Kira Kazantsev | Love Yourself
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Love Yourself

 

Over the last 30 days I’ve been on quite the health kick and just a general journey of self-love. Usually my attempts at eating healthy and working out on a consistent basis simultaneously last no more than a few days and don’t even get me started on maintaining a skin care routine…does anyone really have time for that?! Or so I thought.

 

It happens to everyone- over the holidays you over indulge once because, it’s the holidays, and since you’ve already done it once, no sense in putting down the cheese and prosciutto now, right? In fact, why don’t I just pile on double what I should have because, the hell with it, YOLO.

 

Before you know it, everything you put on looks a little less cute than it did when you bought it and you would rather sit at home and eat pizza and ranch dressing (true story) than socializing with any other members of the human race. Raise your hand if I’m describing your life on January 3rd right now!

 

Thankfully, a few of my Miss America sisters were able to come and visit me in California and we went to Lake Tahoe over MLK weekend. After three days of far too much wine (gotta stay warm in the snow) and cheese (lining your body for warmth), we all looked at each other and shared in our mutual distaste for our life choices. Maybe it’s because we have a shared history of swimsuit competitions that somehow inherently make you justtttt a little more critical and crazy about your body than the average 20 something, but in that moment, we decided to make some changes and support one another through it.

 

Maggie suggested we do this wild and crazy thing called Whole30. I wouldn’t say it’s particularly revolutionary. Similar to many other eating programs, you maintain a high protein and plant based diet while cutting out things like sugar, carbs, alcohol, soy, DAIRY, legumes, processed foods, etc. However, the inventors of the Whole30 have a great book full of easy to make, compliant recipes and detailed explanations for why things are good or bad for your health. It was really interesting to learn why specifically dairy is not the best for you along with added sugar, etc. We all know those things aren’t healthy but it changes your perspective when you learn exactly what they do to your body. A recommended read!

 

So, we vowed to go on the Whole30 journey together and began our hours long trips to the grocery store in order to seek out compliant products. I spent FAR too much time reading labels only to find that there is added sugar in practically EVERYTHING. Many items also contain hidden soy, preservatives, legume-based products and the list goes on. Who knew that most of the foods I once considered healthy were actually terrible for you? I began cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home and discovered new ways to make things delicious without all the added crap, for lack of a better word. Aside from a major sugar withdrawal induced, angry couple of days, some lethargic moments, and weird nightmares about mashed potatoes and pizza, the program was a great reset to my body and really did make me feel better about myself and my health. The goal of doing the Whole30 was not to loose weight but to just be healthier. My before and after photos are both pictures of a perfectly normal 25 year old. However the girl on the right is much healthier, has more muscle tone and feels generally better about herself. I did, as a consequence, loose about 10lbs. I ate all day, just healthier, but I didn’t even know I had that much to loose. (I really, really overdid the holidays). Some of this will probably come back as I transition out of the Whole30 diet, and I’m ok with that, as long as I maintain healthier choices and options. It’s given me new perspective about my health and more ideas about what I can eat without the guilt. Simultaneously, I tried to find new ways of keeping exercise exciting by switching it up constantly (I have a short attention span when it comes to workouts). Over the last month I’ve done Bikram Yoga, Crossfit, Pilates, Circuit Training, and just your average hike or walk by the beach. I wasn’t as consistent about training as I would have liked, but I got to the gym often enough to really feel like my body was changing.

 

 

While going through all of these food and exercise revelations, I noticed that the absence of certain food groups had a positive affect on my skin. Where, over the holidays I was breaking out on a consistent basis, now I had a bit of a glow about me and no blemishes to speak of which lead me to the realization that I needed to maintain this with a healthy skin care routine. So, I put it to my Instagram fam, and boy did they deliver. Hundreds of suggestions for skincare routines later, I narrowed it down to trying four families of products: Rodan&Fields, Beauty Counter, Isdinceutics, and CeraVe. All of the lines have done magical things for my complexion but I’ve discovered a combination of all four that have seriously altered my outlook on the dreaded skincare routine, because you just can’t beat these results.

 

Here are the products that I’ve been using and swear by:

 

Rodan&Fields: Night Renewing Serum, Lip Renewing Serum

Isdinceutics: Skin Drops, K-Ox Eyes, Flavo-C Ultraglican Moisturizing Ampoules

CeraVe: AM Moisturizing Lotion, PM Moisturizing Lotion, Renewing SA Cleanser

Beauty Counter: Charcoal Masque

 

 

Now that the Whole30 is over, I’m going to have a glass of wine (or three), and seriously contemplate my lifestyle choices moving forward. I want to make this type of outlook on food a lifestyle, not just a 30-day bender of health. I’m the type of person that eats when they’re experiencing any sort of emotion and has little to no willpower when you go to an event (which I do a lot). Those little puff pastries are just floating around on the h d’oeurves platters like tiny bits of heaven. Maybe it’s a quarter life crisis, but my metabolism isn’t what it was 5 years ago. Like most young women, I struggle with body image and the expectations that society puts on us. Thus, here is my promise to you, the reader. (If I say it on the Internet than I’m beholden to it)

 

Here goes: I promise to improve my health and my lifestyle choices for me and no one else. I will do my best to not compare myself to others because we are beautiful in every shape, size, and form. We have one body, so we better accept it, make the most of it, and take care of it. I also promise to not get mad at myself when I fall of the wagon (because it will happen). When I do fall, I promise to get back on.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! While you love the people around you, don’t forget to also love yourself!

 

XO

Kira

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