When Julia first came into the program, she really wanted to be free of feeling like food was an issue or a “problem” in her life. She came in with an open mind, and was ready to make small changes. She wasn't looking for an overhaul that would take over her life,but simple things that would help her to finally live healthy. Julia inspired me personally -- I could really relate to the way she felt about food. Watching her make simple adjustments, and integrate them into her life without some big, dramatic mix up to the scheme of her everyday living was really inspiring. When she told me, “I finally have a healthy relationship with food” my heart sung for her.
What made you decide to join Take Control’s Lifestyle Management program?
As a new employee, I was reviewing my employer’s health and wellness benefits. I was not happy with my weight, and was feeling tired and lethargic. To top it off, my new job came with a candy jar on the front desk, and for the first three months, I ate from that jar almost all day long. A colleague told me about Take Control, and after delaying and making excuses I finally signed up. It has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and has made a HUGE difference in my life!
What were your reasons/motivation for wanting to make changes regarding your health?
I had a serious horseback riding accident two years ago and the recovery was long and difficult. I was in pain and couldn’t be active like I had been before my accident. I was in almost constant pain and turned to comfort eating to help me feel ‘better’. At 5’3” and a small frame, the extra weight was like an albatross around my neck. I had a feedback loop going on-I felt frustrated at my inability to exercise and my weight, I ate to feel better, I gained weight and the cycle just went on and on. I am a single mom, and I realized that if I didn’t change the way I thought about food and exercise, I wouldn’t be around as long as I want to be for my daughter.
What are the biggest challenges and accomplishments in your health since you started? What do you feel was your biggest obstacle?
I have had a love-hate relationship with food through most of my life, and have always been susceptible to stress eating. My weight has fluctuated based on my emotional state – lower when I was active and happy, higher when I was frustrated or unhappy. The biggest challenge was to change my mindset about food and realize it is fuel, not my friend. I joined Weight Watchers and began to be really mindful about what I ate, when I ate and why I ate. Changing the way I view food has been one of my greatest accomplishments. My mind and the voices in my head have been my largest obstacle. When I went through my divorce, myself-esteem took a hit. My inner voice was very negative and self-critical and sometimes that voice still tries to be heard. I’ve learned through the Take Control coaching how to address the way I feel about myself and to turn it around to something positive.
What did you do to stay motivated?
I found the most helpful tools were the encouraging words of my health coach Kelly, and her way of re-framing my thoughts. We set goals that were challenging but attainable, and she never gave up, even when I didn’t make a monthly goal or felt discouraged. She gave me things to try, and things to think about, and most of all she gave me encouragement. My successes were celebrated! When I joined Weight Watchers Kelly was very supportive and eager to help me maintain my momentum. I started running again and we set goals that revolved around exercise as well as healthy eating. Kelly shared some stories about her life that made me realize that what I feel and how I deal with situations aren't that uncommon and that I wasn’t alone. She was incredibly sincere and really cared about what I said or felt. I started to lose weight and it was easier than I had imagined! The tools Kelly gave me as well as the mindful habits I learned from Weight Watchers really worked in unison! I reached my goal weight in August and have been there ever since!
What have you gained through this process?
Myself-confidence is so much higher now than it was when I joined the program. In the beginning I used to get quite emotional after the calls with my coach because I felt like nothing I did was really going to make a difference. I just didn’t believe it (that pesky inner voice again). I’ve gained the ability to deal with my stress in ways that are healthy (taking a long walk rather than eating) and have a much better relationship with food and exercise! I have the skills now to live a healthier and happier life! I hope to be around for my daughter for a long, long time! I never want to go back to what I had before.
What differences do you see in yourself and the impact it has had on your health and life?
I have dropped 30 pounds, I have two 5k races under my belt, and am training for my first 10k race in March! I eat when I’m hungry, stop when I’m full, and love my vegetables! I no longer stress eat, can identify my triggers, and re-direct my thoughts, and have so much more energy and enthusiasm! I just started a new relationship with a very outdoorsy person who motivates me to try new things and stay active. I know that my new and improved mindset and life style was one of the things that he found attractive!
What advice or encouragement would you give others in our program?
There were plenty of times I wanted to quit and plenty of times I slipped up and reverted to my old habits. The key to my success was to keep getting back up when I felt down and to always move forward, even if I really didn’t want to. I didn’t beat myself up about my slipping, and I didn’t listen to the negative voices in my head. I have a new positive voice that whispers “Don’t give up! You can make a change in your life, I promise! “
This program has made an incredible difference to my life, and has even served to motivate a friend to use some of the tools Kelly gave me! It’s made a difference to her, and if she motivates someone else, just think how many lives can be improved for the better!
“Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional.” ― Roger Crawford
Julia had such a great transformation, and the most beautiful part was seeing her before and after photos.The after photo is from her 5K race, the “Zombie Run.” That smile, and the way she’s holding the zombie head … it matched the song that sang in my mind when she told me how all those simple little adjustments done consistently had just become a natural, new way of living.