10 Ways to Practice Self-Care Every Week
6.25.2018

10 Ways to Practice Self-Care Every Week

"Self care" is definitely buzzy right now, but this is a trend I have zero issues following. It seems like life gets crazier and crazier the older we get and as society changes, so I am absolutely here for any reminder to pause and take care of myself.

Stress is something we all deal with on some level, but it really is terrible for you. There are definitely times I use stress to my advantage and really "get shit done," but if you let it take over you'll end up with adrenal fatigue, weight gain, or other health issues. 

So, I'm here today to give you a friendly reminder to take care of yourself. Self care isn't girly or "hippie," it just means that you value yourself enough to care for your body and your mental health. I don't see a single negative to doing that.

While there are countless ways to practice self care and to customize it to you, here are 10 ways I practice self care and think are realistic for nearly every lifestyle. 

cute summer outfit: romper, hair scarf, platform sandals
printed hair scarf

Quiet time before starting your day
Yes, this might mean getting up a tad earlier, but when I start my day with even 10 minutes of quiet time instead of diving into a whirlwind of getting ready, my day undoubtedly gets off to a smoother start. Your morning quiet time can be completely customizable to what you like to do and some ideas are reading, meditating, stretching, journaling, or even scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest. If it calms you and makes you feel happy, then it's a positive start to the day! I like to make my hot lemon water and curl up with my dogs to read or go through Pinterest for inspiration. Sometimes I'll write a blog post if I'm in a creative headspace. I personally choose not to read or watch the news first thing in the morning because it's usually not the most positive content and I don't like to start my day off by worrying about the world. Remember...calm and happy is what you're going for!

A regular workout class
I love a routine and having the accountability of a regularly scheduled workout class. Then I know if a week gets crazy, I'm at least getting in one or two quality, sweaty workouts. Having a workout class on the calendar will help you to prioritize it, will ensure you get in movement, and will de-stress you as well. Spin class is my consistent workout of choice, but the important thing is to find a workout or class that you love and actually look forward to attending each week.

A face mask on the weekend
Your skin is your largest organ (crazy, right?) so it's important to treat it well. I recently started doing a face mask or two every single weekend, and it's become such a nice self-care ritual. I'm currently loving this "radiance renewal mask" by REN Clean Skincare because it leaves my skin smooth and glowing, and helps with acne scarring and hyper-pigmentation. 

Sleeping in at least one day a week
I've always struggled with getting enough sleep and I don't prioritize it like I should. But it helps if I can sleep in at least one day per weekend and get my energy back. It's also such a great feeling to not set an alarm once in awhile! The to-do list can wait... give yourself an extra hour or two of sleep on the weekend!

Bringing water with you everywhere
Most of us are somehow coping with being dehydrated, but it's really an easy fix. Once I started bringing my reusable water bottle with me everywhere, I began drinking plenty of water and felt soooo much better. You can read about the 5 benefits I saw from upping my water intake in this post. Being properly hydrated not only keeps your organs functioning and cleanses your body, but it also increases your metabolism and gives you more energy.

yellow romper with ruffle details
dress up a ponytail with a hair scarf

Stretching
Most of us don't stretch nearly enough, and it's so healthy for our bodies! It relieves stress and tension, elongates the muscles, improves flexibility, and helps to prevent injuries. What's not to love? You can do a few simple stretches every day or every time you workout, and/or set aside 15-20 minutes on the weekend to do some deeper stretching. Yoga is a great way to get in some stretching too!  

A daily green smoothie
I love to have a green smoothie for breakfast every morning because it's an easy way to fit in a full serving of greens in the morning! Since there's no other way I'm eating a cup of spinach at 7:30am, a smoothie a day has been the perfect solution for me. In my smoothies I also pack in protein, fiber and healthy fats, so I'm getting steady energy all morning (no more shaky, hungry mornings). I'll be sharing my summer green smoothie recipe next week! 

Exfoliating
Exfoliating is not only good for your skin, but it's also good for blood circulation. Plus, who wants dry, rough skin? It's much better to be glowy and smooth, and your skin will thank you! I like to dry brush once a week and then use my all-time favorite body scrub (well worth the price!) in the shower. 

