Wedding Prep — Chapter 4: Getting the body red carpet ready
It‘s 20 days till the big day, and I’m working hard to take good care of my skin, including keeping my arms and legs moisturized and hydrated! More importantly, I’ve been tackling one major concern of mine: water retention. Therefore, Chapter 4 of the Wedding Prep series will be on body care.
Since March this year, in addition to spinning and doing barre, I tried my best to limit the intake of sugar and carbs in my diet. Although I didn’t lose a drastic amount of weight, the general result is a leaner figure with more muscles and less fat; I was happy with it. However, I often look in the mirror to find myself seeming swollen.
The fight against fluid retention – an irregular accumulation of fluid in the tissues or cavities of the body caused by various reasons, i.e. consumption of excess sodium, hormonal imbalance, immobility etc. – has been a big part of my adult life. In fact, the lazy me decided to start working out because lack of exercise was causing water retention in my legs.
With the big day approaching, I decided to go a step further and find out how other people tackle the swelling issue. After having tried several methods from half a year ago, I’ve found 4 tips to be the most effective:
1. Up, up, up you go
I came across dozens of posts written by beauty bloggers from Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong about propping their legs up against a wall before bedtime, and I find this simple method to be extremely effective. Many celebrities do it every single night, or whenever they find an opportunity to do so, too. By reversing the effects of gravity on your legs, this helps with circulation, moving accumulated fluids in your feet and bringing blood flow towards your heart. If your job involves a lot of standing, this position helps drain tension from the legs and can relieve tired muscles. My friend who is a professional dancer doesn’t sleep before having done so for at least 10 minutes!
I sit at my desk throughout most of the day and the swelling on my legs is mainly caused by immobility. So I try my best to walk everywhere, and being in New York makes that possible. At the end of the day, I make sure my legs are propped up by a pillow when I watch TV, and up the wall on my bed before bedtime.
The difference is visible the following day, and the most obvious was in the winter: I could actually see the space between my boots and my calves when I put them on in the morning.
2. Drink it away
Ironically, sometimes people suffer from water retention because of insufficient water intake. And funny enough, I grew up with my parents reminding me to drink more water all the time, as I often forgot to. So this may sound odd, but I scheduled “water-drinking” times into my calendar; after a few weeks, I got into a good habit of making sure I have enough water throughout the day. This then, naturally, increases bathroom trips, giving you more opportunities to flush out the toxin in your body.
The caffeine in coffee can also help relieve water retention, but I would go for black coffee without milk and sugar. The clear water from boiling red beans is believed to drain puffiness as well.
3. Never say no to a hot bath
Hey, if you’re going to be a bride soon, of course you deserve to have time to yourself. Hot baths are known to benefit our bodies in many ways, and one of them is to reduce fluid retention by increasing blood flow and circulation. Bath salts are optional but are great additions to a tub of hot water, especially ones that include Epsom salts, as it is said to draw out excess toxins from your body. You can consider trying Bath Roman Yakusen Japanese Bath Salts ($23 / 650g) or Foaming Bath Salts by Mer-Sea & Co. ($28 / 11oz); great selections are often available in Japanese markets, too.
If you’re a candle person like me, make sure you light one up to relax your mind as well as your body, to maximize the overall soothing experience.
4. Don’t stop massaging
Needless to say, flaky, dry skin is simply not a look anyone would want, especially on the big day. Moisturizing and keeping arms and legs hydrated is crucial for radiant skin. And since putting on lotion is already a body care routine, why not incorporate a leg massage in as well
Massages have proven to improve lymphatic circulation. Right after a shower or bath, simply spend a few minutes to massage from heel to knee, and then from back of knee to thigh 5 or 6 times on both sides; use a little pressure to enhance the result. You can also complete the massage whilst in bath.
Some of my recent favorite moisturizing creams include Cellina Moisturizing Cream from Taiwan ($5 /120g) and Dream Cream by Lush ($29.95 / 8.4oz). You may also consider using firming moisturizers such as Almond Milk Concentrate by L’OCCITANE ($50 / 7fl.oz) or body oils like Monoi Body Glow II by Nars ($59 / 2.5oz).
Please note that Key To Radiance is not affiliated with any of the brands in any way.