Back in 2013, I came up with my million dollar business idea — the ultimate cure for cellulite.
Compared to other sub-par cellulite programs on the market this one WOULD help women rid themselves of lumps and bumps forever, through a carefully curated, foolproof routine. It would be the ultimate cellulite solution.
However, as a pragmatic Taurean, I was buoyed in thinking that I could create a solution for millions of women around the world; this would no longer be a like it or lump it situation, I knew I could figure it out.
Fast forward three weeks: I was sitting at my dining room table, with hand-scrawled theories written on loose leaf paper strewn all around, and wondering why I hadn’t yet cracked the code for smooth, supple skin.
Following advice that I had found on the internet and read in books, I had:
Avoided crossing my legs for three weeks
Kept my feet elevated at night to reverse blood flow
Stopped eating chicken skin AND cottage cheese
Exercised my thighs with hundreds of teeny-tiny little pulses (thanks, but not really, Tracy Anderson)
Spent a medically unadvised amount of time in saunas and heated rooms to sweat out the toxins that contributed to my shameful cellulite
Dry body brushed on a daily basis: sweeping upwards on the thighs and downwards on the glutes
Popped collagen supplements and steered clear of any food that would further break down my skin’s apparently delicate structure
And I even spent $99 purchasing a “personalized cellulite removal schedule” that contained eight cellulite reversal exercises. You read that right, $99 for eight, one-move exercises.
But even with all of these interventions, one month later the little buggers were still there.
Ultimately, spending hours each day researching what I had to do to “look better” wasn’t a practical use of my time or my limited finances. As it turns out, weight loss trial and error is both time-consuming AND expensive.
So I archived my research and got back to real life. Eating chicken skin, crossing my legs and exercising in a way that made my entire body feel good.
As it turns out, while I’m still acquainted with my fair share of dimples (as is 90% of the female population), living a healthy, un-obsessed lifestyle did more for toning body than any “groundbreaking” cellulite program could.
Today I offer up another 2018 wellness proposal: be willing to follow through with sustainable, daily health and lifestyle practices, and stay committed to adopting an attitude of self-love. These two habits will do more for the look, feel and longevity of your body than any flash-in-the-pan fitness and diet plan ever could.
The Los Angeles wellness obsession has gone bonkers.
This isn’t new information— I live in a city where people pay thousands of dollars to have their fat frozen and spend a week’s take-home wage on juice cleansing — but it’s gotten out of control.
The straw that has broken this camel’s back came last night when I popped into the supermarket. As I quickly dashed about filling my basket with veg, milk and eggs, my inquisitive-journalist ears picked up the sounds of a conversation that would only take place in a city like L.A.
Following the treble tones, I turned into the aisle to find two women having an anxious and in-depth conversation about which brand of water they should buy.
I kid you not.
It went like this:
“This one is reverse osmosis”, says the brunette wearing a red neckerchief and holding a $6.99 bottle of H20.
“But this one has added electrolytes,” counters the blonde, pointing her manicured fingers at a label that has flown halfway across the world to sit on this mid-Wilshire shelf.
“Perhaps we should buy the glass bottles?” suggests the first. “To avoid BPAs.”
“Sure, that works…just make sure you read the nutrition label,” replies the second, a little more quietly as she catches me watching, transfixed.
I tear my eyes away, stash a few (home-brand) club sodas into my basket and head to the self service checkout, trying not to giggle at the scene I just observed.
Read the nutrition label on your water? Now that’s a new one!
Look, I’m not scoffing at these women’s determination to hydrate — drinking clean water is very, very important. And if you have the luxury of being able to afford the brand that is alkalized, charcoal-filtered or lovingly bottled at a cold mountain spring, and drinking that type of water floats your boat, then power to you.
But the reality is that it’s totally unnecessary to take a simple health habit — drink more water — and make it something complicated, and frankly a little bourgeoisie. Honestly, do YOU have the time or mental bandwidth to deliberate the pros and cons of various water brands? I sure as heck don’t!
