R.P.P. The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection. We have all known it at some point in our lives. As someone who gets paid to be photographed, it’s a hollow pursuit for cellulite cream, wrinkle erasers and frizz free hair.

Since I’ve started this blog, the most asked questions I get from both friends and followers is about my health and beauty routine. (Sometimes they ask about exercise but, considering this is a running blog, that’s fairly obvious.) I haven’t had any botox or fillers or injectables yet. Yet. (For the record, I don’t get paid to advertise these things and I bought them at my favorite store – the drug store – like everyone else. Suck it, Kardashians.)

1. I run. Some days I lift. Sometimes I do work out videos on youtube. I tried Cross fit… once….

I just ran. It was fine. Nothing special happened. It was a beautiful day, an easy jog. Sometimes it just matters that it gets done.

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2. I wash my face with L’oreal Revitalift cleanser. When I travel, I wash my face with hand soap because anything is better than sleeping in makeup. Hey, 20 year old with perfect skin – time is a bitch. Start now. Your 40 year old self will thank you.

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3. I slather on a heavy amount of Bio Oil. That’s right – the stuff for scars. I’m currently using the generic CVS brand because it was on sale. Deep, thought provoking stuff, I know.

4. I use Lancome Genifique. It’s really, freaking expensive but the entire line is worth it. They have an eye cream that is sublime but i’m currently out of it. “Dear Lancome…”

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That’s it. I don’t wear foundation unless a professional make up artist comes and paints the crap on me for three or four laborious hours. I always wear mascara and when I’m in Florida, sunscreen. Ultimately, and I mean this with all sincerity, it doesn’t matter what you do on the outside if you neglect what’s on the inside. That means your health and your heart. Learn what to feed your body for peak performance (life is a race and we’re running to win!) and what to feed your heart (faith, family, friends, etc.)

Now for the inside. First, I know you’ve read about “A” list, 20 year old models like Gigi and Bella eating McDonalds and pizza. That’s because they’re fetuses. All models know that, after 30, every calorie counts. Do you think Cindy or Elle eat pizza and fast food? No. They count every single calorie and they practice calorie restriction. I was at a shoot recently where the food table was carrot sticks and Marlboro lights. I’m not kidding. Models will go to all sorts of extremes to fit into society imposed images and a Gucci sample size 0.

Victoria’s little Secret is out – those girls haven’t eaten in fourteen years.

Here’ the big one that has changed my body in a real, healthy way:

I gave up all sugar. (That includes wine and most alcohol, too. But not you, Titos. Not you.)

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I follow a strict Ketogenic diet and I aim to drink an insane amount of water.

My modeling agency said I needed to lose weight before fashion week. I had to do some serious evaluating. This is my journey and “everything in moderation” doesn’t work for me because I’m an emotional eater. I had to separate my emotional response to food. It’s been a long process that won’t ever end. Being thin enough for sample size clothes is necessary for me to be in this business. Being a healthy weight is necessary for me to live a healthy life. I’m trying to find the balance.

When I was a child, my mother would bake. All The Time. (she still does!) She’s a fantastic baker. She’d show love by feeding half the Corps of Cadets her blueberry muffins. Pancakes. Birthday cake! Who doesn’t love birthday cake?! Brownies on your promotion, donuts on casual Friday. I had to remove the emotional component from food. Would your birthday be any less, err, sweet if you celebrated with a juicy steak? Or what if you didn’t use food to celebrate at all! What if your gift to yourself was a long hike in the woods? Take a mini vacation or try rock climbing. Would it make the accomplishment or milestone any less enjoyable?

Would removing food from a celebration make it less celebratory?

Think about that.

Some people are naturally lean. I am not one of those people. When I remove the emotional component to food, I can actually focus on my long term health goals. Food becomes a source of energy – of fuel – not of joy or comfort.

I’ve been thinking about my long-term goals. I’m traveling a lot between Europe and USA and that causes immense stress. I’m trying to support my aging parents, run races for my dad and for Parkinson’s disease, work from home, manage a long-distance relationship and care for a six year old child every day, wherever I go. Sometimes I really want to just eat the cake. Eat the bowl of pasta. Eat the bag of chips. Drink the box of wine. But I’d rather wear the skinny jeans, run AND FINISH the road race. I’d rather eat to live.

Sometimes (a lot lately) my stress causes me to create this unrealistic fantasy world where everything is fine and great and I don’t need to take time for self care. Read that sentence again because I know you do that, too. We focus on our kids or our job or our love lives or material things and stop doing the hard self work that ultimately brings peace.

