Help me get my glow on in 21 days
July 7, 2013 4:05 AM   Subscribe

My boyfriend has been away for four months, and will be returning in just over three weeks, i.e. a little earlier than planned. I haven't been completely slothful while he was away but I have fallen into some bad habits: late nights watching TV, drinking too much coffee, getting stressed about work, half-assing my workouts, moping around missing him. My skin is sallow, my midsection dough-y, and I feel like my light has dimmed a little. I really want to be at my best to welcome him home. So, what can I do/eat/get done to me to get my glow back over the next 21 days? Do you have a secret eating plan that gets quick results? A magical yoga routine? A miracle cream?

If it helps to know this, I am female, forty-ish, moderately active, a size ten who would like to be a size eight, with red hair, green eyes, and sensitive skin that is prone to redness. I work full-time but am prepared to devote a good couple of hours per evening, and more on the weekends, to this little project. I'm also putting this in the "health and fitness" category rather than beauty since I am more interested in exercise and food tips than makeup etc., although those are always welcome, too.
posted by rpfields to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 85 users marked this as a favorite
cut out sugar, wheat and alcohol for the next 3 weeks - if you haven't tried it before you will be surprised at the difference it makes! Also, taking zinc for a few days does seem to make my skin glow a bit, just be careful not to overdo it. And of course the obvious: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
posted by en el aire at 4:16 AM on July 7, 2013 [5 favorites]

Get back to regular sleep, cut back on coffee. Not getting enough sleep will mess with you more than anything else.

Do something fun and relaxing to help you cope with work stress - go out of town for a weekend, go dancing, look for a class that would be fun for you - cooking, art. Sometimes getting to do something fun and creative can give you a massive boost in mood and energy, and that can carry over into the rest of your life.

Get some exercise - outside if possible.
posted by bunderful at 4:30 AM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Jillian Michaels workouts (30 day shred etc) are my go to when I need to kick start my fitness again. They scale well and I don't have to think up my own routine and I can't use the excuse that I don't want I drive to the gym. Her DVDs are usually about $9 at my local big box store.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 4:35 AM on July 7, 2013 [5 favorites]

DH always says I look transformed after a spiritual retreat. Three days seems to be the minimum. Call the nearest monastery or convent and ask whether they have a guest ministry. They might offer something structured if you prefer it or you can do your own thing. I don't even meditate that hard. Light food, long walks, and reflection/prayer will do the trick. Maybe throw a facial scrub in your bag.
posted by R2WeTwo at 4:50 AM on July 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

I like the General Motors Diet as a quick kick-start and fast weight-loss (I recently lost 8lbs in a week on it). Boring as shit, but it's only for a week and it's easy to follow.

A good body scrub will do you the world of good. I really like Soap & Glory's body scrubs, particular the Flake Away one. Follow it up with some lovely rich moisturiser - I find the big tubs of body creams found in the beauty store or drugstore are just great, cheap as chips and they work just as well as more expensive ones. This is my current one.

A salon facial will make your skin feel better - but do it in the next week or so, because sometimes a facial can cause a breakout and you want any little pimples to have cleared up by the time your man is home.

Get out into the sunshine, be active, and drink lots of water.
posted by essexjan at 5:06 AM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Go on a media fast as much as possible. You will be surprised at what a difference it makes to your mood.
posted by windykites at 6:01 AM on July 7, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I think many of the above suggestions are great: significantly reducing carbs, keeping regular sleeping habits, and doing things to keep your mood good, for example.

However, my favorite thing about reunions after extended separations from my SO is the way she wears her happiness to see me. If your boyfriend can see in your eyes and body language that you've really, really, REALLY been missing him that'll go a long way towards establishing a glow that he won't be able to forget. I'm not saying you should act more excited than you are - just don't try to hide it or play coy. Of course, YMMV and you know what sorts of things he likes, etc.
posted by Quizicalcoatl at 6:18 AM on July 7, 2013 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Definitely get more regular sleep, even if your amount of sleep doesn't increase. Replace the coffee with water. Replace some of the crap foods with healthy salads (beware the dressing!). Don't go on some diet that will make you miserable (you can tell from the foods you're allowed to eat what will be awful for you.) Though I'm not a believer in "diets," but would rather see moderation.

Be more active, even if that means just taking a walk around your block some nights. Even if it means taking a walk to get an ice cream cone. Fill your life with joy, not drudgery. Plan to include him in the walks, or whatever physical activity when he gets back.

Be more social. Help people. Is there a home improvement project you've been meaning to tackle? Hang some shelves, get rid of a few bags of stuff to the Goodwill, replace a leaky faucet. The sense of accomplishment may give you a glow that lasts for weeks. AND may domino into further domestic achievement! Ask for help. Do you have a friend who is magic with leveling/plumbing/hauling and enjoys helping (that's the key)? Ply that friend with their treat of choice and get to work.
posted by bilabial at 6:34 AM on July 7, 2013 [8 favorites]

I'd recommend the smoothie I posted the recipe for in the vegan thread

I got the basic recipe from some website that called it some sort of super smoothie because things like the chia, maca and cacao powder are considered the latest super foods. I don't like the whole 'super food' media thing but if you do look at them they are packed with nutrients and lots of micro nutrients. It looked yummy so I thought why not.

I've been drinking concoctions based on the basic recipe for around two months. It is by far the best food I've tried in years and now won't live without it because the results from this simple addition has changed so much. I have more energy and feeling of well-being then I know what to do with. Before smoothie I would have to nap everyday no matter what I did or how much sleep I got. Now I don't, even if I've had an active day. I even am sleep less but sleep better.

