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Female Feature Friday #4

number one and most importantly, a person’s body doesn’t define them, no matter how big or small.

Jordan from @dancing.for.donuts

One thing I’ve learned in my 29 (almost 30) years of life, it’s that there are FAR more important things in life than abs. And trust me, I still want them, but they’re just not a priority for me anymore. What is a priority: my relationships, seeing my family as often as possible, spending more time with people who inspire me, taking care of my body so I can live a long and healthy life, traveling to new places, eating food that makes me smile with people who make me smile, and working a job I look forward to every day.

My name is Jordan and I created the healthy living blog and Instagram called Dancing for Donuts. I actually used to be a professional dancer before moving into a more tradition marketing career, plus I love donuts and desserts in general, so that’s where that came from 🙂 

It’s funny because growing up, I actually didn’t think very much about nutrition and fitness, and I was lucky enough to have a hobby that was good for my body without me even realizing it. I did things like eat chocolate cake for breakfast (highly recommend the 7 layer chocolate cake from Costco, just fyi) and have takeout chicken tenders for dinner most nights a week. I never thought twice about my eating habits because dancing at least 6 hours a day made it somewhat unnoticeable. I was absolutely oblivious.

It wasn’t until I went to college at NYU and was dancing less that I realized my eating habits were not only making my pants too tight, but also leaving me lethargic and unfocused. I started getting my act together around sophomore year – I went to the gym for the very first time, started paying more attention to how much I was walking vs. taking the subway, and stopped getting a chocolate muffin from the cafeteria every single morning. I wasn’t necessarily consumed by trying get to a place of body positivity, but I was just trying to be a bit more conscious of my health. Keep in mind though, this was before the age of Instagram and I wasn’t necessarily comparing myself to others, so that helped.

After college I moved from New York to Los Angeles to become a professional dancer. I knew almost nothing about California/LA, had zero friends in the city, and no job, but I was determined to just try and “make it,” knowing fully well the odds weren’t in my favor. I ended up dancing for 5 years – auditioning, gigging, dancing, modeling, hand modeling (yep, you heard me!), nannying, hostessing at a restaurant, and attending business school somewhere in there, too.

I’ll be honest with you, the LA dance scene isn’t just hard financially, it’s hard mentally. I was used to being told no, and that was fine, but what got to me was that I was constantly walking into rooms with hundreds of other girls that are also wearing teeny tiny shorts and bras. In terms of people who book the jobs, it’s about 20% talent, 30% luck or connections, and 50% how you look. Period.

But here’s what I’ll say, the difference between that and those who have more traditional lives/careers is that it IS your job to maintain your appearance, so while I was hyper aware of my body and weight, it was part of my job to stay active and I had plenty of time to do so. When I graduated business school and transitioned into 9-5 life, I was really hard on myself because I no longer looked the way I did during my dance days. To give you a timeline, I dance professionally from 21-26 years old, business school was 23-26 years old, and the last three years have been a bit of a struggle when it comes to body image. 

As I near 30 (my birthday is in late August), I’m finally coming around to the fact that it’s OKAY for me to size up in jeans. It’s FINE if I don’t have a 6-pack peeking out when I wear high-waisted jeans anymore. It’s GOOD for me to wear full coverage bikini bottoms and size up in them so that I actually feel comfortable on the beach. I’m not a dancer anymore, I’m not 22 anymore, and that’s something I’ve really been working on accepting.

Since I’m more involved in the social media space, I sometimes find it hard to accept my body. It can be a tricky space when it comes to not comparing myself to others, which is actually so much like my entertainment days.

But here’s what I’ll say: number one and most importantly, a person’s body doesn’t define them, no matter how big or small. Number two, no two people have the same life, schedule, priorities, job, etc. It would be absurd to compare myself, a late 20-something business-owner (I’m a social media consultant for female-owned small businesses), to a Victoria’s Secret model, college student, fitness instructor, or DANCER. Though we may look and live differently, we ALL owe it to ourselves to enjoy this life while we’re living it.

So if having the birthday cake at the party would make you happy, please have that piece of cake (yes, even if the girl next to you declines). If going to the pilates class instead of a happy hour makes you happy, do that. It’s really just about living the life that fills your cup, regardless of what other people are doing, abs or no abs.

Feel free to find me on Instagram @dancing.for.donuts or on my blog at dancingfordonuts.com if you resonate with my background or even the way I live my life! I love connecting with like-minded people and sharing more about my philosophy on things like food freedom, finding happiness and creating a life you’re proud of. Thank you for reading! xo Jordan

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