Before + After

458 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!

{ 458 comments… read them below or add one }

Kiah July 31, 2011

Wow, what an inspiring story! Thank you for sharing.

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kelley August 3, 2011

Your story is very similar to mine. I found your website a year ago and love it! You are doing exactly what i have always wanted to do. Im 31 and am from seattle and moved to vail colorado to see if i could find a “better me”…I don’t think i have, but I think I’ve found my better half! Anyway, you are such a positive person. It’s hard to get the confidence to do what you have done! I hope some day I will!!

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Shelley August 3, 2011

You are a beautiful young lady and truly an inspiration. Please continue to be a great role model for girls young and old (LOL talking about me!) To have your wisdom and insight at such a young age is truly a gift. Stay true to yourself and thank you for sharing your experiences so openly :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 4, 2011

Aww thank you Shelley!

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Emma August 7, 2011

Angela, I just wanted to let you know how inspirational I find your blog.
I have been silently creeping on it for the past few months now, during which time i’ve been really struggling with overcoming an eating disorder. I feel that I can relate to you, especially with the stressful university career, and it’s really good re-reading your story and seeing that somebody has gone through similar struggles to myself and come out the end a happy, beautiful person (inside and out!) with a wonderful life. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Angela!

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Valerie August 9, 2011

Ang! I find this whole storyline completely inspiring for a totally different reason than most! As someone is also happily married to her highschool sweetheart, I find it so touching to see the photos of you and Eric by each other’s side through all of the the ups and downs that you describe! I think a good marriage is worth all of the hard work – just like diet and exercise! (on a complete side note, I made my first green monster last night after being skeptical for a long time… now I’m a believer!)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 9, 2011

Thank you Valerie! I couldnt agree more :)

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Michelle August 10, 2011

Thank you so much for…just being you! Your blog has me hooked and i am so happy that i stumbled upon it(:

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 11, 2011

thank you!

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Suzie August 11, 2011

Thanks for sharing your life, you are an inspiration. I have always been on the other side of the spectrum – overweight, overweight and overweight some more. Well, now I sit here at my all time high weight (i can’t even write the number out), signed up to Weight Watchers for my ?? x. Sugar is my MAJOR downfall. I have been blessed in a strange way – a 24 hour stomach virus that may help stop the cycle. I have been off sugar 24 hours – till my double rootbeer float…………yeah. Anyway, you all know how the story goes. I am going to try your veggie burgers, they look wonderful. I keep trying a day at a time, I think sugar is right up there with alcohol, heroin, tobacco. I feel lost but I keep finding people like you who have found your way – I hope I will find mine. I found your website – I think there was a reason. I’ll have to find the “green monster. Thanks for sharing and inspiring. Suzieq

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Krista Estrada August 12, 2011

You look awesome and kuddos for finally doing it the right way! Most people never figure that out in life! Keep up the awesome work!

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April August 13, 2011

I can relate to your story, and I am glad I found your blog. I have started blogging myself to help me live the healthy way. I look forward to future posts of yours. Thanks!

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Courtney August 13, 2011

I’m so glad I stumbled onto your blog. I’ve been trying to find healthier recipes – can’t wait to try yours!! :)

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Caitlyn August 15, 2011

Your story is extremely inspiring to me, it seems to hit home a bit! I am so happy you have started living your life joyfully and with a healthy look on it!

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Lizzie @TheMonthOfVegust August 16, 2011

Angela, you look wonderful and so happy! I recently became vegan (I started thinking I would just do it for this month of August, but I think I will continue) and am trying to live a healthier lifestyle. I also run a lot and am training for my first marathon (I have only done half marathons) in November. Any tips for vegan nutrition during race training?

I loved reading your story, thank you for sharing it!

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Linda Ursin August 17, 2011

I can only say this: You look fantastic. I’m glad you were able to turn your life around. I’m well on my way to a healthier, fitter me. And I’m also working on being able to be me, more than just between the housework on the weekends.

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chelsea August 17, 2011

i just stumbled onto your website through pinterest and since i’m a vegetarian and just ran my first half marathon, i can’t wait to dive in to the rest of your site!! it will be nice to have an arsenal of recipes that i don’t have to rework.

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Nelly August 17, 2011

Just came across your blog. What a inspiring life story ~
Thanks for sharing with us. Big hug from Singapore ~! :D

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Rhiana August 21, 2011

I have a similar story to your own. I have recently recovered from being anorexic for years. Your blog and story is amazing. Thanks for sharing it and inspiring me! I love your recipies and the chilled chocolate torte is just the best thing ever!

