Natural Skin Cleanser

I had the luxury of getting a facial at my local spa the other day and it was heavenly! It made me realize that I need to stop wasting money on fast food and indulge in monthly massages/skin treatments — I mean, why not spend my money on something much better for my overall health and wellness?

Anyway, during the treatment, the lady applied a natural oatmeal masque/scrub to my skin. That’s the first time I’ve had oatmeal applied to my skin and she said that it drew out impurities from my pores and soothed the skin — so when I got home, of course the first thing I did was jump on Google to see how I could make it myself. I found these four great recipes for skincare, so I thought I would share. The two in particular I will be doing (though I will likely do all of them at one time or another) is the coffee scrub and oatmeal scrub.

Thanks to hubby’s job, there’s an endless supply of coffee in my house — so now I’ll be going through it even faster! Here’s what the She Knows page has to say about these two scrubs:

Spoon the ground coffee, against the grain.

Coffee is another fantastic natural exfoliant. It contains caffeic acid, which has anti-inflammatory effects and can boost collagen production. Just as coffee stimulates our body in the morning, it can serve as a skin stimulant as well. To make the scrub, combine 1 tablespoon of ground coffee with 1 tablespoon of water or olive oil. To make this inexpensive face scrub even more economical, save the wet coffee grounds from your brewed morning coffee and use those. If you use olive oil, skip applying a moisturizer afterward, as olive oil will leave your skin super-moisturized. As a side note, since coffee grinds can clog drains, apply the scrub and buff off the grounds over a plugged sink so that you can wipe them out or use a mesh drain strainer to catch them before they go down your pipes.

oatmeal face scrub

People who use oatmeal as a natural face scrub swear by it, and now I know why. Ground oatmeal not only serves as a wonderful exfoliant, but it also absorbs and removes surface dirt and impurities while leaving your skin nourished and hydrated. It has been known to soothe and heal everything from acne to sunburn to dry, flaky skin. Given its gentle nature, it is also ideal for those with sensitive skin. Combine 1 tablespoon of ground oatmeal with 1/4 teaspoon of salt, which boosts the face treatment’s exfoliating properties, and 1 teaspoon of water or olive oil to make it into a paste. Gently rub it onto you skin in circular motions, let sit for five to 10 minutes and rinse.

So, simple ingredients we all have around the kitchen and make for some great skin care cleansers — are you interested in trying these two scrub recipes?

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Finding momentum

I’m such a bad blogger — it’s been months since I even came here to put up a post. Sorry about that, I am hoping that my schedule of posts will help me stay more on track.

Another reason why I haven’t been too enthusiastic about writing is that there really hasn’t been anything worth sharing. I have been trying to get on the wagon now for a good while and it’s taking me more time than I wanted. I’ll do everything I need to do for a few days and then slowly stop doing it — before I know it, it’s two weeks of not tracking at all. Recently, I decided that I need to just track my points again. Just do it. So, I started tracking, getting back into the swing of drinking my water and even hitting the gym to finally try out some group classes. Here’s the result:

losses

 

Four losses in a row. Huh, that’s shocking.

So having the losses have been prompting me to keep going — keep tracking, making better choices and giving me a boost to visit the gym.

In case you haven’t seen me posting about it on Twitter, I made a Facebook page — you can find it here: Bikini Body Countdown. Come join me and we can support each other!

If you’re not on Weight Watchers and want to give it a try, use my referral code to sign up for online or meetings, you’ll get a subscription to the Weight Watchers Magazine (which I love and has tons of great recipes, tips and success stories). I’ll get a free month of membership, and I love things that are free! Click that link below and sign up — summer’s almost over but you have plenty of time to make a difference by the end of the year.

http://www.weightwatchers.com/r/73bcc6f5-d

Training Starts Now!

