With a heavy sigh I begin again. I can remember starting my last journey and how it felt to step foot in that gym again, go to my first exercise class and experience what I was certain was a near death experience as I gasped for breath. I promised myself I'd never let it get that bad, yet here I am again. I don't know how it happened and I'm not going to bother trying to figure it out. I'm going to take a long look in the mirror, re-evaluate the situation and start again. I'm a work in progress, I'm always going to be a work in progress. I took that first step, I looked in the mirror. Aside from seeing the 20lbs I had lost last year reappear, I'm also seeing a few things I knew would eventually come.... wrinkles. I know they don't appear overnight but, honestly, I never saw them coming. One day they aren't there and the next day they are. What to do? Diet and exercise are an extremely important foundation for being healthy and looking great but you just can't "undo" a wrinkle no matter how faithful you are to living a healthy lifestyle. Or can you?
Many women have seen, heard of or been invited to what is commonly referred to as a "Botox Party" and I'm no different. I'd heard about them, received invitations here and there but I just passed them by without much thought. I guess I was under the impression that injections were something reserved for Hollywood. Silly, I know, but that was my initial impression. They are much more mainstream now and far more accessible than ever before and as I mentioned, this year I was feeling a bit different about the reflection staring back at me so when an acquaintance of mine included me on the guest list for just such a "party", I was intrigued. A few phone calls and several conversations later and I agreed to attend. Why not?
It was a snowy Monday evening in February and I was nervous and excited. I wasn't at all sure of what to expect from this experience but I knew I wanted to check it out. I would sit and listen to what the doctor had to say and then make up my mind as to what, if anything, I'd have done. No pressure. I parked and made my way inside. Any nervousness quickly subsided as I entered Dr. Shanthala's warmly inviting reception area. It was serene. Tastefully decorated in richly toned decor from the doctor's native India, comfortable seating and a beautiful array of healthy snacks awaited the arriving guests. It was the perfect combination of relaxation, beauty and warm hospitality. I was greeted by a lovely woman who offered me a comfortable seat and my choice of a variety of different beverages. I chose a warm cup of herbal tea to sip while I nibbled on hummus and fruit.
Just moments passed and Dr. Shanthala quietly entered the room. She came toward me and introduced herself. She was lovely and warm. She was interesting and knowledgeable. She asked if I was ready and I was so she lead me to a treatment room for further examination and discussion about what was to be done. We talked as we walked and I really felt like I was with a friend. It's hard to describe unless you meet her but it felt as though I'd known her for a very long time. I wondered if that was everyone's experience? She's lovely.
We arrived to the treatment room and I was gently directed to the treatment chair. The treatment room, like the reception area, was comfortable and tastefully decorated. Soft music played. We discussed injections, what they could and couldn't do. She assessed my face and offered expert advice about products and services that could help me with the areas I felt uncomfortable about, areas that robbed me of feeling my best. She explained the different products that could be injected and I made an informed decision. I had two areas I wanted her to focus on, the lines between my eyes and my "crow's feet." The lines between my eyes give the appearance of constant stress, they make me look tired and old and it wasn't a true depiction of how I felt so I wanted them gone. The "crow's feet" also make me feel old before my time and if she could get rid of those then I'd be happy to see them go. The process was simple, and relatively painless. A slight pinch made by the tiniest of needles in the area of the injection(s) is all you will feel. Dr. Shanthala was gentle and concerned throughout the process that took a bit less than an hour as she carefully chose each injection site for maximum benefit.
You can expect some immediate results but full results can take up to two weeks to reveal themselves. I was immediately pleased. I've included some before and after pictures so you can see the difference. I felt exactly how I wanted to feel..... fresh and lovely. What a perfect start to the journey that lay ahead.
The snow is piled high outside and the threat of more snow looms. We've been in a record- breaking deep freeze for weeks now and going outside to escape this stifling cabin fever is just not an option. I've never been a cold weather girl and this year I'm not alone. Extreme weather tops the list of everyone's conversation.
Outside of traveling for family responsibilities, I'm held captive in my home and it's taking a toll on me. I sit more, watch television more and let's not forget the real casualty-- I eat more. I eat more, I exercise less and the sum of that equation is one hot mess. I've sung this song before, I've walked this very path. I know what I have to do and I'll get around to it but this time it feels different and it looks different. This time diet and exercise may not be enough. I look in the mirror and while I know I can lose a bit of weight and tone the muscles that need toning, will that be enough? Will it be enough to make me feel better about what I see?
I'm aging. I don't know how it happened or where the time has gone or why it went by so fast but it crept up on me and there's no turning back the clock. I used to think that I'd never have a problem getting older. My mantra was "there's something great about every age," and that's easy to say when you're twenty years old with full, youthful lips, smooth, wrinkle-free skin and healthy flowing hair. Not so easy to say when you're pushing fifty. I still think that there is something great about every age (especially when you consider the alternative!) but there is also that whole sagging, wrinkled skin thing that I'm just not crazy about. What can I do about that? I know that diet and exercise are the tools necessary for living healthy and looking your best. I'm fairly certain, though, that you just can't "undo" a wrinkle no matter how faithful you are to living a healthy lifestyle, or can you? Maximizing your God given assets may require a different approach and a different set of tools. It's time to pick up the journey of self care where I left off. It's time to restructure and reorganize my life and there's no better time like the present. Join me as I begin yet another journey of self care. As always I will share my soul with you. I will be open and honest with my successes and my failures and I will reveal to you the truth as I know it about the experiences I have along the way. It's time..... xo Michelle +My Baked Stuffed Life +Michelle Morrissette Cucchiaro