Have you ever dreamt of being as slim, toned, and gracious as a ballerina? I guess we all have, at a certain point in our life. Most of us gave up imagining that it all takes extenuating work and endless diet restrictions. One of the country’s most acclaimed ballerinas claims otherwise.
Misty Copeland, the first African-American performer to become the principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre has recently published a new book: Ballerina Body: Dancing and Eating Your Way to a Lighter, Stronger, and More Graceful You.
The cover of the book is an invitation to dream of fame, grace, and lean muscles. The book itself is a journey at the end of which, if you follow the author’s advice, you should find yourself fit, successful, and happy. All you need to do is learn to work out, eat, and drink like a ballerina.
Is it easy, doable, or even possible? We know for sure it was possible for Misty. However, as the ballerina herself confessed, it took long years of training, dieting, and fighting injuries. It involved disappointments and eating disorders ( ).
Therefore, it seems only fair to doubt that it is possible to bypass such huge efforts with some diet changes and workout tips. If it were that easy, wouldn’t we all be slender, lean, and gracious? But let’s not jump to conclusions and see what this amazing girl’s recipe for success is, and what advice she gives her readers.
Before you can change your body, you need to accept it and love it the way it is. Your body is perfect for you, focus on it and on yourself, and stop comparing yourself to other people. Great advice, but it comes in a book about someone you dream of looking like, filled with their photos and life story.
Now, seriously, it is important that you learn to accept and love your body, with all its faults. This way, you’ll learn to appreciate any progress you make. You may not be able to stop comparing yourself with others, but, when you do make comparisons, remember the lifestyle differences, and focus on the things you can improve.
According to Misty Copeland, the movement starts with posture. No matter how much you weigh and what your body specific is, you need to develop and maintain a correct posture. For that, always keep your back straight, your shoulders high yet relaxed, and your eyes straight ahead. Once you’ve established your goals, there’s no looking back.
Stretching can help with posture as well. Whenever you slouch on your home couch or your work chair, get up, clasp your hands behind, stretch them down, and raise them away from your body. Roll your neck, head, and shoulders.
Obviously, even with the right posture and regular stretching exercises, you’re still a long way from the ballerina body of your dreams. What should you do to achieve it? Get dancing on the floor and at the barre. It is all about replicating simple ballet movements while lying on the ground, or holding the barre. What barre, you may ask? It’s up to you to find or install one!
Ballerinas seem to have no gram of fat on their bodies, and you can’t help wonder how they do it. According to Misty, it’s easier and tastier than you could ever imagine. Sure, you need to kiss that mac and cheeses goodbye, but who doesn’t love shrimp or sushi, sprinkled with prosecco?
No, ballerinas don’t build those gorgeous fatless bodies by staying away from fat. They actually indulge but in the right kind of fat. The “right kind”, in this case, means animal protein, vegetal fat, and beneficial oils. The above-mentioned book provides detailed meal plans and some inspiring and mouthwatering recipes.
For a general idea, think of the perfect balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, of fish, seafood, avocado, and nuts. Wrap them in fiber-rich vegetables, like spinach and kale, and delicious, juicy fruits, and you begin to think like a star. Keep reading to discover 3 recipes that let you eat like one on an everyday basis!
This is a fast, delicious, and nutritious recipe. You only need a cup of egg whites, 2-3 sliced mushrooms, a handful of spinach, 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan, kosher salt, and hot sauce (optional). Heat the frying pan, and spray it with cooking oil. Cook the mushrooms for a couple of minutes. Add the spinach and cook until it wilts (1-2 minutes).
While the mushrooms and spinach cook, whisk the egg whites with the kosher salt in a bowl, until they become frothy. Pour them into the frying pan, over the mushrooms and spinach, and sprinkle everything with 1 tablespoon of parmesan. When the eggs start to cook, gently lift their edges to let the uncooked eggs get under the cooked part.
Put the frying pan in the preheated oven, and let the frittata boil for 2-3 minutes, for the eggs to cook through. When it’s ready, take it out of the oven, sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top, and serve it cut into wedges, with or without hot sauce. The above quantities should be enough for 2 servings.
This is a classic but delicious recipe worth sharing with your loved ones, no matter what diet they’re on. To make it, you’ll need: 6 cups of mixed greens, 2 cups of steamed or boiled green beans, ½ of a diced medium onion, 4 boiled and quartered new potatoes, 2 Roma tomatoes sliced into wedges, 1 peeled and thinly sliced ripe avocado, 12 pitted black olives, 4 cans of water packed tuna, balsamic vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil.
Divide these ingredients among 4 plates. Top each plate with equal parts from the rest of the ingredients, drizzle everything with 1 tablespoon of dressing, and serve. To make the dressing, mix 2 parts of olive oil with 1 part of balsamic vinegar.
This is a delicious combination of fat and fiber, easy to make, and great to share with friends. You’ll need: 2 flounder fillets, 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon of crushed pepper (red), 1 diced yellow onion, 4 cloves of diced garlic, 2 bundles of kale, 4 cups of vegetable broth (low sodium), hot sauce, salt and pepper, white wine vinegar.
Preheat a large pot or cooking pan, and drizzle it with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook the onion until it softens and becomes translucent. Spice it with the diced garlic and the red pepper, and continue to cook it until the garlic starts smelling. Tear the kale leaves into equal pieces and add them to the pan. Add the vegetable broth to the mix. When everything starts boiling, sprinkle salt and pepper and the white wine vinegar. Let everything cook for 40 at low heat, and add the hot sauce.
When the kale sautés has boiled for about 25 minutes, it’s time to cook the flounder. Preheat a medium nonstick skillet over medium to high heat, and drizzle the remaining olive oil. Season the fillets with salt and pepper, and place them on the hot skillet, with the skin side up. When it’s turned golden brown, after about 3 minutes, turn it to the other side and let it cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Place the fish on the skillet on top of the sautéed kale, and serve hot.
No, the question is not about whether you have the necessary will or skills; it is about whether this book provides what you need to succeed. The structure is clean, yet comprehensive. The book promises just the right combination of information, advice, real life lessons, and spice.
You have a chapter meant to prepare you from the psychological point of view (Mind), a workout guide (Motion), a nutrition chapter (Meals), and a guide on creating relationships, finding, and providing support (Mentors).
However, the entire book seems a little shallow, more suitable for those who have already developed a healthy lifestyle, and have made a habit of exercising and planning their meals. It is great for those who have already found their way but want some diversity in their meals and workout routines.
If you are only at the beginning of your journey, you will probably have a hard time sizing your meals and following the exercise advice in the book. More than that, everything is general, does not take into account metabolism differences, physical condition, allergies, etc.
Perhaps Misty’s solution to get the body of a ballerina with a high-fat diet really works. However, as she herself confessed, she fought an eating disorder and severe injuries to become the icon she is today. Perhaps it takes this kind of experience to understand how to apply the principles explained in the book for best results.
In the meantime, we agree with Misty that it takes a complete and definitive lifestyle change to shape and maintain a lean and attractive body. However, we feel there are more detailed, practical, and effective resources for you out there. Of course, the final decision is yours, and this awesome book could be your chance to feel like a ballerina, even if only while reading, through catharsis.