Close Out the Year with Self Love

As the holidays approach, media and marketing will sell you on thinking it’s the most wonderful time of the year (and hoping you spend that pretty penny too). While I hope nothing but good cheer for all, sometimes this time of year brings forth heartbreaking reminders of those we’ve lost, failed resolutions, being stuck in careers, relationships, or unsatisfied life choices, or just simply feeling lonely. I’m here to remind you that even though these times may play havoc on your emotions, you’re still amazing and now, not just January 1, is the perfect time to practice some self-love.

I’ve come up with some practical ways for you to bring back that lovin’ feelin’, woah that lovin’ feelin’:

De-stress Monday’s

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There’s an account on Instagram I follow called @destressmonday and they also have a webpage here. Stereotypically, Monday’s are the “worst” but the account gives you little reminders to breathe, smile and think positively, not just on Mondays but for everyday of the week.

 

Start Saving Weekly to Give Yourself a Present/Trip

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Chanel Boutique in Paris

It may seem ironic to put away money when you know you probably should spend it towards the gifts for others this holiday, but how can you be your best for them if you don’t take care of yourself once in a while? Practicing some budgeting and rewarding yourself for making the means to grab something you really love or a getaway you’ve been craving for is not selfish, it’s making a goal, being diligent, and taking pride in your work. That’s an achievement!

 

Pay it Forward

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Be Kind from Momentum Jewelry

If you are feeling slightly guilty for thinking about yourself, which you SHOULDN’T, you can always give back to those in need or just do random acts of kindness. Smile and hold a door open for someone, buy the person’s coffee behind you, volunteer at the local food pantry, give to charity. There are literally millions of ways to help and be kind and in the long run, you’ll feel better because you brightened someone’s day!

 

Listen to Inspiring and Interesting Podcasts

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This American Life Podcast

I might get a little heavy here. Personally, losing 3 family members over the past 5 years actually makes the holidays suck, to be brutally honest. My mom was the champion of Christmas with the decorations, several little ceramic villages, lights, dinners, pies, and presents. She made the holidays feel lively, animated, and she made everyone around feel loved. This will be my 4th Christmas without her. It doesn’t get easier, but I know that by holding everything in could be disastrous. When I’m out on long runs, I like to listen to podcasts to pass the time, like This American Life with one episode in particular talking about a way to speak to loved ones who have passed and reconciling with others who are still here. The first act is discusses a documentary in Japan about the Wind Phone. It’s a non-working, old, rotary phone in a white phone booth box on a man’s garden that over 10,000 people have visited or used. It’s popularity began following the 2011 Tsunami and became a way for friends and family members, of those lost or taken from the disaster, to find a way to speak to their loved ones and grieve peacefully. I did end up watching the documentary here at this link, but be forewarned if you’re human, you’ll probably cry. The second act is about two elderly brothers, in their 80’s, who held a somewhat unknowingly grudge and hadn’t really spoken in about 20 years. The son of one helped to reconcile them, knowing time was not on their side and helped guide them to have an adult conversation about their grievances which helped to take some ‘weight’ off their shoulders. Both stories are healthy reminders to allow for time to think about your loved ones who are no longer here and to not wait to reach out to those who still matter to you while they are still here.

 

#12days12ways

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Brady the Cat, named after the GOAT Tom Brady

On a lighter note, because there are only 12 days left until Christmas there’s a hashtag going around called #12days12ways. It’s a reminder to reflect back and document, however you wish, 12 ways your life has changed positively over the past year.

