My Current Diet and Workout Regimen

Published in: Beauty Tips

In the comments on this Neutrogena post the other day, Rosie (haaay girl, haaay!) asked about my diet and exercise regimen.


So…I’m not an expert in nutrition or a fitness guru by any means, and I repeatedly fall off the wagon myself with my own efforts, especially when I’m swamped or just plan ol’ stress eating, but I still wanted to answer. Maybe one of us will find something here helpful, so here goes. ๐Ÿ™‚

My diet

First, it’s not strict, but I do try to eat as healthy as possible because I know that it makes me feel physically and mentally better.

Day to day, I take a pretty measured approach, but I don’t freak out if I fall out of line for a meal. I measure out my portion sizes, count calories and try not to go cray-cray with sweets (baked goods and ice cream are big weaknesses of mine).

If/when I do have a cheat meal…cheat day or cheat week (!), I do my best not to beat myself up about it, and try to make it up over the next few days by being a little more careful.

Oh, hai! You’re my cheat meal!

To count calories (I know that sounds scary, but I do it because it works for me), I use an iPhone app called MyFitnessPal, which makes it easy to track what goes in, what I burn, and how I’m progressing along the way. It’s easy to use, and seeing the numbers right there in all their cold, uncompromising glory helps keep me honest and motivated.

As for food, I’m not a big red meat or chicken eater. I don’t have any issues with meat, but I prefer the taste of seafood and vegetable dishes (and they’re often lower in calories than meaty foods). On average, about two thirds of my meals are vegetarian, and the other third is pescatarian (something with seafood).

Lemon basil fusilli — yummy, quick and vegetarian

I don’t think I’m very creative in the kitchen, and I rely on certain staple dishes over and over again, like oatmeal and coffee/tea in the morning, a salad or a wrap for lunch, and some kind of seafood dish for dinner.

I like low fat, healthy, easy dishes that come together quickly, and I’ve gotten a ton of great ideas from Skinny Taste, and Women’s Health and Fitness magazine’s online recipe finder.

A few things about certain kinds of foods…

Dairy. My diet definitely affects my skin, and I’ve found that by scaling back on dairy, my skin’s improved.

I did it with baby steps, like by replacing dairy milk in my coffee with almond milk, and by cutting back on yogurt and cottage cheese, which I was pretty much eating daily for protein (and because they’re delicious).

If you’re thinking about trying soy, rice or almond milk, I’m pulling for almond. At least to me, it doesn’t have the aftertaste that soy milk has, and it pretty much goes with everything. I like Trader Joe’s Almond Smooth Vanilla Almond Milk ($1.69 for a 32-ounce box). It has the consistency of cow’s milk and isn’t overly sweet. It’s also hella yummy in smoothies, cereal and pudding.

Trader Joe’s Almond Smooth Vanilla Almond Milk

I haven’t been able to completely quit dairy, though, because I just lurves me my cheeses and ice cream (and eggs, which I know aren’t dairy, but still). ๐Ÿ™‚

Mmm… Ice cream.

I still partake, but I try to moderate.

Fruits and veggies. I eat pounds of fruits and vegetables throughout the week. I’m like a fruit bat! Seriously, like crazy bunny food amounts.

I feel like when I don’t for a few days in a row, I start to feel a little off, and I start getting breakouts. Oh, and this is TMI for sure, but the fiber, you know, also keeps my plumbing, you know…working.

Purple cauliflower with capers

Water. I’ve always got a glass or a bottle by my side and drain it throughout the day. I also shy away from super sugary drinks, although dayum! — I just can’t say no to a cold bottle of Coke.

Salt and sugar. I try to keep these delicious ingredients to a minimum, too. Salt, because there’s a history of high blood pressure in my family, and sugar, because when I have too much, my skin gets wonky.

My exercise routine

Right now, running is my main form of exercise, and I usually run anywhere from 30-45 minutes a couple times during the workweek, and 45 minutes to an hour both days of the weekend.

I like running because I can do it on my own time (don’t have to wait for a class to start), and it doesn’t require a lot of equipment.

I know I should get better about cross-training to minimize the wear and tear on my feet and knees, and that’s something I plan to work on. Eventually, I’d like to take yoga and spin classes again and get back into light weightlifting.

For now, I mix things up occasionally with videos, and I like the ones from Jillian Michaels. Those things make me sweat bullets, and she’s a good motivator, adept in the art of tough love. If that sounds good to you, try her 30-Day Shred and Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism.

I have a treadmill now and mostly run indoors, but I have belonged to a few gyms before and also run outside.

A few safety tips if you’re going to pound the pavement outside…

  • Leave a note/send an email: Whenever I run by myself, I let someone know where I’m going to be and approximately when I’ll be done. That way, if I don’t come home for some reason, someone can send help.
  • Bring I.D.: For outside jogs, I always wear either a shirt or pants with pockets, and bring along my driver’s license, medical card and a slip of paper with emergency numbers (if you have a small phone and can somehow bring it on the run, better still). Chances are nothing will ever happen, but it’s good to be prepared just in case.
  • Turn down the volume: I get fired up listening to music while I run, but down a street with heavy traffic? Dangerous. I pump down the jams on busy streets to be able to hear stuff going on around me.

If you’re shopping for a gym, ask if they offer guest passes, so that you can get a feel for the place before you commit. Check out the locker rooms, too, and the treadmills (are they always out of order or occupied?), and get a feel for the vibe. Some gyms are more like pick-up joints, while others are all about the business.

What’s most important, though, is finding an activity you enjoy. I think to some degree, workouts are work. Sometimes, there’s really no way around it, but if you can have a little fun while you move, it’s easier to stick with it.


Oh, and even though I don’t have any hard science to back it up, I strongly believe that wearing cute workout gear makes exercise easier, and I swear by these Live-In Capri Pants by Zella.

Zella Live-In Capris

The Zella Live-In Capris

They don’t slip down while I’m running and have great coverage, so my underwear doesn’t peek though…and I think they make my butt look cute, haha!

Right now they’re on sale at Nordstrom, marked down to $29 from $44, if you’re interested.

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



Like this post? Tell your friends!

So far, 19 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. I hate how dairy (so delicious) can wreak havoc on your skin. I had to go off it for awhile when my birth control was being adjusted and my face went cray-cray and it SUCKED. I couldn’t get used to almond milk but thankfully I am back on the dairy train.

    Also..even though Lululemon is expensive..I love their gear for running!

  2. Tiffany says:

    Great post, Karen! You look fab and your skin is amazing, so your hard work is definitely paying off ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Windie says:

    Hi Karen.

    I found this interesting and helpful. Doing the 30 Day Shred and oh my! It is a great indoor workout.
    Have you tried quinoa and chia seeds (I use chia seeds quite a bit for smoothies)? They are current staples in my diet right. Crazy good as well as fresh green juice.
    Thanks for the post!

  4. hanna says:

    Those first photos are hilarious!
    hanna recently posted … Vivo Masquerade Masks

  5. Katherine M says:

    Thanks for your tips! I like how you posted about running safety, too, because I’ve almost been hit by cars wearing bright clothes, running against traffic, and being aware of cars/people, so imagine how it would be for people who don’t wear bright/reflective clothes, crank up the music, and don’t pay attention.

    If you have Comcast, there are usually workout videos too under “Sports and Fitness” with On Demand (Fios or another company may have it, too). Some of these are 10 minute videos that will make you sweat and be sore after – just with 10 minutes of working out! I love them when I’m in a time crunch but don’t want to lose any fitness because of work or something else.

  6. Chelsea says:

    I have IBS and have a lot of foods that bug me, especially gluten. The digestive issues are likely affected by the same thing that affects my heart. I can tell I ate too much dairy this weekend – bloat and digestive distress. Okay, I am NOT allowed to keep cheese in the house!

    I’m a fan of almond milk and almond/coconut milk blends. I can’t do soy – another food that doesn’t like me (pretty much beans in general, and some fruits too).

