My Why

My ‘Why’

Following the keto WOE, embracing non-toxic skincare, and switching to safer beauty options

Hi, Friends and Family! I have some exciting news to share… My passion for health is now turning into my very own small business!

This isn’t something I share often – I like to smile and push back those feelings of shame and embarrassment – but I have always had issues when it came to my weight and my skin. I can’t remember one time in my life when I was happy with either. I grew up with a parent who always told me I was overweight (like I wasn’t completely and utterly aware of that) and shamed me for wearing denim mini-skirts, the unofficial summertime uniform for a teenager in the early 2000s. As a teen, I had what I remember to be awful, painful acne – blackheads, white heads, huge cystic breakouts – and oh MAN did I pick at those suckers. I tried absolutely everything that I could think of as a way to solve this problem. I purchased OTC (over the counter) lotions, creams, masks, went to a dermatologist (more than one) and supplemented with prescriptions, shots, and added lots of makeup on top of everything. Not once did a dermatologist or a general doctor EVER ask me if I was drinking enough water, or ask me what foods I was eating. They just threw prescription after prescription at the problem and kept taking my co-pays for almost 10 years.

At a young age, while I was in middle school, I had eating disorders that I self-diagnosed after doing a school project on them. I would deprive myself of any food and liquid for days at a time and then finally binge on anything and everything I could get my hands on. Sunday was my binge day. To this day, I still struggle with binging.
After I had gotten down to about 110lbs, I gave myself permission to eat “normally.” That meant too much (for me). I never really had home-cooked meals in my house when growing up, so we ate a lot of processed and frozen stuff. No judgement from me here though – there are ways to eat healthy with mostly frozen and inexpensive foods, but that wasn’t what was happening. Lots of pizza Fridays, homemade French fries, cheesy broccoli and rice, frozen dinners and Hot Pockets with all the preservatives, pasta, breaded chicken, Chinese takeout, KFC…

Flash forward to 2017. I got engaged! I realized I would be in front of a camera and on display for everyone to see at my wedding, so I started trying to eat better and move my body more in an effort to lose weight, but I was still battling with binge eating. I lost maybe 2lbs in that month and a half before our engagement photo shoot. After we received our engagement photos back from our photographer, that was a huge wake up call. I cried, looking at myself in those photos. I felt ashamed and ugly. My mother-in-law wanted some photos to frame, and of the hundreds, if not thousands of options my photographer sent over, I only found six that I deemed to be good enough for other people’s eyes. I just kept thinking to myself, What happened to me? How did I get here?

Is it really that simple?

In all honestly, I found the keto WOE when I googled ‘how to lose weight quickly for my wedding.’ I thought – I’ll just give that a try. I dropped maybe 10lbs that first full week when I was 100% committed, and I felt amazing. Then I thought, why am I feeling so good compared to before? It wasn’t just about being 10lbs lighter. I looked at the foods I was now eating regularly: eggs, meat, veggies – I was eating CLEAN, WHOLE foods! My skin was clearing up, my body felt leaner (I actually ended up losing a total of about 55lbs by my wedding after following this way of eating for six months along with restricting calories by 25%), and I found that I was no longer as anxious or achy throughout the day. I learned first hand that what we put in our bodies really can have an impact on how we feel.

I’ve since learned that I have a serious sensitivity to gluten and dairy. I started paying more and more attention to the nutrition labels in the grocery store, and I learned which ingredients caused aches and pains and breakouts for me. Then, a few months into my keto journey, I came across a friend’s Instagram stories. She was also following a keto/carnivore way of eating and I had seen her talk a lot about the benefits to those ways of eating, but that day she was dropping all this knowledge about safer beauty and how damaging these unregulated ingredients in my everyday products can be – but also how much better things can get when you switch to safer alternatives. I thought, it’s so clear in these photos that changing how I eat can yield real, exciting results. What if I stepped it up a notch and changed my skincare and beauty routines, too. Then I thought of something really scary. What if I don’t? There began my frantic research journey.

Safer beauty

I had heard of a company once before – I heard that their products were cleaner and safer to use compared to what I had been picking up at convenience stores and pharmacies, especially for women who are pregnant and are breastfeeding. Then I had a thought – why are we using anything NOT safe to use while pregnant? Doesn’t that mean it’s not really ever safe to use? How is this being sold if it’s not really safe?!

I do want to be clear and transparent that this thinking and decision-making was not instantaneous on my part. I sat with the information for a while – longer than I wish I had. But that’s okay. We all work at our own pace, and I got there eventually!

I never thought to check ingredients in things other than food! I can’t be alone here, right? Soon after I learned about parabens and sulfates and all these carcinogens that were in products I use literally every day, I switched up my skincare regimen. I know they say everything will give you cancer – but really it’s specific ingredients, and if we know about them, why are these companies using them?

I started off small, with the help of my same friend mentioned earlier who works as an independent Beautycounter consultant. She presented me with so much information that is out there for anyone to read, that is, if you start doing some research. She listened to me and my needs, and she offered her suggestions based on my words. I took some of them, not all, and then went back to her for even more advice later on. She’s my mentor now, and thankfully she was very patient with me – apparently I’m not the only one who suffers from information overload.

Shortly after trying out my new skincare regimen that she endorsed, when I was confident that I wasn’t allergic or having any negative reactions, I switched over most of my makeup, too! I have an allergy to heavy metals (I can’t even wear gold anymore without getting a rash!) and I had no idea that my expensive makeup from Sephora contained them – that’s why I kept getting a rash on my eyes after applying my gorgeous new eye shadow pallet!

