I’m Eating Like A Freakin’ Hobbit!

The countdown to People’s Choice is inching along. Three weeks from tonight about this time I will be reflecting on my performances in American Rhythm and getting a good night’s rest to face Latin the next morning. I have 21 days to create whatever results I can, and they can’t come quickly enough!

So in case you didn’t know, I hired a nutritionist and I began working with her on Sunday. Chelle is amazing and she specializes in clean eating and sports nutrition, which is good because, like, you know, I’m a dancer and dancers are athletes.

She met me at the grocery store with my custom plan in hand and we did all the shopping for the week. The plan included the shopping list and all the recipes I’d need for each week plus food logs and such. The best part is I’m prepared. I can grill my chicken, portion it out in 4 or 5 ounces and be ready to grab and go. Seriously, daily prep has been a snap so far. I’m eating like a freakin’ Hobbit, though – I get breakfast, and second breakfast, and elevensies, and lunch, and snack or tea, and dinner, and evening snack! I don’t know what to do with myself eating like this when I feel like I eat too much already and this seems like even more food than I’d normally consume. Go figure!

Un hobbit

By Antoine Glédel (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Honestly, for me, the hardest part of staying on track this week hasn’t been the eating or the preparation. Nope, it’s been the sick panic feeling in my stomach that the 2000 calorie plan is too high. It’s the fear that I’m not going to lose any weight before People’s Choice, and I so desperately want to. It is seeing my weight on the scale at the doctor’s office on a day when I wouldn’t normally weigh myself and having to face that number.

It’s the emotions that are the hardest part, which is what I expected. What I didn’t expect was the intensity of those bad feelings, nor the apparent randomness with which they descend upon me like an eagle snatching a fish from the sea. It is swift and seemingly out of nowhere and completely overwhelming. It is the feeling of not being able to stand being in my body one more second the way it is and being powerless to change what is in the moment. Because I can’t escape my Italian-grandma-size-fat arms or the huge Santa belly. They silently scream at me, pushing against the side of my chair and all I can feel is the adipose. It broadcasts what I think of myself without saying a word. And I’m so ready for it to go. I can’t tell you how ready I am for it to go. And it just sits there, all lumpy and giggly, laughing insanely at me, reminding me that it is still here and that I have a long way still to journey with it on my back. Sigh.

Oh, I’ve been absolutely spot on with my eating plan. Well, my eyes did skip the page and I ate the snack and dinner planned for tomorrow today, but that’s no big deal. I’ve adhered 100%, and what’s more, I could totally make this a lifestyle, which is kinda like the point. I just didn’t know what to do before and never would have taken the time to figure out all these details, from shopping lists to macronutrient ratios, so this has probably been the best money I’ve spent in my life to work with Chelle on this. I’m not kidding.

I was on the right track with my thoughts about food and all, but Chelle’s plan has brought things into focus with definite boundaries, and I like it….even if before I was feeling guilty for using one whole egg and two egg whites in my morning omelet, thinking that I should only have 2 egg whites or maybe one whole egg and 1 egg white, but Chelle has me on one whole egg plus four, yes count ’em FOUR! egg whites and that freakin’ blows my mind and makes it yell at me that this plan is UNREASONABLE. What does this certified nutritionist think she is doing anyways? HA! I love how convincing the voices in my head are until I say them out loud….

Anyways, the food is great tasting, which is important – and today I was particularly and pleasantly surprised with the simple salmon. There is variety in the menu, which is also important, while still some habitual snacks which makes things easy and automatic. And guess what? I’m not even jonesing for a cheat meal, which I can have once a week, which is kinda surprising. The only thing I’d like is maybe a glass or two of wine so maybe I will add that to dinner one night and make that my cheat meal! I guess I’m blessed that I’ve never had too big a sweet tooth or had weird cravings for potato chips and such…in fact the day before the plan started I was craving tuna tatiki from the local AJ’s, lol. So anyways, what I’m trying to say, is that the food and plan are easy to adhere to. I’m not having cravings or wishing I could eat something else. And this should bode well when it comes to creating results.

So anyways, I’m only on day four, but it has been a good four days in terms of eating according to the plan. Like I said, the difficulty I find is only in wishing results would happen sooner and the moments when I feel like the bottom drops out and the seductive voice in my head pretending to be an expert on nutrition casts doubt on the plan itself.

With the 6 Hobbit meals a day I’m very fueled to do my normal weekly activities such as ballet, Inna’s class, Rado’s class, lessons with Ivan, and work out sessions with my trainer. Most things have gone fine this week, no big drama-rama at the gym, and in fact my trainer and I even laughed a bit today about those guys at the gym who feel the need to grunt all the time. But I lost focus in Inna’s class, forgetting the combination and also not holding my space, losing my confidence, not feeling good enough, and seeing how big I am as compared to everyone else in the mirror. The same was true for in ballet, though it was generally a good time and I cracked some funny jokes and one of my classmates told me class wouldn’t be the same without me which was really sweet, but I was still, in the back of my mind, bummed about being so big. And Ivan heard it in my voice when I called on my way to our lesson that I wasn’t feeling great about myself.

