The story of the month for June 2011 comes from Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows.
I was introduced to Angela’s recipes, her wonderful site and health journey thanks to a friend. Up to 2011 Angela used to create many healthy, vegan treats via her Glo Bakery, like her Glo Bars. Her recipes are plant-based, whole-food and natural, making eating a delight for one’s health and taste buds!
I got to know Angela’s journey and how she completely changed her life around to enjoy a more mindful, natural, healthy and fulfilling way of life. Below Angela shares her story of change with us all and how she overcame compulsive weight and eating habits that took away from her health and quality of life.
She offers hope and inspiration for us all that change is possible, and here is how Angela did it:
Area(s) of My Health and Wellness that Needed Change
I struggled with disordered eating (restriction, binge eating, and over-exercising) for about 10 years of my life before I was ready to make a change. I was unhappy with myself and my weight constantly went up and down for years. It took me such a long time to change because I didn’t believe that I could change. I thought that I was going to be starving myself, binge eating, and punishing myself with exercise for the rest of my life.
Shortly after my 25th birthday, I decided that I wanted to change my life. In part, it was my healthy living blog, Ohsheglows.com, that made me believe that I could be happy. My readers gave me so much support and also the encouragement that I needed. I was sick of my low self-esteem and I didn’t want to waste another 10 years of my life worrying about food and weight. From then on, I committed to getting healthy. It was a very slow process for me to change the behaviours that I had ingrained into myself for years, but over time I was able to make small steps that added up.
After 2 years, I am happy to say that I have completely changed my life around. I am happy, healthy, and I no longer worry about calories or my weight. During this time, I also left an unfufilling career and started my own online bakery and I continue to blog daily. I am a firm believer that positivity creates more positivity and after I started to make positive changes, it became easier and easier for me not to fall back into my old ways!
Strategies I Implemented & Their Results
The first changes I made were to get rid of the scale and to stop counting calories. Both were much more difficult to give up than I ever imagined. It was very hard for me not to weigh myself because I had been weighing myself every day for the past 10 years. I had to put the scale in storage and learned to focus less on numbers and more on how I felt.
Along the same lines, I also decided to stop counting calories. Instead, I wanted to focus on my hunger signals (something I had denied for so long) and what my body was telling me. It took me about 1 year to finally stop automatically counting calories and to actually figure out how to tell when I was hungry. When I started listening to my hunger signals more, I was slowly able to stop binge eating as well. Because I was not starving myself, my body did not feel the need to binge eat.
I also worked on my self-esteem by seeing a therapist and this help me cut down emotional eating and poor coping methods. It took about 1 year before I could confidently say that I didn’t have any urges to binge eat. Yes, I still occasionally overeat, but I think it is only human nature to over eat once in a while. The main point is that it doesn’t lead to a binge anymore.
How My Changes Benefitted Me
I can’t say enough how much my life has changed for the better since I committed to beating my obsession with weight and food. I feel like a new person. My mind is no longer consumed by negative thoughts or numbers and for the first time in my life, I have created many hobbies in my life.
My hobby used to be my eating disorder, but now my life is so full and I feel excited when I wake up each day. I have found a passion for baking and cooking, photography, running, hiking, gardening, writing, and so much more. I don’t think this would have been possible if I had not committed to creating happiness in my life.
Next Steps on My Health and Wellness Journey
I love goal setting, especially now that my goals are positive instead of negative. In the past, my goals used to be to lose an unhealthy amount of weight in a short time or to eat as few calories as possible. Or to burn ‘x’ amount of calories at the gym.
Now my goals are fun and positive and they give me excitement about the future and also challenge me to grow. Right now one of my goals is to plant a vegetable garden. I have a horrible ‘black thumb’, but I want to learn.
Another goal of mine is to try hot yoga and begin doing yoga on a regular basis. I also want to get back into Body Pump weight classes that I used to do on a regular basis. I love to challenge my body in new ways instead of punishing it or getting down on myself for not being ‘perfect’.
Wisdom & Inspiration for Others
My advice is to always believe that you can change. I never thought that I could be free from obsessing about food and weight, but I was wrong. Anyone can take small steps each day to move in the right direction. Many of us fall into negative habits or patterns and overtime, we don’t see any way out.
It is also important to realize that you will slip up and have bad days. I have had many setbacks along my journey (and still do!), but I have realized that it is normal to struggle at times. Life has ups and downs for everyone, but that doesn’t mean that you are a failure. It just means you are human and it also makes me appreciate the good times even more. Life is beautiful.