Pregnancy makes your body change in really weird ways. Huh. The more you know. You may suddenly crave things you’ve avoided for years, like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos (ily) or German potato salad (ily most of all). Disturbingly, you may also suddenly NOT crave things you’ve been literally addicted to for most of your adult life. This isn’t an essay where I detail how I got off hard drugs once I became pregnant. I’ve never been cool enough for hard drugs, anyway, much to my 5th grade D.A.R.E. officer’s pleasure. No; this is about how I unknowingly unhooked myself from sugar, thanks to the fetal slug growing inside of me. Turns out pregnancy is good for something!
When you go from eating cookies, bonbons, chocolate bars, truffles, and toffees at some point every single day to only eating sugar naturally occurring in fruits and some carbs, your body drastically changes for the better. For reference, I’ve always had a sweet tooth. I’ve always craved ice cream, cake, or pie at the end of a meal. When I landed a job at a chocolate factory back in November, I was convinced that I’d need both legs amputated due to Diabetes-related complications by age 50, and that was chill, because sugar, to me, was my favorite drug. In my day to day, I would “taste-test” anywhere from one to six bonbons whether I needed to for new collection QC or just because of my “treat yo’self” mentality. That’s in addition to maybe grabbing a piece of chocolate cake or coconut macaroon to eat at my desk or take home. Dessert and sugar is around me all day, every day.
When I got pregnant, though, I slowly started not wanting my usual cookie pick-me-up’s, my dark chocolate snacks, and my gooey caramel turtles. What followed was weird and kind of neat, tbh. Here are some of the insane ways my body changed when I stopped giving it sugar and started giving it good sh*t.
At First, It Sucks
Like going off of any drug cold turkey, quitting refined sugar is a rough ride. It isn’t quite to the level I’ve seen people go through in my viewings of Intervention after quitting black tar heroin or a really serious drinking problem, but I definitely registered feeling less than amazing in the weeks following my aversion to the sweet stuff. On top of that, the big quit perfectly dovetailed with the legendarily sh*tty first trimester symptoms I was already experiencing. Exhaustion, nausea, headaches, and just generally feeling f*cking terrible were my reality day to day. I don’t know how much of that I can attribute to sugar and how much of it I can attribute to the clump of cells deciding to f*ck my sh*t up, but, regardless, I felt HORRIBLE and made sure everyone around me was aware of it.
According to Saveur, “Studies have shown that eating sugar releases dopamine in the brain. Dopamine helps us register pleasure. In some people, the pattern triggers an addictive reaction and, when the brain is denied its fix, dopamine levels plummet.” In other words, a lot of those symptoms I experienced may have been linked to my pregnancy but were exacerbated by my choice to not eat sugar. The headaches, dehydration, and fatigue are all common side effects of getting off the white stuff.
According to Healthline, you can also expect cool sh*t like depression, anxiety, sleep issues, brain fogs, and cravings when you decide that veggies and protein are better choices than Reese’s and ice cream. Luckily, a lot of the withdrawal symptoms are out of the picture (and were for me) after about three weeks, which is when you can actually start seeing the benefits of quitting sugar.
My Skin Got Better
I’ve always had decent skin, with a few zit and cystic acne issues from time to time. When I went off the pill last July in preparation for pregnancy, I was convinced I’d flare up and have a pizza face. Kinda, yeah. Once I got pregnant, I was, again, convinced my hormones would cause an issue visible on my skin. That was around the same time I stopped turning to sugar for solace and love. No flare-ups noted. I have to attribute that to my now dwindling interest in cake, cookies, and artisan chocolate bars. Apparently, there’s science to support my now dewey, blemish free complexion, too. According to Prevention magazine, “One study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when non-soda-drinkers consumed one 12-ounce can a day for 3 weeks, their inflammation levels increased by 87%.” So, logically, if you cut out that soda and other sugary sh*t, your inflammation levels drop, and your skin will thank you for it. I know mine has.
On top of that, aside from the boost of pregnancy hormones that can up your “glow” factor, ditching sugar can boost both collagen and elastin in your skin, making it bouncier and younger-looking. That sounds great for me, considering I’m about to look really old, tired, and haggard after this kid sucks the life out of me.
My Stomach Looked Less Pudgy
Obviously, cutting back on sugar can greatly help with the whole weight thing. What I noticed, though, was that the stubborn belly fat that I’ve gotten really good at sucking in and/or hiding under flowy maternity tops started to disappear. Think about it—if I was eating an extra 200-300 calories in sugary snacks (truffles, chocolate bars, etc.) without realizing it, dropping that has me on track to lose like, 10 pounds in six months… or, at least, I would if I wasn’t pregnant. Thanks a lot, baby.
According to Business Insider, “Added sugars are high in calories and your body processes them more quickly than other energy producing foods, like fruit and nuts. After having a sugary treat, your energy levels will peak and fall much quicker than if you had an apple, and you’ll find that you feel hungry again much sooner.” So, instead of getting hungry for a sammich after slamming two to four truffles, I’ve found that my energy stays pretty even all day, I don’t crave more food, and, therefore, I eat less calories. Boom, weight loss and a less pudgy tummy (for like, another few weeks, anyway).
