With Memorial Day fast approaching, many are even more focused than usual on their bodies and getting them into tip-top shape at the gym. While exercise has multiple benefits, very often workouts and great looking skin don't go together. We turned to Dr. Manish Shah, a Board-Certified Denver plastic surgeon and anti-aging expert, to give tips on how you can get the six-pack and still have glowing, acne free skin.
Sweat Itself Does Not Cause Acne
First, "It is important to know that sweat itself does not cause acne," says Dr. Shah. He explains, "Professional sportsmen are predisposed to accumulating dirt and bacteria in their pores during and after workout periods. If left without proper cleansing this can cause worsening in skin conditions like acne and dermatitis."
These days a gym visit almost doesn't seem to "count" unless one Instagrams it. This often leads women to wear makeup to the gym. Just don't. Dr. Shah says, "Most makeup will clog pores by not allowing the skin to breathe naturally during workouts. A better option is a tinted moisturizer if you are self-conscious about your skin tone."
If you're going to be outdoors, apply a light moisturizer with SPF to keep your skin protected from UV rays. Make sure to choose a lightweight product as not to clog up your pores. Look for words like "non-comedogenic" or "oil-free" to know that your sunblock won't cause acne.
Don't Touch Your Face at the Gym!
Cardio machines, weight machines, free weights, these all breed bacteria. Touching them and them wiping beads of sweat off your face is a sure way to spread bacteria that can create new breakouts. Make sure to bring a towel for this instead of using your hands.
A Flowing Mane of Hair is Not Your Friend During a Workout
When you are working out it is a good idea to keep hair out of your face by styling it into a bun or rocking a dry and clean sweatband. Sweat and dirt can get transferred from your hair onto your face. If you haven't washed your hair and you use hairspray or other hair products, these can also splash onto your pores along with perspiration. This can cause irritations and breakouts.
How to Choose the Right Gym Towel
An old rag won't be effective at absorbing sweat. However, you don't want a gym towel that is as absorbent as a bath towel you would use to dry off your body after a shower at home. Dr. Shah says that "The gym towel should be a happy medium — absorbent enough to keep your face dry during a workout, but not so thick it clings to bacteria even after a wash."
Wear Loose and Comfortable Gym Clothes
"Spandex is tight clothing that can lead to skin infections from bacteria and fungi," warns Dr. Shah. "Wear loose attire that will also help wick away the sweat preventing it from being absorbed by your skin." Just google "sweat-wicking workout clothes."
Reduce the Redness
Calm down a flushed face with your redness control remedy made up of a little bit of iced green tea and a spray bottle. "You'll cool down your skin and add in a few extra anti-oxidants in the process," says Dr. Shah.
After your workout
Dr. Shah stresses, "Wash your face immediately after your workout. You don't want a mixture of dirt, oil, and bacteria clinging to your skin, affecting its pH, and clogging your pores. If you are exercising in a park where there is no sink, bring cleansing facial wipes with you."
Moisturize Post Workout
No matter your type of skin, after cleansing you must moisturize. Dr. Shah says that "Skipping this essential step can unknowingly dehydrate your skin causing your oil-producing glands to overcompensate by producing an oversupply of oil. Use a moisturizer that's been produced for your specific skin type and condition immediately after cleansing for the best results."
Skip the Hot Shower
Sure, your muscles are sore, and you're in the mood for a hot shower after a workout. Dr. Shah points out that, "Hot water strips skin of vital oils, leaving you with dry, itchy, dull skin." Exfoliate more often to avoid "Bacne." Breakouts on your back or chest are particularly common for "gym rats." To avoid this, use a gentle body scrub three times a week. Dr. Shah says, "This will keep pores clear and skin functioning well."
Save Your "Superhero" Products for Night
Save serious treatment products for bedtime. Dr. Shah points out that, "Even seemingly normal skin can experience much more sensitivity right after a workout. You may want to wait until redness decreases by bedtime to use your super-active acne or anti-aging treatment products."
Read the latest issue of Athleisure Mag.
Athleisure Mag’s April celebrity cover is Trinity Fatu who goes by the name Naomi in the ring as a WWE Superstar as well as being on E! Total Divas! We had the chance to hang out with her while she was here in NYC for WrestleMania which is the WWE’s equivalent to the Super Bowl. In addition to a fun shoot at The Loft in Flatiron and Limelight Fitness Club, we sat down with Trinity to talk about her journey from studying dance, being a NBA Orlando Magic Cheerleader, transitioning into the WWE, her love for performing and entertaining, sharing her personal life on E! Total Divas, endurance in the business and her coupleship with her husband Jonathan Fatu, who is a WWE wrestler under the name Jimmy Uso, and is half of the tag team The Usos.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Prior to coming to the WWE, tell us about your background as we know that you were an NBA cheerleader previously with the Orlando Magic.
TRINITY FATU: Yes! I started dance at the age of 8 and I studied tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, modern and hip hop up until the age of 18. I competed nationally and once I was 18, I was too old to compete and graduated high school. So it was time for that next chapter and from there, I auditioned and went to the Magic from there. I wanted to go to Alvin Ailey Dance School, but at the time I just wasn’t mentally prepared and honestly, I was just scared to leave home! I had never been away from home so I ended up doing community college and stayed local and ended up doing Magic.
I’m kind of glad now that I didn’t go, because I don’t think that I ever would have gotten into wrestling and then I would have never met my husband and so on and so forth! It all kind of worked out how it was supposed to. I also come from a very musical family. My father is a musician – he’s a guitarist, my uncle is George McCrae.
AM: Shut up!
TF: Yes he had the song, “Rock Your Baby” in the 70’s and some other songs! Yes it’s just the ability to perform and entertain is in my blood and in my family’s so it was inevitable for me that I would do something in entertainment. One year, I had 12 jobs working through temp agencies and just trying to find the right job for me. But I was never satisfied with a 9-5 job. It had to be something that involved me being with people and being active. Socializing and working with people is that I ended up realizing that I like to do.
AM: So what led you to going to the WWE and what was that process like?
TF: So at the time, I was still an Orlando Magic dancer and the wrestling show came to the Amway Center one night and I ended up just wanting to watch the show. My girlfriend and some of the dancers told me about it and we ended up watching the show. When I saw the women perform, I was in awe and blown away by the entire show. I didn’t know much about wrestling and let alone that women had a role in it as much as they did and that they could do all the things that they did. It was a 6 woman tag that I saw and I mean they were killing it and they looked so beautiful. I knew right then that it was something that I wanted to do and that I could do!
So from there, I talked to my friend who knew someone that knew someone that knew someone. I went around asking questions to figure out how to get a try out. Fortunately, at the time, the developmental was in Tampa which was only an hour and a half away. I literally drove one weekend to Tampa to do a try out and then 3 months later, I finally heard back from them and they told me that I got a development deal and that I could start training. Then I left right from home a few weeks later, moved to Tampa and started my wrestling journey!
AM: Did you have a mentor when you were coming up through the system?
TF: Well I met my husband (Jonathan Fatu who goes by the name Jimmy Uso in the WWE) and it’s crazy because he was there a few months before me. But when I first got there, my husband was one of the first people that I met and so he has always been a mentor to me and my guidance through this whole thing. Norman Smiley who still develops and trains new talent now. Dr. Tom Prichard is also a former wrestler, as well as Dusty Rhodes – developmental is diff
erent now with NXT because I came through a different name. Mine was called FCW. All the guys that came around at that time, I felt that they all had some kind of influence and help. But most definitely would be my husband.
