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. :)

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!

{ 462 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicki July 31, 2012

I usually read your blog through my RSS feed but clicked onto the site to see the new look. It is fantastic. But I had a chance to scroll through your journey. I need to say that you are a beautiful person. And it radiates from the inside. The happier and more fulfilled you have become, the more lovely you are.

Reply

maryam August 2, 2012

hello angela
what a great and insperational story
i have no idea how i found your website i guess i was looking for a vegan cracker recipie :P
ive always knew that i wanted to be vegan but all of my attempts failed due to lack of knowledge. i didnt know any good vegan recipies so i was repeating the only ones i knew and it got boring. my recipies were also very simple and plain and i wasnt getting all the nutretions so instead of having a vegan diet to empower me i felt weak instead.

im sorry for writting my life story lol im just so happy to find your website and im welling to by a notebook an and copy all the recipies that i liked to it with pictures ! im so exited.

thank you for such great website

p.s: im curious about your height lol can you tell me plz

Reply

Hayley August 6, 2012

I just came across your blog and wow, I already know I am going to read it every day! Truly inspiring. I have had an up and down relationship with food in my past too. I finally am at such a healthy happy place right now, everything you said on this page has rang true to me at one point too! Its always nice to hear that you aren’t alone in your past struggles, but more importantly that we are strong and can overcome them!!

Reply

Anna August 7, 2012

Hi,
What a great story you have! I have been looking for vegan, gluten free, sugar, dairy and most other things free recipes. Due to a super eliminating diet after discovering I am fighting Intenstinal Dysbisosis due to Candida overgrowth. I am a professional pastry chef and love baking and food in general. So this diet change is not easy for me. But I’m inspirered by blogs like yours! Thank you and keep posting!

Reply

Fern August 7, 2012

This has spoken to me in more ways than one! Thank you for sharing :-)

Reply

kate August 8, 2012

I just found you and your blog. I am SO impressed and you’re so encouraging! I’ll be checking back frequently! :) Thanks!!!

Reply

Hanna August 9, 2012

Hi Angela
I’m a pretty healthy eater, make most of my meals vegan or vegetarian. But I’m struggling becoming one completely because my boyfriend is so anti-vegetarian. He thinks it’s completely stupid and is saying that he will put meat in what I make. I try to explain why I’m becoming one completely, but he doesn’t want to listen to any facts and desn’t care how animals are treated.
Just wondering what I should do and if anyone else have been in the same place. :)

Reply

Carol Treacy August 14, 2012

Hi,

I just read Hanna’s comment and it brings back heart-breaking memories of when my son, who was vegetarian before birth (yes, as a fetus!), decided to start eating meat and dairy when he was 9. He used to lecture people on how factory farmed animals suffered but when he turned, he turned big time! He even talked about hunting. I think the influence of his peers,none of whom were vegetarian, had a lot to do with it. Most men are very threatened by a vegetarian/vegan diet. They feel it’s completely emasculating and they couldn’t bear the taunting and ostracism of their friends and family. Can you imagine a man not completely comfortable with his masculinity going to an old-fashioned BBQ, complete with steaks, burgers and hot dogs, asking the chef to stick a veggie burger on the grill for him? Yeah, me neither.

For your boyfriend to call not eating meat stupid doesn’t even make sense. Has he seen the movies Forks over Knives or Earthlings? I feel for you and hope you can either endure his criticisms or find someone who understands and appreciates your compassion toward animals.

Reply

Becky Reihm August 20, 2012

I want to tell you that in searching google for Vegan blog sites, your blog popped up. I happened to read your “About Me” section, and cannot tell you that I feel like we are literally just alike. We are the exact same size, and I have been going through all the same motions of under eating, too low of body fat, binge eating, and self loathing, followed by finding a love for cooking a vegetarian diet, and running/hot yoga/hiking. I finally threw away my scale a few months ago, and it must have been the best thing that I could have done for my mental health. While each day it is a struggle to accept being a healthier size, I aspire to continue to be more positive as you have done. Thank you for sharing your story!!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) August 20, 2012

Hey Becky, Thank you so much. I’m so happier to hear you are getting on a healthier path. Goodluck!

