Before + After

469 comments

I hesitate to call this page my “Before and after” because I really don’t think there is an after. My journey to health is just that – a journey – and each year has its ups and downs and different challenges along the way. One thing I do know for sure is that I’m at a much better place than I used to be. From the age of 11 or 12, I struggled with an eating disorder until my mid-twenties. I would restrict my intake too low, over-exercise, and engage in binge eating. As a result, my weight – and mood – went up and down over the years. I had amenorrhea for a couple years because my body fat was too low to function. It’s a common misconception that you have to be deathly thin to have an eating disorder. If you saw me, you probably wouldn’t have thought that I was suffering as much as I was. Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes and much of the grief is mental.

After entering recovery and getting professional help, I’m now at a place where I don’t count calories or restrict my intake. I eat a plant-based diet that makes me feel amazing and I do activities that I enjoy, not to burn calories. I’ve experienced a huge shift in my perspective over the past 4 years and I finally love life again. Food used to be the enemy, but now’s it’s a huge source of pleasure in my life. I no longer feel the desire to binge eat like I used to because my body doesn’t feel deprived. I still struggle with a negative mindset at times, but I’m better at dismissing those thoughts and sticking on this healthy & happier path.

Here are some pictures that document my journey over the past 10+ years:

Last year of high school:

My weight was steady around 125 pounds. I met Eric, my highschool sweetheart, when I moved to Ontario from New Brunswick with my mom.

We started dating just a month after I began at my new school. It was puppy love that blossomed into a real, beautiful, can’t-be-without-each other- love. I always say the reason I moved to Ontario was to meet my soul-mate. :)

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2003 (2nd year university):

I had gained about 20-25 pounds since 1st year university. My highest weight was 148 pounds.

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My eating disorder, something I had been struggling with since 12 years old, surfaced a lot in 1st and second year university. Exam stress, living in a dorm, and new social opportunities led to late-night binges, alcohol, and unhealthy cafeteria food.

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I was trapped in a starve-binge cycle.

2004:

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I lost a bit of weight, but I was still struggling and going up and down on the scale.

2005:

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2006:

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I went through lots of hair changes! Eric’s did not. ;)

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I also graduated university with an undergrad degree in social psychology.

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We moved to Toronto because I got accepted into graduate school for psychology. I lost a lot of weight- but not in a healthy way- due to the stress of grad school and the demands that it brought.

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2007:

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2007 was a tough year due to the pressures of grad school. I dropped more weight and was really struggling on the inside.

However, it ended on a great note- we got engaged in December 2007 in Mexico.

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2008:

2008 was a year of ups and downs like no other I have ever experienced. I was stressed to the max and my weight kept dropping. My lowest weight was around 114 pounds.  I was juggling being a full-time Master’s student, writing a thesis, part-time teaching assistant, working at a new FT research job, and planning my wedding. I defended my thesis at the end of July 2008 and we got married just one month later- all while working a stressful new position.

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I looked happy on the outside, but was really struggling on the inside. Everyone told me I looked great, but they had no idea how I truly felt.

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The summer of 2008 was when I first dabbled with running. However, I did it mostly to burn calories and did not appreciate fitness for fun.

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Then I finally graduated, passed my oral defense, and got married. I had so much pressure lifted off my shoulders and we had such a great wedding and honeymoon.

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2009:

2009 was a monumental marker in my life. I finally got the courage to leave my job after being miserable for a year. We also moved out of the city to a town that was a better fit for our love of nature and peaceful surroundings. Things were starting to come together.

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I learned to have FUN with food and I fell in love with cooking! This is when my mindset about food started to shift.

In 2009, I started up my own business and started being good to my body again. I stopped obsessing about my body and weight. I worked out for fun and not to burn calories. I decided to ditch the scale and to go by how my clothes fit instead. It was the best thing I have ever done. I did things that made me feel happy. I also switched to a vegan diet after many years of experimenting on and off with a vegetarian diet. I felt amazing eating plant-based foods.

