Archive for April 27th, 2011

April 27, 2011

The Tanning Obsession: Who’s Behind it?

Hello!

I’m glad I’m not the only one who has a little snacking ‘problem’. ;) I love to open up to you all and let you know of my trials and tribulations because as a food blogger, I feel like sometimes you only see the good and never the ‘bad’. It’s sort of like the saying, “if you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best”, and you all deserve me at my best!

I’ll let you all know some little tips on how I stop snacking after I figure them out for myself lol. Let me know if you’ve found any that work for yourself also! I’d love to hear your tips.

Yesterday I made some roons.

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I also took Chippy for a walk. We actually made it pretty far before he had enough and wanted to go home!

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Puuuuuuurty.

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I came home and made lunch with something that I picked up with Trader Joe’s the other day along with lots of apple raspberry fruit leathers. I deemed those my favorite flavor! Tart, tangy, and sweet. Mmmmm.

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For some reason I was craving grilled cheese on a super hot day (it was 80+ degrees yesterday and gorgeous! wish I could’ve bottled that day up). Since I always indulge in my cravings, I made hot grilled cheese with tomato soup.

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I used this tomato soup:

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I loved that it’s veeery low in sodium and is super creamy.

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Dunked in with summa this..

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Grilled cheese on TJ’s 7 grain bread (love this bread, it’s slightly tangy) with 1 slice of American cheese and 1 tiny cube of pepper jack cheese, chopped & melted throughout.

Hit the spot!

Since it was so nice out I decided to get some rays.

I set up a little station sun tan station. :cool:

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..on our concrete patio. LOL.

The pool chairs aren’t out yet so I had to get a little creative. I used a shower towel + pillow from the house as my ‘chair’ and brought along water to hydrate and Runner’s World magazine for reads!

Ahhhhhh so relaxing..

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My view:

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I brought Chippy out with me but he nearly sweat his butt off in the heat.

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“I’m sweatin’ man!”

He tried to take refuge on the bench..

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But felt much better in the shade.

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Chillin’ like a villain.

He sort of looks like a lion! My wittle mini lion. :)

While laying out I realized a few things about myself and how I’ve changed so much over the past year.

This time last year I was hitting up the tanning booths getting injected with fake UV rays and damaging my skin beyond belief. I was tanning mainly for prom, but also because I felt ‘prettier’ with color. I never felt attractive until I had a tan and I felt like a total outcast since I was so pale. I naturally get very pale because I am Irish and I have very fair skin although, when I do tan, I get darker than dark (it’s the Italian in me ;))!

I would always feel insecure about my skin, never feeling good enough or pretty enough because I wasn’t tan. I always thought to myself, you’d look so much better tan. Or, that dress would look great on you, but look at your legs, you’re so pale, you can go out looking like that. You’re so pasty.

I would pump negative thoughts into my head because I thought I had to look tan to be pretty, or beautiful, or sexy.

I’m not sure exactly what influenced my negative thoughts toward my skin color but I can say it was a few things.

  1. The media

I can’t even tell you how tortuous it is to flip through every page in a magazine when you were 16 and see every single person be tan. And looking down at your skin and realizing you’re the misfit. When you’re really not. Today people are more focused on looking good than what’s on the inside or taking care of their skin in a healthful way.

Negative skin influences are everywhere..

Snooki

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Christina Aguilera

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So many celebrities are influencing young teens and adults to think that the only possible way to look good or beautiful is to have a ‘glowing tan’.

  1. Seeing other people tan and the results they got

I started tanning my sophmore year in high school. The pressure to be tan was unbearable and I just couldn’t help but want so badly to look like everyone else who had these great tans. I’m not going to lie, I never really wanted to tan. The pressure to tan was just suffocating me and hearing people talk about it actually made me jealous and uncomfortable. I was jealous other people got to look good and I didn’t because I didn’t tan.

Eventually, I bugged my mom and she signed me up at a local tanning salon. I hated it. I didn’t like walking in and getting stunned by fake UV rays. I did however like how I looked afterwards and that was all the more reason for me to keep going. And the fact that people complimented me on how good I began to look. It was an addiction and I kept wanting more..

  1. Wanting to feel accepted

Being in high school, you’ll do almost anything to fit in. I was never one to love my skin color and people used to always call me a ‘Ginger’ and I thought there was something wrong with that so I started to tan. It was tough at first because I was so fair that my skin would just burn and I would get made fun of for being so red, but after a while of torturing myself with tanning, then burning, then repeating the process, I started to turn tan. Being accepted to my peers and looking good in comparison to everyone else was much more fulfilling than knowing I was being nice to my skin and treating it how it should be treated – healthfully.

