What have been this year’s game changers for me as it relates to my well-being, body and skin?   I think we all face our own unique struggles.   For me, I suffer from chronic neck, back, and shoulder pain and can easily fall into stress eating rituals.  At the same time, I’m always looking at ways to help my skin be at its best.

Over a year ago as I was speaking to my cousin Stewart, who lives in England and is in his 70’s, about my pain, and he mentioned how he stretches and does Pilates every day. He suggested vehemently that I must do the same.   I honestly didn’t even know what Pilates was but low and behold, literally a week later, Club Pilates opened up around the corner from my home.  A message from the universe…hmmm.. and a really great promotion swayed me into joining.  Well, it’s been a GAME CHANGER!   It involves stretching the body and strengthening the core.  I always feel better walking out of a class.  It helps with posture, which I realize is a culprit for causing neck, shoulder, back, and even hip pain.

Pilates: Great for strengthening the core!

When I’m being smart and plan out time to use my Pilates circle, foam rollers, and bands at home – it makes the world of difference in how I feel and even helps with sleeping at night.  My pains can make me toss and turn and wake up through the night since I’m feeling uncomfortable.  Pilates is actually something I look forward to and this is coming from someone that is not an exercise-type of girl.  I implore you that if these issues resonate with you, just try out a free Pilates class or even get vigilant about stretching, using a foam roller to put pressure on those ouch spots, and working with a Pilates circle, and or resistance bands!

 

 

Another GAME CHANGER for me is walking more.  Sounds a bit trite but when I tried out a Paleo diet at one point (which wound up being a disaster for me since my already genetically high cholesterol even became crazier), it suggested 10,000 steps a day.  I realized that if I did longer walks with my dog, Poppy, I could get there.  As I walk too, when no one is around, I also do all my wacky stretching and focus on my posture and breathing.  It’s a great way to just take a breather from life, too and relax.  I’ve been really making an effort to be in the moment and focus on what’s around me, especially the beauty of the Fall, as opposed to constantly going over my to-do list in my head.  Yes, it pops up in my brain occasionally, but I keep pushing it back down, gently saying later.  Here’s a photo of Poppy clearing her mind after a long walk.

Poppy, my Tibetan Terrier, chilling after a long walk

 

For me, I realize if I don’t have parameters in my head regarding what and how to eat, I can easily eat several sleeves of cookies (Dang….why are those Tate’s so delicious but yet so thin!).  A big GAME CHANGER was taking control of my eating.  I did an elimination diet about 2 years ago and realized I feel much better not eating dairy, gluten, and sugar.  I’m not saying that is what everybody should do, but if you are facing some health issues that you just can’t shake (and obviously, your doctors are not sure what to do), it might be reasonable to do an elimination diet, which involves getting rid of the most usual intolerances, taking the time to see how you feel, and then slowly bringing them back and monitoring if any really seem to be the culprits of causing health issues.  For me, it’s not 100% clear but for now, it’s also making me eat cleaner, more vegetables and fruit, while making me strive to be more creative with my cooking which I love.   I really enjoy cooking and as my youngest daughter always says, “I always feel better and proud when I’m eating a healthier dinner.”  Yeah…I know what she means as do you. Last night I made the yummiest squash spaghetti dish with extra crispy asparagus.  Here’s my spaghetti squash recipe:

 

I also try not to eat too much after dinner and a light breakfast only if I’m really hungry and not just doing it out of habit.  When I realize I’ve started to put on extra weight, leaving a longer interval of not eating from completing dinner to eating lunch always helps me get back to where I want to be.

 

For my skin, I’ve noticed two GAME CHANGERS for my skin that has really helped, and it is so easy peazy.  I went from washing my facing twice a day to only washing my face only at night. Obviously if I get sweaty or I work out, I’ll wash then, too.  But, as I have gotten older and my skin a bit drier, I decided to just try spraying my face with a bottled water product.

Take a break from your facial cleanser in the morning

Yes, I can just use sink water, but I feel it’s just gentler on my face using a spray water bottle.  I feel that it has helped with my skin’s appearance.

Lastly, a BIG GAME CHANGER for my skin has been incorporating a body brush into my routine.  There are just SO many benefits!  It helps brighten up your skin by making it healthier.  I especially love that it helps reduce dimpling-producing cellulite.  But, besides helping with smoothing out our skin, that cellulite is toxic so reducing it helps with detoxifying our bodies, which is always a good thing.

A few minutes of dry brushing pays off!

Dry brushing removes dead skin, activates new cell growth and allows our skin to breathe better.  It also stimulates the lymphatic system, which helps release more of those toxins out of our bodies.  At first, dry brushing can feel tough on your skin but just goes easy.  The more you do it, you’ll find how cathartic it feels, and you’ll be able to brush harder as times goes on.

Hope you will give some of these things a try if you don’t do them already.  I’d love to hear about other Game Changers for you that helped elevate your health and made your body and skin feel fabulous.

XOXO, Cheryl