I wasn’t happy.

Up until recently I’ve never really been happy with my body, but I guess who really is besides tall and slender girls (and I’m sure even they have their moments).
When I was 21 (I’m 24 now) I decided that I wasn’t happy with how I looked. I wanted to make a change but being 21 I wasn’t really motivated to do anything healthy. I was also ignorant to healthy eating and just how horrible my diet was. I would literally eat Mexican food covered in cheese and then go out and eat ice cream with friends (thinking about that now makes me sick). But I couldn’t really help it, no one was there to tell me, “Hey…. you’re eating like crap. Your metabolism is going to slow down when you get older and you’re going to blow up like a balloon.” Also, I was raised on that fried southern diet and fast-food.
When I first decided to make a change it was by doing Advocare. Now, before any of you think that this is a blog post promoting some company… it’s not. At all. I do appreciate everything Advocare did for me in the beginning but I would never do it again (if you keep reading you’ll know why). It helped me get motivated to workout and it also helped me drop 15lbs in 24 days. It was crazy and I couldn’t believe how much weight I lost in such a short amount of time (I could fit into my prom dress again)!
But it wasn’t permanent. 


Like with any weight-loss company, there are supplements you take to help boost everything your body needs to get energized and drop weight. There are also diet plans that are hard for any immature 21 year old like myself at the time to follow. I did stick with it though, didn’t cheat once, and the results were amazing. But as soon as I stopped taking their supplements and couldn’t handle working out everyday on a strict schedule (at this time I was in school and doing photography full-time), I started to gain the weight right back and it really bummed me out.
Life went on and even though my diet and my work out schedule wasn’t as strict, it did change. I became more aware that I was eating like crap and tried to make changes as much as possible.

It wasn’t until about 1 year later that I was introduced to the vegan diet.
At first I was so against being vegan. I remember making fun of the person that introduced me to it and I thought it was so stupid (like every stubborn/southern person raised on nothing but meat and cheese would be at first). But then I tried it and I immediately noticed changes with my health, hair, skin, weight, etc.
For example, my bladder issues went away (I use to have to pee 18 times a day and the doctors weren’t able to fix it), now my bladder is normal (sorry if that’s TMI).
My hair use to be really flat/hardly any curls and now it has volume even on it’s worst days.
My skin use to be so rough, I would have acne, and it was incredibly dry. Now my skin is the best it’s ever been.
And my weight dropped again. Finally.

All of these changes weren’t immediate. They took months to notice. But I did notice an overall change in how I felt immediately.

After about a year into it I was doing more research and as a result, my diet and workouts were starting to become more strict. I was trying to run 2-3 miles a day and I was giving up sugar. This is where I started noticing even more results than what I had already seen before. I still wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be though. I was dropping weight but I wasn’t “tone” and I’ve always been way more attracted to the curvy/tone look than the tall/skinny look and I knew that that’s what I really wanted. I thought, “I have the potential and I’m young. I want to push my body to the limits and be where I want to be NOW so I don’t regret not doing it later.”
So when I moved back to Little Rock I knew exactly who I wanted to be my personal trainer, Hannah Lovelis. She has the BEST personality and makes me laugh but still kicks my butt in the gym. She makes me look forward to coming to the gym instead of dreading it and that’s what I need because I hate working out. I would much rather be on my couch with my cats watching re-runs of Friends.
Our normal routine is me getting to the gym before her and running 1-2 miles and then weight lifting or more cardio for the next hour. Hannah focuses on all the areas I have concerns with but still makes sure we focus on areas that I don’t think about. It’s been a year later and we have been working out together 3-4 (sometimes 5) days a week and I have noticed dramatic changes in my body.

