Congrats! You’re engaged! Or expecting! Or getting married, or something!
A big part of any of the above is going to mean two things, celebrating and picture taking. According to my friend, Amanda Lee, photographer and founder of 22 Ivy Photo, many people feel anxious and nervous about being on camera despite their “natural beauty.”
Leading up to the day of your photo shoot, you may begin to wish you started that diet months ago, you’re nervous about looking bloated, getting the sweats and messing up your make up, or God forbid breaking out the day before or the day of your big shoot. You think about starving yourself the day before, using every facial cleanser, exfoliater and moisturizer you can afford, and maybe even going as far as depriving yourself of water to avoid bloat at any cost.
Well first things first, take a deep breath. Literally. You ever walk into a room with someone stressing out and feel a certain oura take over your vibrations? Maybe they haven’t even said anything but their body language and movement sends that signal right down to your nervous system, stress.
When we stress out, we elevate a hormone in our bodies called cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels, also known as the “stress hormone,” can interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function, increase weight gain, increase blood pressure, and can trigger breakouts and flares up in underlying auto-immune disorders such as psoriasis. This demon hormone can also age you way faster than you should be. So.
Chill the %$#@ out.
Avoid any unnecessary stress leading up to what’s going to be a very special day for you. Practice putting your body in a state of calm when you find yourself put in a stressful situation, consider calming activities like, going for a light walk, preferably out in nature. Yoga and meditation can be excellent stress-reducers. If you don’t have time for all that and need an instant-calm, try the following breath technique. Breathe in your nose slowly for 5 seconds. Hold that breath for 5 seconds and then release for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times. You can do this 60-second drill when driving, sitting, standing or laying down. Try it now and tell me you don’t feel calmer! Another method I like is alternate nostril breathing. Applying the same concept and timing as above, hold one nostril shut, breathing through the other, and at the top of your inhale, switch nostrils and exhale. Repeat on both sides for several rounds until someone nearby sees you and thinks your picking your nose. Now you’re both laughing. Cortisol- gone.
So now you’ve got your stress down but you remember that diet you wanted to go on in a few months ago but never really committed. Damn. You want to feel at your best and want people to see you at your best and quick. Well, I’m going to give you a few tricks leading up to your day to fool people into thinking you’ve been eating nothing but kale for the last few months. I wrote this down so you don’t have to.
2. An Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Much like the stress hormone cortisol, your body will react unfavorably to inflammatory foods. Examples may include sugar, processed foods, gluten, dairy, and most notably, processed vegetable oils (corn, canola, vegetable, soybean, safflower). Leading up to your photo shoot, avoid these foods like the plague. Opt for organic, or at least very clean fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and if you can tolerate, nuts and seeds. Sweet potatoes, avocados, salmon, beef, chicken, green-leafy vegetables and coconut or extra virgin olive oil are fan favorites here for their satiety and nutrient density. This will not only benefit your waistline, but your hair, skin, and mood. I don’t want to label it, but think “paleo diet.” If God made it, it’s probably okay, if man made it, throw it away.
Pro tip; for extra reduction in bloat for your special day, strictly limit carbs and salt the day before your shoot and drink plenty of water. While you might not feel your absolute best using this method, your face, waist and confidence will reap the benefits.
More on inflammation- we are more than just what we eat when it comes to optimal health, beauty and appearance. In order to obtain that picture-esqu perfection, we need to pay attention to what we’re feeding our body’s largest organ; our skin.
3. Develop a Chemical-free Skin-care Routine
Go read the back of your nearest facewash, shampoo, hairspray or cleanser. If you can’t pronounce half of the ingredients, that’s not good. If you don’t recognize something in those products, chances are your body can’t recognize them either. The beauty industry is messed up. They have us trading short-term satisfaction for lack of long-term results and wellness. Parabens, synthetic colors, fragrance, phthalates, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, formaldehyde, toluene are some of the worst offenders. Take care of your skin and look for chemical-free care products and alcohol free face washes. I recommend Dr. Bronner’s Skin Care prodcuts to cover most of your bases.
That’s a boatload. You’ve learned a way to naturally decrease stress and lower blood pressure, you’ve discovered a diet that can keep you youthful and vibrant and you know that it’d be extremely beneficial to avoid chemicals and keep your skin glowing.
I’m going to leave you with one more potent tip and address the elephant in the room, fat. We all have it, some more than others. It doesn’t mean you are fat. We also all have fingernails, but I’ve never actually met someone who is a fingernail. I’m going to give you my top 5 “rapid” fat loss tips, some of which you’ve heard before, some you’re going to need to do that breathing thing again when you read, but bear with me.
