Sometimes I look in the mirror and hate my body

This is my 100th post on this blog and I wanted to dedicate it to something important. I confess: I struggle with body image issues. Medically I am considered healthy and within the healthy BMI range set by the United States. I really hate sharing my weight and my height, but for the sake of being honest I will share it here. I am about five foot two inches and weigh anywhere from 112 lb to 118 lb. I bloat easily and ‘losing weight’ is an uphill battle. The heaviest I’ve ever been was 125 lb back in high school. I exercise fairly regularly, so I don’t think its a lack of movement that is my problem.

In my head I think most girls around my height should weigh around 105 lb. When comparing reality to my ideal, it is easy to see why I sometimes feel like I’m fat, chubby, heavy, etc. I’m not trying to perpetuate the ideal of super-skinny women, nor am I trying to make people who are actually overweight feel worse about themselves. What I am trying to say is that girls who are at a healthy weight (from a medical standpoint) can also struggle with body image. I think it’s bogus when girls are put down for having body image issues when they are perfectly ‘skinny.’ Those kind of comments are not helpful and they tend to make those who are struggling ignore the fact that they were struggling in the first place. For example, it’s not really ‘kosher’ when I’m talking with my peers to say, “Sometimes I feel really fat,” or, “I really struggle with not nitpicking things about my body that I hate.” Mostly I just get comments like, “Are you serious?” and “You’re so skinny! How can you say that?” I often got rebuked and it is exactly this type of reaction that put me in self-denial and guilt these past few years. While it’s nice to get the confirmation that I am perfectly normal, but it’s not very conducive of a deeper conversation. Sometimes I just want someone to really dig into the problem with me and for someone to understand that perfectly body-normal people can struggle.

Recently, in a New York Times article, it was discussed how outside appearances could perpetuate or exacerbate female aggression toward other females. When a stereotypically scantily clad female walked into a room other females in it quickly turned toward passive-aggressive and plain aggressive behavior. Interestingly, it mentioned that as a gender, we perpetuate the pressure to look beautify, stay thin, and dress desirably. It cited a study that showed that multimedia (such as magazines and TV) did not perpetuate nor pressure girls into perusing society’s definition of beauty. We put pressures one each other to remain competitive for males. It argued that in actuality, the media is a reflection of societies changing values and ideals. Media plays off the idea of what is popular in order to appeal to the masses. If media portrayed unpopular views it would be unsuccessful. Personally, I do not doubt the persuasive power that media has over the masses (there have been plenty of examples of media powerfully swaying public opinion), but the article does put an interesting argument forward.

“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

There are lots of articles on finding strength in my inner worth. I believe that. The stuff that is on the inside carries a lot more weight than what is purely appearance. A beautiful person is never truly beautiful unless they also have a good heart. Even the Bible advises us to adorn our hearts with beauty, not just the outside. I have experienced the strength that comes from knowing that I am a capable, smart, young woman with plenty of gifts. I believe that as a human being, I have value. If you’re religious, you may also understand that a lot of this value comes from understanding that I am a child of God. I am worthy of beautiful things just like any other creation. But none of this has eliminated my struggle. It took me a long time to admit that I was struggling. For the longest time I had convinced myself that I was above worrying about my body or resorting to fad diets, over exercising, starving myself, and other stereotypical things. I felt disgust for myself when I pinched my ‘fat rolls’ and wished I was bone thin. Every time I looked in the mirror I had to pep-talk myself into being thankful for what I had. Don’t misunderstand me. I am so, SO, thankful for what I have and who I am, but being thankful for the body that I have didn’t come naturally and was often forced and anyone would agree that forced thankfulness is not the same as true, heartfelt, thankfulness. I entered a lot of fad diets and worried about calories all the time. I justified it all by pinning my reasons on other things: counting calories is healthy, this new liquid diet will be a good cleanse, cutting meat out is more humane, etc. I was actually lying to myself to make myself feel better. I got really good at it. Once I realized how much I was lying to myself, I realized how utterly exhausting it was. Body image is a legitimate issue, even for perfectly healthy women. It gets better, but it is slow progress. I trust that thankfulness will eventually come because the guilt over feeling terrible about my body is slowly going away. In the meantime, I encourage those with body image problems to talk about it. Find a good friend, a good counselor, and explain. Stewing in your own problem is not going to make it better. Denial is even worse.

March Favorite: Olay Fresh Effects

March isn’t yet over, but I have three favorites that have already pulled far above the pack. I was kind of dying to share them with you guys. It’s Secret’s Clinical Strength deodorant, Olay Fresh Effects (with accompanying vibrating brush), and Olay Regenerist Night Recovery Cream. Two of these products I received complimentary from Influenster and the face cream my mother brought for me. I’ll be focusing on the cleansing system today.