AM: What does it mean to you to be a WWE Superstar?
TF: It has become so much of who I am and my identity at this point. When I came in, I was just looking for a transition, I had been cheerleading for a few years and I just wanted something new and to express myself creatively. I had no idea how big wrestling was and what type of platform that I would be on and that I could make a career out of it! At the time, it was something to do at the moment and to just get me to that next chapter of my life until I figured out what I wanted to go to school for and how I would make a living. I was just thinking of doing something that kept me performing and when I got into it, realized how incredible an opportunity that it was, how massive it was and how global it was and the effect that it has on people – I completely fell in love with it, the lifestyle and it came apart of my life. That's when I realized that it was something that I wanted to do.
So to me, this was my life and it is my world. At this point, it’s like everything – it’s how I take care of my family, how I found my purpose, it’s how my husband and I bond over it. It’s become so entwined into my life that it really is everything to me! I take pride and appreciate the responsibility to not only represent African American women, but to be a role model for all women on this platform
AM: Well we got the chance to do our photoshoot during WrestleMania – for those who may not know, can you tell us what this is and how important it is to your year?
TF: Wrestlemania is our Super Bowl! It’s our biggest Pay-Per-View of the year. People travel all over the world to come into town to see our WrestleMania. It’s what we work towards all year to be on that show and to be on that Pay-Per-View. The best of the best is on WrestleMania.
So, to be on that and to share the ring with the greats like John Cena, Randy Orton and all of these incredible Superstars it’s definitely one of the biggest events of the year to perform live in front of 80,000 people at Met Life Stadium, one of the biggest and known stadiums around the world. It’s epic and it’s massive and to just be in that environment to feel that adrenaline from the audience – it’s something that you can’t get anywhere else!
AM: Are there additional matches that we should keep an eye on that are also significant throughout your year?
TF: I am most stoked about the Women’s Main Event. It’s the first time in history that we’ll be main eventing at WrestleMania. Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair as well as the Fatal 4-Way Women’s Tag Team Championship Match for the first time ever as well. So the women, it really is an evolution they are just killing it and they are going to raise the bar. So aside from the Women’s Battle Royal at WrestleMania, you can also look forward to these other women’s matches that are going to be awesome.
AM: In addition to being a wrestler for WWE, you are also on E! Total Divas which we are a fan of. How did you come about getting on this show and how important do you feel that it is to amplify your brand as well as to showcase your personal life?
TF: Well the original cast was handpicked by the company – Vince and at the time, I had a tag team partner, Ariane Andrew known as Cameron. They thought that we would bring a different dynamic to the show and we were a contrast to The Bella Twins at the time for our angle. We worked against them at the time and her and I had a great chemistry. They were right about all those things at the time and that’s why initially we were selected for the show. I was apprehensive at first. I used to be very private and protective of my personal life – I mean now with social media and so many opinions, so many critics – I was protective of that. But I also saw the bigger picture, the platform that we were being given and I did want to be able to tell our story as women in the business as well as seeing the other side of us. To see how hard we work, that women can do it and to motivate others. I knew that there would be a different audience that we would be able to connect with and reach out to that we can’t always do with wrestling. That’s why along with speaking with my partner at the time, we decided to go ahead and do it together. It was a package deal, we had to do it together.
AM: That’s what makes the show so interesting to see you guys in the ring, prepping for it, coming off the ring and to see your dynamics when you’re with your colleagues as well as your personal life. Watching you and your husband talking about your business as well as your personal life. It’s something that is applicable to people regardless of what their jobs are. The dynamics of a coupleship and how you live day to day is a great component of this show that we get to see in your dynamic and it really strikes a cord as we watch it and can completely relate!
TF: I really wanted people to see that because there is only so much that you can know about me when watching, RAW or SmackDown. I just knew that with the girls that I was working with, with the show we’re on and the company that was backing us that it would be an empowering show and uplifting one for women. I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to do that.
AM: So what is an average week like for you as you could be prepping for your next match, maybe you’re going into tapings, doing a charity – if there is such a thing in terms of average, what would it be?
TF: Well we’re moving and traveling 5 days a week and we have appearances weekly with radio stations, charity events, signings and our show is each night. We perform, we fly into town, perform for the show and then drive to the next city, and we do that about 4 days a week and on the 5th we’re traveling to get back home to recharge and do it all over again, year around – there is no off season.
I think that the toughest part is the travel. You would think that it would be the wrestling and the physical part, but that’s the best part and easiest part. When you calculate and think about all the hours that it takes to get there just to perform for 10 minutes and for the women, you’re fortunate if you get the 10 minutes – it’s good! The hard part and the most energy draining portion is the traveling. Being on the road so much, you’re away from home, friends and family. But that is part of the lifestyle.
AM: Since you do travel so much, what are 3 must hav3s that you have with you in your suitcase whenever you’re on the road?
TF: I always have my travel blanket, because I am always cold no matter where I am or how warm it is. I am always just cold! I’d also say my makeup bag and just lotions and moisturizers – all of that good stuff since traveling a lot really dries your skin out. Sunglasses for those days when I don’t want to put makeup on.
AM: Who would you say are your go to people in the WWE squad?
TF: Other than my husband and my brother-in-law (Joshua Fatu/WWE’s Jey Uso) his twin. As far as girls, I would say Lana, Natalya and Tamina Snuka. We all kind of broke in around the same time and have been around each other for the last few years. We have experienced the ups and downs together which has naturally made us bond and be very close with one another.
AM: Because you do travel so much, how do you maintain your coupleship with your husband – do you have date nights?
TF: Yes! We always try to make sure that we tell each other to never stop dating one another. We are always together, but I feel like we’re always in work mode. The hard part is being able to turn it off – not to talk about work, not to talk about wrestling and really just tune everything and everyone out and just focus on each other. We’re together all the time, but there are so many distractions. We’re together, but we’re not. We get to the arena and we’re there for 12 hours a day. Sometimes, I don’t see him all day because he’s preparing or he’s meeting people and getting ready to do the things that he needs to do. I'm over here getting my match together or filming for Total Divas. Then we get into the car and we have whatever amount of hours to drive and I’m asleep or he’s asleep. It’s finding that quality time.
AM: Our Co-Founders are a couple and they totally get this – it’s a balancing act!
TF: I know! A lot of people don’t understand like how can you be together that much, but then you don’t have time? You just have to live it to explain it because it sounds ridiculous!
AM: We had the chance to work out with you a few years back at TapOut gym and some of your fellow Superstars. It was great to do some of your routines that were simple and yet effective to get a great physique! What are some routines that people can get into their workouts that they should pick out that you do?
TF: For me, I just eat in moderation, I have a really bad sweet tooth so I pretty much eat what I want, but I just watch my portions which works for me. I just do a lot of cardio. I’m not a stickler for any kind of regimen. I just get in there and really do what I want. I don’t really lift heavy with a lot of weight. I do more of a full body workout and lots and lots of cardio. I do at least an hour of cardio the 5 days that I’m on the road and then when I’m home, I’m off. But if I eat bad, it just means that I have to work harder in the gym and if I eat better, then I don’t have to work as hard. So I just try to always balance things out. For the most part, it’s just eat healthy, a balanced diet. I feel like as long as you’re active and moving, it doesn’t matter. As long as you’re using your body and making it do something, you can feel when you’re working and when it burns. You can feel when you’re tired. I feel like as long as you’re pushing your body to do something, you will be ok! If you're working, your body will work. If you don’t use it, you will lose it.
