Hello sexy! Embrace vanity to get healthier

I want to dispense with the myth that willpower and self-control are the main drivers behind good health. We know that willpower is finite and easily used up on any given day. While there are some people for whom the “just suck it up” type mentality is motivating, for the rest of us mere mortals that type of thinking is bullying and has a predictable tendency to mire us in self-loathing and inaction. The stick doesn’t work for most people.
Ah, but what about the carrot? How about vanity? Now there’s something I think we can work with.

Who doesn’t want to look their very best while avoiding the common pitfalls of ageing poorly? Who doesn’t want to start looking 5 to 10 years younger within a very short period of time? Honestly?

If you say you don’t – then this blog is probably not for you. I would stop reading now, because this blog is all about helping you set off fire alarms. I’m on a mission to help you realise you have the ability to be very, extraordinarily, smokin’ hot. Even hotter than you’ve ever been before and I don’t care how old you are.

Well hello hottie! Embrace vanity as a tool for great health

The wonderful and super gorgeous 54 year old Icelander, Thorbjorg Hafsteinsdottir, author of the recently published 10 Years Younger in 10 Weeks sums this thinking up nicely:

“It’s not every day you hear people praising women in their 40s and 50s for their smooth complexion, sex appeal, unlined faces and youthful bodies… Does it make you nervous to think about your body going into decline, your skin beginning to sag, and your buttocks becomings as droopy as the corners of your mouth… This only happens if you don’t get the right vitamins, mineral, oils and the other substances you need to preserve your youthfulness right to the end… You no longer need to think about 40+ as the age of repair. This is the beginning of your sexy years.”

Sexy at 70: breaking the glass ceiling of sexiness

Just like breaking the 4 minute mile or the glass ceilings of the corporate world, woman all over the globe have been breaking down another barrier: that of ageing with vitality and sex appeal. Some people in Europe, most famously the French, have been doing this well for centuries, but it’s not something that I witnessed a lot growing up in Canada. There was most definitely a socially mandated expiration date on sexiness and attractiveness, which was culturally reinforced by comments like “dress your age,” “check out that cougar over there,” and “look at that mutton dressed as lamb.” It was expected that as we age we must inevitably become frumpy, unattractive and boring.

Hafsteinsdottir and so many other professionals focussed on ageing-powerfully, teach us that we can stay healthy, sexy and vital through our 70s and beyond. Over in America, being hot at 70 is something that Mimi Kirk has very successfully modelled for us. Kirk won the sexiest vegetarian over 50 award when she was 70. She’s since written some amazing cookbooks outlining her philosophy and is a wonderful role model for what is possible as we age:

Age is just a number

At 77, Ernestine Shepherd is one such person who has embraced the options she had to transform her health as she ages. She is an inspiring example of what a normal person can achieve when we change our mindset towards ageing. She didn’t do any real exercise until well into her fifties when she sadly lost her sister to a brain aneurism. She fully believes that “age is just a number” and that “if ever there was an anti-ageing pill, you would have to name it exercise.” She now competes in bodybuilding competitions (At 77!) and looks decades younger than her age. Shepherd says that “What I want to do is create a body that when others look at you, they too will know that they can get fit.” So please take a look at this video below – it’s so inspiring!

Beauty is not only skin deep

Vanity helped me lose weight, overcome a genetic condition, and increase  my heart health. Yes, truly. Wanting to look better is not ridiculous, trite, for the small minded, or some side project for those with time on their hands. It’s rocket fuel for your health. What I’ve discovered in over 4 years of getting my health to not only good, but as optimal as I can, is that when your body starts to look good,  it means you’re actually truly healthy.

David Wolfe in Eating for Beauty explains that “The skin is the last organ to be nourished because it is the furthest away from your digestive organs… The skin should radiate exquisite freshness, thus expressing the inner truth of excellent health. Nothing is as attractive as clear, fresh skin.”

