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{Guest Post} Food & The Daily Battle

Welcome to Part II of the Women’s Health series here on Moi Contre La Vie. Today we’re going to hear more from Megan of Kaia F.I.T. Sacramento on the daily struggle to eat well. If you’re new to this series be sure to check out Megan’s bio {Guest Post: Women’s Health} and her previous post – Fashion of the Fitness World.

Part 2: Food… The Daily Battle

I love ice cream, especially cookies & cream. I love cheeseburgers and extra crispy french fries. I can put down a serious amount of pizza. I love crafty cocktails and champagne. I worked in fine dining restaurants for 10 years and was privileged to indulge in some amazing dishes and glasses of wine…

But now I work in the fitness industry. And I constantly try to balance my view of food… Fuel or Delicious Goodness? My answer is both.

The majority of the time, on the day-to-day, food is fuel. Looking at it that way leads me to eating cleaner, leaner, and healthier. I view myself like a machine and if I want to run properly, perform well in my workouts, and feel energetic all day, I need to provide myself with the best fuel available.

I personally feel the best when I eat multiple times throughout the day, always beginning with breakfast. I feel great when I eat lean meat and eggs, lots of veggies and greens, and fresh fruit. I like nuts and trail mix for snacks and dried fruit for dessert. Avoiding the starchy carbs, dairy, and sugar is essential to feeling good.

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However, coming from the restaurant industry, I love nothing more than a nice dinner out. I appreciate a perfectly cooked noodle and a salty piece of pork belly. And I absolutely love home-made ice cream and cookies at my mom’s house. These are the good things in life.

So, how do I balance it? When do I decide to devour a sandwich and when do I stick to a salad full of veggies? I practice MODERATION. I try to stick to healthy ‘fuel’ most of the time. When I treat myself to ‘carbs’ and sugar, I view it just that way… As a TREAT. I think it’s better that way anyway. I feel like crap when I eat sugar and bread days in a row and I stop appreciating it.

Everyone has to make their choices, each and every day. But awareness is where it all begins. If you never go without bread, dairy, sugar, alcohol, etc., how will you ever know how you feel without it?

Our go-to detox at Kaia FIT is 7 days without the following:

  • All starchy ‘carbs’ (bread, tortillas, rice, potatoes, etc.)
  • Sugar over 9g per serving (besides sugar naturally found in fruits/veggies)
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy
  • Processed Foods (if you can’t pronounce something on the label, avoid it!)

Eating clean is a great feeling and I highly recommend letting yourself experience it. And remember, “All things in moderation, including moderation.”

A big thank you to Megan for this great insight into her way of thinking about nutrition. It’s very easy to get into patterns of binging or restricting, so avoid all the negative side effects of both of those ways of eating and try practicing moderation as Megan has suggested.

What’s your personal approach to your daily diet?

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Beginner Fitness

In 2012 a reader came to me with a simple request – Could I help her ease into a workout routine that would put her on the path to overall better health? I documented a part of the process in the following series of posts – Want To Achieve Gym Goddess Status?, Part II, Part III, Part IV & Part V.

I’ve recently received a similar request and thought that 2013 would be a great time to share some of the details with my readers again because I think it’s such a worthwhile topic and achieving better health is widespread goal. I’m sure there have been countless New Years Resolutions related to this so why not get started on your path to health and happiness now?

In addition to providing short beginners workouts for the next few weeks, I’ll be recommending reading and do my best to keep you all motivated and inspired – Which is half the battle.

Workouts:

You want to ease into a new workout regime regardless of your current level of fitness, however if you’re not currently working out, attending classes, and/or running on a regular basis I would suggest starting with one or two small workouts a week and gradually increase to 3-5 as you start improving and feeling stronger.

Let’s start Week One with two short workouts to get us in the mood:

Day One

Warm Up: 5 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

Warm Down: 5-10 minutes of intervals on a machine of your choosing {See the suggestions under Warm Up}

  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed
  • 30 seconds as fast as possible
  • 1 minute 30 seconds recovery – moderate speed

*My recommendation is to turn this into a mini circuit workout – After your warm up do one set of planks, one set of lunges, and one set of squats, then repeat the process a second and third time to complete the circuit before your warm down.

Day Two

Warm Up: 5 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

  • Reverse Lunges {FitSugar’s Back to Basics: Stationary Reverse Lunge} 3 rounds of 10 lunges on each knee
  • Crunches {Dummies.com’s How To Do Crunches} 3 rounds of 20 – Be sure to watch your form & keep your chin & elbows UP form is important w/ this move
  • Leg Lifts {Shape Magazine’s Double-Leg Lower & Lift} 3 rounds of 20

Warm Down: 5-10 minutes of cardio {Walking quickly, jogging/running, elliptical, stationary bike, rowing, stair climber…}

Nutrition:

Following diets, participating in cleanses, and going through detox programs are interesting ways to find out how your body responds to things, but they’re not a way of life. Learning to eat well & make smart food choices on a daily basis is going to do much more for you than any short-term healthy eating “fix.”

