Transformation of the Day: Jessica lost over 125 pounds. This mom of two used to weigh over 300 pounds. With the support of her husband she started on the path going vegetarian and eventually vegan. This baker did her research and figured out how she could have her cake and eat it too.
My name is Jessica. I used to weigh a little over 300 pounds. I was always the girl who didn’t allow weight and size stop her from doing anything. Some people call it confidence. I called it the nature of survival. I never thought I could lose the weight, because I always was chubby. Always the chubbiest girl in the class. Never saw myself being small. It was just a way of life. I hated PE in school, because I didn’t like the way it felt to run. I didn’t like how I felt in general, and I just dealt with it through the years.
When I got married in 2005, My husband loved me for me. That was a blessing, but I was still well over 300 pounds. I gave birth to my first child three years after marriage. I was still thinking nothing of my weight or how unsafe or unhealthy it was to be that heavy, standing tall at 5’3″. I knew I had to make a change. If not for me, for my child. I wanted t be able to run and play with him as he got older. This was my motivation.
After giving birth, I started breast-feeding and noticed that I lost about 20 pounds post-pregnancy, which really motivated me. I started doing the Biggest loser videos at home for about 3 months or so and then I joined a gym. I started off on the treadmill on 3.0 for 30 minutes. Then, I would lift weights, working alternate body parts each day. After weights, I would ride the bike or do treadmill sprints for 5 or 10 minutes. The stronger I got I started riding my bike to the gym, workout at the gym, then ride my bike back home. I felt better but I was still eating the same, so the weight slowly stopped coming off.
One day, after my husband began noticing all my efforts, he posed a question. “Isn’t it counterproductive to work out and eat junk?” (i.e. Cakes, pies, pizza, fries, etc?) My first reaction was to get offended, but I knew he was right. Even though I was working out diligently, my eating habits remained the same.
Meanwhile we started fellowshipping with a beautiful couple who happened to be vegan. So, my husband and I attempted to go at least vegetarian 30 days at a time, every few months. That was just the beginning. The more I learned about the food I ate and coupling those changes with my new workout, the more I started noticing a huge change in my body. I was excited to get on the scale to see my progress and found that I was down about 40 pounds.
A few months later, I noticed that it was getting harder to work out. The weight wasn’t coming off either. Confused, I went to the doctor to see why. Come to find out I was two months pregnant with my second child. This pregnancy was different. It gave me peace to know that my hard work allowed me to be healthy enough to carry another child.
The only problem I still faced was my massive sweet tooth. I would bake a cake and eat the entire cake by myself. I love to bake, but just didn’t know healthier way to do it. So, I gained a lot of weight during the pregnancy.
After I had my second child, I was confident that I could lose the weight again. I started researching some things. I also went from eating a vegetarian diet every few months to going vegan. Because of my massive sweet tooth, I began to really research Vegan options. Baking gave me the opportunity to challenge myself to start creating healthier options. This was the game changer.
I’ve noticed throughout this journey that I would ban sweets, then indulge and then binge in secret. This was a huge problem. I researched healthier sweet alternatives. Instead of using so much processed sugar, I could natural sweeteners from the earth. With this knowledge, baking became more than just a hobby. It became a passion and I started to get super creative in the kitchen.
A vegan diet with an already consistent workout changed my life. I realized that after my daughter turned one, I was down another 100 pounds. Beyond excited to see 199 pounds in my vision, I worked even harder. My daughter will be five years old in December and I have kept the weight off for the past four years. I now weigh 175 pounds. I love how my mindset has changed and the changes to my body are just a bonus.
I work out about 4 to 5 times a week, doing about 30 minutes of cardio each day. I also started lifting weights. This journey taught me a lot of things, both mentally and physically, about what I am capable of. I just plan to continue to work out, build muscle and tone.
I learned how to bake healthier. I learned that it is OK to eat sweets if they are healthier and you have them in moderation. I now own my own business making Sweet Vegan Treats. My website, Sweetvegantreats.com, shows people healthier versions of their favorite desserts. I bake for a vegetarian restaurant and sell my sweet treats at farmers markets and gyms. I want to show people that you can still enjoy the sweeter things in life.
I want to say to all of those reading this: Be encouraged, stay focused and take everything in moderation. Know that good change is always good. Make small steps. Slow and steady always wins the race. You’ve got this! Not only take it one day at a time but take it one meal at a time. You can do this. Find your motivation and run with it. Make it a lifestyle, not just a moment in life.