However, none of this was easy, and throughout a year of working out I experienced many ups and downs. I would be so frustrated and depressed because even though I know that real weight-loss and muscle gain takes a long time to achieve, it’s still so frustrating to work so hard at something and not see results when you want to. I remember sitting in front of my mirror basically just having a breakdown and texting Hannah saying, “Why am I not seeing results? I work so hard at this. It sucks.” And she was just constantly uplifting and saying, “You will. What you’re doing is SO hard. But it’s worth it. What you want for yourself takes so much work and time but in the end you’ll be glad you did it.”
The reason why this is a lot harder for me is because I’m doing this with no help from supplements nor am I on any type of program. I’m also not really changing my diet because I want to eat whatever I want when I want and I’m already avoiding dairy, meat, and most bread, sugars, and oils. I wanted it to be this way because the harder it is to get where I want to be, the harder it will be to lose it.
Side Note: Most of you may think that this diet is crazy and that I’m probably super unhappy but I’m not. After 2 years of doing this I can’t imagine ever eating cheese or meat again and I never plan on it. All my cravings from my childhood/teen diet are gone and now I only crave foods associated with my plant-based diet.

Since it has been a year of working out, I decided to ask my good friend, Megan Burges, to photograph some boudoir photos of me so I can document this part of my life. I really want to look back on these when I’m 85 and think, “Heck yes,” because being a photographer, I truly believe that documenting any stage in your life is important.
Megan is amazing and I highly recommend her. Working with her was SO easy and her goofy personality made it all so much fun. Also, I wouldn’t have been so comfortable if it wasn’t for Jessica Humerick‘s amazing makeup skills.

If any of you are interested in trying the vegan diet but need some type of inspiration. Take a look at my before and after photos. OR if you need more inspiration than that, watch Forks Over Knives and Fed Up on Netflix. It constantly inspires me.
But really, you should see a difference in how you feel within a week. Your body is the most important thing you have, you should take care of it.

As of result of hard-work, I now weigh what I did in 11th grade of high school. This is really the happiest I’ve ever been and I can only imagine it getting better from here.

Here is a few photos of me over the past 4 years. I don’t have many that truly showcase my body because I would never post them or I would be wearing baggy clothes to hide myself.





Photography: Megan Burges Photography
Makeup: Jessica Humerick


Showing 31 comments
  • Shannon

    You obviously look beautiful but I’m so happy you feel beautiful, too. Thank you for being so honest and inspiring to anyone who has insecurities about their appearance. You’re amazing. <3

    • stephanieparsley24

      When you comment on anything I post ever I slightly freak out and squeal.
      Thank you SO much for taking the time to look at this and for writing a comment! It means a lot to me!

      I really hope we can meet one day soon! <3

  • Shawna Killingsworth


    • stephanieparsley24

      Thank you so much!!!

  • Grace Badger

    AHmazing! So inspired and going home to pin vegan recipes all night!

    • stephanieparsley24

      Definitely check out Forks Over Knives and Engine 2 Diet recipes! You can find them online!
      Also, Leslie Durso is a vegan chef and her recipes on her site are amazing! I’m making some tonight!

  • Gramma

    You are beautiful and have always been beautiful. Just don’t show off so much of your cash and prize….lol Love you

    • stephanieparsley24

      haha thanks, grandma 🙂

  • Molly Katz

    You have always been beautiful, but now that you are happy with yourself, you are completely radiant.

    • stephanieparsley24

      Thank you so much!
      It’s seriously been so hard and i’m not stopping here! but I’m so glad I have seen positive results!
      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment! 🙂

  • Taylor English

    You are just stunning! Seriously motivational too… going to the gym now!

    • stephanieparsley24

      thank you so much!!!
      I am so happy you read this and even happier that you found motivation in it!! <3

  • Natalie Scott

    Gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us! It makes me super motivated to get my booty to the gym and clean up my diet!

    • stephanieparsley24

      You’re welcome! And thank you SO much for reading this, Natalie! I loved meeting you at The Terry House and I really can’t wait to work together again!

      Thank you again for reading this and for commenting! I’m so happy it could motivate you!