It’s not like I didn’t see how big I was before, it’s just that because I am actually on a plan and actually striving with focus toward what I want, and because I want to transform so badly, that I am now even more aware/fixated on my stupid fat body. I feel like some of the pain of it was muted by being apathetic about it and/or ignoring the elephant in the room as much as I could. Like setting the fatness in a box and placing it on a shelf in a dark closet somewhere in my mind and letting it just sit there, separate, and yes present, but not at the forefront.

And now, with every glance in the mirror, I’m horrified over and over and over. I’m feeling like why am I doing People’s Choice? I look the freakin’ same as I did 6 months ago. I’m so disappointed that I haven’t made more progress with a quarter of the new year gone and that is part of why I decided to hire Chelle. But since I don’t look drastically different, and all my clothes still pretty much fit, I still have the same fat girl dresses as I’ve always had, and that is disappointing too. I’m going to be competing once again in the same dress I wore in my very first competition over 3 years ago. It’s depressing. I want a new dress along with a new body to show some progress, damnit!

So I’m searching for the goal I want to go for in People’s Choice since I’m not going to be looking all that much different in 3 weeks time, and I’m not going to suddenly be speedier or have drastically improved technique. I’m feeling kind of ho-hum about the entire prospect when I want to feel excited. I can’t wait for when people begin to notice and tell me that I look different, tell me I look great, for when I can get a new dress, and not one for a fat girl, for when I feel proud of me, who I am, what I’ve accomplished. I want to feel confident, you know? To feel like I am enough.

So all I can think to do is the perform the shit out of everything. This will be my goal. I will focus on connection with Ivan and the audience and the music. I claim and hold my space on the dance floor. I will exude confidence with every movement. I will dance with a palpable purpose and passion. And I will let that be enough….for now.

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Dance Advantage Best Dance Blog 2013

So a little over a year ago I started dancing with this crazy Bulgarian named Ivan.  And a little over a year ago, I had so much to say about it to my husband that his eyes would glaze over.  I discovered another outlet and I began writing this blog.

One of my first posts very surprisingly went semi-viral and it convinced me to stick with this blog thing, that maybe, just maybe, I had something valuable to say and share about my dancing life experiences.

A little known fact is that, shortly after I began the blog, I also discovered this amazing website called Dance Advantage.  Around that time I saw that they had a dance blog contest and I think, though I could be mistaken, that it was through this contest that I discovered this entertaining, funny blog called Adult Beginner that had won the contest.  Well, I’ve continued to follow AB because it is seriously hilarious, but back then I vowed to myself that I’d put in for this contest in the following year 1) because it was so cool and 2) because it led me to other great dance blogs that I still continue to enjoy and 3) it hooked me up to DA which has all sorts of great dance-related info and I follow on Twitter.

So, not wanting to make bad on my promise to myself, here is me entering the contest.

The deal is this, I need comments on THIS blog post to even be considered for the second round.  The blogs with the most comments get to move forward.  There are many categories – I’m entering under “Recreational Dancer.”

But you know me, and I can’t write a blog post this short so I thought I’d kind of reflect on where I was a year ago, seeing as it is the new year and all.  It also seems apropos since it was a year ago that I thought about entering this contest.

So I looked up the post on my blog that was almost exactly a year from today.  It turns out, the post was mostly about confidence – probably one of the main themes I’ve broached on this blog o’mine.  In it, Ivan was doing what he does best, pulling out the part of me that wants to express myself, the part of me that I choke and hide, the part of me that makes me a performer.  A particular portion stood out for me, though.  Ivan had asked me how soon it would be until we were able to do that famous lift from “Dirty Dancing,” which, in my mind, the answer is, like, never….but anyways…..

He’s  [Ivan] fearless, though, and doesn’t have my particular flavor of mental baggage that creates limitations in my mind.  I’ve seen him toss around a 70-year-old woman, one of his students, in the Hustle.

And don’t get me wrong, I have big dreams when it comes to dancing. In my head I have all sorts of fantasies about how I’m going to look, that I’m going to win some scholarship competitions, that I’m going to eventually get to dance in open heats in the night sessions when the lights are low and the ballroom is buzzing. But all that feels like a fairy tale – things I generally do not talk about for fear that others will think me mad but that are in my heart and that I desire greatly.

But today is not the day to attempt this particular trick.  Just standing still and preparing to move have been a challenge.  But ultimately I feel encouraged by Ivan’s belief in me.  Sometimes I think he believes in me more than  I do.  That’s why he endlessly crams my brain full of details.  That’s why he has me do the same thing over and over and over.

And one day I’m going to believe in myself this much.  One day, if I stick with it, and work hard, and practice, and sweat, then one day I will get to maybe play out in real life some of those fantasies in my head.  And what an amazing feeling that will be.

But here’s the thing.  Looking back from where I was to where I am, though I may not be where I’d ultimately like to be, I do believe that I’ve gained some confidence and belief in myself.  I do believe that what I deeply desire is, in fact, possible for me…and that, in and of itself, is a huge win.  I believe that I could dance in open heats in night sessions, and I have already danced in two scholarship rounds.  Though I earned poor results, entering those scholarships was the first step to actually placing well in one.  I do now begin to believe that I will get to play out in real life these fantasies in my head…they are becoming more of a reality with each practice and lesson, with each day I stick to my diet, with each coaching or dance camp and competition I attend.