Here are mine:

January: Got to celebrate the new year with my friend Liz, who visited us in France from NYC

February: Watching the Patriots win the SuperBowl

March: Spending a week in the Swiss Alps snowboarding

April: Completing my 9th Marathon in Rome, Italy and during that same week watch Julien crush his PR in the Paris Marathon

May: Completing the Luxembourg night half marathon, the hottest race I’ve ever done in my life

June: Growing my influence in the running, fitness and wellness community on Instagram and having my hard work, “little hobby”, get recognized with sponsorships and ambassadorships from companies like Under Armour and Nordstrom

July: Getting a new kitten and fur baby, Brady

August: Visiting my one of my oldest friends Dorothy, in Rotterdam, Netherlands while at the same time being lucky enough to have her on this side of the pond with me

September: Twofer, sneaking home on a super discount flight for Labor Day weekend to go on, one of my best friend’s, Katie’s sailboat and completing my 10th marathon and 3rd World Major in Berlin

October: Having my Dad visit for a couple weeks and then all of us flying back to the US for 3 weeks, 2 weddings and an east coast adventure

November: My birthday in Budapest, Hungary with my American bestie here in Metz, Carmen

December: Having Julien’s family embrace and welcome me into their home for Christmas this year

Here’s to ending the year on a positive note and feeling optimistic for what is to come!

 

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Holiday Gift Guide for Runners, Fitness Buffs or the Wannabe in your Life

If you’re anything like me, I’m a terrible procrastinator for gift giving. Relying on gift guides have saved me a few times in the past and I’m hoping I can share some of my favorites and save you some angst going into this holiday season.

Here are a few of my recommendations for the runner, fitness buffs and wannabes in your life! And grab some for yourself while you’re at it 😉.

For the world traveler (like me):

 

  • Topo Designs

Topo Designs durable bags and outerwear that have a lifetime guarantee. Quality gear that will get your loved one (or you) to and from all your adventures.

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  • Solepack

Solepack is based out of NYC. They have created a novel concept for a bag accessory to carry your kicks. It attaches to the outside of your backpack with a couple simple snaps, keeping your dirty shoes separate and without taking up space inside your bag.

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  • Hello Regalo

Hello Regalo is a wearable pocket that uses one of the strongest magnets to keep all your goods on you and keep you hands free. The pocket is water resistant and keeps your money, credit cards, keys, phone and more, safe and dry so you can focus on your activity with peace of mind.

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  • Janji

Janji based in Boston, MA, designs running activewear with collections that ties back to traveling and running around the planet. And not only do they create unique and inspired patterns, 10% of the proceeds is put towards a clean water initiative for developing countries. Shop and give back, it’s a win-win.

For the Fashionista:

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  • Zella by Nordstrom

Zella by Nordstrom is one of my favorite activewear lines. First, they produce long lasting garments. Second, the products are stylish while at the same time comfortable, you’ll even forget you are wearing them until you are reminded when you get that compliment, “I love those leggings. Where are they from?”

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  • JORD wood Watches

JORD Wood Watches are sustainable watches, designed by artists for the people who have places to be. The modern designs are stunning pieces of work that are eye-catching but also perfect for the minimalist, apres workout.

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  • Outdoor Voices

Outdoor Voices creates activewear that are simple but cozy and functional. They are perfect for that inner child within the adult who enjoys running, yoga, or just having a mocha latte.

For the one who cares about inner and outer health:

  • FRE Skincare

FRE Skincare has specifically thought of a skincare line for the woman who works out. They have developed a 100% vegan and cruelty-free line for the athletic woman to help maintain a healthy aesthetic. The line consists of a cleanser, serum, and moisturizer that takes into account the process of sweat and helps keep a fresh and blemish free face. I have just recently started using their products and have felt a noticeable, positive difference during and post workouts in hydration and reduced skin irritation. FRE is a MUST skincare routine for women that sweat. GET 25% off on your first FRE set by using my code WANDERLUST, valid only for the next 48 hours!

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  • ApexM

ApexM has created a unique mild muscle stimulator to help naturally build efficiency of female pelvic floor muscles. Hitting my mid-30’s and staying healthy is important to me, inside and out. As a healthcare professional, I know the waitlist to see a women’s health physical therapist can be extraordinarily long for those who suffer from urinary incontinence. This tool can be discreetly used at home while providing effective results for those with urinary or sexual health issues. As a woman and an athlete, I think that is pretty awesome.

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  • Legend Compression Wear

Legend Compression Wear  I’ve talked several times about my love for the Legend Compression Brand. They provide Graduated Compression Technology that helps to improve efficiency during activity and recovery following. Use this link to get $15 OFF!