Make your phone off limits in bed
Scrolling through your phone in bed can be a tough habit to break, but it's well worth it. Parting from your phone is a clean break from the day, and your sleep quality will be better when you're not being exposed to the light from your device, which can prevent your brain from releasing melatonin). Try it out for a week and see what you think!

A random act of kindness
Okay, so this doesn't seem like "self care," but I wanted to include it because when I do a small act of kindness it always makes me feel sooo good. Not in a "wow, I'm an amazing person" kind of way, but just in the fact that I got to brighten someone's day or benefit the earth and overall just put a little more positivity into the world. I recently got a shirt that says "be the energy you want to attract" and I believe in that mindset wholeheartedly. This doesn't have to be anything crazy or expensive, but some ideas are: texting or calling a friend just to check in or encourage them, sending someone a card/note, paying for the coffee behind you, doing one of your significant other's or roommate's chores "just because," remembering to recycle, picking up trash when you see it in your neighborhood or in a parking lot, or even just giving a stranger a sincere compliment. Put out good energy and it will come back to you!  

10 Ways to Practice Self-Care Every Week
I love using hair scarves for a bit of print, color or texture in my outfit!
ponytail with a hair scarf + gold hoops
romper  |  hair scarf  |  shoes  |  similar bag  |  earrings  |  necklace

How do you practice self care each week? Is this something you prioritize in your own life?

My Favorite SPF Products
6.20.2018

Best SPF products to protect your skin from aging
bikini top (c/o) |  bikini bottoms (c/o) |  hair scarf  |  hat

I was recently listening to a Skinny Confidential Podcast episode and the guest, skincare expert Charlotte Cho, said "SPF is the best anti-aging cream you can buy." While I was already a big believer in protecting my skin, this simple line was a huge WOW moment for me. 

As much as I love the sun, it's hella damaging for our skin. My mom had skin cancer removed from multiple locations while I was in college, and that was my wakeup call. I promised myself I would never step foot in a tanning bed again, and I would be sure to protect my skin when in the sun. Not only is skin cancer very much a reality, but the sun also speeds up the aging process. And I don't know about you, but I want to put off wrinkles and sun spots for as long as possible!

So, SPF it is! Here are some SPF products I love & use regularly...

EVERYDAY
I wear this every single day as my primer and face spf. It goes on lightweight and clear, and doesn't break me out. Since I've been wearing it, my face has never burnt, even on some long days outside. This has become one of my holy grail beauty products!

FACE + LIPS
Our lips very often get neglected and get a lot of sun damage. I highly recommend adding a lip balm with spf to your pool/beach bag! And make sure to wear it if you'll be hiking or spending lots of time outside for any other reason. This one by Coola goes on lightweight and it works really well for me!

This is a lightweight bb cream that's perfect for a slight glow-up at the beach, lake or pool. No one would know you're wearing a bit of makeup, but you can get an extra layer of spf while evening your skin tone slightly and creating a really pretty glow.

This is another great "no-makeup makeup" product for a beach day and it gives you a bronzy glow while offering up SPF20 protection.

I lost this and I'm so sad about it because it's an awesome product! It's a translucent powder with SPF50 protection, and it's so easy to dust on your face throughout a day in the sun. Bonus points: it helps with your oiliness too! Supergoop! came out with a similar product that I'm excited to try as well.  

BODY
Yes, it's pricy. Yes, it works. And yes, it smells AMAZING. I love this stuff! It's protected my very fair skin without fail and Trey loves it too.

Save - Trader Joe's Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen Spray (SPF35)
I picked this one up at Trader Joe's while on vacation and was instantly drawn to the $8 price tag, and that it has zinc oxide in it. I love zinc oxide because it's a natural sunblock. And as much as I love the Coola sunscreen, I probably can't sustain buying it every single time I need sunscreen, so this is a good budget friendly option! 


   
Do you wear SPF of some sort every day? What are your favorite products??

The Chill Girl's Guide to Austin
6.19.2018

The Chill Girl's Guide to Austin

If you're not following on Instagram and missed it, I recently got to visit Austin with my best friend Jo for 5.5 days! I'd never been, but people have told me my entire life how much I would love it, and they were spot on! In this post I'm sharing what I loved about Austin, as well as some favorite restaurants and things to do. 