  • Samantha Carrone

    Stephanie- I love that you shared your story! I’ve been going through similar things as you. About 7 months ago I decided to get a personal trainer and change my health/diet because, like you, I wasn’t happy. All of my college lifestyle caught up to me and I couldn’t take it much longer! This is the best I have felt in so long! But like you also said, I’ve gotten frustrated and down because I haven’t been seeing the results I want. When I first started, I lost weight like crazy…super fast and my inches when down too! And now I’ve been the same weight for the past few months and I’ve been working my bum off!! It’s really hard to stay motivated and keep going, but I have found it’s who you surround yourself with that can keep things positive and keep your head up. It’s also awesome that you’re on the vegan diet. I’m not sure I could do that, but I also haven’t done enough research. You go girl for sharing your story and for being an inspiration to everyone out there! Keep it up!!

    • stephanieparsley24

      Wow! That is amazing, Samantha! Super proud of you!
      It’s crazy how fast college can catch up with us. I remember my college diet so well and it makes me sick. I wish I would have had someone in my life back then to tell me, “What are you doing?! These ramen noodles are so bad for you!” or “WHY are you eating fries a million times a day?! You’re going to blow up like a balloon! And you need to be exercising more!”
      I’m glad that you have the mindset that working out is hard and a lifelong journey. Most people assume that you’ll see results instantly (and some do! Like you did at first) but then you have to come face to face with the realty of “Oh crap, it takes months to lose the hard stuff.”

      You’re getting there though! I’m still working hard every day to lose the hard stuff!

      Thank you again for reading and commenting! Again, really proud of you and all that you’ve accomplished so far!

  • Michelle

    you’re goregeous! And thank you for sharing your happiness, the best beauty!

    • stephanieparsley24

      thank you so much! and thank you for commenting! <3

  • Aryana Moreno


    You are truly an inspiration to me, in so many different ways. First, with your photography. The images you capture are so beautiful and are a constant reminder of why I too love photography. I hope that one day we get the chance to shoot together!
    And now after reading this blog and getting more of a feel of who you are, you’ve inspired me to take a step forward into the vegan lifestyle, which I’ve been a little scared to explore.
    So thank you, although you may not realize it, you’ve been a very positive influence to me!

    • stephanieparsley24

      Thank you so much! That really means a lot to me! I’m so happy you want to take a step towards the vegan lifestyle! If you ever have any questions at all, please feel free to ask!!! I would love to help!

  • Kaitlin Rees

    You are a serious inspiration to every aspect of my life. (Career, health, working out, confidence etc etc)
    You look AMAZING! You are so beautiful and these are the most stunning images.
    Loving everything you do.
    Thank You Stephanie!
    Kaitlin x

    • stephanieparsley24

      Thank you so much Kaitlin! That means a lot to me!!!
      Also I’m really sorry it took me over a month to respond to this! I never got the notification that you commented!

      Thank you again though! 🙂

  • marygrace

    you’re so pretty 🙂

  • Bryson

    Someone eslniteasly lend a hand to make critically posts I’d state. That is the very first time I frequented your website page and up to now? I surprised with the research you made to create this actual post amazing. Fantastic process!

  • Betsy

    You got to push it-this esnsiteal info that is!

  • Liza

    I thgouht finding this would be so arduous but it’s a breeze!

  • Cheyanne

    I hate my life but at least this makes it beaabrle.

  • Trish

    Jour sur iPad, beaucoup aimé aussi. Même si c’est bien vrai que la première fois qu’on se retrouve face au dieu roi, on a un peu l&;ieuorsmprqssion de s’être fait avoir Je mettrais 4/5Remarque par rapport à la vidéo: on peut accéder au magasin à tout moment via le menu personnage (en se mettant en pause).

  • Reply

    OMG, your blog is wonderful! Thanks for stopping by mine or I'd not have known about yours. I'm your newest follower. You totally sucked me in with those nachos. Yum!

  • comare the market

    Just finished reading Breaking Open The Head, by Daniel Pinchbeck. Interesting that this should be hitting the world news, at this time, so close to 2012. Umm… I’m not sayin’; I’m just sayin’.

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