed like, all at once, every boy in school was getting into lifting and nutrition. I blame the wrestling team. I didn’t fully understand the concept of a cheat day back then. And, lately, I’ve been wondering if they are even good for us?

 

Should dancers be taking a “cheat day” each week?

 

Would that help us adhere to our nutrition plans?

 

In short, no. But as always at Dancers Who Lift, we are here to teach you the why.

 

Cheat Days Vs. Refeeds

 

To understand if cheat days are valuable, we first have to understand what they are and how they differ from refeeds. 

 

Refeeds are an intentionally planned day (or days) during which calorie intake is increased, but nutritional balance (carbs, fats, and proteins) are still front of mind. Refeeds help support  your body during a  period of eating in a deficit (reduced calories)  or to support the body for a pointedly challenging workout or performance.

 

Cheat days are set days within your nutrition plan where you can eat whatever you want with no tracking or mind to nutrition. 

 

Now, at first glance, a cheat day sounds awesome. In actuality, studies have shown that people who rely on cheat meals for food freedom are more likely to engage in binging, and other disordered eating behaviors and psychopathology. 

 

The healthier option is to build a healthy relationship for food. One where “good foods” and “bad foods” don’t exist and restriction is replaced with balance. 

 

Next, let’s talk about the word “Cheat.” 

 

Ask yourself, does this word have a good connotation or a bad one?

 

Generally, when we think of the word “cheat” it inherently means doing something dishonest or wrong. Therefore, whatever you might eat on a “cheat day” is inherently labeled as a “bad” or “indulgent” food. 

 

And let me say it loud and proud for you:

THERE ARE NO BAD FOODS UNLESS, OF COURSE, THEY HAVE SPOILED. 

 

But more on that later!

 

 

personal training for dancers

 

 

 

Macros and Food Freedom

Okay, so the healthier option is a balanced diet that is sustainable. But what does sustainable look like when you are pursuing certain physical and physique goals?

 

Enter macros. 

Macros, or Macronutrients, are the main nutrients we need to survive:

Carbs, Fats, and Proteins. 

 

Learning how to balance these nutrients is the key to pursuing your goals while enjoying food freedom. 

Yes, at first you will have to track your macros. But what you’ll find is that you still will have plenty of room to enjoy your favorite foods in moderation. 

The best part? You won’t need to have a “cheat day” because you won’t need to “cheat.” You’ll be able to eat those foods whenever you want by simply budgeting them into your nutrition plan. 

 

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “But what about when those splurges don’t fit into my plan?” 

 

Well, I have great news for you. A meal, or two, or even three, “off your plan,” will not ruin your progress toward your goals. Especially if you’ve established healthy, balanced, eating habits prior to doing so.

 

Bonus? When certain foods are no longer “off limits except on my cheat day,” the need to consume them in massive amounts goes down. This is because you no longer have a scarcity mindset around these foods. This means you will naturally make more balanced decisions around these foods. 

 

Suddenly, you’re not having a cheat day or a cheat meal. You’re simply enjoying a nice meal.  

 

And sometimes, enjoying a high carb, high fat meal with a glass of wine and a good friend is exactly what your body needs to destress. That’s why, sometimes the healthy choice is saying no to the cookie, and other times, the healthy choice is saying yes. 

Now, when you do consume higher amounts of carbs, you might experience some bloating. However, this will go down when you return to your normal eating habits. 

 

The best part of macros is that tracking them teaches you about what your body needs. That way, you can eventually stop tracking and start listening to your body while utilizing the tools you learned from tracking your macros. 

 

What Does All This Mean?

This all means that no, dancers should not take a cheat day. And it’s not because dancer’s lives ar so strict they must adhere to their plan at all costs. It’s because dancers, eating in a way to fuel their bodies for performances don’t need to restrict themselves from their favorite foods. 

 

Studies have shown that people who assign “good and bad” values on food experience a great amount of food guilt. Furthermore, this food guilt is associated with a harder time achieving weight loss than those in the study who viewed the “bad foods” as celebratory.

 

So if you have the choice, why not celebrate your food? Why wait for a cheat day when you can eat pasta tonight and still reach your goals?

 

And listen, if this is all a bit overwhelming or if food tracking triggers disordered thoughts about food, we’d love to help you. Reach out to us at info@dancerswholift.com and ask about our Embodied Artist Academy or Body Mechanics programs. Each of them are designed to teach you how to train to reach your optimal fitness for performing as a dancer and they included not only personalized training, but nutritional guidance.