Depending on your typical diet transitioning to a clean eating regime can seem pretty daunting, so to make the switch more manageable I’ll just recommend a few tips and suggest some things to cut out of your diet each week.

To start, it’s time to get cooking! Your first goal should be to cut out packaged, processed, and pre-made food from your diet. Don’t panic! That doesn’t mean that you’ll never be able to order Chinese again or never enjoy a handful of chips in the future, but if you want to transition to a clean diet the first step is to eliminate all of these types of foods. So your mission for the next two weeks is to start giving up anything processed, stop hitting the drive-through, and spend more time in the kitchen and less time at restaurants.

PumpkinSeeds

Here are a few alternatives:

  • If you like chips or salty other snacks – Try raw almonds, butter-free air popped popcorn, or baby carrots w/ hummus
  • If you crave the beta-endorphin rush of sugary treats, baked goods, or candy – Switch these high calorie picks for fresh fruit, natural almond butter, or homemade sweet treats like Choosing Raw’s Cinnamon Caramelized Cauliflower or Maple Cinnamon Candied Pumpkin Seeds

Homework:

Understanding why you feel the way that you feel and how to improve your health is important. Anyone can blindly follow instructions, but learning about health, nutrition, and your body will help you for your entire life.

So with the goal of educating yourself and expanding your horizons here are some interesting articles you might enjoy:

  • Healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, and nuts & seeds {in moderation} are an important part of a healthy diet. Learn more about this subject by reading Natalie Jill Fitness’s Eating Fat Will NOT Make You Fat…
  • One of the things that impacts your health almost as much as nutrition and fitness is stress. You need to pay attention not only to how much stress you have in your life, but how you deal with it – How Stress Affects the Body.

Stress

So what do you think of this new series? Are these topics and the information I provided above interesting and relevant to your life?

Disclaimer: I am not a trainer, doctor, or dietitian nor do I have any certifications associated with physical fitness or nutrition. I’m merely an enthusiast {and former athlete} who reads & does research daily and has worked out alone or with coaches & trainers since the age of 6. I am lucky enough to have access to a handful of blogs, websites, and trainers to answer my questions though. Prior to making any dramatic changes to your fitness routine or diet I suggest that you consult a physician.

For more inspiration, my daily workout routines, and more Moi Contre La Vie you can find me on these platforms:

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Links You’ll Love

Fashion:

BlondeSalad

Having a fresh perspective on the clothes in your closet and all of the possibilities is a great feeling to have, so why not take some advice from top fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni of the Blonde Salad – Outfit Ecstasy.

Finding great outerwear to keep you warm this Winter can be a challenge – Whether you’re looking for a fabulous blazer, warm overcoat, or stylish peacoat Mr. Brad Goreski has the goods – Menswear: My Winter Coat Guide.

Not sure how to pair your cold-weather pieces in fun, interesting new ways this Winter? Check out Rachel Zoe’s fabulous team and their killer street style for great inspiration – RZNY To The Streets.

Modelinia

Models are known for their ability to mix and match – They have access to great designer gear and new pieces from collections before we can even get our hands on them – So let’s turn to some oh-so-fashionable models for their tips on Winter accessorizing – Chic Accessories to Keep You Warm This Winter.

Putting together a fun, festive, chic look for your next holiday party is a must – Check out WhoWhatWear’s Styling Tips: Holiday Parties for some fun tips & inspiration to help you find the perfect look for you!

Health & Fitness:

Eating a healthy, clean diet is the best way to improve your health, sleep more soundly, and fuel your workouts – Not sure where to start? Check out Eating Well’s Clean Up Your Diet and Lose Weight.

PotatoSalad

Potato salad may seem like a fat-laden Summer treat but Fat Free Vegan has turned a traditional dish into some delicious, healthy, and perfect for this season – Tunisian-Inspired Chickpea and Potato Salad.

Turning off your brain, reducing stress, and relaxing into sleep isn’t always an easy task. If you need some tips & ideas here’s a great place to start – Try These Yoga Poses For a Better Night’s Rest!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, squeezing in a workout – even a small one – will improve your mood & reduce your stress levels exponentially. Even if you don’t have a lot of time there are options – 15-Minute Mind-Body Workout Circuit.

CoconutThinMintIceCream

I’m a big fan of mint – Everything from candles to candy to desserts – So this next recipe really caught my attention. Then it caught my taste buds. I highly recommend giving this a try if you’re a fan of ice cream or thin mint cookies – Protein Thin Mint Ice Cream.

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Links You’ll Love

Fashion:

Jackets and blazers and coats – Oh My! Chic jackets, blazers, and coats in brilliant jewel tones, soft velvets & corduroy, fun patterns, formal tweeds & brocades, and freshly pressed trenches will all make appearances this Fall, so get a head start with WhoWhatWear’s Street Style with Adam Katz Sinding: Chic Outerwear.

