Category: beauty

A Battle through Weight Loss to a Place of Happiness, Health and Shaping My Body to Continue to Meet My Fitness Goals #CoolSculpting

I had spent the last ten years giving everything I could of myself to others – I wanted to be the best mother, wife, daughter, employee and friend. I have always been a person that enjoys giving to others but this time I had let it get too far and had put my own needs so far down my list that I never addressed them or took care of myself.

I found myself at a point where I had gained over one hundred pounds, making unhealthy nutritional choices, not participating in any physical activity and depressed. I gave so much of myself to others, that by the time it came to take care of myself, I was too exhausted and I had no more to give – I let myself go. I made several attempts to get back on track but each failure on the scale or during a workout was frustrating and seemed to put me two steps backwards. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing that was so wrong. I had the educational background in Kinesiology and I spent my teenage and early adult years being active, so how could I be failing so badly?

Denial.

I was in utter and complete denial. Denial that I was stretching myself too thin, denial that I was being as active as I should be and in denial that I was making healthy food choices.

The truth was I over eating, I was making bad food choices and was consuming far more calories than I was burning. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see the same person that others were seeing but it was affecting every aspect of my life. I would wear baggy clothes to hide my body, I was hiding from photos, I would only allow photos to be taken at certain angles and specific body parts and I was seeking help from my family doctor for depression. It was after the birth of my second son and my husband took a photo of us together outside the doctor’s office that I was horrified. I could not believe that the person in the photo was me. I did not recognize the person that I had become and I knew that this was enough – it was time to put me first.

I decided to make the hardest and most important decision of my life, to put me first. I was going to wake up and allow myself time to go to the gym without worrying about anyone else’s schedule, breakfast or lunch (within reason), I was going to eliminate the unhealthy food choices from my diet and I was going to allow myself to say no to taking on roles that I did not have the time to do (goodbye PTA council!). I had to make this choice for me, not only for me to feel better about myself but also for my health.

Over the course of a year, through a lot of hard work, determination and sacrifice I was able to lose just under one hundred and twenty pounds. It was exhilarating, not only was I happier but I found that part of me that I had lost. I wanted to get outside and play soccer with my kids, I wanted to be in the photos again (I can’t believe the years I went without taking a photo with my kids because I was ashamed) and I was confident. I was able to cut back on my anti-depressants and I stopped using food as a coping mechanism (which is the hardest thing to do – food was my comfort and even now I struggle with this). The best part of it all? Loving myself again. I knew this girl again, I was happy, confident in my own skin and took charge of my future. I refused to sit back and be a minor character in my own life.

So how did I do it?

First – download a calorie counting app and record everything you put in your mouth. Be brutally honest and record every last bite. You may be generally surprised at how quickly calories add up in a day. Using that knowledge, make healthier food choices (I increased lean protein and vegetables) and measured everything. In the beginning, I purchased a lot of pre-packaged portion meat so that I knew how many calories I was eating but you will get better.

Second – purchase or download a step counter on your phone and really watch how physically active you are. It is not enough just to make your step goal (and aim big!) but you should also be physically active for at least thirty minutes consecutively in a day. Find an activity that you like to do and dedicate time to it – I found a love of yoga this way.

Third – be kind and patient with yourself. Give yourself a lot of emotional and mental love. You didn’t gain weight overnight and it won’t disappear overnight. While I have come a long way, I STILL have stubborn areas of fat that I just cannot get rid of despite my efforts in the gym and in the kitchen. I am sure so many of you can understand this feeling! It sometimes feels like no amount of exercise and healthy diet choices will fix those areas. You are not alone and you are not crazy – this happens to so many men and women.

I am a firm believer of empowering women (and men) to do the things that make themselves happy and that lift their confidence up. This could be anything from as simple as a piercing or a tattoo to a minor plastic surgery enhancement like Botox or a procedure to remove fatty tissues. We all deserve happiness and confidence in our own skin, so do what makes you feel good!

