So I have reached my initial goal weight of 130 pounds, and now I am turning my attention to targeting problem areas and toning up while I lose the last few pounds. It has been a fun journey, and I finally feeling like I have something to blog about in the fitness realm!
Right now, my current problem area is my stomach. I never really carried my weight in my waist before, (my hips and thighs were always the problem area in my teen years), but ever since having my two daughters, my stomach seems to be hoarding fat and the loose skin and stretch marks are making firming up a bit problematic.
I started seeing some real progress and noticeable results once I started wearing a waist trimmer wrap during cardio workouts. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a miracle treatment by any stretch, but I am seeing some results that I am unsure I would otherwise see. (I really wish I had taken some before photos!)
The waist trimmer works like a tummy wrap, where you slather some lotion on, which provides intensive moisturizing, while stimulating sweat and perspiration to the area. The waist trimmer I use is by Sweet Sweat, which I highly recommend if you are into wrapping.
When I purchased my Sweet Sweat band off Amazon, it came with a free sample of their Sweet Sweat lotion – a lotion which acts as a thermogenic accelerator and sweat enhancer. Sweet Sweat topical gel creates a ‘portable sauna-like’ environment to the areas applied, helping to enhance your workout and activate slow to respond problem areas.
I have to say, I used the sample lotion tube and absolutely loved it. It smelled nice, it worked like a charm in drastically increasing the amount I sweated inside the waist band, and overall I loved it EXCEPT for the main ingredient of petroleum jelly with artificial fragrances. That is definitely NOT something I want to put on my skin every day, or use long term.
The Problem with Petroleum Jelly
Petroleum jelly is a byproduct of the oil refining process. This means it is not sustainable or eco-friendly, and is not a natural product your skin can safely utilize.
Petroleum jelly can’t be metabolized by the skin and just sits as a barrier until it wears off. This means that the body isn’t able to gain any benefit from petroleum jelly (like it can from nutrient rich substances like shea butter or cocoa butter), and there is concern that some of the components (like hydrocarbons) may be stored in fat tissue within the body with prolonged use.
Because of the barrier that petroleum jelly creates on the skin, there is also some concern about its potential to cause collagen breakdown (which is the opposite of what most women want when trying to tighten up skin!).
Essentially, the concern is that when petroleum jelly coats the skin it blocks the skin’s natural ability to breathe and absorb nutrients. This can slow the cell renewal process and cause the skin to pull the necessary moisture and nutrients from within, leading to collagen breakdown over time (aka wrinkles and loose skin!).
Additionally, there is the potential that petroleum based products contain other harmful chemicals like 1,4 dioxane, a known carcinogen. There is also potential that it may contribute to other types of cancer because of its estrogenic properties.
All of this is to say, petroleum jelly is definitely not something I plan to use in a long term skin tightening regimen!
DIY Copycat Sweet Sweat Workout Enhancer Lotion with Natural Ingredients
Using the ingredients in Sweet Sweat as a springboard for this recipe, I decided to make my own super healthy Copycat Sweet Sweat Lotion using natural ingredients that mimic the effect of the original lotion! While this lotion does not smother the skin as much (and therefore doesn’t produce quite as much sweat as petroleum jelly does) it still:
Accelerates and enhances heat production to slow to respond insulating fatty tissue areas
Increases circulation and sweating
Targets slow to respond problem areas
Has a natural fragrance that will keep you smelling fresh during and after your workout
Is safe to use with every workout
Deeply penetrating and nourishing to the skin
How to Make:
½ cup raw shea butter
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup castor oil
2 tablespoon aloe vera gel
3-5 drops spearmint essential oil
Gently melt the ingredients together, while whisking steadily. Once fully incorporated, pour into a clean glass jar. The lotion will remain liquid for a day or two, and will firm up to a spreadable texture that melts on contact with skin. To speed up the firming up process, you can chill in the fridge.
How to Use:
Before exercise, apply an ample amount to the skin, coating all desired areas without rubbing in. After your workout, simply rub in or wipe off the excess lotion.
This lotion, even if you don’t use it as a sweat and workout enhancer, is really great for nourishing the skin.
Shea Butter – A natural skin superfood that is high in Vitamins A, E and F. It also contains beneficial fatty acids that nourish skin and it helps to reduce skin inflammation and increase collagen production.
Coconut Oil– Great for the skin, it is a source of skin-nourishing fatty acids, lauric acid and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Castor Oil – An anti-inflammatory that helps heal damaged skin, and fights discoloration and causes slight fading of pigmentation on the skin.
Aloe Vera Gel – The aloe vera plant contains over 75 different nutrients including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, anthraquinones or phenolic compounds, lignin, saponins, sterols, amino acids and salicylic acid. It also contains polysaccharides like acemannon and other chemical constituents that stimulate skin regeneration and healing. These compounds link with collagen, promoting the formation of new tissue, which results in tighter skin!
Spearmint Essential Oil – Spearmint is an antiseptic, antispasmodic, restorative and stimulant substance with menthol content which prompts circulation to the area applied.