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Chantal Phelan Calder loses 55kgs and is loving herself

I have been on the Sleekgeek Facebook Group for years. It started as a silent observer secretly being envious of all the ladies and gents having the guts to go after they want. These same Sleekgeeks inspired me to get my life into gear.

People ask me Chantal “how did you lose so much? How long did it take”? – Well to be totally honest about 27 years!

I was an active child I participated in most school activities cross country, athletics swimming and netball. I never just did one.  I tried them all. If I didn’t make the team I was bummed but accepted it. But if i did I felt like I was going to the Olympics I was so proud of myself.

I was happy yes; most family members would say Chantal is so chubby and my mom would say it’s baby fat she will outgrow and seriously it never bugged me. I then went to high school was so excited I had a bigger playing field to show what I can do. So, I did what I used to but now the competition was tough and even though I tried and practiced I battled to find my place.

Being teased put me off exercise 

Then came the day where there was a group of guys and girls who loved bullying and I got up to take my place to see if I could make the swim team and I heard them say “look how fat Chantal’s backside it is looks like her costume doesn’t fit”.

The gun went off to start the race and all I could think was what did they see that I didn’t see. I swam my race didn’t place and went home thinking I need to get a bigger costume. I went to my room and stood in front of the mirror looking critically and  trying to see what others saw and still thinking I don’t have a big bum my costume fitted nicely like it should.

Then the thought came to me that I was not going to put myself in those situations anymore. So I stopped my sport. Big mistake. So I stayed plump and my humour took over and I hid behind it like a coat as protection.

If people made fun of me I made bigger fun of me. It worked for a while and slowly I got bigger and bigger. My life was made up of excuses and “tomorrow is another day”, but it never changed.

I then became a mom and my son became my life and then my daughter. I lived my life for them. I was a committed mom when it came to their welfare but my own was pushed under the mat. The final straw came when I got divorced. Most people would be upset but I was happy.


No more emotional abuse which I justified my emotional eating. I wanted too wear what I wanted. I wanted to wear makeup without getting asked “who you are dolling up for”?”

From then I tried every diet you can imagine (grrr)-  so started an up and down mess. My relationships came and went and I always blamed me and what I did wrong as I was always a people pleaser and in truth it would make me feel no one loved me.

I felt like I was a useless mom the due to the emotions my eating just got worse. I make it sound like my life was a misery but in fact it wasn’t. It was tough I admit but I always thought I was happy.

In 2014 I took a leap and started walking, swimming and I lost a bit then I saw a post on the Sleekgeek page about the “caveman diet” and went all out and I lost something like 20kgs but started feeling sick.  


I stopped what I was doing and picked up again and this became a yoyo. In 2015  I started really having a lot of pain and went to the doctor and he kept saying its acute acid reflux gave me some meds and yip it was sorted for a while but then it started all the time.

I would lie in tears and Myprodol became my best friend. Two packets a month and this continued for a year. I started a new relationship and one night I thought I was dying.  My super awesome boyfriend wanted to take me to a hospital, but I had no medical aid so off to a government hospital waited hours and the pain got worse and worse he finally snapped and loaded me in the car  and took me home and we waited for a doctor’s rooms to open.

I never want to relive the next couple of months in my life ever again if I am honest. The doctor examined me and said I needed my gallbladder removed. I was like “what the hell” and explained to him when the symptoms started.  

He was shocked that I managed to live like that for over a year. He also said  problem were caused by too rapid weight loss and I was angry I worked so hard just to get sick. I was angry because I followed a trend without looking into it but then how do you even forecast this for yourself.

So my doctor suggested a scan to see what we were dealing with and then we can discuss a way forward. He phoned the hospital and I went for a scan. The following day I went back, and I was so nosey to open that envelope but thought everything would be ok as I was getting the help that I needed. Well I went back the next day and they confirmed that my gallbladder needed to be removed but they had also picked up that I had cysts and lesions on my spleen which he said could be cancerous.

Over and above that I had damaged my liver with all the pain pills I was taking to stop the pain. Unfortunately, my daughter was with me and started freaking out “my mom has cancer she’s going to die”. I went into survival mode. I didn’t have medical aid so back to a government hospital.

Anyone going to a government hospital would tell you is no joke.  It’s long hours of waiting and when you are the sole provider for your family money issues come into effect. The stress was insane. They finally told me to come back as the CT scan department was fully booked so after a month I went for a scan and waited another month for the results.

I went back and spoke to the surgeon he said that it was just shadows on the first scan and that my spleen was fine. I cannot tell you the relief I felt only to be told I need to go have an ultrasound as they have picked up a bilateral mass in my uterus. This was me done I was devastated he set up the ultrasound and I went back.  He said Chantal you going to be ok – the CT scan only went a certain way down and it was another shadow. By this time even though I was relieved I was an emotional wreck. They scheduled my operation for a month later.

Let me tell you when you have liver damage and pain meds aren’t good for you especially after being so dependant it was a long month.

The Friday before my operation they called to say they have to postpone my operation to the next month as all operations were cancelled on that certain day.

This is when I turned to Facebook and I became quite an addict trying to forget my issues to forget my pain. I saw a post about “Lifeline”  in the Sleekgeek Facebook Group and how this lady was helped by a coach so I decided to contact her.

My friend who had their gallbladder removed started with horror stories about how you can’t eat spicy food and can’t eat that or this.  A thought popped into my mind that If I am not going to be able to eat like I used to – so maybe this recommended coach could help me to learn to eat “boring”. (wha haaa).

So, I contacted her explained to her my situation and she was was able to help. I followed my eating plan and I couldn’t really exercise but I would hold where my gallbladder was and I would push myself.  It helped with the pain funny enough.

Pain had become the norm for me and then I started losing weight and funny enough I started feeling better. My coach guided me everyday and she pushed me to push myself and she helped me realize where my eating issues where, why I had such low self-esteem and helped me realize my self-worth.

Above in my story I said I always thought I was happy, but wow was I shocked when I started looking back and looking at my choices and realized how wrong I was. I decided I like this new me I love feeling better even though I was in pain.

So, I continued and when you start hearing “wow Chantal you are melting away”, it felt amazing!

I went for my operation in September 2016 and let me tell you was I ever grateful to come out of theatre that moved myself from my gurney to my bed. I was walking and eating even though I was told not to –  but dang that yogurt tasted amazing!

I walked with my drip to the loo and back willing myself to get stronger. Went home and was back at work in 4 days. After all the drama and false alarms, I realized I have a 2nd chance, some people don’t get that.

I continued my journey and started doing the Sleekgeek 8-Week Challenges. I have done 4 so far and with every one I have made progress to the “sexylicious” self I am today.

To hear people saying they are proud of me. To hear my family saying “wow we really thought you would give up”.  To my daughter saying “wow mom look at your sexy bum you got sexy bum creases”.

It fills my heart with pride my journey is not finished by a long shot by I’m loving it so far.

My goal everyday is some movement is better than no movement. Plus I love punching and kicking my pink boxing bag. In the evenings watching the sunset peddling on my standing bike.

My friends and family support has been amazing. Going to parkruns with me to 5 o’clock swimming and yoga. What also helped is my daughter was getting plump and I said “baby girl please help mom so I can follow through”.

So all this was so worth it. From having my health back to seeing my daughter healthy and  making better choices – Well the whole family actually. To meeting Sleekgeeks and being part of this super amazing supportive family.

There’s no place I would rather be.


My top tips:

  1. Have faith in yourself
  2. Learn to love yourself.
  3. The sooner you learn moderation falling off the wagon and getting back on won’t even matter. This is a lifestyle not a diet.
  4. Baby steps take each day at a time.
  5. Be active on the Sleekgeek Facebook Group.
  6. Take those before and after pics and you will see your transformation. We see ourselves everyday so it’s hard to notice change easily and that is what makes people give up. 
  7. It’s never too late! You only get one body so cherish it! Love it unconditionally because you deserve the best and so does your body.



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