Before + After

468 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. :)

Scan0605072334 thumb   Before + After Scan0605072329 thumb   Before + After

2003 (2nd year university):

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

000 0001 thumb   Before + After

 

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.

megandange thumb   Before + After

I was trapped in a starve-binge cycle.

2004:

100 0003 thumb   Before + After

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

2005:

Picture009 thumb1   Before + After

 

2006:

Picture004 thumb   Before + After

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

DSC05231 thumb   Before + After

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

DSC03705 thumb   Before + After

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.

DSC05803 thumb   Before + After

2007:

Picture018 thumb   Before + After

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.

MEXICOPICTURES094 thumb   Before + After

MEXICOPICTURES1212 thumb   Before + After

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.

IMG 6747 thumb   Before + After

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.

IMG 6631 thumb   Before + After

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.

IMG 6724 thumb   Before + After

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.

080831 1264 thumb   Before + After

080831 0971   Before + After

080831 1303 thumb   Before + After

Capri thumb   Before + After

 

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.

IMG 0640 thumb   Before + After

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.

IMG 3378 thumb   Before + After

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

IMG 5705 thumb   Before + After IMG 5712 thumb   Before + After

2010:

IMG 9182 thumb   Before + After

IMG 9269 thumb   Before + After

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!

IMG 0628 thumb1   Before + After

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

IMG 0652 thumb   Before + After

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.

IMG 12891 442x1024   Before + After

2011:

IMG 2804   Before + After

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:

IMG 0055   Before + After

2012:

20120609 1303221   Before + After

(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.

IMG 25571   Before + After

2014:

vscocam 1392313667.662577.IMG 2005   Before + After

Stay tuned for updates on my journey!

{ 468 comments… read them below or add one }

Brittany July 8, 2010

Love your site… You are beautiful !

Reply

Kerry July 11, 2010

This is ana amazing story, i love your blog but have never read this page! So inspirational, it’s similar to my story and i’m sure lots of other people will relate to it aswell! Well done! :)

Reply

Lezlee Brown July 12, 2010

I came across you blog on accident but really enjoyed it. You are right, all body sizes are real women. I do wish the magazines would stop touching them up. We need to see real women. Women, like you said of sizes, but also who age. Do you notice how no one ages anymore. Real women are beautiful! Good for you – keep it up!!!

Reply

Laurie July 13, 2010

I just read your “about” and your before and after. It is so nice to see you have found such beautiful recovery. I am sure this is hard to hear, but like you said, seeing you on the outside and how beautiful you are and “thin”, it is interesting to read when you write you were miserable on the inside. I love your blog name, mine’s is “Feeling good inside and out”.
We can all look different, fat, thin, in between, and struggle inside, but in the same breath, we an also find joy on the inside. It is that I am searching. Thanks for your glow.

Reply

Meagan July 14, 2010

Your wedding dresss IS GORGEOUS. I love it love it

Reply

Loveday July 15, 2010

Just wanted to say this is such a testament to love. Love from a soulmate but also love of yourself and the earth around you. I have struggled with ME for 10 years and have just started a raw food diet and have returned to yoga and meditation in a regular way – my energy levels have soared, I am happy and content knowing I am having less negative impact on the world through my diet, and my hair has thickened in just three weeks! Thank you for sharing your story and for the inspiration. You look so happy in the picture just after you moved out of the city – go nature!

Reply

Maggie Hinz July 17, 2010

Thank you for sharing your story. I happened upon your site, while searching for a recipe. You are an inspiration. I am working on my “new leaf” right now. My highest weight was 341, and I had gastric bypass in April ’08. Two and a half years, and a new baby later, I am now at 205, but wanting to truly treat my body much better. I have quit drinking, and have pretty much eradicated meat and most dairy from my life. I love it! I’m having a harder time with my family though. My husband grew up on a dairy farm, and we receive free beef from his parents. I still make food for him, but have been struggling with his skepticism. Argh! Baby steps… I’ll continue to follow your site…it’s great!