Reply

Valarie Matlock August 20, 2012

WOW I am not sure how I found your page. but I have just been inspired. Thank you.

Reply

Christy August 21, 2012

So glad I found your blog through pintrest. I am really looking forward to making the baked oatmeal. I have been on a similar journey as you have and have about 8 months ago decided enough of the madness!!! SO I started clean eating and running again and went from 183 LBS (from Atlanta, GA USA area :) to a very lean 115 machine. I have never felt better in my life. I realized all the junk that I was putting in my body was awful and with a 9 year old looking on, I knew it was time to change. I had lost a lot of weight years ago but as with any “diet” it comes back on. This time. it is a total life change. Thanks for your blog and I am beginning my training for my very first half marathon in Feb 2013. Keep up the awesomeness!

Reply

leah August 22, 2012

What made the click in your head to stop the vicious binge-starve cycle? Can you offer some advice on how to finally make the transition out of that for once and for all?

Reply

Charise August 23, 2012

I had a friend tell me about your facebook page and I am so glad she did. Your story is really inspiring to me and so encouraging. Especially the part about not counting calories and weighing yourself on a scale. I so needed to read that. I am new to this whole healthy eating thing and I want to have a different mindset about nutrition so that I can enjoy my life and not obsess about calories or freak out about what I put in my mouth. I look forward to reading more and learning more from you on your blog and facebook page. Blessings, Charise
p.s. your wedding pictures are stunning! :)

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) August 23, 2012

Hey Charise, Thank you so much for your comment! Goodluck with all of your goals & changes. You can do it!

Reply

Carmen Francisco August 23, 2012

I randomly crossed by your page and I simply love it I am from Venezuela but I have a lot of friend from canada, indeed i will go to toronto to run my first 21k half marathon the14th octuber you have been a crucial inspiration in my not easy path of becoming a vegeterian and finally a vegan, I am still triying but in my country there are not many organic food as in Canada still triying though. Thanks for everything :)

Reply

Pamela in Calgary, AB August 24, 2012

Hi there Angela,

I just found your website and I’m delighted I did. You truly do GLOW and your honesty in your journey to now was inspiring. I am starting to lean towards a vegan diet – meat seems to have suddenly become nauseating to me when I try to eat it, and pork and chicken are losing their flavour for me as well. I have several long term health issues happening, including Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis in all my major joints and chronic pelvic pain that nothing seems to work for. It is my hope that by cleaning up my diet, I may be able to restore my body to a healthier state. I’ll be trying some of your recipes and using your story as my motivation. Thanks!!!

Reply

Megan August 31, 2012

I just wanted to say that every time I read this I feel inspired! I want to learn to love running as well and just to be happy with everything! :) I wish you the best!

Reply

Alice September 3, 2012

After reading your moving story of healing, I feel like I began to understand some of my own truths. The problem lies, I suppose, in what I realize to be my damaged self-perception. I am wholly incapable of seeing myself. If there is self-knowledge it has only been acquired through prisms and eavesdropped fragments mirrored to me through others. I have no idea what I look like to the world, or what the reality of me is. I fixate on my body, then, as the most primitive representation of what I am. And because I am unable to see any other feature of myself I attempt to create an identity through my body, through distinguishing myself from others in the strictly physical realm, an intention that presents itself as a need to be thinner than anyone around me. This creates the violent restrictions, the famished binges, the guilt and shame, the self-hatred, et cetera. Unfortunately even in the mirror I can only intake decidedly mutated observations. I cannot see my body; in fact, I have watched my reflection literally melt from something unbearably disfigured and ugly into someone altogether different (pretty, even), a phenomenon driven by my moods and distractions.
I am beginning to realize that I have body dysmorphia to the point where I have no idea if I look fat or not. But still sadder, I have no idea if I am talented, intelligent, interesting, compassionate, likeable—I have no idea who I am. And over the years I have brushed aside this glaring hole in my perception of reality and created a unidimensional madhouse of food obsession, evil internal dialogue, and emotional self-harm.
I would like to create for myself a new life, I want to create for myself a new identity. I would like to introduce myself to the person inside me. I want to be her nourishing energy. I want to tell her that she can eat when she is hungry and accept her body because it is only one one-millionth of her identity. No: I say it has no part at all in her identity. The body is mutable, it is defatigable, it is transient. It is not who she is – she is a column of gold housed in ribbons of flesh.
“Understand that the body is merely the foam of a wave, The shadow of a shadow.”