AM: So have you watched the release of her film Homecoming on Netflix?
TF: Girl, you know I did! I watched it like 5 times! I have been watching it everyday since it came out on repeat! I think that she is the greatest thing that has ever walked this Earth!
AM: She doesn’t quit!
TF: No no she doesn’t and I will not tolerate anything bad that is said about her! I will pop off on anybody that does. She is truly amazing and my idol – her work ethic, her personality and you never hear any bad stuff about her. To be in the entertainment business for so long and to just have that kind of character – it’s insane to me. She is a great feminist and humanitarian – I just love her.
AM: How do you take time for yourself as you’re schedule is beyond busy.
TF: Honestly, I don’t have much down time to myself. I do have a little room in my house that I call it my Little Lounge – it’s my She Shed. It’s very yoga like and bohemian. I have my pillows on the floor, the colors are warm and it’s very cozy and relaxing. I’ll get up there and relax and turn on my meditation music and nature sounds, write songs, think and relax. That’s probably the most that I feel to get away. I don’t like to go anywhere because I’m always gone so my home is the best getaway and vacation. We’re gone over 300 some days out of the year traveling. My home is my sanctuary. I go up in my little room and have my me time.
AM: We’re all about tribes and #TRIBEGOALS those who inspire us, who are 3 people that do this for you?
TF: Oh yes – one would be my Uncle Buck. He’s my best friend. He’s always on my Instagram. He has been an uncle and like a father to me since I was born, my whole life. We just have a really tight bond and relationship. He has always been there for me. He is a huge supporter has always been at every dance competition, every track meet, every prom – always there and still there. He really is my best friend. My mom – I mean just watching her strength growing up and being a single parent and just how gracious she has been my whole life. My mom can do no wrong in my eyes and I would probably say Beyonce and Michelle Obama!
AM: How would you define your personal style when you’re going out with the girlfriends for drinks vs date night vs just hanging out?
TF: I would say that I am very funky and spontaneous. For gym flows and my days off, I’m always very comfortable in sweats and a hoodie. For a date night, I like to be extra spontaneous – sometimes it’s a freakum dress and other times it’s an elegant dress. One day I could be dressed like 80s and retro and then the next day, I could want to be classy and in some designer stuff. I love rave clothes, funky, bright colors. I’m all over the place. Whatever I see, I like and I’m not set in a certain style. I do like to be loud and different. I have never been afraid to stand out. I would just say spontaneous and to just keep it fun.
AM: We’re a big believer in that if you don’t feel comfortable with what you’re wearing – no matter what it is, it’s not going to look right!
TF: That’s so true. I remember one day waking up and I had spent 5-6 hours getting braids put in but the next day, I just took them out because I didn’t want my hair like that anymore – I wanted a bob or a fro ha! I’m just like that and have always done that!
AM: We know you’re based in Florida, where can we see you grabbing a meal/cocktail, shopping and working out?
TF: Well nowadays, I shop online. I also like the simple stuff where stores have a lot of options so I like Forever 21, love Topshop, American Apparel, Fashion Nova, House of CB. I really love Fashion Nova which is taking over my closet because it’s affordable, it always fits and you can find so many things that fits my style. With what I do, I can’t wear something once it has been on TV and I can’t be caught wearing it again. I like to mix and match them with my style for whatever I am going for at the moment.
For food, I love Ramen noodles so Jinya Ramen Bar I could eat that everyday! They are a ramen bar and only major cities have them, but I love them and you can catch me there! I also love shopping at Whole Foods.
I workout everywhere. My husband and I have talked about getting a gym membership, as when we’re home there are a number of gyms but then when we travel, those gyms may not be in the cities that we are going to! Sometimes we’ll be in the Midwest and there won’t be a LA Fitness, they have Planet Fitness so we get to the town and look up the gym and we just take a day pass. When I’m home, I just train at our home gym in my garage.
TRINITY'S SWIM LOOK | SOUL OF A HIPPIE Sundown Kimono Floral Pastel | MEI L'ANGE Ella Ruched Maillot | Sequin Jewelry Turquoise Color Karma Tassel Necklace | LOVARD Gila Necklace | REVO Sunglasses | VIA SAVIENE Cut-Out Ring | QUPID Peep Toe Booties |
TRINITY'S OUT AND ABOUT LOOK | LOVE BINETTI EY: Sweet Dreams Sleeveless Cotton Dress | NAGICIA Bamboo Framed Donut Ring | QUPID Peep Toe Booties |
TRINITY'S FITNESS LOOK | HANRO Touching Feeling Crop Top + Touching Feeling Boyleg | CARTON OUTERWEAR Clear Hooded Jacket |
TRINITY'S EVENING LOOK | F21 Plunging Maxi Dress | MIRIAM HASKELL Necklace |
Each year brings with it fashion trends, decorating trends, and beauty trends.
The latter covers everything from nails, haircare, makeup and skincare. With the ubiquity of social media, beauty users now can pick up popular trends from anywhere across the world and follow them. Skincare is the biggest segment in the beauty industry with global sales that hover around $130 billion in 2019. There is so much for consumers to digest and decide on. We turned to Dr. Manish Shah, a Denver Board Certified Plastic Surgeon and skin care expert. He takes a microscope to some of the hottest trends in 2019 to give you insight into what’s worth your hard- earned dollars.
CBD In Skincare
Much like it did in 2018, CBD is taking off in the new year. In fact, CBD (short for cannabidiol) has no plans of easing up its reign on the skin-care world in 2019. As a case in point, there are at least two MAJOR skin care brands that now include CBD in their skincare, not to mention the indie companies who have created CBD skincare. Dr. Shah’s take: “As far as it being good for skin, it acts as both an anti-inflammatory agent and an oil reduction agent. Theoretically, its addition to skin care products, especially those tasked to fight acne and other inflammatory skin conditions, is probably legitimate. It is also a good antioxidant that can help protect against free radical damage to skin cells. CBD can be made from hemp which helps skincare companies get around the federal ban on marijuana. Side effects of unregulated use include: Nausea, fatigue and irritability. CBD can increase the level in your blood of the blood thinner coumadin, and it can raise levels of certain other medications in your blood by the exact same mechanism that grapefruit juice does.”
Some beauty editors and bloggers swear by pimple patches. According to experts, those patches are about to get even more advanced by way of a ton of tiny microneedles (or "microstructures").The logic is that you can out put a smaller amount of acne-fighting ingredients into these tiny little cones and apply it to the skin, it's a better, more effective delivery system.
Here's how they are purported to work: The small band-aid-like sticker has spikes coated with hyaluronic acid that are thinner than a hair follicle. Through these teeny painless pricks in the skin, the patch drives the active ingredients deep in to the skin. Dr. Shah’s take:
“There is plenty of good medical literature on the validity of these small patches that are impregnated with various chemicals. The patch gets worn and the needles (either metallic or made out of absorbable polymer) penetrate the skin delivering the chemical treatment. Their design takes advantage of the concept of transcutaneous delivery of drugs. Patches can be custom made to fit various areas of the face and deliver anti-aging or other chemicals while a patient sleeps. The efficiency of delivery is better through the tiny skin punctures than if you only put the chemical directly on the intact skin. In theory, aesthetic practitioners can make custom topical treatments and place them on the patches to deliver customized at home skin treatments for their patients.”
