Do you ever feel powerless when it comes to your weight? Maybe you wish you could just finally lose the weight and keep it off. Or maybe you’re at the other end of the scale (love a good pun) and doing everything you can, but just can’t seem to put it on! Or, maybe you just want to know how to stay where you are, without having to worry about it.
I hear you. As dancers, we put our body’s under fierce scrutiny and often aren’t our own best friend. We spend hours in class looking in the mirror. Getting and maintaining a dancers shape is harder for some of us, than others. From society, we get used to being told our body’s are just a certain way, and sure, genetics do play a part. BUT, and this is a big but, genetics aren’t everything! You can indeed eat right for your body type, and I’m still on board with this IF it works for you. (If this interests you, check out my post here.) But the problem is, it’s restrictive. And for the love of bread, there was just certain things I did not want to give up! So if that’s how you feel, then I’d like to tell you about what’s worked for me: Lifesum.
PLEASE NOTE I AM NOT AFFILIATED WITH LIFESUM, I will not gain financially from promoting them, so you can rest assured that this is just pure recommendation based on experience. This is also not a weight loss post, but I will be talking about my weight loss within it, as that has been my personal goal with Lifesum.
Getting A Dancers Shape- What Is Lifesum?
Lifesum is a lifestyle app which calculates your daily macros for which you can use to achieve and maintain your ideal shape. You simply set it according to your goals- you will be asked whether you wish to maintain, gain or lose weight, and enter what your goal weight is. It then calculates your daily macros and calorie requirement according to what is considered a healthy weight loss or weight gain of 1-2 pounds a week.
The best part about keeping track of your macros is that it keeps the focus on having a healthy diet and relationship to food. Even if you’re trying to lose weight, you can bet your bottom dollar it will tell you if you haven’t eaten enough that day! Or if you need more protein. Or less fat. Part of having a healthy relationship with food is making sure even if your target is weight loss, that you do what it says. If it says eat more, it means your body needs it!
But what about if you have a specific dietary requirement you choose to follow? Pesketarian? Keto? Paleo? 5:2? Yep, you got it, it has them all covered- you just set and go!
But What Are Macros Anyway And Why Do They Matter?
Macros is the abbreviation for macronutrients, which have 3 main types: carbohydrate, protein and fat. If you’re wanting to successfully achieve a dancers shape then macros are your friends. Not only are they responsible for the body’s intake of calories, they are also the main building blocks essential for energy. The three must work in tandem for a body to be in equilibrium. Lifesum is great in this respect, as it will tell you as you go what you need more of; you can then make informed choices based on that. It’s better for your health, and helps you have a balanced and varied approach to food. Whilst this can be a royal pain to do on your own, Lifesum does all the hard work for you. You will also feel at your most energised when you get these right. As Lifesum explains, calories will define the quantity of your intake, but macro science focuses on quality.
Personally for me, it’s made such a difference. At the start of this year I decided to do things differently. I know from experience that I don’t do well on a ketogenic diet. Not all bodies respond the same and for me, putting my body through extremes tends to create a bad reaction. However, upping my protein and fat comfortably and pulling back a little on carbs is something I felt very able do. And it is scientifically proven that doing this will help your body burn fat, without having to go into full-blown ketosis. This method also helps you feel less hungry as protein keeps you full for longer.
The Art Of Balance
The major thing I’ve learnt through Lifesum is NOT ALL CALORIES ARE CREATED EQUAL. For example, half a brownie might have the same content calorie wise as two pieces of toast. Sometimes I have gone for the former option, (I mean yum- I’m a dessert first kind of person) but then I might be left feeling hungry, especially if I have another major treat that day. So it allows me to a) think about whether today I should wait for a more active day when I can allow for more than one treat, and b) make an informed choice.
I will hasten to add that sometimes I will allow myself to throw this out the window for a day e.g. a special occasion, and it’s relatively easy to get back on track. Also, I know that if I go over and say, eat 2000 calories that day, that typically just switches my body to maintenance rather than weight loss mode that day so I’m not actually going to disrupt my goal too much.
Help, I Exercise A Lot!
So if you exercise a lot, it can get a little confusing how to calculate how much more you should be eating. I never really understood how to do it! A really handy feature of this app is that you can log any daily exercise and daily activity accordingly. It has so many activities on there from walking (you can even log the speed as slow, medium or fast) to aerobics, skiing, backpacking, even things like bikrum yoga. I was seriously impressed with how extensive the list is!
