In the comments on this Neutrogena post the other day, Rosie (haaay girl, haaay!) asked about my diet and exercise regimen.
So…I’m not an expert in nutrition or a fitness guru by any means, and I repeatedly fall off the wagon myself with my own efforts, especially when I’m swamped or just plan ol’ stress eating, but I still wanted to answer. Maybe one of us will find something here helpful, so here goes. 🙂
First, it’s not strict, but I do try to eat as healthy as possible because I know that it makes me feel physically and mentally better.
Day to day, I take a pretty measured approach, but I don’t freak out if I fall out of line for a meal. I measure out my portion sizes, count calories and try not to go cray-cray with sweets (baked goods and ice cream are big weaknesses of mine).
If/when I do have a cheat meal…cheat day or cheat week (!), I do my best not to beat myself up about it, and try to make it up over the next few days by being a little more careful.
To count calories (I know that sounds scary, but I do it because it works for me), I use an iPhone app called MyFitnessPal, which makes it easy to track what goes in, what I burn, and how I’m progressing along the way. It’s easy to use, and seeing the numbers right there in all their cold, uncompromising glory helps keep me honest and motivated.
As for food, I’m not a big red meat or chicken eater. I don’t have any issues with meat, but I prefer the taste of seafood and vegetable dishes (and they’re often lower in calories than meaty foods). On average, about two thirds of my meals are vegetarian, and the other third is pescatarian (something with seafood).
I don’t think I’m very creative in the kitchen, and I rely on certain staple dishes over and over again, like oatmeal and coffee/tea in the morning, a salad or a wrap for lunch, and some kind of seafood dish for dinner.
I like low fat, healthy, easy dishes that come together quickly, and I’ve gotten a ton of great ideas from Skinny Taste, and Women’s Health and Fitness magazine’s online recipe finder.
A few things about certain kinds of foods…
Dairy. My diet definitely affects my skin, and I’ve found that by scaling back on dairy, my skin’s improved.
I did it with baby steps, like by replacing dairy milk in my coffee with almond milk, and by cutting back on yogurt and cottage cheese, which I was pretty much eating daily for protein (and because they’re delicious).
If you’re thinking about trying soy, rice or almond milk, I’m pulling for almond. At least to me, it doesn’t have the aftertaste that soy milk has, and it pretty much goes with everything. I like Trader Joe’s Almond Smooth Vanilla Almond Milk ($1.69 for a 32-ounce box). It has the consistency of cow’s milk and isn’t overly sweet. It’s also hella yummy in smoothies, cereal and pudding.
I haven’t been able to completely quit dairy, though, because I just lurves me my cheeses and ice cream (and eggs, which I know aren’t dairy, but still). 🙂
Mmm… Ice cream.
I still partake, but I try to moderate.
Fruits and veggies. I eat pounds of fruits and vegetables throughout the week. I’m like a fruit bat! Seriously, like crazy bunny food amounts.
I feel like when I don’t for a few days in a row, I start to feel a little off, and I start getting breakouts. Oh, and this is TMI for sure, but the fiber, you know, also keeps my plumbing, you know…working.
Water. I’ve always got a glass or a bottle by my side and drain it throughout the day. I also shy away from super sugary drinks, although dayum! — I just can’t say no to a cold bottle of Coke.
Salt and sugar. I try to keep these delicious ingredients to a minimum, too. Salt, because there’s a history of high blood pressure in my family, and sugar, because when I have too much, my skin gets wonky.
My exercise routine
Right now, running is my main form of exercise, and I usually run anywhere from 30-45 minutes a couple times during the workweek, and 45 minutes to an hour both days of the weekend.
I like running because I can do it on my own time (don’t have to wait for a class to start), and it doesn’t require a lot of equipment.
I know I should get better about cross-training to minimize the wear and tear on my feet and knees, and that’s something I plan to work on. Eventually, I’d like to take yoga and spin classes again and get back into light weightlifting.
For now, I mix things up occasionally with videos, and I like the ones from Jillian Michaels. Those things make me sweat bullets, and she’s a good motivator, adept in the art of tough love. If that sounds good to you, try her 30-Day Shred and Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism.
I have a treadmill now and mostly run indoors, but I have belonged to a few gyms before and also run outside.
A few safety tips if you’re going to pound the pavement outside…
- Leave a note/send an email: Whenever I run by myself, I let someone know where I’m going to be and approximately when I’ll be done. That way, if I don’t come home for some reason, someone can send help.
- Bring I.D.: For outside jogs, I always wear either a shirt or pants with pockets, and bring along my driver’s license, medical card and a slip of paper with emergency numbers (if you have a small phone and can somehow bring it on the run, better still). Chances are nothing will ever happen, but it’s good to be prepared just in case.
- Turn down the volume: I get fired up listening to music while I run, but down a street with heavy traffic? Dangerous. I pump down the jams on busy streets to be able to hear stuff going on around me.
If you’re shopping for a gym, ask if they offer guest passes, so that you can get a feel for the place before you commit. Check out the locker rooms, too, and the treadmills (are they always out of order or occupied?), and get a feel for the vibe. Some gyms are more like pick-up joints, while others are all about the business.
What’s most important, though, is finding an activity you enjoy. I think to some degree, workouts are work. Sometimes, there’s really no way around it, but if you can have a little fun while you move, it’s easier to stick with it.
Oh, and even though I don’t have any hard science to back it up, I strongly believe that wearing cute workout gear makes exercise easier, and I swear by these Live-In Capri Pants by Zella.
They don’t slip down while I’m running and have great coverage, so my underwear doesn’t peek though…and I think they make my butt look cute, haha!
Right now they’re on sale at Nordstrom, marked down to $29 from $44, if you’re interested.