Maybe I haven’t realized these things just yet (or ever), and maybe I still struggle with believing in myself, but truthfully I feel that I’m closer today than I was a year ago.  And, I’m committed.  Like damn skippy!

When it comes down to it, I’m proud of myself for the advances I have made, and I’m ready to dig in and work to improve my shortcomings.  I’m motivated, and boy does that feel good.  It’s funny because at the end of the post from a year ago I included a link to a video about pushing that extra bit to make the difference between good and great and now, in a year’s time, I find myself once again motivated by a quote to push myself harder and more profoundly (as in my last post).

Well, anyways, I felt confident enough to share this photo with the Facebook world and that’s a pretty good thing, I’d say.

ala

Like, I still see the imperfections (oh, trust me, I do!)…but I’m still willing to put it out there anyways and say, “This is me. Here I am.”  That makes me feel like I am a courageous person, and a person with courage like that can go far in this world….they could probably even dance in open heats at night and place well in scholarships.  They could probably even shed 100 pounds.

So here’s to me believing in myself and what is possible in the coming year.

What’s possible for you?

And now, since this is my entry into the Dance Advantage contest and all, here is is where I ask (*beg*) you to please make a comment on THIS post so that I might possibly move forward to the next round of competition.  Please consider sharing a link to this post so I might accrue more comments if you’ve been moved by what you’ve found here, or have gained any value from the blog.  I have until January 22nd to garner as much support (i.e. comments) as possible.

As always, I’m grateful.  Thanks for your support, whatever it looks like!

-Stef

Dancing With Matt Damon

Seriously.

It happened.  And he was a pretty good dancer.

We did Smooth and the best part was that our frame was so light and I barely got winded at all.  It wasn’t technically perfect, and we had a few slight miscommunications in leads, but all in all it went really, really well.  It felt very free and joyous.  And hey, just because it happened while I was sleeping doesn’t make it any less real, right?

I blame this fanciful imagining on my choice of movie before going to bed.  Not something I’d usually choose, but Eurotrip was on.  It came on after something else was over and I just didn’t change the channel.  But then there was this funny song in the movie sung by somebody, a rocker, who I didn’t recognize at first but upon closer inspection turned out to be Matt Damon.  It was a little bit shocking.

To set the scene, the guy holding the cup and not jumping in the crowd is Scotty and he was dumped by Fiona very recently.

Also, as an aside, I found this scene from the movie entertaining and funny:

So anyways.  It was a nice dream and I awoke to head off to a real dance lesson with someone even better.  Although not a movie star, Ivan is still pretty dang cute.  Just ask my mother-in-law.  When she first met him she said, “I may be old, but I’m not dead!”  Ha!

I told him about my dream and he was like, “Who is Matt Damon?”  Ivan claims he’s only seen the movie Titanic.  That’s it.  But I came to find out that he has seen like House Party or some other equally awful movie when we were on the road trip to Desert Classic.  I can’t remember which one exactly, but it was shocking.  Like, you’ve seen only Titanic and House Party?  You are such a weirdo!

So, nice dreams involving cute men and dancing aside, the real news is that I stumbled upon my goal for the upcoming Galaxy competition this morning.  The goal is simply this: to be relaxed while dancing.

When I am relaxed, like I was this morning, I connect so easily and can follow.  I have more movement in my body.  I don’t get frustrated.  I enjoy what I’m doing.

I came to this conclusion and pardon my French, but I kind of decided, “Fuck ’em!” Meaning screw the rest of the world when I’m dancing.  You have to understand, though, that I don’t mean this in a disrespectful way.  I mean it only in my own brain, and sometimes I have to go there to keep my Zen.  I have to basically not care what other people think and just dance.  Who am I dancing for, anyways?  So one way for me to do that is to be all “F-you” in my brain and let go of the need to be liked because it gives me mental permission to not give a flying fig what others think.  And in not caring, I am free.  I can express myself without any editing, or holding back from fear.  This is generally the opposite of my mental reality, and one effective way for me to flip that switch is to play this “Fuck ’em!” card.  So that’s what I’m going to do, and I already think that it’s going to make my experience dancing at Galaxy more fun, more joyful, and that I will be more open and less scared and less stressed.  A bit counterintuitive, I think, but hey, whatever works!  Life is too short!

I’m also going to visualize that I’m just dancing at the studio, like I sometimes do on Saturday when there are other people around.  Some people watch me dancing, others are involved in their own drama.  Either way, its fine and I’m usually pretty relaxed.

So no matter how we place, no matter how we do, my goal is to be relaxed like I couldn’t find in myself at Desert Classic, and to have some of those magic moments of connection and expression – the real reason I love dancing.  Basically to let it all hang out – to not get hung up so much on technique, and to just be in the flow.  That’s it.  That would be perfection.

So today it’s short and sweet.  This is my new worthy goal.  The Matt Damon that is the figment of my imagination would be proud.