Beauty

Reflections on 2014

On January 1st many of us set New Year’s Resolutions. We resolve to do better. Do more of the things that are good for us (health, fitness, financial) and less of the things that are not so good for us (poor food choices, sedentary living, frivolous spending). The model of success I have found through the Health Fitness Beauty Quest has been one of adding. The focus has never been about taking away, but one of incorporating more of the things that are better for me.

Health

By adding better food choices such as an apple before a breakfast taco or a salad before a burger, I found the cravings for poor food choices naturally minimize and were even deleted from my daily meal options. This does not mean I forgo pizza or burgers or tacos. What it does mean is that those types of food options have fallen into the few and far between meals. I simply do not care to eat them as often as I did in the past.

Fitness

In 2014, I added neighborhood walks, interval treadmill sessions, hiking and gym circuit training to my cycling and swimming. I was surprised to discover how quickly my body responded to mixing up my fitness routine. It took less time to loose inches and gain strength when I varied my workouts. By adding more movement and changing the types of exercise I was doing I saw bigger results.

Beauty

I went big when it came to beauty. I added monthly facials, had an abdominal awake lipo procedure, incorporated a morning and evening beauty regimen and learned more about how to care for myself than I had in all my adult life. I not only learned about beauty care, but I stuck to it day after day, month after month. It’s one thing to learn something, but it is an entirely different thing to see it through day in and day out.

Nutritional Supplements

Although nutritional supplements are not part of my blog title, they have played an important supporting role in each aspect of my health, fitness and beauty. In 2014, I became a part of the #1 nutritional supplement company in the world. Incorporating nutritional supplements to my daily routine was another I found to move my quest forward. By joining the company I also added another stream of income to my business.

As I look back on 2014, I see a year of transition and transformation. I took my life back from the unhealthy version of myself and staked a claim for the new healthy, fit and beautiful version of myself that will live out the rest of my adventure-filled days.

Has It Been One Year Already?

Health | Fitness | Beauty Quest  Year One

Health | Fitness | Beauty Quest
Year One

The month of September marks the Health Fitness Beauty Quest one year anniversary. It is hard to believe so much time has passed. I look back at everything learned over the last 12 months and realize just how much has changed. When I started on this journey, I had no idea where it would take me. My hopes were to discover a healthier and fitter version of myself. As a self-proclaimed “Tomboy Techie”, I also was curious to discover more about the world of beauty.

For those of you who have followed my journey, I give you my heartfelt thanks. Your words of encouragement and support have been invaluable to me. The knowledge that you were cheering me on and holding me accountable have been a large part of my success.

I really do feel fantastic after a year of the Health Fitness Beauty Quest. It has been an incredible year and I am extremely grateful to each one of you. Your tweets, comments, likes and shares online have gone a long way towards keeping me on track. The face-to-face conversations, phone calls, hugs and texts warmed my heart, lifted my spirits and fueled my workouts. I have always felt I was in partnership with you on this journey.

In order to share some of the keys to my success I will be visiting with Pinnacle Wellness, ContourLase Body Institute and Your Wellness Plan. These companies partnered with me to provide services, products and education when I began this journey one year ago.

The archived and ongoing conversation can be found by searching for the #hfbq hashtag on Twitter and Facebook. 

 

 

 

 

Cha-Cha-Changes

Your Healthy Life SignSince beginning the Health Fitness Beauty Quest, there have been many changes in my life over the last 9 months. Some are big changes but most are small little nuances of change that have combined to leave quite the impression in my life. I am the first to admit that my life has not been the healthiest.

There were many times I knew there had to be a better way, but I always thought it would be too hard. I thought a healthy life meant a life of denial. A life without spice or flavor or fun. If I could go back in time and talk to that Jennifer from 20 years ago I would explain how empowering it is to be physically strong after a walk, run, cycling or gym workout. How liberating it can be to make knowledgable nutrition choices. How satisfying it is to be full from eating a delicious meal and not feel bloated afterwards. I call it clean simple living and it’s wonderful.