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  • Invisii

Invisii has developed revolutionary workout underwear. Light-weight, breathable, comfortable and hygienic, essentials for sport underwear. They allow workouts to happen without riding up or embarrassing smells, which are real problems any woman who is active is aware of and now no longer has to suffer from.

 

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  • Roll Recovery

Roll Recovery designed out of Boulder, CO by a runner and cyclist, has developed award winning massage and recovery products for endurance athletes. I’m obsessed with my R3.

For the one who needs a little extra motivation:

  • Mind Over Matter Athlete

Mind Over Matter Athlete out of Houston, TX, brings the inspiration and motivation to life with their leisure wear and tri-kit catch phrase concepts like Mind Over Matter, I’m All Heart, and Leave No Doubt. Use the code MMKRISTY to get 10% off!

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  • Momentum Jewelry

Momentum Jewelry creates some of my favorite jewelry that can be worn during athletics. Each with a motivating tag-line or one that can be custom made, they are little reminders of strength. During the Berlin Marathon my “Run and Be Happy” wrap bracelet was right next to my Garmin watch to remind me to smile despite the pain and to keep a positive outlook on my race, it was a literal reminder for me to keep going. I’m adore with my wraps! I also have two 30% discount codes and two 40% discount codes that I will giveaway on Instagram @thefitwanderluster later this week. Be sure to follow to be kept in the loop for your chance to win!

OK…on your mark, get set, go SHOPPING!

How to Stay Motivated with Exercise

Social Media Takeover

Recently, I was a guest host and did a social media takeover on both Instagram and Facebook for Legend Compression Wear. (Read more about their Graduated Compression Guide at their blog Here and receive $15 off with my referral Link.) 

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I was asked to give tips and strategies on how to stay disciplined with exercise. So, here are my 4 ways to keep motivated!

Exercise Motivation 1

1️⃣: choose a goal, write it down, set a timeline, follow a program, tell people!

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Pick an an event, race, or challenge – whether it be a mud run, 5k, 10 push ups or an Instagram fitness challenge with an achievable end date. Commit by journaling, letting your friends or family know, creating an accountability page, then research a program that fits your work life balance and start 👍

Exercise motivation 2

2️⃣: change your train of thought regarding exercise – think of it as an act of daily living as opposed to a chore

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I’m going to safely assume everyday, most of us, wake up and shower, get dressed, eat, brush our teeth, automatically put on our seatbelt in the car, work, take care of children, etc…or something to this effect. We have to think about exercise exactly as we do our daily tasks, that it’s just a part of life…a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle.

If this is a challenge for you regarding time or motivation, begin with an activity that you find enjoyable and is fun. You like nature? Go for a hike. You like music? Try Zumba. Trying to keep up with your kids? Bike 🚴. It doesn’t matter if it’s morning, lunch or at night, Fit it in as if your life depends on it because essentially…it does!

Exercise Motivation 3

3️⃣: practice daily positive affirmations & actions

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In order to get motivated to create a goal and get our mindset to believe the goal is worth doing and achievable, we need to work on ourselves to get our minds in the right place.

Everyday we should be practicing positive actions including: healthy eating, meditation, journaling our gratefulness, and/or practicing acts of kindness. When we treat ourselves gently we can then transfer it onto others as equally or far greater.

Perhaps today you’ll sign up for a race that benefits your favorite charity, compete in honor of a friend or loved one, or volunteer some hard labor to those in need. When the deed isn’t about you anymore, these small actions lead to big impacts and, in the world today, I think actions certainly speak louder than words ❤️

Exercise Motivation 4

And finally…

4️⃣: plan to reward yourself when you meet each goal 

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You’ve heard keep your eyes on the prize? Well, why not make that a reality?! You’ve worked hard to stay dedicated, spending time and energy, you deserve a little something. Plan a spa day, a night out at your favorite restaurant or new workout gear (like Legend Compression Socks 😉). Then you can stay motivated in your new gear to sign up for your next event!

