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Magazine » Social Dance » Dine – Dance - Dream

Dine – Dance - Dream

Jen Brewer, RD (
Date Published:
September 10, 2011

Keeping balance in the rigorous ballroom world can become quite complicated at times. Add that to the media entourage about what we should and shouldn’t eat, and the confusion can skyrocket. Following these three simple steps can help keep your body balanced… even when your schedule isn’t!


Every body requires food to survive. That’s about the only thing that many of us know for sure. The type and amount of food that is recommended seems to change with the tide, as we are told one day “fat is bad!” followed by the next day’s headlines touting the “horrible dangers of carbohydrates!” So what exactly does our body need?? Six basic ingredients are required each day, in varying amounts:

Cut through the confusion, keep it simple, and Dine, Dance, and Dream your way to your best body ever!

1. Carbohydrate. Yes, we do need it! It’s the type and amount that get us into trouble. Simple carbs are what give carbs a bad name. Simple carbohydrates are made up of refined sugars, supplying little more than empty calories. Complex Carbohydrates, on the other hand, provide us with vital nutrients, including fiber. Fiber is vital to any healthy body. A natural ‘filler,’ fiber helps us feel full quickly – which helps us eat less. It also reduces the risk for colon cancer, and helps lower cholesterol levels.

2. Protein aids in many body functions, such as hormone building and muscle repairs. When you eat protein, the body breaks it down into small parts called amino acids, which can then be re-arranged to build different structures that the body needs.

3. Fat. Yes, fat does have functions in the body. It cushions the organs, transports some key vitamins (A,D,E,K), provides insulation, and gives cell walls their elasticity. Fat is one key body ingredient that you don’t need to search out. Don’t worry, it will find you. The recommendations are to limit the daily fat intake to a minimum, eating sources from mono-unsaturated (i.e. olive oil) and poly-unsaturated (especially omega-3, found in fish oils and nuts). Saturated fat has been linked to high cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis.

4. Vitamins and 5. Minerals. These are found in a wide array of food, but most commonly fruits and vegetables. There are a whole slew of vitamins out there, and the best way to make sure you get them all is to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables (as well as whole grains). Pretty much every function in the body requires the use of vitamins and minerals.

6. Water. Vital to survival, water provides the medium for almost every function that happens in the body. Getting 7-8 cups a day is the minimum requirement. Make sure to take frequent water breaks during and after training.


Exercise is one of the best gifts you can give your body, and dance is an excellent way to fulfill this requirement. Research has shown again and again the benefits of exercise including lower rates of heart disease, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose, as well as increased resistance to sickness, and overall better body functions. The recommendations are to get at least 30-60 minutes of exercise daily. Smaller chunks also pay off – getting 10 minute sessions in 3-4 times a day counts. In fact, recent studies have shown that interval training (small bursts of high intensity exercise, followed by a small rest cycle) burns more fat than longer sessions of low intensity.


Sleep can be just as essential for overall health as exercise. Lack of sleep not only zaps our body of energy, it also affects us at the hormonal level. Ghrelin hormone levels (increases hunger) have been shown to be elevated in sleep-deprived people, while at the same time Leptin levels (the satiety hormone) have been shown to drop. The short answer to this: play hard, work hard, then rest like you mean it! (And, no, sitting in front of the TV does not count. In fact, sleeping burns more calories than watching TV!) Getting 7-8 hours of energy restoring sleep is optimal.