After battling back from a pelvic injury from Jan- march, I ran my first race ever in June- a 10k- and got hooked on running! This time not to burn calories, but to enjoy it.

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We also celebrated our first wedding anniversary! What a year it had been.

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2010:

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2010 brought an even better year. I trained for my 3rd half marathon and my first try-a-triathlon (with Eric). These challenges keep me motivated to stay on a healthy path. I need lots of food for energy to keep up!

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I am learning to be good to myself a bit more each and every day.

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Eric also experienced many healthy changes. He went from a highest weight in university of 210 pounds to 172 pounds (April 2010). He has cut down his meat and dairy consumption by about 75% and he has recently eliminated pop out of his diet for good in March 2010. You can read about his changes and see his progress pictures here.

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2011:

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As the years go by, I find myself getting stronger and more confident in who I am. I appreciate my body (most of the time, I’m not perfect though) and what it does for me each day. I try my best not to take my life for granted and worry about things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

December 2011:

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2012:

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(Sorry for the poor picture quality, was taken on my phone!)

The saying “life is a journey not a destination” really rings true for me as I update this post in 2012. I’m trying to appreciate each day and live in the moment. Who knows how long we have while we’re here.

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2014:

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Stay tuned for updates on my journey!

{ 469 comments… read them below or add one }

Diana May 9, 2010

You were always beautiful, but I am glad you’re so much happier nowadays. Way to go Angela. My goal is to, one day, be completely at peace with myself and my body as you are today. :) I’m working on it!

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Brianna August 6, 2010

You have inspired me SO much with all of your changes. I recently had my first child in Jan 2010, and I have been struggling with my weight. For the past 2 months I have been trying to live a healthier lifestyle. You have totally convinced me to change it completely. I can not wait to jump on the band wagon. Thank you so much for sharing your journey and being such an inspiration!!

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Katie Smith August 29, 2012

Hello Angela-
I have never been hooked on a blog before!! You are a true inspiration. I saw the forks over knives movie last week and have been striving for a plant based diet. I have been vegetarian in the past and it really isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Even if I can get it 90% right I think it is pretty good.
Your recipes have helped me a ton! Thank you!
I am hoping that I won’t gain wait with this diet. But honestly I feel so great, that I will figure that out later.
Thank you Angela! I will continue to visit daily. Keep blogging!!
Katie Smith Mingo, IA USA

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leilani December 3, 2012

This is truly humbling, and beautiful , and such a gift to read. Thank you for sharing this . You have inspired me to live as a child whose joy comes from that inexhaustible place of laughing “just because it feels good”. Thank you for sharing your journey of self love. I have just recently made this change from vegetarian to vegan. And it is amazing. I never thought I would be one of “those ” people who talked about the way they ate in relationship to spiritual life. But wow. So much has happened since and reading your blog brought tears to my eyes. The awakening process for you was something I could relate to. Thank you so much for writing.

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christine February 25, 2013

Hi THANK YOU so much for sharing this and your website. You are so inspiring and a joy to read about. I am so sorry for all your struggles I understand pretty well. I have and am to this day fighting/recovering from a life time eating disorder anorexia and now a severe case of bulimia with ocd binge eating with purge tendancies.
I too have and am vegetarian and looking to one day converting over to vegan, thank you so much for all your recipes and your story of your life.
You are amazing and wonderful never give up and stay strong and never feel guilty for taking care of you.
Thank you again ,feel free to email anytime
hugs and G*d speed,christine

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2010

Thanks Diana! Goodluck with your journey :)

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Jennifer Romero May 12, 2010

Hi Angela,

You are really glowing!!!!By the way, I saw your blog and you are looking for chia seeds with lower a price. Our company is offering best deals of chia seeds. Please contact me @5127722863.