I eat better not because I'm even consciously trying but because I've found I'm less interested in crappier junk food and just crave better food. I completely stopped drinking coffee (3 cups a day).
Again not because I tried to. Just didn't feel I needed the morning wake up.
I 'want' to exercise which for a very long time has been a very foreign feeling. I've lost ten pounds without consciously trying to do anything to actually do it.

I'm also getting a lot of compliments. My friends and family have been telling me I look good. One friend yesterday said I glow. It's been a bit bizarre because I have changed nothing else or at least not anything superficially physical.

My feeling of well being has greatly improved. Honestly haven't felt this good and positive for a very long time even though my current situation is just the same (stressfull) as before.

It might sound a bit silly and hyperbolic but my experience with it is a close to a 'miracle' type food that I've ever come too. I still find it amazing that something so easy and basic has made so much difference in my daily life.

Will it be the same for other people? Probably not but it's been so awesome that I like to at least tell people about it in case it would be.
posted by Jalliah at 7:12 AM on July 7, 2013 [7 favorites]

If you start working out properly now, and challenge yourself, you'll definitely be feeling the revitalizing effects in three weeks. So start now! Then go home, take a long nice bath with a stimulating book. Turn off the tv, skip the newspapers and drink a lot of water. And then go to sleep early :)

Dump the sweets and coffee and eat fresh fruits and veggies till you're full! My sister studies psychology, and in class she once heard that an apple in the morning makes you more awake than a cup of coffee. Even if that isn't accurate, a balanced diet with enough fruits and vegetables, a source of vitamins, minerals and fiber (= happy intestines = regular bowel movements = increased overall wellbeing) can be very good for your mood. If only because you'll feel good about yourself for being so healthy.

As for creams, it's hardly a miracle but last week I switched back from Nivea Soft to Clinique dramatically different moisturizing cream and my skin is much nicer again. A couple of years ago I also bought this during the winter time, recommended by the saleslady because my skin was SUPER dry. It worked wonders. I don't know what's in Clinique, but it has really worked for me.

Finally, "glow" is part science, part feeling. If you let yourself outwardly project your happiness, you'll mostly look beautiful no matter what face cream you're wearing :) And as Germans say, "anticipation is the greatest joy"!

Good luck!
posted by ipsative at 7:19 AM on July 7, 2013

It's been stated several times already but I'll reiterate: eat lots and lots o' veggies.

I also hear you on the vicious late-night, too-much-coffee cycle--I'm in one of those myself right now. If you can break that it could make a big difference.

Finally, I love bilabial's idea of accomplishing something you've been meaning to! If you can pull that off without it adding to your stress levels, it could give you a real boost (plus something fun to discuss when your partner gets home).
posted by whistle pig at 7:24 AM on July 7, 2013

Ninthing fruits and vegetables, cutting out on some of the coffee, and getting more sleep.

You could take a walk every night for the next 21 days. While watching TV do some squats, lunges, bicep curls, and shoulder raises.

Drink more water.

Find a moisturizing face masque. A lot of them have brightening properties.

I'm stereotyping but a lot of men care about hair. Don't cut it, but take some time to take really good care of it, style it and make it beautiful for his arrival. Wear a solid colored top in a color you look great in and there you go. Have fun with your beautifying project.
posted by Fairchild at 7:38 AM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Was just coming in to nth doing things that improve your mood. There are lots of really great suggestions already, and you know best what sorts of activities really boost your happiness meter. For me it's hanging out with my nephew (in short, manageable chunks of time), hanging out with animals (pets, animal shelter if it's not too depressing?) and shopping for small treats for myself (fancy chocolate bar, aromatherapy candle, NEW UNDERWEAR!!!!). I usually "glow" when I feel like i look particularly good that day (great hair day! NEW UNDERWEAR!!!!) and I am either on my way to do something fun or just finished doing something fun.
posted by gumtree at 8:13 AM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

At least cut out wheat, but if you want to really shake things up, go paleo. I went from sallow and doughy and energy-less, to vital and robust and glowing and svelte in less than 3 weeks. It can be amazing if you respond to it, and if you eat enough (lots of vegetables and fat and meat, and milk in my case.) I hate to mention it and rarely talk about it because of its faddishness, but it was revolutionary for me.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 8:23 AM on July 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks everybody, I feel better just reading your answers. I definitely won't have any trouble showing him how glad I will be to have him home. One of the nicer things about getting older is giving up the need to have to play coy or cool in these situations--and I doubt I could do it anyway.
posted by rpfields at 10:39 AM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Inexpensive way to get your skin glowing: homemade Vitamin C serum. You can Google for recipes. I'm normally not one for magic potions for my skin, but this one has worked for sallowness for me.

Swap coffee for green tea if you can stand to do so (or even black tea). I find coffee makes my skin fugly, but tea doesn't seem to have the same effect.

Paleo + bodyweight exercises, and in 21 days, you will be a woman transformed. (Don't let the dopey name "paleo" put you off from what is a really excellent way of eating -- there's nothing extreme about it at all.)

Buy some super-cute knickers NOW to perk yourself up, too. For some dumb reason, wearing foxy underpants to workouts makes me more motivated.

Have fun with it!
posted by nacho fries at 10:52 AM on July 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

In addition to the other great advice here, I'd pamper myself with a mani-pedi a day or so before he gets back.
posted by JenMarie at 10:55 AM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

posted by windykites at 5:08 PM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Whitestrips! Not a whole course, just a few days' worth to lift the white of your teeth a bit.
posted by stuck on an island at 7:56 AM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

How about a shot of Laser Genesis?
posted by Deodand at 6:44 PM on July 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

Using this Aztec Healing Clay mask with apple cider vinegar twice a week will clear out your pores big time (if your skin isn't too sensitive)

And watch loads of funny movies and laugh to them happily for a mood boost.

And yoga works great for lots of people.
posted by dinosaurprincess at 7:31 PM on July 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

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