Dancing for Food

Overcoming the ballet body image.


My name is Melissa. The last name used to be White, but on June 29, 2012 I married the love of my life and it became Kolbeck.

This is my husband Mat and I:

One of our engagement photos taken by Dual Shot Photography at Corona Del Mar State Beach.

I started taking ballet when I was 4 years old, and committed nearly every ounce of free time I had to it. Then, in February 2011, about 2 weeks after Mat proposed, I realized I just couldn’t do it anymore to the extent that I had been previously. An upcoming wedding, a stressful job, and overall tiredness and the need for a life of my own were some of the reasons.

To stay in shape, I took up the Insanity program. I completed the 2 month program with a few modifications as necessary and then was going to start over. That lasted about 2 weeks and I was exhausted. Insanity really does you in!

Finally, on June 21, 2011, Mat convinced me to go for a run. It was just 1.5 miles, and was not the first time I’d ever run. I had the shoes (from taking daily morning walks) and had run on occasion if I was particularly annoyed or stressed. We made the mistake of running when it was too warm for a newbie like me and I was not exactly thrilled with the concept of running. However, I stuck with it and ran again the next morning, again 1.5 miles, and it was much easier.

Since then I began a half-marathon training program and have been doing great. I’ve gone to ballet when I can.

But that’s the kicker. Ballet has been such a part of my identity for my entire life that it’s been very, very difficult to adjust. I’ve had numerous crying episodes, and lately my coping mechanism has been to push ballet thoughts out of my head if they decide to enter.

Ballet has affected me life in so many ways, both good and bad. The good was that I was always in shape, developed a habit for exercise from a young age, and performed in front of a crowd several times a year. The bad was that I let ballet control me, let my ballet teacher control me, and my self-esteem and body image was thrown for a massive loop. I exercised in order to eat the foods I loved rather than find that oh so necessary moderation. I often found myself, quite literally, dancing for food.

This blog is a record of my journey to find myself again, to love my body for what it is, and to find a new healthy me who still enjoys her food like a true foodie should. You’ll read often about Mat, our wedding, my job as a high school math teacher, and anything else that may suit me that day. My blog is my outlet as well as my way to connect to the world and find support from people like me.

Please subscribe to my blog and leave me some comments – it makes me happy. 🙂


3 thoughts on “About

  1. Congratulations on the upcoming wedding! How exciting!

    I also started in ballet when I was 3, and even though I quit much sooner than you at 15, it was absolutely part of my identity growing up. By the time I quite I hated it, mostly because of the self esteem and body image issues, but it just wasn’t fun for me anymore. I hope you enjoy your running journey! I know running has changed my life for the better!

    • Thank you! I still go to ballet when I can, but now it’s more about the love of dance and not about trying to compete with anyone or look a certain way.

  2. Hi, I’m so happy I found your blog! I completely understand your relationship with ballet: I had a very similar upbringing. Ballet has always been my life, and until a year and a half ago, I was on the fast track to a professional career with the Houston Ballet. I was deep into a dance degree and modeled (technically I still do) for Weissmans costumes and dancewear. I developed an eating disorder, but I couldn’t escape because everyone in my “dance world” always complimented my body. It wasn’t until I fell in love with real fitness – not just working out to counteract calories – that I stopped dancing so much and got into running. Like you, I try not to think about ballet too much: it makes me sad to think of how different I am from my dancer self. Any way, sorry for the rant. And congratulations on your wedding!

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