Julie's Dieting Success Story
Julie (aka Wolf) Diet Success Story – Weight Loss Resources

Huffing and puffing after a 20 minute walk, Julie hated the way she looked.  Read her diet success story and how her diet plan led to a fantastic 6 stone weight loss!

Julie's Dieting Success Story

Julie, Age 40, Height 5ft 7.5in
Start Weight 16st 5lbs
Current Weight 10st 5lbs
Weight Lost 6st
Working to Rate of Loss 1lb per week
Time Taken 12 months

About Julie

I work in IT which is delivery oriented and can result in very long hours.

In addition to that I have a 3 hour total daily commute Monday to Friday, and although I should work 1 day a week from home it often doesn’t happen that way.

I love eating out (and do so regularly) and also enjoy the odd drink.  I make time for running which is both my stress buster and allows me to eat more!  I’ve just done my first triathlon and hope to do more.  I also try to get into the gym to do weight training.

"I live alone (apart from 2 cats!) which means I can fall into the tea and toast trap, or the ‘I’ll just stop at the chippy tonight’ if I’m not careful. "

I enjoy cooking (especially baking) but if I’ve walked through the door at 8.45pm I generally want something to eat as soon as possible, rather than to be pottering around the kitchen, even for half an hour – so this is where forward planning and preparation come in.

My job can have an effect in that it can be very long hours. In addition, the office I currently work in provides cakes every Tuesday morning.

The long hours combined with the commuting mean that I can get very tired, and if I get tired I seem to get hungry and don’t always make the best choices.

What diets have you tried in the past?

What haven’t I tried? :)

My ‘base’ weight seemed to settle at around 12.5 stone, but would go up and down.

Unfortunately the ‘up’ bits got increasingly higher, but I never seemed to be able to get below 12.5 stone after age 20. 

At the age of 12 I did the ‘skim milk and banana’ diet for a week, which involved 6 glasses of skimmed milk and 6 bananas a day and that was it. 

I put myself on an 800 cals a day regime when I was 16. 

Cambridge diet at 17. 

Herbalife at 18. 

Then over the years Slimming Magazine club, then their low fat diet.  Slimming World and Weight Watchers a few times. Atkins diet.

Just to name a few!

Please comment on your experiences of trying these diets

I remember being very hungry during my teenage years, which looking at my calorie intake doesn’t surprise me! 

Bananas and skim milk was my first diet – all I remember is that I went from around 11st 9lbs (so not hugely fat – I was my current height at 12) to 11st 2lb and then put it all back immediately. 

The 800 cals a day involved 1 weetabix and skim milk for breakfast, a 4oz pot of cottage cheese with pineapple and an apple for lunch and a lean cuisine for dinner – felt very tired all the time. 

I lasted 2 weeks on the Cambridge diet, was tired, grumpy, and tearful and had no concentration – then my poor mum couldn’t cope with another evening with me sobbing on the sofa so cooked me a huge plate of spaghetti. 

Strangely, I felt much better almost immediately! 

Herbalife I couldn’t cope with the amount of pills you had to take and the shakes made me gag so only lasted a few days.

The low fat diet was so low in fat that when I came off it I had horrendous stomach cramps as soon as I ate something with any fat in it – I think I lost a bit of weight, but put it back on. 

Slimming World I went back to 2 or 3 times, as when I first did it I lost 2 stone or so, but because of the free foods and me not having an ‘off switch’ when it came to the amount I can eat the weight loss didn’t last. 

Weight Watchers I didn’t get on with the points system at all, but liked the little calculator gadget (!), and then I tried their ‘no counting’ diet, which because of my ability to eat a staggering amount of food failed completely. 

Atkins worked for me as even I can’t put away that much protein/fat, but then I consider that I did it ‘properly’ – i.e. I ate a lot of veg with the steaks/pork chops etc and did work through the gradual increase in carbs, although I only got up to about 80g per day. 

I lost about 4.5 stone on Atkins, but because I’d cut out an entire food group I hadn’t really educated myself about portions etc and although I was initially fine (even when I reintroduced carbs) because I was running a lot (10ks, half marathon and then training for a marathon) when I got injured and had to stop the weight piled on at speed – about 3 stone in 3 months initially, and then the remainder over the next couple of years

Tell us how your weight has affected you

Always felt self conscious – never wanted anyone to see me.

I always dressed in black, although conversely I also did quite interesting things with my hair colour and trained as a musician.

Didn’t get involved in sports at school – I remember walking around the 400 metre track with a couple of mates being shouted at for not running...

"I also felt that I was both invisible and standing out because of my size."

I had very little confidence and, despite having an above average IQ at age 18, I always felt I was perceived as a bit stupid by people who didn’t know me. 

As I got older, a lot of the confidence issues got hidden behind a fairly tough outer shell so I came across as quite bolshie and confident.

"And to some extent, acting confident made me more confident."

There was also a feeling that whatever you did, the first thing someone would say when describing you would be ‘she’s the fat one....'

What has been your main motivation to lose weight?

Health, fitness and vanity!

When I realised that a 20 minute walk to work was making me huff and puff like a steam train, and was making my legs ache I realised I had to do something.

My blood pressure has never really been a problem, but there is a fair amount of type 2 diabetes in my family and I didn’t want to become a candidate for that.

I also hated the way I looked, and buying clothes in various shades of black because they fitted and covered me rather than buying them because I liked them and they looked good!

Julie before

Which tools and resources on wlr do you find most valuable?