Following a Keto-ish meal plan as a Runner

*Let me preface that I am not a nutritionist. I’m new to educating myself on what I’m putting into my body. My trial with the ketogenic meal plan is a self experiment on my energy levels while training for a marathon. 

About six months ago, I met another American here in France. While I was excited to have drinks with a native English speaker, I was amazed to find out she was a big time leader in the Beachbody world; one that I participated in a couple years ago, but have since decided to step away from. Full disclaimer: I’m still a huge fan of the home programs and still do them for strength and cross training.

Anyway, I became Facebook friends with her and signed up for her blog (Fit With Rachel). If you have a Facebook account you are fully aware that it is the largest platform for all multi-level markets to use, so through it I discovered her previously recorded live videos about following a ketogenic meal plan. I saw her before and after pictures of toned abdominals and decreased leg cellulite (since losing 80lbs post-partum) thanks to workouts and change in diet. Although aesthetically, I was impressed that was not the reason I was intrigued by the meal plan. I did a little bit more googling and reading from other keto minded sites like Ruled.Me and Dr. Hyman and was pretty much convinced to give it a go.

What they were basically telling me was that I could, not only be heart healthy and tone up with foods considered high in fat but also, change my energy sources from sugars to fats by being in a state of ketosis.

What is ketogenic?

The short version, essentially you minimize your carbohydrate intake (usually <60g per day, hardcore <20g per day which I found to be extremely difficult considering fruits and veggies have carbs!). By doing so, you put your body into a state of ketosis in which it chemically changes to get its energy from burning fats instead of sugars (digested carbohydrates turn to sugar). 

If this program sounds familiar to the Atkins diet, you’re not far off except for the fact that the foods are much more heavily monitored. For example, you can’t just start eating all the red meat and cook with all the vegetable oils you want and expect that because it’s high protein and high fat that you’ll automatically start losing weight (although there are probably people who will, but what’s more concerning is that it’s not healthy). Instead, you can eat red meat that has been grass fed and oils that are comprised of saturated fats, like coconut oil. 

Why? The difference is that non-grass fed beef has developed over time with chemicals, producing stressed meat that we ingest which can lead to an inflammatory response in our own bodies. When we eat unsaturated, trans, or hydrogenated fats like vegetable oils such as soy, corn or canola, the fat process has been damaged creating free radicals which again leads to inflammation in our own bodies and can lead to i.e. heart disease and diabetes. 

Seems opposite of what some food industries has been informing us for years by stating we should eat advertised low-fat foods. But, unfortunately, the process in which to reduce FAT (damaging the fat particle, as I mentioned above, by producing free radicals) can ultimately lead us to eating more carbs because they have been advertised as lower in fat!  Seriously, wtf?!

As an endurance runner, it’s been ingrained in me to carb up! In fact a former co-worker of mine, when I ran my first marathon, bought me a headband that read ‘will run for food’. Some large races even incorporate a pasta dinner the night before the run included with the race fee. Honestly, I never educated myself on macros and nutritional values. I used to run so I could eat what I wanted regardless if it improved my performance. But after 10 years and 9 marathons with increasing times, I figured my go to plan of eating what I wanted wasn’t working to help my performance anymore. I know, I’m a late learner.

So hearing about a change in energy sources from a ketogenic meal plan inspired me to try it more so than dropping 5lbs or reducing leg girth.

Four weeks ago I started the plan. The first week was the hardest, you’re ridding your body of processed sugars which act like drugs to your body. Some people even develop something called the ‘keto-flu’. I read recently a study in which they gave a group of mice cocaine laced water bottles and another group sugar laced water bottles, and the sugar mice ended up drinking way more. Science. 

Game Plan

To start the process, your first grocery bill will also be quite expensive. You have to buy typically from an all organic market and get essentials like ghee or grass-fed butter, coconut oil, almond and coconut flour, coconut sugar, protein powder, all natural nut butters, full fat cheeses, grass fed, pasture raised and free range meats and eggs, fish high in omega 3’s like salmon or tuna, avocados, olives and fresh vegetables and fruits that are low starch (think a lot of above ground legumes like spinach and less root vegetables like potatos and carrots and for fruits more berries than bananas or apples) etc. 

