Sometimes Life Gets in the Way

So much for getting better at blog posts with time! I haven’t posted anything since May 10th…it has now been three whole months. What a slacker! This is truly ridiculous. Well…sometimes ‘life gets in the way’. Life takes you down different paths and you often cannot predict where you may be headed next.

“Change is the only constant” – as Heraclitus so accurately sChangetated, is a quote that has popped up multiple times in my life. The first time I heard it was when I worked on the Barbie International Marketing team at Mattel. There seemed to be organizational changes every couple months right when you felt like you were starting to get settled. That’s when my manager at the time told me that at Mattel, change was the only constant. Little did I know how true that would be for many aspects and phases of my life.

Change has practically been my middle name for the past couple of weeks. Since I last posted, I:
• interviewed, accepted, and started a new job
• moved cross country – from Atlanta, GA to Manhattan Beach, CA – and in with my boyfriend
• traveled every weekend for bachelorette parties, weddings, and fun celebrations
• started training for a half marathon

All great things and I could not be happier – it has just been a little bit of a whirlwind to say the least! I love my new job and am definitely kept on my toes. Switching from working on a large, established brand to a newer, young brand, I am learning new skills on a daily basis. The pace it much faster, which has taken a little getting used to and I am enjoying the ability to be nimble.

The cross-country move was a big one, but one that I welcomed. Coming back to California means coming back to family. It was difficult to be far from family when loved ones were battling health issues and age and I did not truly realize how challenging it would be until I was far away. And after two years of long-distance, my love and I have finally made our personal and professional lives align. Onward and upward with the best of everything!

So this post is a chance to pull my head out of the sand and start doing some of the things I really enjoy again. Make time for me and know that in the end it will help me be more productive overall. That means trying new fitness routines, new recipes, and exploring new places.

I may have slacked in my posting over the last couple months, but life goes on and I can’t wait to see what it brings next!

Latest Read: French Women Don’t Get Fat

FrenchWomenDontGetFat2I am always interested in learning new things. Sometimes you just want to read something that is an enjoyable and easy read. That is really how I stumbled upon French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. Prior to leaving for a girlfriend’s bachelorette party in Cabo, I figured I needed a good read for the plane. So (slightly old fashioned) I headed to the bookstore to get a book that I wouldn’t mind if it got wet at the pool or beach. A national bestseller, this book caught my attention as just right for the occasion. I will admit, I did not think I would learn anything monumental or new from this read, but was intrigued none the less.

Mireille Guiliano is a woman who has things figured out in life. She managed to balanceFrenchWomenDontGetFat Author 2 a career as a senior executive at LVMH as well as CEO of Clicquot, Inc. and her personal life all before becoming a full-time author. I am most impressed that she was able to maintain balance at the height of her time as an executive. While she had multiple rich and extravagant work meals a week, she stayed healthy by practicing the habits of her French upbringing. The French food secrets she shares are mainly daily eating habits that most French learn, without even realizing it, while growing up.

While I believe there is much we can learn from the French way of life, it is not exact. As an American living in the United States, you will never be able to exactly replicate the life of a French woman living in France. There are differences in our cultures and the foods we have available to us on a daily basis. For example, in her book, Mireille speaks of many memories involving picking fresh strawberries and other fruits and vegetables from her family’s yard. How many American families do you know that produce enough fruit and vegetables on their own land to limit their purchase of these at the store?

I do think there is merit to going back to the basics; remembering the simple things in life related to food and the enjoyment of it. To adopt more of the French attitude, we need to emphasize quality over quantity and learn to slow down and savor our meals instead of eating on the run. Growing up, my parents and I always ate dinner together at the table; however, now that I live on my own, I frequently eat in front of the TV because I do not have anyone with whom to converse.  Doing this, I pay less attention to what I am eating and to enjoying every bite. Even though I am on my own, there is no reason that I cannot sit at the table and give the food I prepare the attention it deserves.

