The Truth About Detox and Fasting
Are you considering a fast to purify your body of toxins or to shed a few pounds? Whatever your ultimate goal, food deprivation is dangerous and can even lead to weight gain and muscle loss. Before you go on a fast, here’s what you should know.
Fasting: The Dark Side
During a typical fast, a person refrains from eating solid foods for a certain period of time in order to lose weight, rid the body of toxins, or for spiritual or religious reasons. But fasts may not yield the results that you want. In addition to weight gain, fasts can cause muscle loss, headache, irritability, poor concentration, nausea and other side effects. Because bodies need energy to function properly, even while sleeping and during sedentary activities, when meals are skipped, the body enters a semi-starvation state, with metabolism slowed in order to conserve calories for vital organs.
Within three to four hours after a fast begins, the body starts rapidly depleting its stores of sugar, also known as glycogen, to fuel the brain and other vital organs. When glycogen is broken down, water is released, resulting in multiple trips to the restroom. This means that the majority of pounds melted away consist of water, not body fat. Once you start eating again, your body weight will go back to where it started as the water from foods and beverages rehydrate your body.
Every time the body is deprived of calories, it consumes some of its calorie-burning, dance-enhancing muscle mass. Because fat tissue requires far fewer calories to function than muscle, the less muscle you have after a fast, the higher your fat levels will rise.
Instead of fasting, try a modified detoxification diet like the one below to clean out your insides and safely lower body fat.
Nature’s Best: Food in its natural form contains fewer toxins and can help eliminate toxins in the body. Aim for a well-rounded, portion-controlled diet that contains five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day, along with plenty of whole grain breads, cereals and crackers; pasta and rice; lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish, egg whites and lean red meats; nuts and seeds; nut butters; and olive oil.
Fab Fiber: High-fiber foods facilitate natural waste elimination, ensuring the removal of toxic substances. Fiber also helps keep energy levels on an even keel and appetites at bay. Fruits, veggies, legumes and whole grains are the best sources of fiber.
Clean Shop: In addition to limiting highly processed and refined foods, take a vacation from caffeine, alcohol, fatty and fried foods and anything high in artificial additives, sweeteners or preservatives.
Drink Up: Drink at least eight glasses of water a day to keep everything moving through your system. To stimulate digestive juices, drink a glass of warm water with juice squeezed from half a lemon.
Detox diets are recommended two to three times per year for one to two weeks at a time. Avoid detox during and prior to performance, heavy training and stressful times.
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!
Summer intensive auditions can be nerve-racking. A panel of directors is watching your every move, and you're not even sure if you can be seen among the hundreds of other dancers in the room. We asked five summer intensive directors for their input on how dancers can make a positive impression—and even be remembered next year.
When we think of a dancer who's broken barriers, American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland tends to be the name that comes to mind. And though Copeland has been a crucial advocate for equality in the world of ballet, Raven Wilkinson—a mentor of Copeland's—is considered one of the original pioneers of the movement.
In 1955, Wilkinson became the first African American to dance with the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her fortitude in the face of bigotry and hate cemented her legacy. Now, with the release of the new children's book Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson, a new generation of dancers will be inspired by her tale of overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream.
The book details Wilkinson's life, from her experience as a young dancer training in Harlem, to her run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan while on tour with Ballet Russe, to her later ballet career in Europe. "There were times where my heart really hurt because of the situations I had to deal with," she says. "But I always had faith that I was made to be a dancer and that I was gonna dance."
Dance Spirit spoke with Wilkinson to discuss the new book and get her take on racial equality within the ballet world.
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She embraced pedestrian movement, pairing everyday gesture with rhythm and fluidity. "It's liquid," says Wendy Perron, who danced with Brown in the '60s and '70s. "Like a river with many tributaries, water coming out of a faucet, or being on a raft and seeing the water move away in different directions." Brown also pushed beyond stages with choreography in fields, museums—even on the sides of buildings.
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We always love a good halftime performance. And we LIVE for halftime performances involving talented kids. (Fingers and toes crossed that Justin Timberlake follows Missy Elliott's lead and invites some fabulous littles to share his Super Bowl stage.)
So obviously, our hearts completely melted for 5-year-old Tavaris Jones. Tavaris may have just started kindergarten, but during Monday night's game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the Detroit native danced with the panache of a veteran pro at halftime.