Pro Tools for Rapid Fat Loss
Practice an intermittent fast, also known as time-restricted eating. There was a rumor going around years ago, that fasting wrecks your metabolism and causes your body to hold onto every ounce of weight it can because of this thing called “starvation mode.” Um, no. Our bodies were designed to go days without eating without experiencing these catabolic catastrophes. The average person has 10’s of 1000’s worth of calories stored as body fat, even those who are very lean! You’d have to be in a serious caloric deficit to experience a true problem. Fasting increases the bodies ability to detox through a process called cellular autophagy. Start with 12 hours (finish dinner by 8pm and don’t eat again until 8am) and work your way to 16 hours for maximum autophagy benefits (fasting from dinner to next day’s lunch for most people). The cellular cleanup will help to detox and destroy inflamed fat cells and help keep your calories down throughout the day.
Practice fasted cardio. Before ending your fast, take 10-40 minutes to move around. This can be a walk around your block, some yoga, jumping jacks or wrestling with your significant other (my favorite). This will force your body to burn a little bit of stored body fat, having not been fueled by anything other than some water, black coffee, tea or any other zero-calorie beverage you might have consumed during your fast, so body fat will be your fuel. Keep it light. Enjoy the movement or enjoy the wrestling.
Embrace Cold. This is going to be the most extreme of the information I’m giving you. By topping off your fast and fasted cardio by getting cold, you are going to increase the mobility and burning of fatty acids, specifically targeting what is called brown-adipose tissue. By activating this “brown" fat, you are essentially super-charging fat loss and giving yourself a potent boost of energy in the process. The way you're going to do this; a cold shower. This is very difficult for some, so here's the hack. Either use hot/cold exposure by switching between 30 seconds of hot to 30 seconds of cold or take your normal warm to hot shower and simply finish with 30-60 seconds of as cold as you can get it. I've written about this extensively on my blog which you can check out here.
Control your glycemic variability aka your blood sugar. We talked about creating an anti-inflammatory diet and kicking processed food to the curb, but now I'd like to talk a little bit about macro-nutrient manipulation or in less words, meal timing. You can control you bodies insulin spikes through what you decide to put in your mouth and when you decide to put it there. Opt for your breakfast and lunch to consist of mostly healthy sources of fat, fiber and protein. Keep carbs absolutely minimal until the evening. By using this technique, you will keep your body satiated throughout the day and get about one major insulin spike per 24-hour cycle. Insulin spikes and blood sugar variations throughout the day are linked to weight gain, decreased satiety, (increased appetite, overeating), and has been shown to trigger diabetic symptoms at worst. You will reap the benefits of refilling muscle glycogen at the end of your day and your blood sugar coming back down at the perfect time, when you're going to sleep. Which brings me to Pro Tip #5
Sleep like you mean it. They say you should be sleeping 7-9 hours per night, but to some, including myself, that is a fairytale. Aim for quality over quantity. In my opinion, based on my experience and knowledge, 6-7 hours of good sleep should do it. Increase quality of sleep by avoiding caffeine after 2-3pm and by creating a bulletproof sleep routine. This should include limiting your exposure to TV's, computer screens, cell phones and other bright light devices that omit blue-light, a serious melatonin disruptor. Melatonin, like cortisol, is a hormone your body begins to release at around sun set and peaks when you're a few hours deep in sleep. By controlling your exposure to sun-like lighting found in our devices, we are optimizing melatonin production and ensuring we sleep deeply through the night. If you must use your devices late at night, purchase blue-light blocking glasses and wear them at night time, about an hour or two before bed. ($10-$60 on Amazon). You may look nerdy to your friends, significant other and dog, but your body will thank you. Make your bedroom dark as you can by purchasing some black-out curtains and keeping your cell phone in the other room (this will help omit EMF’s too). By getting a good nights sleep, your body will continue to cleanse itself of unwanted fatty-tissue and provide you with plenty of energy to kick ass the next day.
Whew. Well that was a lot of information. Remember those deep breaths?
I hope you enjoyed this information. For the one of the best photographer’s in NYC, checkout 22 Ivy Photo (https://www.22ivyphoto.com) and tell them the Primal Jedi sent you for a special rate. You won’t be disappointed!
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For more information on weight loss, fitness, health, wellness and nutrtion, I am available for consultations and personal training at PrimalJedi.com
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