Cheating is Defeating!

I recently attended a birthday party where there was a giant chocolate cake which used to be my most favorite food group. It has grain, protein (eggs) and dairy, right? Unfortunately, it also has sugar in mass amounts and sugar is poison to me.
So I sat and watched three people on ‘diets’ eat a piece of that decadent cake and when I questioned their choice (because I’m blunt that way) they said it was a special occasion and they were having a ‘cheat day.’
This gave me food for thought and obviously a topic for my blog!  It’s about food but is also about belly dance, so for those of you who don’t have food issues!  Read on!
I don’t have ‘cheat days.’ It isn’t because I’m so special or so goody goody, it’s because I’m a sugar addict and chocolate cake is my crack. Sure I could eat just a small piece, but then I’d be tortured with cravings for hours afterwards. Why would I do that to myself?
Many people say they can have just a little bit and their craving is satisfied. For some, that’s true, for others it’s just something they say in that moment and in the next moment they eat just a little bit and those moments just keep coming.
If I cared about what others thought or about societal conditioning I would have dropped weight long ago, but I don’t. I care about me and how I feel inside and out. So having a ‘cheat day’ is cheating myself of feeling good and it’s a huge risk that I’m not willing to take, the risk of going back to bad eating habits.
I’ve watched many friends try to diet and fail and wondered why I am succeeding after so many years of failure myself. I read a Facebook post the other day and it became clear. The post was something about pumpkin pie and whipped cream in the break room and what torture it was to resist.
It wasn’t torture for me to watch all my friends eat a piece of decadent chocolate cake, not at all.
So I asked myself: what’s different, now?
What’s different is that I now focus on what I can eat instead of what I can’t. And! Instead of thinking of a diet as deprivation or punishment, I think of it as a way to heal my body. It’s a mental thing, about changing my thoughts.
I can eat delicious grapes, a crisp apple, or some decadent pineapple if I have a craving for sweets, and I’m satisfied and go on with my day craving-free.
Success is mostly a mental thing, thinking about what I can eat instead of what I can’t, thinking ahead when I’m on the run but it’s also about wanting to feel good and wanting it badly enough to change my thoughts and habits.
So what does cheating have to do with belly dance?
Well, have you ever had that troupe member that doesn’t practice? She’s too busy and thinks she can just wing it by watching her sister dancers.  This is cheating! She cheats herself first and foremost out of a good dance experience where she’s confident with her ability to do the choreography and second, she cheats her troupe mates when she gets on the stage and blows it causing her sister dancers stress and taking some of the fun away from group dancing and performing.
I’m a busy person also, but I won’t get on the stage with my dance friends unless I know the dance. I will do whatever it takes to learn the choreography. I’ve always been a ‘busy’ person, so if I don’t have the time to physically practice the dance, I’ll run it in my head and think through each movement of the choreography until I know it. I always have it written down to refer to when I forget something. I’ll do the dance in my head as I lay in bed ready to fall asleep or when I wake up in the morning or when I’m driving, waiting in line, etc. There is always time to learn and memorize choreography.
There is usually one place in each dance that I have a brain glitch and can’t seem to remember what the next move is. It’s a strange thing and I don’t know if it happens to anyone else, but if I have trouble with a certain step transition, or step-combination, I work on just that aspect of the dance and repeat it several times until it becomes natural. It only takes a few minutes when I don’t have time to practice the whole routine.
Success in eating well depends on my mental state, just as success in a troupe performance depends on my mental state, memorizing the routine so that I know it just like I know the list of foods I can eat. It’s also about wanting to feel good about my performance (and my sister dancers) badly enough to do what it takes to learn the dance.
As teachers, we always have those students who focus on what they can’t do instead of on what they can. Can’t is a four letter word that isn’t allowed in my studio! Belly dance is so diverse that I can teach anyone to dance; even people in wheel chairs!
You can’t do a backbend to the floor during floor work? Well, neither can I anymore, but I can do beautiful hands, arms and hips.
You have a bum knee? Well, so do I and it doesn’t keep me from dancing.  A bum ankle? Shoulder? You feel too old? Too fat?
Don’t let anything stop you from dancing! Please allow yourself the joy of dance and let me or someone show you the movements you can do and how to modify movements for your body. For everything you can’t do, I’ll show you several things you can do!
Your mind is a powerful tool and changing your thoughts to what you can eat or what you can do, will literally change your reality.
I have an 81 year old student who has had brain surgery and foot problems. Her movements are limited, but that doesn’t stop her from dancing. When she came to class a couple of weeks ago with her gorgeous, new silk veil, my heart was so very happy. When I asked the class if they would be open to performing a dance, she was the first to speak up and say, yes!  She is a perfect example of the ‘can do’ crowd.
You can do anything you set your mind to. You just have to want it more than you want to hang on to self-imposed limitations or fears.  Don’t cheat yourself out of feeling good inside and out. Don’t cheat yourself out of feeling joy.
Your Manifesting Mentor,