I’ve been such a bad blogger lately, but have lots of new updates planned so I will hopefully get on track soon with frequent posts. Anyway, this week I stepped completely out of my comfort zone and officially did something I haven’t done yet — register for a 5k! We’ve (hubby and I) been wanting to sign up for a run, but haven’t found one that we truly wanted to pay $80 to join…until I was on Facebook the other day and saw an announcement for the LA Dodgers Foundation 5K Run.

dodgers

Aside from running around one of our favorite places in SoCal (Dodger Stadium), participants also get a voucher for a free game ticket — which is a no-brainer, we want! So we are officially registered and will be running the 5k on September 21st. I am going to go from a couch potato to a 5k runner in just 125 days! Which brings me to my next change…

Couch to 5K

I have purchased the Couch to 5k app from Active.com, and I asked around on Twitter (find me at @BikiniCountdown) to see if it was even possible for me to go from slug to at least a jogger within the nine week program and from the feedback I received, it definitely sounds like I can do it! I am actually really excited (and a bit nervous) to start jogging, but I am ready to kick my weight loss into gear and make some changes. I’ll be blogging about my journey using the Couch to 5k app so others can read along and see if they want to give it a try.

Finally, I am starting to get back into the groove with Weight Watchers — I think that everytime I move it takes me a good year cycle to slow down and just start living. That first year in a new city we go all over the place, eating at every restaurant we can find because we somehow think it’s going to close down before we can check it out. Lame! So, I’m hoping between following Points Plus and doing my daily gym routine, I’ll find myself happier and healthier when fall rolls around.

If you’re interested in joining Weight Watchers, either meeting or online, be sure to use my referral link HERE to sign up. You’ll get a free gift with your membership and I will get a month free. I could definitely use some free months of membership!

Are you on Facebook? Come check my page out Facebook.com/BikiniCountdown

Weight Watchers Magazine

It’s been just a minute since I wrote a blog — have been so busy lately!

weight watchers

When you join meetings or online using my referral code, you get a year of the Weight Watchers Magazine for free and I get a paid month of membership! Memberships need to be done by 4/30/14 in order to be eligible — so check it out!

Plus, I’d love to not have to pay for the membership for a couple months :)

http://www.weightwatchers.com/r/73bcc6f5-d

Hungry Girl and a Dunkin’ Donuts Giveaway!

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting Lisa Lillien (A.K.A. Hungry Girl) at her new gorgeous headquarters near Los Angeles, Hungryland!

DD9

It was part of a blogging event hosted by Hungry Girl and Dunkin’ Donuts — they were showcasing all of the delicious new flavors in the Bakery Series and I got to try some of the tasty flavors such as:

  • Glazed Chocolate Donut (yum — this one was a fave!)
  • Apple Pie
  • Blueberry Muffin
  • Pumpkin Spice

I am the kind of person who puts a lot of SF creamer in coffee, so trying the different flavors of coffee without any additional sugars or cream was interesting. Usually the creamers I use mask the actual flavor of coffee, so it was nice to try it black for a change and really get a sense for what coffee tastes like. I could definitely taste the flavors in each of my samples — the Glazed Chocolate Donut was my favorite one and there was a distinct chocolaty flavor in there. Lisa gave us a few demonstrations about using Dunkin’ Donuts to create low calorie, yummy tasting drinks (as that is how she is best known!) and my favorite idea was the Turtle Coffee Blended Drink. I love caramel and nuts, so this was a great idea that I am going to be recreating many times in my own kitchen.

The recipe for the Turtle drink can be found here, at L.A. Story — be sure to check it out! I loved seeing the different things Lisa used in the coffee drinks — almond extract, almond milk, SF Sundae Syrup — all things I hadn’t thought about adding to my own drinks. I typically go straight to the flavored creamer, so these were great options when I want something delicious, low-cal and fancy without spending $4.50 on a drink at Starbucks. Sign up for the daily newsletter at Hungry-Girl.com — today she shared another amazing coffee drink in the newsletter, the Low-Calorie White Chocolate Mocha — perfect for winter!

Creamy-White-Mocha_small

Creamy White Chocolate Mocha from Hungry Girl!

If you love Dunkin’ Donuts, you’re in luck! I’ve been offered the chance of hosting my FIRST giveaway — the winner of this awesome giveaway will receive 11 Dunkin’ Donut varities and a mug. How cool is that?!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Day 9: Here’s what I want

Short and sweet blog post! Today’s topic in the 100 Days of Weight Loss is tied in with yesterday — Here’s what I want.

