© 2016 by KAYLEE RANDALL.​

Hips and Ass: Struggles with Body Image as a Professional Dancer

January 21, 2017

It’s no secret that the entertainment industry is brutal when it comes to positive body image. The fact that here we’re required to take fitness photos and send them to the office in Miami just puts so much pressure on us. Even when everyone assures you that it’s not a big deal. For me, it’s the first time I’ve felt like I have to be really hard on myself to make sure this doesn’t get out of hand.

 

To be clear, I don’t think I’m fat. But I have gained some weight and looking at pictures from this summer, it’s clear when you compare the two. And again, to be clear, I was probably a bit too thin when I left Orlando. I was a workaholic and honestly that’s not a lifestyle I think I’d be able to keep up with for much longer if I stayed. Looking back, I had headaches constantly and some days I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed from feeling faint. I was working way too hard and here, I have yet to miss a day of work.

 

When I got to Royal, I was straight chillin’. I ate ice cream all the time during rehearsals, I would always have seconds at the mess when I first came onboard, and the alcohol just seems to always be pouring into my glass. And what’s the big deal? I’ve always been able to eat whatever and I’d burn it off by the time it would turn to fat. Right?

 

Turns out, that’s false. In Orlando, I was awake and active from 8:30 in the morning until sometimes 2:00 the next morning (hey, Kinetix). That’s insane. And I wasn’t drinking alcohol or snacking or really doing anything other than dancing. And on top of my three jobs, I was auditioning and taking class on my days off. So yeah, I was eating Teak cheeseburgers and drinking Toothsome milkshakes without much thought.

 

And yes, I’m obviously dancing here. But I’m no longer doing so in 90-degree weather (hallelujah). Plus, we only work at night. I probably dance half the amount that I’m used to and my hips and ass were like “Hey there, we’re back.”

 

With that being said, I’m seeing this as an opportunity the find a healthy balance between where I am now and the workaholism of last year. Instead of focusing on how I used to look and trying to go back to that, I need to focus on a new me. One that’s conscientious about food and fitness, but making sure I’m doing things that make me feel good. Plus, Isaac continuously reassures me that my ass is great and I should love it too.

 

So what’s my plan?

 

This week I’m trying to include some of Kayla Itsines workouts that I got from Toni and adding a few yoga classes a week from my Gaiam YogaStudio App. And when I want some alone time, I find that running on the treadmill really helps clear my mind. And in an effort to be a stronger dancer, I’ve been setting goals in line with what’s required for us to do aerial work with the company, and it’s really exciting to start feeling myself getting stronger. That means working on my push-ups, shoulder shrugs, and ab work.

This is me after a Kayla Itsines workout. Dying.

 

With food, I’ve been eating a lot less dessert and not going back for seconds when I’m clearly full. Which really isn’t so hard on the ship because usually the food is pretty lackluster anyway. But when we go to St. Maarten I still indulge in the homemade gelato because let’s be real, food is a huge part of traveling and I plan to experience the places I visit as fully as I can.

 

Basically what I’m trying to say is that it’s tough to be a dancer. Body dysmorphia is real and I’m feeling it hard. We have to be strong and fit to do our jobs well, but we don’t need to be so hard on ourselves either. And that’s a balance I’ve been working on lately. For all my homies who know the same struggle, let’s focus on how thankful we are that our bodies have given us this gift. Love it, celebrate it, take care of it.

 

 

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