Before + After

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:

 

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. 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.

2011:

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:

2012:

(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.

2014:

My husband and I are excited to welcome our first baby this September 2014! Here I am below just 7-8 weeks pregnant.

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and here I am 39 weeks pregnant!

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2015:

Life is busier than ever as a business owner and new mom! I’m currently working hard on my second cookbook which is due out early fall 2016.

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Stay tuned for updates on my journey!

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Maya March 26, 2015

Beautiful story… Waiting for a photo from 2015!

Sana March 9, 2015

I recently heard of your site, and must say how impressed I am with how far you’ve come. Being on a weight loss journey of my own, I’m always searching for healthy ways of cooking and will be checking out the recipes. Congratulations on your journey.

Jane March 3, 2015

Angela, I am so proud and happy for you and you have inspired me. My dream is for my daughter to recover from an eating disorder someday soon. If you have any words of wisdom, I would appreciate it. Thank you.

Rebecca W. February 26, 2015

Thank you for sharing your story. You are an inspiration!

Li Gong February 11, 2015

very authentic and inspiring journey. I love the gradual changes and twists you went through and thanks for sharing. i totally relate to the demand in grad. school. I still remember the stress I had at Stanford while studying communication. All the learning and training paid off, though

Livia January 22, 2015

I enjoyed reading your story and how authentic it was. I love how humble and brave to express yourself fully in public. And you look more beautiful as you age! Inspiring :)

Kelly January 13, 2015

I just found your site today thanks to a friend’s recommendation, and I must say you are inspiring! I just found out that after leading a mostly gluten-free and paleo diet lifestyle, that my body is intolerant to meat, wheat, gluten and dairy (if consumed with grains) My initial reaction was a feeling of disappointment, but honestly, I’m thrilled at the excitement that lies ahead and changes I’ll see both phyiscally and mentally. I love cooking and eating so learning vegan recipes should be fun! Thanks for sharing your story and delicious-looking recipes (can’t wait to try them!)

Meg January 11, 2015

I just found your website, and just wanted to thank you for sharing your story!! I loved this little about me section, it is so inspiring to see someone act in courage to accomplish a dream and find happiness and balance in your own life. I wish you the best with the new baby, Can’t wait to follow you when you come back!

Katie January 8, 2015

I have reread this post several times over the past couple of years. When I first read this post, I weighed in at 140 lbs at only 5’2″! I started biking and cleaning up my diet and now I weigh in at 105 lbs. Although I follow a completely different diet than you, it’s so inspiring to come back to reread this when I get off track! Thank you for the inspiration.

Michelyn January 7, 2015

Hi Angela,

Thank you so much for sharing your journey!

I’m 41, 5 ft 10 in and I currently weigh just under 300 lbs. At my lightest point, I’ve been 165 lbs and have traveled up and down the emotional and physical scale more times than I can count – ballooning to 340 lbs after my second daughter was born three years ago.

In August of 2014, I found a book by Dr. Fuhrman that helped me to re-evaluate the way I thought about food. I tried his program and lost 40 lbs in the first 6 weeks. But, as a mom of two very active little girls and a wife to a hubby who is very health conscious but loves his animal products, we found that the guidelines of Dr. Fuhrman to be too stringent for long term sustainability.

Not willing to give up, we agreed to ‘take a vegan break’ over the Christmas holidays and find a balance. Then Christmas morning arrived and I opened a gift from my mom — your cookbook!

We’ve now tried a good two dozen or so recipes from it and ALL have received four thumbs up (one from each of us) plus four more thumbs up from my home daycare babies! For balance, my husband and I agreed to one fish or chicken night a week and so far, he has not asked to implement it – he’s enjoying your recipes and doesn’t feel meat deprived at all!

I’m still losing weight, (at a slower and more sustainable pace) but no longer feel as though I’m on a diet. I’m cooking and eating food that I’m sincerely enjoying (love the pumpkin smoothie!) and I’m feeling energetic enough after my long days with the little ones to start some mild exercise in the evenings. (OK, I walk up and down the stairs about 10 times, but it’s a start).

