Forget the 12 days of Christmas, what do we do in the 4 weeks Before... Look the best just in time for the Holidays!
The Holiday Season has already begun and the countdown to Christmas is ticking away. Family get-togethers will soon begin to fill your calendar, not to mention office parties and Holiday events. But what if you don’t feel good about the way you look? And you have all those parties to look forward to? Maybe you’re panicking...What if they notice the few extra pounds around your middle? Or your dull, winter skin? What can you do in the few remaining weeks before Christmas to get your body and face back on track? Well, we’ve got plenty of ideas that are sure to get you Holiday-ready in our 4 week countdown to a ‘beauty-full’ Christmas Season...
What to Do the Month before Christmas
Improve your SKIN with only 4 weeks to go:
Water, water everywhere...
The best way to have great looking skin in time for Christmas? Stay hydrated. “If your body doesn’t receive enough water, it must release toxins in a different way, such as through your pores,” dermatologists explain, “and this leads to break outs and unsightly acne.” So, remember to drink the recommended 8 glasses of water each day. If you like to drink caffeinated beverages, double up on your water intake, because caffeine can be dehydrating.
Seek Professional Guidance
Home remedies and drug store products can only get you so far. If you have problem skin, especially if it’s an ongoing problem, consult a reputable esthetician, such as those at Élan Beauty. Or see a dermatologist, who can analyze your skin type, troubleshoot your current skin care regimen, and give you advice on the skin care products you should be using. And don’t worry. This doesn’t mean your wallet has to be depleted. "Inexpensive products work just as well as high-end ones," says David Voron, MD, a dermatologist in Arcadia, Calif. "In fact, the extra price you pay for the expensive stuff is often just for packaging and marketing.”
Slather on the Moisturizer
Dry, dull skin can prematurely age you and you don’t want that, especially when the office cutie sees you at the Christmas party! To avoid this problem, apply moisturizer after every facial cleanse or wash. Even if you have oily skin, because cleanser removes your skin’s natural oils from its surface. Find an "ointment" moisturizer that's oil-based, rather than water-based. The oil creates a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion. But choose your oils with care. Not all oils are appropriate for the face. Look for "nonclogging" oils, like avocado oil, mineral oil, primrose oil, or almond oil. And don’t forget sunscreen. Though it might be cold, the sun’s rays are still beating down full-force.
Peels can make the Skin Appealing
To boost your skin’s look and to have that fresh, dewy glow, try a facial peel or microdermabrasion treatment every few weeks. These treatments can fade splotches and brown spots, reduce fine lines and even boost radiance. "Combining exfoliators is like power washing your complexion," explains Elizabeth Briden, MD, an adjunct associate clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota. Don’t book them too often. You shouldn’t rely on these treatments, but use them instead as an occasional complement to your everyday skincare routine.
Clean your Space for a Better Face
Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your cell phone screen is covered in bacteria! In fact, it’s one of the dirtiest items you own. Think about it: You’re constantly touching the screen and the oils and bacteria from your skin stay on the phone’s surface. So keeping your cell phone clean is one of the most essential but underrated ways to improve the look of your skin. Gently wipe the screen of your cell phone with an antibacterial wipe at least once a day to keep that nasty bacteria off your phone.
Also, consider changing your pillowcases, especially when you have a breakout. You can leave a lot of gunk on your pillow, which can redeposit oil and bacteria on to your skin. Be sure to rinse your makeup brushes as well. Do this on an ongoing basis. Clean off makeup brushes once a week to keep bacteria from being spread and then allow them to air dry overnight.
Reduce wrinkles and Firm Up
You can use several products to improve the look and feel of your skin. For wrinkles: Use an Rx retinoid. "These vitamin A derivatives supercharge cell turnover, so you'll notice fewer wrinkles by the end of the month," says Arielle Kauvar, MD, a clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University Medical School. If you’re short on time, boost your wrinkle busting power. Ask your doctor for Atralin, the most moisturizing retinoid. You can use it daily for faster results with minimal dryness or flaking. Caveat: If skin is sensitive or prone to redness, you may be able to tolerate using the cream only every second or third night, at least for the first 2 weeks.
Our Tip? If you have crow’s feet or little wrinkles near your eyes and creams aren’t doing the trick, don’t opt for a surgery or Botox just yet. For a mini eye lift effect, get your eyebrows re-shaped or even better, rejuvenate your brows with Permanent Make-Up. That way, you can design a brow that lifts and opens the eye and you won’t have to re-apply it every morning like regular makeup!
Don’t Forget the Body!
Improve your FIGURE with only 4 weeks to go:
Put Pen to Paper: Write it Down
Write down your fitness and weight loss goals and keep them handy so you can review them every day. It’s a great way to keep focused and on track, says Judith S. Beck, PhD, psychologist and author of The Complete Beck Diet for Life. It also keeps you motivated if you remind yourself every day why you want to slim down. Jot down all your reasons (try to come up with at least 15 to 20), and keep your list handy and within reach. Keep it on your smartphone, notepad, or even an old fashioned note on the fridge and you will be more likely to stick to your fitness goals. "People who write this down—and read it daily —are significantly more successful than those who don’t," she says. "Read your list every morning, because you never know what you day is going to be like, and pull it out at your most vulnerable moments, too."