I called this "The Chill Girl's Guide to Austin" because we we're not really the partying, night life type, so we didn't do any of that. We also spent a lot of our time photographing content for our blogs and social media, as well as editing photos and writing, which I know are unique ways to spend your time and not applicable to most! However, we did balance that with seeing lots of great things around the city, enjoying some wonderful meals, and still having a "vacation." 
Girls trip to Austin
WHAT I LOVED ABOUT AUSTIN

The creative, laid-back vibe
There was definitely a cool energy there! Despite being a big city, there's still a smaller, laid-back feel. It came across as a city where you can truly be yourself and dress how you want to dress.

The food scene
I'm definitely a foodie, and one of my favorite parts about traveling is planning out which restaurants to visit. Austin has an amazing food scene with darling restaurants truly left and right, and I was obsessed with the restaurant decor everywhere we went.  

Everyone is so damn friendly!
I truly couldn't believe it. From people you passed on the street to waiters to store cashiers, we couldn't believe how friendly and happy everyone was. I loved it.

People are out & about, and active
I love visiting a city where people are outside and being active. Austin definitely came across as a healthy and fit place, which was right up my alley. I've never seen so many people outside enjoying the river or trails or parks, or even just working out.

It's dog friendly, and they're everywhere
Since I was away from home and missing Russell and Lulu like crazy, I was of course over-the-moon ecstatic to see dogs everywhere we went! It seemed like so many Austin residents have dogs, and there were lots and lots of mutts, which are near and dear to my heart as a dog rescue advocate. I loved how dog friendly the city was too. Dogs seemed to be allowed in every restaurant, even the nicest one we went to, and they always have water bowls and treats on hand for their furry guests. Dogs are also allowed to run free in Zilker Park, which I really enjoyed!

There's lots to do
Sometimes on a trip I feel like we run out of things to do, but not on this trip! Austin and the surrounding areas have a lot to offer. There are so many cool things to do, and endless restaurants to visit.

WHERE TO EAT
As I mentioned above, the food scene was impressive. I had a long list of places to try from a friend + some research of my own, and we only made it to a fraction, but enjoyed every meal. I'm including the highlights (so this doesn't drag on), as well as other places that are at the top of my list for my next trip.


Brunch outfit | Hillside Farmacy in Austin
Hillside Farmacy in Austin
Hillside Farmacy
This was probably my favorite place we ate! While I didn't get any photos of the inside, I can promise you that it's equally charming inside and out. I also loved that the menu is largely made up of foods from local farms!


best smoothie bowl in Austin

Blenders & Bowls
This is a local smoothie + smoothie bowl chain with delicious concoctions and cute decor! We went to the location on E. 6th St., but they have two other locations. It's good for a quick breakfast bite!
Cafe No Se in Austin, Texas
Cafe No Se
This is connected to the famous South Congress Hotel and did not disappoint! The decor and the food were equally lovely, and we loved the quiet, relaxing atmosphere. Be sure to pick up a matchbook on your way out the door!


Striped jumpsuit - the perfect comfy outfit for siteseeing!
Dinner at June's in Austin

June's / June's All Day
This restaurant is GORGEOUS! The exterior, the interior, the bar, the tables, the lighting - everything! It's a little more high-end price-wise, but if you're traveling with your significant other and looking for a sweet dinner date spot, this would be perfect! This is another spot with cute matchbooks to take home too :)
Gelateria Gemelli in Austin
Gelateria Gemelli
We had a hankering for a sweet treat on our final evening, and were lucky to find this beautiful spot with equally good gelato! This is a 'must!'


Gluten free cashew Pad Thai at True Food Kitchen

True Food Kitchen
Okay, so it's not local to Austin, but it was our first time eating here and we absolutely loved it! They have tons of healthy meal options, and it's a great place if you have food allergies. I'm still dreaming about their gluten free cashew pad thai. 

Other Yummy Eats:
Veracruz All Natural (a taco truck with two locations - SO GOOD)
Sap's Fine Thai Cuisine (good random restaurant find, but not "cute" haha)
Zocalo Cafe (Mexican with a twist)

Restaurants on my List for Next Time:
Hank's (the prettiest decor! I'm sad we didn't make it there)
Josephine House
Clark's Oyster Bar
Le Politique
Elizabeth Street Cafe
Launderette

WHERE TO STAY
So, we actually stayed with a friend in the Clarksville Historic District just west of downtown, so I don't have specific Airbnb or hotel recommendations. But, that area was AMAZING. So definitely look around there! I just looked on Airbnb and saw some cute options. Downtown Austin is really cute and clean though, so a lot of areas will be great. South Congress is another fun & walkable area!