I Have More Energy
Lastly, my energy levels and brain fogs have been much, much better since I’ve curbed my sugar addiction. Before, I’d start hitting a wall (like most of us) around 10am and 2pm. I either needed a sugar pick-me-up, a nap, or a jolt of caffeine to help me focus on, well, everything. I didn’t even realize that a lot of those slumps were caused by my sugar issues. Basically, if you eat foods that have a high glycemic index (i.e. things that are full of sugar), they’re released into your bloodstream quickly, giving you that known sugar rush. However, your energy also drops super fast, since your body is using that “energy” right away, instead of releasing it slowly over time. When you cut out super sugary foods and drinks like soda, candy, and baked goods, your body is able to stabilize your energy, so you’re less likely to feel a huge drop off that leads you to continue the cycle.
Here are the biggest takeaways if you managed to read through all this. First, being pregnant makes you crave (and not crave) weird sh*t. Second, I didn’t cut out all sugar ever; I still eat fruit, nibble the occasional Fig Newton, and may indulge in a spoonful of ice cream here and there. But I don’t snack on sugary sh*t throughout the day. Chocolate and actual candy has lost nearly all of its appeal. I’ve never been a soda or soft drink person, so water is still my beverage of choice.
However you approach cutting back on sugar, know that if I can get through it during first trimester symptoms, you can do it, too. It’s totally worth it, and you may even lose a few pounds. Praise be.
Images: Rod Long / Unsplash; Giphy (5)
As I’m sure many of you can relate to, I did not enter January feeling the best I’ve ever felt about my body. Honestly, forget holiday weight gain—I hadn’t successfully lost weight since a stomach bug last May, and the whole thing was starting to feel hopeless. In 2019, I’d already tried a juice cleanse (painful, results gone within a week), and macro counting (exhausting! very difficult without professional advice on what to eat). So finally, I turned to intermittent fasting. I am in no way a nutritionist, and I cannot tell you whether IF is “good for you,” or give you a scathing review of whether or not the science behind it is legit. What I can tell you is that I had a tough 10 days, and a surprising set of results. If that’s enough for you, read on for my experience with intermittent fasting
What I Expected From Intermittent Fasting
If you’re interested in learning more about the science behind IF (intermittent fasting), or the different ways you can do it, I used these three articles as guides. Like I said, I’m not a nutritionist, and I truly don’t want my advice here to be the last word on whether or not you embark on a major diet change. Please believe me—it is a MAJOR change. I understood the merits of IF in two ways before starting. First, I learned that periods of fasting decrease insulin production and boost growth hormones—both of which mean nothing to me, but they apparently help boost metabolism, burn fat, and gain muscle. Second, by limiting your “eating window” (a term my friends would literally pay me to stop hearing at this point), you’re meant to limit overall calories (e.g. you can’t eat breakfasts anymore; you skip seven breakfasts’ worth of calories per week).
Have some objections to that second point? Yeah, me too—don’t worry, we’ll get there. But just to be clear with my intentions for IF: I wanted to lose weight. Not a drastic amount, especially not in 10 days; I know all too well that that weight just comes right back. But losing maybe 1, 1.5 pounds? If nothing else, just to prove that my body was still capable of weight loss after all the weird diets I’d put it through. So, I decided on a 16:8 routine (16 hour fast, 8 hour eating window), and set off on my 10-day journey.
Actual footage of me putting together diet plans and not shutting the f*ck up about it:
How Fasting Actually Felt
Despite most recommendations for 16:8 suggesting eating 12-8pm (or even earlier), I set mine from 2-10pm. First of all, I struggle way more with snacking at night than I do during the day, and I didn’t want to set myself up for failure. Second of all, I have a standing Bachelor date Monday nights, and no way in hell was I sitting through Colton’s journey for love without a healthy dose of wine and pizza. The first few days were mostly the same: I showed up to work around 10 (usually when I eat breakfast) and had unpleasant but bearable waves of hunger until 2pm. This included stomach cramps (worst when I woke up, or when someone ate a delicious-looking bagel near me), and a few headaches. Water and black coffee helped, but honestly more in terms of keeping me awake than making me feel better.
The first mistake I made that week? On Day 3, I went to a spin class at 8am (a disgusting habit I picked up in LA). Not only did I nearly die from hunger that morning, I forgot the parameters of my eating window and ate until 10:30pm that night. While I worried I’d messed everything up, and was starting to question how healthy it was anyway, I woke up on Day 4 “feeling LIGHT” (per my detailed notes). My stomach felt flatter, my digestion was good, and my hunger cramps were clearing up sooner. Everything seemed good. And then, as must happen to all diets, the weekend came along.