Fresh Effects is actually a whole line, but I am most interested in their cleansing system. It comes with a vibrating wand, akin to the Olay Pro X system and the Clarisonic. However, there are a few differences that you should pay attention to.

The Olay Pro X has a soft bristle brush head that spins and uses two double A batteries. It only comes in one model and in my experience the spinning brush head is kind of scary and makes it unusable for more than a few days a week. It’s about $25 for the device and the heads do have to be replaced. However, since it’s not as popular as the Clarisonic you can’t just waltz into a Sephora and get replacements for it.

The Clarisonic is my holy grail. A lot of people swear by this. Like the Pro X system it will clean your skin more thoroughly than using your hands. However, it’s a bit on the pricy range, about $80-120 dollars depending on if you get it on sale. There are several models that you can get, but I currently own the Mia. This device is rechargeable (from any country, no converter necessary), waterproof, and the bristle brush does not spin. The whole device vibrates for a timed one minute. The brush is a lot softer than those offered by the Pro X system. The power on the vibrations is fairly decent. The downside is that replacement heads cost about $20 and you have to replace them every three months with regular use.

Now, for the Olay Fresh Effects Va-Va-Vivid cleansing system. It is a lot smaller than the Clarisonic and therefore it is a lot more portable. It’s also more affordable, a single wand costs about $12. From my experience a wand should last you about a month if you clean it well. However, the brush head is made of a soft plastic and not a bristle. It’s triangular shaped, which gets into your nose area well, but it might take a bit more work to cover your whole face.The head does not rotate, but it does vibrate. For it’s size it packs quite a powerful punch. It suds up my face wash very well. I’ve been using it with the Shine-Go-Away that came with the set and I’m loving it. It takes one AAA battery and I don’t suggest using this device regularly in the shower since I’m not sure how waterproof it is. The best part about this whole thing is that it is very portable. I used to hate carrying my Clarisonic with me on short trips since it’s bulky and semi-heavy. However, this wand is super light and super small. It’s effective! This makes it great for away trips. I just toss it into my makeup bag and I’m good to go!

You can see the whole product line at: http://www.olay.com/skin-care-products/fresh-effects

Lancome + Influenster

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love Lancome products. I know that they’re considered high end and kind of expensive (and frankly not a lot of people would shell out the money for higher priced cosmetics), but I adore the quality of their products and especially their skincare. Lancome’s Genifique has received a lot of raves, but I personally think that while it’s a great serum it’s targeted toward skin that’s a little bit older. It’s often advertised as a ‘youth activator.’ Hollyannaeree talks about it in her youtube video and that’s what brought it to my attention. I’ve used samples of it and I found it to be nice, but my Genifique sample also came with a Visionnaire sample and to be quite honest I think I like the Visionnaire more.

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Visionnaire is another serum that Lancome release. Sometimes they’re advertised as complimentary day and night serums were the Visionnaire is the day serum and the Genifique is the night serum. However, I think one bottle of serum can be used for day and night. It does not necessarily have to be exclusive. I tend to think of Visionnaire as the serum for younger skin. Lancome advertises it as a serum to target pores, uneven skin tones, and some wrinkles.

I’ve known a few beauty youtubers that have raved about how Visionnaire has changed their skin. Based on my use of both serums I personally like the Visionnaire better. My mother has only used the Genifique and she says she doesn’t notice much visible change. I guess it really depends on person to person which serum works the best for them. I highly suggest picking up a sample of both when Lancome counters offer them.

Near the end of November, Lancome-USA offered a friends and family discount for 20% off their entire site (minus gift sets). Since I know how notorious Lancome counters are for not offering discounts I took advantage of the sale to buy a 1.7oz bottle of the Visionnaire. (I also asked them to gift wrap it even though it really didn’t need to be gift wrapped.) Instead of the $105 for 1.7oz I paid $84 and then I used by ebates account for an extra 15% cash back. I literally got it for $69.30. Free shipping included. Probably one of the best Christmas presents to myself that I’ve ever brought. A full review will be posted later.

To those who have tried both, do you tend to use Genifique or Visionnaire?

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Then, Influenster (a review program that I joined) sent me a Cosmo Voxbox as well. I have four awesome products to try and I will be reviewing those for you later. It came with a bar of Ghirardelli Sea Salt Escape, two FriXion by Pilot Pens in black and red, a Gillette Venus Embrace razor and a Gillette+Olay razor, as well as Bath and Body Works’ new perfume Forever Red. I’m the most excited about testing out the perfume. I took a quick sniff when I opened the package and realized that it leans toward spicy more than fruity or floral. I’m a little disappointed since I’m not the type of girl to use spicy scents, but I’ll give it a try since heavier scents seem to be ‘in’ during the fall.