Here is an example of my first weeks meal plan…

Example keto meal plan

Example keto meal plan


Results

Luckily for me, I didn’t experience any sort of carb withdrawals that first week. The meals were of course tasty but moving forward into week 2 and 3, there were days when all I wanted was an ice cold beer, bread or pasta with my meal. The hardest times were when I went to eat at a friend or family’s place, in my opinion. But I persevered! And although they recommend not drinking alcohol at all because of its lack of nutritional value, essentially spirits like vodka and wine have virtually no carbs so I was still able to have a few cocktails on the weekends, especially when I was traveling to Portugal and Switzerland the past couple of weekends. 

My goal was to complete 3 full weeks and I can proudly say I went 19 out of 21 full days without having bread, and the full 21 days of not having beer or pasta. And while I should have taken my weight and measurements to find objective changes, I didn’t. But here is a before and after picture.

Before Keto/After Keto

Before Keto/After Keto


As for my energy, I did feel low the first week but now feel less tired on runs or training sessions that are less than an hour. As my Berlin marathon training cycle continues to increase in mileage, I’m going to try to continue being in a state of ketosis but I may experiment with carbs again on pre-day runs greater than 90 minutes, depending how I feel on that first longish run. 

Have you tried a ketogenic diet? What are your thoughts or concerns?

Healthy Options for Thanksgiving

While I’m over here in France, I’m missing Thanksgiving (because they don’t celebrate over here)! 

Finding a whole turkey in Metz is almost impossible so we have reservations at Max & Moritz in Luxembourg as they have a prefixed American style Thanksgiving menu. *Gasp, the horror of not having a home cooked meal, but perks are that I don’t have to make it or clean up afterword.

However, my point here is not to say I’m jealous of my American friends being with family, watching football while eating turkey and pies (but yes, I’m just a little jealous). My blog today is to encourage 8 healthier choices you can make and do this Holiday and through the rest of the year.

  1. Eat a hearty and healthy breakfast (eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, fruits etc). Don’t go to dinner on an empty stomach thinking you can eat more that way, in fact, you will more than likely overeat.
  2. Do a turkey trot race in the morning or if running isn’t your thing, take a walk with the family before and again after dinner.
  3. See if you can substitute healthier options for your dishes like fat free chicken broth, fruit purée instead of oil, plain yogurt instead of heavy creams, etc.
  4. Drink a lot of water before and during the meal. Enjoy some wine or a cocktail or two but have a glass of water between each drink to stay hydrated and full.
  5. Fill 2/3 of your plate with fruits and veggies. Reminder: this does not include cranberry sauce which is full of sugar, limit that so you can enjoy some dessert. 
  6. Leave the dinner table after eating. Sitting around talking at the table will tempt you to continue eating.
  7. Enjoy your friends and family and let them know why you’re grateful and thankful this year. This will put out positive vibes for you and the people you are with.
  8. Don’t stress! Don’t focus on weight loss but rather maintenance. Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve made over indulgent choices. The holidays are a time to be enjoyed, so do what makes you happiest!

I’m thankful for all of you, my friends, family, supporters. This little blog life has given me a healthy outlet. I enjoy giving wellness advice and keeping you updated on what part of the world I’m venturing off to next. I’m thankful for Julien for putting up with me for a year and extending his home to become our home. I’m thankful for his family taking me in as one of their own. I’m thankful for my friends and family that I keep in touch with on social media, iMessage, FaceTime and WhatsApp to allow me to still feel like I have a piece of home back in the US. I’m thankful for new friends being patient with me on my painstakingly slow Franglish progress. I’m thankful I have the ability to travel. I’m thankful I’ve got a job and business venture with The Fit Wanderluster (P.S. Big Holiday SALE happening right NOW)!!!!!

 The world might seem scary, but if you look within yourself and find the good, it’s not so bad.


Happy Thanksgiving!!

The Fit Wanderluster Expansion

Big News Alert!!

