How Figure Skating Changed My Mind About Changing My Body
I was never a particularly athletic child, and I was even less so an athletic teenager. I preferred the solidarity of my bedroom with my books, computer games and the company of my dog. I challenged myself academically – but when it came to sports, I often quit before I even started.
I had always admired figure skaters, with their powerful ability to move effortlessly across the ice. I couldn’t wait for the winter Olympics so that I could cheer for U.S. icons like Michelle Kwan and Tara Lipinski. I would beg my mom to drive me to the ice rink so I could go to the open skate, but I never had the courage to insist upon lessons. I didn’t see myself as the “sporty” type.
It wasn’t really until my early 20’s that I started taking my diet, exercise and overall health a bit more seriously. You see, I had gained somewhere in the range of a “Freshman 60” when I had started college and it had left me feeling exhausted, embarrassed and determined to make changes.
However, I had a problem – I HATED getting exercise. I was ashamed of myself at the gym and I never felt like I saw any consistent progress. This led to a lot of ups and downs on the scale and, coupled with unhealthy and impractical eating habits, I was convinced that I would never find a way to motivate myself to achieve my goals. I felt this way until I sat down to watch the 2018 Winter Olympic games and became captivated by figure skating once again. I literally thought to myself “That looks do-able” while watching triple-triple jump combos.
Safe to say, my progress began quite slowly. I started practicing at the open skate a few times before joining group Learn to Skate classes, but I knew from the first moment on the ice that I had found my niche. The initial couple of months were awkward and clunky, I was certainly no stranger to ice burns on my palms and bruises on my knees, but the exhilaration I felt after each session kept me going.
Over time, I felt my body getting stronger. I could skate longer, I could jump higher and I felt comfortable trying more challenging elements. However, one thing I did not account for was the mental and emotional strength that had gradually crept up on me. I would finish a session sweaty, red-faced and for once I finally felt empowered, not embarrassed. I took pride in my exciting new athletic persona, and thus I started eating better and treating my body with more respect.
So, I am here to share with you what has worked for me. I will be posting my favorite pre- and post-skating meals, perfect rink-side snacks and healthy alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth! There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to diet and exercise. Also, your figure skating journey is 100% YOUR OWN. Keep your heart and mind open, get out of your comfort zone and believe in yourself!