Here I am at my senior prom after tanning for a few months:

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I felt great about myself but I still wanted to get tanner. I felt like I was still that pale girl that I always was so I continued to tan. I had so many fears about wearing a black dress and having pale skin that I couldn’t bear to live one more day without going into a tanning salon. I wanted nothing more than to look beautiful during my prom but little did I know, my beauty would have to come from within. I needed to learn to love myself, and truly shine from within, so that I could project my beauty from inside to out.

How I stopped the tanning habit

  1. I discovered an abnormal mole on skin

During high school, my mom had noticed a mole on my back. It looked pretty big and dark so we went to my dermatologist to check it out. He removed the mole and the results we got back was that it was ‘slightly abnormal’. This scared me since I did not want to get skin cancer. However, like many people, I felt like I was invincible to such diseases so I continued to tan anyways.

Looking back now, I can’t even tell you how foolish I was to do such a thing. Living a healthful life now, I realize the importance of taking care of my body inside and out. I believe that if you truly want to be ‘healthy’ you can’t only focus on what you eat or how much exercise you do, but what you do to the outside of yourself as well. Fake UV rays affect your health, and there is no way I would be able to live a healthful life, even when I ate a very healthy diet, if I spent hours in tanning booths.

Realizing that now makes me feel like I was the most idiotic person on the Earth. Who goes to the doctor, gets a mole removed, gets negative results about it, and STILL goes tanning?

Although I didn’t go cold turkey once I found out about my mole, I did stop eventually because the thought of UV rays shining in on where my removed mole was made me want to crawl in a hole and be ashamed of what I was doing to myself.

  1. Beginning to live a healthy life

Since becoming more involved in vegetarianism/veganism and what my health truly means to me, I cut the tanning right out. The last time I went tanning was last June. Thinking back on it now, I realize how foolish I was to let certain things control how I felt about myself. Or let the media tell me that only tan is beautiful. I also hated the fact that as soon as you got done tanning all these little wrinkles would appear all over the place! I knew that I had to start loving myself from the inside out instead of numbing the pain by going tanning and hoping that my self love would be achieved from a darker tan.

Once I was able to love myself, I truly began to shine from within. I know that people say getting a tan will really make you glow, but once I stopped tanning, I began to shine. My skin was vibrant and alive and it no longer looked damaged or hurt from all the trouble I was causing it by going tanning.

I also became more aware of the negative effects that tanning can have on you:

  • skin cancer
  • wrinkles
  • dry/frail skin
  • voiding your biggest organ (which is your skin!!) of all the nutrients it needs to protect itself from the outer world & free radicals

Ugh, seriously, do you want any of those? I don’t!

It also helps to realize that there are plenty of beautiful women out there who are pale and look just as good, if not BETTER, than those who are tan.

Anne Hathaway

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Nicole Kidman

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[source]

Dita Von Teese

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[source]

These women are all absolutely stunning!!

  1. A scare

It wasn’t long after prom when my friend had called me up and told me she got a staph infection from one of the tanning beds at the salon we both went to. She had to go on antibiotics and is now left with scars on her arm because of it. Tanning isn’t all fun and games and laying on those beds can have many negative side effects other than the ones you might get from UV rays. If the employees don’t wipe down the beds, then infections can transfer and they can have serious outcomes.

Since this happened to my friend, I stopped tanning (last June).

Now there is no WAY you’ll ever catch me in a tanning salon. Except for a spray tan, which I avoid since it can make you look like Snooki an orange. (note: I have yet to find a spray tan that doesn’t leave you orange)

I love my skin just the way I am. Pale and all!

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To take care of my skin, I do the following:

  • moisturize every single morning after I get out of the shower with an SPF 15 moisturizer on my face (I use Neutrogena brand)
  • use SPF when going out in the sun (at least a 45-30 in the beginning of Summer than a 10-15 as I get tanner, naturally)
  • eat lots of healthy fats (nuts, avocados, oils, etc)

Albeit, today I got sunburn because I couldn’t find any lotion and now I look like a lobsta but I always try to wear SPF when at the beach, home, running, etc. I hate to damage my skin and I hate the fact that I know I damaged and destroyed my skin cells. Taking AP Bio in high school can really teach ya things about the sun + your skin that you kinda wish you never knew lol.

I also realize that the real sun itself can be very damaging to your skin as well so I try to sun tan in moderation or at least use sunscreen whenever (if always!!!!) possible. However, the suns rays aren’t as close to your skin as the UV rays are in tanning booths (directly on your skin!!! owww).

Also, tanning salons try to scam you and make you think that by tanning you’re getting a healthy dose of vitamin D and antioxidants. That’s the biggest hunk of crap I ever heard!!! Do not believe these foolish claims.. they just want your money.

Did you ever use tanning booths? Do you still? What are your thoughts on tanning salons?

Well, looks like I’m off to aloe since the sun taught me that I always need to wear sunscreen when outside (even in April)!

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