As your wellness coach I suggest that you spend more time drinking water and less time worrying about the ideal way to do it. (Insider tip: the tap turns to the left.)
This goes for any new healthy habit…the easiest way to make progress is by simply starting.
Want to get fit? Lace up your sneakers and walk around your neighborhood.
Want to eat healthier? Load up your basket with fruit, veg and whole grains, and stop buying brightly colored boxes plastered with words like “healthy!” and “fiber!”. (These words are often there to disguise the whopping amount of sugar, sodium or trans-fats that the product contains.)
I know that I’ve talked about this before, but I will continue to beat the drum until we all get the message that being healthy is actually very simple.
The healthiest people that I know are not the ones who agonize over every last detail to make the perfect choice. They don’t obsess over what they eat, how they move, or what they weigh. They don’t trap themselves into rigid lifestyle habits or overload their days with unrealistic goals and expectations. And they certainly don’t spend Sunday evening in the supermarket, analyzing the merits of drinking water.
So your goal for this week is to commit to becoming one of the healthy ones.
You can do that in three steps:
Pinpoint an area of your life that is being held back by perfectionism, analysis-paralysis or straight up laziness.
Set an intention to change one single habit related to that area.
Take swift action, today, tomorrow, the next day, and so on; improve as you go, and know that each day you choose to do something different is the day that your life will change.
Why is it that certain body parts receive so much more attention than others?
Take bottoms for example, they’re a pretty popular topic to talk about; entire workouts have been developed to increase the perkiness of the average bum; millions of marketing dollars have been spent (and made) in promoting a toned toosh; heck, Kim Kardashian even built an empire of the back of her backside.
Breasts also garner much discussion (and criticism, and ogling), but are they really more special than, say, an ankle? Sure, breasts have certain functions, but ankles are the reason that you can move, dance, and prance around in your favorite slippers. Why aren’t more people praising a great pair of ankles?
Another essential — yet slighted — part of your anatomy is your neck. Not only does your neck support the weight of your head, it also protects the blood vessels and nerves that keep you alive and mentally functioning. As for quality of life, your neck houses the thyroid gland (regulates hormones and metabolism), the larynx (responsible for speech), and helps with reverse parking (by swiveling your head)…among other things.
So I’d like to throw out a wild card suggestion and ask if, this week, we could all take some time away from worrying about our thighs, to appreciate the importance, and evaluate the health, of our necks.
I bring this up as I’ve recently noticed a change in how my neck looks and feels, presumably from more time spent on a computer. A quick visit to the chiropractor confirmed my suspicion — I was getting tech-neck.
Apparently I’m not alone.
The doc had recently seen a string of young patients (18 – early 20s) whose necks resembled those of a 50 year-old who had spent 30 years in an office job. Too much time craning towards a screen meant that these youngster’s necks had lost their natural curve, reduced their range of motion when turning the head from side-to-side, and humps were forming at their upper backs. That’s a bummer of a diagnosis for thinking they only had a tension headache.
Fortunately, awareness is the first step of change. And now that you’re aware of your neck’s needs you can start to meet them. To help you do that, today’s Healthy Living Made Easy post covers exercises for improving neck posture and reducing neck pain. These movements will reduce your likelihood of experiencing tension headaches, reverse rounded shoulder syndrome, and help you maintain that sexy cervical curve that we’ve all come to know and love.
Press play on today’s video: Simple Exercises For Improving Neck Posture
To Recap What We Talked About
Do these exercises in the evening, every evening, to improve your neck’s posture.
Less is more when it comes to stretching and strengthening the neck; stick with the repetitions and time that I’ve demonstrated in the video.
Misalignment of the neck can lead to tension headaches, muscle knots, disc compression, and impact respiratory function.
Change takes time. In the words of Pantene, it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.
Now I’d love to hear from you
This is a two-parter:
Are you committed to improving your neck posture with these simple exercises?
