Before + After

463 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!

{ 463 comments… read them below or add one }

Alix October 15, 2011

Wow. I found your website researching raw cookie recipes and read an incredibly familiar story. We are the same age, and have had very similar struggles with disordered eating and a difficult relationship with exercise, as well as experiences with the stresses of grad school and adjustment to life in the working world, and the powerful, monumental shift to a vegan lifestyle! I completely understand how much strength it takes to be true to yourself and to learn love and acceptance. Good for you for putting your story out there! From reading the comments on this page, you are obviously an inspiration to many. Keep it up!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 15, 2011

Thank you Alix, all the best!

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Rhiannon Lucente October 15, 2011

Angela, you are amazing & gorgeous! My fiancee (soon to be husband on Nov 11!) are opening a vegan/gluten free bakery within the next year, you are such an inspiration. I was so scared to leave my ‘cush’ job & take on a new endeavor but now I am confident we can do this.
Although my fiancee has just joined me in this amazing body loving lifestyle, I have been vegetarian for 10 years & recently followed the road to full vegan. We are total fitness geeks (I have a personal trainer certification) & we love to work out together or play hockey at least 3x a week; I just ran my 1st triathlon this year & got 3rd!
It is so refreshing to find people like you that still exist, life gets so difficult sometimes with people condemning the healthy road. Thank you for instilling in everyone that healthy can taste & feel good, best wishes!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 17, 2011

Thank you for your kind words….good luck to you with your new bakery! I wish you all the success :)

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Danielle October 15, 2011

You are so inspiring. My history with food and self-image is quite similar to yours, but I too recently began eating vegan and have a had a huge “awakening.” Sometimes I feel like not too many people understand why, or they do and poke fun at me (which is to be expected), so it’s nice to see someone with such a similar story as mine with such a positive outlook on it now! Thank you for sharing your story, I’m about to check out your recipes now!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 16, 2011

Thanks for your comment Danielle :) All the best!

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Tiffany @ texan on the run October 16, 2011

omg, where did you get that red top halter top in the picture in the kitchen??
it is soo cute!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 16, 2011

Thanks, I think it was from Bebe :)

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Laura October 19, 2011

It’s incredible how much happier you look towards the end of this post. You’re SO beautiful and incredibly inspiring. Thank you!

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Laura October 21, 2011

Hi there,

i find your story really personally motivating and similar to some of my journeys. I wanted to ask you, what is the business that you started? I love fitness health and cooking but haven’t found a way to incorporate this into any sort of job.

I’d love to hear it.

Thank you!!

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Lindsay Van Osten October 22, 2011

WOW. Being known as the lone vegan in the world of many of my friends, someone sent me your site today for all of your recipes and awesomeness. The photos are vibrant and everything is so fun! As I was wandering through, I thought, “This is a cute site!” Then I found this page. Seriously— WOW. I relate to you a remarkable degree. We even have the same weight fluctuation and timeline, but I seem to be a few years behind. I am now once again on the path to doing what is right for my body, and having read your story and seeing the visual proof is exactly what I needed at this moment! Wonderful site, I’ll be here often. Thank you, thank you!!

xoxo Lindsay

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Angela (Oh She Glows) October 22, 2011

Thank you for your kind words Lindsay! I’m happy that you found the blog. =)

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Edyta October 27, 2011

I just found your blog and I am in love. I also read your story and think it’s so fantastic how you were able to turn your life around, surpass your struggles and follow your passion. I wish you lots of success and happiness. I look forward to coming back learning more about you and trying out some of your delish recipies.

xo
Edyta

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Gabi October 28, 2011

Hi Angela!

I found your blog while looking for vegan cookie recipes. I can relate to your story so much, I’m really happy I found your blog. After a month in the hospital for the 3rd time, a vegan diet is what finnaly is helping me get out of an eating disorder that has been hauting me for too long already. I’m not 100%, but I feel good about myself. I’m learning to cook my own food and have fun with it. I feel strong and beautiful. I am happy. I had know idea I would bump into such a story. You’re the living proof I’m in the right path.

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Kimberly October 30, 2011

Hi, found your blog randomly. Congratulations for all you have accomplished and more power to you!

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Jenny November 1, 2011

Hi Angela!!

I love the transition and before/after pictures. I have been reading your blog for a while and although I am not a vegan, I truly love & enjoy your recipes and inspiration. I am a yoga instructor who has recently began a not for profit organization in Cape Cod, MA (USA) teaching yoga to those who cannot afford it.

I noticed through reading some of your first posts, that you got popular relatively quickly. I am wondering where you advertised and what you did to promote your blog in the first few months. I am trying to start a healthy living blog, mostly for my students, but also for the public, and would love some advice.

