I can and I did! An update from Newcastle Can Hero Julie

I can and I did! An update from Newcastle Can Hero Julie

Last year we shared the story of one amazing Newcastle lady, Julie Hogarth, who’d completely transformed her life since joining Newcastle Can – losing weight, reducing her risk of certain cancers, a heart attack or stroke, and truly getting her life back. Since then Julie has continued on her incredible journey. Here’s the latest from her.

“On January 22 of 2017 I joined Newcastle Can, deciding it was time to get real. Since then, I have lost 7 stone and 10 pounds and I’ve just reached by target weight!

It hasn’t been easy by any means, but it has been worth it. Over the past 12 months, I’ve done things that I would never have considered doing before. From multiple 5k runs to the full Great North Run and from the Cheviot Challenge (26 miles climbing to 3500ft in 9hours) to swimming in the North Sea on New Year’s Day.

And I’m not stopping here! Part of my inspiration for getting healthy and losing the weight was that I turn 50 this year. So to mark this birthday and to celebrate my new-found life, I have 50 challenges lined up - from the New Year’s Day North Sea Swim to donating blood, white water rafting, surfing, doing the Coast to Coast and much more. But first, I’m off to Tanzania with work! This is something that I never would have had the confidence to do before and, up until recently, I wouldn’t have been in good enough health for such a trip.

Along with the new challenges, there are things I did last year that I want to complete again this year, including the Great North Run. I’m planning to set up an online support group and possibly a training plan for those that haven’t run it before. Achieving it last year was an incredible feeling and I’d love to help others to do the same.

Reflecting on the last year, one thing that has really helped me is realising what my food downfalls are, and embracing them instead of eliminating them entirely like I would have done in the past. I know now that this isn't sustainable and leads only to craving them more.  Instead, I’ve learned to food swap and I now actually enjoy looking for options and mixing them up. I will never be a salad or raw veg girl, but I have learnt to replace my snacks with healthier alternatives. I'm an evening TV snacker and that won’t ever change but I'm switching my crisps and soured cream and chive drip for thinly sliced carrots, parsnips and courgettes, (I sprinkle them with chilli flakes, a little light oil and crisp in the oven) and salsa dip. I never feel I am missing out at all and I look forward to them, rather than counting the minutes to going to bed hungry!

For me, 2018 is about finding a way of maintaining my weight through discovering new activities with friends, so it becomes more of a lifestyle and social activity rather than a short-lived diet with an end date. I am looking forward to finding new talents, new friends, turning 50 without any aches or pains and creating new memories to replace how I used to feel about myself.

Right now I feel really healthy, energised, enthusiastic but I have to admit I am a little scared as this is new to me! I'm going to need the support of Newcastle Can and my friends and family to help me sustain this new healthy lifestyle, but I know I can do it."

- Julie Hogarth.

Read more from Julie here.

Tune in to Britain's Fat Fight with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Wednesday May 2nd at 9pm on BBC One to see more from the amazing Julie.

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