In just a little while I’ll be celebrating with the handsome Nathaniel, a glass of Moet and some very good cheese. But before I kick off my shoes and pop open that bottle of bubbly, I’m taking some time to reflect on the last (almost three) decades.
I sometimes look around at my life and think: huh, who would have ever thought that’d happen. Every year brings with it new surprises and adventures, and we never really know what will transpire next.
Growing up as girl in a beautiful yet small Australian country town, I never would have expected that I would find myself living in Los Angeles, married to a Southern boy, and teaching women how to feel fit, feminine and fabulous through healthy living and self care.
In fact, this life that I’m living never really crossed my mind…it just sort of happened!
At various times throughout my childhood I wanted to be: a gas station attendant (I loved washing windshields with a squeegee); a bank teller (I got a real kick out of counting coins and shuffling notes); and for a few years my aspiration to become a lawyer (which would justify the owning of a briefcase) butted heads with my desire to be a marine biologist (and swim with the dolphins every day).
What actually happened was that I got a degree in journalism and started teaching fitness.
Since then, a series of unforeseen events, saying yes to new opportunities and rolling with the flow of life has brought me to where I am today…sitting in the Miracle Mile, thinking that pre-breakfast mimosas sounds like a very civilized idea.
The road that takes us to where we need to go is rarely clear and often tricky to navigate. But what we discover with every step will shape us in ways that we could never have realized, had we not dared to step off the beaten path.
With that in mind, and in honor of turning 29, I wanted to share 29 things that I’ve learnt about healthy living and loving the skin you’re in.
And then I’d love to hear from you.
What one nugget of knowledge would you tell your younger self? Like a rising tide lifts all boats, sharing our words of wisdom with one another makes us all stronger. So please, leave a comment below!
29 Things That I’ve Learnt About Healthy Living (And Loving The Skin You’re In)
Once-upon-a-time being healthy was as simple as feeling well, getting good results at your annual check-up, and being able to do the things you want to do — physically, mentally and emotionally.
Today? Not so much…
It seems that being healthy in 2017 is no longer just about how you feel, but is also defined by your ability to complete a long list of the latest *cough arbitrary cough* healthy rules.
So while it was once simple to gauge the old health barometer, these days it’s much harder to know if you’re in good shape or need to shape up.
I mean heck, what does healthy even mean anymore?
If you had asked me that question at different stages of my life I would have given you very different answers.
During my childhood and early teens I defined being healthy as having a clear mind, an active body, and no runny nose or belly ache. Add to that sleeping well and eating my vegetables, and I figured I was doing just fine.
It wasn’t until my late teens that things like body-shaming and dieting really came to my attention, but boy did I catch on fast. At this time I would have described being healthy by my pant size, weight and rapidly receding reflection.
In my mid-twenties I worked hard on redefining what healthy meant for myself, yet the little voice inside my head — the one that then drove most of my decision-making — still came straight from the pages of a women’s health and fitness magazine.
At this time I also confused the need to be healthier with the need to be the healthiest, a mistake that you might also be making and one which is preventing you from loving your body and life.
Yet now, as I peer over the edge towards my 29th year, I’ve made a discovery that will make you smile.
Can you guess what I’ve decided, after more than a decade of wading through contradictory advice on what it means to be a healthy woman?
Being healthy is having a clear mind, an active body, and no runny nose or belly ache!
(Don’t you love when things in life come full circle?! I know I do!)
Is that a simplistic statement? Sure.
Am Iactually more healthy now than I was as a teenager? Undoubtedly.
Do I think we all need to be more proactive about our health, and feel encouraged to make gentle changes every day that make us that little bit healthier? I do.
But the truth is that we can do that without making healthy feel harder. We can define this term for ourselves and recognize that there is no one-size-fits all when it comes to creating a healthy life.
So if you’ve been feeling behind the eight-ball in trying to figure out what healthy means for you, here’s what I recommend you do:
Close the magazine or shut down that social media app that is trying to define YOUR health on their terms.
Take a breath.
Then, think about what your 12-year-old self would have told you, had you asked what healthy meant to them.