When I’m consistent with my skincare regimen and cut out the processed foods and dairy, I feel fantastic. I’ve been working on consistently cleaning up my diet inside and out, and I’m feeding my body and my skin with quality ingredients. My eyes are wide open now, and I want to be the healthiest I can be and feel the best I ever have. I sincerely do believe that using these safer products is a step towards my optimal health, just like following the keto way of eating (WOE) has been for me. I absolutely love the Beautycounter makeup – have you seen my eye shadow blending skills? – and I feel good both physically and mentally about using these products.

I could honestly go on and on – the fact that they’re SAFE to use, I love how they feel, the quality, the packaging, the fact that it’s a women-owned business that actually is fighting to make changes in the industry… I plan on using these products for the long haul – why not go one step farther? But I’m getting ahead of myself… read on!

What is Beautycounter exactly?

Beautycounter is a safer skincare and beauty company that formulates products for the entire family with two requirements: the products cannot contain harmful or potentially harmful ingredients (they have a “Never List” of over 1,500 toxic ingredients you won’t find in their products) and the products must perform like your old conventional favorites (think Sephora, MAC, Nordstrom).

I can personally attest to this – their makeup is on point! There’s something for everyone: skincare for anti-aging, acne and hydration, makeup (triple tested for heavy metals like lead and mercury) and even a full mens, kids and baby line!

That being said, I’ve officially signed on to be an independent Beautycounter consultant! I’ll get a discount on all of my own future purchases – I’ve recently even managed to switch my picky husband over to their mens line – plus, I really would like to supplement my income so that we can pay off our debt and save for our future! I also wholeheartedly admire the women behind this company and their mission, and believe me when I tell you that my entire skincare regimen and my makeup is ALL Beautycounter, and has been for a while.

Did you know:

“The U.S. has not passed a major federal law governing the cosmetics industry since 1938. (Ahem—that’s over 80 years.) The European Union has banned or restricted 1,400 INGREDIENTS from personal care products. The United States has banned or restricted only 30—and to us, that’s simply not good enough. Changing the beauty industry means more than simply making safer products.We are proud to be the leading company advocating for more health-protective legislation across North America.” – Beautycounter website

I’m not just doing this to sell things to you, my dear reader – I want to be a part of an organization that’s trying to change things for the better, ya hear? Read up on their advocacy via their website! And if you’re in the market for safer, truly lovely skincare and makeup products, please feel free to shop my personal website! I’m happy to chat with you before your purchase, walk you through the products, and talk about your needs – just let me know! I’m here to help, and you deserve to treat yourself and your body to safer ingredients.

NYC, you up?

I’m really fired up about this, and I hope you are, too! I need cheerleaders by my side as I begin this new venture, just like I needed your support when I started my weight loss journey. If you’re interested in learning more, or maybe have a friend who would be keen to learn, I have a bunch of products and would love to talk to you about them! If you’re in NYC, wouldn’t it be fun to get together to try them out!

Beautycounter has a sixty-day money back guarantee, no questions asked, if you want to try things that way (or aren’t close enough to drop by!). I’m also lucky enough to have access to the Beautycounter store on Prince Street since I live locally! I love it in there, so if you would like to meet up and admire all of the products, I’m absolutely in! If you do make it in there without me, feel free to let them know Brianna Ascher directed you there when you’re checking out 😉

Hold up.

I want to acknowledge that change is scary, even simply changing up our skincare routine – trust me, I know that this isn’t so simple for some people. I have suffered from skin, digestive, and mental/emotional issues my whole life. I tackled those health issues from multiple angles including drastically altering my diet and making it sustainable and ensuring that I was only using truly safe products on my skin. I’ve had missteps and I’ve taken some unfortunate detours a few times, but I wouldn’t come here and put this out into the universe if I didn’t wholeheartedly believe in it. Also, it helps that the research you’ll probably start doing will back my claims up.

I’m not telling anyone what to do – I’m not going to tell you that keto or low carb eating is going to magically solve all your problems or even work for you. Personally, it helped a lot with some big issues that I was having. You can lose weight eating just about any which way, as long as you’re at a calorie deficit. I chose to continue with keto and low carb because I feel good when I eat that way. And for me, that’s enough to make it sustainable. I use Beautycounter products because they feel good to use, and I have some peace of mind knowing that their products don’t have all that garbage in it like the products I used to use. Man, I wish I had known to just look at the ingredients and do a Google search!

I’ve seen so many positive improvements in my health, including decreases in anxiety, improved digestion, and an a significant improvement with my cystic acne (it’s mostly just hormonal at this point, or diet related – I can’t quit you, cheese!). It’s absolutely incredible what taking everyday toxins out of your life, even little by little, can do for you in so many beneficial ways. I feel more confident in my skin, both metaphorically and literally. I want that for everyone – I want that for you!

All in all

Thank you for sticking around and reading my first post! Hopefully the first of many! I sincerely appreciate your time, and I hope that we can connect soon! Find me on Instagram: @igotideas!

Published by Brianna Ascher

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! Here you’ll find my ramblings with (I’m sure) an occasional rant, food photography, maybe some low carb/keto recipes, thoughts on safer beauty, pictures from my travels around the world, and hopefully a pinch of comedic relief! I’ve struggled a lot throughout my life - haven’t we all? From issues with family and romantic relationships to weight gain and skincare... it’s never been dull! If my experiences can help you, then I hope you can stick around!

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