Follow what you know is right in your heart

Jillian Salomone’s story 

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HC : what made you decide you needed to change your life?

 

I was leading a very unhealthy lifestyle and became 25 lbs overweight. At the time, I was consuming a lot of animal products (meat, eggs, fish & dairy).  I was tired of not feeling good both physically and mentally; I knew a change needed to be made. In April 2013, I decided to put my unhealthy lifestyle behind me and do a 3-day juice cleanse. I completed the 3 days and felt amazing! After my 3 day juice cleanse, I felt so light and had such great energy that I decided to clean up my diet for good and never eat meat again! For the next 6 months I adopted a vegetarian lifestyle and  slowly transitioned into a vegan diet. By October 2013, I became 100% plant-based and never looked back!

 

 

HC: what steps did you take to improve your life?

 

My journey to becoming healthy and fit began in August 2012. At that time, I made a big decision to start living a sober life. After making the decision to live a sober life, my healthy decisions were like a domino effect. I quit smoking, I began running every day and doing yoga 4-5 times a week! I ditched the meat products, joined a gym to start lifting, and slowly started the transition to a vegan diet.  I wanted to challenge myself even further and I committed to enter a bodybuilding competition. I chose to compete in the bikini division and trained for it on a full plant-based diet! My decision to compete was completely out of my comfort zone, however I wanted to push myself to the next level.  As I researched bodybuilding coaches, nearly everyone I came across said that it was not possible to train for a competition without consuming meat, eggs, fish, whey protein, etc. For me, it was a frustrating uphill battle, however I refused to give in. I did not want to accept what society was telling me. Deep down I knew it was possible to compete as a fully plant-based athlete. Just in the nick of time, I found my coach, Dani Taylor! Led by Dani, I jumped right into the vegan lifestyle and started training for my first ever bikini competition in October 2013. I’ve been vegan ever since!

 

 

 

HC: what motivates you to keep on this path?

 

I am motivated to spread awareness. There are so many people sick and suffering from diseases, many of these diseases are directly related to their diets. As a society, the way we treat animals, and the suffering that it causes is horrible and unecessary. I want to prove to others that you can live a fit healthy life, and build muscle all while on a plant-based diet.

 

 

 

HC: what are you most proud of going thru this journey?

 

I am most proud of myself for not giving into everyone who told me it wasn’t possible. I’m proud that I stuck to it and made it happen. I’m proud that I no longer contribute to the horrible deaths of these poor animals. I’m proud of those close to me who have transitioned to a vegan lifestyle, and have since witnessed serious health benefits because of it. Lastly, I am proud to be part of my team, PlantBuilt, to have made so many friends, who can spread the word on such a bigger platform all over the world!

 

 

HC: what futures goals do you have ?

 

My future goals are to continue to compete in bodybuilding competitions. I am determined to continue to spread knowledge and shed light on vegan lifestyle. I plan on launching my personal training and plant-based nutrition business full time in 2016. The focus is to help people who are looking to make the transition to a plant-based lifestyle.

 

 

HC: if you could share any advice or words of encouragement what would they be?

 

Follow what you know is right in your heart.  Live a compassionate, healthy, & fit lifestyle.

 

HC: where can people get in touch with you? (contact info, social media sites)

email: jillianleighfitness@gmail.com

website: jillianleighfitness.com

IG: jillianleighfitness

FaceBook: Jillian Salomone

 

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thank you for sharing your story Jillian.if you know of anyone that has a story to share.have them email me at bigtymer32@gmail.com or contact me on my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/hotchocolatefitness

 

 

Try hard, it’ll probably feel good!

Lacy davis’s story 

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HC : what made you decide you needed to change your life?

I have changed my life in three really significant ways worth noting. 

1) At age 14, I decided to go vegan for the first time. 

2) In my mid twenties I got into recovery for an eating disorder, and 

3) At age 28, I got into lifting weights.

I will tell you about all of the above!

I went vegan at 14 for 100% ethical reasons. Although high school was rough for me (I dropped out after Sophomore year, due to general friendlessness) I did grow up in kind of an amazing time of life when veganism (and straight edge) were SUPER popular at my school. There were so many vegans, in fact, that there was a vegan window in the cafeteria that served pasta with marinara, salads, veggie soups, bagels, and vegan cookies. I was given a “why vegan?” pamphlet from my school’s animal rights club and long story short, those carnage shots were kind of it for me and eating animal products. I was depressed by the cruelty the meat, dairy, and egg industries take part in and also just disgusted. Who wants to eat something bred in such horrible conditions?!