You know what is the most popular post on my blog? This one on how to get gorgeous skin fast with an easy green smoothie. It’s not the posts on heart health laden with copious amounts of research that took hours of time and many weekends out of my life to create. Nope. It’s the article on getting awesome skin. And you know what – I’m ok with that. Because if you’re getting awesome skin, you’re also getting a completely healthy rest of your body. Beauty is a built in signalling system that our bodies have to communicate our state of health to the world.

So let’s celebrate *real* beauty

I am aware of the insecurities that fake-beauty magazines foist onto girls and women. I’m not advocating we glorify magazine beauty, where the features are painted on and the health flaws are covered over with makeup that is not safe and damages our natural beauty every time we use it. I’m suggesting we identify and elevate real-beauty over fake-beauty.

Diet can facilitate these real-beauty indicators of true health:

  • Soft cheeks and silky radiant skin without wearing foundation
  • Smooth clear complexions that almost never break out
  • Removal of under-eye circles and puffiness
  • Firmer more defined facial contours and jawline
  • Supple unchapped lips
  • White eyes
  • White teeth
  • Nails that are naturally strong and not splitting, soft, spotty or ridged
  • High levels of energy
  • Soft rosy cheeks
  • Glossy locks that maintain their colour without going prematurely grey
  • Body skin that maintains moisture and doesn’t get dry, scaly or flaky
  • An overall glow from head to toe
  • An overwhelming sense of feeling good in your own skin

All of these things and so much more are available through enjoying a nutrient rich diet and making lifestyle changes, at any age. If the nutrients make it all the way into how you look, then you have hit the big time. You’re really healthy.

So this week’s habit is to commit to getting gorgeous

Healthy habit for this weekThis week’s habit is a mental one. We are going to commit to making our natural beauty a priority in our life. I want you to write down:

  1. This affirmation: “I, NAME, am committed to my beauty. I will take tiny steps each day this week to build up my natural beauty by scheduling time for it in my life.”
  2. A time commitment: The amount of time that you can commit to your beauty this week (I suggest 15 mins a day to start).
  3. A calendar time slot: Write down on your calendar when you will schedule this time each day.
  4. The activity that you will do in the timeslot you’ve chosen. If you’re new to the weekly habits, I’d suggest you get started by making this basic green smoothie every day, as it has an immediate impact on your beauty and it takes less than 15 minutes to complete daily.

I’ve already seen your stunning “after” picture

Once you jump on the health bandwagon (I’ve been a black belt member for a few years now), something strange starts to happen. You start to see the “after” versions of people you’ve just met, even if they’re still walking around in their “before” state. And the weird (and possibly annoying) thing is that you get excited for them even if they themselves don’t realise that such dramatic change is possible for them.

In my case, I immediately picture people I’ve just met inside Superman like phone booths.

Once inside the Superman booth, I imagine them:

  • discovering which things to eat that maximise your beauty
  • doing a bit of basic (not even extreme) movement
  • popping out looking like radiant stunners
  • sparkling with clearer, brighter, tighter skin, reduced age spots, whiter eyes, reduced wrinkles
  • losing weight without really trying while eating as much as they like

It’s never too late to join in the fun

If you’ve missed the first habits that we’ve begun this year see this summary of the best daily habits to kickstart your health regime. 

Let us know in the comments below about times in the past where you’ve done little things to increase your natural beauty and how they made you look or feel.

OK you gorgeous thing,  get that me-time scheduled! 🙂

Laura xx

3 Comments

  1. Alexandra February 2, 2015 at 11:30 pm - Reply

    I love this! I’ve always felt a little bad about eating healthy foods partly because I want to look good (not just feel good) and it’s great to see that you’re writing about it. Thank you!

    • Laura Livesey February 3, 2015 at 10:29 am - Reply

      Hey Alexandra, glad you enjoyed it, and yes I think it’s a wonderful motivational tool. It’s so normal to want to look great, and perhaps in the flurry of personal development work over the last 30 years, looking great has become semi stigmatised as a lesser goal vs. “more important” inner or mental work. I see looking and feeling great as one of the key things that allows us to have the energy we need to fuel our individual life missions! It’s so important.

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