Dermatology consults online, FaceTime with nutritionists, Skype fitness classes—in the spirit of social distancing, we revisit writer Maria Tettamanti's digital wellness challenge.
Living in a digital world means this: One can glean a wealth of knowledge in the beauty and wellness realms—and make New Year’s resolutions a reality—without ever fighting a traffic jam on U.S. 1 or losing one’s cool in search of an elusive parking space. For the past few months, I interacted with some of Miami’s top beauty and wellness pros without leaving the comfort of my home. Our tête-à-têtes took place via sophisticated online platforms (apps, Skype). It was all so very easy, so very 2020.
“Forget the hassle of waiting for an appointment,” South Miami-based board-certified dermatologist Janelle Vega says. Vega co-founded BIA Life—an online dermatologist-tailored skincare program. The processis simple: create a web profile, upload three makeup-free selfies, and the BIA Life team curates a skincare regimen for me to follow.
“The quality of mobile photos has improved significantly such that a good selfie without filter or makeup is enough to help us determine a person’s skin tone, pigmentation, degree of sun damage, sensitivity and other textural changes,” explains Vega.
Within days of submitting my selfies, a box brimming with products from Senté, Alastin and skinbetter is mailed directly to my home with dummy-proof instructions. Three weeks in, my skin tone is more even and skin less prone to breakouts.
For nutrition advice, I enlist the help of Miami Shores-based dietitian Monica Auslander Moreno. After filling out a profile on her Essence Nutrition website, we chat over FaceTime about my daily food intake where I catch myself doing what most 42-year-old women often do: complaining about my pudgy midsection and incessantly hating on myself and food choices.
“I think we all need to unsubscribe to heinous diet culture, which has left us psychologically broken around food and our bodies,” Moreno says during our FaceTime session. “Stop stigmatizing and fighting your weight. Once you let go of all that malarkey, you will become healthier and more mindful.”
That same evening, I receive a detailed summary via email. Afterward, I upload images of my meals onto an app called Healthie and Moreno checks in. To my utter delight, Moreno texts me reminders to “Eat breakfast!” and “Carbs aren’t the devil” and to practice more—you guessed it—self-love.
“Let’s go, let’s go, let’s goooooo. Look alive!” my Miami-based physical trainer Marc Etienne encourages me with enough energy to rival the Energizer Bunny. Etienne conducts an initial assessment over the phone. He then asks clients to send videos to evaluate how the person moves in regard to their weaknesses, strengths and any muscle imbalances. Armed with this information, Etienne emails clients an eight-week or 12-week workout program with YouTube links. He virtually pops in at the gym through FaceTime to fix the client’s form, or in my case, encourages me to push through the pain during the intolerable abdominal portion of our sweat session.
Photography by: 3DSculptor/iStock Photo