Over the last 9 months, my life has changed in so many ways. Some I will share with you here on the Health Fitness Beauty Quest. Let’s start with my outlook. Even though my family is long-lived. (90’s to 100’s) and I knew I had the potential to live to a ripe old age, I wasn’t living like I would get there. Each year as I got older, I could see my girth increasing, myself aging and my health dwindling. Now, after 9 months of focusing solely on the three things (health, fitness and beauty) I felt were of importance, my outlook has completely changed. I look back on my previous life and wonder why it took me so long to make the decision to choose a healthy and empowered lifestyle.

If you have been waiting for “some day” to get healthy. That someday is right now. Look yourself in the mirror and verbally claim your healthy, strong and empowered life. Believe me when I tell you, it is so much closer than you think.

Beauty: Awake Lipo Consultation

The more I learn about the beauty portion of the Health Fitness Beauty Quest, the more I understand the value of doing little and maybe some not so little things to improve the way you look.

Beauty Treatments

In the last post I shared my Botox® and Filler experience. Plus if you have been following my Ustream channel then you’ve also been able to see the Dermapen treatments I received starting in November.  I have been thrilled with the results of these three procedures. The Dermapen w/PRP has rejuvenated my face, neck and décolletage. Taking my tired-looking skin and making it shiny and smooth. The Juviderm® Filler in my upper cheeks lifted the skin on my cheeks and minimized the appearance of dark circles under my eyes.

The compliments I have received on how my face looks range from, “You look so natural.” to “I would never have guessed you had anything done.” and also “Your face looks so bright”.

The Next Step

I wanted to go the next step and see what I could do to make improvements to my body that would match my now glowing and beautiful face. So, I sat down with my client Dr. Mozersky and the ContourLase team to learn more about awake lipo.

Here is the consultation:


 

Beauty: New Year, New Me

One of the aspects I knew very little about when it came down to my quest was the beauty portion. I’ve always been what I would call a tomboy techie. I grew up with boy cousins playing tag, cowboys and indians, cops and robbers, red light/green light, marbles, chess and….well you get the picture. I have never been a girly girl so the beauty part of the quest was like learning to speak a new language.

In the summer of 2013, I began working with the fine folks at ContourLase Body Institute. I learned a lot while updating their website content and began to understand why folks would want to do things like Botox and awake lipo to improve the way they look. Seeing all the before and after photos, reading the patient testimonials and getting to know the team gave me the confidence to embark on my beauty quest.

Following my consultation with Dr. Mozersky, I began my first steps into a more beautiful version of myself. This is a key to the success Dr. Mozersky and ContourLase has had over the years. I would be able to make small subtle improvements that would reverse the clock while still looking like me. I think a lot of folks are hesitant to have “something done” because they worry that they will stop looking like themselves.

During my consult with Dr. Mozersky he suggested we start with my face since that is the first thing that folks see when they meet me. We started a Dermapen with Platelet Rich Plasma treatment in November which was followed up 30 days later in December by a second treatment and then a final third treatment in January. The sessions were recorded live and can be found on the Health Fitness Beauty Quest Ustream Channel.

I could see a difference right away.  I was amazed at how bright and shiny my face looked. Folks told me that my skin looked smooth and my face seemed more open. All I know is that I liked what I was seeing in the mirror. The next treatment in my beauty quest was to have Botox and filler done on my face. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I had every confidence in Dr. Mozersky. One of the bonuses was being the patient for the #AskDrMozersky ContourLase show. See my session below:

As you can see from the video, the entire experience was a breeze. If I had been pleased with the results of the Dermapen with PRP treatment, I was blown away by what Botox and Filler did to my appearance. It looked like years had melted away. It was still me, just a brighter and slightly younger version of me. In case you aren’t convinced of the difference, here are my before and after pics. Notice the lack of grumpy lines. I have always been an upbeat and happy-go-lucky gal so having a face that matches my positive outlook suits me just fine.

Before and After Botox and filler
If you have seen me around town, you will probably notice I have an extra pep in my step. I already have better energy through my running and cycling regimen paired up with the daily consumption of USANA nutritional supplements. Is it okay to admit that seeing my refreshed new look has really put an extra spark in my life? I guess the old saying, “If you look good, you feel good” is true.

A Matter of Balance

Eat reasonable amounts of healthy foods. Exercise regularly. Stay on track.

Girl in Balance Artwork by Hebron Chism

It sounds pretty straightforward. Speaking as someone who has tried scads of diets, lifestyles, regimens, books, gyms, training regimens, classes and sports over the years, I can say that each time, I have discovered and rediscovered that the weight, health and fitness equation really does come down to doing these three things regularly.

