Archive | April 2013

Losing Weight: Keeping a Healthy Mind & Body in the Process of Weight Loss

As my wedding day approaches, I am staying mindful of making healthy choices and implementing healthy habits. I find it easy to have moments where I fall into the rut of the “get thin” mindset. I’ve wasted enough time with wedding dress measurement stress. Like everyone else, I’m not perfect. I splurge sometimes, I eat more than I should, I indulge in pizza and ice cream on occasion. I’ve found it’s about allowing yourself to enjoy little indulgences amidst practicing healthy habits the majority of the time.

The words that seem to be discussed most often in this day and age are

“losing weight” or “weight loss” or “lose inches” or “shrink”.

The problem I have with this terminology (even though those words are in the title of this post) is that they scream “lack” and “struggle” and “loss of sanity.”

I prefer to think of the process as GAINING so much, not LOSING. Gaining strength, gaining endurance, gaining health, gaining overall body function (losing fat is just one of many benefits of making healthy food & exercise choices). If the process seems like a terrible struggle, you are surely not doing the most healthful way.

I am in a constant state of balancing: 1. Eating without a restricted feeling and 2. Staying mindful of what I’m putting into my body.

This urge to eat is intensified on days when I run extra mileage. It is even more important on these days that I make healthy decisions so I don’t get deterred from my goal: to eat clean, organic food the majority of the time. My fiancée calls me a “lioness” because of my ferocious appetite.🙂

In all of this, I keep these certain things in mind to make sure I am becoming more fit and toned without sacrificing health:

1. Break a sweat once a day.

Most days I’ll run 2-8 miles and some days I will simple do some push-ups and squats at home but either way I’m staying consistent with having my body endure activity every day.

2. Don’t think: Lose weight. Think: Gain Health.

3. Drink a big glass of water.

When I feel my hungriest, I find doing this not only revitalizes me, but it helps me to not be such an animal in the kitchen.

4. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

Make them the focus of each meal, not the side. Plants have an incredible ability to revitalize and nourish the body.

5. Drink a daily elixir or detox drink.

My favorite concoctions are 1. lemon juice/coconut vinegar/raw honey/water and 2. spinach & water blended together. Having a routine of drinking this each day helps me keep a healthy focus on food.

6. Buy organic products. Yes, it’s worth the extra money.

7. Appreciate the beautiful body you have.

Might not sound like the first thing on your mind when you’re trying to improve your body. However, I find that becoming healthier and more fit while loving and appreciating your body is the road to success, whereas hating and being overly critical about your body while trying to improve will make your success diminish, as you are then in a negative state of mind. Negative is not productive.

8. Smile! Be happy.

I know that a happy Jesica is an energetic, productive, focused and inspired Jesica.

My ultimate goal is to be the healthiest me-Not the skinniest or thinnest. I think most people perhaps have the same goal, yet they go about it in unhealthy ways that ultimately are detrimental to the body.

Picture yourself where you want to be, live in the moment, focus on health, and don’t sweat the little details. (What I’m telling myself)

Did I mention I’m getting married this year? Wahoooooo🙂 (I’m so lucky he picked me!)

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My Makeup: Aubrey Organics, Juice Beauty, Emani, Faerie Organic, Larenim

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This post will be brief, as I just wanted to share some of the organic makeup/cosmestic products I’ve been using.

I have successfully switched every makeup item in my regimen to an organic alternative.

It’s such a wonderful feeling knowing that I am putting good things onto my face and can recognize the ingredients in each of them.

Here’s the rundown of my organic beauty items that are practical for daily use/wear:

-Juice Beauty Organic Perfecting Foundation in “Organic Sand” and “Organic Ivory”

-Aubrey Organics Translucent Base Powder in “Caramel”

-Emani Pressed Mineral Foundation in “Sienna”

-Faerie Organic Eye Shadows in shades “Cocoa Bean” and “Hush”

-Faerie Organic Bambi Eyes Mascara

-Larenim Cosmetics Powder Eyeliner in “Destiny”

-Aubrey Organics Natural Lips Sheer Tint in “Sheer Pink”

I have two shades of both foundation and powder to accommodate my changing skin (i.e. sun tanned in the summer, lacking tan in the winter). This strategy works perfectly for matching my skin tone as close as possible.

I have reviewed these products in earlier posts, so check them out if you’re curious! Happy “makeuping”🙂

Wedding Dress Upper Body Workout Moves

In preparation for my wedding later this year,

I have been tweaking my usual running routine by adding some upper body moves that will help tone the only area that will be showing outside of my wedding dress.