AND WE ALL NEED SOME FREAKING PEACE THESE DAYS.

Whatever you do on the outside, what matters most is what we do on the inside. Beauty fades. Your soul is eternal. Trust that the Creator who made you can heal and sustain you.

For me, that means having friends and loved ones snap me out of my “fantasy fog” back to reality where things aren’t all high heels and cocktails and that’s ok! It means admitting when you need help. It means developing a prayer life that goes beyond a meal blessing and becomes a running dialog with God. It means mentally emptying your giant bucket of responsibility and only putting back in the things that are essential for that day. It means removing yourself emotionally from other people. This is a big one for me. Never search for other people to validate you – to make you feel loved, accepted, worthy. You have to get that from the deep well within you. Know your worth.

Inner peace is beautiful. Confidence through accomplishment is beautiful. Self love is beautiful. Self acceptance is beautiful. Knowing you are fearfully and wonderfully made is, indeed, beautiful.

NOW GO BE BEAUTIFUL.

and Run to Win.

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All the things that truly matter, beauty, love, creativity, joy and inner peace arise from beyond the mind.”  ~Eckhart Tolle

 

 

 

 

 

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Having been raised in a military environment, I’ve learned the importance of punctuality. Five minutes early is on time, on time is late, late is unacceptable. With very few exceptions (motherhood being one of them) I’ve kept to that rule. Having modeled for years I understand the complexity of a good winged eyeliner but it’s never worth being late. 

I ran a road race Saturday. It’s been a while – and I needed to get back out there. I run for Parkinson’s Disease – which has sidelined my awesome, athletic father and several other people I know. I run so they know – at least for a moment – they’re not alone. And usually around the half way point of long runs, we’re suffering together.

The race began at 7:30am and it was 3 miles away from my house. I woke up at 6:30 am, made a cup of coffee, got dressed and prepared to head out when my tiny tot woke up super early and despite a house full of visitors to watch her, she needed me. So I snuggled with her until the very last moment. I arrived at the parking lot at 7:20am and It Was PACKED. I had to park in the overflow lot and jog to the start line. I turned the corner and saw maybe a dozen people and another dozen children playing around.

Where was everyone? I went to the packet pick up table to grab my prepaid bib. “I’m here for my race packet for the 5k.”

“Ok! But the 5k started at 7am……”

I was late to the party.

“Good news”, said the peppy volunteer. “We have a 2k fun run at 7:30.”

Deal.

To the dozen or so parents I passed who were trotting along with their kids teaching them about pacing and breathing,

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Suckers.

The lesson was I was given a second chance to run, despite my being late to the main event.

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This weekend was significant for me for another reason – I was Baptized.

Let me back up. My father is a minister. However, he believed that we should make the choice as adults when we’re able to internalize what it means to make the commitment to follow Jesus. I decided, despite his struggles with mobility, my dad had one last baptism in him and I was going to be it! Even though I was late to the party at 40, now was as good a time as any.

First, I needed to build a village to make it happen. I was inspired by a photo of Marc Kapsalis, (West Point class of ’85). He was a big, strong, tough hockey player from Chicago who was baptized by dad as a cadet and he was coming to visit for the weekend. My daughter is about the same age I was when I first met Cadet Kapsalis and how amazing for her to see it all come full circle.

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Next, I asked Chaplain Funk if he and his wife Kathy Ann, (both WP ’80), would make the long drive from the east coast of Florida to help with the ceremony. Rick and Marc are on an advisory board with me and we’ve grown quite close over the past years. (Hence the shirts. Product placement at it’s best.)

We all gathered, with other close friends, around my parents pool and I was fully submerged into the Kingdom of God.

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There are so many times we’ve been late to things. Late to learning life lessons. Late to forgiving people. Late to dealing with the chip on our shoulders. Late to making peace with things. Late to healing past pain. Late to telling people how we feel about them. Late to love. Late to making our health a priority. Late to saying yes to God.

It’s not too late. It’s not too late to start working out. It’s not too late to make good food choices. It’s not too late to find your faith. It’s not too late to forgive, love, learn, grow, change. It’s not! Isn’t that the best thing you’ve heard all day??? IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO BE WHO YOU WERE MEANT TO BE. 

Surround yourself with your people – people who make you better. Find your support system. Plug in to your community. Join a church. A running club. A health club. A spa. Say yes to dinner invitations, to reunions, to old friends, to new possibilities.

and Run to Win.

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