Is a Cryotherapy Facial Is the Best Way to Brighter, Tighter Skin?
Cryotherapy has gained popularity in recent years with spa treatments exposing clients to subzero temperatures to help relieve pain and improve their health. This wellness treatment has recently undergone another adaptation with the cryotherapy facial treatment. The Cryo Facial is a cryogenic treatment that is performed by what is considered a "cryo probe," which beams vaporized liquid nitrogen across the forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. Different from the cryotherapy chambers that can be used for pain relief, the facial targets helping the face look younger. Dr. Shah’s take: “This may be more suspect. There isn't a great deal of study-based evidence that cryotherapy facials actually do what they claim. Typically, cryotherapy uses extremely cold liquid nitrogen to freeze exposed skin cells to kill them, like a wart. The facials use the same liquid nitrogen as a spray, but the aesthetician doesn't stay in one area too long to avoid frostbite to the skin. Some level of cold injury occurs, probably to a very superficial level of the skin, so there may be some exfoliation. But there are safer ways to get exfoliation without risking frostbite or hyperpigmentation.”
ANTI-POLLUTION SKIN CARE
Your skin is exposed to environmental aggressors on a regular basis. Although unseen, these pollutants can wreak havoc on your skin by breaking down collagen and elastin, the fibers that give skin its bounce. To help reduce these unwanted side effects, anti-pollution skin care products are continuing to gain favorability among consumers. Just as SPF is now de rigor in skin care, this seems to be the case with anti-pollution ingredient. Dr. Shah’s take: “I think that this is a new name for old tech. In brief, our skin is exposed to environmental contaminants that create inflammatory conditions. These conditions lead to build up of free radicals in the skin. The ingredients in antipollution skin care are basically strong antioxidants that protect against the free radicals. But the skin is assaulted by more than chemicals. It experiences dehydration, UV exposure, temperature changes, etc. True antipollution skincare should guard against all this. Typical protective and reparative ingredients include vitamin E, vitamin C, retinoids, hyaluronic acid, zinc oxide, vitamin B3, and bisabolol.”
Read the latest issue of Athleisure Mag.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that smoking, not wearing sunscreen and going to bed with your makeup on hardly produces the coveted look of Instagram’s “glass skin.” Aside from these three ‘skin sins’ there are many others that are not so obvious. We turned to Denver Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Manish Shah who is a big believer in pre-juvenation and a holistic approach to youth.
“Many people think caring for your skin is skin-deep,” quips Dr. Shah. “It is not.“ Inconsistent or inadequate nutrition that has your body mass and weight moving in a yo-yo motion up and down the scale can contribute to ruined elasticity and reduced collagen in the skin. This is part of the reason why specialists will recommend a two-pound maximum weight loss goal per week because your skin needs time to adapt to the loss of mass. Dr. Shah explains that the skin needs to be nourished from the inside as well and many of the trend diets like keto and paleo focus on one group of food and though it can help keep a caloric deficit, it can also create a deficit of the necessary vitamins and minerals you need to keep your skin looking healthy.
Drinking Too Much Coffee
“Excessive amounts of caffeine can increase the levels of insulin and cortisol in the system,” explains Dr. Shah. Insulin increases inflammation and cortisol is known as the stress hormone. This combination could mix up your sleeping habits and contribute to continued stress which can lead to sleep deprivation. “Sleep deprivation prevents that regenerative rest our skin and mind need to stay healthy.”
Neglecting the Skin Around Your Eyes
"The skin around your eyes is the thinnest and has very few oil glands," says Dr. Shah. Pamper your eyes and stave off signs of aging by choosing a daily eye cream that includes peptides. Dr. Shah explains, “They work to stimulate collagen production and prevent fine lines. Be sure to check the label.” Other notable ingredients that reduce puffiness, lines, wrinkles, and under eye circles are caffeine and nicotinic acid (a form of the B vitamin niacin).
Expecting Instant Results from Beauty Treatments
Most of us are guilty of trying a face cream or anti-aging treatment once or twice and then giving up on it before it has had a chance to work. A majority of anti-aging treatments take up to a month to begin showing positive effects. Dr. Shah explains, “This is due to the cycle of your skin, which undergoes a period of cellular structure renewal over a span of 30 days. In our instant gratification mode, we often toss a product before giving it time to work.”
Taking Medications With Side-Effects on the Skin
Certain medications like corticosteroids for asthma and arthritis cause the skin to thin and weakens blood vessels. Medicine to treat seizures can cause heightened sensitivity to sun damage in the skin which is a common perpetrator in premature aging. Blood pressure medications that block calcium channels have been studied in relation to their inhibition of collagen production by obstructing the absorption of vitamin C by the cells. Vitamin C is an important part of collagen production. “If these medications are being prescribed to you by your physician then the benefits outweigh their effect on collagen production. There is no need to stress over this, as long as you take care of your skin in other ways you should be fine,” explains Dr. Shah.
Consuming Excessive Amounts of Salt
“By all measures, an excess of salt in your diet is detrimental to your kidneys, your cardiovascular health and, yes, your skin,” says Dr. Shah. Salt absorbs moisture and it can aid in making your skin look dry and less vibrant. Reducing your sodium intake and sticking to a moisturizing routine should help your skin stay healthy and smooth.
Every time you move that beautiful face, your skin wrinkles a little bit. Most of the time your face bounces back and those little wrinkles disappear once new skin cells grow.
While you may think that soap is your skin’s best friend, this is actually not the case. The reason for this is that your skin has an acid mantle which is a natural protective barrier of the skin. When you wash with soap – which is generally alkaline – it can remove this protective layer of oils and dry out the skin, eventually leading to wrinkles. Dr. Shah says that “While it is not advisable to stop washing entirely, try swapping the soap for a PH-neutral and chemical-free cleanser, and bear in mind that there is such a thing as over-cleansing your skin.”
Tugging on Your Skin While Applying or Removing Makeup
To minimize the damage to the skin around your eyes, follow these quick tips from Dr. Shah:
Use your ring finger to pat on products around your eyes, including serums, oils, moisturizers, and concealers. Your ring finger is the least likely to pull or tug at your skin.
Apply eyeliner and eyeshadow by gently closing your eyelids, rather than by pulling them taut. If you’re struggling to apply without pulling, consider investing in products that are made to apply smoothly, like cream or gel formulas.
Have patience when removing makeup from the eye area. Use cotton or another soft product, coated well with your favorite makeup removing solution. Hold the cotton over your closed eye without wiping, allowing the product to break down the makeup. After a minute or so, wipe gently to remove the makeup.
Picking Your Skin
You're not a dermatologist or licensed aesthetician. You should not be picking at your pimples, ingrown hairs, or anywhere else on your face. It's one of the biggest assaults against your skin and can have permanent effects. "The more people press and manipulate blemishes, the more inflammation they create underneath," explains Dr. Shah. "The result is scars, pockmarks, and discoloration that can become permanent.”
Licking Your Lips Constantly
There's a myth out there that claims people can get addicted to lip balm. "These people just have dry skin and miss the feeling of the balm when it's gone," says Dr. Shah. Lip licking can become a bad habit. But when you moisten your lips that way, you actually wind up making things worse. The water in your saliva evaporates, leaving lips dry and cracked. "Saliva can contain bacteria and irritants, so you can end up with a rash around the lips as well," says Dr. Shah. Try a lip balm such as Burt's Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lip Balm, Original Beeswax with Vitamin E & Peppermint Oil.
