Jeandré Peters – whose grandmother, Pam, had taught him to cook as a kid – had been overweight since his schooldays. But when the 23-year-old Port Elizabeth resident – who weighed 177kg – decided to become a chef, his parents, Yvonne and Ettienne, were really worried. They thought he’d pack on even more kilos.
But to their surprise, the opposite happened.
In year and a half Jeandré has lost more than 70kg – he now weighs 104kg.
“So far he’s lost 73kg just by eating correctly,” Ettienne tells YOU. “Many children and young people who are overweight give up hope and use diet products without success. Jeandré wants to encourage people to lose weight so they can enjoy a better quality of life.”
Jeandré, who’s a chef at a luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), decided at the end of 2017 he no longer wanted to live an unhealthy lifestyle.
The turning point came when he struggled to complete a shift at work.
“It was a difficult evening. I was so exhausted. My feet ached and I was so overweight.”
That’s when he and a colleague, Jacques le Roux (23), decided to cut out sugary drinks and sweets as part of their New Year’s resolutions.
Jeandré used to go through a two-litre bottle of sugar-laden cooldrink every day. He says it takes time to change your eating habits, but with discipline it’s possible.
“If you can stick to a diet for three weeks there’s a good chance you’ll succeed,” he reckons.
“I didn’t really exercise. I was on my feet at work every day and that’s how I stayed active. My parents encouraged me daily to stick to my healthy eating habits.”
And did he think he’d manage to lose that much weight in less than a year and a half?
“No, not at all. I didn’t think I’d come close. The first three weeks were the toughest, but after that you have to make a mind shift. My unhealthiest habit was the amount of cooldrink I used to drink. It’s quite easy to become addicted to cooldrink.
“I haven’t had any sugary drinks for a year and four months now and that’s something I thought I’d never be able to give up,” he says.
With his body in new shape, Jeandré is full of energy and lust for life.
“When I was large, I slept a lot and it’s a bad habit to lie down all day. But now I move faster and I can go fishing or do anything I like.
“It’s also easier to fit into clothes. I don’t have to constantly worry if this shirt or those pants will fit me. You really feel proud of yourself when you’ve lost weight.”
Image credit: Supplied