I was spending that particular weekend in Salt Lake City, crashing some friends’ ski trip. (I don’t ski, I just wanted to drink in a cabin for a weekend.) In preparation, I switched my eating window for the weekend to 4pm-12am. After all, if I was going to make IF my long-term eating pattern, it had to be something I could do while maintaining a social life. And my social life right now involves ingesting calories after 10pm. (I say “involves,” but really that’s all my social life is.) I also weighed myself Friday morning, but both of the scales turned out to be broken, and both told me I’d gained 16 pounds in the past two weeks.
So, even though I’d woken up Friday feeling light and lean, I spent most of that day questioning reality and trying not to eat my own hand. By the time I could eat at 4pm, my body went into full animal mode, terrified I would fast for another 18 hours at any moment. Basically, I filled the day with airport snacks, a pasta dinner, and bags of Cheetos and mini Oreos the Airbnb host had left behind. Yes, right up until midnight. Saturday and Sunday, I accompanied the non-skiing group to two massive brunches and fasted through both, for which I would like several medals. (Insta proof below.)
Throughout the weekend, I felt like the bloating and general gross-ness I’d kicked during the week was back—but mostly I blamed the type of food I was eating (processed garbage and desserts, yum), and it was more of an internal “yuck” than an “oh sh*t, these pants are not fun to button.” The final few days I focused on drinking sh*t tons of water, eating more real foods and fewer snacks, and bringing my eating window back to a reasonable range. (AKA Monday I ate 4-11; Tuesday I ate 3-10; Wednesday I could eat at 2 again.) But honestly, I never quite kicked the bloated feeling from the weekend and I was still freaked out by the scale disaster Friday. By the time I went back to regular eating, it didn’t come a minute too soon.
Pros & Cons I Felt On Intermittent Fasting
I would need a licensed professional to confirm or deny this, but I suspect that I messed up by making my eating window so late on the weekend. Like I said, I am a chronic night-snacker—which means I’ve read all the advice on how it’s the worst thing you can do for your body and how you’re meant to give your body 2-4 hours of not eating before bed. I’ve also been a yo-yo dieter for years, and heard rumors of starvation mode (when your body’s metabolic rate slows down bc it thinks you’re dying and need the food) if you deprive your body of calories irresponsibly. Again, IDK for sure what happened, but once I started eating from 4pm-12am it felt like my body panicked, shut down any fat-burning processes, and held onto whatever calories I did consume for dear life.
In other words, with a later eating window, my digestion slowed, my usual bloated feeling returned, and it quickly seemed like a terrible idea. And while my 2-10pm eating window had made me feel lighter after a few days, it had also allowed me to stop thinking so carefully about what I was eating. I would try to break my fast with a big, healthy meal, but I was way more relaxed about carb content, afternoon snacking, and eating desserts. As long as I stopped at 10pm, I was still technically on a diet—right?
Yeah, I wasn’t right. People who promote IF assume that you’ll eat fewer calories if given less time, but they’ve clearly never been to a timed buffet. I can’t say for sure whether I was eating more calories while I did IF, but I really doubt I was eating fewer (and definitely not on the weekend). And overeating with 16-hour breaks isn’t a diet: it’s just eating the same amount and giving you a better shot at digesting it properly. By the time I found a less f*cked up scale that Friday, I found I was two pounds heavier from the whole experiment.
BUT—and again I have no way of proving this—I felt like it was possible that part of that weight gain was muscle. I’m the kind of person who can (and has) temporarily gained two pounds from a large meal, and I’m very familiar with what that feels like. This weight gain, however, felt different.
To sum up my very scientific impression of how my body changed during this process, I felt like I was roughly the same size but less jiggly—like my pants were maybe a little tighter in the legs, but looser in the waist. It wasn’t my goal, and I still have five pounds I’d like to lose, but I’ve experienced worse results on more painful regimes.
Overall, would I recommend intermittent fasting, or ever do it again? Kind of! I would recommend trying a few different eating windows and seeing what works best for you, for sure. I might try incorporating a 24-hour fast once a week, since I’d had good short-term results with a few days of fasting. Ultimately, I think incorporating a couple fasting periods helped me shed some bloat and regulate digestion—but extending the fasts and confusing my body on when to expect food backfired. As much as I hate to say it, I have to accept that this wasn’t a “weight loss hack” by any means. If I actually want to see a lower number on the scale, I will have to consume fewer calories. Until then, I’ll be accepting tips on how the f*ck I’m supposed to enjoy an evening at home without eating until the second I fall asleep.
Images: louisabhaus, dietstartstomorrow (2), betches / Instagram
As you can probably tell from the title, this skin care diary entry will be less sexy than others we’ve published. Welcome to the world of sensitive skin. I graduated college a little over two years ago, and it’s been an absolute whirlwind watching my skin and metabolism compete over who can deteriorate faster. I’ve never suffered from serious acne (*knocks on every piece of wood in the tri-state area*), but my post-grad skin has offered up plenty of dullness, dryness, and increasingly visible pores. I also developed what I refer to as “my problem cheek,” and my dermatologist refers to as “rosacea.” Basically, one stubborn patch on my face is perpetually red with some bumps—not quite pimples but just not smooth.