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Siv rougier November 28, 2012

Hi, do you ship Hi do you ship to Norway as well. I have difficulties getting them here. Thank you.

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Sana May 9, 2010

Thanks for sharing this! Every year a a step closer to being a happier and healthier person!

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Lindsay@The Ketchup Diaries May 9, 2010

This is so fantastic! I am so happy to hear you are in such a great place! Keep up the great work, girl!

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Pam May 9, 2010

This page is such an inspiration! You two look happier, healthier, and more gorgeous than ever. Looking forward to your ongoing journey!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 9, 2010

Sana, Lindsay, and Pam- thank you for your support!

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Annie@stronghealthyfit May 9, 2010

Thanks for creating this page. It’s great to read more details about your journey to health! You are a great inspiration :-)

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Jae May 9, 2010

You and the healthy living bloggers out there are SUCH an amazing inspiration.
I had (and still kind of do have) an eating disorder back starting from when I was 11. (Im seventeen now) It got to the point where I didnt want to live anymore. But now, after reading blogs for about 4 mos. I know that Im on my way to recovery. I thank you so much and godspeed in your endeavors :)

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Kendel May 9, 2010

Thank you for sharing your struggles and successes with us. Your journey is inspiring! Keep glowing in your healthy, happy, beautiful life!

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RhodeyGirl May 9, 2010

Beautiful story Angela. You are an inspiration to so many. Keep up the beautiful healthy lifestyle.

P.S. You are stunning in all of these photos!!

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Danielle May 9, 2010

Congratulations to getting where you’re at, you look absolutely radiant! I love happy endings :) but of course, we’re not at the best parts of your journey yet.

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Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty May 9, 2010

You definitely glow now!!
I agree with Danielle, this is just the beginning of your good streak I bet!! :)
Little glow babies will be so cute!! ;) hehe :)

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Tay May 9, 2010

I loved this page!! Amazing transformation :-) And you can see it in your glow! I think you may have inspired me to do my own “before and after journey” page :-)

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jenny (Green Food Diaries) May 9, 2010

so inspiring. thanks for this, angela.

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Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter May 9, 2010

I love how your smile becomes a true smile once you started to love food for what it is. I loved this story! Great job Ang, keep it up!

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Allie (Live Laugh Eat) May 9, 2010

Seriously, you are glowing! It’s so nice to see you happy and healthy coming from such a stressful environment. I’m hoping I can finally get my glow on now (graduation is a week from today)!

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Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker May 9, 2010

Great post, Angela. I’ve also struggled with disordered eating since age 12 — so I appreciate knowing others out there have been through the same issues. But through my love of (healthy) foods and moving around, it makes everything much better. Our bodies are AMAZING. And once we stop worrying so much about how we look and instead focus on how we feel and what we can accomplish . . . well, it’s all good :) Thanks for sharing!

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Angela S. May 9, 2010

You are amazing and inspiring.

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Dawn Linklater May 9, 2010

Thanks for sharing your story Angela! It really is inspiring. You are really glowing, especially in the recent pics – your happiness is radiating from the inside out!

Is that the Cinque Terre in one of your pics above? It looks just like it!

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annie May 9, 2010

Glad you were able to recover and are doing well. I love reading your blog and have been following for a little while. :D

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Tina May 9, 2010

This was beautiful to read. It is amazing how a different perspective can help shape happiness. I am glad you found it and are now a living example for others to follow.

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Rosie May 9, 2010

Thanks for sharing Angela! Your story is inspiring and you’re a role model for us! <3

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Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin May 9, 2010

I love this page! So glad you added it. And you really are glowing in the 2009 and later pics! Incredible.

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Deirdre May 9, 2010

Great to see how you are in such a happier place right now. Oh and I’m sure you’ve heard this tons of times but you and Eric are such an attractive couple.

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Jenna May 9, 2010

What a great story! Love your blog!

