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It's not about my weight or that I'm a relatively new mom with low energy. The reason I volunteered for a 30-Day FITNESS Makeover was that I want to get strong. When I was voted off Dancing with the Stars, some people made comments about my not being fit, and that was frustrating. Don't get me wrong: I have no regrets about doing the TV show -- it was great fun, actually. I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to be on Dancing with the Stars. It's entertainment, people. The producers are going to go for the drama, for the good storyline. People watching it at home take it so seriously. Lighten up! I mean, I worked really hard on my routine, but I knew what the deal was. I signed up to play a game and I played my part.
But I also realized I needed to get stronger -- for myself, no one else. Today, I met with Ashley Koff, RD, a nutritionist who is coming up with a plan to help me eat for energy -- that's what I'm focusing on. The truth is, I lost a few pounds when I was training for Dancing with the Stars. Not intentionally -- it was just a really intense training program for four weeks, six hours every day, to learn all the dance moves and work out a routine with my partner.
I asked Ashley to help me create a diet with healthy fats so I could gain some weight back and get strong. The plan she came up with is to eat a small meal every three hours or so, as opposed to saving all the calories for one big dinner at the end of the day, which I've been known to do. Ashley said this plan will keep me satisfied and more energetic. It's a bit of an adjustment -- usually, I don't like breakfast and I just have coffee and milk, but now I'm adding an egg, followed by a snack of nuts and seeds. We'll see how it goes.
My 30-day workouts focus on a strength-training program called the Fluidity Method, developed by Michelle Austin, who created this technique of toning and strengthening using her "Fluidity" bar. A lot of dancers use it; it creates long, lean muscles, which is what I want. I've been following along with the Fluidity DVDs at home, rather than going to a gym. The workout lasts about 30 to 40 minutes, every other day. I've done it for three days now and I'm sore, from my biceps to my butt!
I'm happy to say, I think I can go the distance with this program. The bonus is that the exercise part is not terribly time-intensive -- important since I'm in the middle of launching my first cosmetics line -- and the eating plan is not too far off from my natural tendencies. The downside? Well, I'm only in my first week!
Today I talked with my editor at the magazine. She wanted to know if I'm running out of steam! I said no, and it's the truth. I am committed to completing the full 30-Day FITNESS Makeover. This week has been a little tough, though: I've been having a busy couple of days with L.A. Fashion Week (when the designers show their new collections). My boyfriend has designed his own clothing line, and it premiered last night at the shows. I did the makeup for his models with my new line, Josie Maran cosmetics, plus I walked the runway, so the whole event was a family affair. Lots of fun, but all this busy-ness means I've had to be really proactive to find time to work out and to remember to eat every three hours.
It's reassuring to see how I can still make time to do the Fluidity DVDs, even when I'm doing a million other things. The really convenient thing is that I can just go in my room and do it -- I don't have to drive anywhere. Usually, when you go to a gym in L.A., it takes at least 45 minutes just to get there because of the awful traffic. So all total, it becomes a three-hour ordeal to work out.
It is a little tough to motivate myself at home, but I'm really committed right now to being in shape. And because it's in my house, I have no excuses! Besides, my Fluidity guru, Michelle, calls me up every other day and wants to know how it's going. If I haven't worked out yet...watch out!
Today is my last day doing the intermediate-level DVD; tomorrow I am moving up to the advanced level. Everything is getting really nice and toned, especially -- don't laugh! -- my pelvic floor. Ever since I had a baby, it's been a little weak. Plus, I feel stronger in my core than I ever have. The other thing that's amazing is that I've always had lower-back problems, and for the first time in my life, I am feeling less pain. The Fluidity program works on strengthening my backside as much as my front, so I am more balanced.
As for the diet, I am getting tons of energy from a multivitamin and B-complex vitamin that Ashley suggested. And I've found it pretty easy to stick with the choice of foods (see Josie's Energy Meal Plan). The main thing is remembering to eat at regular three-hour intervals. I've learned some interesting tips, too: For example, with carbs, my nutritionist Ashley says that the correct serving size is about the size of my fist. Of course people's fists are different sizes depending on how big the person is, which is exactly the point -- you customize it for your body size. Same with a serving of protein. One thing I've been doing after I work out is making myself a coconut "smoothie" using O.N.E. coconut water (you can get it at Whole Foods), egg white protein, powdered berry mix, and hemp seeds. It's good!
I am definitely feeling the workout in my hamstrings, inner thighs, and arms. I want to feel it more in my abs, because then I'll know they're working, but one thing at a time! The main thing for me is how much more energetic I feel since I've been doing the 30-Day FITNESS Makeover. I had a baby 15 months ago and since then I have been pretty sleep deprived.