Much of the time, I have a hard time really accepting this.

The artwork pictured here is a piece I commissioned from the amazing Hebron Chism. It’s called “Girl in Balance.” It depicts me when I was 15 years old (the age my son is now). The piece is a celebration of self discovery, with a bittersweet edge.

My parents divorced when I was 7, and my Mom worked 2 and 3 jobs and went to college, so money was tight and my parents were largely absent. My two brothers were great human beings, but they were older, able to escape. I was trapped at home a lot.

Loneliness and relative poverty are a hell of a way to spend puberty. I comforted myself with Beatles records, dancing, playing the piano, and lots of hot, sweet, milky tea and toast with margarine.

But back to the moment this artwork depicts. Through the help of some dear friends, I had taken up tennis, gymnastics and jumping rope, and had gotten my body into decent shape. To my amazement and delight, I learned that I could stand on my hands for up to 10 minutes at a time. This ability literally turned my self-concept upside down.

I rent studio space for my interactive agency from artist and art community leader James Hendricks. When Hebron camped there for a few months, I saw him sculpting these gorgeous human figures out of blocks of plywood, all poised and graceful and in balance. I was particularly drawn to the ones of heroic female figures. Here’s one of the Chinese Mulan woman warrior figure. Note that Mulan can not only shoot an arrow with her feet while standing on her hands – she also wears a mask.

hebron-chism-mulan-model-400px

Even though each piece ends up affixed to a stable base, each of Hebron’s sculptures actually does BALANCE as a freestanding wooden figure.

Except mine! Let me tell you why he made an exception in my case.

Commissioning the Girl In Balance Artwork

I had never commissioned an artwork before, but James knew how taken I was with Hebron’s pieces and encouraged me to talk to him about them. After a philosophical discussion about what I liked about the piece, some Google images searches and a few skillful questions via email, Hebron caused a bunch of concepts to come tumbling out of me, which was very therapeutic! What balance means. The beautiful arc of body I remembered as I kicked up into the handstands. The ability to surprise myself and others. The vital importance of books and my piano to my ability to maintain emotional balance. The aloneness – which ended up symbolized by that lovely elliptical base.

We went back and forth on the body position. Hebron explained that I couldn’t have maintained that pretty arced body position for 10 minutes at a time; that in order to be stable, my body had to be pushed up much more straight – or it would be too much effort to maintain the balance. He explained that I started with an arc and then straightened up – I had to have done. That rang a bell, and I realized I had never actually seen myself in the position anyway.

So we compromised – he depicts me just as I had kicked up into the handstand – with the little flutter of my shirt showing that movement – in the moment JUST BEFORE I achieved balance.

And that makes it even sweeter. It symbolizes the fact that none of live in balance. We wobble. We strive. Sometimes we fall and have to get back up. And that’s ok.

The other thing this artwork made me realize, is that I can be superwoman like Mulan. I can stand on my hands for 10 minutes at a time, and do it alone, without help. But working that hard to maintain balance, I can’t really do anything else. My hands are occupied. I can’t shoot an arrow. To really get things done, I need to stand on my own two feet, and be willing to accept the help of others.

I do yoga to Rodney Yee DVDs. If you don’t know him, Rodney is a very well known yoga teacher, with many years of experience. Beautiful control and body positions. Yet on our big-screen TV, I can see his muscles flexing as he constantly, constantly, wobbles and corrects, wobbles and corrects. Even Rodney Yee. His corrections are so small you have to look carefully to see them. But they’re there. Most of the time, even Rodney isn’t in balance. He’s working to achieve it.

Thank you, Hebron Chism, for helping me find my balance and better understand what balance means.

Defining Beauty

As mentioned in the introductory post, I started the Health | Fitness | Beauty Quest as a purposeful look at what each of those things mean to me. It has since grown to include some near and dear friends. It is now a collaborative search each of us are doing. We share our own thoughts on what each of those aspects means and by sharing we are each learning and growing.

Creating Album Art

I am recording some quick audio posts on this topic as well as updates on my fitness training. The podcaster in me couldn’t stand to have audio posts without having album art to represent “the show.” So, yesterday I came up with a logo using a public domain background image and some clipart. You may have seen me share it on Facebook as well as the originating audio post.