CoolSculpting®  is a procedure that was developed several years ago and is designed to target specific areas of the body visible fat bulges on the abdomen and “love handles”, inner and outer thigh, and bra and back fat (how many of you can relate to these stubborn and common fat areas – I know I can!). (1).

While I have a list of areas that I think are a problem and that I do not like, I strongly believe that every individual needs to take the time to consult with a qualified CoolSculpting® clinician to discuss their body and concerns and in turn have them examine your body. Together you can create a treatment plan that is reasonable, meets your goals and will achieve the results that you were originally looking for. Never, ever skip this very important part and always ensure that the clinician you are meeting with has been certified by CoolSculpting® so that you will not be disappointed.

I met with Linda at The Plastic Surgery Clinic in Mississauga and she floored me with her knowledge and passion about the CoolSculpting® procedure (she is CoolSculpting® certified if you hadn’t already guessed). She addressed all of my concerns and took the time to explain each of my problem areas and which area would be suitable for treatment and which ones would not. It is often quite hard to talk about our own body and while most times I am not shy, it can be embarrassing to admit that I have fat and I can’t get rid of it. I am not ashamed of my body or my weight loss but it can be hard to open up to another person about it especially with someone you have never met before. Linda was kind, compassionate and never made me feel embarrassed about my body, she made me want to talk to her about my concerns and discuss potential treatment options.

I learned that because of some of the extra skin around my stomach area from the weight loss that this would not be a suitable area to treat because when the frozen fat cells are naturally eliminated it may leave me with additional loose skin. My hips, while I feel like they are huge, did not actually meet the criteria for treatment and the picture below illustrates why – the bulge of fat would not fit into the applicator and would not be an effective treatment. I also noticed that my left and right side are quite uneven, go figure how the body works!

Linda made me feel confident that the areas she wanted to treat (flanks) were reasonable areas and that I was not going to waste my effort and hopes on an unrealistic treatment. She was open and honest and worked with me to answer all of my questions and explained my potential end result.

Facts about CoolSculpting®:

  • CoolSculpting® is a clinically proven, non-surgical treatment used remove stubborn fat from your body. (3)
  • CoolSculpting® can be used on visible fat bulges on the abdomen and “love handles”, inner and outer thigh, and bra and back fat. (4)
  • CoolSculpting® works by gently cooling targeted fat cells to 4°C to induce the controlled elimination of fat cells, to help sculpt your body. (5) Essentially, it freezes fat away.
  • CoolSculpting® patients will be able to resume normal activities immediately after treatment. (6,7)
  • Following treatment, the body’s immune system clears and eliminates these dead cells and fat through its natural processes. (8,9)

Make sure you always follow the ‘ABCs of Patient Safety’ to ensure you are getting the best possible treatment:

  • Ask about the treatment facts
  • Be aware of the treatment you are getting and by whom,  all CoolSculpting® certified clinics are listed on CoolSculpting.com
  • Consultation at a qualified CoolSculpting® certified practice to ensure best treatment
  • For more information or to find a qualified clinic in your area, visit http://www.coolsculpting.com

I left my appointment with Linda feeling excited, nervous and very much ready to try CoolSculpting®. I finally felt like I had a reasonable amount of control over my body, the stubborn fat I just couldn’t get rid of and I couldn’t wait to give those fat cells a shock! Check back in two weeks for all the details on my first CoolSculpting® treatment at The Plastic Surgery Clinic!

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned Consult and CoolSculpting® treatment as part of my participation in the program and in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

1. Zeltiq Data On File. About CoolSculpting. 2017.

2. Zeltiq Data On File. About CoolSculpting. 2017.

3. Zelickson B, et al. American Society for Dermatology Surgery 2009;35:1462–70.

4. Zeltiq Data On File. About CoolSculpting. 2017.

5. Zelickson B, et al. American Society for Dermatology Surgery 2009;35:1462–70.

6. Krueger N, et al. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology 2014;7:201–205.

7. Nelson AA (ed) Avram MM. Fat removal: Invasive and noninvasive body contouring. Wiley- Blackwell; 1st edition. April 2015. ISBN-10144433428X.

