Since my children are all now in school, I am starting to make improvements in areas long neglected in favour of the kids. I'm always last on my”to do” list and have decided this has to change!
While being home, I have maintained only the most basic of self care routines. Just enough to fall into the “not gross” category. But, with my 40th birthday looming, my youngest finally in school full time and my home beginning to take shape as we began all our improvements, I decided it was time to give myself a revamp too.
There are many things about ourselves that give the others the impression that you are older than you actually are. These include: being over weight, tired dull skin, thinning hair, wrinkly hands, and damaged teeth. Here's what I am doing to reset the clock and to put my best self forward because I don't mind looking my age, but I certainly do mind looking older.
At the beginning of 2015, I embarked on a Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) way of eating. I'm not calling it a diet simply because it is meant to be a forever change to the way I eat. I decided to try this because I have tried, and had some success, on low fat diets in the past but never felt good on these diets. AND my primary aim was to lose weight with those low fat diets. I felt tired, hungry, irritable and deprived. Not a sustainable way to exist. So along comes LCHF and it allows me many of the foods I have been denying myself!
It also cuts out foods containing sugars. I've been reading about the negative effects sugar has on the body-and not only on weight. It cuts out grains, gluten, starchy foods. All of which I have been told cause inflammatory reactions in the body. I suffer from Psoriasis and one of the triggers is inflammation. My dermatologist suggested I try to watch what I eat to keep my body happy and therefore my skin.
So I figured what harm is there in following this plan.
What do I eat? Meat, poultry, fish, cheese, cream, butter, vegetables, eggs, berries, nuts and many other delicious foods. All natural, no processed foods. You may think it sounds like Paleo, but it isn't. LCHF also limits fruit (due to sugars) and the version I follow also rejects replica foods. By those, I mean foods that are made to replace the ones you no longer eat. Breads, cakes and the like. LCHF is not high protein like the Atkins diet either. It is high fat, medium protein and low carb.
I have been following this way of eating since January 2015 and have gone from 38% body fat to 23% body fat. I have not felt hungry, deprived, irritable or tired on this plan. The fat is coming off (even if the scale is not budging very quickly) and the size labels in my clothing are shrinking too. My skin is 100% clear and softer, smoother feeling. I have almost zero bloating and heartburn. I sleep deeper.
Sure there are days I miss cakes, biscuits and bread. There are days I miss pasta, rice and other grains. And there are definitely days I miss potatoes. But I just have to remind myself how much better I feel in general, and that yearning passes. 9 months into this lifestyle and I can honestly say, I am quite happy to leave those out of my diet for good.
Sadly, my dietary change has also had some negative side effects. It seems it has caused major hair loss. Now before you all say, it could be something else, I have had a check over by the doctor, blood tested and it all came back clear. My hair started falling after about 3 months on this lifestyle and was so drastic that I am still struggling with thin wispy hair. Now at 9 months into this way of life, I am noticing new hair growth returning. But I guess this will take time as the new hair fills up my scalp once again. I read that hair loss is often caused by a huge change in diet and that your hair reacts to whatever happened 3 months before. So this makes perfect sense to me . Major change in my eating habits, 3 months later, hair loss. I also read that it slowly rights itself as your body adjusts to the change and heals itself.
In the meantime, I have been using coconut oil as an overnight mask a few times a month in the hopes that it will speed up the recovery process. I found a few articles about how coconut oil can give you gorgeous hair, and so I'm giving it a go. I am also using an Berber Oil hair treatment after each wash, before I dry it. It contains Argan oil and does not make my hair look greasy as so many hair oils do! This definitely helps ease frizz and smooths my hair and the bonus of making it smell gorgeous!
As I mentioned before, I have psoriasis and a generally dry skin. I like to use a bath emollient occasionally to soak all over in bits that are hard to reach. Otherwise I tend to use oils instead of creams and lotions as they seem to moisturize my skin better. I like Bio Oil as a super moisturizing layer. I will use this before bed as it takes longer to absorb and I don't like it to rub off on my clothing. For a quick daily oil, I like Dove nourishing body oil. It smells heavenly (I use the magnolia and pistachio one) and disappears into the skin without residue.
I also decided to tackle the stretch marks and scarring left from 3 pregnancies and 3 c-sections. I have been using a lovely cream by Instanatural, aptly called Stretch mark & Scar Cream. I have been using this for about 12 weeks now on my tummy and hips. It has made my skin so much softer and smoother. My stretch marks are a lot less noticeable and so is my c-section scarring. The cream has a delightful fragrance too. It reminds me of a spring morning. I think it may be the honeysuckle extract in it. It contains a load of ingredients that are good for treating skin, and I find it super light and fast absorbing. This is great since you rub it on morning and night.
Caring for my nails, is a new routine for me. I was a nail biter until I was 18 years old, so have never really had long nails and they don't tend to be the strongest. I started taking supplements a few months back to help improve my hair skin and nails form within. My favourites include Perfectil and collagen tablets. I am also bothering a bit more with hand creams, cuticle oils and with shaping and painting the nails a bit more often. Hands are rather good like this. They respond really well to some TLC and I have to say, mine look considerably better than they used to. I've found that leaving a box of nail care goodies next to the sofa, encourages me to be more regular about looking after my nails care as I can simply pull it over while I'm watching the telly when the kids have gone to bed.
When you're home with little ones, even finding a free moment to visit the dentist can be difficult. Part of my make over plan includes my teeth. Although I have good, straight teeth generally, I broke two of them over the last 10 years and instead of having them fixed, I left them, after all they weren't bothering me! I have this year been to have the broken ones removed and have a plan in place to have implants or whatever the dentist suggests over the next year. It will be nice to not have any gaps anymore!
So this is my 5 pronged “plan of attack” to combat looking older than I actually am. Have I missed anything crucial? Are there any most have products that you think I should be sing or that you adore? let me know in the comments below!
I am a preschool and primary school teacher and mum to 3 children. I have been involved in education since 1997 and have trained in a variety of educational specialist areas. It is with this expertise that I write articles to help parents and educators provide quality learning experiences for the children in their care.