Do Not Be Fooled! There are 3 Essential Pillars that serve as a foundation for true beauty and health. We will tell you about them below, but first, let's establish that it is no cliché when we state that beauty comes from within. Yes, every other good beauty ritual we practice to enhance our allure is valid too, however, it only aggregates with these 3 pillars and they cannot be replaced by them. In this post we are talking about the ESSENTIALS, the things that are absolutely necessary and extremely important, not just add ons. So let's dive in.
PILLAR 1| THE FOOD YOU EAT
What you eat affects directly how you feel and how you look. This quote from Perspectives in Nutrition by Wardlow and Insel describes how the nutrients in food are essential for our physical functioning.
"Nutrients are the nourishing substances in food that are essential for the growth, development and maintenance of body functions. Essential meaning that if a nutrient is not present, aspects of function and therefore human health decline. When nutrient intake does not regularly meet the nutrient needs dictated by the cell activity, the metabolic processes slow down or even stop."
This means that nutrients from the food we intake give instructions to our body about how to function. If what we take in is good, our bodies will react well and will be healthy. If our intake is bad, our health declines. So we need to become aware of what foods our body needs because these foods support our growth and wellbeing. This also means that we can create health and reduce illness by choosing foods that will add nutrients to our body.
Needless to say that the healthier our bodies are from the inside, the healthier they will look from the outside. Our skin, hair, nails are a direct consequences of what is going on in the inside.
So make a decision to chose foods that enhance your wellbeing. Become a student of nutrition to learn what foods are the best for you and why. You must become a student of your own body to get familiar with how it reacts to what you eat. The teachers are out there, you will find one that resonates with you when you start searching. When the student is ready, the teacher comes.
PILLAR 2| THE WAY YOU MOVE
Exercise improves the quality of your physical and emotional life. There are so many research papers that support this, however I would like to list some of the benefits so you can relate to how it can affect you personally. Exercise helps you keep your body at a healthy weight. Exercise can help you lose weight if you need to. Exercise decreases the risk of developing some diseases. Exercise has proven to be profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall mood.
Exercising regularly improves your muscular and cardiorespiratory fitness, it improves your bone health, reduces your risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes.... We could go on and on but the point is again that your beauty has a direct correlation with your health and everything you do to improve your health (internal) will have a direct effect on your beauty (external).
By exercise I don't mean intense and continual physical effort, although that certainly has incredible benefits too, this article is about talking about the essentials (though not the minimum). So by exercise we mean intentional movement.
So, find the exercise rhythm that works for you. Make sure you make movement part of your weekly flow. If you look for what suits you, you will find it, but you may need to try several things in order to find your fit. If you enjoy it, you will want to do it regularly.
PILLAR 3| THE SLEEP YOU GET
This is no myth, sleep plays an important role in your emotional and physical well being. You need 7-9 hours of sleep each day, in order to be healthy. You also need quality sleep. Research shows that consistently getting this amount of sleep per night is the key to a healthy physical and emotional lifestyle. Sleep can bring specific health benefits, for example, sleep is involved in healing and repairing your heart and blood vessels. Sleeping less than 6 hours for a prolonged period of time can increase your risk for serious conditions like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure.
When you are sleep deprived, your body produces more cortisol which is a stress hormone. Increased amounts of cortisol production leads to increased levels of stress and inflammation in the body which ultimately affects the condition and aspect of your skin.
When you sleep your body's hydration rebalances, your skin recovers moisture, while excess water in general in the body is processed for removal. When you don't get enough sleep, this results in poor water balance, leading to puffy bags under your eyes and under-eye circles, as well as dryness and more visible wrinkles.
When my children were very small I was sleep deprived for a very long time, I had to learn to break this cycle and give them the gift of good sleep but I must admit it was a hard yet valuable lesson to learn. When my father passed away and even in very stressful work seasons I had insomnia. I had to learn self-care practices to improve the length and quality of my sleep. There are some circumstances or seasons in life that will inevitably affect your sleep, however you will have to gather the courage (when you are ready) to address the source of these events or seasons in order to look after yourself and get the sleep that your beautiful body needs to function.
Here are some really helpful sleep practices:
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Get up at the same time every day.
- Set a bedtime that is early enough for you to get at least 7 hours of sleep.
- Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine (shower, brush teeth, meditate, sleep)
- Avoid using your bed for watching TV or working.
- Make your bedroom quiet and relaxing. Keep the room at a comfortable, cool temperature.
- Limit exposure to bright light in the evenings.
- Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Don’t eat a large meal before bedtime. If you are hungry at night, eat a light, healthy snack.
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
- Avoid consuming caffeine and alcohol before bedtime.
- Reduce your fluid intake before bedtime.
So these are the 3 pillars: Eat, Move and Sleep. Now I'd love to hear from you, tell us what you think! Did you find this helpful? Do you sleep enough? Do you exercise? Who's your favourite nutrition Guru? Tell us about your experiences.