I've also gotten better at the eating schedule (every three hours), but I still have to plan for it when I'm at work. There have been several days where I wake up at 6 a.m. and have breakfast, then eat again at 10 a.m. -- a small salad -- and then have lunch at 1 p.m. When you're used to having breakfast and then not eating again until dinner, that's a lot of food! But I when I follow this routine, it's amazing how I'm not starving by dinnertime.
Becoming a mother has actually made it harder for me to be healthy. With my daughter, I know exactly what to feed her, and I'm hyper-aware of making sure she gets the right nutrition. I cook my own soups and make her quinoa and tofu dishes. The irony is, I focus so much on what to feed her, I kind of forget about taking care of myself! When I told this to Ashley, she said, "You should be eating exactly what you feed your child!"
I am fitting in my exercise this week after my daughter goes to sleep or right before she gets up. Some days, especially after working on my cosmetics line launch, I come home and I'm like, "Holy Moly, I'm exhausted!" and I know it's going to be a tough day to motivate. But even when it seems like a chore, I remind myself it's only 30 minutes and I can definitely do that. And as usual, my Fluidity instructor, Michelle, is going to call me up on the phone and give it to me if I don't do it!
Next week is going to be the biggest challenge. It's the end of my 30-Day FITNESS Makeover, but I'm also flying from L.A. to New York for my Josie Maran cosmetics line launch. Lots of travel for work, and I'm not sure how that's going to fit with my new program. Stay tuned...
Well, here I am in New York City, doing press to promote Josie Maran cosmetics. Tonight I'm going to an event that's sponsored by Whole Foods. It's called Teens for Safe Cosmetics, and the goal is to educate teenagers about the stuff that's in the beauty products they use, so they're aware of what it does to their skin and the environment. Some products are definitely better for you than others, depending on the ingredients. When I created my Josie Maran cosmetics, I wanted to be sure the focus was on toxin-free, organic ingredients -- nothing that will hurt the environment. I am a spokesperson for Global Green, an environmental advocacy group, so I am really aware of this issue. Plus, I grew up near San Francisco, and the healthy-living movement is so big there.
The good news is, the press has been great so far. The bad news is, traveling has made it hard to keep up with my 30-Day FITNESS Makeover. Eating every three hours when you're on a plane or running from one meeting to the next is harder than you'd think. Yesterday morning, I left California at 4:30 a.m., but by the time I landed in New York and got to my hotel, in was already late afternoon, so I missed my midday salad -- and I skipped the workout. I feel little guilty about it, but nobody is perfect, and I've been really diligent about sticking to the program up until this point. So I'm cutting myself a little slack, and when I get home, I'll go back to the program right away, I promise.
I talked to my editor at FITNESS again today, and I told her that one of the things I appreciate about the Fluidity workout is how easy it is to pick it up just from watching the DVD. With Dancing with the Stars, I was struggling for six hours a day to master the steps. Just learning the basics takes forever if you don't have a dance background, which I didn't. My Fluidity workout is stuff I know I can do -- simple moves that tone all your major muscles, plus muscles you didn't realize you had.
Dancing with the Stars taught me that I need to get my body stronger, so that's why I'm doing this program. I hope I can keep with it after the 30 days are over -- I sort of thought that by now it would feel like a familiar habit for me, but it's still work. I'm optimistic that I'll stick with it for the long haul because the bottom line is, I'm doing this for me. I want to be healthy. In my business, no one is going to ask you to how many sit ups you can do, or whatever. No one checks up on whether you work out, as long as you look good when you show up to work. So I did this for myself -- it's up to me to continue. Want to try the workout? Check out the February issue of FITNESS for all the details, or go to www.fluidity.com.THE ENERGY MEAL PLAN
Wake up: Coffee with whole milk, 15 mixed nuts
Midmorning: Piece of fruit, hard-boiled egg
Late morning: Veggies with hummus
Early afternoon: Whole grains like quinoa, salad with olive or hempseed oil and lemon
Late afternoon: O.N.E. coconut water (from Whole Foods Market) with Jay Robb's egg white protein powder, berries, and ground flaxseeds (blend together to make a smoothie)
Dinner: Grilled fish, veggie chips, guacamole dip
**Josie supplemented her diet with three New Chapter Every Woman supplements in the morning, three at lunch, and a B-complex vitamin daily.MY GET FIT PLAYLIST
Originally published on FitnessMagazine.com, February 2008.