Julie is one of those success stories you want to share with all of your friends.
She got a wake-up call and, instead of freaking out, she took small steps to improve her health. Here she is before losing 145 pounds:
The photo at the top is of her now. It took her four years, and she looks so much healthier and I bet she feels great.
Snack Girl: What would you say is the biggest factor in your weight loss success?
Julie: The biggest factor has been coming to the realization that the big secret behind weight loss is that there is no secret. There is no magic pill or special exercise or secret whatever that will make the weight “fall off of you”…despite what every other commercial or magazine ad will try to tell you. For me, I have tried to make healthier choices…and what those choices are have changed over time.
At first, the healthier choice was cutting down on junk food at work. And then it meant eating more veggies and making sure I got some exercise at least 3 times per week. Now healthier means trying to eat vegan/plant-based Monday through Friday and exercising 6 days per week for 30-45 minutes. I’m sure healthier will mean something else for me 6 months from now!
Another important factor is that I made my healthier choices “excuse proof.” I exercise mostly in my living room with a pair of 10 pound hand weights. There are no excuses as to why I didn’t get to the gym or walking trails (too cold, too tired, too whatever). If I have 30 minutes to watch the news or some sitcom, then I have time to get in 30 minutes of exercise just about every day.
Snack Girl: Did you have an "aha" moment or insight that began your journey?
Julie: My blood pressure was always high when I was at my heaviest. My doctor finally broached the subject of putting me on blood pressure medication, which I didn’t want to do. I felt like I would be giving up on ever losing weight if I did go on the medication.
I told the doctor to give me 6 months and if my blood pressure was still high, I would go on medication. I bought a scale that weekend (after not owning one for at least 20 years…it was part of my denial). My first healthier choice was to stop eating candy/junk food at work. I lost 20 pounds in two months, which goes to show you how much junk I was eating! My blood pressure was normal at my next appointment and has been normal ever since.
Snack Girl: You told me that it has taken you four years to take off the 145 pounds. When you didn't lose weight for a few weeks (or a few months) - how did you keep motivated?
Julie: During those times, healthier meant not gaining any weight. And that was ok. Losing the weight I already had was an accomplishment and if I never lost another pound, I would still be ok. Taking that pressure off seems to help keep me motivated to try new healthier choices.
Snack Girl: What foods and habits were the most difficult for you to give up and change?
Julie: If I really want a certain food, I can still have it…just not everyday! Food is delicious and I want to be able to enjoy it and live my life. I can still eat sweets (ice cream and cake with frosting will always be my favorite!) but now I know to balance that out with exercise and making sure that sweets are a special treat.
Snack Girl: What advice would you give to your "145 pound heavier" self?
Julie: Don’t feel so overwhelmed by the challenge ahead. It took years and years to put on the weight so don’t be discouraged if you don’t lose lots of weight quickly. Make one healthier choice at a time and just keep moving forward. And get off the couch! It will be worth it…you are worth it.
Snack Girl: What is your favorite snack?
Julie: Unsalted nuts! No, really! Almonds, peanuts, walnuts, cashews – I love them all. They are an easy way to get some protein in at any time of day & they really fill me up. No refrigeration is needed and they are simple to dress-up (add some choco-chips & dried fruit to make them feel like more of a treat). And I eat Snack Girl’s DIY Cereal for lunch every day Monday through Friday and have for the past 4 years!
Here is the Snack Girl DIY cereal recipe: Avoid The Cereal Aisle Forever Using This Simple Recipe.
Thanks so much for sharing with us, Julie!
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