THINGS TO DO

Aerie Real | Mount Bonnell in Austin, Texas

Mount Bonnell
Definitely get up early one morning to walk up 100 steps to this gorgeous lookout! The views of the river and the huge homes below are stunning! In the morning the light is beautiful for pictures, and hardly anyone will be there.


photoshoot in a plant nursery
  
East Austin Succulents
If you're obsessed with succulents and cacti and plants in general, then definitely plan a stop at this cute little nursery. I may or may not have brought 4 plants home with me!


Outdoor Voices yoga outfits

Free Outdoor Activities
We lucked out and got to do a free yoga class in a park downtown, hosted by the brand Outdoor Voices! It was a balmy 96 degrees when the class started, but we got in a great workout! Definitely search on social media and local news sources and ask locals for cool activities going on!


Outdoor Voices set

Visit the Outdoor Voices Store
Outdoor Voices is an awesome workout apparel brand based in Austin. I've wanted some of their pieces for over a year, so I loved getting to stop in their home store (set up in a cute old house) to shop in person. Their stuff is amazing!

Barton Springs in Austin Texas | LA Hearts swimsuit | orange one-piece

Barton Springs
Barton Springs is an Austin essential! It's a gigantic pool that's spring-fed and 65 degrees year-round. It's beautiful and such a unique place!

Austin Public Library - Downtown
This was probably the most beautiful library I've ever seen, and they have a stunning rooftop patio with views of the city and the river.

Zilker Park
This is a huge park in the city that has views of the skyline AND it's completely dog friendly! They're allowed to be off-leash and it's a dog lover's paradise to watch them all run around and play. 

South Congress Bridge...for the Bats!
This was truly a unique experience! Under the South Congress Bridge live approximately 1.5 million bats (the largest bat colony in North America)! At dusk in the warmer months, the bats fly out from the bridge over the river to catch insects. It's truly an incredible site, and I couldn't believe how many people were gathered to watch!

Activities on my List for Next Time:
Paddle-boarding or kayaking the Colorado River. We didn't have a free afternoon to do this, but I'd love to try sometime if I'm feeling adventurous!
Jacob's Well and Hamilton Pool. These are natural swimming holes 30-40 minutes from Austin that look absolutely beautiful. I hope to have time to go on my next trip!
Rooftop Pool at The Westin Downtown. This gorgeous pool is free to non-guests from 2-11pm! 
Hiking and Swimming along the Barton Creek Greenbelt. I think this would be such a fun activity!


best friends visit Austin, Texas

I hope you enjoyed this post and found lots of things to put on your list for a visit to Austin! I was so impressed with this city, and can't wait to take Trey there! It's undoubtedly become one of my favorite US cities!

Tips for Staying Healthy on Vacation (While Still Having Fun)
6.13.2018

Tips for Staying Healthy on Vacation (While Still Having Fun)

For me vacation is all about having fun, de-stressing, and trying new activities and foods! Trey and I are definitely foodies, and picking out restaurants is one of our favorite parts of trip-planning. 

However, it can seem impossible to stay healthy on vacation, and I've definitely had trips where I feel disgusting by the end of the trip. I really don't like to feel bad (does anyone though?? haha), so I feel like I've finally made the right adjustments to stay healthy on vacation, while still treating myself. All of these tips are about finding balance! Please don’t completely deprive yourself on vacation, but also know that splurging at every single meal and laying down for 5 straight days may not leave you feeling or looking your best. 
how to stay healthy on vacation | Love, Lenore
Swap out a sedentary activity for something active
It depends on the type of trip and your destination to a certain extent, but there is pretty much always something you can do to be active while you travel! From renting bikes, paddle boarding, planning a hike or finding a free outdoor workout class, there are lots of ways to have fun while experiencing your destination in a unique, active way! If the location allows, I love to plan a hike on our trips. It's great exercise, the fresh air is refreshing, and it's often the best way to take in the area you're visiting!