Thank you & Namaste~
Jenny

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Andri November 2, 2011

Hi There -

I was just reading your “About Me and Before/After” page after making your chocolate chip recipe for a very long time. I am going into the field of psychology and am wondering what made you think you’d like it when you first started and what were the things you didn’t like that you decided to leave? I realize you were in research and I’d like to do child psychology but I’d love to hear you perspective.

Thanks for keeping up with your blog and sharing recipes!

Hope 2011 was just as awesome as 2010!

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Jonathan Thomas November 2, 2011

I absolutely love your blog! I myself am trying to fight my eating disorder by eating a Vegan Diet. This blog is truly inspirational…..thank you so much!

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Melissa November 5, 2011

I found your site through your kale salad recipe!
I think this is the most amazing story ever and REALLY resonates with me. I moved to Toronto for grad school- have always struggled with health/weight/fitness balance.
And after losing a bunch of weight from stress, and also gaining some back (writing my comprehensive exams later this month!) I’m trying to find balance with my health and fitness.
Your story is super inspiring and you get more beautiful every year.
I can’t wait to hear more about your story.

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Marion November 6, 2011

Angela,
wow, you are inspiring! I loved reading your story and I felt such a closeness to you immediately. I am not there where you are yet, but I hope I will be there one day. I struggle with weight, with sports, food – it is constantly in my head and never going to stop. I will follow you and would love if you would follow me, too.
You look beautiful and – as your website says – GLOWING. Greetings from Austria, Vienna.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 6, 2011

Thank you Marion!

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Heidi Roberts November 7, 2011

Hi Angela – I continue to visit your site for inspiration and wonderful recipes! Last year you put out this list of vegan Thanksgiving recipes that was great! I am wondering if you have a good recipe for a vegan ‘tukey’ log. I know you are not a fan of tofu (I actually like it) and I have found several recipes for a Tofu-Turkey log, but many of them seem so bland! And of-coure Whole Foods sells Tofurkey but all of them have the stuffing in the middle. I just want a little log for myself…my family will only go so far with this on Thanksgiving and they demand a turkey!! :) So, I want to make a little log for myself!
HELP!

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Nicky D November 8, 2011

Your site is very refreshing! I am also vegan and try to live my life to the fullest despite its the many challenges. From reading you story your life reflects my mantra “It’s all in the way you look at things” When you change the way you look at something the easier it becomes to make the change. I’m struggling right now with getting back to a regimen of exercise and not because I have to but because I want to. Needless to say it can be really hard, because I just don’t feel like I have the time and then when I say I’m going to do it by the end of the day I find myself slacking and not following through. Can you offer some advide as to how I can begin to look at this exercise thing a little differently (smile)

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Selina November 9, 2011

You are such an inspriation and this practically brought me to tears! I see a lot of similarities in your journey compared to mine and I hope I can soon find the happy place that you’re in!

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Christy November 10, 2011

Angela, your story is inspiring. I look at you, and how darling you are (even at your top weight) and can’t believe you ever struggled with image issues. What a world we live in, where perfectly normal people obsess about weight and food until we make ourselves sick! (I’ve often said that if I spent as much time doing ANYTHING as I have obsessing about my weight, I’d rule the world! Not just one country… the whole effing world!!)
Thanks for sharing your story… I’m going to share your blog with some vegan friends of mine. And I love the Green Monster Movement blog as well!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 10, 2011

Thank you Christy!

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Taryn November 14, 2011

I love this website, especially this section! Good to know other girls also srtuggle with stress/food and finding a balance between exercising for fun vs exercising to burn cals. I think you are an inspiration and can’t wait to try out a few recipies too!

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CS November 16, 2011

Just wanted to let you know that, although I am not vegan, I’ve made quite a few of the recipes and love them. Each time I meet someone who says they are vegan, I refer them to your website for the recipes.

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missx December 2, 2011

Thanks for the inspiration :)

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Marsha December 6, 2011

Reading about what you went through sounds so much like my life. I have a love/hate relationship with food that has consumed me for over a decade. My eating disorders have had me thinking of food constantly. I love to cook and bake and love eating vegan, but still struggle because I cook non vegan foods for my husband and children most of the time. I have hated my body and my strong desire to eat for so long I wondered if it was possible to view myself differently. It is wonderful to see someone overcome these feelings and it gives me hope.

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Vivian December 8, 2011

Hi Angela, just to let you know that I love your blog and the recipes. I’m still struggling with trying to become a vegetarian. I hope I can sometime soon.
All the best!
Viv

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Val December 8, 2011

‘Happy to “meet” you and to explore your blog. I lost a lot of weight between 2007-2009 and have seen it go up and down since then. The healthy weight/better health journey is ongoing and life-long for me–as it is for everyone, I suppose. It is good that you are happy. My best wishes, and I’ll be following along now. :)

–Val

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CC December 8, 2011

Nice pictures! What kind of cat is that? It looks like a tiger

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Sophia December 9, 2011

Hi Angela,

I recently discovered your blog and was just blown away by your story. You are so brave to have changed your life in so many ways. Your story is encouraging and gives me hope for my own challenges.