The best tool is the food diary database – I’m a geek, so give me a database and I’m happy!

I also love that you can add things to it, and store your own recipes. 

Being able to see the impact various types of exercise have on your calorie allowance is also extremely useful, and I make a lot of use of the history function as I tend to try to balance out my intake over a week rather than day to day. 

I didn’t use the forums a huge amount when I was losing, but I have been much more so since I’ve been maintaining, as I’ve found maintaining far more challenging.

"There are an awful lot of lovely, supportive people out there and it really does make a difference. "

I also liked watching my graph, and seeing the general trend.

Why do you think wlr has helped you lose weight where other diets have failed?

It’s helped because it’s a tool that has enabled me to create my own diet and exercise plan that fits in with my lifestyle rather than imposing something on me.

For example, I tend to prefer to eat ‘full fat’ food rather than low fat versions – the only exceptions there are semi skimmed milk and Hellman’s light mayonnaise, as I watch my sugar intake more than I do fat. 

It also meant that I could eat out with friends without being a pain about my ‘diet’.

The nutritional analysis tools enable you to see where you can make improvements, and I also started trying to aim for my 5 fruit & veg a day, as I’ve never been a big veggie eater – that’s now changing and I’m much better than I used to be.

But having that little counter on the side of the screen in the food diary was a big help.

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Have you struggled at points in your weight loss journey? Experienced a weight loss plateau? What has kept you motivated?

I’ve probably struggled more with maintenance than weight loss, as you lose that satisfying affirmation of seeing the scales drop each week.

"But what kept/keeps me going is the thought that I don’t want to be lugging around more weight that I have to when I go running!"

I also felt so much better as I got slimmer and fitter and didn’t want to lose that feeling.

There’s also the satisfaction of being able to buy clothes in ‘normal’ shops and choose things because I like them, rather than just because they fit.

The main motivation was that I had set a goal and was determined to achieve it, however long it took.

Since losing weight can you give examples of how your life has changed?

I’m much more genuinely confident, rather than having to act confident.

"I’ve started to see myself as a fit person, and get a bit antsy when I can’t exercise."

I’m more assertive, both at work and personally and am a lot happier meeting new people now.

I’m the same person I was when overweight, but I don’t feel as if that’s how I’m defined now.

Exercise routines adopted

Running, weights, kickboxing.  I’ve just started cycling and swimming so I can have a go at more triathlons.

What do you love about your body now?

I love that I can just go out for a 3 mile run and my body can do it!

"I’m also fairly partial to my legs as they’re reasonably muscular so have started wearing shorter skirts and shorts occasionally :) "

I like my shoulders when I’m weightlifting as they look quite strong now. 

Overall, I love the fact that my body now functions as it should!

Julie's Stats
  Start Current
Weight 16st 5lbs 10st 5lbs
Body Fat 43% 23%
Bust - "38
Waist - "30
Hips - "38

Julie's hints and tips

  1. Always be completely honest when filling in your food diary – your body will always add up right even if you don’t!  I always logged even when I knew I was way over, so that I could see exactly what the damage was.  Plus weigh everything – it’s so easy to underestimate the weight of so many foods!  I also didn’t necessarily try to ‘claw back’ any damage – I might be a bit more careful for a few days, but I’ve never reacted well to extra restriction!
  2. Don’t stress if you do go over occasionally – this is a long term change so think of the bigger picture.  Over the course of a few months or a year one day’s excess is not going to make that much difference.  If it’s a regular thing though, you may want to review why!
  3. Keep focused on your goals – what do you want more?  To fit into a size 12 or to eat that .  Decide why you want to lose weight/get fit and write it down – review it regularly.  Conversely, it also helps to write down what may be stopping you from doing what you want, and what you actually get out of not changing.
  4. Take up some form of exercise that you enjoy – it improves your mood, fitness and allows you to eat more for the same net loss.  For me that was a combination of cardio (running) and weights.  But anything that gets you moving regularly is good – it doesn’t have to be formal or in a gym.
  5. Plan.  It would be easy for me to say that I don’t have time – I work long hours and drive 100 miles a day, so am either at work or in the car for 11 – 14 hours a day.  I know that with the best will in the world I will be too tired to do anything at night, so I get up and get a workout done first thing in the morning.  I also try and at least have some idea of what I will be eating for lunch/dinner during the week so I’m not stuck in front of the fridge trying to work out what I can do with the contents...
  6. There are no good or bad foods, and eating something does not make you a good or bad person.  At the end of the day, it’s fuel.  Yes, there can be all sorts of emotional stuff attached to it, but you have to take responsibility for your weight loss – and once I realised that nobody was forcing me to eat anything, and that it was my choice what I put into my body it became easier.  So I don’t deny myself anything, but I also try and fuel myself properly as I ask quite a lot of my body.
  7. Set your rate of loss to something that you can live with comfortably.  It’s tempting to just go for 2lbs all the way through, but I found that I couldn’t really go below 1500 cals a day without feeling deprived, so dropped my rate of loss so I was always above that.
  8. Enjoy it!  It’s a lifestyle change so don’t try to force yourself into eating or doing things you hate, as most of the changes that you make will need to be incorporated into your lifestyle long term if you want to keep the weight off. :)
Julie now

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* Note: The success stories published on Weight Loss Resources are written by WLR members, past and present, telling their own stories in their own words. As you will see if you read more than one or two of them, everyone's story is different and they have reached their success from a variety of starting points and lost weight at varying rates. Individual results may vary.

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