Skin care is never just about the skin’s surface. Your diet, stress levels, amount of sleep, and exercise all contribute to your skin’s clarity and health. As you spring clean your closet, take these 5 habits out to the trash to make room for vibrant, fresh, healthy skin:
Junk The Junk
There just is no redeeming factor to junk food (processed candy, chips, colas, juices, energy drinks, snacks). The body doesn’t know how to process several of the ingredients used to preserve, color, or flavor many of these products, and excesses get stored as fat or, as new research is showing, potentially harmful buildup in the brain. Skin-wise, colorants are common allergens that are known to cause rashes or acne around the mouth and chin, and in some severe cases, all over the body. The junk is addictive, too, so it’s best to get off it and stay off it.
Treat Perfection As Passé
Sugar, pasta, rice, bread, crackers: avoid the pristine uniformity of white options and look for healthy variants like whole wheat, wild, brown, coconut, and other more fibrous, less processed alternatives.
Check out the farm-fresh produce in the photo below: imperfectly perfect, just as nature intended. Choose organic produce as often as you can. And consider growing your own! If you have kids, window or garden growing is an excellent activity to do together that gets them outside (more healthy activity, less tech!) and teaches them not only about nature but about where their food comes from. If you don’t have kids, gardening is a soothing activity and many plants like kale, tomatoes, and several herbs are surprisingly easy to grow. Just don’t forget the sunscreen when working outside. In addition to UV rays from the sun, many plants are photo-allergens, meaning they react with light to cause skin darkening. You don’t want your skin to suffer as you get healthy: slather on your UV protection before you get down and dirty!
Don’t Drink Your Nutrients: Chew ‘Em
Because you need so much fruit and veg to make a single serving, fresh, cold-pressed juices are wonderful to supplement your intake of fruits and vegetables…but sipping shouldn’t replace eating. Chewing through raw, whole fruits and vegetables gives you all the fiber and nutritious benefits that these miracle foods have to offer. Juicing, even at home, can mean getting more sugar and water than anything else. Add, don’t replace.
Stop De-Prioritizing Movement
Don’t make exercise an option, or something to do just a few times a week: make it a daily ritual. Enroll in a class that forces you to do 3 days of more intense work — spinning, aerobics, zumba, bootcamp, whatever you find fun. Do two days of hiking or walking with the kids, the dog or your partner. That leaves two more days of yoga, other classes, the treadmill or even stationary biking while watching your favorite TV shows. Aim for a minimum of 45 minutes no matter what you’re doing. Free apps like Sworkit help you customize workouts according to the time you have — no gym or equipment required. There are loads of free dance and zumba routines on YouTube, too. And if you have a crazy-busy week, try this Heart-Thumping 10-Minute Workout, this 10-Minute Pilates + Barre Workout, or the famous 7-Minute Workout.
Try to be less sedentary in general, too. At work, set an alarm to get up and walk around. Look for opportunities to move more: take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator, and get off at a stop a few blocks from your normal station so you can walk the rest of the way.
Just getting started? Don’t let the trendiness of ultra-extreme workouts intimidate you. ANY movement is better than none. Especially if you’re not naturally active, prioritize the habit of daily exercise over the actual activity. Set an alarm to make sure you do something — anything…one minute of jumping jacks and some crunches, for example — at the same time every day. At the end of a week, try two minutes of any activity. By the third week, try five minutes (this is where Sworkit comes in handy…you can choose the time you have). Soon enough, you’ll find that getting started won’t be so hard: you’ll have set the habit your mind and body. Keep it up and you’ll start naturally looking for longer or harder exercise routines. The most important thing, however, is that you’ll have made exercise a DAILY habit.
Stop Thinking Sleep Is For The Weak
Prioritize sleep. Your skin and body need it. Sleep helps with learning, stress management, depression, skin, lessening inflammation, even controlling hunger pangs and helping you choose wiser foods to eat.
Less stress, a leaner, stronger physique, and gorgeous, glowing skin…we don’t see the downside, do you?