    I drink tons of water – I have a hard time keeping my blood pressure up because of my heart condition, so I’m actually told by my cardiologist that I need to eat extra salt – advice he doesn’t give very often! I actually keep salt pills on hand because of the dizzy spells I get from time to time.

    I love vegetables and healthy foods, but I hate cooking! It’s a huge problem.

    • Chelsea says:

      In terms of workouts, I try to work out 4-5 times a week, but I have restrictions on what I can do because of my heart condition, but working out makes it better. My resting heart rate is about as high as if I was walking all the time, so running and any really cardio-intense activity is out of the question. However, I love hula hooping and vinyasa/flow yoga. I love walking when I have the time.

  7. Erin says:

    I’m trying to cut out dairy right now for a bit of an experiment to see if it helps with my skin and a persistent cough. Why does everything that tastes good have dairy in it though?!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I also love my new juicer, I still try and eat lots of veggies but I love to juice ones I don’t eat enough of; beets, parsely, celery.
    Great post!

  8. Denise S says:

    Great tips for healthy living Karen, very inspiring! Eating nutritional foods and working out are goals we should all aspire too. I can see why you are so pretty you take good care of yourself.

  9. Colleen says:

    This is a great post! You look fantastic and it doesn’t sound like you have to kill yourself to do it. Very encouraging – thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Thanks for posting this Karen! I also try to eat as healthy as possible but when I do have a little cheat meal (sometimes more than once in a week), I try not worry too much about it, worrying and overthinking never helps!
    Ankita@corallista recently posted … Have you tried Biotique lipsticks? | Bio Color Lipsticks Winter Cherry, Queen of Tropic

  11. Kim says:

    Your healthy lifestyle might take some work but it’s paid off – you look fab. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m also very jealous that you love fruits and veggies. It’s always a chore for me to eat them. Eating well would be so much easier if I loved those foods (instead of bread and cheese). ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Fieran says:

    Thank you for writing this post, Karen. It is very inspiring and motivating.

    Eating healthy and staying fit is always a challenge. I’ve been having strange breakouts and trying to figure out what’s causing them. I barely consume dairy but my skin is still breaking out. Fingers crossed I will be able to find out what the issue is soon.

  13. Agata says:

    That’s a great post Karen! I admire you for the amount of exercise you do or how long you can run for. I try to work out every day but I just walk at a fast pace or do intervals of jogging but I can’t imagine running 6 miles! The Skinny Taste website is awesome, I have tried a few of her recipes. I am two months into Weight Watchers and lost 27 lbs so far. And I go to a Zumba class twice a week and that’s my absolute favorite activity to do, mostly to my awesome instructors!
    And lastly, I do agree, wearing cute work out clothes makes exercising more pleasent!

  14. Monica P says:

    I’m eat similar as you do with the exception that I do eat meat & chicken, and need to eat more fish.

    I gave up my fitnesspal – it was good to see how much I eat (or over eat), but it became a chore and I was done with it.

    I love to run on my treadmill in the garage and not a real fan of being out doors .. I gave up gym membership for home workouts – that way I can buy more makeup .. lol.

    Monica P recently posted … Old Navy Hawaiian print dress and shades of blue nail polish

  15. Dominique says:

    I know that mango is good for gums and teeth, watermelon is very good for the health, dairy and sugar are not so healthy but we need calcium and the best way to get some calcium is to drink milk before going to bed ( when teeth are fragile and prone to decay I mean ). Some veggies are also very good, but I simply hate brocoli. Green olives have a good reputation organic olive oรƒยฏl too, oils – when organic – are very healthy ( walnut, etc.. )
    We have organic stores here but it’s usually more expensive.

  16. Andi says:

    Have you ever heard of RoadID, Karen? My husband has one for cycling and it is much easier than taking out and carrying your traditional ID on a run.

  17. Thanks for sharing your routine and for the link to skinnytaste. Speaking of Jillian, I did two of her programs and really loved both. I am now doing Body Revolution and it’s amazing!
    Marina(Makeup4all) recently posted … Best Makeup Products for Looking Fresh and Radiant

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