I showed it to my graphic designer husband who offered some helpful suggestions to make the image pop. He suggested adding a second layer to the background, adding a bevel to the icons and moving the text up and away from icons. I thought it looked better, but wanted to get the opinion of my fellow contributors.

HFBQ Side by Side ComparisonI shared it with the ladies and received a question from Susan regarding the third image of a skinny shapely body as the representative image for beauty. In my mind, skinny does not equal beauty so I could see the reason for the question. After all, the point of this quest is to figure what it means for each of us. And I do think that health, fitness and beauty mean different things to us at different stages in our lives.

Back To The Drawing Board

As I mentioned earlier, I pulled these images from a clipart collection.  So, I began looking for an alternative image to stand for beauty. I looked at butterflies, flowers, women’s faces and nothing fit. It wasn’t until I came upon a clipart collections of people that I found what I was looking for. It was titled “Jumps” and in this collection I found a vibrant joy-filled woman who is jumping in the air.

The AHA! Moment

HFBQuest Album Art V5To me she represented the feeling of beauty. And that was the moment that I began to understand more about what true beauty represents to me. I could look fabulous on the outside but feel crumby on the inside and I will not have a sense that I am beautiful. However, If I feel fantastic on the inside physically, spiritually and emotionally then my own unique beauty will shine through.

Now that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t need to wash my face or fix my hair, but inner beauty is like a light shining inside that gives us that special glow and makes us want to jump for joy.

I want to thank Susan for questioning me and making me spend more time to dig deeper to find the right image. In doing so, she helped me begin to understand more about a beauty that is far beyond a small waistline. May your own journey to health, fitness and beauty be equally enlightening.

 

What is the Health | Fitness | Beauty Quest?

You may be wondering how you found yourself here. And I am not just talking about here on this site. I am talking about the place you are at this exact moment. No not the office chair or sofa where you are sitting comfortably. How did you wind up at the exact health, fitness and beauty state you are in right now?

The Wild Years

When I asked myself this question many images and thoughts floated around in my head. I thought about binge drinking in my 20’s. Eating habits that were less than healthy (Whataburger has me to thank, in part,  for their continued success). In my younger days, I tried diets and the latest ephedrine based pill that would “melt those pounds off and give me energy to last all day!” I went to “Diet Dr’s” who gave me prescription pills for weight loss along with a Vitamin B-12 shot to give me a boost. Sure, I’d loose a few pounds and feel great until I stopped taking those pills. The truth was, I was not disciplined in anything I was doing.

Growing Up

My 30’s were a time of great spiritual, emotional and mental satisfaction. The binge drinking of youth turned into the more mature occasional social drinking and the dieting yo-yo was put on permanent hold.  My health improved but I still considered it in a state of flux. Nothing too dramatic. Just not what I considered ideal. From teen to adult I was dissatisfied with body image, but looking back I can see that it really wasn’t bad at all. There are so many societal pressures on what anyone should and shouldn’t look like that we miss the beauty that is there plain as day. Hindsight is truly 20/20.

Personal Enlightenment

image by Karen Arnold

image by Karen Arnold

In my 40’s I think I have found what I consider to the sweet spot. At least a state of being that I consider the sweet spot. At this age, I have confidence in who I am as a human being on planet earth. I can honestly say, “I like who I am.” You may think that statement is no big deal, but for me it was profound.

I am in a place and time where I want to be the best version of myself that is possible. Now that doesn’t mean I want to look like a super model or even like the latest Hollywood It Girl. Not by a long shot. What it means to me is being healthy, physically fit and my own unique version of beautiful.

This is a new mindful and purpose filled direction. Having fun is key. The goal is lifestyle based which can be sustained for a lifetime. As I move forward, I am prepared to be fluid and adjust as I learn more about myself and increase my health, fitness and beauty knowledge.

When I was sharing my vision with some friends recently they expressed an interest in joining the conversation. So, what started out as a one-woman journey has become a collective adventure. I am thrilled they are joining me in this quest and hope you will consider adding your own voice to the story.

UPDATE:

The response to the Health, Fitness, Beauty Quest has been overwhelmingly positive. I thank you for your support, words of encouragement and sharing your own stories. Below is the post from Facebook along with all of your wonderful comments.

HFBQ FB Post