In my early 20’s I went through a rough break up that prompted me to swiftly develop an eating disorder. (Not saying that my ED was this dude’s FAULT, of course it wasn’t, but it was just kind of the match that was lit under the disorder’s gas soaked paper pile.) I lost a lot of weight very quickly, and really struggled with the idea of needing to gain weight back to maintain health. I hating looking like a “sickly” vegan, and knowing that people likely equated my eating disorder with my veganism despite the fact that i was vegan for nearly a decade before I began to restrict my food. At age 24, I got into recovery because I felt that I needed to be a good representative for veganism, feminism, etc. I knew that restricting, purging, and compulsively exercising was the antithesis of everything I thought women deserved and the best way to fight the good fight would be to treat myself well.

Lifting weights was basically the thing I completely credit the success of my recovery to. I *tried* to recover for years, and even with all of my politics around veganism and feminism, nothing I did seemed to stick. Finally, in 2012, I joined a Crossfit gym, and picked up a barbell for the first time. From that day forward, I never purged again (which had grown to be the most active part of my ED). It was like suddenly there was a motivator to not puke. My body needed fuel, and I knew that if I threw up I wouldn’t be able to lift as heavy. Things started clicking into place as my muscles grew. I will forever love weight lifting, not only for what it has done for my body- but what it has done for my mind.

HC: what steps did you take to improve your life?

Lifting was number one of course! Eating to fuel came shortly thereafter. Regularly writing an affirmation and gratitude list completely changed my life, as well, because it got me to not only finally accept myself and my body, but to actually love, appreciate, and deeply respect what I had going on. 

HC: what motivates you keep on this path?

I am extremely motivated by my podcast listeners, blog readers, and clients. I am motivated by the sheer volume of people who say they want to lift but are scared. I am motivated by the fact that millions of animals are needlessly murdered each day, and that by living as an example of a positive, healthy, HAPPY, nourished woman I am offering a perspective to non-vegans anywhere. I am motivated by gains in the gym and feeling at peace with my appearance. I am motivated by little kids, and wishing to give them an adult example of someone who is empowered and embodied.

HC: what are you most proud of going thru this journey?

I am proud when I get messages and people in person telling me that I have helped them to recover from their eating disorders. I am proud that I like myself! Not just accept, but like. That was a pretty rough journey, really.

HC: what future goals do you have ?

I plan to snatch 100 lbs! Not a power snatch, but a SQUAT SNATCH, baby! (My mobility is behind my strength so its the squat that is the real challenge) I know that’s not a huge amount  of weight to some, but to me I know it would feel incredible. I also have a big goal of writing a book, which is very much in process. If all goes according to plan, my publisher should have it on the shelves in the fall of 2017. My last big goal is to open a body positive gym, but that one’s down the road 🙂

HC: if you could share any advice or words of encouragement what would they be?

You are just as worthy as love and respect as anyone else. There is strength in asking for assistance. Try hard, it’ll probably feel good.

HC: where can people get in touch with you?(contact info,social media sites)

Super Strength Health

Rise and Resist Podcast

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

lacyisripped@gmail.com

 

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AFTER :

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thank you for sharing your story lacy.if you know of anyone that has a story to share.have them email me at bigtymer32@gmail.com or contact me on my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/hotchocolatefitness

let’s connect

instagram : @bigtymer32

twitter:   @bigtymer32

youtube : http://www.youtube.com/user/bigtymer32

Impact change the way crystal did!

crystal collins story’s
HC: what made you decide you needed to change your life?
CC: Several years ago I was unhealthy and unhappy at a size 16. I felt like I couldn’t function well, lacked energy, and was dealing with depression on a regular basis. I’d deal with getting sick frequently, and I simply wasn’t happy with what I saw when I looked in the mirror.

