Understanding Why It's Important to Care for Your Body, No Matter What Number is on the Scale by Segren Rollin

I grew up a competitive dancer. Now, do not get me wrong, I love dance with everything inside of me. It’s the reason I am who I am today. Three year old Segren would sob all the way to pee-wee ballet class and force her mom to stand in the window just so she could anxiously look back every 30 seconds to make sure she was standing there. That was a recurring theme for about 5 years, but— believe it or not!— that did eventually change. Slowly but surely, that shy and quiet baby ballerina gained some confidence and made her way to the front of the classroom. 

At thirteen, I moved to a dance studio that was renowned for its talented and well known dancers. Saying that I was terrified would be an understatement. These kids were incredibly skilled, and I knew that I was going to need to up my game in order to keep up with them. I have always strived for perfection in everything I do, and I was going to make sure that was I just as well known and talented as my new teammates!

Laura Sheaffer running Laura Sheaffer It was during this time that I realized that my body… did not look like everyone else's. I had muscles where other girls were long and lean. I had to wear medium sized leotards when other girls were wearing smalls. And most embarrassing was having to tell my teachers that the costume that they had ordered me did not fit over my new found curves. 

As a thirteen-year-old girl who spent her days and nights staring at herself in the mirror, analyzing every single part of her body, this now toxic feeling I had whenever I looked a little too long began to take over my life. No one ever taught me the importance of nutrition, so I began to turn to more unhealthy weight-loss methods. As a dancer, those were all I had ever learned. 

It was a really rough patch in my dancing career, I will admit it. I struggled feeling confident in ballet class or having the energy to drink something other than water. It was hard to understand why after a week of eating small portions of food and only drinking water, I had made no progress in reaching my new goal. It was devastating.

This cycle continued on and on until about a few months ago. I knew that coming home from my conservatory school in Pittsburgh would be hard. I had spent the last 6 months perfecting my image and shape, and I had no clue if I was going to be able to maintain that. 

Person standing on scale Photo by I Yunmai from Unsplash But I used the time to my advantage and got to studying. Ladies, do I want to share what I have learned with you! There is no way to lose 50 pounds in 2 months without causing serious damage to your internal organs and muscle systems. As much as I wish we could all just hit a button and *poof* all of our wishes would come true, that is not the reality. HOWEVER, let's chat about what is. 

  1. Do not ever deprive yourself of food that you are craving. 

Gaining weight from “eating unhealthy” often does not come from the actual calorie intake but the portion size in which we are consuming. Crazy, right?! So go get an Oreo or two. If the leftover chocolate cake in the fridge is calling your name, grab a slice. Remember that we often think we are craving something so much that we could just snarf down the whole thing, but just a slice or cookie will usually settle that need. 

  1. Water is NOT optional!

There is a common misconception that drinking too much water can add on a few pounds or leave you bloated for hours on end. Now, bloating can most definitely happen, however, water is the most important thing you can put into your body. When our bodies are dehydrated, they send messages up to our brains that say we are hungry even when we are not. When we eat too much instead of drinking water, we begin to feel the stereotypical bloat that no one wants! Water is essential for our daily success, ladies, do not forget that!

  1. Go outside— with a mask of course!

Yes, we are most definitely in the middle of a global pandemic. And there is no doubt in my mind that global pandemics can bum us all out. That is why it is so important to get outside. Your body will thank you for giving it some sun and maybe a little sweat. Whether it's a run around campus or drinking your coffee on the grass, there are many ways we can stay sane, all while caring for our body. 

Now, you heard me ladies… love yourself and stay safe! :)