6 Healthy Study Abroad Hacks + a VLOG

Today I am finally sharing some healthy tips...it's about time! I wrote about some of my "health/wellness" fears going into study abroad in this post, but I've gotten some questions on Balanced Baig about staying healthy while actually being abroad. Being abroad, in general, is a learn as you go situation. I'm constantly proving myself wrong and learning new things. I've been working on strengthening my relationship with my body and shifting my perception of what it means to be healthy (go read my recent post on wellness if you want to hear more about this). I am so grateful to be healthy and able to travel and push myself out of my comfort zone physically, mentally, and emotionally during this time, but it never hurts to figure out how you can eat and move to feel your best.

First things first, I shared a what I eat in a day vlog on Youtube a few weeks ago. I was waiting to write this post to share the video, so that I could link the video and have all my tips in one place. This vlog is just a quick little glimpse into my day, but hopefully you can see how I put some of these tips into action!

It helps that I have a kitchen in my building and can cook during the week, but I've definitely picked up a few tips and tricks along the way that I'm going to share. I'm only sharing these tips because I feel most confident when I know I'm doing what I can to feel good. Am I at the top of my fitness game right now? Not really, hahaha. But whenever you're traveling for a long period of time, you do what you can to make it work while still indulging and exploring new places and cultures. I freaking love food. Last week, I think my mom and I ate gelato 5 nights in a row and it was incredible. 

TIP #1 // Movement
This might be boring/common sense, but moveee! It's easy to call an Uber or ride public transport around, but I think walking everywhere has helped me the most. Obviously sometimes it thunderstorms or places are far away, but so far, I've only ridden the metro to class one time! It does take longer, but when you're in a new place, it's fun to explore new streets and get moving. I share this way too much on Instagram stories, but I am in love with Melissa Wood Tupperburg and her workouts. Any time I feel like I've been way too overindulgent, I do her workouts (in my tiny little room with zero equipment) and my mood is instantly elevated. Not that this is the most important thing (although it never hurts), but I feel like I see a change in the appearance of my body almost immediately.

TIP #2 // Intermittent Fasting
Did you read my latest post with Kelsey Boudreaux all about intermittent fasting? I love what she is doing with the FASTer Way to Fat Loss program and I may have signed my boyfriend and I up for her New Years round...I love weaseling him into little fitness challenges with me hahaha. Anyways, I mentioned in the post that I try to do it casually. Basically, I try to wait at least 12 hours in between eating meals, but ideally, like 14 or 16. If I eat dinner at 9, I try to wait to have breakfast til like noon. I think the most important thing to note here is to listen to your body and eat if you're starving. For me personally, something about getting my walk to school in on an empty stomach really makes me feel good. Read Kelsey's post to learn more about the science behind IF. 

TIP #3 // Greens, greens, greens
I try really hard to get my greens in every day. Even if it's a handful of spinach on an egg, cheese, and avocado bagel, I add it in. Travel is tough because sometimes greens either aren't on the menu or Nutella pancakes sound so much better. I'm guilty. Do what you can here. If you're a student/have access to a kitchen, fresh veggies are so cheap in Europe. I like to add tons of greens and veggies to scrambled eggs, pasta, or salads when I'm home.

TIP #4 // Buy Tupperware
I've been horrible about budgeting being abroad. Every time I check my bank account, I think I kill a little piece of my soul. Buying tupperware helps me to a) save money by not eating out every day and b) make healthy meals to pack and throw in my backpack. I share a lot of my Tupperware meals on Insta stories, but I could do a blog post on some of my fave "recipes" if it's something you're interested in. I also bought a to-go coffee cup last week to save money on my morning coffee. I kind of think it might be too little too late on that one, but do what you can, right?

TIP #5 // Supplements
If you go to my "Gut Health" highlight on Balanced Baig, you'll see a series of snaps where I got super into supplements this summer. My two faves that I'm pretty sure you can just pick up at Whole Foods are Oil of Oregano and Digestive Enzymes. I ran out of my probiotics and, like I mentioned, my bank account is a scary place these days, so that is unfortunately taking a back seat right now, LOL. Oil of Oregano is really good for inflammation and is a natural antibacterial product. This is great if you feel like you're getting run down or when you've been really indulgent. I take the Digestive Enzymes after I've had a huge meal and it helps me feel better. I'm not a scientist, but I feel like these are really helpful.

TIP #6 // Stay Present
I've mentioned my Headspace obsession, but I feel like being abroad and traveling has helped me to value the present moment so much more. Getting to see new places and make memories has been the most beautiful experience. I get emotional at least twice a day about how grateful I am to be able to experience this life the way that I have. My past fears and obsessions about being "healthy" are so small compared to how incredible our world is. Listen to your body and do what makes you happy. Memories and experiences are so much more important, so I have really tried to just embrace and enjoy every moment of this season that I'm in.