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Zoe August 22, 2011

I came across your blog while researching “clean eating” on the web. I’m inspired by your story; never giving up, because you’re worth it. I’m playing with vegetarian/vegan recipes at times, but sugar is also an issue for me. I exercise a lot using DVDs by Beachbody, and I’ve lost weight and gained strength and tone with exercise; now it’s time to tweak the food I eat further. Thanks for sharing your recommendations and experiences.

http://www.beachbodycoach.com/schoolteacher

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Zoe August 22, 2011

P.S. Your hubby is a lucky man and looks like he knows it! :)

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leila tompkins August 23, 2011

Hey :) I came across your blogspot looking for vegan oatmeal cookies to make for my 4 year-old :) I struggled soo much with my weight all my life and my family has a huge history of medical problems. I don’t want my daughter to have the same ending so being her initial role model in life, I decided to change. I lost weight, started my love with bodybuilding (figure), and eat clean/whole/vegan food. YOU ARE SOO AWESOME!! thank you :D

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 24, 2011

Thank you Leila! All the best :)

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Sherrie August 24, 2011

What a wonderful portion of your life’s story. As of yesterday, I transitioned from a vegetarian diet to a vegan diet. I happen to stumble today on to your website by surprise. Very NICE and ENCORURAGING. I look forward to reading more. I can use all the encouragment I can get. Thanks, you are such a inspiration. : )

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Angela (Oh She Glows) August 25, 2011

Thanks you Sherrie! Congrats on your changes :)

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Jessica August 28, 2011

Thank you for sharing your story! I have had a similar experience and it is so nice to know that other people experience some of the same struggles. It is always inspiring to hear about other people’s journey to finding peace.

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leila August 29, 2011

hey I’m back.. so.. I got the chance to take a look at your veggie burger recipe and you are awesome!! I see everyone using breadcrumbs, panko, flour, etc but you.. you said EZEKIEL!!! omg!!! LOVE IT! LOVE IT!!! LOVE. IT!!!! haha.. my very first attempt at a veggie burger was a major disaster- failed your qualifications but i was starving and it was super yummy. I will perfect it tho! hehe.. well.. thank you soo much again! I went vegan in my early 20s right after my daughter turned 2 and I did it in the most unhealthy way possible to the point where I had to go to the ER and get fluids and stuff. With your site, I know I can get back into that lifestyle in a helthier approach and still maintain my athleticism (bodybuilder- yay :D)

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Ginger August 29, 2011

with or without weight, you are shining.

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Jess August 30, 2011

You are such an inspiration to women everywhere. I love your blog and your recipes are amazing! I can’t wait to read everyday : )

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Mim August 31, 2011

Hi Angela,

I am a long time reader of your blog but haven’t commented until now. I just wanted to thank you for being honest about your struggles with eating and food. Your healthy approach to food has been hugely inspiring and I love trying out your recipes. Thank you!

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Sandra Northcutt September 2, 2011

I love your story and I You are an inspiration. I will try to cook some of your recepies myself and can’t wait to taste them.
Sandra

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Betsy September 3, 2011

Struggling with an eating disorder for almost 20 years, I know the struggle and know it is never really defeated. I run almost 30 miles a week, am addicted to it! I hope you and I both can find that freedom from the prison that is FOOD! Thank you for your awesome story!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 3, 2011

All the best to you Betsy!

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olivia camilleri September 5, 2011

i just happened to run through this sight while looking for some recipies that miht help me to loose weight quickly – i have reached a 146 pound weight and this is the worst i have ever been. i going to set myself an 8 week goal to loose 6 kilos

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Madeline September 6, 2011

I just wanted to say that your website and story are both amazing. I’ve recently been forced to admit, because of health issues, that I have an eating disorder. I am not even close to overcoming it, but I hope to start trying with proper counseling and recipes from your website. Thank you for sharing!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 6, 2011

Hi Madeline, thanks for your comment. I wish you all the best with your recovery! xo

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Heather September 8, 2011

Thank you for you bravery in sharing your story. I am a 34 year old stressed out mother of three. I wear many hats daily; I am a happy mom, sex goddess for my fabulous husband, the “go to girl” at work a driven student, and the chief Chef and house keeper of the manor… whew no wonder I’m stressed… but I love it all. When I was 13 I developed a very negative self image, which of course lead to varied Eating Disorders, that plagued me for over 20 Years. I restricted my diet obsessively to lose weight, which worked, but then I would get “weak”; thus the cycle began… I binged, I purged, I abused laxatives, I exercised compulsively, and then I would get the courage to stop which would result in massive weight gain, and then the diets would start again. I lived in a bad place, and no one ever knew.

Now I am happy to say I have kicking my ED’s butt! yes I have bad days, but I am making it one day at a time. I get stronger daily. So again than you for sharing.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 9, 2011

Thanks for sharing your story Heather, I’m glad you are on a healthier path!

