Who wants to look amazing (in person and in photos) this holiday season? Fortunately, for you, I have enlisted the help of professional photographer and makeup artist, Kacey! Kacey Luvi Pearson is an expert at helping other people look and feel beautiful; additionally, she has lost 40 pounds since having her son just 18 months ago. When she isn’t busy with her full-time job or family, she also happens to do some part-time modeling for Lululemon and writes her own fitness and lifestyle blog— kaceyluvi.com.
In this interview, Kacey shares her fitness and diet tips, beauty tips, and some secret “photographer tricks” for helping us all take better photos and selfies… just in time for the holidays!
FitRX: Hi Kacey! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. Can you start by giving us a little information about yourself?
Kacey: Hi! Yes, I’ve been married seven years to my husband Chance and I have two kids. My daughter Swayze is almost 5, and my son Fox is 18 months. I have a master’s degree in social work from Arizona State University with an emphasis on eating disorders and clinical therapy. I am a full-time makeup artist and photographer, and have been for 10 years.
FitRX: That sounds so different from your degree— how did you get into photography and makeup? What do you enjoy most about it?
Kacey: After my bachelor’s degree, I worked for MAC cosmetics in San Diego and loved it, and I started to want to take photos of the makeup I was doing so I ended up getting into beauty portraits and eventually turning it into a business.
I work mostly with high school senior girls and I see it as an opportunity to speak LIFE and purpose into these senior girls, even in brief moments. What keeps me going is the possibility for positive impact, life-giving encouragements and a boost of confidence. That, and coffee.
FitRX: That’s great— very organic way to start and build a business based on your passion! I’ve been really excited to do this interview with you because you are such a big inspiration to me. Your posts and blog seem to overflow with encouragement and energy, especially for women; additionally, you are not a fitness competitor, yet you are still someone I would consider a “fitspiration” to myself and many others! So, how did you get started in fitness?
Kacey: I have always been an athlete; I grew up playing sports and am naturally very competitive. As an adult, I tried a variety of different workout programs and finally found CrossFit. It got me into competing again— with myself— and I saw the workouts as “practice” to improve my skills, not as dreaded exercise. I began to focus on my performance and breaking my last records and then the aesthetics followed. I’m not really interested in a show or competing in bodybuilding, I’m more performance-based; and, I like to see myself get stronger.
FitRX: I agree about having strength/performance goals— I prefer that as well. You are also a Lululemon ambassador and do some modeling for them! What does your workout routine look like over the course of a week to stay in shape for that? How do you balance your workout schedule with your family and business?
Kacey: Last February, Chance and I put a home gym in our garage— we spent about $3,000 but now have all of the equipment we need to both train there! So, I do all my training at home, which is really convenient with my kids.
I lift heavy and do high-intensity interval training four to five days a week. I use a program on an app called “Beyond the Whiteboard” created by Adam at CopperStateFit. Anyone can access the app, become a member and get the workouts. It’s a nice alternative if you don’t belong to a gym! The workouts are strength-based with HIIT conditioning. My TOTAL workout time is 30-35 minutes a day and it gets done while my kids are napping. The rest of my “fitness” is all done with food.
FitRX: That sounds really doable for a busy working mom, and is a great lead in to my next question on your nutrition! I know you also are a macro-girl, and you have even recently started teaching seminars to share what “macros” are and how to do macro-tracking. When did you start doing macros and why?
Kacey: I started macro-tracking in January 2016 and it changed my life emotionally and totally changed my body. After my second baby was born I needed to lose all the excess fat to uncover the muscle I had. So macro tracking allows me to take care of my body composition and not focus on just the number on the scale.
With the help of my coach Adam, I learned how to fuel my body to preserve the muscle mass and lose the fat. The emotional freedom came from learning that the body doesn’t see food as clean food versus junk food, but sees it as carbs, fat, and protein. Macros allows me to be flexible with my food choices and enjoy what I’m eating in the process. When you love what you’re eating, guilt free, it’s the best.
FitRX: Having a coach can definitely make a difference and takes a lot of guesswork out. What kind of results have you seen since converting to a macro approach with your coach?
Kacey: When I delivered my son (May 2015), I was 185 pounds (I’m 5 foot 4). On my own, I was able to lose 20 pounds, but then I got stuck. I kept trying to diet and workout harder and it wasn’t working. Once I hired the coach (January 2016), I lost 20 more pounds from by May of 2016 and have kept it off since then!
When I started tracking, I did a reverse diet. At the time I started (at 165 pounds), I was eating just 1,600 calories a day. With the reverse diet (defined below), I lost 20 pounds and have kept it off. My calories have increased to 2,300 per day, and I am still in the process of reverse dieting.
“Reverse Dieting is the process of slowly and methodically increasing caloric intake over time with the goal of improving one’s metabolic capacity. Simply put, reverse dieting is the process of increasing how many calories your metabolism can process with the goal of minimal body fat gain. Instead of decreasing calories like a regular “diet,” you do the reverse and gradually add in calories.” **
FitRX: What do you typically eat in a day? Do you split up your macros evenly each meal or just track along the way?