HC : what steps did you take to improve your life?
CC: Initially I began getting more active, and started eating healthy/whole foods. I eliminated almost all processed foods, and reduced my meat consumption. I quickly dropped down to about a size 8, and began juicing pretty regularly. I’d do 2 juice cleanses a year, and drink juice a couple times a week. Through this, I dropped down to a size 4. I was still fairly active, but I noticed that I still wasn’t feeling like I was operating at peak efficiency. I felt sluggish at times, and the only time I ever felt amazing was when I did juice cleansing. 
 
So after my most recent cleanse, I decided that I wanted to go full on vegan. I had toyed with being a vegan/vegetarian for these past several years, and had always told family and friends that I was the “wannabe vegan.” But something changed in me this past January, and I was finally ready to make the plunge. It wasn’t something I feared I would fail anymore, but knew without a doubt that I was ready for it and could succeed. 

HC: what motivates you keep on this path?
CC: Since going on the high carb low fat vegan lifestyle, I’ve dropped from that 4, down to a 2. If that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is. I had previously stayed on a plateau for the longest time, going back and forth between a 4 and a 6. To finally get past that after a month and a half of veganism, is truly motivating. 
 
But this isn’t the only factor. I feel amazing! My energy levels are better than they have ever been. I have clear focus. I can see and sense things I never could before. It’s amazing how feeding yourself living food (fruits & vegetables) actually makes you feel more alive than ever. I don’t want to lose this aliveness. 
 
Another motivator for me now, is the animals. When I started, I was definitely concerned for animal welfare, but not as much as I am now. A couple months in has really made me more aware than ever of our farming system practices, and how cruel it is to other living beings. And frankly, I have no desire to ever put the flesh of a decomposing being in my mouth again. The cruelty of it is appalling to me now. 

HC: what are you most proud of going thru this journey?
CC: I’m most proud that I’m able to impact change, and help other people by sharing my journey with them. Already I’ve had multiple people make healthier choices and begin to see better lives because of the impact of my story. I know no greater purpose in life than to make a difference like this. 

HC: what futures goals do you have ?
CC: My future goals personally for myself are to get more toned/fit, and to soon transition my children into this lifestyle. They currently do mostly vegetarian, but as I gain in knowledge and confidence I want to transition them into veganism. 
 
And my big goal? Change the world. I know it’s probably altruistic of me, but I sincerely believe that I have no other purpose on this planet other than to affect positive change. 

if you could share any advice or words of encouragement what would they be?
Small changes make a difference. Too many people get discouraged and fail at lifestyle changes because they try to take on too much at once. Would I love to see everyone go vegan tomorrow? Absolutely! But I know that they’d probably all fail, because it’s a journey and a process that we will have more success with if we take baby steps. I didn’t become vegan and healthy overnight. It was a process of several years. So start making simple, positive choices on a regular basis and overtime they will add up. 

HC: where can people get in touch with you?(contact info,social media sites)
 
CC: I’d love for everyone to join me on YouTube. I believe everyone deserves to live well, eat well, and thrive, and I hope to encourage them to do so through my daily videos. Also, I share complete and utter ridiculousness over there, too, so don’t drink and watch or you might spray your computer screen. 😉
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thank you for sharing your story crystal .if you know of anyone that has a story to share.have them email me at bigtymer32@gmail.com or contact me on my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/hotchocolatefitness

let’s connect 

instagram : @bigtymer32

twitter:   @bigtymer32

youtube : http://www.youtube.com/user/bigtymer32 

LIVE IN THAT LIFESTYLE!

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Kimberly moffatt’s story 
what made you decide you needed to change your life?
I was very unhappy with the way my life was going and that mentality was overflowing in my interpersonal relationships. I needed a routine to feel normal and having a gym membership gave me that. I had something to look forward to each day that wasn’t dependent on someone else. This was “my thing”.
 
what steps did you take to improve your life?
 
I went to the gym everyday and gave every session 110%. I also decided to use my personal time and social media to inspire and help others. This forced my mentality to change even if I didn’t feel 100% positive or upbeat about my life. Helping others helped me. It’s the best feeling in the world to see someone change their life or their habits and are excited about it. Giving encouragement to others also assisted myself with giving -myself- encouragement.
 
what motivates you keep on this path?
 