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angie September 10, 2011

Very inspiring your story is. I’m a mom of 3 girls 20 yrs, 17, and 10…my oldest started to get into shape last year by joining a gym, and getting a nutritionist who happened to be aVegan. We learned quite a bit from her here in our family….I just celebrated my 49th b-day and want to make a change so I also am going to take up running again, and eat more grains, beans etc… your site will be very beneficial to me.Thank you.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 11, 2011

Goodluck to you Angie!

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priscylla September 11, 2011

wow, What an amazing story! I have made some of your recipes and they were delicious, thank you for taking the time to show us all how to make better decisons with the food we eat!I am very new at blogs and recently I started a blog of my own… anyways, how can I ” follow you” “became a member” ? I would really like to learn more !!! thanks and wish you all the best!:)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 29, 2011

Hey! Sorry for the delay in reply.

You can sign up for RSS here: http://ohsheglows.com/feed/

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Ashlae September 12, 2011

Having struggled with an eating disorder for nearly a decade, I can completely relate – and am so happy you shared your story. I’ve been in recovery for two years and, after following a wholesome vegan diet, can’t imagine ever going back to the days of starving myself.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 13, 2011

I’m so happy to hear that!

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Melissa September 13, 2011

Hi Angela, thanks for sharing your story. It seems quite similar to my journey. Being a vegan has transformed the way I look at food. I still struggle with eating disorder thoughts from time to time (mostly when the stress hits) but over all I feel so much freedom as a vegan! It use to be about depriving my body and now its all about nourishing!

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jan September 13, 2011

Wow you have come such a long way. I have had a love/hate relationship with food for 34 years and recently got over some major hurdles since joining Weight Watchers. I started to put on weight when I was 18 and then commenced 34 years of yo yo dieting and ill health, which turned into my passion for nutrition. I learned so much at Weight Watchers but the most important thing was learning to love food again instead of treating it like the enemy! I had so lost touch that if I was feeling full that wasn’t right! You had to be hungry to be losing weight. I eventually lost 12 kg on a healthy, filling diet and have kept it off for more than 2 years now. I still have to watch what I eat (as in limiting treats) but if I eat healthily and listen to my body my weight stays rock steady. I read a great book by Jon Gabriel called The Gabriel Method and in it, he said that slim people don’t fight with food, they don’t feel guilty they eat what they want but because they “listen” to their body, they naturally compensate elsewhere by not eating so much. Once you break the cycle of deprivation and starvation you can really start to enjoy food again and just have a love relationship.

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Amanda Rootsey September 19, 2011

Wow, thanks for sharing your journey – it is very brave of you and obviously has helped so many people. Good on you! Such a beautiful blog and I’m looking forward to trying some of your recipes…

Mandy xx
amoderngirlslife.blogspot.com
veganera.com

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Wandered By... September 20, 2011

Your story should be splashed in the national television for all to see and get inspired. Young girls these days are abusing themselves to be stick thin and it is so sad to see them waste themselves. Your story would be giving them a lot of hope and help them take the right path to what they want. Im glad I found you.
Keep looking good :-)

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Sarah Grubbs September 23, 2011

Thank you so much for sharing your story. There is such an amazing feeling of release and peace when you get to share your story and you did it beautifully. Like most, my story is the same and I just got married weeks ago. It has been years of back and forth but know that I am free from food and enjoy the delight of what nutrition brings to use. I am a runner, have been for years and also training for another half-marathon. I would love to see more posts about your combination training/nutrition. I would also love to add recipes, if you would like a contributor. Everyday can be a bit different, but be encouraged that your change is real and has been a blessing to others. Thank you!

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Tracey September 25, 2011

Your story is very inspiring. I actually went vegaan about 2 weeks ago and I feel much healthier already. I exercise when I have time, but not nearly as often as I’d like. The only problem I am having is feeling satisfied maintaining a vegan lifestyle. I really never feel full. Do you have any suggestions?

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Sandrine September 25, 2011

Your story is an inspiration for me. I’ve been battling a binge eating disorder since childhood and after a year of therapy I’m now trying to get into a residential program. I find with binge eating the fear of letting people in is that they won’t believe you since eating disorders is mostly associated with skin and bones. It is a disease that controls every minute of your life and I truly hope that I can mirror your success story shortly :) Thanks for sharing your story, if more of us did, maybe the shame and guilt behind this disease wouldn’t be as powerful.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 25, 2011

Hi Sadrine, Thanks for your comment and for sharing your story. I wish you all the best with your recovery! xo

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Catherine October 4, 2011

Hi Angela,
This is a great blog, thanks so much for writing it! I’ve been struggling with my weight since my starting my undergrad 10 years ago and now a newly diagnosed milk allergy means being extra careful with what goes into my body. It’s kind of sucky actually, but reading your blog and seeing your photos gives me hope of getting my glow back. Thanks a lot!
Catherine

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 6, 2011

Thanks for your kind words Catherine, all the best!

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