Set realistic Goals
We’d all love to have a celebrity-style body or have a certain number on that dreaded bathroom scale, but trying to reach an exact weight, especially by a certain deadline, is a lofty and often unattainable, goal. Instead, set a range, such as losing five to 10 pounds. That may lead to a more successful outcome than if you aim to lose precisely 8 pounds in four weeks, according to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research. “Instead of thinking about how many dress sizes smaller you want to be in four months, focus on small everyday victories,” suggests Michael Snader, BodyAware specialist and nutritionist at The BodyHoliday, a health and wellness resort in St. Lucia. “For example, today you are going to eat breakfast, fit in a workout, and drink more water,” he says. Stay focused on the present, and your future will be successful.
You’ve got the Juice, but that isn’t the Solution
You might be anxious about achieving your fitness goals in just 4 weeks, but before you go ahead and start some fad juice diet or ‘cleanse’, know that drastically limiting your caloric intake may actually backfire: In a 2010 study, women placed on a 1,200-calorie diet for three weeks had elevated levels of cortisol, our primary stress hormone. And chronic stress has been associated with an increased risk of weight gain as well as coronary heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and impaired immune functioning. Eat a well-balanced diet instead, with lots of greens and vegetables and don’t deprive yourself to slim down, just make better choices and avoid or limit high-fat, high-calorie foods.
Jump Into to a Hotter Body
You don’t need a fancy gym membership or expensive workout machines to get good results. The best training tool is inexpensive and easy to use. What do we mean? Use a rope! A jump rope, to be exact. Jumping rope “may seem a little juvenile until you think of all the hot-bodied boxing pros who jump rope every single day,” says Landon LaRue, a CrossFit level-one trainer at Reebok CrossFit LAB in L.A. Best thing is: it’s portable. You can use it almost anywhere, even when you’re traveling over the Holidays. “[And] you’ll burn about 200 calories in 20 minutes and boost your cardiovascular health while toning,” LaRue adds.
Our tip? Try exercising outdoors. A study by the National Institutes of Health that found people could burn up to 7 percent more calories if they workout in the cold!
Don’t Skip Lunch
We know the Holiday season is a busy time for everyone. You’re running a million places to get Christmas shopping done, plus exercising and work, how can you find time to sit down and eat? No matter how busy you are, eat lunch before 3 p.m., a Spanish study suggests. Researchers placed a group of women on a diet for 20 weeks: Half ate lunch before 3 pm and half consumed their midday meal after 3. Although both groups had similar lifestyles, those who lunched late lost about 25 percent less weight than earlier eaters. Get into the practice of eating most of your calories earlier in the day and just watch those pounds melt off!
Follow the Perfect Workout
Skin-tight Holiday dresses can be unforgiving of our little lumps and bumps. Plus, nothing shows a stomach pooch like satin fabric stretched too tight. Ramona Braganza, who's sculpted the lean bods of Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, and Jessica Biel, suggests doing a lot of reverse crunches with a lift. Lie on your back, with your knees pulled up to your chest and hands under your butt to support your lower back. Uncurl legs straight out, keeping those six inches from the floor. (Don't let them touch the ground!) Lift legs straight up so that they're perpendicular to the floor and add a small lift of your butt. Curl legs back into the start position. Do three sets of 10 and you’re on your way to a better body! Here is a great routine, from Glamour Magazine, sure to get those pounds melting off: http://www.glamour.com/health-fitness/2013/01/glamour-one-month-slim-down-plan/1
Our Tip? Keep up the fitness routines to get rid of those extra pounds, but for stubborn fat or cellulite that doesn’t want to budge, try booking an Inch Loss Body Wrap or some Body Shaping to smooth away those undesirable bulges and remove those last few inches around your waist.
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The Countdown to a Hot Holiday Body Continues...
See our upcoming Blogs for more essential tips: Including the 2 week Beauty Countdown and what you can do even the day before Christmas to look your very best!
Sources: (Images: From Top to Bottom: hsu alvin via Flickr, Carissa Rogers via Flickr, ManOnPHI via Flickr, Amy Selleck via Flickr, mikeyeh88 via Flickr)
- Winter Skin-Care Secrets By Jessica Padykula; Canadian Living Online; url: http://www.canadianliving.com/style/beauty/10_fall_and_winter_skin_care_secrets.php
- 10 Winter Skin Care Tips By Susan Davis; WebMD; url: http://www.webmd.com/beauty/ten-winter-skin-care-tips
- Get Great Skin—On Your Schedule: Use our pro tips to get younger looking skin in a day, week, or month By Stephanie Huzar; prevention.com; url: http://www.prevention.com/beauty/beauty/get-great-skin-one-day-one-week-one-month
- 28 Tips For Clear Skin In Less Than A Month By Megan Segura; url: http://www.dailymakeover.com/trends/skin/28-clear-skin-tips/
- 50 Must-Know Fitness Tips to Score Your Best Body By Cristina Goyanes ; Shape.com; url: http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/50-must-know-fitness-tips-score-your-best-body
- 14 Shape-Up Shortcuts-These genius tricks will help you drop pounds and sculpt muscle in record time By Caroline Schaefer; Women’s Health Magazine; url: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/how-to-get-in-shape
- Total Body Makeover Workout By Shaun Chavis and Su Reid-St. John; Health.com; url: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20448396,00.html