This is one of the dresses I tried on-I’ve only tried on wedding dresses one time, one day, and walked away with my dress! I am including this picture just for reference. (This is NOT my wedding dress, as I am old fashioned and am keeping that a surprise to most).

My hair covers what I think of as a “problem area,” also called “armpit” fat.

However, I don’t want to rely on my hair covering it up, so I am including some moves before or after my runs to help tone my upper body more.

I do about 3 sets of 15 reps each for each of these moves, with a 25 pound kettle bell:

Upright Row
Bent-Over Row
Shoulder Press
Tricep Dip
“Girl” Push-Ups
Plank
Side plank

These exercises, as a whole, target my entire upper body. It gives me some confidence and piece of mind as my wedding approaches that I will look my best, in the upper body, specifically.

I’m so excited to marry my Paul! ♥🙂

Navitas Naturals Organic & Raw Maca Powder Review

Navitas Naturals Organic & Raw Maca Powder

-Navitas Naturals Description:

“Maca is an herbaceous plant native to the high Andean Mountains of Bolivia and Peru. It is one of the only food plants in the world able to thrive at such a high altitude. Maca, and more specifically the root of the plant, has a long history as a superfood. The maca root was prized throughout the Incan empire for its adaptogenic-like qualities that enable it to nourish and balance the body’s delicate endocrine system, and to help cope with stress. It also energizes naturally, without the jitters and crashes of caffeine, and it can aid in reproductive function, helping to balance hormones and increase fertility. Navitas Naturals Maca Powder is the raw and natural form of this special root.”

-My Description & Thoughts about Maca:

I have become increasingly interested in finding foods that can aid and optimize the function of the endocrine system.

I don’t believe I’ve ever sought information before for the sole purpose of bettering this specific pathway in my body. The thing that intrigues me most about the idea of optimizing the system that is responsible for hormone dispersement is this: ample amounts of exercise, heart rate raising and muscle challenging activity can have a decreased effect on the body (for increased athleticism, decreased body fat, accelerated metabolism) when the messengers inside your body, known as hormones, are not doing their job the best they can. Like every other system in the body, food intake effects this.

I love reading and learning more about superfoods like Maca that have the power to elevate the health of the endocrine system, sans hormone injections or other invasive methods.

Maca has an interesting taste to it; it’s hard to even come up with a good description for it. It is a bit earthy, with similar flavors of other roots like beets, carrots or parsnips. I like it best simply mixed with water and gulped down the hatch. Since it has a peculiar flavor, I don’t often put it in smoothies nor fruit bowls. It’s more of a “maca shot.” Sometimes I will add it to another daily elixir I drink that is made of lemon juice & coconut vinegar.

Navitas Naturals products are available at most health food stores like Natural Grocers and Whole Foods. One bag that will last a few months costs about $17.

Dew Puff Plant Fiber Exfoliating Sponge for Acne Prone Skin

Ever since my early teens, I have combatted facial acne and blemishes.

I’ve fervently searched for routines, products, regimens and methods for having clear skin.

I have successfully found several organic face soaps, serums and moisturizers that nourish and feed my skin so that my breakouts are minimized.

Part of my face cleaning routine has consisted of utilizing a facial exfoliating round, one that you can find at your local grocery store or pharmacy. These rounds basically got the job done from a standpoint of creating a nice lather and exfoliating the skin; though they did, at times, leave my skin red and slightly irritated after showering if I scrubbed the slightest bit too hard.

It occurred to me that what these little rounds are made of should not be ignored. I don’t have any knowledge as to what they are made of. Plastic maybe? That’s my best guess.

The reoccurring thought I had was “I am putting so much time and effort into learning about, purchasing and implementing these organic face cleansers, yet I am neglecting the vehicle with which I am applying and scrubbing them into and onto my skin.” I didn’t have any products in mind to replace these plastic rounds yet, though.

It was on a regular trip to a health food store called Natural Grocers that I came across this awesome exfoliating facial sponge. I found this product amongst the organic beauty products, pumice stones and hair brushes. I was eager to try it!

This Dew Puff is effective yet gentle and is made of plant fiber, a more trustworthy and recognizable material.

This is how Dew Puff describes this product:

“Dew Puff facial sponges are made from the root of konjac, a plant native to Asia. Konjac has long been regarded for its health and medicinal properties. With its natural ability to break down dirt and promote circulation, Dew Puff is the perfect puff for dew-beautiful skin, everyday! Dew Puff with Bamboo Charcoal contains activated carbon and minerals to help prevent breakouts, plus antioxidants to fight acne-causing bacteria. Soothing for blemished skin. Super soft and for gentle everyday skin care. Cleans, exfoliates and refreshes. Skin stays naturally hydrated 100% chemical free Just add water to use.”

