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Tom and Jessica’s 22 Days Success Story

The following people participated in a 22 Days Vegan Challenge, in this specific case, the program outlined in The 22-Day Revolution book. The 22-Day Revolution consists of 22 days of carefully planned meal plans and recipes along with 30 minutes of exercise each day. While these consumers actually experienced the results below, individual results may vary based on starting weight, diet and exercise implemented during the course of a 22 Days Vegan Challenge. 

Tom and Jessica’s 22 Days Vegan Success Story

Recently married couple, Tom and Jessica Bratt had acquired what they referred to as the Post-Marriage 30. To help drop the pounds, they turned to The 22-Day Revolution and followed the challenge together. Now after 22 days, they’ve learned a healthy, new way to eat and got rid of that unwanted Post-Marriage 30. Read more to hear about their Success Story.

22 Days Nutrition: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Tom Bratt: My wife, Jessica, and I live in Grand Rapids, MI.  She is a librarian, and I am currently an English teacher, but my goal is to be an author.  We got married this past summer, and put on - what became referred to as - The Post-Marriage 30.  Jessica is very active in the library world, speaking at national conferences, with a primary focus on improving literacy among impoverished communities.  I am looking to move from teaching to a writing gig, and Jessica and I are working on a diverse novel for teens.  

22 Days: Why did you choose to try a 22 Days Vegan Challenge?

Tom: My job has been very stressful for the past three years, and it’s taken a toll on my body.  I went from being in good shape (able to run five miles at a 7:20 pace, and able to finish a 25K race in under two hours), to being sore and out of shape; this happened in seemingly no time. The 25K race (15.5-miles) is an annual thing, and after finishing it in 2014, I took a few weeks off of working out.  Three weeks later, I stepped on a scale to discover that I’d gained fifteen pounds. I haven’t been able to drop that weight since. I’ve tried several things, including a few ‘fad’ diets, done some intense working out, but could never drop below the original weight: 215 was a number I just couldn’t break. My brother suggested The 22-Day Revolution to me, after reading about Jay Z and Beyoncé’s success.  He knew I was struggling to shed some pounds, and said the diet sounded like a good thing for me.  I read the book, and then we followed it. In my attempts to lose weight, I read and studied The 22-Day Revolution and I read stories that, for the first time, commented on why I’d gained the weight in the first place.  I discovered that what I’d done was combat the job stress through food and drink.  On a bad day, I’d have pizza and beer, or other such comfort foods.  The next bad day, I’d do the same.  In small doses, this might have been fine, but what I didn’t realize I was: most days were bad days so this was now a habit.  The effect was that I was fat.  Then my workouts suffered, and then I got fatter, all the while eating seconds and thirds as the norm rather than the exception. The 22-Day Revolution discussed food as a habit.  There is one particular story about a guy that had gained weight similar to how I had.  He described his love of food, how it was a comfort, and how it always brought him joy.  This led to excess, and the excess was creating major health issues in his body.  This story caught me.  This story was me.  I was having the same health symptoms he’d described.  I’m about 20-years younger than him, and I thought: I need to make changes now, so I don’t end up in the same place as him. Making the connection between stress and indulgence was eye-opening.  I saw how true it was, and how my weight and stress were correlated; plus, which I may have forgotten to mention, I felt awful.  Marco mentions over and over again how you’ll feel good if you follow the diet and trust him.   I trusted.  And feel good I do.  

22 Days: How long have you been following the 22 Days principles?

Tom: We followed the 22 Days with one exception, which was a friend made a beet salad that had some goat cheese.  We didn’t want to be rude, and ate the salad (day 18 or so). Since the 22 Days have ended, we’ve applied the principles to our meals, though we do eat meat.  The biggest thing we’ve learned is balance and the importance of a healthy fridge and cupboard.  We’re much more aware of what we’re eating, and balancing out the day.  This has especially helped with work lunches. I’ve especially looked forward to smoothies in the morning , and have made some pretty good ones.  I also typically cook double portions of dinner, so that there is a healthy meal option for lunch.  

22 Days: Tell us a little bit about your average day now that you’re following a plant-based diet.

Tom: Our typical day looks like this: AM: A smoothie with frozen fruit, almond milk, some type of green or oat, and maybe some nuts or oatmeal. Lunch: Veggies in some capacity over rice, quinoa, or lettuce; maybe some fruit. Dinner: We’ve come to make plants the focus.  This winter, as it’s been cold, we’ve made a lot of stir-fries.  I also love sweet potatoes and squash, so make them quite regularly. Exercise: This winter, I’ve been doing a lot of yoga.  Some running/walking.  

22 Days: How has following a 22 Days Vegan Challenge impacted your life?

Tom: The 22 Days Vegan Challenge has made a big impact on our lives.  Our clothes fit.  We feel better.  Our sex life has more energy.  And my mind feels much, much sharper.  My mood is more positive, and I’ve been sleeping better.  I’ve also encouraged two other people to do the diet.  

22 Days: How much weight have you lost? What other health improvements have you seen?

Tom: I’ve lost 20lbs.  My weight always fluctuates by a few pounds; I began the diet at 238, now weigh under 218.  The weight keeps coming off, and friends and family are noticing. I have shifted my mentality on weight as well.  My goal is 190, but rather than look at the 50lbs, I’ve been looking at 10lb increments.  First it was 230’s to 220’s.   Then 220’s to 210’s.  Now that I’m here, I’m hoping to be under 210 by March/April. My wife lost 12-15lbs.  Her clothes feel better.  Her skin shines (she’s got the prettiest skin-tone I’ve ever seen).  She’s wearing dresses she hasn’t worn since college.  I also see a sparkle to her eyes that’s back.  

22 Days: What words of encouragement do you have for others who are getting started or are considering a 22 Days Vegan Challenge?

Tom: Stick with it.  There will be a few days that are tough, and on those days have some dark chocolate, or some other treat that fits inside the diet.  You’ll feel better the next morning.  Also, it really helps to have groceries in the house.  I know that’s been the real key for me.  In the World Food aisles of most grocery stores, are these Indian packets.  The Chana Masala is especially good, and all the ingredients fit the diet.  They take 1.5 minutes in a microwave, and five minutes on a stove top.  They’re delicious and fill most cravings you’ll have - keep some on hand.  

22 Days: Anything else you’d like to share?

Tom: Small Victories.  This diet helps you get and maintain small victories on your way to taking back your own life.  Read the stories, follow the meals, you’ll be happy you did.   Thank you so much Tom and Jessica for sharing your Success Story with us! It serves as inspiration for many more who are looking to change their lives by trying a plant-based diet – especially for those who want to do it as a couple. If you’d like to share your Success Story with us, we’d love to hear from you! Just send an email to to let us know you’d like to share your story.