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Q & A: 9kgs down for Chenell thanks to some simple habit changes.


Chenell Mangiagalli





How much weight have you lost on your journey so far? 


What do you do? [Job]

Real Estate Principal

What else do you do? [Hobbies, non-work stuff, etc]

I love reading, running, and the beach! When time and finances allow, I love traveling.


How long have you been a member of Sleekgeek?

1 year.

How did you find Sleekgeek?

I saw a challenge advert on Facebook.

What is your favourite part of the Sleekgeek Community?

There is no set way of achieving your goal. Many communities/pages promote a specific product or service and only allow you to participate if you use what they offer. I love the fact that we have people with different journeys/ways on how they achieve their results in this community. There is such a wealth of information.


Describe the “old you” before you made your transformation. How did you get there and what were you like?

I was always active. I ran once to twice a week and did 2 spinning classes a week but I just slowly started seeing a weight gain. I now know that I counted my calories incorrectly. I wanted to see results immediately and if I tried ‘dieting’ for 2 weeks and the scale did not go down (sometimes it went up) I stopped and reverted back to my old ways. Turns out that a lifestyle change (not dieting) and consistency is what I lacked. 

I started with one small change and stuck to it (cutting out sugar in my tea/coffee) and from there I progressed with another change, one at a time, until it became a habit. I read up on food and calories and stopped weighing myself daily and started taking pics once a month. It works so much better to show progress! I have also implemented weight training 3 to 4 times a week, what a game changer!! It is now 18 months later and I am not stopping. I still have a lot I want to achieve and still lots to learn.

What ignited your initial motivation to change?

I saw a picture my mom took of me at the beach, I could not identify with the person I saw and immediately started by making my first change.

What are some of the things that the new you does differently now?

I exercise because I love how it makes me feel, not to punish me for the piece of cake I ate the previous night.

I also eat mindfully and am aware of the calories I am about to consume before I eat.

What are some of the things that the new you still struggles with?

Afternoon snacking, popcorn to be exact. I absolutely love popcorn and need to curb myself not having a full pack daily.

If you could give yourself 1 piece of advice to help with that struggle, what would it be?

Find something to keep me busy with and away from popcorn in the afternoon lol.

Did you plateau, get stuck, or get disillusioned, or even slide backwards a bit on your journey?

I did not slide backward but sometimes I do find myself on a plateau. My weight loss is extremely slow.

What is better since you got healthy? 

I feel better and move better. I have less body pain.


What’s your favourite form of exercise? [Running, yoga, weightlifting, etc]

This is tough, I equally love spinning and weight lifting but as I have only been doing weight lifting now for a year or so, it still feels new and I think I enjoy it more at the moment.

How long have you been training and how did you get started?

I have always been active, since my school years.

What does your typical workout look like?

  • Monday mornings: 45 min machine workouts followed by 60min spinning class
  • Wednesday mornings: 90 minutes of weights (squats, machines, etc)
  • Friday mornings: 45 min machine workouts followed by 60min spinning class
  • Saturday mornings: 60min spinning workout or 5k run followed by 30min weights
  • Some Sundays: 5k run followed by 30min weights.

Favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]

I am loving squats at the moment.

Least favorite exercise? [Distance / pose / movement / etc]

The hip abduction/adduction machines.

How does exercise make you feel? 

It releases feel-good hormones and makes me feel so much stronger and younger. 

Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?

Alone. I love the peace and tranquility, I have 3 kids, so this is my ‘me time’.

Most embarrassing training moment?

Years ago I went flying off a treadmill when my towel accidentally landed on the treadmill and I tripped over it.

Top 3 things you must have at the gym or in your gym bag?

1) My Bluetooth headphones linked to my (2) Garmin watch for music and (3) my bottle filled with an Amino burn.

Your next training goal?

I really want to continue on building muscle and learn more about the process of building muscle as well as losing fat.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist?

  • We come 1 – Faithless
  • Shout – Tears for Fears
  • Carmina Burana – Carl Orff
  • Embargo – Armin van Buuren
  • Insomnia – Faithless

How has exercise/training/Sport Changed your life? [Made it better, etc – please be specific]

As I am entering the dreaded mid-forties I realize that with exercise age can be but just a number – if you live an active, healthy lifestyle you do not always feel your age.


What’s your favourite meal?


OK, now what’s your favourite healthy meal?

Grilled chicken with couscous and roasted veg

Favourite protein?

Chicken and eggs

Favourite fat?


Favourite carbohydrate?

Air-fried skinny fries

What’s your nutrition philosophy / approach? [If you have one]

Do not cut out the food that you love, try to prepare it healthier (for example, oil fried vs air fried chips) and if it cannot be prepared a healthier way, spoil yourself once in a while by having something you really crave.

How many meals a day do you eat?

3 meals and 2 snacks.

Do you have a cheat meal / treat strategy?

If I really feel like chocolate I will only have a couple of blocks, never a whole one. I will then adjust the rest of my days’ calorie intake to compensate for that.


Most memorable personal best achievement to date. Something you maybe never imagined you could do?

I have always struggled to jog/run. I could never manage to run one kilometer without walking. I started the parkrun at age 38 and my fastest 5k was at age 40, sub 31. 

Favorite quote?

‘People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those doing it’.

Favourite book? 

I found great value in The Magic by Rhonda Byrne. Although I did not follow the book completely I learned so much about gratitude.

What inspires and motivates you?

I am inspired by so many people on a daily basis. People who overcome adversities.

For what are you most grateful? 

The list is too long! But in a nutshell my health and family.

What do you want to say to other community members who might be nervous or hesitant to make a start?

Literally, just take one step at a time. No matter how small. Run if you can, walk if you must, crawl if you have to.

What are your top 5 tips for anyone starting on a healthy journey?

  1. Your mindset must be right. It all starts there, a mind-shift is your first and biggest step
  2. Do not expect radical results in a couple of days, give yourself enough time.
  3. Enjoy what you are doing (exercise) and enjoy what you eat
  4. See your health journey as a lifestyle change, and break away from ‘dieting’
  5. Take pride in every bit of progress you make, no matter how small!

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