Plus, our grocery bills have been cut by half – which is amazing considering that my meals need to feed eight people.

I’m really looking forward to my journey ahead and just wanted you know what an important part you’re playing in it. I’m excited to hear about a second cookbook and will definitely be in line to pick it when it hits the shelves in Ottawa.

Much love and light to you and your family,
Michelyn Maloney

Anna January 2, 2015

This is so inspiring especially sinci i deal with the same issues. It gives me hope i can get through, look great, and feel happy. Thank you for posting your journey

Adriana December 29, 2014

This is an amazing story. I have never been happy with my weight. Through high school I struggled from being to thin to getting on medication that made me very overweight for my height. That alone made me very self concious. I have never felt so insecure. I worked out everyday and watched my food and calorie intake for years. Now for the last year and a half I have tried the Vegetarian diet because my boyfriend is 100% vegan. I cannot believe the improvement on my body weight, mind, and skin. From just being veggie I feel like a whole new me, but I still have those times where on a bad meal day I begin again to feel insecure. This blog and the help of my boyfriend has really shown me that vegan is happiness. I really plan to work hard to go 100% vegan within the next year. I’m about 80% there. I have to tell you thank you so much for your blog, my boyfriend got me your cookbook for Christmas, and I cannot wait to work towards my goal of being a vegan with this blog and the help of my man. Your stories are so helpful. Thank you!

Gabrielle Dickman December 18, 2014

Angela,
I found your story to be very touching. It is incredibly brave of you to share the intimate details of your life, especially when disordered eating may feel so shameful. I appreciate you giving a voice to those who are not yet ready to speak.
Gabrielle Dickman, MA, MFTi, IMF82804

Andrea December 14, 2014

I don’t know if you still read the comments to this page after so many years but I just came to your blog a couple months ago at the recommendation of my naturopath…I just discovered I have an extremely high negative response to eggs (which were a definite favorite…not to mention baking!). She told me that using your blog would be a great place to start since I had a few categories to eliminate from my diet. Not only do I love your recipes…I just read your story here and it sounds so much like my own. I had the same type of eating disorder as you did from my first year of college until my mid-20s. I am 37 now and have been healthy for over 8 years. I am so thankful each and every day to no longer have that feeling of being shackled by food and whether I ate “good” or “bad” and how much exercise I needed to do to maintain either an extremely low weight….to what later became a binge-starve cycle at a more healthy weight (so everyone thought I was healthy….when I was just the same inside). It seems like a lifetime ago…so to read your before and after made me realize just how far I’ve come and how wonderful it is to be truly happy and at peace with my body now. I also just CRACKED UP at your picture/comment about your hair changes…and how Eric’s never changes. My husband and I have been together for 13 years and he has maintained the same hair style (like Eric’s) and goatee. I, on the other hand, am always changing! LOL! Anyway, thanks for your blog. I’m inspired by your recipes and am so glad I can still bake yummy treats without eggs!

Angela (Oh She Glows) December 14, 2014

Hi Andrea, Yes I do still read them! haha thanks for your comment. I’m glad you could relate to the hair comment! ;)

Bobbi December 12, 2014

Found the Nutella ‘knock off’ recipe and eventually to your Blog. The recipe was AMAZING!! Everyone is on a journey and many thanks for sharing yours! I have an auto-immune disease and a plant based diet is my end goal. You are helping me get there with your yummy recipes.
Keep up the creative, brave work you are doing and a loud shout out to the internet for allowing ALL of this to happen.

Maya Grella December 9, 2014

I just totally love your Blog!
I never felt thin enough or good with my shape and always skipt food but now i started to realized that this is not the live i want to live! Your Blog is helping a lot to stay in this way!
Thank you

julie November 28, 2014

On this weekend of Thanksgiving in the U.S., I just want to say thank you for your amazing blog and recipes, and for sharing your story. Your work is a gift of healing. May peace and happiness continue to be with you as you continue on your path.

Dana McFarland October 24, 2014

Wow, this is so inspiring. I am on this journey right now and am so encouraged to see how well it worked for you :)

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