Read the latest issue of Athleisure Mag.
Our friends over at FUNKSHION headed to Austin, TX during SXSW with their Health and Wellness Platform, The RETREAT by FUNKSHION on March 10th at the South Congress Hotel. This event included prominent fitness experts, wellness leaders, and industry shifters that hosted classes and were on panels as well as leading studio classes. This event was focused to create awareness about relevant topics related to the world of wellness.
With a day filled with an array of sessions, guests also had access to a mini-pop up shop with Essie Nail Station, Hair Braid Bar and they were able to shop Blank Label, Milk + Honey and Surterra Wellness.
“We wanted to create an inspiring and interactive event that will cover every angle of this widely-grown lifestyle, and connect the industry on both a national and regional level,” commented FUNKSHION’s Creative Director, Natalija Dedic Stojanovic. “It was a logical move to take The RETREAT to SXSW in our third year of the event. Austin’s market truly celebrates the health and wellness lifestyle like a religion. We match-made Austin founded companies like Outdoor Voices, Milk + Honey and C4 with industry tastemakers like Ron Boss, Bethany C. Meyers and Lo Bosworth (founder of Love Wellness). The result was an extraordinary success. All the panel discussions offered riveting commentary and advice on battling everything from common stigmas to eating disorders; and discovering ways to stay fit and mindful in the most difficult moments” mentioned Stojanovic.
The Retreat will continue to host its annual May event in the Miami Design District and is planning to host its first ever New York edition in mid-September.
Read the latest issue of Athleisure Mag.
We've been working within 2019 for a few weeks now, and whatever our goals are, it's still early enough to make a few tweaks on a number of our activities. We got the chance to catch up with Terry Cralle, RN, Clinical Sleep Educator to talk about sleep. We all know that this is an important activity, but we really wanted to find out what we could do to get more sleep as well as additional elements of this important health cycle!
She broke down the importance of our initial steps in getting great sleep, how we can optimize our bedroom for better sleep, whether we should go comando or not (and the benefits either way), how we should take eight and the ease of great sleep.
A New Year is upon us and for many of us, when it comes to our New Year’s resolutions, it’s “here we go again.” Will the gym membership go unused by mid-January or will the dieting trail off, as it usually does, as the days tick by? Whether it’s weight loss, new fitness goals, completing that degree, a new job or better financial decisions, there’s a lot that can and should be accomplished in the new year – but the question is: How do you get motivated and see resolutions through to completion? What would help ensure success with these goals – no matter the time of year? Is there a “secret sauce” that can help people achieve their new year goals – not to mention career and life goals?
The First Step is Sleep
The answer is a resounding “yes!” There definitely is something that can help us see our resolutions through, achieve successes and realize our full potential. It’s called sufficient sleep. Yes, it’s often disregarded or overlooked – but it shouldn’t be – as it is an incredible performance enhancer and game changer, especially for those who have not used it to their full advantage.
Sufficient sleep, often overlooked as an indulgence, rather than a biological necessity, can easily become the catalyst for seeing any goals through to success. Adequate sleep can provide what our bodies need, directly affecting our ability to succeed at what we set out to do.
There are many ways to optimize sleep. Here are easy things you can do now that can impact the way you view sleep and the way you get sleep.
Start by Optimizing Your Bedroom for Better Sleep
The bedroom is for sleep. Period. It is no secret that the bedroom environment can have an enormous impact on sleep quality and quantity. Are stacks of bills piling up on the dresser or is there unfolded laundry waiting to be put away? Has your bedroom become a storage room for unused exercise equipment or stacks of magazines? Has your mattress seen better days? How about the clutter spilling out from under your bed?
You may be pleasantly surprised by how a few tweaks will help transform your bedroom into a relaxing, serene, inviting and sleep conducive sleep sanctuary. See for yourself whether transforming your bedroom leads to better sleep quality. Consider the following for better sleep and better wake quality:
Do your bright red or purple bedroom walls make a statement? Bold colors may be affecting your sense of serenity and relaxation at bedtime. Consider borrowing a color palette from nature (think soft sky blues, pale forest greens and even the silver from moonlight) or light neutrals to soften things up a bit.
How does your bedding look and feel? White bedding is often associated with luxury and cleanliness. If the thought of crisp, clean white sheets makes you want to crawl into bed an hour earlier, even better.
A plant or two will not only look pretty, but can help improve bedroom air quality. According to NASA research, some plants act as natural indoor air purifiers, including the snake, English ivy, and spider plants. (Note that some plants can be toxic to children and pets.)
Clutter, junk, and piles of stuff create visual chaos — which is distracting and stressful, not to mention dust-collecting – all of which can negatively impact your ability to relax and fall asleep. Go minimalist by taking out extra stuff – even furniture. An organized, neat and sparse bedroom is more relaxing and conducive to sleep than one that is cluttered, disorganized and overwhelming.
Bright overhead lights should be avoided in the evenings and before bedtime. Have soft lighting options available in your bedroom and consider motion-detecting night lights to help safely navigate 3 a.m. trips to the bathroom.
Let’s face it: getting into a well-made bed feels wonderful at the end of a long day, and for many, an unmade bed is an eyesore. A survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) found that respondents who made their beds daily were 19 percent more likely to report quality sleep. However, there is some controversy about a made bed trapping in moisture and thereby worsening dust mites. If you like the look and feel of a made bed, consider pulling back the bedcovers as soon as you get out of bed in the morning to let your bed air out and then making it up at least an hour later. This may also be a good idea if you have pets who like to sleep on the bed during the day. If you opt not to make the bed, at least straightening the bedding can help give the bedroom a neater appearance.
Give Some Thought to PJs – or Not
While this aspect of sleep is rarely given a second thought, let’s take a moment and consider how we feel during the day when we rock an outfit that looks great, feels comfortable and fits well – it really contributes to us having a good day as opposed to a not so good one. It goes the same with sleep. For optimal sleep performance, real pajamas that you only wear to bed are ideal. Don’t wear the same clothes that you work out in or go shopping in. Avoid tight or constrictive clothing that have uncomfortable straps, tags or anything that will bunch up or twist when changing position during sleep.
Changing into comfortable and designated sleepwear is a critical component of an effective sleep strategy. In fact, the term enclothed cognition is a term used to describe “the system atic influence that clothes have on the wearer's psychological processes.” Changing into designated jammies can give your brain the cue for “it’s time to go to sleep,” rather than “it must be time to hit the gym.”
There are many types of pajama fabrics available — silk, flannel, linen, cotton, even cashmere — so choose what feels best for you and your sleep style. (Do you sleep hot, cold, with lots of covers, without?) Surprisingly, wool can be ideal for a variety of sleepers. Published in 2016, research in the journal Nature and Science of Sleep found that wool did a good job at regulating body temperature — keeping the sleeper in what is known as “the thermal comfort zone.”
Sleeping in your birthday suit is another option. It is said that sleeping naked can help prevent overheating – result ting in deeper sleep. Buff sleeping is also reported to increase the storage of brown fat, the type of fat that burns calories. It is thought that increasing brown fat may help with weight loss, while improving insulin function and glucose levels. An added bonus is the fact that the skin-to-skin contact that naked sleep lends itself to creates a boost in the feel-good hormone oxytocin (often referred to as the love hormone), which contributes to increased feelings of intimacy and bonding. In fact, a British survey of over 1000 couples found those who slept in the buff reported happier relationships than those who slept in PJs. Alternatively, sleeping in as little as possible may be a happy and healthy compromise for those who don’t want to go totally commando.
