Oh hello topic I hardly ever speak on yet get asked about all the time! If there’s one question I get more often than others, it’s “how do you eat all that food and stay in shape?” Let me tell you, I may have decent genes (thanks mom and dad!), but at the end of the day it takes work. Shock of the century.
My true happiness depends on my ability to find balance. For example: I love wine, pizza, and all things sugary or buttery, therefore I must find ways to (as best I can) enjoy working it all off as well. Sure, if I had less of said wine and pizza I probably wouldn’t have to workout as hard, or I’d be in a lot better shape, but at the end of the day I can say with complete conviction that I am very happy with the balance I have come to find and the small choices I make on a day to day basis.
I fucking love life, so I very much so dislike the idea of not being able to enjoy every single thing about it – ESPECIALLY food. My relationship with food has changed so much after having started Love & Loathing Los Angeles (good and bad), but I’ve found a way to make it work, and it’s so much easier than you probably think.
Outside of maintaining a more active lifestyle, my metal “success” (which can only be determined by me) has come because of a few key factors: I don’t believe in deprevation or deprecation. Meaning, diets are horse shit, and mistreating yourself is too. I am a major proponet of cutting down not cutting out, and believing in the fact that a healthy mindset takes time! You want a cookie? Have a bite of it. You want the whole thing? Take it easy the next meal, or get your butt to the gym (or whatever form of exercise you may choose). *EVERYTHING IN MODERATION* and do your best to make time for physical activity.
I still struggle some days with “overdoing it” on certain indulgences (Salt & Straw I’m lookin’ at you), but sometimes you just need to let go of it and remember that you’re human, and think about what matters more; a few extra calories or a few moments of sheer bliss. I’ll have the momentary bliss with a side of carrots for later please and thank you. Beating yourself up over your day to day indulgences doesn’t do you any good – be accepting and flexible and remember it’s a lifestyle you have to enjoy for the long haul. You’re going to have good and bad days, healthier mindsets take time, and the ones that stick are the ones that are positive and make the process an enjoyable one.
So, on that note, I want to take you through some ways that I have managed to find some wonderful components to help bring balance in my life; granted these things may obviously not apply to everyone. Clearly we are all unique individuals so take this all in with a grain of salt but, I figure if any of this helps me, perhaps it can inspire and help you too.
1. WERKWERKWERKWERKWERKWERK: Lift Weights. Do Cardio.
(Are you you ready for me to drop some knowledge?) Working out and being active is good for your mind body and spirit. I genuinely love/hate working out, I wish I was one of those people like, “you know what? I think I’ll go for a run, that sounds nice.” But no, my internal dialogue sounds more like, “god dammit. I need to go for a run.”
I have tried every single workout you can think of; Pilates, yoga, crossfit, Platefit, barre classes, dance, spin – seriously you name it I have tried it. What I always end up coming back to is a combination between a cardio and weight lifting plan. I lift HEAVY weights 3-5x per week, and I do a couple sessions of cardio at least 2x per week. I lift because it gives me results quick, it burns the most calories, and I enjoy feeling/looking slightly more athletic. Now the thing to note here though, if you’re not a weight lifter yourself, is that I can squat my body weight and not build muscle like a man. It’s almost impossible to get “bulky” as a girl, you’d have to work really really hard to put on big muscle, so don’t ever think that just because you want long lean muscles that you shouldn’t lift, it’s probably the opposite case. (My gym of choice? Equinox. Because it literally doesn’t get any better.)
My cardio routine though I owe completely to SoulCycle; I absolutely loath cardio, but somehow this place manages to make it fun, tough, and effective. I’ve been going for years and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. There’s something oddly cathartic about SoulCycle classes in particular. I’ve cried in class on a few occasions (I know so weird right?), but once I’d told a few people this fact I came to find out that I wasn’t actually the only one! It really is an experience unlike any other. It’s such a wonderful place to not only get a great workout in, but to also work on some “moving meditation” as I like to think of it, where you’re totally present for 45 minutes. Trust me it does wonders.
2. DAY TO DAY MAINTENANCE: Balancing going out to eat with not.
Because a lot of my job is to eat, I tend to reserve calories for the meals where I know I won’t be in complete control of ingredients. During the day I will either have a vegan protein shake (because they’re quick and easy), eggs, or something relating to grilled chicken. Super exciting stuff, generally speaking. When I’m out to dinner though I try to shy away from carbs to the best of my abilities, but I ALWAYS take at least 1-2 bites of everything. Especially dessert. Some meals I totally go all out on and some I try to reign it in a little; it all goes back to my way of choosing to balance my day to day life. It’s not perfect, I am not perfect, but I look at it as a day to day process, not the overwhelming “this means the rest of my life” process.
Something interesting and effective I’ve been adding to my diet lately though is actually bone broth. I don’t know if you’ve personally noticed, but I feel like bone broth is kind of having a moment right now. So after hearing so much positive feedback from friends and peers I decided to try it for myself. Bone broths have TONS of benefits (as explained in depth below) and they’re a great way to curb an appetite while getting some crucial nutrients and vitamins. I like to sip on mine around 3pm when I’m starting to get that afternoon hungerpang or I feel like I need another cup of coffee. It seems to reenergize me a bit and helps tide me over until dinner. (Brothee is my broth of choice because not only are they at most Farmers Markets around LA, they also deliver!)
3. ALWAYS TREAT YOSELF: treat it right, treat it nice.
I don’t believe in cheat days because I am not an “all or nothing” kind of gal, I’m an “everything in moderation” gal as you may now well know. I’d rather have a little bit of something every day then binge just one. I am all for having a bite outta the pint everyday, but I pick and choose when to “go for it” and when to take it easy. You know what your treat of preference is so I won’t tell you how to select, but what I WILL say however is that if you live in LA… you have some amazing win/win treat options. Namely Lifehouse Tonics + Elixirs. When I am craving ice cream (which is daily) and one bite just won’t suffice, I go to Lifehouse Tonics and order the Greenhouse Chip or the Chaga Chip Cookie Dough. They both taste just like milkshakes (I kid you not) but they’re made with all natural super healthy ingredients – and they’re both under 300 calories to boot!!!! These smoothies are my wildest dreams come true: milkshakes that really are good for you. The Chaga Chip Cookie Dough for example is made with passion flower, brahimi, chaga mushroom, coco nibs, hemp seeds, vanilla, cinnamon and tocos. Go try it and TELL ME your mind wasn’t blown.
Again, I am not a nutritionist or a health expert by any means (I pass that baton over to people like my friend Kelly LeVeque of bewellbykelly.com!). And no matter what I say, or what you personally prefer to do to better yourself, I just want you to remember that “healthy” comes in all shape/genders/races/sizes and it means something different to everyone. That being said though being happy and healthy is a choice I hope we ALL make on a daily basis. When you find yourself struggling a bit always keep in mind that there are tons of resources at your disposal to help make life’s journey of being healthy a bit more fun and easy.
What are some decisions YOU make on a daily basis to make healthy choices fun and easy?