Although Lifesum isn’t created specifically for dancers wanting to achieve a dancers shape, it is super useful as it let’s you log dance classes (under the option of ballet, jazz etc), or shows/performance which is more intense. You can also log ballet barre activity. So it takes account for a dancers needs and preferences.
To make things even easier, if you have some form of Fitbit or fitness step counter you can also sync it with the app. Fun fact- you can scan the bar code of almost any food rather than having to search it to log it. Easy peasy!
The Differences I’ve Noticed:
- I am A LOT less bloated now that my macros are in balance, and I’ve cut out what doesn’t agree with me. Also, I rarely have gas (sorry if that’s TMI, but hey sharing is caring- it’s a common problem, so I’m just gonna own it!)
- Obviously the weight loss aspect is wonderful! (I’m not going to share how much I’ve lost as I’m aware this can be triggering for people but what I will say is that I lost over a stone in a relatively short but SAFE amount of time.)
- I eat more fat and protein and it actually fills me up! Before, my diet was VERY carb centric. I just didn’t feel full unless I ate a ton of carbs! But now I find I can feel full eating more protein, and my energy levels have increased. I feel lighter and brighter! In fact, I had a day that was very carb centered, (it was a case of that’s what I had in the fridge,) and I just didn’t feel good at the end of it; in fact I couldn’t finish eating as it was way too stodgy, and was making me feel sluggish!
- I have a better understanding of nutritional content and the calories in different foods, so am able to make informed choices accordingly. Does my body need this today? Maybe I should eat some more as I’ve exercised a lot? Can I hold off on the ice cream for a day when I’m more active?
- Better planning- I think ahead for what I’m going to eat if I’m out and about. FYI Nakd bars are amazing if you’re on the run (my favourite is the Cherry Bakewell flavour.)
- I’ve learnt moderation when eating out. Disclaimer: I am a dessert person big time! Buuuuuut, if I’m going out for a pizza, instead of following it by an ice cream sundae (although that is still totes legit if it’s a special occasion) I’ll probably grab my dessert back home where I can just have a little of what I fancy.
- I savour my food more. Ice cream, chocolate- now I make it last. As a result I may be eating a dessert that’s smaller in portion than before, but actually finding its lasting longer!
- A packet of cookies (I defo still love them) stays in the cupboard a week, rather than a day!
- I’ve now got gorgeous extra recipes that are dead easy to make and hardly any preparation time.
- There’s some great spins on common place meals. For example their banana Oatmeal Recipe- which also contains jam and peanut butter (among other things.) It’s just shy of 350 calories and will keep you feeling energised and full for hours!
It works! After years of having to monitor my weight, it’s the best £5 a month I’ve ever spent. I am in love with this way of life; it has completely revolutionised my weight and lifestyle and the magic of it is, it’s so simple! Last year, I felt so frustrated but after coming to terms with the fact that I can’t get away with eating quite what I ate when I was 18, and that I’d have to take action to see results, it’s changed my relationship to my body for the better. It makes me feel empowered every day. Over the years I’ve had to work harder to not store fat however Lifesum makes me feel excited about food and my new way of life. The best part is, it’s totally manageable and sustainable.
I don’t deprive myself, but it has re-educated me as to the nutritional value of foods, as well as calorie content. There’s also some recipes I’m really looking forward to trying, such as the blushy smoothie bowl a and the date and nut truffles. I’m of the opinion that dancers should come in all shapes and sizes, and all bodies are beautiful. However, if you find yourself wanting to work at having a dancer shape and what that means for you (whether that’s weight gain, loss or maintenance) then Lifesum can do extraordinary things for you.
Summary of features:
- Can sync the app with your fitness tracker/step counter.
- You can scan the bar code of the foods you buy to log food quickly.
- Can set it to your diet preference (vegan, pesketarian, 5:2, keto)
- Can set it according to your goals (weight gain, loss or maintenance)
- It will recalculate what you need according to how much exercise you log each day.
- Calculates your macros and tells you how much you need throughout the day
- Lots of recipes (based on your diet preference
- Keeps you on top of how much water you need and whether you’re staying hydrated.