 

 So what are you waiting for? Find food freedom today and stop the cycle of dieting.

how to eat mindfully during the holidays

Expert Advice On How to Eat Mindfully During the Holidays

Oh, the holidays! The time of year when it’s easy to feel hopeless about sticking to your nutrition plans. Between holiday parties, an increase in alcohol consumption, and holiday baking, learning how to eat mindfully during the holidays can seem impossible.

 

But don’t fret! Learning how to eat mindfully during the holidays is way simpler than you might think. And it doesn’t include skipping your favorite treats or traditions. 

 

We’ve broken down the three best tools in our toolbox for eating mindfully during the holidays. And I bet you could start incorporating at least one of these today!

I mean, practice makes perfect, right?

 

 

Prioritize the Foods You Love

This first tip for how to eat mindfully during the holidays might seem counter-intuitive – after all, everyone knows that Thanksgiving is really all about the sides!  Or is that just me?

 

But let’s take that a step further. By now you know to prioritize protein on your plate at most meals. But have you considered prioritizing what you love? 

For example, I LOVE mashed potatoes and gravy. I also LOVE sweet potato casserole. But stuffing I could take or leave. So, this Thanksgiving, I will be prioritizing the mashed potatoes and sweet potato casserole and I might skip the stuffing and the cranberry sauce. 

 

Little choices like this throughout the day can add up throughout the day and even the entire holiday weekend. 

 

Another way to avoid overeating is to prioritize the foods you love by taking small servings of those foods first. There’s no need for a scarcity mindset on Thanksgiving or Christmas because people expect you to take seconds and have leftovers.

 

So, instead of loading up and feeling pressured to clean your plate. Instead, take small servings of all your favorites. Then, eat the food mindfully. Pay attention to how it smells, and the texture in your mouth. If the food has a sentimental component, take a moment and reflect on that while you enjoy it. 

 

Then, if you’re still hungry, you can go back for seconds.

Don’t Forget About Alcohol

It is so easy to sit at the dinner table fretting over whether or not to have a second dessert while sipping on your third (or fourth) drink of the day. 

 

Listen, there is nothing wrong with enjoying an alcoholic beverage or even beverages. But it’s important to consider the compounding effect those drinks have on your caloric intake throughout the holiday. 

 

Studies have shown that alcohol impedes weight loss goals. You see, because alcohol is a toxin (ethanol) our bodies put all their energy into eliminating that toxin first (burning it as fuel) before returning to its regular metabolic state. 

 

One drink won’t slow you down too much! So, feel free to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner and a mimosa during the parade if you want to! But keep in mind that you are putting your body’s “fuel-burning engine” on pause until it’s metabolized.

 

Remember, You’ll Get Back On Track

The last tip I’ll leave you with for how to eat mindfully during the holidays is this:

 

One, two, or even three days of eating a higher calorie intake will not send you backward. 

 

Sure, you might bloat a little bit from the excess carbs, but as soon as you return to your normal fitness routine and nutrition habits, you’ll be back where you started before the break.

 

The only reason you won’t get back on track with your routine is if you choose not to.  The power is in your hands. 

 

So when you have the choice between making a memory with someone you love over a favorite cookie and hot cocoa or declining, I hope you’ll remember that food does more than fuel our bodies. It fuels our minds and our souls too. 

 

So what do you think? Will this holiday season be plagued by stress, or will you embrace some of these new tools? I certainly hope something here has resonated enough for you to try. And if you do, let us know in the comments or drop us a line on Instagram @dancerswholift!

food guilt, healthy eating over the holidays

Kick Your Food Guilt to the Curb: 5 Tips for Enjoying Your Food This Holiday Season

Talking about enjoying your food during the holiday season can bring up a lot of stress for people. Especially if you’ve been working hard to meet certain fitness goals or creating a healthy relationship with food. Fortunately, kicking your food guilt to the curb can actually be helpful in both of theses endeavors.

That’s why we created this list of 5 tips for enjoying your food this holiday season. Because food freedom can bring you so much more than just chocolate cake and pasta. (Although, those two things are definitely worth it!)

 

Stop Believing There are Good and Bad Foods

The belief that there are “good foods” and “bad foods” has run rampant among society for years. Statistically speaking, snacks, candies, and sweets tend to be labeled as “bad”, making food guilt when eating these foods much more prevalent. 

This is a real shame because studies have also shown that those who associate guilt with certain foods, rather than celebration, report unhealthier eating habits overall. On top of that, they perceive themselves as having less behavioral control over healthy eating. 

 

What does this mean?

It means that food guilt brought on by eating sweets, treats, or snacks, does not help you eat healthier. It actually leads you to feel more overwhelmed by the idea of eating healthy.

