30 Before 30: Rachel's February Update

By Rachel Pearl, Director of Production

Not as bad, but it still sticks out!
Not as bad, but it still sticks out!

I have so many wonderful things to share with you since my first blog post. First, I feel a lot better! Second, this whole ambitious-change-your-life-and-become-a-fit-dancer thing is really hard. Remember how we talked about not bringing home junk food? Yea, I ate a whole box of cookies last week. But that’s ok! I wrote the calories down and I’m dealing with my thinking problem. That’s right. If you have challenges with food, you don’t have a food problem. You have a thinking problem. So can I just remind everyone that this is a process and if you’re joining me on this journey, give yourself a break!

Also, ballet class is fun. I can’t even tell you how much fun. You just have to go and experience it for yourself. I took Tammy Hurt’s ballet class at JOMDC Atlas and I cannot believe how tough but light-hearted the class was. It’s not just Tammy. It’s the students too. You have the full range of student in there from faculty members to football players like Chris Richardson. When a student is asked to demonstrate a combination, we watch them sweat and work so hard and then guess what we do? We APPLAUD. Do you get applauded for doing a great job? Like actual CLAPPING? I didn’t think so.

This month, the entire east coast was plagued with the flu. And for me it happened TWICE. Well, maybe it was just a bad cold that came back stronger but it forced me to skip a lot of dance classes. Even when I told the entire DC dance community that I was committed to taking classes every week I found a hand full of excuses (work/tired/sick) to skip them. When I lamented about this to my cousin she sent me this article by Leo Babauta called, “The Power of Habit Investments.” Leo tells us that making new habits is hard, but comes with interest. Doing something small like a series of stretches every day not only benefits you in the short-term, but also has immeasurable compound interest. Yes, just like the interest in your bank account. Those stretches help to relax you, circulate your blood, and countless other long-term benefits you’ll see in the future. You don’t just save $50 a month in your savings account, do you? No. Hopefully, you save that plus interest. The same thing goes for your body. This is an incredibly exciting discovery for me, something I hope I’ll remember day after day as I try to drink more water, do more push ups, breathe, take dance class and wake up earlier and earlier.

Feeling better dancing!
Feeling better dancing!

These are the things I know to be true about dance class and getting fit:

  1. No one is watching you so don’t bother feeling self-conscious. Ballet and all the other classes are challenging enough. Look in the mirror and focus on yourself. This is an excellent mantra for life.
  2. You are not your thinking mind. I fight with brain Pearl all the time. Ask your brain to please be quiet when it tells you to do the opposite thing you planned to do i.e. skipping the gym/dance class/fruits/veggies.
  3. Spice it up a bit. I don’t know about you but I am the busiest woman I know. Sometimes I can’t get to Tammy’s class and I must try another class that works with my schedule. Let’s face it. The stress of being overweight, unhappy and a dork on the dance floor is way worse than braving a new class on a day that you are actually free. Be spontaneous! JOMDC can support you in that effort because we have hundreds of adult drop-in classes throughout the week.
  4. Change is slow. Take your time. This is also a good mantra for life and for dance. Use all your counts, don’t rush, smile and enjoy the movement.
  5. Turn off your TV. You’ll have more time for dance class and all the other things on your to do list.