Reply

Jillian Bean July 18, 2010

Angela-I got into your blog from Kath Eats-she had posted about your banana-strawberry softserve…I can’t believe you live in Oakville. I grew up in Mississauga, and danced at the Oakville School of Dance on Robinson for many years from grade school to university. I’m know that dancing for many years contributed to my disordered eating, but it’s funny that we seem to be in similar places. I am addicted to running, and cannot get enough good fruits and veggies. Thanks for your blog-it made me feel like I am not alone in my struggles. It’s also funny that you moved out of the city-I had lived in a subarb outside of Phoenix for over two years before moving out to the mountain. I am surrounded by amazing wildlife-every day in our front yard-it’s amazing! I never thought I would want to live out here, but being away from the city with my boyfriend is something I am grateful for every day.
Thanks for your blog! We are having banana strawberry softserve after dinner today-it’s 110 degrees outside!
JB

Reply

Katelyn July 18, 2010

I randomly found this on the internet while researching best cereals to eat for weight loss. I love your story! The before and after pics are amazing, and i can really relate to your story. Ive learned a lot, and am sort of going through the same thing. I appreicate you sharing, and i look forward to the jorney ahead and am glad you have given me advice. Good luck too!

Reply

Elli @ 16 and Losing It July 19, 2010

Thanks for sharing you story! I have been struggling with my weight since I was probably 11 or 12. I gained a fair amount of weight at that age and it took me a while (3 years, a 3-way mirror, and a size 16 skirt) to notice the effects my eating habits were having on my body. Now I have lost 30 pounds. It’s been really slow and sometimes frustrating because my body does not always cooperate with me, but I have done it in as healthy a way a possible. Every change I have made I made because I was ready to make it. My diet now, which is mostly vegetarian and almost vegan, with tons of fruits and veggies, has come about naturally because I wanted to eat that way. Its comforting and inspiring to see that you, who struggled with food, stress, and an eating disorder, seem to have attained balance in your life. I’m not there yet, but I hope that one day I can feel the same way that you seem to. So thanks for sharing your story with us, it means more to me than you might know :)

Reply

Alyssa July 19, 2010

Thank you so much for being so brave and documenting your journey to health here! I have been struggling for several years…since 2006 when I graduated from college with my weight, health and fitness goals! I was always extremely active in highschool. When leaving for college…it went from being active everyday, to nothing! I quickly gained 30 pounds over the next year and have struggled ever since to lose and keep that weight off.

After graduating and not partying quite as much, I did manage to drop 10 pounds and get a bit healthier with my diet…but still nothing came off and stayed off. Crash dieting has been my gimmic for the last 4 years and I have finally realized that it is a lifestyle change and not something that is a quick fix! I am working harder than I have in years and am really starting to enjoy it! I have started working torward a running goal…a 3k with some friends next month. I had been doing really well with it up until a couple of weeks ago and suffered from shin splints and have had to find other lower impact activities that give me cardio and weight training.

On that note I would really love some advice on how to get back on track and prepare for the race next month. If you could give me any pointers on preventing these shin splints from happening again and to really buckle down and prepare!

thanks again for being an inspiration and helping us women to remember that it is important to love ourselves and to take care of ourselves and that is where happiness lies! :)

Reply

Alyssa July 19, 2010

I meant to say say 5K that we are preparing for…just had 3 miles on my mind :)

Reply

Karly July 22, 2010

Angela, This has truly come to surface at the best time. I have been spiraling but I’m lucky enough to have a great guy holding my hand through it all. I’ve been a professional and student athlete for years and it is the best way to feel great about yourself. Keep up the good feelings and know that you are always beautiful.

Reply

Greta July 29, 2010

Thank you so much for sharing your personal life (struggles and happiness) with us, you truly inspire me now. I have been praying for God to help me to get back in the wonderful shape I was four years ago, I started to getting back on it, and I don’t even know how I found your website lol, but here I’m :D I feel so pump again, thanks. May God continue blessing you and your family, Hugs, Greta >
PS:You guys are a beautiful couple, stay strong, is worth it, I have been happily married for 16 years, woohoo :)

Reply

Sarah July 29, 2010

Just came across this website/blog and I love it – very inspirational – truly. I am currently battling with an extremely bad body image the stress of trying to do it all and my weight and body image is always in the back of my head. This is pretty much the first time I’ve admitted it – I think about it constantly!