Sophia

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 9, 2011

thank you Sophia! All the best

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Christine December 12, 2011

I have kind of a crazy question. I’ve been eating clean off and on for the last few months. I’ve been doing a cleanse for two weeks which is amazing – only whole, organic foods and no funny beverages (i.e. fake lemonade with paprika). I feel great, but I gain the weight I have lost if I stray just a bit. I struggle with what I should eat every day, since I get board. Is there anyway you could post your meals for the week, just so I could get some ideas?

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janet December 14, 2011

I came across your blog looking for ways to cook venison(!?) It was actually a wait, what is this site. . .I fixed the Mac&Cheese w/ butternut squash for a potluck. It was delicious right out of the pot! It was good after sitting in my rice steamer warmer for an hour, and it was okay yesterday reheated for lunch. I made it for my vegan and celiac friends, and to make sure I had something I could eat. Remember the venison? Cooked about 35-50 back-strap and tenderloin to serve at same potluck. Most of both dishes were gone by the time to go home.
I have a friend who just moved to Toronto to go to the Naturopathic School there. Heather Toney. Watch for her. She is the sweetest. I hope you can meet her, Angela! I know Toronto is huge, we have other friends in the area.
I am working at a vegan diet for recovery from stage 4- really bad breast cancer. It seems that plant-based meals keep me feeling stronger and healthier. I do not run marathons, but AM inspired by your journey! Looking forward to more cooking with you! Thank you.

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Michele December 15, 2011

I found your website by accident when looking up Larabar recipes. I have dabbled with vegan recipes for the last 6 months and I can definitely say I am excited to try some of your recipes. Other vegan sites are quite strange. But I could eat this food. Thanks for the encouragement. you do glow with happiness.

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Kristina December 18, 2011

Your lifestyle changes are such an inspiration! You look absolutely beautiful & glowing! I am a pre-med graduate student myself, and can really relate to your journey and learning to be at peace with food, fitness, & my body. I am not all the way there yet, but steadily making my way. Thank you for sharing your story!

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lisa December 20, 2011

I’m from New Brunswick too! : )

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Pat December 23, 2011

So glad to see that you are so close to me (I’m in Acton). I’ve been struggling to stick to a vegan diet, but have decided that 2012 is going to be my year to get my act together! By the way, LOVE the picture of you and your cat…what breed is (s)he? Looks like a kitty ocelot!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) December 23, 2011

Thanks Pat, Sketchie is a Bengal

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maggie January 2, 2012

I loved your hair red and that cat is amazing. Thank you for sharing your struggles. I am forwarding your blog to my daughter. She is a vegan and I think she will find some great food ideas on here! Thanks!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 3, 2012

Thanks Maggie!

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Stef January 2, 2012

Wow~ I really love your journey. Thanks for sharing. I feel so many people struggle with the same things you did, including myself. I am so happy to read your story!
You look amazing, wishing you all the best. FYI — I love your blog!

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Ronya Williams January 4, 2012

You are aboslutely stunning!! You site has really inspired me! I am very 5 feet and weigh about 113 lbs but struggle to look a certain way. (slim with noticable abs) I want to know how did you one day just say , ” hey I’m not going to trip off how I look and enjoy life”. ????? I enjoy life alright! I just recently became a vegan because I have sooo many stomach issues. Changing my diet has really helped, but after reading you story it has really inspired me to just love me regardless of how I look.

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Wendy Clark January 5, 2012

You are gorgeous at any weight…but congratulations for focusing on your health! You are so inspiring — thanks for sharing your gifts. I’m sharing your site with my two little girls as an example of what comes of doing what you love (and eating healthy!). Blessings to you in the coming year!

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Jaime January 5, 2012

I relate to this so so much. thank you for taking the time to write this blog…I literally planned on changing everything tomorrow…and you have made it less scary for me now :)

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Emilie January 6, 2012

Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with readers! This is a great blog :)

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Cheryl January 7, 2012

Wow what a story. At 66, I’m just starting on your vegan journey. Have been “into nutrition” and fitness for several years, but just recently (after LOTS of searching, reading, and digging further) decided that vegan is definitely the way to go foodwise. So, just remember that you are not only an inspirition to young ladies… so can also teach us “we’re not getting older – we’re getting better” ladies a thing or two.
Thanks again,
Cheryl

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 7, 2012

Hi Cheryl, so nice to meet you! Thanks for your kind words. Wishing you a great 2012!

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