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5 easy steps to a slim healthy me.... and a beautiful photoshoot...

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As a model and a person who managed to stay relatively skinny throughout my investment-banking days, I am often asked how I do it. Polina, my business partner and best friend, often asked the same. This blog was inspired by the recent cry for help from some of my friends on Facebook on how to stay skinny.

Well, here it is, a small entry of how to slim down or stay slim. Polina and I had a photo shoot for Boutique Week with a wonderful Boston photographer Natalia Borecka the other day and needed to make sure we looked our best.

1. Cleanse within. The first step is, of course, being healthy within to look healthy and radiant on the outside. I believe in cleanses, I really do. I think that our body needs a day or two to forget about processing food and just focus on rejuvenating (not sure if this was scientifically proven, so take this with a grain of salt!). I aim to do one three-day cleanse a year.

To get ready for the shoot, Polina and I decided to do a cleanse. We chose Blue Print Cleanse. I have done it before and loved it. The first time was during my first year in banking -- I urgently needed to lose weight before the summer hit and my 15 extra pounds revealed themselves. The second time was this summer, when I worked at Chanel and wanted to blend in with my fellow sleek and beautiful co-workers. This week, Polina and I did it to stay radiant. Whatever reason you decide to do the cleanse for, make sure to stay healthy. While you lose weight on a cleanse, you still need to receive a healthy amount of calories.

This time, I did Level II of Blue Print for the photo shoot. Despite 3 days of liquids, I felt super energetic. The green juices seem to be the healthiest, even though they are the hardest to finish, so if you do decide to do it, get ready! Polina's favorite was Number 4 juice -- Spicy Lemonade. My favorite part was juice Number 6 (something to look forward to every day!). Despite having no coconut, it did taste like it. With exquisite ingredients including cashew milk with vanilla bean and agave, it is not surprising that it tastes so good. I would order this for dessert any day! It was not that easy to only drink and not eat, but the results were worth it -- left me feeling energized and pounds lighter -- although I did dream of french fries!

2. Exercise. This is an obvious one, but the hardest one to follow. Lately, with all of the Boutique Week travels and my last semester at Harvard Business School, I have been bad at the gym routine. I found it super helpful to mark my workouts on my calendar, displayed in an obvious spot. I combine yoga (I love Baptiste yoga studio in Cambridge, and trying out Bikhram this month) with more intense exercises like Exhale Core Fusion or Physique 57 when I am in New York (my favorite! Super tough, but definitely works!). While in Steamboat, CO, I heard from a very fit friend about Cross Fit, apparently a very high intensity set of exercises that really work! I will keep you posted!

3. Eating habits. We all splurge, but the frequency of it makes a huge difference. I remember once hearing Karolina Kurkova (beautiful supermodel) talk about her eating habits on America's Next Top Model. The takeaway was: whatever you put inside your body reflects how you look. So eating healthy non-processed food always takes priority for me. For example, I would rather have a bigger meal with fresh ingredients: fish and potatoes, over canned or frozen food that might be less calories.

I am not a nutritionist, but I believe in moderation in everything I do, so I did enjoy a Ben & Jerry ice cream after the photo shoot.

4. Beauty Routine. I do not think it matters what the cost of the products you use is. In my opinion, what matters is finding the right products for your skin. My beauty routine includes Mario Badescu products. Simply packaged, they provide everything I need. I never believed in toners until I taught myself a routine of face wash followed by toner and then lotion to moisturize your skin or protect from the sun in the mornings. The importance of using all three is huge to ensure long-term health of your skin. I also used Chanel products this summer and loved the Precision Mousse Douceur cleanser and the coordinating toner. There are a variety of products on the market; if you have not found the right one for you yet, you can check out Birchbox, started by my friend and HBS'10 alum Katia. They send samples of beauty products to your door to try them.

I am getting a facial at Mario Badescu next week -- very looking forward to it. Getting regular facials is key to healthy skin. Dermatologists recommend getting a facial once a month; I don't get to do it that often, so I substitute it with home products. Given the environment we live in with pollution and fast-paced, we need to rejuvenate, exfoliate, hydrate and nourish our skin.

5. Sleep! I do not think there is a magic number for hours we need a night. I definitely need 8 hours, which I never get. National Sleep Foundation recommends around 7-9 hours for adults and 8.5-9.25 hours for teens, so keep that in mind when planning your life routine. I really believe sleep is key to a healthy long productive life!

These 5 easy steps brought me ready and smiling to my photo shoot!