Before I finally caved and saw a dermatologist about it, I was convinced I had chronically dry skin and was layering on fancy oil-based serums and thick moisturizers every night. I genuinely believed that the more I spent on a skin care product, the better it was for me. But here’s the honest, tragic truth about my (highly sensitive) skin. Just about anything I do to it beyond doctor-recommended cleanser, treatment, and moisturizer only makes it worse. As my dermatologist explained, the rosacea means that my skin barrier is damaged. So any products I’m applying don’t actually soak in. They just settle in the top layer, creating that fun bumpy texture I was describing.
Long story short, many of the fun, bougie skin care products I’d love to try are off-limits to me. All those “intensely moisturizing” products I used to swear by? They make my oil-prone areas worse, and ultimately clog my pores. Any physical exfoliants just activate my redness-prone rosacea patches. And forget about face makeup. Any time I go for a full face of foundation, or—God forbid—highlighter, which I seem to be allergic to in every brand, I accept that my skin’s overall appearance will take a hit for the next three days. So, I’ve worked very hard to assemble a routine that keeps my sensitive AF skin smooth, even, and pimple-free. If your skin is more dramatic about a change in routine than you are when asked to attend a 9am meeting, read on. Here are the products I’ve found really work.
My sensitive skin every time I try to introduce a new product:
Face Wash: I wash my face morning and night with CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. My dermatologist recommended it, and it makes my face feel crazy soft. I’ll double cleanse on days when I bothered to put on make-up, or if I skipped my routine the night before. And while I’m sure that a Clarisonic or the equivalent would make it even more effective, I frankly just do not have the time or patience to use one. Plus, I kind of hate reusable skin care accessories because I’m a germophobe and convinced they’re growing bacteria. This is a problem I imagine could be alleviated by like, cleaning it, but once again I am lazy/perpetually short on time.
Toner: I follow (most) cleanses with Belif Witch Hazel Herbal Extract toner. In the words of my dermatologist, it’s “not really doing anything,” but she graciously invited me to finish the bottle I’d just purchased. Despite her (rude) commentary, I like the idea of an additional cleansing step while living in the cesspool of dirt known as New York City. Also, it smells refreshing and makes me feel fancy. As I mentioned before, most products that fit that description give me some kind of weird reaction, so I really appreciate the ones that don’t.
Prescription: Once my doc determined that problem cheek = rosacea, I was given a prescription for an azelaic acid called Finacea Foam. It treats the redness and bumps caused by rosacea, and I use it twice a day after cleansing and before moisturizing. While it hasn’t 100% cleared up the problem, I’ve gone from having bumps spread across both cheeks to one small patch (damn you, problem cheek!). The overall texture has also greatly improved, and what was once a weird blotchy redness now shows up as more of a flush after hot showers/working out. Highly recommend.
Spot Treatment: This is not dermatologist-approved behavior, but if I see a pimple coming on I’ll dab some spot treatment with salicylic acid on the area before locking it all in with moisturizer. It’s a little annoying because I have to wait for an additional layer to dry, but fully worth it if you can stop a burgeoning zit in its tracks. If I go a little too nuts and start using it daily I end up getting dry and triggering some redness, but in moderation I find this kind of product to work wonders. My two faves are Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment and Neutrogena Rapid Clear Acne Eliminating Spot Gel.
Sunscreen: I use EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 every morning, at my dear dermatologist’s behest. Apparently rosacea can be triggered by sun exposure, so I guess this plays a role in calming it down. Honestly, I struggle to get excited about any product from which I don’t see immediate effects, but I know it’s good for me and I feel lightly smug for using it for that reason. Also, it sinks in quickly enough and replaces my moisturizer in the morning.
Moisturizer: I use CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion every night and some mornings, depending on how dry my skin is feeling. I love it because it’s lightweight, has the same silky feel as their cleanser, and doesn’t sit on top of my skin like all those fancy jar moisturizers I was buying for years did. Does it make me feel rich and chic? No, but it also doesn’t cost me $50 every six weeks, and my skin is way softer. I’ll take it.
Serum: Eminence Facial Recovery Oil. My dermatologist all but begged me to throw this out (in her words, “I don’t think more oil is what you need right now”). But I’ll still dab a little on my forehead every now and then because I can’t help myself. Nose, chin, and cheeks are off-limits for this riskier product, but I’ll mix a little in with my moisturizer and apply to my forehead a few times a week. It smells amazing and my sister swears it’s improved her fine lines.
Morning: Cleanser, toner, Finacea, sunscreen. I have a week-old pimple on my cheek, and last night I put on a bunch of spot treatment and extra Tretinoin on the area, plus Neosporin since I keep picking it open. (Don’t @ me, it works.) The pimple is finally fading from view, but I see two to three more bumps lurking below the surface. Problem Cheek, will you ever set me free??? I’ve tried changing pillowcases, changing what side I sleep on, never holding my phone to that side of my face… nothing works. I take a few pictures in hopes of taking you on a visual journey, but I’m on week 7 of a 10-week shoot and the bags under my eyes/general lifeless demeanor are a little much to take.
