Here we are at week three of our Healthy Habits Challenge. Have you been practicing along with us?
Week one, we tackled the challenge of drinking our optimal daily intake of water. As we know, proper hydration is beauty secret, Numero Uno. If we don't drink enough water, it affects every system in our body, including the skin. In week two, which we're wrapping up today, the challenge has been preparing food at home and eliminating processed foods. The idea behind this being a healthy beauty tip is that by preparing food at home, we have the most control over the quality of our ingredients. In addition, purchasing the freshest local ingredients possible allows us to be consuming the most nutrient-dense foods.
Each week, I'm introducing one small thing that we can do every day to get us closer to our most happy, healthy skin from the inside out.
If you missed last week's introduction, you can read more here.
So, how'd you do preparing food at home this week? I'd love to know how you think you did! Just like when we practiced the habit of drinking more water, progress over perfection is what we're aiming for here. We're trying on Healthy Habits one week at a time.
So now on to this week's challenge, and I'll admit it's a tough one. Are you sitting down? This week's Healthy Habits Challenge is quitting sugar! Or at the very least, eliminating refined sugar from your diet, don't worry, I'll give you a couple of substitutions.
*We can share our progress on IG or FB and connect there! Just one small thing each week. Although the challenge is personal, we're in this together. So follow on Instagram and Facebook for daily healthy habits support all week long.
It's motivation time!! Let's define our why!
In our Skin Diet Connection Series on the blog, we learned that food is a powerful beauty tool and that the foods we choose to eat are equally as crucial to the products we're applying to our skin. What we eat will either be nutritious and fuel for our bodies or just filler food, void of nutrients. And sugar is a sweet poison for skin, plain and simple. I'm not gonna sugar-coat it for ya!
- We'll just start with the big one, "Skin is composed of collagen and elastin, which make our skin supple and soft. Sugar causes cross-linking of collagen. A process called glycation, resulting in stiffening and loss of elasticity of our skin. The more sugar we have, the more our skin starts to suffer." You can read more about that here.
- A healthy immune system is essential for clear skin and treating acne. Sugar destroys healthy bacteria in our digestive system, creating an imbalance in our gut health and compromising our immune system.
- Chronic inflammation in the body can be responsible for worsening conditions like rosacea, eczema, and acne.
- Balanced hormone health is vital in keeping skin smooth, clear, and healthy. Sugar is known for stressing our adrenal and thyroid glands, basically wreaking havoc on our hormones when we consume too much.
How's your sweet-tooth feeling now?
Let's define our goal! This week we want to avoid refined sugars and foods high in sugar. Where's sugar hiding in your day? You have the option of going cold turkey or trying more natural sweetening alternatives like honey, dates, or fruits like bananas. When trying new things, we're not always going to be 100%. We value progress over perfection here, and simply doing better than we did last week is great.
So now that we have our why and our goal, where do we start this week?
- Start with setting an intention of doing better than last week. I like to keep notes of what I eat and drink in my planner to review when needed. This week as your health coach, I have to tell you if you don't write it down, you're likely to forget all the little things. We are better at remembering what we had for dinner on Monday night than we are at remembering all the little snacks we ate or how many times we stopped by the cafe or ice cream shop over a week. Haha!
- The next step, sketch out a plan. Where are you consuming most of your sugar? Is it in foods, liquids, or snacking? Is it direct like in candy or soda or hidden, like in processed foods like store-bought juice, or are you adding it to recipes you make for you and your family? Once you know where most of your sugar intake is, you can plan on alternatives, and no, I don't mean "sugar-free" chemically sweetened ones.
- Clear the pantry! It might seem extreme, and it may not work if you're the only one in your house quitting sugar but pack any sugary temptations you have around the house into shopping bags and just set them aside for this week. We're just practicing a new healthy habit for the week, so maybe you can get the family on board.
- Plan and shop for your alternatives. Listen, you and I both know it's gonna take longer than one week to quit sugar entirely or at least long enough to begin curbing cravings, especially if you have a sweet tooth. But stocking the house with ripe fruit in season and dark chocolate that's low in sugar can help ease you into it. The real question here is, can you quit sugar for one week just to try it out and see how you feel?
Will you take the #cosmichealthyhabitschallenge this week? And don't forget to keep drinking your water! Want to learn more about hydration and its importance for the skin? You can do that here.