In celebration of the Easter weekend, all classes will be cancelled on Good Friday, April 18th, and Easter Sunday, April 20th. We will have only morning classes at 8AM, 9AM, and 10AM on Saturday, April 19th. Happy Easter!
Does Grand Jeté instructor Whitney Owenby inspire you? Then please vote for her as one of Birmingham Magazine’s “Most Beautiful People” April 7th to April 11th. And tell your friends to vote as well. Let’s show her how much she’s meant to Grand Jeté Fitness! (Note that she is #7 in the slide show, and 6th from the end in the voting lineup which is not alphabetical.)
Here’s her story in her own words:
by Whitney Wright Owenby
As I sit down to write to you all, I am not certain where to begin. I want to keep this “light,” yet I don’t want to soften the magnitude of eating disorders and my personal struggle. In our community, disordered eating and eating disorders are rampant. I see it daily and pray that these women and girls are receiving the help that they need. I pray that they are aware of the “confinement” in which they are living. I pray that they know there is freedom from the fight.
I am in recovery from a 15-year struggle with Anorexia Nervosa. What began my junior year of high school has continued through college, work, and marriage. I can say that I am further along in my recovery than I have ever been, and I continue to work towards that on a daily basis. However, it is just that – a daily commitment. And, some days are, of course, better than others.
I’ll spare you the details – just know that I have lost and gained a significant amount of weight over the last half of my life and have been hospitalized and admitted inpatient for treatment. I still see a nutritionist and therapist weekly, and I don’t know what I would do without them. If you want to know more, just ask! I am always open to sharing; I don’t want eating disorders to be something that leave us feeling ashamed.
I’ve learned so much and want to share a little with you all, my dear Grand Jeté family! Here’s hoping and praying that this might help you or someone you know in their own life.
- A size 12 is just a size 2 with a 1 in front of it…on the tag of some item of clothing that you may wear for a year and then never see again. That’s all. Nothing more. Don’t give it power that it doesn’t deserve! “Who came up with those numbers anyway?”
- “You are what you are in the dark.” Light is a gift that allows us to see what’s on the outside, but the outside is nothing without the fruits and beauty of one’s inside. Be strong, be confident, and know that – make-up or not – you are still uniquely you.
- There is no such thing as a “good food” or a “bad food.” There are foods that are great to eat on a regular basis and foods that should be limited. Gluten is not bad. Sugar is not bad. White flour is not bad. Those things, in and of themselves, will not make you fat. It is what you do with them that can lead you to believe they are the cause of the problem. Not true. Live in freedom, y’all!!! Let it go! Love Gluten! Love Sugar! Love White Bread! *Insert shout-out to Continental Bakery here! ☺
- Name things for what they are. If you struggle with anorexia, name it; don’t hide it. If you are “afraid” to eat certain foods, don’t call it a “diet.” Name it. “I’m afraid to eat ***.” By doing so, you not only shed light on the truth, but you will feel stronger and more powerful over time.
- “Surprise!” – the person next to you doesn’t care how many times you worked out this week, whether or not you eat pasta, or what the number on the tag of your tee says. I know we think they do, but they don’t. I guarantee you that they are more concerned with their errands, what they are going to prepare for dinner, and their own family…and should be.
- Let today be the start of something great. I can’t tell you how many times I have said, “I’ll do that tomorrow.” I used to buy clothes in sizes that I would hope to wear in the future, as incentive to get there. Now, that may work for some, but remember, “Nothing changes if nothing changes.” Buying clothes in that size won’t do a thing without changing your behavior. And make sure it isn’t all about the size. It should be more about overall health.
- Love your body; you only get one. Know that you might want to be taller, shorter, thinner, wider, have straight hair – or curly. That’s okay. But it’s also okay to just be “you” and be okay with that. We don’t get a second chance at this life – nor do we get to trade in this body for another. “You were made with curly hair for a reason – seriously!”
- An eating disorder is like being stuck in quicksand. Once it starts, it will keep going unless something stops it. Treatment. Find a counselor, a nutritionist, or a professional to talk with. If you think you or your child may have a problem, get help. Fast. The sooner you are able to “catch” it, the “easier” it will be to treat. Don’t give this disease any more time that it has already taken.
- Grand Jeté is about the body, mind, and spirit. What I love about being here – aside from the clients, my “family” – is that the studio is not all about weight, size, and calories. It is about overall health, joy, strength, friendships, and opportunities. It’s about finding something that you enjoy, and realizing that you are better at it than you thought. ☺ It’s about what works for you – in that moment, on that day. It’s about loving where you are today and knowing that you are working to reach where you want to be tomorrow.
- We are a work in progress. Life is not about perfection. “Surprise, ya’ll! We aren’t perfect, and won’t be!” Sad, I know. But, you are perfectly YOU!
- Check the compass. In this moment, you are working toward something. Are you moving in the direction you would like to go? If not, put on the brakes and turn around. You have the choice, but know that it is just that. It is your choice.
- Throw away your scale. Moms, I feel so strongly about this. In fact, I would like to type in all caps and bold here. “Why do you need a scale? Really?” You don’t. It doesn’t matter. Go to the doctor for check-ups. They will tell you if there is a problem. Don’t say you “need to lose 5” because the scale tells you that. Remember, state the truth!
- Don’t fall into the “trap” of dieting. It’s about a lifestyle change, not about cutting out bread or cheese or oil or fruits or meat. Any “diet” that says you cannot eat something that has come from the earth – from the ground – should be tossed. Eat real food!
- Do something today that will make tomorrow better. What can you do today that will get you or someone you love closer to where you want to be tomorrow? For me, that might mean enjoying the meal my husband has lovingly cooked for me or teaching a Grand Jeté class? It might also mean just taking a nap with your child.
I could go on and on, and would be happy to share more with any of you. Just know that an eating disorder should not be allowed to thrive in secret. It’s a difficult, all-consuming, debilitating disease that needs attention. Be grateful for who you are, where you are – struggles and all. Know that you were uniquely created for a purpose. Live out that purpose, and don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way. I am honored and blessed to call you friends and thank each of you for sharing in the joy of Grand Jeté. Here’s to many more years at the barre!
~Whitney Wright Owenby