 

So ditch the idea that foods are good and bad and instead look at food as fuel! Making this shift allows us to recognize that different foods fuel our bodies in different ways. And when we accept this we can release the guilt we feel after eating those “bad foods.” 

  

Recognize that Food Guilt is NOT a Motivator

Food guilt will not motivate you to eat healthier. Take a look at  this study that revealed participants who associated eating chocolate cake with guilt did not have stronger intentions of eating healthy than those who associated it with celebration. 

What’s even more interesting, participants with weight-loss goals who had food guilt associated with chocolate cake were LESS successful as losing weight over a three month period than those who associated chocolate cake with celebration. 

 

Why might this be?

Well, some studies have shown that people who associate anxiety and shame after eating certain foods have a greater impulse to binge than those who don’t. This is because food deprivation leads to an increase cravings of those foods. 

 

On top of that, when you stop feeling guilty about eating foods it’s much easier to eat them in moderation because you no longer limit how often you can enjoy your food. If you can have Oreos whenever you want, you’re less likely to eat an entire sleeve in one sitting. 

 

 

Free energy estimator - macro calculator for dancers

 

 

Remember that Days or Weeks Will Not Undo Months or Years   

I get it. You’ve been working hard consistently for the past eight months. You’ve done a complete body recomposition with your trainer. You feel strong and sexy and you absolutely do not want to impede or, worse, lose your progress. 

One thing we know is that once you’ve been eating a balanced diet of proteins, fats, and carbs, consistently for along period of time you will start to naturally balance your plate that way. Consistent habits die hard. 

 

Another thing I want to discuss is the apple seed theory. Did you know that apple seeds are poisonous? It’s true, they are literally arsenic. Luckily, we aren’t sitting around eating apple seeds like peanuts and cracker jacks, Instead, we maybe consume or two here and there when we are munching on an apple and it’s fine. No tummy aches, no accidental death by apple seeds.  

The same is true about our meals. If one, or even four of our 21 meals during a week aren’t *perfect* it’s not going to affect us in the long run. Especially if after your holiday you return to a more balanced diet. 

 

Consistency will always pay off! But celebrating life will always be worth a deviation. 

 

Eating Mindfully Ensures that You Will Enjoy Your Food

A very important part of enjoying your food is taking the time to enjoy your food. 

I’m not kidding. 

 

Take time to notice how your food smells. 

What’s the texture like in your mouth? 

Notice all of the flavors.

And finally, chew your food completely.

 

This is important to do anytime you’re eating a meal. But, when we are eating foods that trigger food guilt, or that we have labeled as “bad,” we have a tendency to eat them quickly. As if eating them fast minimizes our choice to consume them. 

Unfortunately, this often leads us to over eating and can start to reinforce a “scarcity mindset” around these yummy foods that bring us joy. 

 

These special foods are just that, special. So take the time to really enjoy them! You deserve it! And, when you take the time to eat your food, your body will have time to send your brain full cues, making you less likely to over indulge. 

 

Plan Ahead 

We’ve all been there. We had a friends giving last weekend and arrived home early on this been week. We’ve enjoyed some drinks. Eaten out. And snacked on our favorite holiday snickadees all week long. 

Then, you wake up on Thanksgiving morning and the smell of cinnamon buns waft through the air. Someone greets your with a mimosa and a coffee and everyone settles into the couch to watch the parade.

After eating a cinnamon roll and some bacon your heart sinks because you know you not only have the meal this afternoon, but pumpkin pie tonight, and leftovers tomorrow. You start mentally calculating the entire week and the anxiety starts to seep in. 

 

First, take a deep breath and re-read number three. However, if a week of indulging tends to leave you feeling sluggish or you’re finding you’re feeling sick after each meal, try planning ahead. 

If you know there are certain foods around the holidays that tend to be triggering, take some time ahead of time to ask yourself, why.  What about this food pushes you to eat past the point of enjoyment? Understanding why certain foods trigger us can help us feel like we have more control around those foods. 

 

Another tool to make sure you’re not indulging past the point of enjoyment? Plan a couple meals that you are choosing to prioritize protein and fiber.

 I don’t know about you, but after three or four days of decadence, I often find myself craving salads, fruits, and veggies. Planning ahead to ensure our bodies are getting nutrient dense foods throughout our vacations can really help us listen to our hunger and full cues throughout the week! 

 

 

Have you tried any of these before? Will you try any of these in the future? Remember, the goal is not to limit your enjoyment of special holiday foods. The goal is to give you tools to remove food guilt from your holidays so that you can spend time enjoying your food with your family and friends.