A few things motivate me to keep on this path. The first is to show the majority that hurting animals is unnecessary to achieve the level of success you want with sports, your body, health and anything related. Another thing that motivates me is seeing people change their habits to live better lives. When we feel good and confident about ourselves, we are most likely to spread love and compassion towards one another as well as empower others since we aren’t seeking self esteem from tearing others down. The last thing that motivates me is the “selfish” reason. I love seeing my body change. It’s a temple and I can sculpt it anyway I want. My mental health has greatly improved as well.
 
what are you most proud of going thru this journey?
 
I am most proud with how strong I’ve become and how much passion and drive I have. I -knew- I was meant for something, but as the years went by I was starting to think otherwise.
 
what futures goals do you have ?
 
I want to compete in jujitsu as a vegan competitor. Weight lifting gives me a ton of confidence, however, martial arts brings me back to “Earth”. You must be a student even if you become a black belt and that in my opinion is so humbling and needed in this world. I also want to continue to inspire others with my fitness Instagram and my newly made Youtube Channel. If I can help as many people and save animals as I do it, that in itself is worth it.
 
 
if you could share any advice or words of encouragement what would they be?
 
The strongest advice I have besides making a decision to do so is to visualize yourself in that role. LIVE IN THAT LIFESTYLE. It’s so easy to diverge from what we want to do and we put our focus into the person we want to be IN that decision, I believe we are more likely to stick with it.
 
where can people get in touch with you?(contact info,social media sites)
 
Instagram: www.instagram.com/pumpkim – for motivation,inspiration and free workout plans
Website: www.fitnessonplants.com – for workout tips, plans, recipes and living vegan
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4nGZGfNQ0ddZNTQzSdRxiQ – workouts, food ideas, motivation about life and pushing through fear
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thank you for sharing your story kim .if you know of anyone that has a story to share.
have them email me  bigtymer32@gmail.com
instagram @bigtymer32

progress not perfection!

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janet lee beckman’s story 
what made you decide you needed to change your life?
I was diagnosed with Lupus when I was 12 so I had spent the majority of my life in survival mode. A few years ago I got the news from my rheumatologist-I was in remission and she expected I’d stay there. It was like I’d been given a second chance. I had never truly been healthy and didn’t know what I needed to do until I watched Forks over Knives and realized that going vegan, specifically plant based wasn’t so hard.
 
what steps did you take to improve your life?
 
After watching the movie, I started reading and watching everything I could so that I could make a plan. I gave myself a start date, May 1st, 2012. I committed to doing this a month to see what would happen. I cleaned out my pantry and my fridge. I stocked it with all of the things I needed. Then I planned the menu for the first 7 days. It has now been almost 3 years and I can’t imagine now why I thought this would be so hard.
 
what motivates you keep on this path?
 
I’m in my 40’s now and I wake up every day feeling good. I do not suffer from the aches and pains that most people suffer from. I just had a physical and they said my lab work is the best they’ve seen. Getting older isn’t something I need to be afraid of because I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
 
what are you most proud of going thru this journey?
 
That my son decided to join me on this journey and it is something we can share. Also, after sharing my success, I’ve had a few friends go plant based and they have gotten similar results.
I also found that I am a pretty good cook. I had been convinced that I was a terrible cook before. But after learning the basics, I’ve been challenged to try new things and have gotten really comfortable with plant based cooking.
what futures goals do you have ?
 
I want to run faster and get stronger. I have no goals to compete or anything like that. I’m just trying to be the best that I can and ensure that I build a strong foundation for a long, healthy, and productive life.
if you could share any advice or words of encourgement what would they be?
 
Don’t listen to anything other people say. Many people give advice and think they are experts. When getting started, just pick one thing you can change. Then pick another. Progress happens gradually, so be forgiving and don’t expect perfection. Progress not perfection. 🙂
Also, don’t compare yourself to others. We are individuals, not cookie cutter people. What works for one person, may not work for you. Don’t be afraid to mix it up if you get stuck.
where can people get in touch with you?(contact info,social media sites)
Feel free to email me at janetleeb1@gmail.com. I’m no expert, but I’m happy to help if I can.
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thank you for sharing your story janet .if you know of anyone that has a story to share.have them email me at
instagram  @bigtymer32

eat your veggies & the leave animals alone!!!!

Cristina Myers Cuadrado’s story 

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what made you decide you needed to change your life?

