Tag: lifestyle

All About Skin

It’s Elizabeth as guest blogger again, this time writing about skin.

Someone once said that youth was wasted on the young. With each new wrinkle that forms, I am starting to see the truth in that saying and often imagine how great it would be if I knew then what I know now.

As a teen girl, I often neglected to pay my skin any attention and, while there is no magic fountain of youth or a fool proof solution for perfect skin (what a shame!), I have learned along the way that there are certain things that can help to put your best face forward.

Firstly, let’s talk about skin care. Since our skin is unique to us and our life-styles, I like to think of caring for my skin in terms of feeding it with both inner and outer nutrition.

Inner nutrition is having a healthy diet with plenty of water and consuming less of the things that are bad for my skin, such as sugar and alcohol (okay, I’m not a saint and do indulge every now and then!) As a girl, however, I didn’t really understand the connection between sugar and break-outs, for example. You live and learn, a good segue to outer nutrition.

This is why I nourish my face with a good moisturiser and full body with body cream to hydrate from the outside. Long gone are the days when I use just a face-wipe before bed, but that’s something I’ve only realised in my 40s! Experts say that a good skin care routine should start in your teens, ideally from the age of 14 years. However, as Jenny Hawkins points out in Episode 3: Your Skin Inside Out, it is important to use age appropriate products. The products in your mother’s cupboard, for example, are likely to be too mature for your skin.

Next, let’s talk about skin and the sun. In my late teens and early 20s, it used to be a case of applying sun cream and then forgetting about it for the rest of the day, the lower the SPF the better. Now, and with the benefit of hindsight, a tonne of research and hot tips from our podcast, it is clear that the reverse is true. That is, the higher the SPF the better and it is important to re-apply regularly. My kids, however, don’t agree and you might not either. But take it from someone who has been there and done that, protecting your skin from the sun is non-negotiable.

And finally about the topic of make-up, less is most definitely more. When I was a teen, I wasn’t allowed to wear heavy make-up and no doubt protested at the time. In hindsight, I’m thankful for my parents’ guidance as I only ever got the occasional spot.  Don’t get me wrong though, I love to wear make-up. It makes me feel more confident and ready to face (sometimes literally!) the day. The key is age-appropriate make-up and products that are right for our individual skin type. A heavily made up face all the time, particularly for young skin, could cause blemishes and other damage, too.

No wonder I love the clean feeling of taking off make-up at night and lately I find myself trying to have days where I take a break from wearing it altogether. In my 20s and 30s, I wouldn’t have dreamed of venturing outside without a full face of make-up on, but ironically as I’m getting older and probably need it more with bags, dark circles and wrinkles, I find it strangely empowering to go without.

I love this quote from actress Drew Barrymore, ‘I like to take a break from vanity…when a woman is laughing, fresh from a workout or just enjoying her life…that is when she at her most beautiful.”  Personally, I couldn’t agree with her more and feel the key to a happy life is ultimately to be happy in your own…you guessed it…skin.

For more tips on skin and how to care for it, tune into our podcast with skin expert Jenny Hawkins – Episode 3: Your Skin Inside Out. Jenny offers some amazing tips and inspirational advice, too.

Making A Lifestyle Change

At the mention of the word diet, trying to lose weight springs to mind, not to mention depriving oneself of favourite, yummy foods. No wonder a stress quake rolls over the body causing both physical and psychological upset.

Honestly, however, it doesn’t have to be that way. Of course, people diet to lose weight rightly or wrongly, but people also adopt different diets to maintain their health. Some of them are necessary such as special renal diets for people with Chronic Kidney disease, for example.

But you don’t have to have a chronic condition to adopt a healthy diet. All you need to do is to change your lifestyle. This approach cuts out unhealthy dieting, jumping in and out of fads, and yo yo dieting, which takes a toll on the mind and the body.

Still, what does a lifestyle change really mean? In short, it doesn’t mean dieting, but rather adopting a diet that serves you. Sigh, right? When I was a teenager, I might have paused too at such advice. I was not that in to vegetables. And I avoided them like the plague. Being as thin as I was, I concluded that I was healthy enough and ate whatever I jolly well pleased when I was in control. Thankfully my mother was in control at least 80% of the time.

But when she wasn’t such as after cheerleader practice or on a field trip or during or after a game, I piled up on the fast food and so on. So what if an ice cream cone made my stomach hurt or a bag crisps (potato chips) spiked my sugar, putting me in a bad mood, not to mention some of the damage caused by fizzy drinks. But you couldn’t tell me I was not healthy because the thing about being unhealthy versus being ill is that the former has a way of creeping into the norms. You get used to it and only overtime does it become something more–illness.

So how do you snap out of it, adopt a healthy diet for you?

  • Choose foods that serve your body with or without a chronic condition and stick with them. That’s food that taste good and is good! Not everybody can eat everything. For example, I don’t do much diary nor do I do any gluten.  But even if you don’t have any allergies and intolerances, healthy eating is still important.
    • And have I got news for you, according to Judit Ressinka, guest of Episode 2: Your Body Inside Out, it is all about the ingredients, using real, whole food from the four food groups. For on the go, tasty pizzas and burgers just go for the real deal, real meat and whole food ingredients—organic if at all possible.
  • Focus on what you can eat, not as much on what you can’t eat. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. 
  • Learn to prepare and cook simple and easy meals so they are available after school and so on.
  • Choose wisely if fast food is the only option.
  • Drink plenty of water and get those veggies in and fruit, too. I see their benefits now.
  • And by all means, whatever you do, eat! Starvation has no place in a healthy lifestyle.

Adopting such an approach has made a huge difference in my life. Hardly ever will you find me dieting to lose weight. Admittedly, I have been there and done that and didn’t need to. But these days it is about getting the best possible fuel for my body most of the time.  And if I fall off the rails every now and then which inevitably I do, no need to search for a special diet. I already have one. I just need to revert to my chosen lifestyle.

So girls, about your diet…. What does it really mean? In short, a happier, healthier lifestyle now and in the future.