Choose Fresh, Local Restaurants and Dishes
I'm always a fan of scoping out restaurants and menus in advance, and try to eat at local spots as much as possible. I'm always on the lookout for menus with locally and ethically sourced meat and eggs, and lots of fresh produce (versus friend foods). I love eating fresh seafood on the coast, or eating vegetables from a local farm. It's easy to make a healthy meal choice when you have these options in front of you! That being said, balance is key and a couple of splurge meals are absolutely okay!

Moderation is Key with Drinks & Desserts
I definitely think you should "treat yo self" on vacation, but moderation is key. I love to throw in some treats when I’m on vacation, but I don’t feel my best when I overdo it. If I know we’re going to dinner with drinks I’ll try to keep things cleaner at breakfast and lunch. I also try to pick just one or two desserts over the course of the trip.

Ditch the Uber and Walk!
If you’re visiting a walkable area, most definitely take advantage! Walking is such an underrated form of exercise, but it's so good for you! It’s also my favorite way to check out a new place because you can walk through neighborhoods and look at houses, and pop into little stores and restaurants.

Pack Healthy Snacks or Pick Some Up at the Store
It's easier to choose a healthier options when it's readily available to you! I'm also someone who likes/needs to have snacks around to keep my blood sugar steady. Some of my favorite snacks to pack or to grab at the store are raw almonds (I buy big bags then separate servings into little baggies), hard boiled eggs, string cheese, berries, and protein bars (but make sure they're low in sugar! I like Quest bars right now).

Put Some Veggies On Your Plate
And no, fries don't count! I think we all know how important vegetables are in our diet, but it's easy to leave them out sometimes. However, they're full of vitamins and minerals and fiber - all essential to caring for ourselves! If you have the option to have veggies as a side or to add a side salad, then get in those greens girl! 

What I Learned From my "Keto-ish" Reset
6.11.2018

Orange one-piece swimsuit | Love, Lenore

Hi guys! I talked about this on Instagram stories a few times, but I recently tried the Keto diet (more of a “Keto-ish” reset) for 4 weeks. I saw an astounding amount of success, so when 96% of you on Instagram (whoa!) wanted a blog post about my experience, I was extra excited to write this post! This is a long post, but I’ve divided it into a lot of different categories.

Why did I make a diet change/background?

I dove quite suddenly into the Keto diet one weekend in April after reaching a point of desperation with my hormonal acne. I’ve struggled with acne off and on since age 13, but suddenly, just weeks shy of my 27th birthday, I had the worst acne of my life. Not only did I feel ugly, but my face was also in pain. Over the past year I had been eating my cleanest ever yet was struggling with hormone and blood sugar imbalance, so it was becoming clear to me that the status quo wasn’t going to work anymore.

ribbed one-piece swimsuit | Love, Lenore

Why did I choose Keto?
+ My friend Jo’s fiance has eaten Keto for months, and his cystic acne has completely vanished. When Jo told me that I knew I had to give it a try.
+ I wanted to eliminate grains for a while to see how my body responded and to do a reset of sorts
+ In college I discovered I had a gluten intolerance, and ate strictly gluten free for two years to essentially heal my gut. I slowly added it back over the years (got lax and my stomach felt fine), but that definitely could have been contributing to my acne.
+ I’ve been reading Body Love by Kelly Leveque and Womancode by Alisa Vitti, and both discuss eating for blood sugar stability. In Womancode, it talks about how you can balance your hormones naturally through eating for blood sugar stability. While she does recommend eating some carbs, it’s low on grains.
+ As I cut dairy and reduced meat over the past year, I was eating more carbs and my acne progressively got worse. I’m sure my blood sugar was unstable. For this reason, I felt like I needed to detox myself from carbs and try something completely different! So I liked that this plan made it okay to eat animal protein and dairy (I always choose the highest quality available).
+ Grains and high-carb foods often cause inflammation and bloating, and I wanted to look and feel my best going into summer.
+ I liked the emphasis on healthy fats, and knew I needed more of them in my diet.