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The Fit Wanderluster has launched it’s first t-shirt and tank top business. Say What!?

My goals with this blog are to share my passions of working out and traveling while giving healthy recipes, wellness and injury prevention advice when I can with friends, family and the world. The blog is a glimpse of what it’s like inside my little bubble on this big, blue planet. I know I’m not the only one out there who loves fitness, running, and traveling. Now my passions can be shared and passed on with a visual statement that can be worn proudly to let others know your fit wandering desires as well.

My t-shirts are American Apparel branded and are classic, comfortable, with a vintage feel. Great for day to day wear, working out, or traveling.

 

The tanks are Next Level Brand with sporty racerback cut to keep you looking and feeling cool.

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Prices start at $23. Checkout is secure, fast and simple and all products can be shipped internationally.

Go ahead and get your Fit Wanderluster apparel today!

The Fit Wanderluster

It’s Time for Change

The world is a scary, beautiful, confusing, wonderful, miraculous, enchanting, loving, diverse, place that I want to learn and be a part of to enhance my knowledge, well-being, understanding, and culture. I love America and most importantly, I am proud of my home and city of Boston. I am not naive enough to believe that all great things on Earth have been developed only here in the USA. Often I think we are our own worst enemies with the daily choices we make that effect our livelihoods. I am wary of our government’s main objectives and lack of protection for it’s citizens from money hungry corporations that do not have our best interests at heart. I am not a political savant and will never claim to be well-informed on foreign policy or how to protect from terrorism or support third world countries. I cannot claim to have the solutions either. But I do know how to have empathy, produce kindness, be charitable and share when I do gain valuable knowledge. I can help someone regain the ability to walk after a stroke or total knee replacement through physical therapy or help prevent either of those resulting conditions, often seen with poor health choice and lifestyle habits, with exercise, nutrition and motivation as a coach. In order to help others, I have to continuously educate and develop myself.

I have been watching a lot of documentaries lately. Some that have hit home include:

  • Fed Up
  • Food, Inc.
  • Super Size Me
  • Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

I’ve also been reading a lot on body adaptations to food, exercise and participating in my own personal development by reading a handful of books including:

  • Spark By: John Ratey
  • Eat, Pray, Love By: Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Secret By: Rhonda Byrne
  • The Code of Extraordinary Change By: Steve Errey
  • The Compound Effect By: Darren Hardy

I want to put it out there why I have become a health coach. Initially, I thought, “Okay yeah I can do this and get a few bucks out of it because I have student loans, rent, travel expenses and I want to move to be with my love in Europe.” I will admit, money was one motivation. But honestly, it has fallen far down the list. Passion, helping others, commitment, dedication, success – these, these are the primary reasons I coach. I can visibly see the astounding life transformation and changes people are making when they make a commitment to themselves. Yes, making a lifestyle change involves investing money and time, but I’m telling you the long term effects are the sole purpose to your investment. Yes, I can tell you to buy one of the top American home exercise programs, learn portion controls, and delicious clean eating recipes. Yes, I can tell you to buy a shake that provides you with all your daily micro-nutrients you need. I can post as many photos, videos, motivational quotes I want to get you inspired and gun-ho for that next step in your life. But I can’t make you do anything. It’s your choice. I can try to educate you until I’m blue in the face about obesity statistics and long-term costs and complications from diabetes, auto-immune dysfunction, migraines, depression, degenerative joint disease, sleep apnea, cardiovascular dysfunction, cancer. Excuses are monuments of nothing. Rock bottom may be too late.

I’m not on my soap box to sell you a product. I’m here to tell you to get your head out of your ass and realize what your choices are doing immediately and long term, how your child, spouse, family is affected, how your brain is affected. How our government is failing us with lack of nutritional and health education and how that passes on for generations and generations after that. I don’t care what you think of my lifestyle but I can tell you I’ve never been healthier, happier, and more sure of my wellbeing than I ever have been in my life. I’m here to tell you if you are looking for a sign, this is it.


Contact me if you have questions, comments, want to write me a nasty email or seek advice, encouragement, support on Facebook.