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Food Fight: I'm Stuck in a Cycle of Binge Eating

I'm really upset with myself for bingeing. I'm good with my diet for a few days, but then I give in and stuff myself with pizza and ice cream and am filled with self-hate.

—Binge Eater, White Plains, NY


Please give yourself a break! It's not like you woke up and decided to make yourself miserable by gorging on junk food. Bingeing is an eating disorder associated with intense cravings that make you feel out of control. Fortunately, it's highly treatable when you have the right resources to identify the emotional and physical triggers.

A registered dietitian who works with athletes (see eatright.org) can help you create a stable nutrition plan. You'll also benefit from seeing a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders. Check out the National Eating Disorders Association's referral service at nationaleatingdisorders.org for a professional near you. As you develop a healthier relationship with food, you'll become a healthier, happier dancer.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at advicefordancers@dancemedia.com.

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5 Self-Soothing Exercises You Can Do to Calm Your Anxiety

Physical stillness can be one of the hardest things to master in dance. But stillness in the bigger sense—like when your career and life are on hold—goes against every dancers' natural instincts.

"Dancers are less comfortable with stillness and change than most," says TaraMarie Perri, founder and director of Perri Institute for Mind and Body and Mind Body Dancer. "Through daily discipline, we are trained to move through space and are attracted to forward momentum. Simply put, dancers are far more comfortable when they have a sense of control over the movements and when life is 'in action.' "

To regain that sense of control, and soothe some of the anxiety most of us are feeling right now, it helps to do what we know best: Get back into our bodies. Certain movements and shapes can help ground us, calm our nervous system and bring us into the present.

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