© 2013 jen

Fit-tastic Update: Skin Deep – Jen & Now

I’d be lying if I told you anything other than I was born with good skin. I never really had acne, or even a zit until I was in my mid 20’s. My skin is very thick and although I do have a few wrinkles they aren’t they deep and since I’ve stopped eating gluten and grains I sort of can’t believe what’s happening to my skin, so I thought I’d talk about it today.

I’ve always had slightly dry skin. I always needed moisturizer and as I was getting older I noticing that my formerly perfect skin was starting to age. I often had a redishness to my skin and neck, but the biggest thing that was worrying me was that the elasticity of my skin was getting weaker.

This is what my skin used to look like as of July of last year- that was only 6 months ago:


How many 220-ish lb females pose half nude in a jog bra? Probably not that many, but I’m a bold person at every size. I like this picture of myself, but you can see the redness of my face and my chin, how the skin under my chin was getting weak.

IMG_0870I hate this picture, but it really shows how weak the skin under my chin, the wattle area, was falling down. Also look at my hair. It’s so dry and frizzy. It was like this all the time before I was diagnosed.


In this picture you can see my utter exhaustion. I was tired all of the time. Dark circles around my eyes, my skin looks almost pastey. Like I’m filled with glue, which I was, except it’s called gluten. You can see the little lines forming around my mouth and forehead. Look at my chest too, I always had a discoloration to the skin on my chest- a redish-brownish sort of suntanned look- which I don’t have anymore, which I think was related to my gluten intake.


Here you can see my wheat belly. It always stuck out. I couldn’t suck it in. And there’s my face again. Looking sick. Looking worn out. This was my normal look- tired, depleted, puffy and saggy, with a little chin break-out action going on.

I’m still trying to decided how to describe what has happened, but instead of words I think I’ll use pictures, because what has happened to me is utterly remarkable.
IMG_3485This is me today. Without a stitch of make up on. And what the hell? Why do I look so much smarter? The truth is, I feel smarter. I can think so much more clearly these days. Seriously, scroll up and look at my eyes. They look tired and sort of spaced-out before.

IMG_3506Here I am, waaaaay too close up with make up. What I’m showing you here is my waddle. Or were my waddle used to be. I also used to have lines on my forehead that seem to be fading into the background.


Another wattle shot. It’s like Where’s Waldo, but mine is Where’s Wattle? It was here even 2 months ago, but now it’s gone.


{OMG!  I love that gold eye shadow!} Here are some additionally unusual developments. My eye lashes have started growing again. I used to have much shorter eye lashes even 2 months ago. I had this one part of my left eye where my eye lashes had broken off and I always felt self-conscious about it. Now those eye lashes have filled in, naturally. I’ve always heard that as you get older, your eye lashes get shorter and more brittle. My thought now is, yes if your nutrition is compromised, if your gut isn’t healthy, it will affect your eye lashes. Now my eye lashes are much longer, like how they were in my 20’s.


My hair is shinier, thicker and curlier, and naturally less frizzy than it’s been in years. When I was young people used to tell me I looked like Snow White or like a china doll, because my skin was so pale and clear and I always wore red lipstick. I seem to be heading back in this direction.


I am really fortunate to have a lot of friends who I’ve known for 20 + years. The thing that I keep hearing from them is that I remind them of the me they met 20 years ago. My skin is really just the window into the massive health changes that have happened since I began this process.

So last May or June I started running, by October I was diagnosed with Celiac disease and started eating gluten free and by January I was totally grain free (well that’s not totally true. I eat rice, but other than that I don’t eat grains these days).

My skin, hair, energy, gut and basically every part of me is loving my dietary changes. I’m hesitant to say this, but I want to say this so I will.

I believe that taking first gluten and then grains all together out of my diet is the closest thing you can find to a fountain of youth. I literally feel like I’m aging backwards.

I’ve been trying to decide how old I feel and it’s somewhere between 16-22. My chronological age is 42, so let’s just say I’ve recently turned 21 again.

It’s crazy to me because people spend all kinds of money to make their skin more even in tone, tighter, healthier looking. Hair too, people pay big money for longer eye lashes, shiner hair, etc. I got all of this from food, naturally.

