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