Before + After

462 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!

{ 462 comments… read them below or add one }

Mo May 10, 2010

So awesome and inspring – you and Eric rock!

Love the new blog look, it’s so pretty!

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Jac May 10, 2010

I’ve been inspired by the healthy and delicious recipes on your site since last month. I start EVERY day with a Green Monster. My boyfriend is even having one once a week! Your banana soft-serves are lovely. This post has also inspired me to ditch the scale (I always weigh 20 pounds more than I “look”, just the way I am built, and although I KNOW this I still find the numbers to be discouraging). From one New Brunswick girl to another, thanks for this wonderful site!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 10, 2010

Gosh you guys brought tears to my eyes…thank you for leaving me such nice comments :) May the best days be yet to come for all of us. xoxo

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Sami May 10, 2010

Angela, you are amazing! Bearing your soul like this is not an easy thing to do…I know, because I am trying to get more personal with my ENTIRE story, but am having a rough time facing the facts. There was never a time that you weren’t beautiful in these pictures! (Just so you know) And I really admire your honesty. Just out of curiousity, how tall are you? Your hubby looks pretty tall! :)

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Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear May 10, 2010

Great collection of pictures, you’ve had quite a journey! you’ve always been so pretty but you look happier in the recent pictures :)

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erin May 10, 2010

Angela, you are so beautiful no matter what your weight. And I am so happy for you that you found your peace with yourself. You are so inspiring and I’m working toward being as wonderful a person as you! All my love and best wishes!

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Erin at The Healthy Apron May 10, 2010

Thanks for sharing your story! I have struggled immensely over the years and it feels good (in a weird way) to know that I’m not alone. I hope you continue to use fitness for fun! I have also been learning that and have found myself MUCH much happier!

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Nicole @ Making Good Choices May 10, 2010

Thank you for sharing your story about your journey to finding peace, happiness and health. It is so inspirational and I really admire your strength and courage to leave your job and to start your own business. You’re beautiful inside and out! :)

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Nicci@NiftyEats May 10, 2010

Angela, glad I came out of my Reader to see the new blog look. I love it and this new page you’ve created…definitely glowing!

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Leah May 10, 2010

I love this page. You are so honest, and that takes an awful lot of courage.

I think you look absolutely amazing – your blog title is perfect because you really do glow. You were my inspiration to change my life, and I cant thank you enough for that.

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Mastering Public Health May 11, 2010

I am a longtime reader but just reread this oh-so-personal page. Thank you for sharing your touching struggles and journey with your readers. It is certain that your feelings and words strike chords with your audience in so many ways. Keep going on your positive path and inspiring people along the way.

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Eunice May 12, 2010

Love the new website and this page! It’s very cool to see how you changed/grew up through these pictures. I especially liked all your hair-do’s! haha

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Chase @ The Chase Project May 12, 2010

Angela, you are an inspiration! And I love the new layout. Kudos to you!

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Kim May 14, 2010

Angela you have always been beautiful. While I have never met you I know you are a kind and loving soul. Thank you for sharing your ups and downs with us. It is helpful to know that we are not alone in our struggles with food and our emotions. I just love following your posts. I am starting to dabble with vegetarianism and that is what drew me to Oh She Glows. I am going to try the Green Monster and the banana soft-serve. They just look too yummy. Thank you for your inspiring words!

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Lauren May 16, 2010

I haven’t looked at this official “Before and After” tab until now, but I have to stay, you definitely have a sparkle in your eye now that you are healthier, both psychologically and physically! You are very inspiring!!! :)

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Bria May 17, 2010

Hey Angela! Found your blog via Graduate Meghann’s. Just wanted to say you are amazingly beautiful, through all of your struggles and triumphs you have written about here. I am from PEI (have been in NS for past 3 years for law school) so I had to give a shout out to a fellow maritimer! Even if you did move to the big smoke some time ago. ;) All the best to you and that handsome hubby of yours. xo

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Bria May 17, 2010

Bah. Typed my blog address wrong. Feel free to check it out if you’re interested in triathlon training. :)

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Emily May 17, 2010

Just wanted to say thank you so much for posting this! I’m currently at home ill (I have Fibromyalgia) and whilst I’ve been at home I’ve been thinking about my relationship with food etc etc – I think I’ve had a fairly similar journey to you – whenever I get stressed I either binge epically or restrict far too much. The result? My body is feeling weak and unloved! Your blog has encouraged me to take the plunge back into the vegan lifestyle again. Thank you!

Also good luck with you triathlon – I’m currently training for my first 10k :)

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Michelle May 19, 2010

Hi Angela! I just found your page today and am so inspired by you’re story. I also majored in Psychology in college and almost took that grad school route as well. Looking back on it now I’m so glad I didn’t! I’m so happy for you that you’ve found a peaceful place in your life! I look forward to reading more soon :)

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Kelsey May 23, 2010

You guys are SO FABULOUS!

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Am May 23, 2010

Hi there! I’m a Vegan living in Toronto too and just came across your blog which is so great! I came through, and am still figuring out my own eating issues and trying to get more in touch with my body and it’s signals and developing a healthy eating pattern. It’s always really great for me to read about other people who have had struggles and who are on a healthy path :) Thanks so much for sharing a little bit of your story, it’s an inspiration! Keep glowing!!!

