Jelly Devote an influencer from Vaxjo, Sweden has lost four stone in eight months once had a wake-up call from seeing herself unrecognizably in the mirror, and she realized her weight was out of control. At just five-foot two-inches, Jelly weighed twelve-and-a-half stone and was having to shop for XL clothes.
At the height of her food addiction, she consumed Max Hamburger, a Swedish burger chain where she worked as-well-as copious amounts of sweets, chocolate, and chips. When she turned 18 her life was taken over by drinking alcohol and eating takeaways, consuming mostly processed fats and sugars every day.
Jelly felt awful seeing pictures of how big she had gotten, she felt blindsided by how the weight snuck up. Seeing her body in pictures was a psychological struggle, but she is now a healthy eight stone and wears a size six to eight. Jelly found her love for fitness when she was living in Sweden while juggling multiple part-time jobs.
When she lost two-and-a-half stone in just three months, she began pursuing social media and has grown her health and fitness instagram to 498,000 followers. Since beginning sharing her journey online Jelly has received abuse on an almost daily basis despite only posting positivity and helpful tips for both physical and mental health. “I’m an average girl from a small town in Sweden. For the last seven years I have lived in England with my husband and daughter,” she said.
“While living in Sweden I found my passion for fitness while juggling multiple part-time jobs, and when I lost a lot of weight I started to do social media which then led to the life I love today. My weight can mainly be attributed to a lot of alcohol and processed food and not enough exercise. I was never interested in fitness when I was young, and never worked out in any way and indulged in too much unhealthy food. I used to not do any exercise and everything was a pre-made ready meal with no nutritional value to my body, just quick and easy.”
Jelly was unhappy with herself for adopting a very unhealthy lifestyle, but it wasn’t until her grandmother mentioned her weight had been escalating she knew it was time for a change.
“I still was happy with myself as a teenager, but when I got older and started to have a drink with my friends my weight escalated, and I was very unhappy in myself, not only because of my appearance but just the very unhealthy lifestyle,” she said.
“My grandma mentioned I started to look quite chunky, in an endearing way, but my grandma has always told me I needed to eat more (as grandmas do) and this was the first time she didn’t, and I knew at this point it was time to change.”
It was a lifestyle that Jelly had to change that included her habits and taking care of her self-image of what she was told while growing up.
“This mixed in with my clothes being extremely tight and also having seen a picture of myself in a bikini a few days before, I knew it was time to change. I started off by working out from home and doing small changes in my diet, no alcohol or sodas, only water. But also changing from very processed food to cooking everything from scratch. With this I lost about two-and-a-half stone in three months. It was a drastic change from my previous lifestyle.”
“Then I started working out in the gym shortly after and just fell in love with it. My main thing for sustaining my weight is to avoid alcohol and processed food as much as possible. That is enough to keep me fit. Exercise I try to do as much as I can when I can, but being a stay at home mum makes it a lot harder in general for having time for both healthy cooking and body movements. But I try my best,” she said.
“Changing my diet was for sure the hardest part. Working out is easy, but staying on a healthy balanced diet is the hardest even now. I exercise three to six times a week, everything from cardio to high intensity interval training to weights.”
Jelly consists has a healthier breakfast and dinner that includes fresh ingredients to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“My breakfast is a smoothie or porridge, lunch a chicken wrap/salad and dinner could be anything (home cooked) from pasta, meatballs, wraps and curries. The main difference is that I cook it all, fresh ingredients are much better fuel for your body.”
Before her weight loss Jelly did not receive much negative feedback it is unfortunately since she began sharing her journey online that the abuse began. “I didn’t get that many comments regarding my weight, more, so after I lost the weight I got a lot of comments about how I used to look,” she said.
“I didn’t have a big social media at that point, so I didn’t get abused online like I do today on a daily basis. Not a lot of people said anything to my face about my weight. I’ve gotten a lot of comments through the years (as I’ve gone a bit up and down), but the most rewarding is when my husband has said something that I look amazing and that he’s proud of how hard I’m working towards my goals. He sees me every day and how hard I work, so hearing him praise me always warms my heart.’
Weight loss has changed Jelly’s life not only physically, but it has given her a new career. “My weight loss gave me the opportunity to do what I do today, being an influencer, but also made me a happier and healthier person overall. It changed my whole life and gave me opportunities like I never thought I would have.”
“I dream of a balanced life in general. Good freedom, to enjoy everything in moderation and just to be conscious of what I nourish my body with. Right now, fitness isn’t my number one priority as it was a few years back. Since becoming a mum it’s a lot harder to maintain my fitness for sure,” said Jelly.
“Becoming a mom has changed my perspective on how I view my body. My body isn’t the same as it was before having my baby and I look at my body in a more forgiving way and workout to be healthy rather than to look a certain way, so I can be around as long as possible for my daughter.”
Jelly lost the weight in a healthy and sustainable way, and she wants to encourage others to do the same. Since starting her family, she wanted to show a positive example raising a family.
“If you want to lose some weight but are struggling to start the best tip is just get help I think. Or do your homework, she said. It’s not easy to start something new, and a lot of times I wish I got help in the beginning. Or at least read up more about how to reach my goals. A coach or a workout program is a great tool to help you reach your goals. And also be kind to yourself, give yourself time and don’t expect results overnight.”
Produced in association with Magazine Features (South Africa) and Aimee Braniff Cree
(Additional reporting provided by Alberto Arellano)