I’ve shared lots of before and after pics, but they all focus on my body, which is where the most dramatic changes have taken place. Kate over at This is Not a Diet, it’s My Life suggested I do a face before and after and I thought it was a good idea. I never carried a huge amount of weight in my face, so it never occurred to me to do a comparison, as in that respect there’s been little change. But looking at that picture there, I’m seeing that there HAS been dramatic change. For the record, the pic on the left was a GOOD picture of me at the time, I remember seeing it and telling my husband to save it because I looked decent for a change.
There is a five-plus year time lapse between the two pics. I was 33 or 34 in the first pic, and the second was taken a few days ago (I’m 39 now). The most noticeable change is my skin. I wore makeup daily to camouflage my dull, problematic skin (I’ve got heavy foundation and blush on, as well as eye and lip makeup). I’ve suffered cystic, hormonal acne from about age 10. In my teens and early 20’s I tried everything, including three courses of Accutane, to clear up the problem, but nothing worked. I always had some pimples, and two weeks out of every month I would get deep, painful cysts along my jawline. By my 30’s I’d given up on finding a treatment and just found some cosmetic products that hid the issue decently and got on with my life. It was part of who I was. My dermatologist said I’d probably suffer with it through menopause.
Changing my lifestyle was NOT an instant miracle cure. Even as all my other health issues started to improve and eventually disappear, my acne remained. Like I said, I’d pretty much accepted it as part of life, and although I’d had some hope that a healthier diet would lead to improvement, I wasn’t surprised that it didn’t. Even two years into my lifestyle change I was still breaking out like clockwork before my period.
But I’m 3+ year into my lifestyle change now, and somewhere along the line, without my even noticing it, I stopped breaking out so badly. My skin hasn’t been on my radar for YEARS, simply because I’d accepted that I just have bad skin, and gotten on with life. But recently people have been complimenting my skin, more and more often, and then I took the second picture, without any makeup at all, in bright natural light, and when I saw it I was suddenly shocked and AWARE of what has happened to my skin. It’s beautiful. What? MY skin? It’s still not totally perfect, but what I have now are tiny, superficial little breakouts that go away quickly, I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a deep, painful cyst. I don’t think it was too terribly long ago, but when did the ‘switch’ flip? I can’t really tell you.
I’m sure it could be age. But I suspect it’s an indication that my body is still healing from decades of poor nutrition and inactivity. It’s a long, slow process. No magic pills, no quick fixes. Health takes time to (re)build, and the longer you cultivated illness, the longer it’s going to take your body to repair.
But make no mistake. Your body WILL repair, and you WILL heal. Be patient and give your body the tools it needs to do this important work. Real, whole, nutrient dense foods. Daily physical activity. Sleep. Patience.
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