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Nicole May 9, 2010

Great before & after page! Thank you for showing that maintaining a HEALTHY body is a work in progress and isn’t synonymous with SKINNIEST body. I agree with a previous comment–you are a beautiful woman despite your weight, but you seem HAPPIEST in your more recent pictures.

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Charlsie May 9, 2010

What a hard journey you went through. I can relate and its encouraging to see other people deal with it positively! Love the bloggy, keep the good stuff coming!

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Lisa May 9, 2010

You are such an inspiration. I have been going through something similar and I’m still struggling with my weight. I really can’t accept having weight loss being in the forefront of my mind forever. I’m trying everything I can think of to become comfortable in my own skin as you have. Thank you for the motivation.

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Lindsay May 9, 2010

Angela, You are such and amazing inspiration for me. I have my ups and downs in weight as well. I have neve been “overweight”, but I have been heavier than I would like and I have also been so thin that doctors were worried that I wouldnt live another day. Thanks to blogs like yours and others, I finally got treatment and I have been out of treatment since November and have been in recovery since then. You are such an amazing woman and you are gorgeous!! :)

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Heather (Heather's Dish) May 9, 2010

i can so relate to your story with the exception of finding my way completely out of the binge-starve cycle. OSG is such a shining example of learning to love yourself, and i hope that someday i can get there too! you are so beautiful, inside and out, and i love how you connect with all of us on some level, whether it’s your humor, your fabulous food, your love of running, or the days when you’re feeling sassy ;) i can’t wait to continue to read about your journey and i’m constantly inspired, a little each day, to love and take care of myself :) thank you!

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Stephanie of Stephanie Inspired May 9, 2010

I love seeing your journey in such detail. As someone who is only 6 months in to rediscovering a healthier lifestyle I often feel like some people just GET it and I need to struggle to get into it. Seeing and hearing this makes me feel like it takes time and work for everyone!

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Libby May 9, 2010

Hi Angela,

Loved reading all about your journey. It’s inspiring to know you didn’t always have it all together and that with time you learned to love yourself and treat your body the best way you know how. Thanks for sharing your life with us. It certainly gives me hope.

Libby

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s May 9, 2010

so inspiring. i feel like i can relate to aspects of your struggles with eating disorders. thank you for posting your story.

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Allison May 9, 2010

Angela, thanks for being so inspiring! You are so beautiful, and even more so to share yourself with all of us! :)

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Kris May 9, 2010

So PROUD of all you have accomplished :)

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Laura May 10, 2010

You are awesome! Such an inspiration to so many people, myself obviously included.

I love the new look and layout too :)

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Jenny @ JennyLikesToRun- A teenager with a healthy twist on life :) May 10, 2010

Awww I’m so happy for you Angela! :D Congratulations on all you fabulous progress. Reading this just made me feel so happy that after an on-going struggle you faced with your body you were able to come out on top, happier and healthier than ever.
You are a TRUE inspiration!

Keep being amazing and inspiring others :) I’m a huge fan.
xxxx

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Nic May 10, 2010

Love your new Before+After page!!
And Love the new Layout!!
Keep up your awesome posts!!
I enjoy them every day like no other!!

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Katrina May 10, 2010

Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for about a month. You are such an inspiration to me :).

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Jane May 10, 2010

Angela…you are truly INSPIRING. Thank you for being so honest and sharing your jouney to happiness…here is to 2010 and to you!!!

Sincerely,
Jane

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Jessica Johnson March 20, 2012

Yay for You! :) Thank You so Much For Sharing Your Story. You are an inspiration to me! I am 28 years old and have been a vegan for about 12 days… I found your web page ,ohsheglows.com, while in desperate search of some breakfast recipes :) The strawberry jam looks yummy. I will be making it soon :) Well…wish me luck and thank you so much for your courage to following your happiness and passion. Just by doing that alone results in helping and encouraging others! :D You’re doing great on your journey and may you continue to journey well :) God Bless

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