Update 2018: Shout out to Devin! She’s kept the weight off for more than 3 years!
Transformation of the Day: Devin Jeanette lost 261 pounds. She is a classically trained singer with big Broadway dreams who had been struggling with obesity, binge eating and asthma for years. Weight loss surgery, healthy eating and regular exercise have allowed her have the transformation she’d been seeking. Check out her story.
Starting weight: 442 pounds
Current weight: 181 pounds
What was your motivation?
I’ve always been into Fine Arts and I’m in school for theatre and music. I’m a classically trained mezzo soprano and have been taking voice since I was 8 years old. Looking back over my life thus far, I would’ve never imagined that I would be trying to do this as a career. Doing a ton of theatre kinda caused me to put my life in a constant state of Go. My life is always moving and I found myself just grabbing anything quick to eat.
I have always been obese, but combing that with the lifestyle I was living caused me to bump right up into “morbid obesity”. The more weight I gained, the more I found that I was having to work harder and harder to be cast for roles and taken seriously. I have no problem with working hard, because I knew that being a Broadway actress and an opera singer are my end goals. It was only when my knees started giving out on me at the age of 22 that I knew I had to do something. My asthma had also severely worsened and depression was coming over me, almost taking over like a dark cloud. Friends, family and my physician were concerned. I valued my life and my health, but my weight was getting in the way of my dreams.
I had tried Weight Watchers, Atkins, fad cleanses, and countless bottles of diet pills… all by the age of 22! It was then that I started looking into the possibility of weight loss surgery. I jumped on that train and never looked back!
How did you change your eating habits?
Since I was a little girl, I’ve had a bad habit of binge eating. I didn’t like to eat in front of people out of fear of being bullied. The binge eating followed me into adulthood. I would go for hours and hours without eating and then eat a ton of food late at night. I knew that since I had been given a second chance at life and health I needed to correct that.
Not only did I start to plan my meals out and schedule alarms for making sure I ate (crazy I know), but I also went cold turkey and tried veganism for a little over a year. Now I’m not a vegetarian any longer, but I do live a plant based lifestyle and I hope to return to vegetarianism in the near future. My body seems to function best without meat. It wasn’t as hard of a transition as you would think either. I really enjoy fruits and vegetables, I don’t like eggs and I’m lactose intolerant. Also, I like to experiment in the kitchen.
In the past, I was a big junk food and bread eater, but I found healthy substitutions for my cravings. Adkins makes some better alternatives for “candy”. I also found out how to get my protein through vegetables. You would be surprised how much protein can be found within peas, spinach, mushrooms, kale and ton of other veggies!
What did your workout routines look like?
I’m a firm believer in go “hard or go home “. After I had weight loss surgery, I started out doing the “Walk Away the Pounds” program at about a week or two out. I realized I wasn’t experiencing any pain. So, about 3-4 weeks post surgery my doctor said that I was healing pretty quickly and cleared me for weight lifting. No, I didn’t tear or damage anything and I went back in for regular check ups to make sure. At about 4 months post surgery, I started light, two a day workouts. I alternated between boot camp, running, yoga, walking, dance and any new things I may have found fascinating.
How long did your transformation take?
I had vertical sleeve gastrectomy weight loss surgery on 01/28/14, so I would say about two years. (…and I’m still losing weight!)
What advice do you have for others who want to lose weight?
The best advice I have to give is that consistency is definitely key. Many times, I would find myself becoming frustrated when something I was trying (as far as diet and exercise) wasn’t working as quickly as I would like. All bodies don’t work at the same speed. Patience is a virtue. It’s important to listen to your body. I would also tell you not to listen to the naysayers. Just do what works best for you. If someone says something like, “Girl, that didn’t work for me / I don’t know why you’re doing that / That’s a waste of money, etc”, it’s ok. It doesn’t mean that you need to change what you are doing because it didn’t work for someone else. After all, you know your body better than anyone else.