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Sunday, 27 September 2009

Weight Mastery ~ It's Like Learning to Dance

For those of us who are high achievers and perfection seekers, the idea of replacing our strictly controlled diet and exercise regime with trusting our bodies seems like an excuse to lower our standards. It might work for overweight people who currently live on cream cakes and chocolate, but we're athletes. We require a scientifically tested nutrition and training regime because we desire extraordinary results - hell, being normal doesn't cut it. We aspire to be masters of the whole body composition arena ~ we demand high levels of fitness, symmetrical musculature and low levels of body fat.

But what does weight mastery really mean? Let's discuss it in the context of learning to dance [adapted from the Four Stages of Swing Dancing Proficiency ~ I can't link it for some reason but it is the first google result if you go here]

1. Unconscious Incompetence ~ Mayhem
At this first stage of awareness, a dancer has never given the subject of dancing any conscious thought. She has never been formally introduced to it and, until she takes her first basic level dance class, she is really at a stage of unawareness because she is simply unconscious of her incompetence.

2. Conscious Incompetence ~ Regulation/Rules
At this second stage of awareness, the new dancer has been formally introduced to dancing and she now fully appreciates its social and recreational potential. She has taken several basic level classes but she realizes that her performance is marginal at best and that she needs to take many more dance classes and workshops to sharpen her skills.  She is grateful for any helpful tips that might improve her dancing. This is the awkward stage for the new dancer. At this point in her training, she is more prone to be repeatedly answering the question: "how long have you been dancing" rather than "where do you dance." All in all, the conscious incompetent clings to her think-step pattern, like a new western horseback rider clings to his saddle horn.

3. Conscious Competence ~ Management
At this third stage of awareness, the dancer has completed all of the Basic and Intermediate level classes, and she is now an accomplished, well rehearsed dancer. She almost always executes her steps flawlessly in every direction to varying tempos of the music. All in all, she has developed into a smooth dancer who confidently performs the different patterns that she has learned over the years. The conscious competent dancer knows what she is doing!

4. Unconscious Competence ~ Mastery
At this final, fourth stage of awareness, the dancer has achieved the highest level of proficiency where she has cultivated a signature style that transcends being well rehearsed; instead, she has become just as intimately familiar with each inherent part of the patterns that she has learned over the years, as she is with the overall patterns themselves. As Advanced level dancer, she can intuitively "mix and match" the specific handwork and footwork elements of different patterns to create new patterns, and she has the versatility to frequently intersperse steps from other dance disciplines to physically embrace the beat of the music. Simply put, the unconscious competent is the dancer that the dancers enjoy watching!

I previously thought that weight management was the ultimate goal of the health and fitness lifestyle. I thought that if I understood and applied all the best nutrition and training advice I would achieve and maintain the body of my dreams. But I discovered that I needed constant vigilance, intense willpower, and high stakes (competing) to keep me on track.

I now know that to become a master of my health and well being, I need to transcend to the level of Mastery. By listening to the wisdom of my body, connecting with my thoughts and feelings, and moving beyond conventional advice I can unleash my true potential. I want to physically, emotionally and spiritually embrace life without having to think through every action. Weight Mastery is the next step in proficiency - it requires more skill and delivers more satisfaction then merely following a set of rules.

Don't settle for Level 3, push yourself out of your comfort zone and take your first tentative steps into Unconscious Competence. Become the dancer that other dancers enjoy watching!


  1. I hope you realise that through your own journey and writing these wonderful posts is helping not only yourself but many others, including myself, as well.

    Have a wonderful day gorgeous.

    I overcooked my pancake this morning (boo hoo!)

  2. Hey, the link above doesn't work.

  3. Thanks Shelley

    I fixed up the link.

    It is one of the qualities of becoming a Master to share what we learn and practice what we preach ♥