8. Zelickson B, et al. American Society for Dermatology Surgery 2009;35:1462–70.

9. Klein KB, et al. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 2009;41:785–90.

Continue Reading

Get Summer Ready Skin with Ureadin

Isdin

Dry, cracked and itchy skin. Maybe feet that sound like sand paper rubbing against the floor when you rub your foot against a surface.  Does any of this sound familiar to you?

Our entire family suffers with dry and itchy skin, myself being the worst. Over the years we have dealt with eczema, psoriasis on the arms and general dry, scaly skin on our legs from swimming. For myself, if it is not dry, red and blistering skin on my arms then it is cracked, rough feet (my family teases me saying that my feet literally sound like sand paper polishing the floor – brutal right?). I am extremely hard on my feet, I am on them all day at work and I love walking around barefoot especially during the summer months and this really shows in my feet. The dryness can quickly get out of hand as you can see below:

Get Summer Ready Skin with Ureadin

Disgusting right? A part of me cringes when looking at this picture and an even greater part of me can’t believe I showed this to you! Honestly the dry, scaly and flakes happen so quickly it is unbelievable. I have to keep a strict foot care routine in place in order to stop and prevent this from happening.

So how do I reverse my feet (and stop this from happening) from looking like this and prevent the all over dry skin in the summer?

Read on to get summer ready, fresh skin and feet. You can follow these simple steps to get ready for summer:

Skip the hot showers! Instead shower every other day in a cool to warm shower as the hot water will actually strip your skin of oils and make it drier. Baths tend to have the same effect as hot showers, so try to avoid them when your skin is very dry. Before I hop in the shower, I also like to gently dry brush my skin with a loofah, it helps to wake up my skin and remove any dry, loose skin before I hop in. I like to work in circular motions from distal regions to closer to the centre of my body (so hands to shoulders, feet to tops of thighs).

Get Summer Ready Skin with Ureadin

After you hop out of the shower, pat dry your skin (never scrub dry) and while it is still moist you should use your moisturizer to help lock in the moisture. You need to be careful when choosing a moisturizer because not all are made the same and some can actually make your skin drier. For us, using the Ureadin Lotion 10 was an obvious choice. The lotion contains Urea Isdin and Dexpanthenol, both of which work together to retain moisture in your skin. Even my husband noticed the huge difference in his own skin. He loved how soft his feet were feeling from using the lotion. You can definitely use this lotion all over you body where your skin is dry, tight and itchy without irritation.

Soak those tender feet! If you have extremely dry feet like me, take some time daily to soak them in the tub in warm water. Not only will this give them some relief to sore achy feet, it also helps to exfoliate the dry skin away. It is important to follow this up with a quick exfoliation with a pumice stone and a moisturizer designed for dry feet, like Ureadin Podos. This specially designed formula uses lactic acid to exfoliate and then emollients like Shea butter to re-hydrate the skin. You can actually expect to begin to see results in three days!

Get Summer Ready Skin with Ureadin

I have been using Ureadin Podos on my feet for the last three weeks and I love the difference it has made in my heels, toes and the balls of my feet. It instantly soothes the dry, sore skin on my feet while improving the look and feel of my feet. This is the difference in my feet over the last three weeks:

Get Summer Ready Skin with Ureadin

My skin is brighter, the cracks have healed and they are definitely not as rough. They are much smoother to the touch and I am not embarrassed to wear sandals.

Get Summer Ready Skin with Ureadin

If you are heading out swimming, pack the moisturizer. Swimming can really dry out your skin with all of the chemicals, so make sure you are applying both sunscreen and moisturizer. The Ureadin spray on moisturizer was a blessing for us. It was easy to pack and even easier to apply. You literally spray on and it dries on its own within seconds (which when you are struggling to get moisturizer on a child this is definitely a win-win for any parent). It has a light scent (almost reminded me of baby powder) and is suitable for all skin types. So no more worrying about carrying different creams for different skin types.

Keep hydrated! This is so important – you really need to ensure you are in taking an adequate amount of water throughout the day especially if you are sweating.

