Let’s jump in to her story:
✋ At what moment did you realize you HAD to lose weight?
I had been overweight my entire life, and had just gotten out of a terrible relationship where I had gained 80 pounds. I decided to go to therapy and shed the weight to start my life over again.
1️⃣ What was the first step you took towards transforming your body?
I downloaded My Fitness Pal and just started tracking. I did not weigh my food at first, as I do now, but because I was so heavy I started losing quickly. I started eating more vegetables/less refined carbs.
🍳 What kind of adjustments did you make to your diet?
I started weighing my food and stopped eating fast food. I drink a fraction of the alcohol I used to, I drink water almost exclusively. Greek yogurt, riced cauliflower, chicken, eggs, and salads are some of my go-to staple foods.
💪 Can you talk a little bit about what you found to work the best in terms of physical exercise? What worked best for you and why?
I started my fitness journey by going to planet fitness and doing an hour of cardio using the elliptical. I did that for about a year. Once quarantine hit, I completed the Couch to 5k program and ran a lot. Then I bought a rowing machine.
Now I am focusing more on weightlifting (can almost squat my body weight, pretty excited about that) because I want to tone and build muscle. I have 15 lbs I want to lose only (for a total of 115 lbs) and I need to focus on muscle so I don’t look skinny-fat. And, I want to be mobile when I am older.
🧾 What was the best advice you received (or read) along the way?
Regarding exercise, to focus on how you feel rather than what the scale says.
Although it started off as just “I need to lose weight to look better”, it turned into something much more. I now view eating healthy and working out as a form of self-love, and cherishing the life I was given.
🥵 What was the hardest part about your journey? How did you overcome it?
There are two aspects to this that have been the hardest. Once I made the decision to lose weight I just…did it (after years of trying and failing) and have not gained in 5 years.
The hardest parts for me are:
- How I see myself. I have heard of phrases thrown around Reddit such as “phantom fat” etc. and I have a hard time just knowing how I look. People have told me I could “stop now” but I don’t agree with them..
- How other people react to my weight loss. It’s always with such surprise, it makes me uncomfortable and in the spotlight. Weight loss is such a personal thing and while I know the results are very public, the attention can be anxiety inducing.
I make a lot of before and after pictures to help me see the difference, and I try to see the compliments I get as further indication that I have actually changed
💡 Was there an ‘aha’ moment where everything began to click?
The minute I decided I was tired of being obese. I just knew it was either I get it together I would be this way for the rest of my life.
😎 How has your life changed since the day you took your before photo?
I take care of my body and my mind more. My community asks me for advice on weight loss and exercise, and I never thought I would be the type of person people would trust on those matters. I feel more comfortable in my skin, for the most part.
❤ Based on your experience, what advice would you give to our readers who are starting off as the ‘old’ you?
- Download My Fitness Pal and buy a food scale. Weigh and track everything you eat.
- Find exercise you enjoy, that decreases stress, and makes you feel good. Do that several times a week.
- If holidays or a major food-centered event is coming up, plan for that. I make sure I get a lot of exercise and eat really clean before anything like that (Thanksgiving, for example).
- Be kind to yourself. I have not been perfect every day. I give myself grace. This is a lifetime journey. I will not stop the life changes I made to get healthy once I reach my weight and body goal.
Thanks for the interview, Julie!