My Feel-Good Food & Fitness Philosophy: Nothing’s off limits

Morning, guys!

I thought I’d kick off my second post by talking about a couple things that are huge parts of my life—food and fitness—and talk about my journey to a “nothing’s off limits” lifestyle.

For the most part, I’ve always been comfortable in my own skin. Over the years, my weight’s fluctuated here and there, but the acceptance that’s come with that over the last few years has been so grounding: As long as I’m feeling good, I look my best.

Living in L.A., I’m surrounded by all the latest fitness trends, endless food trucks, and some jaw-dropping diet crazes. I am in La La Land after all—the city of aspiring actors and artists. Undoubtedly, it’s hard to avoid what the media’s saying about what slim-down secret might work for me or what new high-intensity workout will shred my waistline.

In the past, I’ve given some mild diet plans a try and some were successful for me—for a short period of time, that is. What I came to learn was, a lot of these fad diets offered quick end-of-week fixes, but not long-term realistic ways to live my life, in my body. I often felt restricted, tired, and moody. No bueno for me, Sam, or anyone else around me.

It wasn’t until I started listening to what my mind and body needed and reading books that were on par with my ideas that I was catapulted onto a new kind of food and fitness journey. That, and following my favorite blogs for that past six or so years: The Fitnessista, The Bad Yogi, CarrotsNCake, Lauren Hefez, and Peanut Butter Fingers. These inspiring and ass-kicking gals are my go-tos any day of the week. And, I have a feeling they’d be in line with my feel-good philosophy too.

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If you’re curious what my own plan involves, here’s a brief overview: I’ve been doing Zumba for years now on Saturday mornings, Vinyasa or sweat yoga 2-3 weekday mornings, and I try to get plenty of walks into my week. It’s not uncommon to see me using free weights at home or trying a new class like barre or pilates.

When it comes to my diet, I really try to aim for healthy—tons of fruit, veggies, lean meats, yogurt, salads, protein-packed lunches, and the occasional dessert when I’m craving something sweet. Don’t get me wrong—there are nights where Sam and I indulge on mac and cheese and salted pretzels at a bar, but overall, I stick to my consistent, reliable plan.

I enjoy wine, but mainly save it for the weekends unless I’m celebrating or have a special dinner. Don’t count out the occasional cold beer or Moscow mule, either!

What I’m trying to say is 8/10, I’m eating well, but then there’s that day or meal, that I just have fun and feed my soul!

Here are some valuable tips I’ve gathered that I take with me that may also help set you off on your own feel-good journey:

Everything’s okay in moderation.

Do you want the cheesy appetizer at the happy hour? Do want another half-glass of wine at dinner? Have it and savor it, but don’t let it take over from the conversations you’re having. I’m not an all or nothing kind of gal, meaning if I’m really craving something, I let myself have it and then move on.

Get your sleep on.

I thoroughly look forward to a good night’s sleep. That’s why Sam and I tend to hit the hay around 10 on weeknights and rise earlier than most. It works for our busy schedules and gives us the rest we need to be efficient and pleasant the next day.

Rise and grind.

Since I rise early, I work out first thing. I can’t tell you how life-changing this has been. No longer can I make excuses after work about why I can’t make the gym. When my workout’s done by 8am, I feel empowered, proud, and ready to tackle whatever’s waiting for me at the office knowing I already checked a very large box off my personal to-do list.

Start a fitness plan you’ll actually enjoy.

There’s no point in taking gym classes or performing workouts you hate. Sure, push yourself once in awhile to try say, a strength training class, to use muscles you haven’t in awhile, but if Zumba’s your thing—stick with Zumba. Start with small goals, like attending 2 classes a week on the same days. From there, add on when you feel you’re ready for more of a challenge.

Keep hydrated.

When I’ve been drinking water all day, I feel more energized, mindful, and even full. Sometimes when my stomach’s growling, I go for a glass of water before a plate of food, and more often than not, I feel completely more satisfied. Start with water and go from there.

Try yoga—any kind.

Yoga has changed my life. I may sound a little hippie(ish) there, but… I’ve gone back and forth with yoga since my senior year in high school, but never stuck with it regularly. My mistake. Since keeping a consistent practice in L.A., I hold myself taller, I am more toned, and I’ve given myself that hour of self-care a few days a week I think everyone needs. I don’t go to class to make friends or compete with the crazy yogis that are doing insane moves next to me. I go there for me. (More on my yoga passion to come!)

When you’re working out, give it your 100.

There are times I’ve gone to a workout class, where I’m there but I’m not really there. However, my mentality recently has been—if I’ve gotten up at 6, dressed, and made it all the way there—I better be going hard. Make your workout worth your time and energy.

Rely on healthy snacks throughout the day.

My office—and maybe yours too—always has donuts, unhealthy snacks, and bagels laying around. Sure, I may grab one when I’m really dying for one, but more times than not, I go for my own snacks. This means I have things like almonds, Think Thin bars, fruit, and almond butter nearby. It’s made such a difference.

Meditate, even just for five minutes.

There are so many online resources these days. Some of my favorite mediation gurus are Gabrielle Berstein, Deepok Chopra, and Wayne Dyer. Their messages are inspiring and calming, and when I need just five minutes of centering, I turn to them. Give it a shot! Who knows?—you may like it.

Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Really! Food is delicious and fitness is fun. No need to make it more complicated than that. Take life one meal and one workout at a time, by setting attainable goals and letting those close to you know your plan.

Your feel-good philosophy is centered around you. Once you feel good in what you’re doing for your mind and body, the results will come.

What sort of workouts are you into? What kinds of meals are your all-time faves? Share with me!

Keep pushing,
Ari

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