Anyway, you’ve inspired me to think again about exercise as fun and as a way to challenge myself to be stronger…not skinnier.

It’s also interesting to know you’re a fellow (former-) Torontonian!

Reply

Tiffany August 5, 2010

You are absolutely a beautiful person, its wonderful to see how much you have changed in attitude about yourself and the way you live your life. You seem to be headed in sucha wonderful positive direction. I have had two boys, my baby boy is now 7 months old, I get jealous of the moms who just drop it right after, I have been carrying around extra weight ever since I had my 4 year old and all it has done is bring down my self-esteem and confidence in myself and then things I used to be able to do seem so difficult now. I have lost 8 lbs in the last 2 weeks and I am hoping to continue a good pace of weight lose along with my daily routine of exercise. I dread running, its not something that I enjoy and seems a bit more painful with a heavier top half. I hope to be able to beginning running with a more positive attitude soon. Thank you for being an inspiration to all of us.

Reply

Christina August 9, 2010

Wow. You are just gorgeous. I wish I had my body back, too.

Reply

Alyson @ Nourished Fitness August 19, 2010

You are truly beautiful inside & out. I look forward to your uplifting post (& culinary creativity) everyday!

Reply

ayla August 25, 2010

What a journey you’ve been on! Great job finding a balance. I’m still seeking mine. I joke that I could never have an eating disorder because I love food too much. Which is true. But it’s frustrating; controling cravings is hard. Even if I keep the bad stuff out of the house, most of my meals are pasta-based and I have a hard time including enough diversity in my diet. I have loved your recipes though; I’m glad I found your blog! I hope to try some of the meals you posted and see if my husband likes them too!

Thanks so much for your honesty! I look forward to reading more about your lifestyle!

Reply

Tori @ FIToriBLOG.com August 29, 2010

I love this!!!!!

Reply

larinna August 30, 2010

I love how you were courageous enough to tell us your story. How very inspiring and brave of you! Thanks for posting this!

-Larinna
iheartspandex.com

Reply

S. September 4, 2010

I wore the same wedding dress! :) I got the train altered off from mine, though. And, like you, removed the brooch (I put it on the ribbon on my bouquet instead).

Thank you for sharing your journey–very inspiring! Very best wishes to you.

Reply

chantal September 6, 2010

We have so much in commun. 1 I come from N.B. too (born in Dalhousie) 2 I am married to my highshcool sweetheart and 3 have suffered an eating disorder of deprivation and binging.
I work in a gym I am an aerobic instructor. I have done 6 triathlon sprints. I have not binged in over a year YAHOO!!!!!!!! I am happy to have discovered your blog I will be trying many recipes THANKYOU

Reply

Christan September 9, 2010

Wow.. goosebumps!

You got a masters in psychology and had the courage to turn away and start your own business. That’s guts, girl! Amazing.

Reply

Jenny September 13, 2010

OMG, in the last photo you both actually look younger than in the one from 2004. Unbelieveable. Keep it up.
All the best to you and your husband :)

Reply

Alex September 14, 2010

I love you site..you really inspire me! Please add more about your daily training and eating schedule.

Reply

Ayslinn September 21, 2010

your blog is completely inspiring… as someone who just recently hit her highest weight ever (going back down now!), it is amazing to see that you have been there, and overcome it. I also gained a lot of weight in college and I need to get it off!!! Thank you for everything you have provided here. It truely is inspirational!

PS you look great! congrats!

Reply

Jane September 27, 2010

Wow im really happy for you ! you look amazing! great job and i really wish you the happiest! god bless you both!

Reply

aud September 29, 2010

Hi I enjoy reading about your journey that life is taking you on. I also remember reading about your bone scan test. Can you tell me how the results turned out. I am due to have one done also. I am very nervous and i was wondering how you feel now. Thank you.