Statistically speaking, far too many of us fall into the category of not sleeping enough. According to the CDC, one third of the adults in the U.S. report that they usually get less than the recommended amount of sleep (7-9 hours a night). Insufficient sleep is a serious and costly problem associated with many health conditions — including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. Insufficient sleep is also linked to motor vehicle crashes and workplace accidents.
Sleep fuels the body and brain in many ways – helping with learning, memory, problem solving and judgment. Sufficient sleep is particularly helpful for the developing brain. In fact, recently at Baylor University, students were given extra points if they met “The 8-hour Challenge.” The challenge entailed averaging eight hours of sleep for five nights during final exams week. The results from the challenge were published in an article in the journal Teaching of Psychology and demonstrated that the students who got the extra sleep performed better than those who did not participate. Researcher Michael Scullin noted that one of the students who got the extra sleep re marked that it was the “first time my brain worked while taking an exam.” Another student stated that "there’s plenty of time to set aside for sleep and still get everything done and you feel so much better doing it.”
The Baylor challenge reminded me of a group I worked with several years ago. They were Wall Street executives who prided themselves on sleeping as little as possible. (“I’ll sleep when I’m dead” was their favorite saying.) They laughed about all of the 3 a.m. emails they sent to each other and how often their work kept them up late, woke them up in the middle of the night or sometimes kept them up all night. Yet this group was convinced that they could not be successful if they took the time to get adequate sleep. In fact, they were under the erroneous impression that they had successfully acclimated to running on empty, and not only that, they were doing just fine. However, this attitude reflects the lack of insight that typically accompanies sleep deprivation – people think they are performing well, when in reality they are not. They don’t realize, see or feel the degradation in their performance and/or have lost their point of reference to feeling rested and restored upon awakening or even hitting the ground running.
I challenged this group to rethink sleep – to throw out all of their preconceived notions (sleep is a time-waster, sleep is for the lazy, I can’t take time for sleep if I want to climb the corporate ladder, etc.) and view sleep more as a performance enhancer than as a sign of weakness. I urged them to view sleep as a biological requirement – not an indulgence for those without a work ethic. I emphatically stressed to them that sleep and success were not mutually exclusive.
The only way to demonstrate this was to challenge them to extend their sleep time – shooting for eight – for a week at least, but ideally for two weeks - and see if they saw a difference in how they performed and how they felt, both physically and mentally.
I was not surprised to find them more than pleasantly surprised at the improvements in energy, productivity, general well-being, efficiency, accuracy, outlook, and communication when they were well-rested. As I had explained, we perform much like an intoxicated person when we are not getting the recommended amount of sleep on a consistent basis – not to mention, it’s terrible for our physical health. Unhealthy weight and a lack of exercise (no energy, no motivation) go hand in hand with insufficient sleep.
Sleep: Easy as One, Two, Three
Make 2019 a year to remember by ringing in the New Year with resolutions you can keep. Three easy steps are all you need to start the year off on the right foot – and keep it there. Three easy steps will help you see all of your resolutions through while keeping you healthy, energized, motivated, focused and happy. So go clean your bedroom, slip into (or out of) something cozy, and hit the hay at a decent hour for a change to grab eight hours of restorative sleep. That’s it. See for yourself the difference these few changes make. Then go tackle those resolutions. You may have the most productive year ever!
Read more from the Feb Issue of Athleisure Mag and see Something You Should Know | New Year, New Sleep, New You in mag.
When it's coming from a place of love and concern, we're all about a straight shooter. We've been team Dr. V since we first saw her years ago on BRAVO's LA Shrinks, where we were introduced to this Clinical Psychiatrist that was never shy to tell you how it is and to call you on your crap! We continued to follow her as she appeared on a number of daytime, primetime and reality TV show spots, including as a host on WE TV's Marriage Bootcamp. We took some time to talk with Dr. V about her job as a Clinical Psychologist, the power and importance of communication, her new book Bad Advice and of course being on Marriage Bootcamp.
ATHLEISURE MAG: We fell in love with you on BRAVO’s LA Shrinks as well as on the The Real Housewives of NJ and on WE TV’s Millionaire Matchmaker and Marriage Bootcamp! Can you tell us how you came to Clinical Psychology as a career and then how you were able to parlay that into you being on Reality, Daytime and PrimeTime TV?
DR. V: You know I knew from a very young age that I was very equipped to solve problems. So I kind of went from the stoop to the screen. As I sit here talking with you, I think about how I used to sit on my neighborhood stoop and solve problems. It was a very working class neighborhood where all the houses were connected – row homes. So it was the kind of place where people would gather out front in front of people’s stoops.
I remember being super young like 4-5-6 and hearing people discuss their lives in very intimate ways! I mean a lot of shit goes down on the stoop for sure! So I would listen and it seemed like people would have this idea that somehow their problems were unsolvable. At a very young age, call it naivete or hopefulness, I never saw it that way. I always thought that the problems could be solved and I would go into my own head and solve the problem.
Like I’d be like, “wait let me tell you how shit goes – this is not a big problem.” I would go inside myself and be like, this is easy guys, it can’t be this hard. By the way, this is very different than giving advice. Because when you’re young, you’re able to use and even when you’re older – you use what’s called Executive Functioning in your brain. It’s when you’re able to re-engineer problems. I think that at the end of the day to get back to your first question, I had a very early development of that in my brain of Executive Functioning and being able to see problems and than rearrange them, which is different then giving advice. I don’t even like to give advice by the way – I stay away from it.
AM: We like that you make that distinction because hearing you say that – definitely is a difference and to do so at such a young age and to understand that is phenomenal.
DR. V: It’s the idea that solutions and advice are different. I think that when you come from it at that perspective, how can we work together to find a solution as opposed to “I’m the expert, I know better than you and you don’t know what you’re talking about.” Fuck that – we can work together and find solutions. I think that at the end of the day, that’s how I got started in Psychology and it was at that young age – I knew I was able to re-engineer my own problems and other people’s problems.
Taking that a step further, I sought after higher education. You had pointed out Clinical Psychology which is different the Counseling Psychology and other forms. Clinical Psychology just means that it’s research based and as a science lover, I love doing research. But at the end of the day, it’s really just that I was dumb enough to take the longer route – that’s really what’s happening! You tack on another couple of years for your dissertation, so a lot of doing the same things, just the degree of Clinical Psychology which is a PHD has more of a research focus where Counseling Psychology has more of a counseling focus – talk therapy. So that’s really the only difference there. I love research, I love doing it, collecting other people’s research. Anyone of those degrees, they can also share that same love of research – it’s just required as a PHD in Clinical Psychology to do the research for the degree.
So how I found myself, I was there on the stoop re-engineering everyone’s problems and I gained enough confidence to tell people what if you did this or what if you did that? And I think that coming from a very working class Italian neighborhood where there was a sense of community, the volume was turned up and we never had enough of anything but love and emotions – I think I developed a way of communicating that I had to be super clear. I had to make my point super clear and it has to land! Because for Uncle Rocky to take in my advice or my solutions – it has to land. Because of that, that was Prime TV talk as it has to land and it has to make an impact. If not, it’s not entertaining or there is no reveal or whatever entertainment words we use.