Before going vegan I was walking around with 80lb of unnecessary weight. I had low self esteem, joint pains from the extra weight, unexplained migraines, etc. It was pretty embarrassing that at 25 years old I couldn’t even walk up a flight of stairs without sounding like I had just attempted to outrun a stampede of wild buffalo to save my life. I would have to explain to people who were congratulating me on my pregnancy that I wasn’t pregnant…I was just fat. After work I would hide at home, too embarrassed to go out with friends. I was lost and didn’t know how to fix myself. I would attempt diets that didn’t work or I just wouldn’t last with it. Going to the gym to walk on a treadmill was too daring for me. One night, after stuffing my face with a super deluxe spicy chicken sandwich from Chik-Fil-A trying to feel better and actually feeling the complete opposite, I was surfing through Netflix and saw a title to a documentary called (Forks Over Knives) I thought, “Hm…this might be another diet documentary that might motivate me to eat healthier for a couple weeks before I fall off the wagon again.”

5 minutes into the documentary and my jaw dropped. Here I was. 25 years old and already heading down a dangerous path of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and an early death because I was eating animals. This was Thanksgiving Eve. Over night I dived into a plant based diet and never looked back.

what steps did you take to improve your life?

One month into veganism and I already was 20lb lighter and I didn’t have to cut down on food. I was actually eating more food. There was a variety in my diet that I had never experienced before. Quinoa, beans, rice, agave nectar, in juice smoothies, hemp milk, rice milk, leafy greens, vegan burgers, etc. I was feeling better. My migraines had disappeared, which later I found out it was because of the dairy products that I was consuming. I encountered a lot of negativity on behalf of my (then) fiancée, friends, family coworkers. No one understood why I decided to change my eating habits so “drastically” and I didn’t understand why I didn’t have any support over something that clearly was improving my health, saving animals, and the environment. So the steps I took were always have cruelty free food in the house AND cutting out people from my life that were holding me back on something good. I found like-minded people through social media and I was surrounded by support and love from strangers who were fighting to create awareness about a plant based diet and animal cruelty in the food industry.

what motivates you keep on this path?

Animals motivate me when im lifting weights in the room. Whatever pain or exhaustion I feel in the gym is northing compared to what animals go through. I do this for them now.

what are you most proud of going thru this journey?

well my physical change is something im very proud of. Its not everyday someone changes their lifestyle over night and looses 80lb of fat and gains some back of plant based muscle. But veganism made me realize that I needed no ones approval or love to feel worthy.  I finally realized that I didn’t need constant love (the wrong kind and from the wrong people)… I WAS love. I loved who I had become and was perfectly content being by myself in my fight to spread the message of animal suffering and creating awareness about optimum health through a plant based lifestyle.

what futures goals do you have?

My goal now is opening up a company (Cruelty Free Muscle) a fitness apparel line for vegans, vegetarians and compassionate people in general starting their journey to fitness and help animals along the way. A portion of the profits will be donated to sanctuaries/shelters/ and towards the animal rights movement in any way that it can help.  I plan to continue my training and winning fitness competitions, proving to the typical “meat heads” that you don’t have to live on Whey protein, chicken, and brown rice. That you can still look like a shredded monster by eating plants, lifting heavy, and being kind to animals.

if you could share any advice or words of encouragement what would they be?

A quote that helped me at the beginning of my journey was “it is better to walk alone, than with a group heading in the wrong direction.” No one has the right to hold you back from anything…especially if your intentions are pure of heart. If you have something to say…say it even if you SOUND scared. If you have something you want to prove to people who say you can’t do it….prove them wrong no matter HOW long it takes. You want to save animals….save them. Surround yourself with people who want to help or see you succeed. The people who don’t do not deserve your time…walk away.

where can people get in touch with you?

If anyone needs food tips, recipes, fitness motivation, how to go about animal activism  …you can add me on facebook (Cristina Myers Cuadrado) or follow me on Instagram (@CrisVeganFit) I’m here to help you help the animals and even yourself.

before & after 

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thank you for sharing your story cristina .if you know of anyone that has a story to share.

have them email me at bigtymer32@gmail.com or

contact me on my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/hotchocolatefitness

instagram : bigtymer32