No one can read our minds when we are on a weight loss journey, so before we ask for support we need to understand what it is we want.

  • Do you want someone to question your food choices? Let them know.
  • Do you want your weight loss journey to be private between you and your family member(s)? Let them know.
  • Do you want someone to offer their help to you if they see you struggling? Let them know.
  • Do you need someone to offer support in other areas, such as self-esteem? Let them know.

The point is — we need to tell people exactly what we need if we expect to get it!

Right now, I am happy with the boost of motivation and support I get from friends and hubby — the rest is something I need to work on for myself.

What are some things you need people to say or do for you? 

Day 8: Help me, please

Yesterday hubby and I decided to go spend the afternoon at California Adventure and I decided stepping away from the computer for the day would be great for me!

The topic for the 100 Days of Weight Loss was Help me, please — all about how to use the support (or lack thereof) around you.

I’ve never hid the fact to friends and family that I am on Weight Watchers, but it’s not something I go out of my way to share to many people. For the women in my life, especially now that we are all the same age and many have recently had kids, being on Weight Watchers is something we are all doing at the same time — which can be a good thing, but also opens the door to (unintentional) judgement.

I say this because some days I am really on point with my tracking and activity, but other days I want to be a little more relaxed and indulge with my weeklies for a party or event. However, after people find out about me being on Weight Watchers, I tend to still feel eyes on me and my plate. It makes me a bit more self-conscious with what I add to my plate or if I’m being as “good” as my friend who is also on program. Of course, now that we are in the new year more people than ever are engaging in weight loss programs — my group of friends included!

The topic of the chapter is this: in order to get the support you WANT, you need to understand what type of support you NEED.

My hubby is supportive of me, but I have not been entirely fair to him when it comes to asking for help. Sometimes I ask him to say something when I am ordering food I know I will regret eating or give me that extra push to go to the gym — but when he does it, I get annoyed because I don’t want to hear it at that moment. That’s not fair to him at all! I need to get down to the core of what I need in terms of support before I can even ask him for that extra push now and then.

He’s also really good about accommodating what I need or don’t need in the house. If it’s here he will eat it, if it’s not then he doesn’t miss it. So right now, I think I just need to focus on looking within for support — it’s much easier when it’s just the two of us…so that’s definitely an advantage!

What are some things you want people to say or not say to you on your weight loss journey?

Day 7: I can do it!

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who has re-tweeted or commented on these posts I have been writing lately! I love the wisdom, support and motivation coming from so many on the same journey as myself.

Today’s topic in the 100 Days of Weight Loss is — I can do it! 

I wrote about focusing and protecting my program in yesterday’s post and today’s entry is a bit similar in that becoming your own cheerleader is one of the best ways to succeed at weight loss.

Unfortunately, one casualty of my weight gain has been my confidence/self-esteem. I am my worst enemy, my most vocal critic! I point out every flaw I have, kick myself every time the number on the scale doesn’t move and tell myself how ugly I am when I look in the mirror. Something I need to realize is that weight loss success is not just about what you eat and how you exercise. It’s about giving yourself the push and motivation to keep going. 

The entry for today encourages us to think why we ARE going to be successful on the program we choose. How am I going to stay motivated this time around to stay on plan through the ups, downs and plateaus? Here are a few I came up with:

  • I’m determined to stop talking about it and just do it.
  • I’ve gotten under 200 pounds before! I can do it again and then some. Wow, what a great feeling that was!
  • I’m on an amazing program — Weight Watchers! What I learn now will stay with me for life.
  • I am surrounded by people who have had more to overcome and they ROCKED their weight loss.

Looking to others is also a great source of inspiration and if you look at my Twitter account, you will see no shortage whatsoever of inspirational people who look absolutely phenomenal. Reading real life success stories helps me (and you!) see that anything is possible once you set your mind to it. If you’re on Weight Watchers, check out the Success Stories — everyday people who had enough and changed their lifestyle!

If you take a look at my blogroll, you’ll see countless people who have been successful at losing weight and becoming healthy — check them out and add them to your reading list!

