If you’ve been on Instagram for any length of time, you’ve become somewhat familiar with the fitness gurus and their relentless dedication to creating the perfect body.  One commonality they share is the way they eat.  You’ll often see plastic tupperware filled with green vegetables and an unbreaded protein.  Then at some point in the week, he or she will indulge in eating “normal food” otherwise known as a cheat day.

Instinctually, I shunned this way of life.  Why deprive yourself all week just so you can eat like a normal person on some designated day.  This form of deprivation seemed unrealistic and much too challenging for us commoners.  But, I’ve come around to this way of thinking and I’m ready to try eating like a fitness buff.

Here’s why I’ve changed my tune.  For a few months, I’ve indulged in any and all of my cravings. Chips, snacks, fried foods, whatever.  If I wanted to eat it, I did.  And, of course, the inevitable happened. Clothes began to feel a bit snugger and I found myself reaching for loose fitting outfits meant to disguise my expanding waistline.  To correct this situation, I did what I had to do.  I ate sensibly and incorporated more physical activity into my day.  Soon, clothes started fitting normal again.

But I feel like I have been riding a see-saw. On one side, I eat the things I love and gain weight. On the other side, I restrict my eating and get to enjoy the body I want.  So how do I get to do both?  How do I indulge in yummy foods AND get to experience a healthy body.

Enter the cheat meal/day.

The cheat day is the intersection between the body of your dreams and enjoying delicious food.  Cheat day(s) provide permission to reward ourselves as a result of our healthy eating.  Cheat days give us something to look forward to.  Eating whatever you want, when you want is overrated.  Most times, this only leads to regrets.  If you’re still in your twenties with a metabolism that never quits, then maybe you can consume enormous amounts of calories without consequences.  But, for the rest of us, reckless eating will quickly catch up.

The solution is to load up on nutrient dense foods as much as possible.  This means fruits and veggies making up a larger percentage of what we consume.   We now manage the way we eat so we can enjoy fitting into the clothes we love.  And maybe we don’t become as regimented as the fitness gurus on Instagram.  Maybe we just increase the amount of greens we enjoy and eat smaller portions.  Whatever’s required to keep us at our healthy weight.

When I do enjoy an indulgent meal, I don’t want to feel guilty because we’ve already had our share of high fat foods this week. I want to enjoy every bite, knowing that I’ll still be able to fit into my favorite jeans.  I understand that my definition of eating clean and cheat meals may not be as restrictive as defined by the fitness community.  But it’s all about eating very sensibility and in a way that creates the body I want to have or maintain.  

When I used to travel regularly, I’d adjust my eating if I had a long couple of weeks of travel ahead so I didn’t return home 5-10lbs heavier than I left.  If I decided to eat out every night, using the company credit card, I’d regret it later. But, if I made an effort to eat sensibly, maintaining my weight seemed so easy.  I want to go back to that sense of ease and comfort in knowing that I have the power to experience the body I desire and the occasional indulgence.  Thank you Insta-fitness gurus, for showing us the way to having it all.

I’m a bit bummed that summer is on the way out.  But, on the other hand, I’m secretly excited about layering and having the ability to wear voluminous curls without fear of frizz ruining everything I’ve worked so hard for.  
In preparation for fall, I’m compiling a short list of items needed to transition smoothly into fall.  This look serves as wonderful inspiration. First I’d like to procure a caped cardigan in a color that goes with practically anything.  I love the balance of the high waisted printed skinnies and plunging top with the oversized cardigan.  The fringed handbag adds a little bit of edge.  If you aren’t careful, you could end up going too frumpy with oversized outerwear which is makes it imperative to have the right accessories to compliment your look.
It’s been a while since I’ve had a pair of black wedges in my shoe collection. But in my quest to appear somewhat put together, I find myself lamenting my past decision of wearing  heels to do anything more than a quick trip around the block.  My hope is that wedges will allow me to achieve the height I desire, while being stylish and pain free.   
And can we talk about how flattering her printed skinny trousers are? Years ago, if you would have asked me to buy a pair of high waisted pants with a bold print, I would have called you crazy.  But now,  I’m liking the option of trading out a floral skirt floral trousers.  I already have one pair of black + white tribal print skinnies that I adore, now it’s time to venture into the world of color.
Lastly, can we talk about her wonderful hair styling.  The fullness is enviable, which serves as our reminder to do a little bit of trimming as the new season rolls in.  Fall season could mean and increase in shedding. When our ends are nice and trimmed, we have an easier time removing the shed hairs thereby warding off tangles. 
What I love most about this look is how wearable it is.  If you want to be a little more modest, the top can easily be switched out for a tank or basic tee.  Again, just pair a little something edgy and unexpected with your look to keep it fresh and modern.  Are you loving this look as much as I am?

A few days ago, we discussed the topic of being polished.  One of the Laws of being polished was to have our hair on point.  Trimmed ends and healthy strands are key, but what about those edges?  Tamed edges are a must if we want have a polished look.  I was one of those people who never really did anything to groom my edges. Then one day I decided enough was enough and it was time to find a product that could lay these edges down.

The problem is that I had no idea where to start.  So I did what came naturally. I asked you guys on the Facebook page.  And thanks to your responses,  I have a few products to add to my shopping list.
Aveda Control Finishing Paste
Aveda Control finishing paste with organic flax seed. 
Price: $30.00 Amazon.com
Feature(s):  “Leaves hair pliable enough to play with.”  Provides a medium hold and contains all natural flax seed.  
Argan Oil Perfect Edges
Argan Oil Perfect Edges
Feature(s): Contains Argan oil. Moisturizes and gives shine without flaking.
Price: $5.00 
Hicks Transformations Edges
Hicks Transformation Edges
Features: Non-greasy, non-flaky. Rinses easily 
Price: $12.00
Design Essentials Sleep Edge Control
Design Essentials Edge Control
Features: A moisturizing firm hold. Intense sheen to polish all hairstyles.
Price $11.50 
These edge control products were the most recommended thanks to everyone’s feedback.  My experience with edge control products in the past hasn’t been successful.  Years ago, when I had less texture than I do now, my hair responded well to Profectiv’s Root Health Anti-Dryness Strengthener.   Although it isn’t really an edge control product, the soothing cream helped calm my scalp while nourishing and taming my baby hairs.  It was like a moisturizer for my edges.  I may try it again.  But, who knows, maybe now I need the help of a thicker gel to give me the results I’m looking for.   
Either way, I won’t stop until I find a staple edge control product.  Especially now that I’ve decided to experiment protective styling in braids for a while.  I’m open to any other suggestions.  Please share your experience.

Good morning!  This Monday I decided to try something a little different.  Instead of reading the Monday Motivation post, I’d like you to listen to it.  Yes.  I’ve recorded my first ever podcast on a whim.  This is part of my journey to always moving towards the edge of my comfort zone.

Because it’s my first ever recording, there’s a little bit of background noise.  I’ll upgrade my equipment if I continue to make podcasts in the future.  The session is almost 30 minutes. Hopefully many of you are off today and might have time to hear the entire track.

Let me know what you think.