There are all sorts of things I need to write about. Let’s start.
Weight: Weight loss has been a little crazy these past few days. I felt hungrier than usual and noticed more cravings, so instead of fighting them and then succumbing to a binge, I just ate more, especially carbs. Pizza on Friday, white bread on Saturday, bagels on Sunday and Monday, plus a soft pretzel. Last night after class, I even had a 300 calorie pizza AND a 200 calorie cheese sandwich. It was 1700 to 2000 calories every day instead of the 1300 to 1600 I ate in the previous weeks. Despite all that, my weight went down every day, and for the last two days I lost a pound per day! So maybe my body just needs more food at the moment, or getting more food allows it to let go of the weight, or it’s water weight, I don’t know. All I know is that I felt much better allowing myself these things and even better stepping on the scale in the morning. I am now at 88,9 kg or 196 pounds. Only 7.5kg (16.5 pounds) to go until I can start jumping!
Jumping: ‘Jumping Weight’ is 81,5 kg, not 81 as I wrote before. Then my BMI will be in the ‘overweight’ range and no longer ‘obese’. I read somewhere that obese people shouldn’t run or jump because of potential damage to the joints, so I promised myself early on in my life as a ballet student that I wouldn’t jump until I reached a safe weight. After all, I want to dance until I’m old and grey, and not have to stop because of bad knees or feet. Yes, it does limit me at the moment. Yes, I will be behind the others in allegro technique. But having good basics and placement will help me progress faster than an absolute beginner. If weight loss continues like this, I hope to be able to start jumping in November! Of course I’ll have to build up my strength and stamina slowly. No use overdoing it and injuring myself. That would slow down progress even more. I wonder how it will feel, though. When I watch good dancers jump, it looks as if it felt really good. Light, full of energy and joy. I would love to experience that, one day. When I did a sauté sometimes to try, though, it felt very hard. I’m sure the weight makes it harder, but still. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am looking forward to it very much, but I’m sure it’s not going to be easy and I’m a little scared of injuring myself. I’ve been lucky so far: I’ve never had a real injury that made me stop dancing. Once in my first year, I sprained my ankle outside of class, but it was the summer holidays anyway and I didn’t miss much. Then there was the constant achilles and heel pain etc., but with weight loss and more elastic slippers it has vanished completely. It was never bad enough to stop me or make me consult a doctor. But: If you jump it’s easier to land badly and injure yourself. I MUST remain steadfast and not let Mandy push me into too advanced jumps too soon. She’s already talking about beats, eek!
Home: I miss going home and seeing my family! Dinah is still working on the situation and Mother told me she was making progress. But a visit would probably be counterproductive now. Mother is angry about the situation, and Dad, too. That doesn’t help. If Dinah can come round to being able to see me, it’s worth the time. But I miss Sissy, I miss our Sunday breakfasts and I miss Tippy terribly! Last night, I had a dream where I went home by mistake and Dinah was sitting in her corner at the kitchen table. When she saw me, I felt horrible. I felt her shrinking from me as if I was a monster. Then I was in the corridor petting Tippy. I could feel his soft fur, and he was licking my arm. I was trying to conceal my body, to make myself look fatter so that Dinah didn’t feel so bad when she saw me. Then the dream ended. When I woke up, I tried to remember when Dinah and I had last seen each other. It must have been the end of May, when we celebrated her birthday, or maybe a week later. After that, she never came down when I was there and shortly after, I stopped my visits. That means she roughly hasn’t seen me since was 10 kg heavier. I can’t help but think it would be a shock for her to see me now, and it’s getting worse the more weight I lose. I don’t know what to do about it. There is nothing to do. It’s in her hands entirely…
Mood: I have been living in fear for the past week, expecting the ‘depression and binge’ mood. So far, everything is ok. As I said, there are cravings but I can manage them with some indulgence and some stubbornness. I have been feeling a little low, but not depressed. Maybe the mood hasn’t come yet, or maybe I can control it somewhat. I really want to continue working, dancing, losing weight and being happy! I am determined NOT to sabotage myself. If it comes, I’ll continue going to work. I’ll allow myself to eat more, but not to overeat. And I’ll allow myself to stay home from class if I feel like it. I’ll just focus on the positive and be good to myself in the meantime.
Coffee: My short and sweet life as a coffee drinker has already come to an end. I love coffee, but I never drank it. There were several reasons: I liked it with milk or cream, and this combination upset my stomach. It isn’t worth the calories. And it used to make me extremely, cripplingly tired after the initial boost of energy, so tired that I couldn’t think anymore and almost felt too weak to sit up. Then in June, I found a very cheap Nespresso machine in a sale and bought it. For guests, I thought. I tried some for myself, and was surprised that I now liked black coffee (with sweetener, though). And it didn’t make me tired anymore! Since then, I have been drinking one or two cups every day, abandoning my beloved teas. But a few weeks ago, I noticed a very uncomfortable sensation: I could feel my pulse strongly in my stomach, especially when I was bending over or leaning against something. It was scary and very distracting. I even wondered whether I had an aneurysm. At first I thought it was because of weight loss, but then it got worse one morning, it felt almost like panic. I never had a panic attack, but my heart was beating as strongly as if I had been very afraid, which made me actually feel afraid. This wasn’t the normal kind of palpitations. I was in a lecture at the time, and I thought that I was just nervous because of the changes they were telling us about. But the next day it happened again. This time, there was nothing remotely scary or stressful going on. I was sitting in the bus on my way to ballet class. I had just had a cup of coffee for breakfast, so it dawned on me that maybe the coffee was responsible for this. Since then, I have practically stopped drinking coffee and the palpitations have stopped, too. But sigh! It was so good while it lasted! And I loved using the cute cups from my grandmother’s coffee set…
Ballet: After my ‘weak week’, everything was fine on Saturday. On Sunday, we had a workshop with Mandy, working on feet and legs. We worked on placement, alignment, dynamics and using the right muscles to work efficiently and correctly (and beautifully). It was intense, but very good. What I love is the fact that something as simple as a tendu can take the greatest effort and care to be done well. In fact, I think tendus are getting harder all the time! You need your whole body, your posture, turnout, correctly pointed feet, square shoulders, weight placed correctly etc. etc. It’s really hard! We also worked on pointing the feet to the maximum and using rotation to make the legs feel lighter. I have been with Mandy for over six months now, and her approach has helped me so much. I think this tedious, hard work is the key to clean and beautiful technique. Some things still elude me or get lost as soon as a step is faster or done in combination. Some things, like pulling up underneath the buttocks, thinking ‘out’ rather than ‘up’ in extensions, and using the upper chest to flatten the back are slowly becoming ingrained. I still have trouble keeping the left shoulder still in many exercises (can’t feel it) and when I try to spot, my eyes often close and then I get shouted at. Turnout is also a real struggle. I just don’t have enough turnout, and it’s difficult trying to use the maximum while not forcing it, and working within my range. A la seconde and écarté just always look horrible, and I had begun cheating my turnout by the time I first came to Mandy. She’s still correcting me on that.
Then on Monday, I was horribly sore (but in all the right places, so I know I worked well, yay!) and class HURT. And yesterday, the soreness had hardly lessened and I felt weak again, especially in relevé. I would have had time to stay for half of the second class, but I was too tired, so I just stretched and then went home and had pizza. So there.