Happy Spring Equinox folks! As it gets a little warmer (for a second,) we’re all reminded that bikini/trunk season is upon us! Even though abs are made in the winter, who says you can’t ramp up that fitness and beauty routine in the short months before summer?
A summer ago, while preparing to host the BET Awards red carpet, my trainer Deanna Jefferson worked me out to death in the morning (smile,) but also recommended that I try paleo, a diet which consists of the raw bones food essentials, unprocessed meats, tons of veggies, some fruit, and absolutely no grains. When I combined that with my diet, I shred 8 pounds in a week, no, I didn’t starve, I ate well, and hit the gym in the AM. I won’t delve into the ins and outs of dieting and exercise JUST yet in this post, but I’ll say if you’re trying to tone quickly, paleo and morning workouts are whats up.
There are some beauty items that I can’t live without in my warm weather arsenal. I have sensitive skin, it gets irritated quickly so keeping my epidermis hydrated & exfoliated is an absolute must.
African Shea Butter – Shea butter is literally fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree, so if you buy it in it’s 100% form, it’s all natural. Not only does it keep your skin incredible hydrated, clears scarring, heals sunburn and small wounds, reduces the appearance of stretch marks, tightens skin, and protects it, but you can use it as a super moisturizing shaving cream! What more could you want? If you get Grade A shea butter, it has a kind of smoky smell, but you’ll get use to it after witnessing so many benefits. Oh yeah, it will give your legs a sexy sheen when it’s time to rock those booty shorts! The one you see above is the exact one I purchase from my favorite African store.
Virgin Coconut Oil – I already sung the praises of coconut oil in a previous post, but just as a recap, cooking with this and adding it in smoothies, oatmeal etc can help reduce belly fat. You can also rub it in your scalp, and on your body for a great, light-weight moisturizer.
African Black Soap – African black soap is made from dried plantain skins, palm leaves, cocoa pod powder, and kernel oil. I use this soap every single day. Sometimes it’s embarrassing to pull out this big a*s, misshapen hunk of blackish-brown stuff when I’m traveling, but I’ll always use it – here’s why. Black soap deep cleans your skin, and the cleaner your skin is, the better moisturizer will work on your skin because your pores aren’t clogged. It clears skin bumps, acne and will remove every single speck of makeup on your face – even pesky mascara that seems to take a week to lift.
AmLactin – If your skin is dry, or sensitive, or you have eczema, AmLactin is a miracle lotion. It has 12% ammonium lactate, which is lactic acid and ammonium hydroxide. I know, I know, this sounds like some type of freaky experiment, but the dope thing about this lotion is that after you put it on, it continues to moisturize your skin throughout the day and essentially disintegrates dry layers of skin. I’ve been using this lotion since I was 12. It use to be prescription only, but the good ‘ol folks decided to make it over the counter. DO NOT use this if you’re allergic to ammonium lactate, glycerin, mineral oil, propylene glycol, or parabens.
Soap & Glory’s Scrub for Your Life – Simply put – this is my favorite body exfoliant ever. Smells great, works amazing, and isn’t to rough on your skin.
Tonalin CLA – So, this is my cellulite secret. Tonalin CLA not only helps you build lean muscle, but for me at least, it eliminates any extra lumps and tightens the skin. This is a MUST for bikini season. Drink tons of water and hit the treadmill with this ladies. You can’t wolf down pizza then pop some CLA and expect it to work. I’m naturally hippy and uh, thigh-y thanks to genetics. But the upside is a waist that stays perpetually small, the CLA definitely enhances my curves and keeps them tight.
The last tip I’ll give for this post are the benefits of meal prep. If you prepare meals at the top of the week for the entire week, you’ll be more likely to eat healthy as oppose to getting too tired to cook and making bad nutritional choices. We’re all busy, but preparing your meals will also leave you with a little more time to do other things during your busy week.
Once again, I’m not a doctor. Take this sh*t at your own risk, but all of these products work for me. Look out for Part 2, I’ll be interviewing a fitness pro about how to get that bikini body. Me? I’ve started Insanity this week. Will post results soon!