The bone scan was a piece of cake…I got nervous about nothing. It was quite easy (just long). All the best! Angela

Reply

Anna September 30, 2010

Angela,
Your story is so inspiring! I have struggled with an eating disorder for my whole life. My college years have been the most difficult. After reading your blog you have shown me that I can overcome it and lead a happy life. I’m still struggling, but bit by bit and day by day, I’m finding my glo! Thank you so much!!

Reply

leslie October 3, 2010

Thanks for the inspiration, I need it!!
I have a job I hate, dread going to work each day.
But like you I’ve started a bridal accessory business and look forward to leaving my other JOB soon.

I can not stay motivated when it comes to exercise.
I will exercise for a week or so and give up. Any suggestions?
I’m bad about eating regularly and know that needs to change too.
I think I’m just in a rut!!

Reply

Jennifer October 4, 2010

Angela, I didn’t know you were from New Brunswick! Same here :)
Your story is so inspiring and truly a lot to relate to! So happy you’ve got that GLOW now! :)

Reply

Becca October 9, 2010

Angela,
A friend of mine told me about your blog (which I absolutely LOVE), and I think that she had motive to do so…. Parallel doesn’t even begin to compair my walk in life to yours! I am a nursing student and engaged to be married in May 2011 working full time, so needless to say am very busy/stressed! I have calorie restricted myself for years, but never really been a healthy weight or happy with myself or my body. I have always exercised, but dropped off just out of boredom. I ran my first race in March 2010 (a 10K), and became absolutely hooked to running! I have run several similar races since, but am running my first half marathon in 5 weeks and am so excited! It is also a bonus fitting into a size lower than I ever have and being a lower weight than I was 10 years ago in high school! I have also found a love for cooking (especially since I now have someone to cook for!) but in a fresh, healthy way with lots of fresh produce and frequent trips to the local farmers markets. Your blog is so absolutely inspiring and I am so excited to have been referred to it so I can make SO many more delicious meals! Keep up your awesome work :) Thanks for being awesome and an inspiration to women everywhere!
xo
Becca

Reply

Teresa @ Teresa Tastes & Travels October 18, 2010

Wow, you are such an inspiration! I’m subscribing to your blog right now. Thanks for sharing!! :)

Reply

Alexis Gradini October 27, 2010

Hi Angela,

Thank you for sharing your story. It is very inspirational and real. It shows all women that we all have struggles/ups and downs throughout our life and it’s up to us to have to deal with it. A support group is always the best. Knowing you have people cheering for you is all the motivation you need. Great journey and keep up the amazing work towards the new you! Congrats to your husband for losing his weight too. =)

Reply

tj October 30, 2010

Angela,
Thank you for your inspiring story! I am just starting my 4th day of eating at least 50% raw food a 0 white carbs, well any carbs for that matter. This is my beginning… for better health. I will be 50 in February 2011 an I am determined to start this decade healthy, happy and active.

Reply

krissy November 4, 2010

Hi! I stumbled upon your website whilst looking for healthy recipes and i LOVE your story! I look forward to keeping up with your blog. =)

Reply

Suzy July 25, 2011

Hi Angela,
it was great to read your story…you are an inspiration to many. I have struggled for a long time with weight (almost 20 years) and often feel really bad/mad after eating certain foods, I excercise because I want to lose weight, and sabotoge my efforts with food all of the time. Every Monday becomes the beginning of what will be a new start, but by the end of the day, that is replaced with feelings of guilt because of something I ate. I am hoping to follow your blog and start a process of change where I too can start loving life and what it has to offer without obsessing about food.
thanks for your blog.
suzy

Reply

Amy-Nutrition by Nature July 28, 2011

What a nice blog and a great story. I look forward to following your blog!

Reply

val July 29, 2011

Congratulations on your successes! Terrific to see how you overcame stresses & obstacles. Bravo! I’m signing up for your blog right now, can’t want to learn about your next adventure!

Reply

Page 3 of 11«12345»...Last »

Leave a Comment