There are many things a casting director’s looking for in an actor’s bag of tricks.
The first thing you may think of could be acting skills and experience, but something you may not have thought of is how you look after your own body and how disciplined you are with nutrition.
This is not about cutting out everything you’ve ever loved and punishing yourself every time you think about cookies and cream ice cream with hot fudge sauce and brownies and honeycomb and – getting a bit carried away there, everything in moderation.
It’s about having the discipline and self control to look after yourself.
Exercise is important, and getting about 30 minutes of activity a day – minimum – is needed for a healthy body, but exercise is only about 20% of what makes us healthy. The other 80% is all about our diet.
Here are some key nutrition principles you should remember when it comes to food.
- What you should eat
- How you should eat it
- How much of it you should eat
- When you should eat it
First of all, whenever possible, eat REAL food. Processed food has many unnatural things that our body isn’t created to handle. A general rule of thumb when it comes to choosing your food is, if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, chances are it’s not good for you body.
It’s always a good idea to find healthy alternatives to popular foods. Instead of white bread, eat multigrain or wholemeal. Natural yoghurt instead of flavoured yoghurt. Dark chocolate and frozen or dried fruit instead of lollies/candy.
Also, water. Drink it. Our body is made up of mostly water, so we need to replenish it often. This may seem like common sense we learned at the age of 3 but it’s easy to forget to drink water when we’re busy.
Be mindful of how you’re eating, especially when you’re watching TV. Pay attention to what you’re actually putting in your mouth. Sit down. Eat slowly. Chew every mouthful. It’s easy to overeat when you’re eating mindlessly.
An average meal should be about the size of two hands. A snack size is one hand. The average adult male only needs about 2500 calories a day to maintain weight and an average adult female needs 2000.
When your hungry. This is a basic instinct of our body saying it’s time to eat. Of course don’t get confused between hunger because you stomach feels empty, and eating because you’re lonely, bored, sad, depressed, etc.
Eating after 8pm is also not recommended because your metabolism slows down and the food you eat doesn’t get digested properly.
So be active and eat smart. The fuel we put into our body matters.
Remember, your body is your instrument. How you look after it matters, not only for your own sake but for the sake of those around you as well, especially those you’re working for. It’s not just your skill casting directors are hiring, it’s your whole you, body included.
Don’t be ashamed of how you look. You’re unique and you’re the only person who can be you. Don’t try and be the next Scar Jo or Tom Cruise. You have a unique persona only you can give, so flaunt it. That may sound like an inspirational valley girl poster, but it’s true.
As actors we have to get used to looking after ourselves because a healthy mind and body is what matters in the long run.