Reply

Dan September 9, 2012

I was looking for vegan tomato recipes and found your site. I too mourn tomatoes when the summer yield is done. I noticed there are not many men commenting on this site :)

Glad I found it, love your recipes and I am going to buy your book!

Thanks!

Dan

Reply

Jennifer Wright September 10, 2012

Hi Angela! Found you today on Twitter and glad I did. I’m just starting my journey of wellness. I started a blog about weight loss on Saturday & rec’d a lot of encouragement. Looking forward to reading all of your blog. Jenny Jo

Reply

Cristy September 23, 2012

Hi Angela!
I came upon your blog from an Instagram post (actually, it was a comment made on an IG post, a link was given to a blog you did on hummus which I’m making once I get my tahini) and I’m very happy that I did! :) I am working on achieving AND maintaining a healthy weight – one that I’m comfortable in – and so far, I didn’t get good results yet. I have hope though and I understand that I have to work at getting that comfortable weight. I have bookmarked your blog and will be coming back for more and more. I want to experiment on a plant-based diet and I think I will find great resources in your website. Thank you and have a great week ahead! :)
~Cristy

Reply

Bea Gracey September 29, 2012

I admire your courage in putting yourself out there for all to see.

Reply

Wendy October 11, 2012

Hi Angela, Thank you for sharing your story, I have bookmarked you and I can’t wait to try your pecan crusted pumpkin pie, and will be perusing your site often, Happy fall.

Reply

Rose October 18, 2012

I was on pinterest, and I got linked to your site. I’m glad I did! For years, I’ve always been an exercise “junkie”, working out seven days a week and being supremely hard on myself, if I didn’t get at least that cardio in. I was always concerned with my weight and to this day its still a struggle, but I’m working on it. To read that you had the same issues that I do lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders. I’ve talked to more than one Dr, and they all said its just anxiety my weight is normal…etc. That I did not have an eating disorder. I’m aware that my eating habits are not normal, I count calories all day and have been doing so for a little over a year..it drives me crazy when i don’t know what the calorie content is on something. Then the inevitable happens. I only consume less than 500 cal before evening, I know my body needs a certain amount and I binge. I weigh myself every day. And you’re right noone really understands how you feel inside. For me, its also a control thing. I can’t control what happens in day to day things, but I can control this.
However, I’m glad I’m aware of myself to know this is not healthy, and I’m working on it.
So thank you, for being brave, for inspiring me and I’m sure countless others, and for your good eats…

Reply

Briana October 20, 2012

You are so inspiring!! I can’t wait to keep reading about your journey.

Reply

Bree October 26, 2012

It was hard for me to read about your struggles. I think so many can relate to them. But I am very happy that you have found your glow! You are truly beautiful, inside and out!

Reply

Cariel October 30, 2012

This is my first time visiting your site and what an inspiration, truly! I have just completed my first detox and am starting to get to a healthier place in my life. I am rounding the corner to the big 3-0 next month and wanted to go into this next stage of my life in the healthiest way possible, both mentally and physically. Thank you for sharing your experience and recipies!

Reply

Susan November 2, 2012

Very inspirational! Thank you for sharing your story and your journey. I’m glad to have found your website today – your story is very encouraging to those struggling with life’s issues. Looking forward to your cookbook!

Reply

Rober D. November 6, 2012

Wow, all these ladies (comments) here… well, let me just say you inspire both genders. I have been a lacta/ova vegetarian for almost 50 years and it was never a challenge. Now moving to vegan and glutton-free for my wife, it is a whole different story. But we’ll see. I think your yummy recipes will be a big help. Thank you, Angela, for all that you do.

P.S. It is so nice to see you with so many photos of your hubby.

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) November 7, 2012

I’m happy to have you reading! Thanks for your comment.

Reply

Sarah November 8, 2012

You are such an inspiration to me. I’m a college freshman recovering from an eating disorder that I’ve also had since I was 12. I am so impressed by your achievements and wish you the best!!