After using this Dew Puff sponge for several weeks on my face, I am not only a fan of this product but I am surely converted to plant based facial exfoliators.

This sponge provides gentle, yet thorough and effective exfoliation. It is supposed to be used wet, so I put it under the shower nossle to douse it before use.

If you have a skin care regimen that already includes exfoliation, consider trying this Dew Puff. I’m glad I switched.

Aubrey Organics Evening Primrose & Rosa Mosqueta Body Lotion Review

Aubrey Organics Body Lotions

Evening Primrose Soothing Lotion:

Aubrey Organics’ Description:

“Special, gentle care is yours with this hydrating lotion formulated with soothing, organic evening primrose oil, ideal for many dry skin conditions. Use it daily to instantly calm and replenish dry, stressed skin.”

My Description & Thoughts:

This lotion smells wonderful, very calming and soothing, as Aubrey’s description says. The consistency is very rich & creamy. I find it best to apply right after showering so that the skin absorbs the essential oils and nourishing ingredients while the pores are still open. It leaves the skin moisturized, but not goopy. It is the ideal lotion to have on hand. As always, the ingredient list on Aubrey products are recognizable, clean and free of harsh chemicals.

Rosa Mosqueta Luxurious Lotion:

Aubrey Organics’ Description:

“Luxurious body lotion instantly restores your skin’s natural moisture balance to leave it incredibly soft and silky. High in essential fatty acids, vitamin E and other nutrients, this ultra-rich formula is perfect for dry skin. A customer favorite for years.”

My Description & Thoughts:

My review for all Aubrey lotions is and probably always will be similar; they are all wonderfully moisturizing and each scent is pleasant in its own way. I particularly prefer this scent, though. Aubrey makes several products in the “Rosa Mosqueta” scent and they are lovely & floral, reminiscent of fresh cut roses. This is my favorite out of these two lotions because of the scent.

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Aubrey Organics Facial Products vs Proactiv Acne Treatment

No matter how many blog posts I do about Aubrey Organics, my words will not be sufficient in communicating the impact that this brand has had on my life.

Throughout my successes as an athlete and nutrition conscious individual, I have had the hardest time (especially as a teen) in keeping a clear facial complexion.

As cliche as it is, I have truly tried most remedies for acne (both homemade & store bought). I had some success using the Proactiv acne treatment products but was quickly deterred when I read the ingredient list on the bottles.

Proactiv acne treatment products remind me of diet pills, they might be “effective” in addressing the issue (losing weight or clearing acne) however they can be detrimental to the health of your body.

They are a quick fix to a problem that is related to the overall well being of your body.

I could go all day talking about how crucial my switch to a organic facial products has been to my peace of mind and overall health.

Now, to brag on Aubrey a bit….

Aubrey Organics Facial products come in a range from 1 to 5. 1 being for skin that is very dry and sensitive and 5 for skin that is very oily.

I evaluated my skin to be around a 4, which Aubrey calls “Combination Oily Skin.” I also intermittently use the product for “3” skin, which Aubrey calls “Normal” skin.

The two products I use on a daily basis are Aubrey Organics’ Blue Green Algae Facial Cleansing Lotion followed by the Blue Green Algae Moisturizer.

1. Aubrey Organics Blue Green Algae Facial Cleansing Lotion

-Aubrey Organics’ Description:

“Soothing formula cleans and balances the complexion and gently exfoliates with active enzymes and a mild castile soap base.”

-My Description & Thoughts:

The consistency is just as it sounds, creamy and lotion-like. It is so gentle on my skin and feeling very nourishing, yet effective. It can also be used daily without drying out skin. It doesn’t feel, at all, like it’s stripping the skin. This is my go to cleanser. Great ingredient list, very effective and has a pleasant herbal smell. Love this product.

2. Aubrey Organics Blue Green Algae Moisturizer

-Aubrey Organics’ Description:

“Light antioxidant formula helps protect skin from sun exposure and pollution and restore moisture and elasticity without clogging pores.”

-My Description & Thoughts:

This moisturizer is the perfect compliment to the cleansing lotion. It is the perfect balance of moisturizing and not goopy. I can put this on my skin after washing my face in the morning and my skin absorbs it just enough so that I don’t feel like I have a heavy layer on my freshly washed skin. It smells just like the cleanser and has a very pleasant aroma. Great ingredient list in this product too. Wonderful moisturizer to have on hand.

*A little not so obvious use for this moisturizer: before applying eye shadow, I mix this moisturizer with a bit of concealer and apply it to my eye lid. This makes a perfect primer!

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