Belly Dance Technical Forum
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Delilah, Visionary Belly Dance
Will belly dancing help me lose weight?
submitted by H.T.
Belly dance is great exercise as long as you get off the couch and do it! Dont just fantasize about some day doing it. All increased physical activity will get your metabolism moving, which helps you burn fuel. Youll need to maintain an increased heart rate for 20 minutes. And you can bump your heart rate up and get a good workout by getting your arms and hands over your head and by sweating a bit.
Lucky for us, belly dancing is so fun and creative we easily can get lost in an album and dance around the living room for an hour or more before we know it. Many people quit and sit down, however, when the investment gets stronger. That usually happens right before a dancer reaches the place of most benefit. Thats why either a class, a programmed workout, a choreography or a disciplined practice regime is a good idea.
When I was a teenager, if I wasnt on the swim team I had a tendency to put on weight. By age 20, I was working 6 nights a week, two to three shows (25-45 minutes each) a night. I could eat anything I wanted and my weight was easily maintained at 134 pounds. My body was pure, flexible muscle. That sure was a switch from when I was 13 to 18, when I always had to diet to keep my weight at a softer, less structured 140. During those performances I was a sweaty mess. I went through costumes fast with wear and tear. Sequins lost their luster and coins turned green and elastic lost its grip. I was an athlete, and proud of it. Yes! Belly dancing can be helpful for loosing and maintaining a desired weight.
In addition, after the birth of both my daughters, belly dance melted away the 50 extra pounds I was caring. Some women find it challenging to put the baby down for an hour uninterrupted and find the energy to work out. Get a babysitter. Make it a ritual priority for yourself. You deserve it! The benefits of a physical workout are psychological as well!
I will admit that without the nightly club performance to push me through those zones of physical endurance today, its not as easy to get the exercise I need. I am a live performance junky. That's where I really sweat. I teach many classes but dont work up a sweat teaching beginners. I do yoga four days a week. I also do aerobics as additional physical activity when my belly dance schedule gets slow and I feel I need more.
Read question and answer #13: Is belly dance Aerobic? There is a great linked site on the page that offers information on dieting, fat burning, mental states as well as aerobic heart rates for getting and staying in shape
Answer by Delilah
Know any good diets?
submitted by H.T.
First, I have to ask: How much weight do you want to loose, and why?
When a skinny 17-year-old comes in pulling at her skin and saying shes fat , all other women in the room look back at her incredulously. How could our own pictures of ourselves get so messed up, we wonder?
I think people should be realistic. I used to be a hair dresser, and people would always bring in photos of hair styles that would never work for their hair. (Before I was a hair dresser, I did it, too.) They had no idea what was sitting right on top of their heads. So, their hair was curly; emphasizing it or going in a direction that they had a natural inclination for and being creative within that direction would be much more realistic. We should have more pride in our distinctions. Why do any of us want to look the way someone else already looks? Well, we often do, and that's a fact of life, I guess. Its called envy, and I think its one of the 7 deadly sins.
We need to practice loving each other, and loving the differences between us.
My beauty is your beauty and your beauty is mine
I cannot be beautiful alone.
I can only be beautiful in connection to your beauty.
These were the words articulated in a 10 day belly dancing retreat program called Embracing Aphrodite, in Hawaii 2002 with Delilah and Lorraine Lafata. Do you know what those words mean? Its about supporting each others differences and not deserting ourselves and each other for dumb commercial aims that try to undermine us all so we will buy their products.
We shall define beauty!
When you learn to love someone else's fat youll learn to love your own fat. Seriously. We wont be so busy erasing the parts of ourselves we come to loathe for some trumped up reasoning. If we can get along and accept our curves, we will start to awaken dead parts of ourselves. When we are more fully alive and know more about who we are and the true texture of our hair, complexion and curves, we can make better and more informed decisions about the creative lives we can lead. Our body will be free to change in a way that suits us.
Still want a diet?
Well, I dont blame anyone for wanting to loose a few pounds or to keep a few extra pounds. Where are you comfortable and for what purpose? This is the question.
Sandra says I do yoga and my belly is in my way for certain positions. I know I could loose about 10 pounds and be many classes more agile.. . . Go for it then!
Lyn says she likes that she has fuller boobs when she's 15 pounds heavier. . . By all means, enjoy them!
Debbie says she doesnt want to loose or gain weight. She just wants to stay where she is and wants to be mindful. So, she diets a few days out of the month or does a seasonal cleansing diet.
