Before and After Pictures

Update 9/2014: This post was written in 2009. I’ve since had two more children & gone through the fluctuations of pregnancy gain & post-pregnancy loss. Check out this page for the most recent update on weight gain/loss, as well as workouts, posts on body image & more. 

I knew this day would eventually come. The day when I post “before” and “after” pictures.
I have been reluctant to do so for a few reasons. #1) How vain! #2) I don’t advocate this way of eating to lose weight, simply as the next fad diet. It’s a long-term commitment (for life), or at least should be, and really it’s a lifestyle, a paradigm shift. It’s about taking care of your body, achieving wellness and health; losing and then maintaining your ideal weight just happen to be icing on the cake, a fringe benefit.

That said, a few people have been curious as to what I looked like before I changed my diet.

I was never overweight, although close to it. I had a BMI of 25, now it’s around 19-20. I’m 5’9″ish so losing 40 lbs. doesn’t have the same impact as for someone who is 5’3″.
I want to make it clear I did not set out to lose weight. Initially I began to transition to a plant-based diet for health reasons (I didn’t want to get high blood pressure during my 2nd pregnancy and read some research that it could be prevented with a plant-based diet).
And to be honest, I really thought I could not lose any more weight (when I weighed around 170 lbs.). I had tried to lose weight, and was always health conscious and an avid exerciser, but the weight I had gained during my college years just didn’t seem to want to come off. Until I switched to a low-fat whole foods vegan diet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 → Why vegan? I answer 65+ questions about a vegan diet
in my ebook, Vegan Answered

 

The picture where I’m wearing curlers….yikes! Granted, I’m pregnant at the time, wearing no make-up, but seriously, don’t let me out of the house looking like this!

The first picture is more typical of how I used to look–size 12, 170 lbs.
Not obese, or even overweight necessarily…but now I feel that I’m at the weight I am supposed to be. The weight at which I feel best. I’m now somewhere between 140-150 lbs., depending on the day, and a size 4-6, for the most part. I don’t tell you this to brag, just stating it as a fact, and again, as I said before, my intention was never to become a size 4 (I didn’t actually think that was possible!), it just happened.
I can move better. I’m lighter.

This picture was taken about 6 months after my 3rd child. Nice to be thinner than I was in high school after having 3 babies in 4 years. No way could I have done this through “dieting.”

→ Check out my ebook, Simple: 15 gluten-free & vegan recipes,
for some of our family’s tried & true favorite foods,
as well as the companion 28 day meal plan.

To maintain my weight, I don’t count calories or tabulate protein or carbs. I simply eat when I’m hungry and don’t eat when I’m not. I eat an abundance of varied foods.
My diet (check out my recipe index, here) consists of primarily starches with as much green leafies and other vegetables I can manage to fit in. Fruits & legumes acts as condiments and occasionally I’ll have nuts/seeds. I generally stay away from refined sugars & processed foods. That’s it.
And I don’t have to worry about my weight fluctuating much. I still feel the same as I did when I was 35-40 lbs. heavier, but my body seems to be happier at this weight.
I’m not thin because I starve myself or have extreme self-control and can eat small portions (quite the opposite).
I’m now much leaner than I used to be because I changed the composition of my foods. That’s really what it comes down to.
And I don’t continue to eat this way only because I’m able to stay slim. There are so many other ways of eating that could meet this goal. I continue to eat this way, because it makes me feel good, & it’s a way of eating that is aligned with my values.
I like the way I eat and I feel great. I would not ever go back to constantly feeling bloated and lethargic.
So hopefully that’s enough to satisfy your curiosity. (That is assuming you were curious in the first place, of course.)
Other bring joy posts you may want to check out:
→ Curious about how I lost weight while improving my energy & overall health?
I explain what & how I eat, how to lose weight, & include lots of my fave, easy gluten-free & vegan recipes in my ebook, Fit, Strong, Lean: The Diet & how I exercise in the companion ebook, Fit, Strong, Lean: The Fitness Plan.  fit-strong-lean-ad

Comments


  1. cheyanne
    on November 3, 2014 at 4:17 pm said:

    That`s amazing! I have lost 10 pounds in the last month due to just waiting to eat until I’m actually hungry (like hearing my stomach growl), i feel so much better in my body!

  2. Rebekah
    on November 11, 2013 at 10:23 am said:

    Thanks for sharing this! I am a similar height to you (5’10”) and a couple of years ago, after having three kids, my weight was at an all time high of 180 lbs. (I weighed 140-145 ish in college.) I eat a 98% vegan diet and have for years, but I do admit to baking my stress away a little too often. I’ve lost 20 pounds over the past 2 years and have stabilized around 160, mainly through intermittent food tracking/calorie counting. I am feeling really inspired reading your blog, especially the part about you reaching your lean and comfortable body weight through hunger-based eating. I am curious about the no oil aspect of your diet – is this something you adhere to strictly? Do you think it is a critical part of your ability to maintain such a lean body weight?

    • Janae Wise
      on November 11, 2013 at 10:35 am said:

      I actually am no longer no-oil. I did that for a few years, but as my kids have gotten older & I’ve matured, I’ve realized it’s not necessary to completely avoid oils. I’ve talked about this intermittently over the past few years, but I should do an updated post so it’s clear where I stand, which is–for most people (ie. relatively healthy people with no heart disease or issues with obesity) small amounts of oils added to already very healthy plant based meals shouldn’t be a problem. Thanks for bringing that issue up–it’s been something I’ve needed to address for awhile.

      (I too love to bake to relieve stress! It’s fun & cathartic.)