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Arm-Bar May 24, 2010

Stunning. And inspiring. Nothing else needed to be said

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BornRuffian May 24, 2010

You are gorgeous, even in the earlier pictures. I’m on a similar journey (without the marriage part haha still in college) with the food issues, and I’m steadily working on fixing them. I can’t wait to read the rest of your blog and maybe take a few tricks :) you are BEAUTIFUL

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BornRuffian May 24, 2010

PS: by saying even in the earlier pictures, I didn’t mean any offense!!! I’ve just had thankfully in the past experiences with feeling like you weigh more than you want to weigh and it helps to hear you’re beautiful no matter what! :)

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Katherine May 27, 2010

You look great and happy now. I love that you have had your boo through it all. Great story and journey to *health* not just weight scale. Food and eating habits can be such a struggle and there is no right or wrong way; we’re just all making our own! Thank you for sharing and for your continued thoughts in the blog
Katherine

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Jos May 29, 2010

Hi just stumbled upon your blog and I think I can relate with you on similar issues. I wasn’t an active person before but have fear of eating because of weight gain. Now I’m doing more workout but still struggling with my food restrictions. You look gorgeous and I’m glad you’re happier and enjoying fitness for fun than burning calories. I’m still stuck at fitness being burning calories….hopefully I can reach to wherever you are right now

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Helen June 2, 2010

I’ve just found your blog and can’t wait to read more. Your story is truly inspirational. You have a great attitude towards healthy eating and fitness and have moved past your eating disorder. You are so strong. I would love to start my own business, so will definitely be looking on here for some tips!

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Meredith June 4, 2010

Hi Angela! I love your site! It’s great inspiration and fab ideas! I also just wanted to comment about how many similarities we share. I also married my high school sweetheart in 2008 and I noticed a pic of you and your hubs in Cinque Terre, which is where we got engaged. Good luck on your next triathalon. You have a great attitude!

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Joseph June 6, 2010

You look great! To bad you are married. :D

I also started eating raw food and I already see great result.

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Meg June 7, 2010

I have just discovered your blog, and love it!! After reading through it, you have inspired me to finally make the move to a more vegetarian/vegan lifestyle that I have been considering for a while! thank you!

(love your glow girl!)

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Leah June 14, 2010

What a great story! I am inspired by your healthy outlook on health & food. I spent the last 5 years at my heaviest weight & have been slowly losing weight since December of 2009!

Your blog is inspirational! Ive been thinking about becoming a vegetarian for a long time, but havent committed yet. You look fantastic!!

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Liz June 16, 2010

Thanks for posting your story and for telling so much of your story through pictures!! You’re a very beautiful girl! I’m glad you’re so happy. :)

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Leigh June 18, 2010

I love your site. You are a big inspiration to me- for years I was stuck in a binge/starve cycle, unhealthy eating, and generally just unhappiness with that part of my life. I’m happy to say I’ve been healthy for the last year, and getting healthier. Best of luck with everything you have going on!!

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Kim (Imperfectly Perfect) June 18, 2010

I loved reading your story, Angela! You were beautiful from beginning to end, but the best part is that you are happy and healthy now! I am finally learning to treat myself the right way too. It’s nice to see your success and I look forward to reading more of your blog. Wishing you all the best, always! ~Kim

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Freya @ Brit Chick Runs June 20, 2010

Such a beautiful story, I can definetly relate to a lot of it! And girl, you are stunning!!

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ChocolateCoatedRunner June 23, 2010

What a Beautiful Journey :)

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Caitlin June 24, 2010

I just discovered this website and I’m so happy I did. This is such a great story and really an inspiration to so many people. One of the hardest lessons to learn is to be kind to yourself. Though I’ve never had an eating disorder, I have struggled with my own mental and emotional health over the years. The importance of food and fitness has played a huge role in my life as well and is definitely the right path to a happier, healthier future. Thanks for sharing your story!

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Lindy June 24, 2010

Thank you for sharing your story Angela! I have spent much of my life on the opposite spectrum of eating disorder with over-eating and using food as a comfort. I made some really big lifestyle changes last year before turning 30 and have lost 50 pounds. I have found your blog and twitter feed really inspirational at keeping fitness and food both healthy and fun. Thanks!

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Jennifer June 29, 2010

I just went through a similar time of stress myself – writing my undergrad thesis, completing college, maintaining 1-2 part-time jobs, moving, and planning a wedding! It was awful! But now it’s over and I just have to find a job… It’s very inspirational to see somebody else who went through the same thing and survived it!

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fern July 8, 2010

i am currently facing over-eating disorder and it really annoys me each and every day. Whenever i start eating, i just can’t stop..:( Help me!!! I keep telling myself’ it’s time to stop’, but it just can’t. i hav had stomach bug for years and i cant let it resurface again. It nearly killed me~
Wonder how did u go through your eating disorder and not obsessing again with your weight and body??? mind to share? :( i need help!

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