I think that is how I find myself in front of the screen and I battle on a regular basis – my own shyness. I know it doesn’t come off that way, but I am a very shy person.
AM: We would have never guessed that!
DR. V: Oh yeah! I am incredibly shy and I have had to really talk myself through my own levels of courage. Obviously as I have gotten older, it’s gotten easier as I will be 47 and I am sitting in this bath of “I don’t give a fuck” – but I battle this on a daily basis in front of the camera. I battle this by getting so into the process that I forget that the camera is there. I immerse myself into the person that we are talking to or the project that we are dealing with and I really have to forget that the cameras are there and I am able to cope better with my shyness and I can hone in on the person I am talking to?
AM: How important is communication with the person that you are talking to whether it’s a significant other, a friend etc?
DR V: Well communication defines the relationship. It is the key to every aspect of our lives. Communication, if we were to think of it as our form of expression and creativity, it leaves us room to be able to take in feedback about our communication. Your sense of self expression isn’t my way of self expression. The way that you communicate is not the way that I would creatively do so. The words that you choose, the metaphors that you give and how you choose to communicate with someone else is really quite magical. Communication and how we communicate in the world defines who we are, defines the relationship, defines our friendships and really is the most important ingredient in life!
I don’t like when people say, “that person can’t communicate effectively.” It just means that you can’t hear their message. Communication is co-created. We don’t realize that as humans we help each other feel things. As we sit on the phone with one another, we help each other feel things and this is what sets us a part. We’re almost contagious to each other. Communication seems like it’s such a simple word, but to me it’s more then just that word and it embodies so much more! It embodies the self expression, how you perceive yourself and others – it’s creative. It’s a creative endeavor.
AM: It’s a great point as for years we use to say, “this person isn’t an effective communicator.” One day we thought, we should try to figure out what this person is saying as they are making a point, they seem to believe it, perhaps we’re just not getting it. So we started re-engineering. Hearing that this person said x and then trying to get the meaning behind it really makes us understand what you just shared as they had a different method and that it is a creative process to understand what is being said.
DR. V: Right and then from that place, you’re able to go to where I excel with solutions! You’re able to find the solution. If someone isn’t communicating effectively if we use that word, you’re immediately put on your heels, you’re set off, you’re turned off – when you categorize it in that way. We need to be more curious and ask more questions instead of having this knee jerk judgement. There is nothing more that makes things go wrong then taking a cruise on the SS Judgmental! Once people begin judging each other, things go wrong. When we get curious and ask questions, you’re better able to understand the person you’re talking to. If you’re curious in a genuine and relaxed way – I have been in situations where I was curious but being a bitch and I was asking questions only to hide my annoyance and that wasn’t good! But when you do it genuinely, that person gets curious too and then they relax too!
So when we talk about communication, it’s obviously one of my favorite topics – I see it differently. Usually when people are bringing it up, they mean it in a, “we just don’t communicate well” kind of way. That’s when I say, “we have to ask more questions.” We’re allowed to help each and other. My husband and I have been together for 22 years and I think it was about 5 years in where I would create narratives for him. I would write him in an email, which is a little condescending haha – I’m not going to lie. This would take place during an argument where he would go to his respective work and I would go to my respective work and I would say let me help you. In quotes I would write what I wanted to hear and he would write back, “wow I didn’t know it was that easy as I would have said that to you. I just couldn’t find those words and didn’t know the words you wanted to hear.” This would go on for 3-4 years about what I needed to hear. A lot of people would say, “that’s not genuine – he should know what you need to hear.” But no, not at all. Sometimes it’s ok to help people figure out how to love you. Because that is a creative endeavor. Many people say that men and women have different language styles, but I don’t believe that. I think everyone wants the same thing. Both men and women want to be loved and to love – everyone wants it. How people get there is very different and men aren’t pushed or taught to be emotional leaders, “boys don’t cry” – this sort of toxic masculinity has infiltrated our society to a point where it has stopped men’s growth to express how they’re feeling. Men get this bad wrap for not expressing how they are feeling and women feel like they have to consistently be the emotional leaders or that we’re all emotional brains and we’re crazy – no it’s just that you don’t understand her – she’s not crazy.
AM: We were going to ask about the difference in love languages between men and women. But we like hearing how you were able to articulate what you said and what you wanted to hear reminds us that when we're talking to our significant other, we’ll say that we know you said x, but what I actually here is y. This makes the conversation a lot longer to break down the components of what’s said vs felt vs what we should do.
DR V: Right it becomes a creative endeavor. When you’re saying what you heard and what was felt it actually entails a vulnerability. So not only are you attempting to have better communication, but your partner is learning about you, who you are, what makes you tick and your deepest vulnerabilities which invites them to do the same. When we talk about men and women and their differences, men are not able to show their vulnerabilities as a society. They are uninvited to that party usually. So when they get with someone who is an emotional and has a creative expression of how they use language and are able to communicate what you feel, these men are like, what the fuck?
I have so much empathy for that struggle and form of expression and I don’t believe that we’re talking in different languages. Everyone knows what it’s like to be sad, hurt or to feel vulnerable and both men and women feel that. It’s how we express those emotions that matter.
AM: With us being firmly in the New Year, a lot of people are looking at their resolutions, being their best selves etc. What is the best way for people to optimize their lives without feeling the pressures of changes that may not have taken place or come out the way that they had hoped?
DR. V: Wow well patience is it’s own kind of confidence. It takes patience with other people and ourselves to attain goals. It’s a trust in your self and in the process. If you have fallen off of the wagon or have fucked up, it’s never wrong to start again. It’s always right to start again!
AM: So you released Bad Advice last fall. What led you to writing this and tell us more about this book!
DR. V: Look, I was just tired of hearing things repeated back to me – bad advice. Theories are very important! How we walk through the world and how we define our world is through theories and words. If those theories aren’t correct and are in fact, scientifically wrong – where does that leave us? I was inspired to write this as I’m just irreverent in general and I love to punch holes in things. I just got tired of hearing these one liners that seemed to have blown up even more so on the Internet like: “Just be yourself”, “You can’t love anyone until you love yourself”, “Expectations lead to disappointment” or “Follow your bliss” – it’s like birds flying! Because we’re passing around this bullshit more and more, I got curious about it. Is it really true that you can’t love anyone until you love yourself? Is that true? In the event that you need to hear, just be yourself – does that help? Is it helpful? Do expectations lead to disappointment – is that true – I got really curious! I found these statements and of course, I have my own hypothesis. I collected pieces of Bad Advice that enjoy the shit out of me and I debunked them in the book with heart and humor and it’s a super fun read. It’s one of those books where my hope is you get done reading it and you say, “you’ve never thought of it that way.” Then I have done my job as an author. My favorite books were always those that I would close them and be like, “Oh my God I never thought of it that way – that is so interesting.” You’re able to affect how people view the world.
AM: How long did it take for you to put that together?
DR. V: I would say that while the writing process was 2 years, it’s a lifelong project for me. There were so many pieces of Bad Advice that I didn’t include that I am still collecting them.
AM: Will there be a part two?
DR. V: Yes! I feel that I have been doing this my whole life. I am a very curious person and I always ask myself, how do I know this to be true and forget about bad advice – I’m just curious about the world. What we know – how do we know this to be true and forget about bad advice. Who is the messenger – who is saying it, why are we saying it and who is coming from? I ask myself things like this all the time.