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#GhirardelliEscape #VenusFits #FriXion #BBWForeverRed

What the heck is a Clarisonic? Your Questions Answered

I recently brought a Clarisonic Mia (from my own cash, this was not sent to me to review) since Beauty.com had a 20% off Friends and Family sale and I decided to take advantage of it to upgrade my skincare routine. I was seriously contemplating buying one over the summer, but the price became a major negative factor. From what I know, Clarisonics don’t go ‘on sale.’ You won’t find them on sale in Nordstroms or Macy’s so don’t even try.

I was so excited about it that I ended up telling all my friends. You guys are funny because every time I mention Clarisonic I inevitably get some people who give me blank stares or ask me what it is because it looks like torture. Instead of explaining it a million times I will explain it once in a neat little blog post. (Really guys, I would think that you would know about skincare…)

A Clarisonic looks like this:

These little doodads run from about $120 (Mia) to $225 (Plus).

  • What Does REGULAR Face Washing Do?

Basically its a tool that you use about once or twice a day and it helps you clean your face. Usually when you clean your face you use a cleanser and your hands, right? That’s what I used to do. I used The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash to wash my face once or twice a day. This is actually the least efficient way of washing your face (besides just using plain water). You really only wash the surface and you’ll be surprised as how much dirt is left on the surface. The next best way is to use your face wash with a muslin cloth or a cotton cloth. This will help you exfoliate your skin a tiny bit and wahes it better than using your hands. (Have you ever washed your face in a basin of water? Do you remember how absolutely nasty the water gets? That’s barely even all the dirt you have piled up on your face.)

  • What Does a Clarisonic Do?

Then there is the Clarisonic (aka: miracle worker). It uses a soft bristle brush and then it vibrates to get the cleanser deep into your pores and flushes all the dirt out. It flushes out oils, deeply lodged dirt, and gently exfoliates the upper dem layer (but doesn’t kill your skin like some exfoliators do and is gentle enough to use every day). Some people explain it as an electric toothbrush for your face, but that’s a scary way of thinking about it. The brush doesn’t spin at all and it doesn’t drag your face (like the Olay Pro X, which I hate).

  • BENEFITS

The Clarisonic will wash your skin 6 times better than any other method, it can help with preventing acne, if you use an acne fash wash it will help it penetrate the skin better, it evens skin tone over time, it gently removes dead skin cells, it will help your moisturizers and serums absorb better, it massages the skin gently enough to help you exercise those muscles and keep your face firm as you age, over time it will minimize pores, etc. etc. The benefits of are kind of endless. It’s helpful, especially if you wear any kind of makeup.

Your skin becomes instantly softer, it will glow more, and you will notice a reduction in the number of acne breakouts. Here’s an important thing to note: after the first week of use I broke out a little and this is normal. I’ve heard of this from other people who also use the Clarisonic. I predict it has something to do with the fact that your skin is resurfacing all the nasty stuff that’s trapped beneath your derm layers.

So that’s my little spechiel. The bottom line is that it helps. A lot. Love your skin!!!

(I’ll take a picture of my own Clarisonic once I get my DSLR in the mail.)

MAC Lipsticks

Kitten by StilaEveryone’s probably way on top of this (figures I would be the last one to jump the boat), but I’ve gotten really obsessed at the idea of MAC lipsticks. When I used to dance for a team, they would use MAC for all their makeup. I love their blushes because they don’t clog the face and the color is nice, but I never really thought about any their other makeup. I’ve certainly never owned a lot of MAC makeup either. Everyone says how awesome their eyeshadows are, but my favorite eyeshadow is still Kitten by Stila (shown on the right).

Recently I’ve heard about Ravishing and Speed Dial by MAC and I got really interested. Ravishing is a cool-toned peach while Speed Dail by MACSpeed Dial is a very girly pink with gold flecks (think of Orgasm blush by NARS). They are both cream sheen shades and they seem really pretty. I might have to go to a MAC store to try on the shades. The last time I went to a store to try on a shade that was all hyped up I didn’t like it (Lovelorn by MAC, it had too many blue undertones), so I have some reservations about trying another shade that is so hyped. I currently own one MAC lipstick and I brought it because it was a beautiful pinkish nude.

Best Thing I’ve Read Today

“You have an amazing natural beauty, a genetic trait that has been passed down to you through your family, a trait that is a part of your own special family, culture, heritage, or nationality. This is not a superficial question, because millions of girls, like yourself, cross-cultural, cross-nations, become unhappy each day, due to some part of their physical appearance that they want to change. And all I can say is, hold onto yourself. Nobody else is like you. Don’t let the beauty industry bring you down.”

From: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080813230036AAYDxO6