Evening: Cleanser, Finacea, moisturizer. No spot cream or toner because I just worked 14 hours. Moisturizer I applied lying down maybe three seconds before passing out. I manage to apply more Neosporin to my cheek spot, though, because at this point I’ve been wrangling it for nearly 10 days and it’s all I can think about. To anyone reading this: do not pick your face until it bleeds, no matter how fun and genuinely helpful it seems in the moment! I fall asleep praying it will heal overnight.
My poor, picked-at skin:
Thursday morning I don’t have to be at work until 9am. This would be better news if it didn’t mean I’ll be there until 11pm. However, the extra time in the morning means I can cleanse, tone, apply Finacea, and put on sunscreen all in the comfort of my home. I’m sad to admit I sometimes apply sunscreen on the subway, which I am aware makes me gross. I have a thing about layering products too quickly. I worry I’m just diluting one product with another if I don’t give them time to dry. If I’m totally wrong on this, PLEASE call me out in the comments. I would love to stop putting on sunscreen with hands that just touched subway poles.
I’m not home until 11:40pm, as expected. As I dutifully cleanse, tone, Finacea, and moisturize, I realize something miraculous. Cheek pimple is, if not totally invisible, highly faded. Neosporin saves the day again. I stare at my nearly clear cheek and think about how I definitely would have skipped washing my face tonight if I weren’t writing this diary. This makes me think I should start journaling my food, too. Then I eat four bite-size candy bars I stole from work and fall asleep.
Today is an exciting skincare day for you all! I’m working from home until 6:30, so I don’t get out of bed until 11. I don’t do anything to my face because I want to work out first, a dream it takes me two hours and 15 minutes of yoga to give up on. I wash my face in the shower, then put on Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque. It’s my go-to for all generalist, make-my-skin-look better needs. It’s great for calming down redness and inflammation, improves overall tone, and just makes your skin look clear.
After, my skin is looking the best it has all week. The cheek pimple is totally gone, and those bumps I was complaining about on Wednesday seem to have died down too. I add toner, Finacea, and sunscreen. After sunscreen, I add my new favorite no-makeup makeup product: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer. This is the closest thing to foundation I can wear without triggering a breakout, and despite being sheer, I swear to God it visibly blurs away my flaws. Friday night, I cleanse/Finacea/maybe moisturize? I spent my evening getting high and watching Vanderpump Rules, so I honestly don’t remember. I do remember eating a Twix bar at 1am and thinking the single greatest thing I could do for my health is cut down on sugar, so take that as you will.
Me: I should cut down on sugar!
Also me every time I go out:
Saturday morning, I cleanse and tone, and get dressed in a rush waiting for toner to dry. Then I add Finacea and try to find my insurance card for a doctor’s appointment for 10 minutes. Two hours later, I remember to moisturize—hope it still counts for something. No sunscreen today, oops. Saturday night I make a genuine attempt to go out. But I still end up asleep on the couch before midnight. At least I manage to wash my face before crashing. I tell myself I’ll put on Finacea and moisturizer in bed. I don’t.
Sunday morning I’ve slept for an annoyingly long time. I cleanse, tone, Finacea, and moisturize—no sunscreen. My skin’s feeling dry since I fell asleep without moisturizing the night before, and I don’t really plan on spending time outside anyway. I go to the movies, where I realize the junk food and half-hearted skin care Saturday has resulted in two new bumps rearing their heads on Problem Cheek. I tell myself I’ll do a mask and spot treatments that night. Instead, I drink two margaritas at 5pm, and barely manage to cleanse/tone/Finacea/moisturize. I suck.
I wake up at 4:30am, regretting Sunday’s margaritas with every bone in my body. I seriously consider quitting my job for five minutes, then get out of bed and cleanse, tone, Finacea, sunscreen. Monday night, I get home “early” (7pm), and treat myself to some salicylic acid spot treatment following my cleanse/Finacea/moisturizer routine. No toner because I’m already tired at the prospect of the spot treatment, but the bumps I saw at the movie theater Sunday don’t seem to be going anywhere on their own.
Tuesday morning I cleanse, tone, Finacea, and liberally apply sunscreen to try and make up for the fact that I don’t have time to apply moisturizer (and wait for it to dry). At work, I read a different skin care diary in which someone who clearly has more money and better skin than me also swears by salicylic acid for clearing breakouts. Even though the salicylic acid product is the only one in her routine I can remotely afford, I allow myself a brief moment of smugness. I also remind myself that fancy $100 skincare items have never done anything but made me break out.
Tuesday night, I cleanse/tone/Finacea, and add more spot gel (Clean & Clear) to those bumps on my cheek. I can’t be sure if they’re actually pimples or just rosacea bumps, but I feel hopeless if I can’t even pretend I’m treating it. I tell myself I’ll moisturize in bed, and as I’m sure you can guess, I do not. At 3am, I wake up, realize my mistake and moisturize. It’s terrible.
