With recent buzz about things like the Junk Food Diet and a study that shows that exercise doesn’t help you lose weight, it seems that we whole foods and exercise advocates might be left without a weapon to fight back. Seems, maybe, but we certainly aren’t.

I could regale you with statistics of better overall health and lower cancer rates. I could even spew off some facts about how these things will help improve your sex life. There are plenty of others who can do that, though.

Instead, I want to show you what is unique to me, photographic evidence of how whole foods and exercise have made me healthier. No, not a weight loss montage, because apparently you could find that same thing with someone on the junk food diet.

Last night I was having a particularly narcissistic moment and sat in my bedroom taking pictures of myself. Makeup free and pajama clad, I snapped photos of myself and was suddenly struck by how different I look from so recently and even more from a year ago.

I present you with my makeup free montage.

 This photo was taken during one of the original Skanky Tuesday nights out with my best friends. We decided to go dress shopping and take pictures of each other in the worst, most outrageous dresses we could find. I tried this one on because I thought it was pretty.
At the time I was devastated with how I looked because you can see the outline of my belly button. Now I think I looked pretty good.
Look at my face, though. My skin looks terrible, my coloring is less than healthy looking, and all around my eyes is dark. This is what I looked like on a junk food diet.

This picture was taken a few years later, after my accident. It was about six months before I started weight loss and I was eating what ever I felt like eating.

I’m sure that I don’t even need to point out how unhealthy I look. Poor nutrition also contributes to lifeless, dull hair.

 During this period, every time I looked in the mirror I wanted to cry. It isn’t just the lighting that makes me look off, I really did look off.

Pictures like this will always make me sad.

This picture illustrates a lot. This was taken about six months after I started weight loss. I was eating healthy, exercising, and doing well, but alas, I was not sleeping enough. I was working 13 hour days and was lucky to get 6 hours of sleep.

My skin looks good, my hair has more shine to it, but my eyes… That is a bad situation. That ring of discoloration around my eyes was what really got to me and made me realize that I needed to make sleep a priority.

Even with the lack of sleep you can see how much healthier I look. My color is better, my skin looks smoother, and although you can’t really see much of my hair, let me tell you it was so much better than the last two pictures.

Incidentally, this picture also illustrated the importance of eye brow maintenance. Shortly after I made an appointment for having them waxed.

I took this picture last night.

I was taken aback when I did a comparison between this one and those above. Even my eyelashes look better.

You can see the difference, I don’t need to wax poetically about how much better I think I look.

I do need to thank Thuyet for the amazing job she does on my eyebrows (and nails), though.

This is the difference that whole foods and exercise has made on me (so far). Even if I lose no more weight from this way of living, I think that it is worth it.

Your food choices will effect much more than just your waist line. 100 calorie packs and Hungry Girl snacks might be convenient and seem appetizing, but they don’t hold a candle to whole foods and natural treats. I may get to eat less sweet treats but I am much more satisfied with the ones I do eat.

I’m going to continue sharing my favorite recipes here because I want you to see that you can have treats that are good for you and that “healthy” doesn’t mean “boring.” It rarely does for me.

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