    • Janae Wise
      on November 11, 2013 at 10:36 am said:

      Also, I talk a little bit about my shift in including more calorie-dense foods in this post: http://bring-joy.com/2013/02/15/curves/

  3. Whole Foods Vegan Momma
    on February 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm said:

    Sarah: Congrats on the switch! You do need to give your body some time to adjust. My weight loss was gradual–about 1 pound a week. But I guess that depends on what weight loss we are looking at since I've had a lot of babies since I first went vegan! Most important thing in weight loss is creating that calorie deficet–if that ain't happening, there won't be any weight loss, regardless of whether or not your eating all plants or no.

  4. Richard & Sarah Moore
    on February 3, 2012 at 5:05 am said:

    After years of dabbling in a plant-based diet, but always falling back to my omni ways, I've officially taken the plunge, and am enjoying a vegan diet. I don't call myself a true vegan, because I will occasionally eat seafood without feeling bad, and on occasion, I might enjoy honey. Other than that, I'm dairy and meat free. My body feels so much better! I have weight to lose after my last baby, but I am not making the change in my eating to lose weight; rather, I want to FEEL better. And I already do after just four weeks of eating this way (I also cut out sugar and processed foods at the same time). I was curious – how long did you eat in the new way before you really saw the drastic changes in your body? Did you end up that thin after a year of eating vegan, or was it much faster? I'm asking, because some days I don't think I get enough calories, and I end up adding some almonds or tofu at the end of the day to up my caloric intake. Is this normal? After four weeks, I've learned to listen to my body better – some days I'm not that hungry, other days I'm hungry all day! I've probably lost about 12 lbs or so, and I already feel years younger and a little more like my "old self". Thanks for taking the time to post recipes and inspire many young mothers to start changing their approach to food sooner, rather than later 🙂

  5. kami
    on October 27, 2010 at 5:59 pm said:

    I loved this post. Found your blog through Carrie's. I am very much like you. I now eat a plant-based whole foods diet (not vegan but do not eat animal products very often). At my heaviest I was 150 lbs (5'5) and now after having two children, I am 115 lbs. I never thought I'd be this weight (haven't been this thin since I was at least 15) but I feel amazing. And I am by no means on a diet. I don't count calories. I don't do anything like that. I simply eat whole, real food and I eat until I'm satisfied. I actually eat a lot (I am breastfeeding currently and have been for the past 2 1/2 years through both kiddos). I feel so much better now. I have more energy than I have ever had in my life. My friends/family see me and comment on how thin I am and say "do you even work at it?" And I have to say…"well YEAH! It's not like I diet but I eat reeeeeaaaaaalllly healthy and am as active as I can be." I am glad they are noticing a difference in me and I hope that I can be an example to them of the power that food has! Thanks for your blog…I'm loving having found a like-minded friend 🙂

  6. Nadia
    on May 1, 2009 at 9:55 pm said:

    Fantastic story! I agree with Vegan Nutritionista, more people need to here these stories. There isn’t enough information out there on healthy living. I started my website www.agoodcleanlife.com for this very reason.About the dairy, I agree with you 100%. I firmly believe it should be the first to go before meat. I was a vegetarian for years and the difference I felt after removing dairy products from my diet is nothing short of incredible. Great blog! I found you through Dreena’s recent post. Will visit again soon.

  7. Christie
    on April 28, 2009 at 1:54 am said:

    You look great– I do not beleive I will ever become a vegan but I will cut back on the sugar, and eat more veggies.Thanks!

  8. Vegan Nutritionista
    on April 27, 2009 at 5:14 pm said:

    Hi Whole Foods Vegan Momma,I’ve been searching all over your blog for your email, but can’t find it anywhere. In case you are trying to keep it secret, I wanted to see if you would email me on my contact form at http://www.vegan-nutritionista.com/contact-me.html so I could ask you a quick private question. I would really appreciate it– I truly find your story inspiring.

  9. Vegan Mothering
    on April 27, 2009 at 1:20 pm said:

    Thanks for the comments everyone.The exciting thing is, that every one can have a story of transformation. It’s not limited to any particular type of person. I’m inspired by you all who are dedicated to finding out what is best for you. Way to go!As for dairy products, I firmly believe they should be the first thing to go, even before meat, which is kind of ironic because most people do the opposite: become vegetarian then rely heavily on eggs, butter, and milk, which is not a very good dietary move. I think it’s much better to cut out dairy and have small amounts of meat occasionally than to go the other route and replace all meat you used to eat with equal amounts of dairy products…

  10. ann
    on April 26, 2009 at 8:41 pm said:

    Thanks that was awesome! I always find it so amazing how the body responds when you cut out dairy and start eating more plant foods. You lose that extra puffy layer and the real “you” comes out. I’ve had the same results when I similarly changed my diet, 30-40 pounds just easily and gradually come off and your face thins out so much. Thanks for the inspiration! I’m getting back to that place again so I need it. :)No I don’t label myself as vegan, because I will eat various animal products on different occasions, but I pretty much just make and eat plant foods for myself for everyday eating.

  11. Abbie
    on April 26, 2009 at 4:25 pm said:

    I agree with Vegan Nutritionista… very inspiring and I really appreciate how you don’t approach it as a “diet” (which always fail in my opinion) but as a lifestyle. I’m still loving your blog!!

  12. Deja
    on April 26, 2009 at 1:57 pm said:

    What a powerful story, Janae. And you look GREAT!

  13. Vegan Nutritionista
    on April 26, 2009 at 1:37 pm said:

    This is truly an inspiring post. I have many, many people who ask me about how to achieve weight loss through a vegan diet. The advice I give them is exactly the same as you- don’t approach it as a “diet,” do it for a life change, focus on whole vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and legumes, eat nuts and seeds as snacks, etc. More people need to hear stories like yours to help them along their way. Thank you!