Another simple fact to remember is: eat anything in moderation. French meals typically contain several courses, but the portions are small and the foods are of high quality. Guiliano suggests searching out fruits and vegetables that are in season and packed with flavor. This way the food will need less seasoning and have more natural benefits.  Similar to what we hear in all fitness magazines and health websites, it’s all about checks and balances. Guiliano says French women allow for indulgences by cutting back somewhere else. So a dessert at lunch might mean a lighter meal at dinner or an extra-long walk around the neighborhood in the evening. Seems like common sense to me!

My key takeaways from French Women Don’t Get Fat are:

  • Practice portion control – learn to engage your five senses so you only eat as much as you are still getting full pleasure. There is no need to keep eating once your senses have been satiated.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables that are in season – fresh fruits and vegetables have the strongest flavors and most pleasing textures to our pallets. In essence our bodies crave these when they are in season.
  • Don’t eat on the run or in front of the TV – take the time to sit at the table and enjoy the food you have prepared.
  • Enjoy wine, but with food and only a glass or two – not sure if this is one I will be able to follow as I love catching up with girlfriends over a good glass of wine.
  • Drink plenty of water – I make this one a priority; especially since I work for a beverage company! I also learned how sometimes what I thought was hunger is really thirst; it is important to know how to read your own body signals.
  • Add regular “dedicated” walks to your day as well as find ways to increase your “incidental” walk time – this always takes me back to the “calories in/calories out” sentiment. The more activity you get during the day, the more calories you burn and the easier to maintain balance.
  • Take the stairs – whenever this is an option, similar to the above, it helps up the amount of calories you burn in a day.
  • Practice conscious breathing – Guiliano says that “breathing is the ultimate present-moment situation”. I think this is another way to be in tune with your body and to be aware or your needs, wants, and general state of being.
  • Sleep – Everyone says sleep is important. This is an area I could definitely get better. Find the right amount for you – some people only need 6 hours while others need 8.
  • Practice good posture – Good posture helps you stand tall and proud with confidence.

There are two French phrases from the book that I particularly enjoyed and think are useful on a daily basis. “Manger bien et juste”, which means ‘Eat well and eat right’, and “Tout est une question d’attitude”, which means ‘Everything’s a question of attitude’. With the right attitude, anything is possible. These are two things, in addition to the takeaways above, that I intend to do to help maintain a happy and healthy life.

Bathing Suit = Motivation

Here we go – my first ever blog post!  I hope to get better at these over time so please bear with me if there are some growing pains along the way.  My goal is that these be helpful and interesting – or at least entertaining!

“Summer bodies are made in the winter.” This is a fact – no ifs, ands, or butts about it. And it is something that almost every health and fitness website, blog, magazine, etc. post an article about during winter to help keep us motivated and excited for the warm months ahead.

But let’s be honest, how many of us are actually great about staying on track during the winter months? When it gets cold there are some days where I am much more tempted to curl up on the couch with good girlfriends and a glass of wine than I am to catch up over a walk. While I remain mostly on track, there are some days where hibernation mode and comfort food get the better of me.  After all, I am human and life is all about balance.

So for me, true summer body mode starts in early spring. As the weather starts to warm up, and I am able to visualize myself at the beach or at a pool, I start getting into gear.

Most of us are motivated by the sheer fact that we want to look good (or great!) in our bathing suits.  For me, each year, the bathing suit itself is my motivation.  Growing up in SoCal, I spent almost every day of the summer at the beach and therefore had a lot of bathing suits. As an adult, I allow myself the treat of one new bathing suit per year.

This year I bought the below bathing suit by bswim (http://bswim.com/collections/thunderbird).

bswim on bed

Even just laying it out on my bed gets me excited to wear it and more motivated to work out! Some of that may be in part to how gorgeous the model looks wearing it on their website. Being completely honest, I would love for my butt to look like hers (images below).

bswim front              bswim back

This style of bikini is getting more and more popular.  When I was recently in Cabo for a girlfriend’s bachelorette party, the majority of girls/women on the beach had bottoms similar to these or even smaller. The Brazilian style continues to creep more and more into mainstream bathing suit trends.

With my renewed sense of motivation, I am back on track and working diligently toward my desired summer bikini body. Cannot wait to rock this bathing suit this summer!