I watched this documentary yesterday called, Make Me Young, which was all about our society’s obsession with youth and staying young through plastic surgery and other extreme measures. After watching it I feel really lucky not to be caught up in that machine.

The truth of the matter is I’ve never even had a facial. I’ve done less than nothing to my face- but my face is reaping the benefits of my diet and exercise routine.

I’ve been thinking about the contradiction in our society that if you don’t eat gluten, that’s hard and an extreme diet, but if you get a chemical peel on your face + that eye lash elongating  stuff + fake tanning to look thinner, well that’s just normal maintenance for many women who are aging in our society.

I don’t know if  non-Celiac’s would have as extreme a turn around as I’ve had not eating gluten and now all grains, but I’m noticing that other people who I know who don’t eat these things have a similar look to me. It’s a dewy, fresh faced look that screams healthy.

Speaking of dewy, fresh faced people, shout out to Phoebe Owens, one of my grain free friends who I’ve been talking about the marvels of beauty secrets that are tied to food. Phoebe writes a blog here and one particularly interesting article is all about the wonders of bone broth as a treatment for cellulite. Phoebe swears that since she started eating bone broth she has waaaay less cellulite, which actually makes sense because bone broth has collagen in it.

I’m not saying anyone should or shouldn’t eat anything. I’m just telling you what I’m seeing and now you can see it too. I’m no longer aging chronologically. I’m moving into the gluten free, grain free, age free lifestyle.


Here is a skirt that I made with my friend Jocelyn. I used to wear it, even up to two months ago. It’s a size 16, which was my normal size, sometimes an 18, but it’s not my size anymore.

So when I first started these health changes I didn’t measure my waist, but I realized all I have to do is measure one of my skirts from before. Here are the numbers and let me warn you now, they are shocking!

When I started these Fit-tastic updates I had a 42″ waist. Right now my waist is 30″. I’ve lost 12 inches since October and 26 lbs, from 216 lbs to 190 lbs.

I think if I cared about BMI charts and such, which I don’t care about, but if I did, I might have another 20 lbs to lose, but you know what? I don’t need to change to fit any societal expectations of me. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and I feel great about myself.

There is this stupid thing in our culture that if you’ve got something rad, you shouldn’t talk about it or else you’ll be seen as big headed. Well guess what, I don’t care. I think I look great just as I am today and I’m not ashamed to say it and you know what? I feel even better. If that means I’m full of myself for saying this then I guess I’m full of myself.

Because I’m 42 and feeling fab00! How are you?

If there’s anyone out there who knows more about skin, hair, elasticity, youth + gluten free, grain free please enlighten me. I’m very curious about this “science experiment” I’ve been preforming on myself.




  1. Posted February 23, 2013 at 6:30 pm | #

    So fantastic that you are reclaiming your body in such a provocatively dramatic way. Your rejuvenation is astounding.

    • Posted February 25, 2013 at 12:57 am | #

      Thank you, Dedrick! I feel astounded too. That’s the perfect word to use!

  2. Posted February 23, 2013 at 10:04 pm | #

    “I believe that taking first gluten and then grains all together out of my diet is the closest thing you can find to a fountain of youth.”

    I know this to be true in my heart…I think diet probably has a lot to do with ‘how’ we age, it just makes sense. I’m (emotionally) lazy so can’t get over certain hurdles right now, to get into gear and get healthy again. But reading this is very inspirational…I truly want that feeling of energetic flow. I’m actually feeling my age at the moment (45), depressing and shocking because in my heart I’m 32. :) Thanks for the post.

    • Posted February 25, 2013 at 12:56 am | #

      Jo, I totally understand. Diet does make such a difference in our lives, but there are times when it’s really hard to get started. If you would have told me that I’d be a card carrying allergic, food intolerant, sensitive type of healthy eater I would have never believed it. It takes time to make these changes and often times it something like a health scare that gives us the kick in the pants to get started. It’s totally possible that you aren’t there yet. It’s hard to fix something that isn’t totally broken yet. You know? Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jo
    Posted February 24, 2013 at 4:52 pm | #

    Ah mazing! And with grace….so cool to see this progression digitally! Looking forward to Home Stew.

    • Posted February 25, 2013 at 12:53 am | #

      Thanks, Jo! I can’t wait for Home Stew too! It will be a meeting of the minds!

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