How I went about doing “Keto”:
+ I didn’t make any “Keto” recipes or follow a premade Keto meal plan during the 4 weeks as I felt a lot of  them weren’t actually healthy! Yes, cream cheese is high in fat, but I didn’t feel it was a healthy option for me. I’ve called this my “Keto-ish” Reset because I didn’t go crazy with Keto-specific meals.
+ I put my eating focus on lean and clean proteins, healthy fats, and lots of veggies.
+ I tracked everything I ate in the MyFitnessPal app to keep an eye on my macros. I kept my net carbs (total carbs - fiber) at 30g or less per day, and also tracked my fats, proteins and sugars.

Barton Springs in Austin | Love, Lenore

What I ate:
+ I ate eggs every single morning! Here are some examples of my breakfasts:
  • “Denver Omelette” inspired scramble: ½ tablespoon butter, sliced mushrooms + diced green pepper and white onion, ham (make sure to find one without sugar), and 3 farm eggs. 
  • 2-3 fried eggs + 3-4 strips of a clean, uncured bacon (the Never Any! brand from Aldi is awesome)
  • Scrambled eggs with spinach, mushrooms and feta + 2 strips of bacon + some smoked salmon or ½ avocado
+  I didn’t have to snack a ton once my body adjusted, but my main snacks were raw almonds and mozzarella string cheese! I would also mix in smoked salmon, hard boiled eggs, Quest bars and veggies dipped in guacamole.
+ Most fruit has a lot of carbs and sugars, so I stuck to small servings of berries.
+ Lunches were easier when I had leftovers, but here are some things I fixed quickly when starting from scratch:
  • Tuna or chicken salad using canned tuna or chicken + organic, clean mayo (love this Primal Kitchen mayo). I would eat it with cucumber slices, which was a tasty pairing!
  • 3-4 strips bacon + ½ avocado + a salad (with Primal Kitchen dressing) + ½ cup cottage cheese (and if I was still hungry I would supplement with some almonds or a string cheese)
+  Dinners were pretty easy, especially since it’s grilling season! This time of year we mostly eat meat and veggies and a salad anyways, so that’s what I made! I also made a lot of things where Trey had a “normal option.” Here are some examples of what we ate:
  • Grilled burgers: Trey did his on a bun and I did mine on top of a salad with some cheese and ½ avocado. 
  • Taco salad was another easy favorite, and Trey could supplement with tortillas or corn chips if he didn’t want only a salad. My Keto taco salad was comprised of organic, grass-fed ground beef cooked with diced onion and bell pepper served with lettuce, sour cream, avocado, pico de gallo and hot sauce. 
  • Organic & clean chicken Italian sausage, assorted roasted or steamed veggies, salad
  • Also, I would sometimes make a small batch of rice for him to eat with his dinner, and I would just skip that part! 
+ Eating out takes a bit more effort, but it’s not impossible! I leaned toward burger places and Mexican food (and Trey never complains about either!).
  • With burgers, I’ll just get a cheeseburger with lettuce instead of a bun, and I’ll add bacon or avocado if it’s available, then eat a side salad. 
  • At our favorite chicken spot I got grilled chicken strips or a grilled chicken salad, and used Primal Kitchen salad dressings for my dips and dressings (most dressings and dips at restaurants have added sugar!). 
  • At Mexican places I simply ordered fajitas without the tortillas, rice, or beans, and made sure to get lettuce, sour cream guacamole and salsa on the side - so yummy!
+  Specific food brands/items that helped were: Quest bars (not perfect ingredients, but they’re low carb, gluten free, and come in handy when you’re nowhere near your kitchen), Primal Kitchen salad dressings and mayo, Miracle Rice and Miracle Noodles, guacamole, and dark chocolate for dessert (Theo’s and Green & Blacks are some of my favorites).

What I didn’t eat:
+ Any grains or processed carbs. These weren’t as hard to eliminate as I thought they would be!
+ Starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn)
+ Legumes (beans, lentils, hummus)
+ Fruits besides berries

