Some things in life are black and white: Either you got the part or you didn’t. Either your competition team took first place or it didn’t. Other issues are more complicated. You might have mixed feelings about a piece of choreography, or you may like petite allegro more on some days than on others. Eating habits and attitudes about food are similar, because there is a large gray area between what is healthy and what is not. Complete the following questionnaire to learn where you fall in this range. The results may be surprising.
1. Can you eat when you’re hungry and quit when you’re satisfied?
2. Do you stop eating because you think you should (as opposed to because your body is satisfied)?
3. Do you make food choices based on foods you enjoy?
4. Do you become physically uncomfortable (weak, tired, dizzy, etc.) when you undereat or diet?
5. Do you feel that your food selections are a combination of “healthy foods” and “pleasurable foods”?
6. Do you have to eat in a certain pattern—always three meals a day or always at a certain time of the day?
7. Do you believe that if you eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied, you will not get fat?
8. Do you feel guilty when you eat to the point that you’re stuffed and uncomfortable?
9. Can you balance the time you give to thoughts about food, weight and dieting with thoughts about other important aspects of your life, such as relationships, dance, work and self-development?
10. Does what other people eat determine what and how much you will eat?
11. Can you leave some cookies on the plate, because you know you can have some more tomorrow?
12. Do you usually pick foods based on their calorie content?
13. Are your regular eating habits unaffected by important events, such as performances or auditions?
14. Do comments (from teachers, friends, parents) about your appearance influence how much you eat?
15. Do you maintain your regular eating habits despite varying levels of physical activity, not aiming to eat more on days when you’re dancing a lot or less on days when you’re not?
16. Does the way you see yourself in the mirror influence what and how much you eat?
*This survey is designed to help you reflect on your relationship with food. “Normal” eating is flexible and varies naturally according to your emotions, daily activities, hunger and proximity to food.
1. Give yourself one point for each no answer to an odd-numbered question. Write that number here: ____
2. Give yourself one point for each yes answer to an even-numbered question. Write that number here: ___
3. Add your points together to get your final score: _____
NOTE: This questionnaire can only give results based on the limited number of questions asked. It cannot account for the truthfulness of the answers, only for the self-reporting of each participant. The interpretations given are for informational and educational purposes only, and do not constitute or substitute for any psychological and medical evaluations performed by a qualified professional, nor for any psychological or medical treatment. If psychological or medical evaluation and treatment are indicated in your score, immediately consult a qualified professional.
DS would like to thank the Renfrew Center Foundation for granting permission to republish and adapt the questionnaires used in this article.
Katia Bachko, with consulting by Susan Kleinman, MA, ADTR, NCC