All in all, the moral of my not-so-exciting skin care routine is that I’ve (reluctantly) stopped chasing Instagram-perfect skin. And both my wallet and face are a lot happier for it. I don’t use drugstore products because I’m low-maintenance and don’t GAF. I use them because the alternative is spending $78 on a moisturizer that sits on top of my broken skin barrier and makes me break out. So if you have sensitive skin like me, remember that the #1 investment you can make is a dermatologist, and when you’re rich, biannual microneedling and injections. Can’t wait.
Images: Giphy (4)
It isn’t an Illuminati secret that sugar is pretty terrible for you. Like, yeah, the occasional artisan Fair Trade organic dark chocolate bar or cranberry vodka is one thing. But if you’re filling your body with a lot of sugar between one and 18 times per day, you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of health problems. Here are some of the sneaky things sugar is doing to your body that are like, less than desirable.
1. It’s Giving You Acne
Yes, it really is. According to Healthline, “sugary foods quickly spike blood sugar and insulin levels, causing increasing androgen secretion, oil production, and inflammation, all of which play a role in acne development.” Cool! Even neater, there were studies done in rural communities that don’t have access to Hershey’s bars and Starbursts and, guess what? The people had, like, NO ACNE in comparison to urban, high-income areas. Hmm. The more you know.
2. It’s Making You Gain Weight
Color me shocked. WebMD (my source of daily anxiety) says that people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages tend to weigh more than those who don’t. WebMD states, “One study even found that people who increased their sugar intake gained about 1.7 pounds in less than two months” which, wtf. I guess I can’t keep rewarding myself for getting through another workout with Thin Mints? Then again, correlation does not imply causation. Thanks, AP Psych, for helping me justify my sh*tty life choices.
3. It’s Making You Eat More
Fun fact: sugar actually leaves you craving more, regardless of how many Skittles you eat. According to an Australian study, refined sugar intake was associated with “an inability to realize you’re full.” I mean, the same thing happens to me after I eat a box of tacos while blackout, but who am I to argue with science? Because you aren’t eating anything your body actually NEEDS when you’re stuffing ice cream or cake into your face, your body wants to keep eating. So, in addition to making you gain weight because, like, it’s sugar, it’s also making you gain weight because you want more food.
4. It’s Giving You Wrinkles
YEP. In addition to f*cking up your skin with zits, sugar is also adding crow’s feet and folds to your face. Thanks to some v fancy reactions between sugar and protein in your body, diets high in sugar can actually cause your skin to age faster. Sugar can produce AGEs: Advanced Glycation End products (what a CONVENIENT ACRONYM). Those can damage collagen and elastin, which are legit the two things you need to keep your skin looking like it did when you were 21. Rather than looking like a slowly deflating beach ball.
5. It’s Making You A Junkie
Sad and true. Although it isn’t exactly heroin, sugar can trigger dopamine in the same way hard drugs can, making it really hard to stop eating AND leading to literal withdrawals. According to Prevention magazine, “In rat studies looking at sugar addiction, when animals binge on the sweet stuff, they experience chattering teeth, tremors, shakes, and anxiety when it’s taken away.” Wow, that’s not at all terrifying.
This is your brain on sugar:
6. It’s Making You Sad
This one is kind of shocking, considering how OUTSTANDING I feel when inhaling a Heath Bar. However, studies have linked high sugar intake to a greater risk of depression. Why? Science nerds that are busy ruining everything delicious have found that blood sugar swings and “neurotransmitter dysregulation” seem to be directly related to depression in both men and women. Guess I can’t actually fix all my probs by re-watching The Notebook four times with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
7. It’s Making Your Back Hurt
Yah, so like, in addition to aging you prematurely with wrinkles and sadness, sugar is also making your joints hurt. Why? Sugar can cause inflammation in your body, making your elbows and knees ache. Consuming lots of sugar can up your chances of developing arthritis. So if you’re really into bending down, walking, or general movement without pain, sugar is not the answer.
So, all in all, sugar is pretty awful for you when you make it an integral part of your diet. However, a dessert here and there isn’t going to kill you or make your back explode or result in you being covered in acne head to toe. Just remember that sugar in moderation is fine, but don’t be treating yourself to cakes twice a day. K? Kisses.
Images: Unsplash/Noah Buscher; Giphy (8)
We don’t want to ruin your summer by making you give up your poolside chips and guac, but the Fourth of July is coming up in a few weeks and it’s time to get your shit together. We all know what happens when you get a little too comfortable and totally give up your health kick (hi). I mean, that’s probably how Rob Kardashian fell off the wagon in the first place. We can all agree we should take it up a notch before it’s time to day drink in an American flag bikini, so here’s how to get your body ready for the Instas.
1. Do Short HIIT Workouts
There’s a reason high intensity interval training was at the top of the list for the best 2017 fitness trends, and it’s not because we look hot doing it. HIIT training is effective and quick, so it’s obviously the best way to burn fat when you have a deadline and you’ve been eating Pinkberry on the daily. The combination of the bursts of high intensity exercise with short rest periods has been proven to burst your metabolism and keep your body in the fat-burning zone after your workout has ended.
