You can transition without a BIG CHOP!!!!
I did it.
I cut my ends every week and never lost much length while transitioning , which was hard, dealing with two hair textures is no joke.
I transitioned for 1 year and cut off my relaxed ends which ended up being about 1 inch of hair. Im all natural now and loving it.

……for ease if i had it to do over i may have went with the big chop to avoid dealing with 2 hair textures it was highly annoying.
Also many people in my Natural Hair group agree the big chop is easier…however if you are afraid to go that route then my transition may be the way for you.