Reply

Veronica November 15, 2012

Wow! It’s like you grow YOUNGER every year! Very inspirational thak you for sharing your story with us. :-)

Reply

Deanna November 15, 2012

The amazing thing about your photo journey is that you don’t even need to say which ones are your low points. You might be smiling in every picture, but you’re smiling *and* beaming *and* glowing in your most recent pictures. I want that.

Reply

Nancye November 23, 2012

While you are being kind to your body, you are teaching me to be kind to mine. It was the boost I needed, and after reading your journey, you’ve started me on mine, quite an achievement on your part. I have an ailing body, with many health issues. I am of course a lot older than you, but we are never to old to learn, so a big thank you for the inspiration, and I can only wish better days ahead. Continue on in your journey, and I wish you much happiness along the way….

Nancye…

Reply

Emeline November 24, 2012

Hi Angela,

Thank you so much for sharing your story, it is very inspirational.
I too have suffered with an eating disorder for many years and actually I’m in a very bad place at the moment where I feel I am starting to fall back into it. It is such a horrible experience and makes me so uneasy with myself. I was training for a half marathon but I couldn’t do it because training was becoming so difficult when I eat so little. I don’t really know what to do.

But I really appreciate your honesty.

Thank you,
Emeline

Reply

Christiane November 25, 2012

Angela, you are an inspiration for everyone who has a struggle with eating. Thank you for being courageous in sharing your story, for persevering and for using your biggest struggle and morphing it into a productive, beautiful talent. You are such a beautiful person! Thank you for giving me hope and more importantly, direction for a healthy vegan lifestyle.

Reply

Tammie November 30, 2012

A friend shared your site with me as she knows I too have stuggles with food. Having IBS and gluten issues have been tough. I am excited to try your recipes and I love to cook. I’ve have been trying to keep a plant based diet and am getting more and more towards a Vegan diet. I too am Canadian but living in Seattle. Thank you for sharing your story and your pictures. It’s very inspiring !! Thank you Angela and Happy Holidays to you and your family. I look forward to following your blog and learning more ways to be healthier.

Reply

Vegan Radhika Sarohia December 16, 2012

Had never seen this part of your site, though I’ve been making recipes from here and commenting for a while. I think I found your site while Googlinf various vegan recipes, and I love so many of the dishes you’ve featured!
Very glad to read abt your journey, sounds like you are in a much better place now, that’s so cool! I hope stuff just gets better and better from here on out
Anyway sites like yours make being vegan so much easier! Vegan community is so lucky to have bloggers like you.
I love making vegan foods for myself at home, now I just have to be less lazy and try and help out animal sanctuary and such hehe

Reply

Kathy Steger @FoodWineThyme January 1, 2013

You story is truly inspirational. Congratulations and you look fantastic.

Reply

Cruz Gutierrez-Austin January 2, 2013

Dear Angela,
What a blessing your story is for me… a great way to start the New Year 2013.
I’m new to Pinterest and have been primarily searching during Christmas vacation to find out about healthier eating for myself as well as children diagnosed with autism and Lyme disease. Thank you soooo much for creating such a loving “cyber-place” where I can stop and believe in the genuineness of your purpose for creating it. And…free…that allows me to learn and attempt to change my eating habits without the added pressure of cost! May your journey continually enjoy a reciprocation of blessings for your willingness to help others learn about healthier eating. Sincerely, Cruz

Reply

Romana Grimm January 4, 2013

Angela, you really were always pretty, but the others are right – now you truly glow. :-) It’s so wonderful to see people getting healthier and happier. Thanks for telling us your story!

Cheers from Germany,

Romana

Reply

Sheena January 5, 2013

Angela, you are such an inspiration for me right now. I am so glad that I have found your website; it is helping me get back on track with my everyday struggles of going back to being a vegan. I was vegan for about five years until in 2010 someone really close to me passed away. I lost my way, and ever since 2010 I’ve been fighting this battle with food.
I found Oh how she glows when I was looking for vegan deserts to make during Christmas time, and the rest is history. Thank You for sharing your story!

Best Regards,
Sheena

Reply

Page 8 of 10« First...«678910»

Leave a Comment