Misty Copeland's journey to respecting her body

Misty Copeland is one of the world’s most recognized ballerinas. She made history as the first female black principal ballerina at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre. Now she’s out with a new book, “Ballerina Body: Dancing and Eating Your Way to a Leaner, Stronger, and More Graceful You.”

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“This is not a dieting book. This isn’t a shortcut that you’re going to become a ballerina overnight,” Copeland said Tuesday on “CBS This Morning. “But it’s about taking this journey and discovering what works for you. It took me my entire career, I think, to really understand how to take care of my body. To respect it. To understand that I’m an athlete, and that it’s a long journey of figuring these things out that it’s about creating your own version of a healthy image, your version of a ballerina body.”

The book shares her secrets on being strong from the inside out through words of inspiration, exercises and recipes.

Copeland, who began dancing at 13 years old with the help of the Boys and Girls Club, said she’s been told she was too brown, too old, and her body wasn’t great for ballet. But she pushed through.

“For me, it was just getting myself into the best shape that it could, but understanding that it’s OK to be different. If you’re talented and gifted enough, it doesn’t matter what you look like,” Copeland said.

The book stresses mental strength. She likened it to athletes who have to compete game after game.

“It’s the same thing as a dancer. Performing live, just doing it with all of the pressure ... I think it’s so important to be mentally and emotionally prepared and strong. And I think every woman, every person can relate to that,” Copeland said. “That it’s not just about physically being strong, but believing in yourself. And feeling beautiful on the inside, and truly accepting who you are.”