AM: How can someone identify when bad advice is being given to them?
DR V: When it denies your humanity. When it denies what you feel. For example, “Nobody can make you feel bad without your permission” – that’s a chapter in the book. That is like the worse advice that I have ever heard. I get it. My mom used to say it to me when people would make fun of my name. We say it because we want to help people but what it does – I mean when was the last time you gave someone permission to hurt your feelings?
AM: Um never!
DR. V: EXACTLY! Like I will give you permission to hurt me? It doesn’t make sense. So when it denies your humanity and how you’re feeling then you know it’s bad advice!
AM: You’re so right. I mean I can see why we say it because we’ve all heard it from other people who meant it from a good place. But when you think about it, it’s kind of taking a knock at you and you’re internalizing it!
DR. V: You’re right and so for a split second, you’re put in a an area of denial and those emotions come back double fold because you’re trying to hold back from what you really feel. When it comes to relationships, “you can’t really love anyone until you love yourself.” Look, we are meant to love people that is what humans do. So you’re going to love people and your self doesn’t give a fuck about what you think of you. It also creates a “series of events” first I love me, then I love you it implies that love is linear and it’s not – it’s co-created. But we hear love yourself and we’re all the while being conditioned to self hate! Self hate is very real, but the concept of self love – no one tells you how to love yourself. Do you know why? It’s because it’s impossible to love yourself the way that you would love someone else because it’s not supported by brain circuitry. You’re going to love other people and that’s just what will happen – it’s what we do. It denies your humanity – you will love people regardless – you may not love them well, but that’s not what we’re talking about.
AM: How do you prepare for your work on WE TV’s Marriage Bootcamp, especially with all of the different personalities that are involved? How do you ultimately get them to the relationships that they desire?
DR. V: Well bigger personalities require bigger jolts. They require different methods. So, the goal of Marriage Bootcamp is to provide a cellular experience which jolts the system. What I love about the show is that my goal isn’t to keep the couple together. It’s my hope, but it’s about choice. Is this the person that you should be with? It’s about re-engineering that problem – is this the person for you? With all the evidence given to you over the last 10 days, do you want to be with this person? It’s about giving the couples the information they need about themselves and the relationship and asking them to make a choice.
My hope is that they do, but then again staying together is not always the right choice. It may be that they need to live a part. This is what I love about the show – our stakes aren’t in whether the couples stay together, but that the right choice is being made for the person and the couple.
How I prepare for the show, well before those 10 days, I get a lot of sleep. I don’t sleep for 10 days!
AM: We’ve been a fan of the show for years, but we can only imagine how it must be to be there in your position. With such big personalities how do you take the space you need so that you can do the best work for them?
DR. V: Well I’ll tell you. I have been in the field for – I started volunteering at Mt Sinai at 20 – I’ve been doing it a long time, 25 years. You really do learn how to separate yourself and it came naturally over time for me. I know when I need to restore myself and when I begin to become a judgey asshole. I’ll say wow, “I really need to take a break because this person is really getting on my fucking nerves!” Because you can’t help people if you can’t find something to love about them. That is the truth. You have to find something about them that you love and that you like. If you don’t like them – you can’t help them. It’s an incredibly professional and profound thing to admit that this person is tapping into something in me that I don’t like. I need to take a step back and to restore myself and grow from that. That’s what I love about the work because I am consistently growing and being pushed to my own limits season after season after season. I love that – whatever field can I grow and learn in a fun and chaotic way haha!
AM: Everytime we see that you’re back for another season we’re like she’s still hanging in there!
DR. V: Haha Dr. V is still alive! It’s funny because when people are put in a therapeutic environment when they may attack me or say something to me – I feel their pain. They are really talking to pieces of themselves. I feel like I have a deep empathy for that.
As a side note. You know what’s funny about Marriage Bootcamp? That show is so fucking crazy and YET when I watch it on TV – they actually make the drama LESS! They don’t even need to make it more dramatic like a lot of reality shows do. They don’t edit it a certain way to make it more dramatic. I was there – I know that that was way more intense than what they are showing. I think that is what has made the show last for 13 seasons, because the drama is already there. So they don’t have to do much!
You get to see some of your favorite personalities in a different light. Like Brandi Glanville on Marriage Bootcamp was not the same Brandi Glanville on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. People who follow her and love her got to see her in a different way and that’s amazing to me.
AM: You’re based in LA – where do you love grabbing a meal/cocktail, working out and going out for a little shopping?
DR. V: Let me tell you – I love a good diner! I’m from Philly – I did my education in NYC and there is nothing to me that beats a good diner. Kitchen 24 in Hollywood is open 24 hours. I can go there and get egg whites and feta. If I am working late and I need to wind down, I can get a margarita at 3am in the morning – it’s the best place on earth – it’s like my mother’s kitchen! There is nothing like a good diner.
I love to cycle and I feel that at my age it’s so great because you’re not compounding your joints. I’m a big SoulCycler and I do that 2 times a week. For shopping, I love style but I’m not much of a shopper. I’m not one of those women that get up and say, “I’m going to go shopping.” I can’t handle that, but I do love shopping online. I don’t have to shop, they just send shit to me, “we think you’ll like this.”
AM: Are you a beauty girl and do you have 3 must have products that you enjoy using?
DR. V: Ok I want to tell you that I recently decided to go from a rose kind of color to more of a peachier color for my face, lips and eyes. I’m completely obsessed with Stila Cosmetics that has these Liquid Eyeshadows that are glitter! The Bronzed Belle for brown eyes and a little olive skin is so gorgeous! Girl, I got the small one - the travel one and I keep it in my purse – that’s how much I love it! That’s my shadow and I like that it is so glittery and pretty. I’m obsessed with MAC’s Spring Sheen Shimmer Blush and it’s the most beautiful, peachy shiny and luxurious look!
AM: We love a peach moment!
DR. V: I know! Peachiness adds a beautiful alive and awake color. The right peach shades just are natural but then you’re wearing makeup. Then I just recently changed from Chanel’s Foundation to Santees – no. 280 and it’s beautiful! I know you said 3 but the 4th one popped into my brain – so you know it’s the winter months and you want a little color on your face. I am in love with La Luxe The Face and it is an illuminating and self tanning drops. It can be placed in any moisturizer or even an exfoliant that you put on your face at night – you can control the color with the amount of drops you put in. I love that you can just have it in your moisturizer. I use it as night and I get up and I love that I wake up with color on my face! It’s beautiful and one of my favorite products!
AM: We believe that your vibe is your tribe from a #TRIBEGOALS perspective. Who are 3 people that you look to for inspiration?
DR. V: I find that people in my immediate environment are inspiring. When I am feeling unlovable and I can think of nothing good about myself, I turn to my husband. There is so much unconditional love I can turn to him and he is able to help me see me through his eyes. That is a really beautiful thing when you can count on someone to recenter you. Then, the hopefulness of children. I have a 10 and 12 year old boys and a 2.5 year old daughter. The hopefulness of kids is just so inspiring me and when I am feeling a little cynical, I hang out with them! That spark of hopefulness is boom right there! I am also 1 of 5 so I have a few sisters and one brother and there is nothing like the love that a sibling has! No one can get under your skin or build you up like a sibling. I feel that as I have gotten older, I have relied on my immediate relationships to bring a sense of purpose, meaning and fulfillment and I’m really happy about that. I value these relationships with my life!