Starve now, Pay for it Later

Given today’s fashion trends and the media influence, as well as from the society around us, many teenagers or even young adults like myself face the pressure of keeping slim, tiny, skinny and “fit”. Amongst my circle of friends, mostly those from ballet and r.gym, our love-hate relationship with food can go out of control very often. In addition to societal norms of staying thin, there is always a competition for us even between ourselves to maintain the ballet body. It ranges from the thinnest arm, the strongest muscle yet elongated and extended arabesque, to the outline of your ribcage even.
Before competitions or performances especially, it was very common for dancers or gymnast to watch very carefully what went into our mouths. Our fight for the “ideal” body type to see every muscle and bone beneath the skin tainted our natural instinct to eat when we needed to. We couldn’t dance if we didn’t eat, but we couldn’t eat then dance either (it was so terrible). I still remember days where I just really wanted (needed) to have a milo or juice or smoothie but there was always this voice reminding me that was loaded with sugar and would cause me to put on weight. There were so many nights I remember going to bed starving because food from the night will give big bellies the next morning during class (but still managed to sleep due to the exhaustion from intensive trainings).
I was afraid to eat out or with people who didn’t know how to discipline their food intake since I didn’t want to challenge my ability to keep those foods away. At the same time, there was always an emotional trauma stepping on the weighing machine. Yet, there was also an addiction to make sure I’m losing or at least maintaining that tiny 40kg with a 1.58m body (even this doesn’t look right). And what always stops me was the idea of my coach or teacher asking condescendingly why my measurements increased from the past record, or why the old costumes from past performances not fit when everyone should have the same body size and shape.
As children or teenagers or even before YTTC, I never understood that people were born differently, different bloody type, diets, genes and body type. To me, it was just always keeping tiny. There was also a secret competition amongst dancers and gymnast to keep losing (what though, I’m not sure). R.gym training used to be thrice a week, 3hours a day. Thats on top of my dance programme with Singapore Dance Theatre for upcoming Christmas, Ballet Under the Stars, or Easter performances which would be 2hrs daily (yeap, even weekends cause dancers don’t ever rest and cause it was a scholarship prog sort of from Arts Council to get backup dancers or minor roles). And both are on top of preparing for RAD major exams that were every night from 7-10pm when the studios are free. The physical and emotional stress was real. (btw my ballet teacher- Ms Ong Long, go google her she’s tiny is 55 and she only eats 1/3 of her noodles soup, twice a day which doesn’t even add up to a bowl).
But since I started to get more involved in yoga, particularly during this course, I learnt more about body types and the types of food that should be consumed based on the time of the day and activities planned. For some people, being tiny is just never going to happen unless they starve a month or that the genes was meant to keep us a little muscular and tougher than the rest. For me, I gain muscles very quickly but those would convert into fats very quickly too. (I went up to 60kg in the next 3yrs after I stopped gym and ballet #justsaying). Without that competition to stay slim or the pressure to fit into costumes, I just ate whatever I saw and never listened to my body’s needs.
Since this course started, I wasn’t obsessed about the numbers on the scale or the fats that were spilling out from the sides or even overstretched no-longer muscles that have been passive. I started listening to what I needed and like what Paalu said, your cravings are a way of your body telling you what kinds of nutrients you need but always in the unhealthy form. So study a little closer and find a healthier alternative for it. People in the past lived strong and healthily without all those junk and processed foods we now consume to survive.
YTTC 200hr May

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