Preventive care is so important to prevent painful, dry and cracked skin – especially now that we have almost reached summer. How do you help prevent and soothe dry and cracked skin?

If you would like more information or would like to purchase the Ureadin Hydration line of products, head over to their website now to get more information and purchasing details.

Disclosure: I am part of the Intega Influencer Campaign and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Continue Reading

Bzzzzzz..Enjoy All Natural Skin Care with Beessential Products

Beessential Lotions Review

After having my own children, my shopping habits and preferences have changed drastically. Natural skin care and cruelty free products have replaced many of my older choices. I want my shopping habits to have as little impact on the environment as possible and at the same be natural skin care products that I feel safe putting on not only my own body but my childrens as well.

Many of you are probably aware because of the news the impact we have had on bees and their decline. Bees are tied to us and the impact we make on our environment directly affects them. David Rzepka was fascinated by bees, their science and culture after a co-worker asked to place a bee hive on their family farm. He probably never realized that this would be the start of something amazing, Beessential!

Beessential Products: Review

Knowing the complex relationship we have with bees, David wanted to design products for our skin and body using honey and beeswax, products that are nautral and safe not only for us but for our environment too. This is the philosophy that has guided David and his family as they expanded their natural skin product lines to include lip balm, soap, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion!

The Products:

Beessential Hand & Body Lotion (In Rose with Mint and Lavender)

This lightweight lotion is the perfect solution for those who want a cruetly free, natural and made in North America lotion. The hand and body lotion was not oily with a light fragrance, which made it perfect for me to use at work as the smell would not bother patients and it wasn’t greasy that could affect my grip when drawing up needles or trying to put gloves on. The lotions contain: Vitamin E, Shea Butter, Honey, Aloe, Olive Oil, Beeswax, Moringa Oil as well as essential oils.

Beessential Lotions Review: Natural Skin Care

Natural Lip Balm

The Beessential Natural lip balm contains a unique blend of olive oil, coconut oil, beeswax, honey, aloe and hemp. Combine this with essential oils such as lavender, ginger, peppermint and orange, you are left with a uniquely hydrating lip balm.

Beessential Lip Balm Review: Natural Skin Care

The Beessential Natural Skin Care Promise:

  • to give back to their community.
  • create products that are ecologically friendly using renewable ingredients that are kind to the Earth and all living things.
  • strive to make products that are natural, renewable and functional without sacrificing quality.
  • commitment to make products that match their competitors (including the artifical products).
  • manufacture products with sustainable development.

Make sure you check out Beessential on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with information and deals.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned products in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading

NAAT Cream with Argan Oil and Macadamia Review

NAAT Cream with Argan Oil

Your hair is one of the first things people will notice about you (besides your teeth!). I want my hair to shine and be as strong as it can be but with the amount of colouring and swimming I do it has become quite the chore. Years of damage have taken its toll on my hair and it is now dry and damaged.

Here is a closer look at what I am dealing with:

NAAT Cream with argan oil pre treatment

While it may be hard to see from this picture I have frizzy, hard to contain hair with dry, damaged ends.

What is Argan Oil?

Argan oil is extracted from the nuts of the argan tree found in southwestern Morocco. It has been used for centuries by Berber women to help neutralize the damaging effects of the extreme hot weather. The argan oil has age defying, restorative properties as well as being high in fatty acids and Vitamin E.

NAAT Cream with Argan Oil

NAAT Cream with Argan Oil and Macadamia

The NAAT Cream comes in a 32.5oz container and is recommended for individuals with dry and frizzy  hair. It is a deep conditioning cream with long-lasting frizz control. It replenishes moisture and restores hair’s natural shine and softness. It can be used for everyday use.

NAAT Cream with Argan OilSo how did it work out?

NAAT Cream with argan oil post treatment

I loved how soft my hair was! I used the NAAT cream three times a week for two weeks and noticed a significant improvement in the texture and shine of my hair. My hair was softer to the touch and when I went to shower it didn’t immediately turn into a thick and rough mess. This all combined to make styling and combing my hair that much easier after showering.

