Video: I went vegan for 10 weeks and this is what it did to my mind and body (The Independent)
My name is Jenny Chatelain (@jenniie_fit), and I’m 29 years old. I’m from Haiti and was raised in Canada, and I currently work as a respiratory therapist. I lost 78 pounds by staying in a calorie deficit and slowly increasing my weight lifting workouts over the course of a year.
When it comes to losing weight, my biggest struggle has always been my love of food. It’s so convenient to go out to eat, and I’ve loved eating my whole life. At my heaviest, I weighed 242 pounds.
When I first started my weight-loss journey, I thought I had to give up all my favorite foods and *always* eat healthy foods. I kept telling myself that it was too hard, and I wasn’t sure if I could do it. But my motivation was my health. When I was overweight, I was out of breath simply from taking the stairs. I was always tired. I couldn’t find my size in clothes I liked. I lacked self-esteem.
My turning point came when I was on the bus on my way to school. A lady who was seated asked me if I needed her seat for the baby. She thought I was pregnant.
I was so embarrassed because I wasn’t – I was just overweight. This event made me sad enough to tell myself I couldn’t stay like that. I had already thought about losing weight, but I had not taken any real action. Thinking about it is not enough – I had to put in the work, stay focused and be consistent.
I chose to start by focusing on the amount of calories I was consuming per day. I learned that all I really needed to do to lose fat was to be in a caloric deficit (eating fewer calories than your body burns). I eat protein at each meal, and eat a lot of fruit and veggies. I was able to include some of my favorite foods and treats while staying in a caloric deficit and learning how to control my portions.
I’ve never starved or punished myself. This new diet became my lifestyle. I came to the realisation that I was struggling to lose weight because I lacked the knowledge of what to really do. Now, I know I can lose fat and still eat ice cream in moderation. This method is the best for me because it’s sustainable.
What I typically eat in a day
- Breakfast: Two full eggs and one egg white omelet with a lot of veggies. Fruits on the side.
- Lunch: Ground turkey, avocado, broccoli.
- Snacks: Carrots, cucumbers, almonds or a bowl of oats. I make my oats with water or oat milk and add a banana and chia seeds.
- Dinner: Grilled salmon, sweet potatoes and green peas.
- Dessert: Plain Greek yogurt with berries, chia seeds, flax seeds, and honey.
I started my workout journey simply by running outside and doing bodyweight exercises at home.
I was working out two days per week when I started and was always out of breath. Slowly and steadily, I increased my workouts to three days and eventually four days per week.
I started to notice results and benefits from my new lifestyle. I had more energy, was sleeping better, had more endurance, and had lost over a stone in the first month of changing my habits. I was so happy and all these benefits gave me more motivation to pursue this journey.
Now I work out five days per week, and I absolutely love doing it. I enjoy lifting weights a lot. I train my lower body three times a week and upper body two times a week. I walk a lot, and I also love HIIT cardio.
My weight-loss game-changers
1. I bought a journal and wrote everything down
Write down everything from food intake to workouts. Seeing those accomplishments give you motivation that the scale can’t. Write how you feel every day. It really helped me to stay motivated and keep a track of my progress.
2. I planned my meals in advance
You’ll be surprised to see how this can make a big difference during your journey. Always have healthy snacks and meals with you whenever you go out. When you cook at home you have control of the calories and ingredients, and of course, you’re saving money.
3. I focused on nutrition and staying in a caloric deficit
Nutrition is the key to successful weight loss! You can’t outrun your fork. Learn portion control. Watch sneaky calories (like sauce, oil, butter, mayonnaise). Limit liquid calories. Drink a lot of water. Add more fibre (like veggies) and protein to keep you full.
I’ve lost 5.5 stone in one year
When people see my transformation, they think everything has been so easy for me. But I want people to know that I had moments of discouragement where I used to step on the scale and think: “All this effort to only lose ONE pound this week?!” I almost gave up at some points in my journey because I couldn’t break a plateau. With time, I’ve learned to appreciate every little bit of progress. These end up being big results with hard work and consistency.
Never give up because it seems to be too difficult. Stay patient, adjust your plan, and push harder. You’ll get there. Hard work will always pay off. This journey transformed me physically, but also mentally. I’m stronger, and I’m able to help other people now. I am more patient and feel a lot more confident about myself. I want to tell everyone who is struggling right now to never give up.