2. Do Some Snack Prep
There’s nothing we hate more than long lines, waking up early, or people who walk slow, but doing any sort of advanced preparation tops anything on that list. No one wants to be a planner or think ahead, but sometimes when food is involved, it’s a necessary evil. When you’re hanging by the pool with friends or you’re road tripping to the Hamptons, it’s easy to rely on processed shit when you need a snack. By prepping some healthy snacks to carry around in advanced, you’ll end up saving a million calories and feeling so much better. And as a bonus, you won’t spend your hard-earned alcohol money on a spur-of-the-moment donut. Everybody wins.
3. Give Up The Sugar
We don’t usually tell you to cut things out of your diet entirely, but if you know you eat a lot of sugar, giving it up for the next few weeks could completely change your body. Not only is sugar terrible for your teeth and your liver, but it also affects the hormones in your brain which control hunger signals, so you end up thinking you’re more hungry than you actually are, which leads to overeating. Give up the Sour Patch Kids and the Skittles that are hanging around in your pantry. And don’t even get us started on that S’mores frap you ordered yesterday. Have you heard of unsweetened cold brew?
4. Eat Before You Go Out
It wouldn’t be fair or realistic for us to tell you not to go out during the month of June. I mean, it’s finally nice out after you’ve spent all of winter blacking out solo in your apartment in order to get through a Bachelor episode with Nick involved. You’re obviously going out a ton right now, but that’s when the mistakes tend to happen. Try to eat healthy food before you go out, whether you’re going to dinner, drinks, or even a pregame. If you show up ravenous and hangry, you’ll eat anything in sight and probably hate yourself for it later. Be satisfied with healthy foods before you show up and you’ll be less tempted to eat the entire cheese platter at the party.
5. Take More Steps
Walking isn’t actually good exercise (sorry moms), but sometimes when you start paying attention to how many steps you take in a day, you actively decide to walk more, and all those steps add up eventually. Instead of driving or Ubering everywhere for the next few weeks, try to actually walk places. It’s nice out anyway, so you have no excuse. You could burn up to like, 500 extra calories a day just by deciding to walk.
6. Incorporate Fats & Protein In Your Meals
A lot of people think that to eat healthier, you should just depend on a ton of fruits and vegetables throughout the day. Even though those foods are obv healthy for you, they’re actually carbohydrates, so they won’t fill you up as much as proteins or fats would, and you’ll end up eating more calories by just eating salads and grapes all day. Instead, try eating eggs, nuts, avocados, and salmon to fill yourself up. They’re a little more caloric, but you’ll stay full for longer and feel less of a need to snack after meals.
There are so many bullshit products on the market that promise to clear up your skin overnight, but let’s be real: what you put in your body has so much more power. If you’ve struggled with skin breakouts in the past aka are human and have tried everything out there, you might want to consider your diet as the culprit. Sorry for sounding like your mom, but it’s true. You could drink three liters of water a day and wash your face incessantly, but still be eating shit that is making you break out. These 7 foods make you break out, so avoid them like
the plague fuckboys.
In case you needed another reason to stop stuffing your face with candy like a 7-year-old, here it is. Sugar isn’t only bad for your heart health and insulin levels, but it could also be causing you to break out. When you eat refined sugar, your insulin levels spike, which causes your body to undergo a burst of inflammation, which doesn’t exactly sound like a cleanse. This inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin in your skin and are likely to cause pimples and wrinkles as time goes on. We could bore you with more science, but you get the point. You thought your mom was just fat-shaming you as a preteen when she told you chocolate was giving you pimples, but she actually wasn’t. (Damn it, mom. Can I live?) Put down the Snickers.
2. Dairy Products
Sorry to break it to you, but like, fucking duh. Most people in the world already know that dairy can cause breakouts, but in case you don’t, here’s your reminder. Dairy is a pro-inflammatory ingredient, which means it will negatively affect your joints, digestion, and yes, your skin. It’s also usually packed with hormones and sugar, which doesn’t help. A little bit of milk or cheese here and there won’t kill you, but if you’re prone to breakouts, I’d stay away from the froyo for now. The 16 Handles workers are starting to know your name, and it’s getting a little sad.
You probably thought you were being super healthy by getting tofu in your Sweetgreen salad and saying no to croutons, but it turns out soy isn’t actually that good for you, and it could be making your face look like a literal minefield. There have been a ton of studies done about soy and skin quality, and it’s hard to say if it really makes you break out, but we know for sure that too much of it fucks with your hormones, which can definitely lead to some sketchy shit. Try limiting your soy intake and see if you can notice a difference in your skin. That means no soy lattes, but also no milk lattes, so I guess that leaves almond milk? K. If you don’t notice any difference after you rule out soy, knock yourself out with that miso sesame tofu shit. Just stop telling everyone about how you’re “trying out being a vegetarian.”
