When you want to lose weight and/or get fit, there are many ways to go about it. Believe it or not, you can do it without forking over thousands of dollars for equipment and memberships! I'm going to share with you my favorite FREE fitness apps and some very budget-friendly products I'm loving these days on my own weight loss journey!
Disclaimer: I'm not a medical professional - PLEASE discuss any diet or fitness plans with your doctor! Safety first guys!!. Also, this post contains some affiliate links - you don't pay more but we receive a small commission from purchases made after clicking.
First, watch my video for all the deets!! Then get the links and my personal weight loss and weight / fitness maintenance schedules below!
My Favorite FREE Apps for Fitness & Weight Loss:
i.e. the apps I'm currently using and loving!! Available for iPhone and Android!
My Weight Loss Routine:
My Weight Maintenance Routine:
If you read my last blog post, I was knee deep in researching brands who offer an invisible clear aligner system for straightening your teeth at home. There are many out there, but ultimately I decided to go with Candid (who agreed to provide my treatment free in exchange for sharing my experience with you guys)!
**Several video updates below including 12/10/21 after finishing treatment!!!
Disclaimer: I'm not being paid but am being provided complimentary treatment by Candid in exchange for promotion. But don't worry, all thoughts and opinions are 100% unbiased! As always, I tell it like it is!! There are also affiliate links in this post, you don't pay more but we receive a small commission from purchases made after clicking.
I'll walk you through why I chose Candid, why I want to straighten my teeth at home, and the process of using their Starter Kit in my video below (or keep reading for everything in text & photos), but the video is more fun, I promise ;)
Why I chose Candid:
Why I'm straightening my teeth:
My teeth are not currently a hot hot mess. I had braces when I was a teen, however I failed to continue wearing my retainer, and my teeth have been gradually moving since. My dentist recently confirmed it's normal with age for teeth to move gradually forward, and yes, my bottom teeth especially are getting crowded and bothering me. My mother's got so bad by around 60 that she had to have a tooth pulled and wore braces to straighten them out. Her dentist warned her that if she didn't, she'd start experiencing pretty major tooth damage and decay!! Knowing what happened to my mom, I was anxious to go ahead and get my teeth straightened out again, and keep them straight this time!!
Using the Candid Starter Kit:
I ordered the Candid Starter Kit online and it arrived within a few days. The package is fun, very Apple-esque in a big pretty white box. They have very detailed instructions and video tutorials for how to take your EIGHT photos and FIVE dental impressions. I felt a bit of pressure to get these right, otherwise they'll get rejected and you'll have to start over. The reason is that they'll base everything off of these - your whole treatment plan and printing your aligners. They need to see every tooth, gum line, bite from different angles, ALL OF IT!
They send a "cheek stretcher" to help you get the photos of your teeth just right, and you simply use your phone camera with a flash, upload to their website, and boom. Done. Easy peasy, though kind of horrifying seeing your teeth like that. You have to keep the cheek stretcher til you finish treatment, I'm guessing you'll have to do finished photos with it, but if I'm being honest, we'll probably play some pretty funny games with them for some future videos!!
The impressions were harder to get done but I'm fairly confident, or hopeful??, that I got some good ones. The issue is that you have to mix in your hands 2 tubs of putty and once you start mixing you have only 60 seconds before they start hardening!! So, about 30 seconds of mixing, then the next 30 seconds rolling out to a 4" line (they give you a measuring tool), putting it into the impression mold, marking it with a tooth pick where your front teeth will go, getting it into your mouth and holding it in there for 3.5 minutes. 3 times for top, 2 times for bottom. Kinda fun, kinda gross, kinda nerve wracking!! But that's it - they give you a pre-labeled no-stamp-required box and you ship them back to Ohio!
Stay tuned to my blog / social / YouTube channel as I'll be posting updates regarding if my Starter Kit was accepted or I have to redo it, starting my aligners, how they feel, etc etc!! I'm eager to hear what the orthodontist I'm assigned has to say about my treatment - I've heard most do the 22 hours a day plan but some have a nighttime only plan, and treatment usually lasts 4-6 months or so. Eeeeek!!! Wish me luck, and throw any tips, comments, or questions below!!!
Learn more about Candid here and get $70 off your Starter Kit with code USJAPANFAM!
Update 1: March 16, 2021:
Unboxing my aligner kit, going over treatment plan, putting in first aligners, submitting first scan to my orthodontist!!
UPDATE 2: JUNE 16, 2021:
Halfway done with my treatment!! Come see how it's going, how to use "chewies", the on-the-go container for your aligners, and how the scan works!
UPDATE 3: August, 27, 2021:
Putting in my last set of aligners - 16 of 16!! 10 days left of my 5 month long treatment!!
UPDATE 4: December 10, 2021:
Whether fully remote or in-person, straightening your teeth with clear invisible aligners is easier than ever these days!! Treatment can take as little as 4 months, most accept HSA / FSA, and some insurance plans will even cover or reimburse you fees!
An initial impression and/or 3D images are taken and a professional comes up with your treatment plan. Typically each aligner set is worn for 2 weeks - you take it out only to eat or brush teeth, though some offer nighttime-only treatment plans. You'll be mailed a new set of aligners every couple of weeks, and gradually, your teeth will move into straight positioning! After treatment ends, you'll need to use nighttime retainers to avoid teeth moving again.
I've seen some concerns about the safety of mail-order aligners, mostly in regard to the possibility of developing gum disease, cavities, or misaligned bite by going unmonitored by an in-person orthodontist. It doesn't seem these are likely, but can happen, so you'll want to be extra diligent about brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and getting regular in-person dental cleanings and exams, making sure they're aware that you are undergoing remote orthodontic treatment. Also, make sure that whatever company you go with, they're monitoring your bite's progression properly.
Below I'll outline the basic fees and what sets the most popular clear aligner companies apart below! Companies are listed in alphabetical order. Some of the biggest differences include whether they use dentists and/or orthodontists, what accessories they include, and whether they have in-person studios available.
**Handy infographic comparison chart at bottom of post**
Disclaimer: This is just my personal research since I'm hoping to straighten my own teeth, and I wanted to share my findings with y'all! Prices and options may vary, contact companies directly to confirm. Affiliate links included below, you don't pay more but we'll receive a small commission from purchases made after clicking. Since publishing, I decided to proceed with Candid, who will be providing me with their full system in exchange for promotion. Stay tuned to see how it goes!!
Smile Direct Club
So what do you think!? Have you had braces or used a clear aligner system before? Do you want to?? Share your thoughts or experiences in a comment below!
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!