Day 140- REVIEW: Age & Beauty

For just over 100 days I was truly on my path to perfection. There were blips here and there but they never stopped me from continuing forward and making progress. Since my return from a 4 day holiday and a subsequent week long illness, I have found it very challenging to stay on the path. The habits are slipping away and it’s getting increasingly harder to return to them. A weekend sabotaged my calorie counting, an illness destroyed the gym and a holiday disrupted my routine. Day after day, I plan to return to my habits but half way through, my plans fall to the wayside.

Compounding this, I have become increasingly ashamed of my appearance. I can see I’m losing the little good looks I once had. I’ve gained weight over the last four years but now I can see the bad food choices affecting my skin and face. I have sunken eyes, acne on my chin, back, arms and behind my neck and my already saggy jowls are increasing in size and looking ugly. It’s affected my confidence at work and my relationship and my sex life. I’m missing out on so much joy found in clothes and dressing up. Something I always thought would be a delightful hobby for me if I had the opportunity.

I feel desperate to change all this and think that my low self-esteem is part of why I can’t maintain my habits. I feel that if I felt better about myself, a lot of the other things would fall into place. After this contemplation, I think I must hyperfocus making myself prettier, slimmer, fitter and healthier and blog about it. I have a lot of habits in place for other things if I choose for it but for now I need to create the habits that will help my appearance and health improve.

I have spent the last couple of days thinking about what I need to do to reverse the ageing process and make myself feel attractive again. I’m going to take a look at each thing and decide what I have to do and when I can start. I really want to turn things around and show you how I managed it by publishing my transition on the blog.

Sleep

I don’t need to explain how important sleep is for so many reasons and overall health. Even with all my efforts, I rarely manage to exceed a daily average of 6.5 hours yet I know I need 8-9 hours a night to start benefitting. I think the problem is I struggle to go to bed early enough because of the temptation to watch TV or mess about on my laptop and phone. My ‘go to bed’ instruction is usually ignored so any evening habits get abandoned and I end up idling on devices until sleep prevails. In order to get the 8 hours beauty sleep I so desperately need, I need to enforce my going to bed habit. I need to prepare for sleep with an evening ritual and put away all my devices. If I turn out the light and put my head on my pillow my 10pm, I have a very good chance of getting 8 hours. I think I need to head to bed at 8:45pm to give me enough time to be ready for sleep by 10pm. This habit can start tomorrow. I will use Fitbit to monitor my progress.

Hydration

I had made some progress with my hydration. I had found the opportunity for 3 litres of water a day. A litre at gym, a litre at work and a litre in the evening. It is just a matter of reminding myself to drink it. This habit can start tomorrow. I will use Fitbit to monitor my progress.

Diet

Oh boy! This challenge is the biggest I have. I have never really sustained a healthy diet for the long term. When I have followed a healthy diet, I feel amazing and the transformation is always incredible. It’s just been a really long time since I’ve sustained anything. I’m always conflicted about which diet is best but I have settled on one for my beauty challenge. I’m going to follow a diet free of wheat, gluten, refined sugar, cow’s dairy, caffeine, alcohol and meat. I will include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, rice, potatoes, eggs, sheep & goat’s dairy and fish. This keeps my beauty and appearance as a priority. I’m hoping these rules will naturally help me lose weight. The only way I can succeed, is if I meal plan and shop for it. If I don’t do these two things I will fail because when I don’t know what I’m eating, I will reach for the wrong things. I can’t strictly follow the rules until Monday 1st April but until then I can slowly reduce certain foods and prepare myself for the change. I can already make better choices from tomorrow. I will keep a food diary to track what I eat.

Beauty Regimen

Since I started back on my path to perfection I have introduced many beauty habits, both morning and night. I find it much easier to follow the morning habits than the evening ones. And now it has been weeks since I followed my evening beauty regimen at all. I want to make sure I’m doing everything again to reduce the acne I’m getting and plump up my skin to reduce fine lines, sagging and dehydration. I can start these habits again tomorrow. I have to return to my bath nights on Wednesday and Sunday too so I can incorporate exfoliation, face masks, foot scrubs etc… I must have some regular professional facials also but I must wait until I get my pay increase first. I will start growing my nails and painting them too. My hands look so nice when I do this. I will take daily photographs to see if my face and skin improve.

Exercise

I joined the gym over a month ago and in the first month I attended a lot of classes and did many morning sessions. Since my holiday and illness I’ve struggled to stay committed but I’m very aware how exercise is going to be so important for my health and improving my appearance. I concluded that I need to do 5 different kinds of exercise to reap the most benefits. I need to include yoga for flexibility, cardio for heart health, weights for strength, HIIT for burning calories and swimming for all over toning. I think two sessions of each a week and once for swimming is enough to see health and beauty improvements and I already have a good idea which days to do these. I must start doing what I can from tomorrow and will start with a gym session tomorrow morning. I will use my Fitbit statistics and photographs to track my progress.

Lose Weight

Needless to say, I want to lose about 30 lbs to start feeling healthy and attractive again. Hopefully the improved diet and exercise will allow that to happen but of course if I don’t see it working, I may have to tweak things or get advice. I will use my Fitbit scales and body measurements to track my progress.

Attitude

This is so important. From the moment I wake up tomorrow I can think like a person who is slim, healthy and beautiful. I can make choices throughout the day that serve this purpose. I don’t need to wait for anything. It may start immediately and dictate all my decisions.

Blog My Progress

Finally, I will blog my progress once a week on a Saturday. This will reduce the expectation to blog everyday which I have been finding a challenge recently. Tomorrow, I will start with taking all my measurements and photos as I am now and review my current health. Every week I will publish the results of my habits and track my progress.

 

 

 

Day 132- NEW HABIT: Gym Kit

NEW HABIT: Change into my gym kit first thing for morning gym and straight after work for evening gym

After a bout of illness, this week is all about getting straight back to my many habits and visiting the gym again. It took real motivation to get up early this morning and get to the gym but it was so worth it. I felt great afterwards and it established the day and the habits I need to re-instate. My first habit of the day on the mornings I go to gym, is to get into my gear as soon as I get out of bed. On the days I go to gym classes in the evening, it is also a habit to change into my gym kit straight after work. This is to put my mind in the right frame. Once I’m wearing the clothes, it makes it much easier for me to go.

I look ridiculous in my gear at the moment because I’m overweight and some of it doesn’t fit or isn’t flattering. I’m also a bit short on sports bras and tops, especially now I’m known to do up two sports activities a day. Instead, I have desire to own lots of great looking, well-fitting gym wear. And different gear for different pursuits. I would love soft, comfy, mix-and-match yoga and pilates wear. And cool looking comfortable lycra for the gym work. And the right kind of running gear for all weathers. Part of me wants to purchase stuff soon, thinking good stuff will make me more prone to do exercise. Another part of me wants to wait until I have lost the weigh, so the money isn’t wasted. I suspect I will wait until I think I’m slim enough. It will be such joy to spend money on nice gym wear.

I have my eye on GymShark, M Life and Sweaty Betty for the gear I dream of. I look forward to the day I can post about my gym wear haul.

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I look nothing like my former self. I have been gaining weight over the last 4 years, especially around my face and neck. I can look so much better than this!

“I will put on my gym wear first thing for morning gym and put on my gym wear straight after work for evening gym”

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Day 122- LEVEL UP: Hair Oil

NEW HABIT: Replace hair conditioner with hair oil

For the last couple of years, I have grown all the bleach and hair dye out of my hair. Finally, I now wear my natural colour. I wanted to do this before I go grey. My hair is in such good condition now, that using conditioner weighs it down and coats with residue. Not using conditioner however, can make my hair a little dry and unmanageable. The perfect solution for me is using Liz Earle’s Nourishing Hair Oil. Unlike Argan Oil, it smooths the ends of the hair without making it greasy. It’s the perfect substitute for hair conditioner.

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“I will use hair oil after washing my hair instead of using conditioner”

 

Day 119- NEW HABIT: The Chiropodist

NEW HABIT: Visit the chiropodist

About 4 years ago I started to experience a painful toenail, especially after a couple of hours of walking. On inspection I noticed a thickening of skin in the nail bed which prevented the nail from growing in the normal fashion. I researched the problem online and considered it could be an ingrown toenail or a fungal infection. I tried lotions and potions for fungal infections but the problem never went away. Then I noticed my big toenails turning yellow which is when I started to really believe I had a problem. Anyway, about 4 years later, and years of hiding my feet away, I finally decided to visit a chiropodist to establish what the problem might be. I’ve previously blogged how much I would like to have pedicures on my spa days but didn’t feel I could until I knew what I was dealing with.

I called up a practice I found online after someone recommended them to me. The consultation was £50 and the letter stated that it included filing, clipping etc…

I went to the appointment today and I was there for an hour. The consultant confirmed that she did not believe it was down to a fungal infection. She said that the way I use my left foot has caused the toes to turn to the side and my problem toe is so twisted the nail is forced to grow wrongly. She said the big toes are probably yellow due to thickening from dehydration. Good news is I can confidently go for pedicures and if I condition and file my toe nails I can make them look and feel better. She clipped them and filed them and conditioned them. My bath nights will eventually allow me to give my feet some attention during and after. She recommended a foot cream like Flexitol for the conditioning.

So after 4 years of discomfort and procrastinating, I finally got my feet looked at. Now I can have pedicures and make my feet pretty again.

“I will visit the chiropodist. I will follow her advice to keep my feet in good shape. I will visit again if they start to look bad again”

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Day 112- NEW HABIT: Face Mask

NEW HABIT: Use a face mask on Sunday bath nights

Sundays have become designated bath nights. It’s my opportunity to exfoliate and shave and scrub my feet and anything else that 5 minutes in the shower doesn’t allow. It’s also a great opportunity to chill, relax and meditate. The first week I just soaked for 30 minutes. The second week I washed my face and exfoliated before my soak. Tomorrow will be my third week of having a Sunday night bath and I will then follow my exfoliation with a face mask.

I have tried many, many face masks and most of them either sting, burn or dry my skin out. However, I have discovered two that I really get on well with and one of them is my all time favourite. They happen to both be by Origins.

My favourite is Out Of Trouble. It is white cream and is incredibly soothing on red, inflamed, spotty skin. I love the smell, it reminds me of a 1970s fist aid box. When I have really bad red spots, it not only soothes but I find it brings the spot to the surface quicker.

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I also like Clear Improvement. It is not as good as Out Of Trouble but it is better suited to the T-Zone. That’s the areas like the nose, chin and forehead. I like to use both masks at the same time in different zones to get the best results.

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Like my Liz Earle products these items are to be financed by my PayPal profits from eBay. I think I have a little Clear Improvement left so soon I will have to buy new face masks.

“On Sunday bath nights I will use a face mask after exfoliation”

Day 111- NEW HABIT: Spring Spa Visit

NEW HABIT: Budget for a Spring spa visit with treatments & budget for it

Part of my bigger plan is to have 4 spa visits a year. I would like one for my birthday in January, one for my boyfriend’s birthday in April, one in the Summer before a holiday and one in Autumn with my mum and sister. At each visit I would like to have an exfoliating treatment, a massage and a facial. In Spring and Summer I would like a pedicure as well, so I have nice painted nails for sandals.

We like visiting Nirvana Spa in Berkshire. It is one of the nicest day spas in the country. It’s a shame it doesn’t have a hotel. That would really be the icing on the cake.

To have everything I want for the Spring Spa Day I have to budget about £450. Luckily this Christmas I received a Spa day voucher and £100 towards treatments from my boss so I didn’t have to save up so much money. Today I booked our spa visit. The itinerary is really full and exciting.

Start 8:30am

Breakfast

11am- African Baobab Ritual (exfoliation & massage)

12.30pm- Personalised Spa Facial

3:00pm- Vegan Afternoon Tea

6:00pm- J-GELeration Pedicure

7:15pm- Healthy Buffet

We have never had such a full day with so much on offer but planning and budgeting has finally made it possible, and I wish it to be an annual event. I will blog next week about my visit to the Chiropodist. I feel I have to do that before having a professional pedicure. I’m concerned I may have some nail infections.

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“I will budget for a Spring Spa Day for my boyfriend’s birthday in April and budget for it and treatments including exfoliation, a massage, a facial and a pedicure”

 

Day 101- NEW HABIT: Exfoliation

NEW HABIT: Exfoliate my face on bath nights

A couple of weeks ago I introduced bath night on Sundays. I have had a bath on Sundays for two weeks in a row. As a foundation, I have simply run a warm bath with bath foam and dead sea salts, lit a candle and soaked for 30 minutes. It has been a great way to wind down and take some time out. But bath nights are intended for more than just that. I will be slowly introducing habits to go with bath time. The first thing I do is wash my face with my usual facial wash. Following that I will be introducing the habit of exfoliating my face. This is the opportunity to slough away dead skin and deep clean my pores. I want to use Liz Earle’s exfoliator going forward. I have an old bottle of it to finish up and a Dermalogica equivalent to use too.

“I will exfoliate after washing my face on Sunday bath nights”

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