How I got my life back - Julie's Inspirational Story

How I got my life back - Julie's Inspirational Story

"Last December I decided that I wanted to lose enough weight to wear a dress for my son’s graduation in July. Just a few weeks ago, I did just that.

On January 22 of 2017, I joined Hugh’s Newcastle Can challenge. After years of yo-yo dieting, I decided it was time to get real. Next year I turn 50 and I realised that if I don’t start living now, life will pass me by. I have three grown up children and I want to be there for them as long as possible.

Having suffered from awful back and hip pain for years, which barely allowed me to move properly, I was on a waiting list for a nerve root block injection into my spine. Not only that, but with heart disease running in my family and a BMI of 44, I was a heart attack waiting to happen.

It has been bloody hard work and there have been tantrums along the way. But since January, I have reduced my BMI from 44 to 28.6 and I’m more determined than ever to get it to 25.

I decided to start with an activity I thought I could manage on my own - walking my dog. My 4yr old Patterdale (Freddy) was thrilled to start with, but now with months experiencing our ‘walkies’, he tries not to give me any eye contact (even though he is blind)!

The first time I managed 10,000 steps I was thrilled. My team at work clubbed together to buy my a fit bit for my birthday (boy did that release the competitive monster in me!) and 24,000 steps is regularly my daily average after work now. I’ve also introduced a daily lunch time walk with my colleagues instead of us eating at our desks. Having their company and support is great, plus we are fresher and more productive in the afternoons too.

Doing all of this gave me more confidence to return to the gym, somewhere I previously feared, and I’ve spent months learning which forms of exercise I actually like, not only the ones I can sustain. I now know that I love spinning classes and Pilates (although I am still searching for my core) and that I hate circuit training!

I’ve also found that I love running and I am now signed up for both the Great North 5k with Hugh and the Newcastle Can team AND the full GNR the next day (I have gone from running 5k to 11.9k in just 3 weeks training) and will be raising money for Bright.

It’s not just about the exercise though, I now realise eating more of the right foods are essential to keeping my energy levels up, so starvation isn't a long term solution. I now make the right food choices and get my highs out of feeling so well.

Logging into Newcastle Can weekly, seeing my weight diary and graph go down, receiving encouraging emails, social activity ideas and free tasty recipes has been so beneficial to me, as that’s all I really needed to get going. If I had known earlier, I would have saved a lot of money. It isn’t essential for expensive gym memberships or slimming groups, just people coming together to exercise together (even in the middle of Northumberland Street!), encouraging each other through Facebook posts and expert sensible diet advice (no fads!).

A few months of support from within our own area, can change your life completely and make you feel you can do anything. We are in this together, being overweight isn’t exclusive and the solution needn’t be over complicated!

I am now off the waiting list for spinal nerve block because of awful pain, I’ve reduced my risk of 17 types of cancers and decreased my risk of a heart attack or stroke. My kids now have their mum back and I feel 20 years younger. I feel like I can finally start living again and I have no intention of ever going back.

Ps. I still don’t like salad and would go into shock if i even came close to a cucumber. Give me Hugh’s bangers and roasted veg or a roast veg curry any day!"

- Julie 

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