Kacey: Right now, my 2300 kcal is broken down into 56 percent carbs, 24 percent protein and 20 percent fat, which is 325 grams carb, 135 grams of protein and 50 grams of fat. I just keep track throughout the day. I don’t try to make each meal balanced with all three macros; I just make sure I hit those numbers by the end of the day.
For my carbs, I eat a lot of pancakes, pizza, bagels, fruit, cereal and popcorn. For proteins, I use lean meats, Greek yogurt and protein shakes. And, my favorite fat to use are cream cheese, eggs, butter and cheese.
FitRX: That sounds like a fun day of food… What is one of your favorite macro recipes that you and your family enjoy on a regular basis?
Kacey: Pizza for sure. It’s easy and something fun for kids to do. They get to build their own pizza. We use the flat-out pizza crusts with pizza sauce, turkey pepperoni and mozzarella. And turkey pepperoni is awesome— it’s just 4 grams of fat per serving and tastes just like regular.
KACEY’S PIZZA RECIPE
2 Flat-out pizza crusts
½ cup 2% mozzarella
¼ cup pizza sauce
18 turkey pepperoni
Drizzle of balsamic reduction
Put toppings on. Heat until cheese is melted. Eat.
Macros: 64g Carbs, 16g Fat, 39g Protein (556 Calories for both pizzas, or 228kcal per pizza)
FitRX: Sounds yummy! I’ll have to try that this week. You have such a great message that you share in your blog and Instagram about your approach to health, diet and fitness. One of my favorite quotes by you is on what you call an identity crisis— which many of us women seem to battle with: “You have officially placed too much value and worth into your shell. You are placing your identity in what you look like over who you are. When we become secure in our true identity, we can find the hope and confidence to find balance again, both spiritually AND physically.” What are your thoughts on how to balance loving who we are with still setting goals to better ourselves?
Kacey: I feel like it’s the heartbeat right now of women everywhere: do we accept who we are or do we just try to be better. Some things we do have to accept and those are the genetic things— those are things to embrace and even be proud of. But then, the way we care or not care about our bodies will have consequences. We reap what we sow. For a long time, I was lazy, eating what I wanted to eat and could see the consequences (excess fat). I had to educate myself and start caring for my body to make a change. Now that I understand food and how it can build the body you want, I am reaping the benefits of strength, energy, and even (FINALLY) starting to really love the body I have. I had to work at it and stay really consistent with patience.
If you want to make a change, it takes intentionality because of so much convenience with food today. If we don’t know about or understand nutrition, we are just spinning our wheels at the gym.
FitRX: So true… On to your specialty— looking beautiful in photos! You have such gorgeous selfies and photoshoot pictures on your social media feeds! What are your best beauty tips?
Kacey: For photoshoots, a spray tan is a must. I don’t have time to lie out at the pool so I use St. Tropez bronzing mousse. The tan makes everything better. For everyday use, I have my favorite MAC foundation – Studio Fix Fluid with SPF 15. I have some acne scarring that I need to cover and make look flawless. I also have Batiste Dry Shampoo because I’m part low maintenance and part lazy.
FitRX: I’ll definitely check out that self-tanner. What about when taking an actual “selfie” or just a regular photo (someone else taking it)— do you have any tips or tricks for taking a great photo?
SELFIE tips: The biggest concern for a selfie is adequate light so my best tip (if you are indoors) is to stand by a window and look out the window while you take the picture. If you’re outside, stand in a shaded area so you don’t get squinty eyes. That’s why the car is such a great place to take a selfie.
Photo Tips (another person taking picture): Make sure you are facing the light so you get the most light on your eyes and face. If someone suggests taking a picture, I will move to an area with good light and suggest taking the picture in that spot. As the photo is being taken, I always like to have my hand on the hip and take a deep breath in so I have good posture. And if you dip your shoulder toward the camera, it makes your waist look smaller. I will tell my photoshoot clients to “just dip the shoulder in toward me”— it feels a little weird but really works.
FitRX: Great tips! Thanks so much for sharing your advice. What is the best advice you have ever received?
Kacey: When I was in premarital counseling, I was told to not give 100 percent and expect 100 percent, but to give 100 percent and expect 0 percent. When you don’t expect anything back, everything given is a blessing.
FitRX: You offer so much inspiration and encouragement to everyone around you, and now you are raising your own son and daughter. If you could give each of them one piece of wisdom that they would carry with them forever, what would it be?
For my Daughter: Be confident in her identity, focused on her faith, love God and love people.
For my Son: Be strong and courageous. Love God, love people.
FitRX: Love it! What do you think we will see you doing in the future with fitness/macros? Do you have any upcoming plans in the works?
Kacey: In the works, we have webinars on macros to be able to reach more people. My passion is to teach and encourage women in life and food.
FitRX: Awesome! Best wishes to you in all your future endeavors. Thank you for taking the time to chat with me and share your tips and tricks!
For more on Kacey: