Self Care

My Workout Skincare Routine: Oily, Acne-Prone Skin

My Workout Skincare Routine

I’ve had problem skin since, well, since birth, I’d say. For as long as I can remember, my skin has given me issue after issue. Now that I’m older, my skin is taking on a freakin’ life of it’s own. What used to work, doesn’t work anymore. It’s gotten worse since my hysterectomy and I’m just thrilled about that {insert sarcasm here}. But, I’ve managed to come up with a workout skincare routine that, so far, seems to be working rather well.

Many people don’t realize that our skin is our largest organ. It covers every inch of us and renews itself daily. It’s subjected to all sorts of elements and toxins and needs constant care. Each skin type is different, and, since I’m not a dermatologist, I’m only going to speak about my experience with my oily, acne-prone, problematic skin.

Pre-Workout Skincare Routine

In the morning, my skincare routine is pretty much the same, whether I workout that day or not. I wash my face with Oxy face wash, tone with witch hazel, and apply moisturizer with sunscreen. Yes, I use a moisturizer even though I have oily skin. Why? Well, because my skin still needs to be hydrated and there’s sunscreen in it. I’m currently using the Neutrogena oil-free moisturizer with SPF15 and it doesn’t make my face greasy.

Post-Workout Skincare Routine

This is where my routine gets a bit different. When I get back from my walk or finish a workout, I always take a shower. Now, I don’t wash my face with the same stuff I use in my pre-workout routine because that would be too harsh. While I’m in the shower, I wash my face with my Dove bar soap. It gets all the sweat, dirt and grime off my face without adding a bunch of chemicals I don’t need again so soon. I still apply a moisturizer after this because the soap leaves my face really dry. If I’m not going anywhere, I’ll use the Neutrogena again. But, if I have to run out, I use the It Cosmetics Bye Bye Foundation because it’s a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen.

Nighttime Skincare Routine

Before heading off to bed, I wash my face again. This routine is very similar to my pre-workout routine in that I use the Oxy face wash and tone with witch hazel. From there, I spot treat any trouble spots with Neutrogena spot treatment and head off to bed.

Through trial and error, I’ve discovered that benzoyl peroxide works best on my acne so I look for products that contain that. My spot treatment contains 10% benzoyl peroxide and generally clears up my blemishes within a day or two, depending on how bad they are. You see, I suffer from cystic acne which is very different than any other type of acne.

I’d love to learn about your skincare routines, whether you workout or not. Comment below and fill me in on your favorite products!

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I Lost 100 Pounds: But Gained So Much More!

I Lost 100 Pounds: But Gained So Much More

I lost 100 pounds! I lost more than my youngest kid weighs. It’s an amazing feeling, but it hasn’t been easy. I fought for every ounce I lost, scolded myself for every pound I re-gained, and celebrated every single step I took toward achieving my goal. During this process, I dealt with countless obstacles and it would have been so easy for me to give up. I even did for a little while. When I first began my journey, I weighed in at 278.6 pounds and had type 2 diabetes. But, y’all already know that. Right now, I’m 178.6 pounds and in no danger of being diabetic!

According to the Lose It! app, it took me 23 months and 16 days to achieve my goal of losing 100 pounds. Not too bad considering that I stopped trying for quite a few months and was limited on physical activity due to having a hysterectomy. Once I was released, it was on! I may have lost 100 pounds but I’ve gained so much more from this journey!

Love, Acceptance & Patience

Before I began, and even during, this journey, I didn’t love or accept myself and you can forget about having patience with myself. I didn’t hate myself but I wasn’t pleased at all. Each time I looked in the mirror or caught a glimpse of myself elsewhere, I would cringe and automatically focus on my flaws. My face was fat, my belly stuck out further than my boobs, etc.

Throughout this journey, somewhere, and I can’t pinpoint where, I fell in love with myself. I learned to accept myself for who I am and not worry about what I’m not. My patience was severely tested each time the scale didn’t move or someone would poke fun at me for measuring my food. I learned that I had to wait for my body to catch, which it always did. And, for those who poked fun at me, who’s laughing now, huh?

Perfect Does NOT Exist

For a type A person like me, perfection is always the end-result. Well, forget about it because that shit doesn’t exist. Repeat after me: there’s NO such thing as perfect! If you wait for all conditions to be perfect to start, you’ll never start anything. Life isn’t perfect – there’s highs and lows and in-betweens and you gotta learn to roll with it. Enjoy the good moments, learn from the not-so-good moments, and chill out in the in-betweens.

I’m Capable

I’ve learned that I’m more than capable to achieving anything I set my mind to. My body is capable of working hard and doing more than I ever thought possible. I’m capable of making changes and sticking with them. I’m capable of walking away from food when it doesn’t serve me in a positive way. I’m capable of processing my emotions without using food for comfort. The point is, I’m capable!

Strength, Confidence & Determination

I cannot begin to articulate just how strong, confident, and determined I feel now. It’s amazing to feel this way about myself and I’m enjoying every second of it. Yes, I still have some work to do, but I’ve already come so far. My confidence is through the roof these days and that’s taking some getting used to. I’ve always been somewhat determined and everyone tells me they wish they had my strength, but I don’t remember the last time I truly felt strong and determined. I’ve never felt it like I feel it now, I can tell you that.

I used to give up fairly easily when things weren’t going the way I thought they should go. But, one quote has changed my mindset for the better:

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore and I’m much happier because of it!

Food Isn’t Evil

I’ve never thought of food as evil, but I’ve had many other thoughts about it in the past. I’ve learned that I don’t have to give up the food I enjoy to achieve my goals. It all comes to moderation! I still get my iced coffee from Dunkin’ but I get a small or medium instead of a large. You notice I said “a”? I only get one when I used to get multiple. I try to stick to no more than 2 Dunkin’ runs per week. I don’t feel deprived of something I enjoy but it’s not enough to wreck all the work I’ve done.

I no longer run to the chips or cookies or cakes when I’m upset, which is much less often these days. I’ve actually started craving healthy foods, like celery. Who the hell craves celery?! I know that’s what you’re thinking. But, I do. I’ve gained so much more knowledge about food and nutrition and getting healthy the proper way that it no longer bothers me when junk food is brought into the house. I’m just like, “eh, whatever” and I keep it moving.

What’s Next?

I’ve come a long way in a relatively short period of time and this still isn’t my stop. I’ve set a new goal of 160 pounds and I’ve added strength training to my routine. I currently walk 3.25 miles most mornings and workout with weights after that. I wake up at 5 am every day so I can get an early start on my walk to beat the heat. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t (it’s very hot and humid here). I’ll evaluate things again once I hit 160 and go from there. I’m not aiming for a specific number on the scale; I’m aiming for what makes me happy and healthy.

Lost 100 Pounds But Gained So Much More

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4 Ways to Stay on Track During the Summer

4 Ways to Stay on Track During the Summer

It’s officially summer and, for me, that means BBQs, seafood feasts, pool days, and late nights playing cards. How many BBQs have you attended where healthy food was abundant? Yeah, me either. But, all is not lost. There are ways for you to stay on track during the summer and some of them are much easier than you think!

BYOF

That’s right…bring your own food. Don’t feel bad about this either! Back in April and May, we had birthday parties for my niece and nephew. I brought my own food to each one of the parties and I stayed on track. It wasn’t without some ribbing from the family, but I was able to stay on track while celebrating so it was a win-win for me. In the end, that’s all that matters. My sister hosts an annual BBQ every July and I always bring a covered dish. Last year, I brought cole slaw made with Greek yogurt instead of mayo and some healthy apple won-tons.

Even if the BBQ isn’t a bring your favorite dish kind of thing, it’s still best to bring something that you can eat. Even if you’re the only one eating it. Make up a turkey burger patty before leaving and be sure you have your choice of bread to eat it on. There are a ton of recipes online for you to review to make BBQ staples in a healthier way. Do some research and experiment with a few things before the BBQ.

Plan Ahead

Ok, y’all know that planning was going to be included in here somewhere. If you’re a person who schedules a cheat day, it’s important for you to know what’s coming your way. Even if you don’t schedule a cheat day, you should still plan ahead for summer events. By planning ahead, you can adjust your meals accordingly leading up to the event so that your body is better prepared to handle what’s about to happen.

Buy Local

Buying local is going to help you stay on track with your weight loss and your budget. Produce stands pop up practically everywhere so take full advantage of them! Not only is it a great way to support your local farmers, you also get some of the freshest produce available while saving money! Many local farmers don’t use all the crap that’s put on food when it hits the grocery store. How many times have you bought something you thought was ripe only to learn it wasn’t? That’s because, at some point, it was sprayed with a chemical to change the color to make it look ripe.

Soak Up Vitamin D

I try to plan at least 1 pool day a week with family and/or friends. This usually means BBQ’ing burgers and hot dogs and everything else we can find. Instead of indulging in that, I opt for fresh fruit and some grilled veggies…maybe a turkey or veggie burger. Vitamin D is essential for our bodies to absorb nutrients we need from foods. It’s advised that we spend no more than 30 minutes in the sun without sunscreen in order to get the most out of the sun. Set a time if you have to and then be sure to apply your sunscreen. I opt for SPF 50 by Coppertone Sport because it protects my skin if I sweat.

Summer is meant to be enjoyed to the fullest so make sure you do just that! You don’t have to blow it all because of a BBQ or a get together with friends and/or family. Just be sure to plan ahead for such events and do your best to work toward your goals each day. I’d love to know what your go-to “secrets” are for staying on track for the summer so feel free to comment below.

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The Importance of Being Intentional

The Importance of Being Intentional: Why Goal Setting is Important

Each and every one of us has goals we want to achieve. What good are goals if you never follow through to achieve them? Those aren’t goals; they’re dreams. Goals are things to work hard to achieve to make your life better. It’s important to be intention when setting your goals so that you’re more likely to achieve them.

How to Be Intentional

Be realistic. Don’t set goals so high you’ll never reach them. That’s a form of self-sabotage and you’re not going to do that. Even if you think your goals are too small, so what. We all have to start somewhere! For example, when I first began my weight loss journey (again), my goals were to drink 2 bottles of water each day and get 5,000 steps per day. Those are small goals to me now, but, back then, they were huge!

Write them Down. To make your goals more concrete, you should write them down. Keep the paper somewhere you can see it regularly, like the fridge or your desk. I like to type my goals out in my Notes app and share them to Instagram. Why? Because sharing them with others makes me want to work hard to achieve them.

Plan Ahead. I can’t stress the importance of planning enough! It will help hold you accountable and keep you on track. Use a calendar or a daily planner to help you plan for the week ahead in case you could get thrown off course. If one of your goals is to exercise 3 days per week, take a look at your calendar to see what the best 3 days are. There’s no need to be caught off guard!

Tell Others. Nothing makes you want to follow through more than knowing others are watching you. Let me be clear – you’re not telling others about your goals so that you achieve them for those people. You’re telling others to help hold you accountable to yourself. This helps you set goals that you’re more likely to achieve.

Being intentional when setting your goals helps set you up for success. Don’t even think about setting a goal that you know you can’t or won’t achieve; it’s not worth the disappointment.

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Morning Exercise Increases Productivity

Morning Exercise Increases Productivity

It’s no secret that exercise is good for your physical and mental health. But, did you know that exercise increases productivity? Many people don’t look at it like that, mainly because it’s squeezed in where you can fit it, but it’s true. If you want to be more productive, exercise first!

How Exercise Increases Productivity

If you’ve ever exercised in your life, you know that it increases your energy and boosts your mood. Well, both of those correspond to your productivity. When your energy is high and your mood is good, you’re much more likely to get more done.

I know you’ve heard the saying, “a body in motion stays in motion”, right? Of course you have! When you exercise in the morning, you’re much more likely to stay in motion during the day. While your colleagues are struggling to get started in the morning, you’ve hit the ground running.

Exercise also increases your capacity for getting things done. If you need to work late, want to play with the kids, or need more time to focus on your business, exercise will help you get it all done.

This one is my absolute favorite – exercise inspires creativity. It’s true! Why do I like this one so much? Well, my brain is often overloaded with different things for work and home, not unlike the rest of you. I find myself thinking about things too long and getting nowhere. I go on a 2-mile walk every morning and I’ve noticed that my overthinking has decreased. Why? Because I’m able to work through these thoughts and come up with better ideas while I’m exercising.

By now you should be convinced that morning exercise increases productivity. You probably want to know how to become the person who exercises in the morning, right? Yeah you do!

How Can I Start Exercising in the Morning?

I’m not going to sugarcoat it – you’re changing a habit and that’s hard. You need to make sure you’re able to fully commit to this change or you won’t be able to stick with it. I’m not a morning person, never have been, but I always exercise in the morning because it’s important to me. So, even if you’re like me, you can become someone who exercises in the morning fairly easily. Here’s how!

1. Change your bedtime – go to bed earlier because you’ll be getting up earlier. There are times when I have to take melatonin to help me get to sleep so I can wake up without feeling groggy.
2. Be realistic – don’t set your sights on getting up at 4 am to workout at 5 am. That’s biting off way more than you can chew. Set realistic goals for yourself.
3. Get ready to be disappointed – yep, that’s right. You’re going to be disappointed because life happens but it’s ok. If you were planning to walk/run outdoors and woke up to rain, what are you going to do? You can’t control Mother Nature.
4. Let’s make a deal – I make deals with myself all the time; I can watch this show on the DVR when that is done. These days, I don’t drink a Dunkin’ coffee unless I’ve walked first. If you’re a coffee addict like me, that can be your deal. If you’re not a coffee junkie, replace coffee with whatever gets you going.
5. Crank it up – nothing is more motivating to me than music so make sure you’ve got a badass playlist ready to go.

So now you know that morning exercises increases productivity and you’re armed with 5 tips on how to workout in the morning. What more do you need to get started? Let’s do this!

How Exercise Increases Productivity

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How I Set the Tone for My Day

How I Set the Tone for My Day

I recently read a blog post about setting the tone for your day and it intrigued me. After reading it, I realized that we are responsible for how our days go. With that being said, I started thinking about how I set the tone for my day or rather how I wasn’t. I used to just get up in the morning and start my day automatically. Things are a bit different now and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Set Goals for the Day

I set small goals for myself for the day first thing in the morning. Okay, not exactly first thing in the morning; I do need my coffee. The goals I set for myself aren’t big ones; just ones that help keep me motivated and on track. Some of my goals are the same each day, such as completing my to do list. Others are different depending on what I have to do that day. For example, if I have appointments in the morning, one of my goals is to walk the park instead of my usual route.

Think Positively

Believe it or not, the first thought we have in the morning influences our tone for the day. I never really thought about this until I read the post. Since then, I’ve started having more positive thoughts in the morning. Instead of waking up at 5 am on Monday, thinking “ugh, Monday”, I wake up at 5 am on Monday and think “It’s going to be a productive start to the week!”. Kinda sounds corny, I know, but it works!

Be Flexible

Admittedly, this one is difficult for me because I’m a planner gal. Y’all know how much I love planning my days and I don’t handle it well when things don’t go as planned. But, I’m learning to be more flexible when it comes to this. Things don’t always go like you think they should and there’s no sense getting pissed off about it. Remember this…

Exercise

I’ve found that I have to exercise first thing in the morning. Not only does it help clear my mind, it also makes be happier and keeps me from overeating. Exercising is something that I do for myself every day. It’s good for my mental and physical health.

Morning Routine

Keeping my morning routine is essential for me if I want to complete my to do list. This routine consists of enjoying my coffee, having breakfast, and cleaning up around the house. If I have a busy day at the office or with appointments, I move pretty quickly. However, if I have a slow day, I take my sweet time…with 2 exceptions. I don’t rush through my coffee or my breakfast; that’s my time to reflect on yesterday and prepare for today.

Did you know that you’re responsible for setting the tone of your day? Not many of us realize it, but it’s true. Your attitude is completely up to you. Don’t waste anymore of your precious time worrying about things you can’t control or change; accept what is and move on.

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What Happened When I Gave Up the Scale for 30 Days?

What Happened When I Gave Up the Scale for 30 Days

I stumbled upon a Lose It Facebook group awhile back and joined. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The folks in this group know exactly what I’m dealing with and offer some of the most amazing support ever! Back in March, I was having scale issues where I was getting a different weight each time I stepped on it. I saw my doctor during this time because I was experiencing dizziness and their scale said I had only lost 13 pounds! Ugh…talk about frustrating. A few people in the group and I decided to boycott the scale for the month of April…

I’m used to weighing myself every morning and I thought I was going to have a difficult time not stepping on the scale. It was actually much easier than I would have thought. With only a few days left of the month, I’m happy to report that I haven’t stepped foot on my scale. I had to visit my primary doctor and an endocrinologist earlier this month and I didn’t look at the number on the scale either time.

I weighed in on April 1 at 215.6 pounds. I gave up the scale for the next 30 days. Well, to be fair, I gave it up for 27 days because curiosity got the better of me on April 28. I figured what the hell; it was the day after my birthday so I stepped on the blasted thing. After 27 days, I weighed 203 pounds. Talk about excited!

So, what happened during those 27 days?

I wasn’t worried about the numbers, except for my calorie intake. I paid much more attention to how I was feeling and how my clothes fit. I thought I was going to have a very difficult time because I was used to weighing in every day, but it was surprisingly easy for me to ignore the scale.

Those were the best 27 days I’ve had yet! It was so great that I’ve decided I’m going to keep it up. From now on, my strategy is to weigh in on the first of the month and again on the last day of the month.

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