Thanks for reading xx.

Kelsey Boudreaux: All About Intermittent Fasting

A huge fitness "trend" I've been seeing recently is intermittent fasting. I've been casually doing it while traveling just to stay feeling good, but I am super intrigued by the FASTer Way to Fat Loss program that I've been seeing all over social media and IRL... Enter Kelsey Boudreaux! Kelsey was my cheerleading coach my senior year of high school and I'm so glad that we have stayed in touch through social media. This spring, I saw her post her FWTFL transformation (which is amazing!) and, when she became a coach for the program, I knew I had to ask her some questions and bring them to the blog. This is one of my favorite posts I've done in a while, so I hope you enjoy!


Tell us a little bit about your health and fitness journey.
I've been an athlete my entire life. I've tried about every sport, but was mainly a swimmer and cheerleader for the majority of my middle and high school years. I was the girl who put on the "Freshman 15" because my eating habits went down the drain and I never made time to workout. After starting PT school, I gained another 30 pounds and felt really terrible. Fatigued, foggy, and constantly in a funk. That's when I started the FASTer Way to Fat Loss program, and it's changed my life forever. A long time friend of mine, Chasity Givens, was posting about the program on Facebook and Instagram. I was pretty skeptical at first and put the cost of the program on my credit card. I had no clue what to expect, but I would do it 100 times over again in a heartbeat!

What are the basics on Intermittent Fasting and how have you been able to incorporate IF into your busy lifestyle?
There's a couple different types of intermittent fasting. The one we follow is the 16/8 rule. We fast for 16 hours a day then eat for 8 hours a day. Some people look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them that, but it's actually pretty easy!! Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it is simply an eating schedule. I still consume about 1900 calories a day, I just do it within an 8 hour eating window. When it comes to digestion and metabolism, your body can be in 2 states: fed or fasted. When we're in a fed state, our body primarily uses sugars (ie glucose and carbs) as its main energy source to burn for fuel. When we're in a fasted state, our body now has to turn to a new energy source to burn for fuel and that's fat. It takes about 12 hours after we've stopped eating to burn off the readily available carbs in our body that we use for energy. After that 12 hour mark, our body turns to burning off readily available fat for fuel. Most people come to me saying "I'm eating clean, but I can't get this weight off!" Implementing intermittent fasting is such an easy way to ramp up your fat loss results.

I live on such a busy schedule that I've termed my life a "grab-n-go" lifestyle. Every morning, I literally have to "grab-no-go" out of my fridge for the day. Whether it be leftovers from the night before, chicken salad, snacks, etc. The key to being successful is to make sure you're eating things you love! You do NOT have to settle for meal prepping 6 days of plain rubber chicken and mushy broccoli. I love food and I love a lot of flavor, so I've found things that I like and that I know work.

What inspired you to become a FWTFL coach?
The success I had with the program was obviously a huge part, but the community I found through the FWTFL was seriously unlike any other. Everyone is so positive, motivating, and empowering! We all have come together to live healthier and more energetic lives, so that we can be the best versions of ourselves, and to me, that's the best part of this program.

What are some of the biggest mistakes/misconceptions about health and fitness that you've seen from others and/or from yourself before starting the program?
"So if I only eat 1000 calories a day and then burn off 1200 working out, I'll be sure to lose weight right?" NO! Under eating and over exercising will give you very short term results, but in no way is that healthy or sustainable. We have to have the right amount of nutrients to function. Severely restricting food and over exercising is putting incredible amounts of stress on every cellular process in your body and it will actually cause you to retain the weight you're at. We have to feed and nourish the wonderful bodies we've been given!

What is some advice for anyone interested in the program and/or just putting their health and self first and where can everyone find your program? 
My life motto is "you have one life to live, don't waste it on other people." This is YOUR life and you only get one of them! Don't waste it by compromising your health. You have to put your health and well-being first, so that we are able to give back to our families and communities. We all have struggles financially, but I promise you that you can work out for $4 a day for 7 weeks to work towards putting yourself first! The program is entirely online- no meetings, weigh ins, etc. I'll be your coach and teach you EVERYTHING you need to know!! You can follow me on Instagram @kelseyannboudreaux and click the link in my bio there!

A huge thank you to Kelsey for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer these questions and be sure to check out her Instagram for her link to the FASTer Way to Fat Loss program!

Follow my Instagram accounts to keep up with my travels abroad:
@baiginthiel + @balanced_baig

Thanks for reading! xx