Keto results | Love, Lenore

My Keto results:
+ I felt super, super lean throughout. My stomach was visibly flatter as early as day one, and I had zero puffiness or bloating, even on my period.
+ While I don’t know exact numbers, I definitely lost weight and inches. While weight loss wasn’t my primary goal, I’m definitely not mad about being leaner!
+ I wasn’t as hungry as usual (I’ve always had a huge appetite) and didn’t eat as much.
+ My skin most definitely improved. It’s glowing (I think from the healthy fats!) and my cystic acne is significantly reduced. I’m still getting some pimples, but my skin has showed a 75-80% improvement from 6 weeks ago, which I’m ecstatic about. Any progress is good, and these things take time!
+ I felt very even and calm throughout. No crazy highs or lows - I just had steady energy! I feel like it helped with anxiety and made me feel more clear-headed as well.
+ Going gluten free again made me feel fantastic.
+ My cravings for carbs and sweets decreased steadily throughout, and it got progressively easier to not eat them. There are a multitude of reasons to reduce sugar consumption, so I’m happy to be craving it less and less!
+ I got to eat things like mayo, bacon and cheese again, which made me extremely happy! These are things I’ve skipped for a long time.


My Keto cons:
+ Obviously you’re a bit limited with what you can eat. You have to do a little bit more planning ahead and a little more cooking.
+ You can feel a bit weak in the beginning as your body adjusts to fueling itself in a different way. My first spin class on Keto didn’t feel great. I also had a day-long headache about a week in, but after that I continually felt really really good.
+ I really missed my Fab 4 smoothies (Kelly Leveque’s smoothie formula focused on protein, fats, fiber and greens). I don’t even use much fruit in my smoothies typically (literally a couple of berries), but the carbs were still too high for this particular diet with the protein powder I’d been using. My smoothies were the first thing I added back into my diet when I was done with strict Keto!
+ I’m a big believer in the power of fiber (Kelly Leveque and Tanya Zuckerbrot share soooo much good info about it) and I felt like I struggled to get enough. Adding my smoothies back in has helped me to consume more fiber!

cute one-piece swimsuit | Love, Lenore

What I Learned:
+ I realized that I hadn’t been eating as clean as I thought I was. It’s easy to derail all of the good things you’re eating when you’re sliding in tortilla chips, burger buns and Girl Scout cookies. This was a good way to hold myself accountable and reset my cravings and habits.
+ I had been eating was more carbs than I realized. Rice is fine in theory, but not when you’re eating way more than one serving at a time. I was also combining too many carbs into one meal (for example, rice + beans + sweet potato).
+ I realized that I was definitely not eating enough protein or healthy fats before doing Keto. Incorporating more healthy fats (even though they seem scary) made me eat a lot less overall because they stabilize blood sugar and are satiating (versus carbs, which spike your blood sugar but then drop you to low blood sugar). Healthy fats like almonds, salmon and avocado are also amazing for your skin and hair! Eating more protein has made me feel stronger, and definitely helped to unveil more muscle tone.


So what’s next?
+ I decided to only eat Keto for four weeks as I think it’s a bit extreme and more of a reset option like Whole30 (at least in my mind). Research shows that it’s not the healthiest for women to do long term (this doesn’t apply to men because they have different hormone levels).
+ I am most definitely staying gluten free for the foreseeable future. I undoubtedly feel better, and it’s not that hard to do with so many gluten free options now.
+ I plan to keep limiting desserts and sugar to rare treats. My skin is so much better now that I’ve reduced my sugar intake and I really don’t crave it that much beyond dark chocolate anyway!
+ I plan to keep carbs and grains on the lower side, but won’t be tracking macros and keeping to 30 net grams or less on daily basis.
+ I plan to still eat mostly Keto/Paleo type meals, because that’s when I feel best, but will give myself some wiggle room a few times a week for things like sushi, quinoa or sweet potato.  

one-piece swimsuit with a lace-up back | Love, Lenore

If you’re still reading, then you’re pretty darn amazing and I appreciate you sticking it out through the entire post! I really did see amazing results with my Keto experiment, but I do want to include the disclaimer that there’s not one perfect way of eating and that this may not be the best fit for you! Different things work better for different people - we all have different DNA, weaknesses and strengths. If you are experiencing some health issues, I do encourage you to research the holistic/nutrition-based route! So many health concerns can be resolved through diet changes.

I tried to think of everything, but inevitably missed something, so if you have a question please don’t hesitate to ask! If you’ve tried Keto, I would love to hear your experience! Also, are there any wellness topics you’d like to read about next?

PS - my swimsuit can be found here (c/o | it's true-to-size and the quality is excellent)
Photos are by Jo Johnson Photo  
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