Sweatshirts don’t have to be boring or gym-worthy, this season you’ll want to find a sweatshirt with a cute patterned or retro design to pair with your separates. Bright colors, fun nostalgia-inducing graphics, even highschool letterman-style sweatshirts will be hitting the streets – Trend: Sweat Chic.

There’s nothing quite like seeing what one of your fashion idols has their closet to get you in the mood to revamp your own wardrobe! Luckily for us Harper’s Bazaar is taking you on a tour of DJ, model, and Chanel ambassador Leigh Lezark’s fashion collection – Closet of the Month: Leigh Lezark.

When you’re fashion-obsessed the passion for fashion doesn’t stop with clothing and accessories, it extends to ever facet of your life. Like Tom Ford said: “Fashion is everything. Art, music, furniture design, graphic design, hair, makeup, architecture, the way cars look – all those things go together to make a moment in time, and that’s what excites me.” So let’s enjoy this tour of a fabulous, fashionable, organized home – The Brunette’s My home, my essentials.

One of the reasons that I love doing Style File posts is that you get to recreate and put a fun, fresh spin on an outfit that someone you admire has worn. Whether it’s a celebrity, a model, a blogger, or a fashion editor, you’re taking the time to really look at their personal style and try to recreate a look that you love. Smile For Style agrees and has shared her picks for this killer look from Revenge start Ashley Madekwe – Get Her Look: Ashley Madekwe.

Health & Fitness:

If you could make some small changes in your life and boost your mood and ultimately your happiness, wouldn’t you? Best selling author Gabrielle Bernstein shares her tips – From simple things like starting the day with positivity to practicing self-love. Happiness 101: 6 Ways To Be In A Good Mood All The Time.

I don’t know about you, but I like to hold onto Halloween for as long as possible, and that means making Halloween-style treats wellllll after the holiday itself passes – Sweet Vegan Treats For a Happy Halloween.

Taking some time for a calming yoga routine each day could not only help you cope with everyday stress, it could also give you a great energy boost – Yoga Moves for a Pick-Me-Up from Women’s Health.

The ladies over at Tone It Up! are known for their great outdoor & beach workouts that you can do with little to no equipment and their latest, Halloween inspired workout is another fab example filled with bridges, planks, and cardio – Your Tone It Up Tuesday SpOokTacULaR Workout!

Pizza is the ultimate comfort food but unfortunately it’s not usually on the approved foods list for the conscientious, healthy eater. But what if it could be? Check out these killer veggie-filled recipes and get cooking! Green Garden Pizza, Garlic Flatbread/Pizza Crust, Heirloom Tomato & Sweet Corn Pizza & Swiss Chard Pizza from Gluten Free, Soy Free Vegan.

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Links You’ll Love

Health & Fitness:

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Packing lunch during the week is a great option to save money and make sure that you’re getting a healthy, nutritious meal mid-day to keep you going. I like to do some work in the kitchen during the weekends to prepare for the week {Sunday Prep}, you can also get some killer tips from Choosing Raw – Monday’s Lunchbox.

Thinking about jumping on the treadmill or elliptical for some cardio and neglecting the machines and weight racks are you gym? Think again! I’m a huge advocate of not only changing up your gym routine on a regular basis but of foregoing machine cardio for walking and weight training. If you don’t believe m just read this piece from Natalie Jill Fitness: Only WEIGHT and INTENSITY Will Change Your Body – You HAVE to lift HEAVY if You Want to Lean Out and Change Your Body!

Fitting in a workout is a MUST during the hectic holiday season – It reduces stress, gives you some much-needed alone time, produces endorphins, and keeps you healthy & fit so you can enjoy the holiday festivities with your friends and family. Regardless of whether you have an hour or 15 minutes available, or if you even have time to make it to the gym – Make time!

Fashion:

I love the old Hollywood, film noir feel of killer black & white photographs. The subjects somehow always manage to appear chic and timeless, regardless of the year, the pose, the style of their clothes… I just can’t get enough and neither can A Fashion Friend – It’s Better In Black & White.

Have you ever been tempted to run off to Paris so that you can live a fashionable, glamorous life? If the answer is yes, you probably shouldn’t click on these links because you will most likely run off to Paris to live a fashionable, glamorous life.

As you may know – I adore stripes – Whether they’re the traditional nautical variety for Spring or demure pinstripes for the office. So why not take this fabulous print into the Fall season as well? Harper’s Bazaar definitely agrees – Shop the Street Style Look: Summer’s Stripes for Fall.

Are you a jeans girl? There are so many varieties this day in age there are almost endless choices when you head into a store and start to peruse their denim department. 70’s flare, wide-leg, cropped, skinny, cut-off, distressed, boyfriend, boot cut… Check out Love Me Jeans for some serious denim inspiration and worship – What’s your favorite pair?

We’ve all had the rule “No White After Labor Day” repeated ad nauseam over the years, but is this a rule for our grandmothers and not for our generation? Well The Man Repeller is making quite the argument against this rule with her fabulous photographs from Nolita – Accent In White.

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