4. White Wine
Someone once made up that a glass of wine has a substantial amount of antioxidants in it, so we were all pumped to keep filling our glasses until someone told us otherwise. As it turns out, our alcoholic bubble has officially been burst, because a new scientific study is showing that white wine is actually sabotaging your skin. There’s this skin disease called rosacea where your skin turns red and causes acne-like breakouts and just overall not-cuteness, and apparently white wine could be the culprit. I mean, we don’t want to believe it, but the study was published in the Journal of American Dermatology, so we kind of have to. *cries into my oversized wine glass*
Even if you’re buying cereals that are low in sugar, cereal is still a very processed food, which is known to make your skin seek revenge by fucking up your life. If you’re looking for the clearest skin possible, avoid processed snacks as much as you can, even if they’re branded as “healthy” (which, tbh, they probs aren’t). Most “healthy” cereals are paying millions for good marketing, so don’t give in to that bullshit. As your middle school health teacher told you countless times, read the label. If you can’t understand the ingredients, it can’t be doing anything good for you. Instead, go for eggs, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains like a normal fucking adult. Whole Wheat Quaker Squares don’t count. Honestly if you’re not a first grader or a poor college student or perpetually high, why are you eating cereal in the first place?
6. Bottled Water
SAY IT ISN’T SO. First they came for our white wine and now this? Scientists might be purposefully trying to annihilate the betch demographic. It’s a conspiracy, I say! Anywho, betches never have a shortage of beverages on hand, but we might need to be reconsidering the three liter Smart Water we down everyday thinking it’s helping our skin. Staying hydrated is obviously good for you, but most plastic water bottles contain BPA, which is a steroid analogue that could fuck with your hormones. Not only is plastic terrible for the environment, but it could actually be causing those zits that cropped up on your face right before your best friend’s wedding. Just another reason to invest in an overpriced S’well water bottle, I guess.
7. Fast Food
This one should be obvious, but then again, the obesity rate in this country is higher than ever and health organizations are in a fucking panic over American food choices, so maybe if the fact that it’s literally going to kill you isn’t enough of a reason to stop eating this crap, telling you it’s making your face look bad will do the trick. Fast food is literally the worst thing you can put in your body, and fucking obviously all that grease from the ten pounds of oil in your order of french fries will make you break out. If you’re blackout at 3am and decide to order the deluxe happy meal, be my guest, but don’t cry when the next day your face looks as ratchet as your life choices and you start trying out every face mask in Sephora to save yourself. Just skip the fried food. Your sober self will thank you.
Cutting back on sugar is one of those healthy promises we make every New Year’s but never actually keep. We didn’t make it through Dry January, we haven’t been getting enough sleep to be properly functioning human beings, and we still eat all the fucking sugar.
With Valentine’s Day approaching and the inevitable sugar rush that comes along with it, let’s all vow to lay off the sweets before your doorman starts showering you with Hersey’s Kisses every time you walk through the door. We did some research to get started and we want to share what we found. Here are some tips to help kill your sugar cravings:
1. Have A Real Breakfast
We have some news for you: Iced coffee is not breakfast. Half of a Kind Bar is not breakfast. A stick of gum and a Diet Snapple is not breakfast. It’s been proven time and time again that by eating a filling breakfast of protein, fats, and fiber, you’ll be less likely to have sugar cravings throughout the day. Plus, by starting your day off feeling satisfied, you’ll be less likely to get ravinous at around 3pm and devour the entire jar of Peanut M&M’s sitting on your coworker Debra’s desk.
2. Eat Fermented Foods
Most people don’t realize your gut health has a huge effect on your sugar cravings. By eating fermented foods with good bacteria like kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles, the live cultures will help manage any imbalances in your gut and will reduce sugar cravings. People might look at you like you’re a freak and/or Snooki, but if snacking on kimchi keeps us skinny, we’ll start buying this shit in bulk.
3. Skip The Splenda
…and all other artificial sweeteners. It’s pretty enticing to just dump a shit ton of Splenda in everything that tastes bland and healthy, but it turns out there’s a huge downside to calorie-free sweeteners: They make you crave the real shit. There’s a reason you want to inhale a 12-pack of Krispy Kreme donuts after chugging a Diet Coke, and it’s not just because you lack self-control. It’s because you’re drinking 12 ounces of fake sugar that makes you want real sugar. Start cutting down on sweeteners and you’ll crave them less and less over time.
4. Take L-Glutamine Supplements
Betches and L-Glutamine supplements are a better match than Chrissy Teigen and John Legend. These pills complete us, and we’re not getting paid by some supplement company to preach for them like a sketchy Skinny Tea Instagram ad. L-Glutamine has amazing health benefits for your body, and the two main ones are fighting sugar cravings and controlling your gut health and metabolism. Just don’t start posting “It works!” Facebook statuses.
5. Go The Fuck To Sleep
It seems like sleep is pretty much the answer to all of our problems, and it’s not just because we prefer to nap than to deal with real life shit. It’s been scientifically proven that getting more sleep allows your body to crave healthier foods, while getting less sleep makes your body crave fattening, sugary snacks. Do you think Gwyneth Paltrow gets that glowing skin from binge-watching Stranger Things until 4am? No. And it’s probably not from putting rocks up her vagina either, but that’s a different story. The point is, make sleep a priority (as if we have to tell you twice). It’s called beauty rest for a reason.