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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.

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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

Health & Fitness:

Sweet potatoes are a great addition to any healthy diet so you should definitely try out some of these nutritious recipes from Shape Magazine – 10 Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes.

fall detox salad 7422 thumb   Fall Detox Salad + Hurricane Sandy Fundraiser Update

OhSheGlow’s Fall Detox Salad is a must try – Filled with Brussels Sprouts, carrots, apple, celery, sunflower seeds, and raisins, it’s as nutritious as it is delicious {also check out this salad as part of the Thanksgiving Recipe Round-Up}.

Eating well and living a healthy life doesn’t have to mean giving up all sweets and desserts, you just need to make healthier, smarter choices when you want to indulge – Try FitFluential’s Five Healthier Desserts which include amazing choices like Raspberry Chocolate Chips, Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Pretzels, Fruit & Yogurt Parfaits, Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes/Muffins, and Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries.

Do you want model-worthy skin? Refinery 29 has the goods – The Surprising Secret To Model-Worthy Skin.

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Finding a great, healthy snack that you love and that’s easy to make is wonderful – One of my favorites recently is Choosing Raw’s Cinnamon Caramelized Cauliflower.

Fashion:

Interested in spicing up your daily makeup routine? It’s always fun to see what other beauty products are out there and the sort of routines that women go through on a daily basis, so let’s check out how blogger Trop Rouge has set up her makeup routine – Makeup Monday.

Top 9 at 9: A Model’s Must Haves with Lonneke Engel gives you all of model Lonneke Engel’s Fall 2012 picks – From workout gear to sweaters to what her favorite shoes are for Fall.

Ulyana Sergeenko’s dramatic, eye-catching clothes are the perfect pieces for this dreamy Moscow-based photo shoot in the most recent Carine Roitfeld Fashion Book issue - Moscow Walk.

Oxblood is everywhere for Fall 2012 and if you’re not sure whether it’s the trend for you, trying beauty products and nail polish are great choices – 3 Chic Ways To Do Burgundy Beauty.

The Fall 2012 Collection for J.Crew is pretty phenomenal – It’s filled with great outerwear, fun, printed pants, and killer accessories. And none of those accessories are better than the Lulu Frost’s Capsule Collection - Shop It Now: Lulu Frost For J.Crew Holiday.

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Links You’ll Love

Fashion:

Whether you’re a student heading back to school or not, you can take inspiration from the back-to-school trends and pick out some great new glasses for Fall – 7 Geek-Chic Specs That Will Put You Ahead of the Curve.

Need some hippie in your life? Check out these fabulous and stylish ways to style this perfect boho chic piece for Fall 2012 – Street Style: Dsquared2 Gilet Vest.

Getting ready to give up your Summer duds for new Fall 2012 pieces? See what Style.com has to say about what you’ll be living in this Fall and Winter – Fall 2012 Shopping Guide.

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This is a really great editorial with some fabulous pictures, showing you boys that you should step it up like hockey player Sean Avery on the fashion and design front – Refinery 29′s Inside Sean Avery’s Slick Soho Loft (And Super-Luxe Wardrobe).

If you’ve been a fan of Garance Dore as long as I have, you were thrilled to hear about her exciting collaboration with Kate Spade. Finally the details are out and Racked has the goods – Garance Dore Gets Sketchy for Kate Spade.

Health & Fitness:

Get inspired by plus-sized model & healthy body image advocate Danika Brysha’s MONDivation – Beating the Odds.

Sometimes there are allergens that will affect your body even when you’re following a healthy lifestyle – Health-Food Ingredients You Might Want to Skip.

Interested in tightening up specific parts of your body with your workouts? Check out Shape Magazine’s Top 10 NEW Exercises for Thighs or Prevention’s Arm Exercises: 3 At-Home Workouts to Tone Arms for some inspiration.

If you’re interested in your personal health you’ve  probably heard the phrase “healthy fats” but if you’re still interested in learning more or in getting some additional background on why these are necessary this is the article for you: Healthy Fat – Why You Need To Eat It!

Both my parents and my brother have recently transitioned to a primarily paleo diet and needed some tips on how to get started and what they needed to stock their pantry and fridge with – 10 Healthy Items On The Paleo Diet Shopping List.

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Links You’ll Love

Happy Sunday!

I don’t know about you, but I had another amazing weekend. The perfect combination of relaxation, family time, and social events. Before we get to this Sunday’s Links You’ll Love post, I just wanted to say a quick congratulations to my childhood friend Sophie who got married in a beautiful, moving ceremony yesterday.

Fashion:

Let's go!

Are you going to start a new internship or job this Summer? Not sure how to prep your wardrobe? Refinery 29 has you covered! The No-Fail Guide To Dressing For A Summer Internship (On A Budget).
If you’re in the mood to mix up your style this season head over to Little Tin Soldier who has rounded up a handful of Do It Yourself clutches if you’re looking for a project or FabSugar has tres cute DIY: Thread-Wrapped Bracelets that would complement anyone’s jewelry collection.
Check out the Harper’s Bazaar piece on The Best Of What’s New- The best of pre-fall’s modern takes on timeless pieces. But I should warn you first. You’ll want ALL OF IT. All.
Health/Fitness:

Interesting news on the supplement front from Natural News – Vitamin D and sun exposure work synergistically to prevent breast cancer.

Here’s this week’s healthy recipe round-up: Kale Salad with Oranges, Almonds and Avocado (the “detox” salad) from Eat, Live Run, 10 Flavor-Packed Tofu Recipes from Shape Magazine, Broccoli White Bean Soupfrom FitSugar, How to Make the Perfect Big-Ass Salad (and the Best Dressing Recipe—Ever) from Fit Bottomed Girls, Healthy Zucchini Breadrecipes from FitSugar readers, Sun-dried Tomato Cheezy Kale Chips from the brilliant OhSheGlows, and 15 Gluten-Free Recipes from Heath.com.

Video time! Check out these two motivation and instructional videos to get you in the mood for healthy eating and working out this Spring .

I think that this is a great idea! I’m always looking for something fun to do with friends that doesn’t revolve around eating or drinking. Yes, I love a cocktail as much as the next workaholic, but with my early mornings a booze-fueled “school night” is never a good idea. Barry’s Bootcamp – Party Fitness: 7 Workouts Better than Happy Hour. From a yoga rave to a Zombie Run, there are some great ideas here to try out.

How do you stay healthy and in shape when you have a hectic schedule and lots of traveling on the horizon? See what Miss Garance Dore has to say about her routines here.

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