Ive never worried about my weight but I gotta loose the pounds I gained when I was pregnant. Says Pam. Be patient and increase your exercise. Know that breast feeding requires a lot of calories. You may loose weight faster at this time, but if you loose too fast, youll loose your milk. Relax, eat the right things and enjoy the closeness with your baby.
Okay. Im going to go on record and say, like everyone else, check with your physician before going on a diet. But if all you are trying to do is loose 10-20 pounds, who calls a doctor? People should check with a physician about their regular bad eating practices then too. People should learn about nutrition and use common sense and intuition about how the things they eat affect them. I think the answers are different for different people, but I guarantee you everyone needs to stay away from carbs and sugars if they have a weight problem. Never believe anyone that tells you pasta is good for you. Stay away from fruit juices and eat actual fruit instead. The fast-food and prepared-food industries are not good for us weight-conscious people. We hear that obesity is an epidemic in America. Its not hard to understand. We are all on the run, reaching for prepared foods. Its very frustrating because our food is overloaded with so much unnecessary sugar. Just yesterday, I bought regular cottage cheese and noticed that it had sugar in it! What for?
Ive tried plenty of diets. I have never fallen into any anorexic tendencies, however, I have known people who have and its a very serious disorder where a person can't stop starving them selves. This problem needs to be treated by specialized doctors and therapists. These problems crop up when a person collapses beneath the extraordinary pressures of a deep personal psychological burden or the simple pressures that have been put upon women by commercial society in regard to beauty (see: Reviving Ophelia through Belly Dance in Alexandra's Belly Dance Library, from Visionary Belly Dancing). A persons view of reality, self image, and self esteem can fall apart, in deep need of repair. Even young men are falling into the mind trap of anorexia these days.*
When I was a teen, my favorite diet was the Lincoln Clinic diet. I would cart plastic containers of spinach, tomatoes, grapefruits and hard boiled eggs to school in a brown bag. It worked and I felt like I was in control of my own body. Later, my aerobic teacher handed me the same diet some 20 years later. She swore by it, as she had lost over 100 pounds using this diet, 2 weeks on and 1 week off, before she began studying to be an aerobics teacher. The combination and determination to loose weight and exercise changed her life by leaps and bounds.
When I was about 16, my mother joined Weight Watchers and I would go on the teens diet plan. It taught me a great deal about the amount of carbs I could expect to eat per day and maintain a well-rounded nutritional assortment of foods. This was a very positive experience in my life.
Some time ago in my 20's, I did go on the Atkins Diet for a week at a time and would lose weight fast when I got out a few pounds off coarse, however, back then I would never recommend it to anyone trying to drop several classes of weight because it didnt seem like a grounded idea to me. But, I have seen people loose many classes of weight with it and their life opened up to them in amazing ways. I have two thoughts on this diet: yes, it sounds a bit extreme, but so is living with an extra 130 pounds you dont need endangering your health and self esteem. When I look at Doctor Atkins current diet plan, I see its changed a bit and doesnt seem so radical. Hes really made it more palatable to more health-conscious thinking people. Itll never sit well with a vegetarian, Im afraid.
Another simple diet plan is to reduce the size of all meals. Cut the sugar and carbs and be sure you eat breakfast to jump-start your metabolism for the day. Eat open-face sandwich with one piece of bread instead of two. Maybe oatmeal one day, egg the next. Eat salads and fish for dinner.
Try Slim fast for two meals and a regular dinner. It can work if you dont forget to eat one complete meal or cave in to your cravings at the end of the day. Lots of men seem to like this diet.
Food allergies can be common scenarios related to weight problems. Wheat and corn seem to be huge culprits, but they are also carbohydrates so staying away from them is a safe bet for dieters. If all you do is drop wheat and sugar from your diet religiously, you will loose weight. Itll make a difference whether you are really allergic to them or not. Then add to that the elimination of dairy for the lactose Intolerant. I don't think this is especially easy to adhere to, but I know people who have lost alot of excess weight by doing this. Being a vegetarian is not a for sure way of loosing weight because it still depends on how much sugar, starch, and carbohydrates you take in.
Try a cleansing diet of raw foods and enemas to get things moving. Be sure you seek some professional advise on the best regime for you.
One of the really frustrating challenges to dieting and keeping your weight down are our convenience foods. They are absolutely culprits to our demise.
Do not trigger regurgitation! This is called "bulimia" and its another mental disorder and often goes hand in hand with "anorexia novosa". You need to seek help. Also, the temptation for speed, diet pills and other stimulants and appetite suppressants can be very dangerous! The toll on your life is too much to pay! See a therapist.
* Anorexia was first diagnosed in the 1700s and most likely occurred even before. Certainly today it is on the increase.
Answer by Delilah