The application was easy, as you literally scoop out some of the cream and apply. The cream is thick with no smell to it. They recommend waiting three minutes but you can wait up to fifteen minutes for a really deep condition. So in those few minutes it takes to get a good deep condition I used that to practice on my singing skills much to my family’s delight! The container contains over fifty applications which is perfect for so many of us that need those extra treatments. I find that deep conditioning products are usually quite expensive and only come in small containers that you go through more often.

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product free of charge in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading

Zax’s All Natural Health Care Products #giveaway

zaxs

Dark spots, under eye circles, facial redness and bruises. All of these conditions draw attention to the areas we want to hide. There are so many products out on the market that say they will treat these conditions but some may work and others are full of ingredients that we may not want to even put on our body. I know I prefer to use as many natural products as possible.

For the last two months I have been using Zax’s all natural Darkspot cream, Dark Circle Cream and Facial Redness Cream. As many of my friends and family know, I suffer with dark eye circles (it has been a constant almost my whole life) and it has always bothered me. No amount of makeup ever seems like it can cover the darkness properly. To match those lovely shiners, my cheeks tend to go red depending on the foods I have eaten. Gluten is the worst culprit for causing this reaction. If I have too much gluten my skin reacts with red bumps on my cheeks (not to mention my arms!).

zaxs

Zax’s Dark Circle Cream

Zax’s Dark Circle eye cream is designed to reduce puffiness and minimize dark circles to leave your under eyes looking fresh. The cream includes witch hazel (natural astringent), cucumber extract (to soothe and moisturize) and caffeine (anti inflammatory). You should use the cream for four weeks to ensure an adequate amount of time has passed to achieve results.

The cream was easy to apply and only a small amount is needed. I liked the soothing effect it had on my under eyes without a burning sensation. I noticed no strong smell to the cream either which is perfect considering you are applying it on your face close to your nose. I applied this cream twice a day because I loved the way it made my eyes appear less puffy.

zaxs

Zax’s Darkspot Cream

As we age we tend to develop dark spots, some individuals are luckier than others but I have noticed some areas on my face have developed dark spots (especially along the jaw line!). Zax’s dark spot cream is a chemical free skin brightening cream that removes dead skin cells, reduces the appearance of dark skin and moisturizes. The five natural ingredients include: citrus ushiu peel extract (skin lightening effect), licorice extract (UVA and UVB absorption), Aloe (skin lightening effect), vitamin E (anti-oxidant) and niacinamide (unique form of Vitamin B3).

I love using this cream! I have done waxing and electrolysis on my face in the past and I began to notice that the skin on my chin and jaw line is always slightly darker than the rest of my face. Applying this cream to this area over the last two months I have noticed a slight improvement in this area with a brighter look to my face. The cream also has a pleasant citrus smell to it and leaves a nice fresh feeling.

zaxs

Zax’s Facial Redness

Facial redness can occur for a variety of reasons: rosacea, windburn or even dehydrated skin. This cream works to reduce the redness, improve moisture and improve the tone and texture of your skin. The formula includes: pine bark extract (anti inflammatory), aloe (skin soothing properties) and Vitamin E (to treat skin conditions).

There is nothing fun about facial redness. It feels like your face is a beacon to the world and at times makes me very self-conscious. Using the facial redness cream during these times (I did not use it consistently during the two months just when the redness started until it finished) had an almost immediate effect lessening the severity of the redness.

zaxs

All of these creams are recommended for individuals twelve years of age and older. The best part is that a small amount is required for application allowing the creams to last that much longer!

Zax’s is giving you the chance to win your own collection of creams!

This prize pack includes:

  • Zax’s Original heelspur cream
  • Zax’s Facial Redness cream
  • Zax’s Original Bruise cream
  • Zax’s Original Darkspot cream
  • Zax’s Original Dark Eye circle cream

The Giveaway!

Make sure to follow Zax’s on Twitter and Facebook for new updates and information.

zaxs

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned products free of charge in order to complete this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading