Operation: Motivation – Julie’s Story…

*** Yay for the next inspiring person on my list of majorly inspiring people!  Julie’s story is today.  She has come so far in her journey and is totally an inspiration for me.  She’s doing all sorts of active and impressive things these days.  The following is in her words!  Thank you, Julie!


Trusting people has been an issue for me since around the 4th grade. It was around that time I came to believe that people were hurtful and not to be trusted.  This feeling was reinforced in the 12 years to come, and I began to retreat.   Poor habits became a way of life.   Food seemed to comfort me while eating, and torment me soon after.  Food became like a pacifier to a baby. I used it to cheer up, calm my nerves, make me tired enough to sleep, or simply just refocus.   And so, began my struggle with weight.

Years past, my weight crept higher.  I tried to convince myself and my friends that I was not bothered by my weight.  Sometimes I wasn’t, but I often felt vulnerable.  My best friend was getting married and I was going to be the maid of honor.   Unfortunately, the bridesmaid dresses didn’t come in “plus” size according to the boutique attendant.  Of course she made the announcement in front of all the other bridesmaids, the bride and two other women in the store.  My friend had that particular dress picked out months ago, so I ended up wearing a different dress than the other girls.  Mine was navy cotton with a peplum jacket, purchased off the rack, in the Plus Size section, at Belk’s.  The other bridesmaids’ dresses were  sleeveless, in a burgundy wine satin.  I convinced myself that at least I could get another wear or two out of mine.  I didn’t, too many humiliating feelings attached to that dress.  Eventually, it was too small.

Because the world seemed full of hurtful people, I found I preferred being around children and animals.  I worked in childcare and started fostering animals at home. My time was filled with responsibilities as a mother, wife, employee, and other volunteer activities I could squeeze in. Staying super busy helping others, kept me from focusing on myself.

After many failed attempts at various diets…  I just kept getting bigger in the long run.  In 2006, I heard about the Lap-Band.  I took out  $20K loan.  I lost 25 pounds on a liquid diet before surgery and another 10lbs in the two weeks after.  When I introduced solid foods, I experienced terrible, unrelenting chest pain, and the sweats, until either enough time passed, or I’d finally regurgitate the food.  I was supposed to feel full, not sick as a dog, right?   After several unsuccessful “adjustments”, it was clear, I gave up on it.  The weight I had lost, started creeping back on.

Just a year ago I found out that diabetes was in my family, so my chances of getting it just went up dramatically.  I knew the ramifications.  I tossed and turned that night and finally decided to search the internet for success stories of people having lost 100+ lbs and then find the ones who have kept it off and find out how.  I was done with “diets” and decided to learn how and how much to eat of real food, that I liked.  I taped Dr. Oz, The Doctors, Extreme Weightloss, Biggest Loser, Addicted to Food, anything I could and fast forwarded to info on weight loss.  Then, BONUS, I found MFP!  I had an outlet to share thoughts with others in the same boat!  I started counting calories, then added exercising, and slowly, but surely… pound by pound… the weight came off.  I started and finished Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred, and read her book Making the Cut”.  I became more confident and started doing more activities with the kids.  Before long, I was canoeing, mountain biking, kayaking and even paddle boarding! Finally, I fit comfortably into life jackets, roller coaster seats, plane seats (with the tray down!), restaurant booths, movie seats, all the things that used to cause me stress.

A friend suggested I sign up for an event, so that working out would be more like training, and help with motivation.  I signed up for a Sprint Triathlon. I went to the library for training books, started and finished the C25K program, swam, biked, ran.  I finished that race, and ended up coming in 8th place in my division, of about 70 women.   I am now training for a 60-mile charity bike ride.

It’s not been “easy”, but it has been doable.  I’ve had to convince myself I can handle stress, conflict, any problem head on, without needing to escape.  I’ve refocused on how and where I spend my time.  Time is much more valuable than I had realized.  I’ve learned to drop my guard and let people know my weaknesses.  I was amazed at how many people took time to help me along the way.  Indeed, I asked for help, but they were willing!  The C25K was completed with a friend who had also never run before, and we ended up taking Yoga together too.  An avid biker and I just rode over 30 miles this morning.   Another friend helped me with “core” exercises like twisting crunches, v-sits, glut push-ups and planks.  I had no idea so many people were willing and wanting to help.  I found that MFP helps me by refocusing and refueling my desire and motivation.  I’ve learned a lot, changed my appearance and outlook on life dramatically.  Life is good, and the best lesson I’ve learned is that “most” people really are trustworthy.

Julie Before:

Julie After:

*** Whitney’s Note:  Amazing, right?  Isn’t she a beautiful woman?  Now, who wants to go for a bike ride!?  Let her know what you think in the comments!  Thanks again, Julie!  😀



Filed under Operation: Motivation

19 responses to “Operation: Motivation – Julie’s Story…

  1. deannawade@gmail.com

    Wow great story. I love to read about other’s success and how they did it. Great job–you look fantastic.

  2. Avster

    Way to go, Julie!!!

  3. jen

    You look wonderful! What a dramatic change you have made to improve yourself and your health.

    • Hi Jen, My physical appearance has changed so much, most people don’t recognize me if they haven’t seen me… and yes, I feel very different too. My feet don’t hurt, I have normal bowels (sorry, TMI, huh?), I have energy, I sleep through the night, I feel strong and young again. The biggest change is that I don’t think about food so much anymore. I don’t get irritable when I am hungry either. I’m no longer worried about what to wear, if someone is staring at me, or if I look okay. I didn’t know I could feel so free. I hope I can help you reach your potential too.

  4. Thanks for sharing your story! How inspiring and motivating! Way to be!

  5. Deanna

    Absolutely beautiful!!! Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  6. Wow! I am so impressed with your perseverance, and of course your results! You look great! Thank you for sharing your story.

    I am trying to decide if Lap Band is necessary or if good old fashioned trying, and sticking with it, will work for me.

    • Thank you for your comments. Please know that even a Lap-Band cannot do the work for you… Even friends who have had gastric by-pass have started gaining weight back over the years. We gotta figure out why we are eating and stop hurting ourselves. Now, I know it’s just about trusting a plan, learning to trust yourself, and others too. You can do this. Take time each day to think abt what your long term goals are, what really makes you happy, and who you want to be today, next month, next year. It more than weight loss, it’s learning to be who you were meant to be all along. Somewhere, I know I got lost in the shuffle and forgot I mattered. We all matter.

  7. Louisa a.k.a. ProudMomOfTwo

    Amazing transformation – TRULY!
    Loved your story, Julie.
    You are an inspiration to those of us still on our journey.

  8. Dessa Wade

    Thanks for sharing your story. You look beautiful!

  9. Lindsay

    You are so pretty! I love your hair color too! Way to make the journey!

  10. Thank you so much for sharing your story! This is one of the many motivational stories that keep me (and I’m sure others) going towards their goals no matter how far away they seem, or how impossible. I especially enjoyed reading your return comments. It’s not about fitting that status quo, but about realizing all the freedom we could have from the things our minds dwell on.

    Again, thank you!

    • Thank you too, Mande. Your goals are not as far away as they seem. Think of how quickly the months and years pass by. Believe in yourself and love yourself, even when mistakes are made. Once you trust and believe in yourself, no hurtful comment, no lack of time or energy, NOTHING will stand in your way. But be sure to keep all your goals in mind. You don’t want to lose what’s most important to you, along the way. I heard a lot of people lose their husbands, and sometimes even friends when they change so drastically. Make a point to let them know how important they are even when you’re too pooped to pop. It’s easy to get lost in a weight loss goal and focus too much on ourselves. Friends and family are a greater gift than any amount of weight loss.

  11. Pingback: Operation: Motivation – Master Rachel’s Story! « craving a life

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