What are some things you say or do that give you a boost of motivation or inspiration? 

 

 

 

Day 6: Protect your program

Today’s topic in the 100 Days of Weight Loss is a good one for me to read — it’s called protect your program.

We’re all on a weight loss journey, whether that means through Weight Watchers, counting calories through My Fitness Pal, trying out the Whole30 or whatever else is out there, and while we are all supportive of one another, it says in the book that ‘no one will ever care as much about your diet plan as you.’

It’s true, right? I am supportive of my friends and wish them only the best in their weight loss journey — this crap is hard! But will I care more about the program they are on than my own? No. I need to be a supportive friend, but worry about my own journey — and this is a great topic because it’s something I let affect me. I also need to remember that even if it works for you, I can’t expect the same results!

When the hubby stops tracking points — I stop, too. 

When friends fall off track — I let myself fall off track, too. 

When family tells me to try this or eat that, ‘it won’t hurt to have it this one time’ — I do that, too — and it never really is just that one time. 

I’m not placing the blame of my weight woes on everyone else — I just don’t stay strong and focus on what I need to do. I am too willing to allow the behavior of others to become an excuse for my lazy habits.

Even though I don’t have very many food pushers in my life, and for the most part I am good about saying no, I have to realize that my weight loss journey is mine and mine alone. I can’t run my success based on anyone else — it has to depend solely on me and what other people choose to do or not do is on them.

The term ‘protecting your program’ also means setting yourself up for success when you know you might slip. For me, that means I need to have a menu planned out when the hubby is home; otherwise, I am inclined to want to go out to eat.

Things I need to do to protect my program is:

  • Focus on what I need to do and spend less time worrying about what everyone else is doing
  • Stock the pantry with WW-friendly foods
  • Allot extra points if I am going to an outing or want to indulge 

Protecting your program is also about protecting yourself from outside influences. I notice this with hubby a bit — if I nag him to track his food, he is less inclined to do so and then I spend more time bugging him about his tracking than just tracking my own food. However, recently I just started to track on my own — without getting involved with his WW obligations. Within a couple days, he was back to tracking and interested in the point values of foods I was making…and all that nagging was pointless and just made it bothersome for me.

I am just going to do me. I want to lead by example — after all, if you want to lose weight it has to come from within.

How do you protect yourself from outside influences? 

Day 5: Magic notebook

Today was weigh-in day and I was just hoping for a small loss. Between the TOM and all the eating (and tracking) I did for NYE, I knew that there wasn’t going to be a huge loss this week and that’s okay. I used up all my weeklies by New Year’s Day and even went into the negative weeklies by Friday.

So I’ll take that -0.5 loss! That puts me at a -4 pound loss since I re-set myself the Sunday before Christmas. Losing these four pounds showed me that if I could lose a good amount of weight during the most food-centered time of the year then I could stay on track during the regular times.

 

This week I have:

  • Tracked
  • Had at least 48 ounces of water daily (improving on this with baby steps)

This coming week I want to add in the gym. I’ve been taking it a little slow just to get back in the habit of tracking, but I definitely want to start exercising because I am starting to feel a bit restless.

I’ve actually been happy with the fact that I’ve blogged five days in a row — I usually don’t have the mental energy to blog after working, so the 100 Days of Weight Loss have been really helping me stay on track. Today’s topic is about the ‘magic notebook’ which is something I need to start trying out.

I have an addiction to food. When I think of something — I really fixate on that idea until I get it. I think that constantly quenching my cravings has made it harder and harder to exercise self-control and today’s entry had a good suggestion.

Write down the food in question in a journal (I use my Plan & Tracker) and let it go. By writing it down, you release it from your thoughts and don’t keep dwelling on it. This also goes for managing visual cues such as sight or smell…if you see or smell something that you want, but you don’t want to spend the points on it, work on recognizing it and then letting the thought go.

I have to admit, that’s going to be a hard one for me. But I’ve gone two weeks without eating outside the house after my trip to Colorado — so I know I can start to release the hold food has on me slowly over time.

Do you keep a journal to track your emotions about food?