How Calgary Avansino stays in shape

  1. The London-based wellbeing expert and mother of two has a theory when it comes to keeping her family in good health: lead by example. Here, calgary avansino's guide to taking care of you 

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  3. You come from a particularly food-minded family – how did your parents inspire your love of positive living? “I was raised vegetarian by very health-conscious parents who taught me from an early age that food can be a powerful fuel, both physically and emotionally, when you choose the right things to put in your body. It’s something that has always been a part of my life in one way or another, but I would say in the past ten years, I have really found my ideal lifestyle: plant-based, full of good grains and good fats, low in sugar, wheat and gluten – but always flexitarian, so when I crave eggs I have them. It’s so important to listen to what your body needs.
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  5. As a child I have vivid memories of both my mother and father cooking – we very rarely ate processed food – and I think more than anything that love of the kitchen and the focus on meal time as “family time” has stuck with me. Mealtime should be at the core of every family, even if just on the weekends, and even better if it is a meal full of healthy and vibrant positive foods. I hope those will be the memories I create for my children, too.” 

At what point did you decide that wellbeing would become your life’s work? It has always been an incredibly important aspect of my life, but it wasn’t until a year and a half ago, when I decided to transition from a full-time job at Vogue to a part-time role, that I felt I could give the world of wellbeing my full attention. I had worked at British Vogue for 12 years and loved every single minute of my time there, but at that point it felt like the perfect moment to pursue my passion for clean living while hopefully inspiring others to forge their own path towards a healthier lifestyle.

Any secrets to striking a work-life-family balance? I always try to think about it as quality over quantity. Make every minute you have with your family count. Turn off your phone, get down on the floor and play with them, cook and have dance parties together, read with them and get your kids to talk to you about as much as possible. Then try to purge the guilt. I know it’s hard but give yourself a break. If you are doing your best to prioritise the things that matter most, i.e. your kids, they will instinctively know that. The same goes with your partner, as tempting as it is to turn on the next episode of your favourite series, try not to every night. Once we put our kids to bed, we always sit down and eat dinner together at the kitchen table and talk, even if it’s just going through schedules together… then you can watch the next episode.

"Make every minute you have with [your family] count. Turn off your phone, get down on the floor and play with them, cook and have dance parties together, read with them and get your kids to talk to you about as much as possible.

– Avansino with her daughters, Ava Harlow, 8,

and Margot Rae, 4

  1. How can we encourage children to be healthy? First of all, I always try to lead by example. You can’t tell your kids one thing and then turn around and have different rules for yourself. So very broadly, I don’t bring food into the house that I don’t want my kids to be eating, that way we avoid all the fights. I try to fill my house with a plentiful assortment of delicious and nutrient-dense foods so I can feel good when the kids go searching through the cupboards for a snack. I also try to include them in the shopping and cooking process as much as possible. On the weekends, they help me prepare meals and even make their own simple meals if they are in the mood. My eight year old once told me after cooking her own porridge, “I think food tastes better when you cook it yourself,” which is so very true. I also try to educate them about different ingredients, cooking methods and nutrition without being preachy or forcing it upon them. It works best if it can all just happen naturally in the kitchen, at the grocery store or the farmers' market – it’s all about timing and simply making it part of the conversation.

 

Can you reveal a fitness tip that you have found to be particularly beneficial? The most important fitness tip is to make time! If you want to feel better, look better and enjoy relaxation, then you have to prioritise moving your body. Try doing a class at lunch that doesn’t make you sweat so much, meet a friend after work at the gym or join a running club that will miss you if you are a no-show. If you have time to meet someone for a drink or push your snooze button three times, then you have time to workout. If you don’t have time to get to a class or the gym, there are endless exercise routines that you can do at home in the comfort of your sitting room, no excuses. And if all else fails, do jumping jacks while listening to music for 15 minutes straight. That’s better than nothing and a great way to get your heart rate up and boost your metabolism. I always look at my diary on Sunday nights and figure out when I am going to fit exercise into the week ahead. Sometimes I will go to a Pilates, barre or spin class; sometimes I do intervals amd sometimes I will meet with a trainer to be put through the paces. If I have a breakfast meeting, then I'll aim to work out at 5pm before heading home.

"If all else fails, do jumping jacks while listening to music for 15 minutes straight. Basically, you've got to mix it up, keep it interesting and schedule it in."

– Avansino on staying motivated

  1. ‚ÄčTell us about your beauty rituals: My beauty routine is pretty simple and as fast as possible. I have suffered from rosacea for many years (which I control by addressing imbalances in my gut with nutritional therapy) so I stick to nourishing, simple cleansers and pure oils for moisture. I take my makeup off with coconut oil and coat my hair in it overnight once a week for glossy locks. I keep a light foundation, an assortment of lipsticks and a few cheek sticks in my purse at all times and I always feel much more awake when I have a coat of mascara on.

Lastly, what are your recommendations for positively reenergising the body and soul? Making a commitment to care and nourish you is the most important thing. Be kind to yourself, support yourself and encourage yourself. Basically be your own biggest fan – not in an egotistical way, but I just don’t think we are nearly as nourishing and kind to our own minds and bodies as we should be. Fill your mind with positive thoughts and give it enough quiet time, move your body regularly and be sure you really break a sweat at least four times a week and then fuel your being with real foods. And smile.