Laois Life: Amazing Portlaoise woman up for award after 16 stone weightloss
Portlaoise woman, Julie Fitzpatrick, was always the life and soul of the party but her weight was bothering her behind closed doors.
Now, Julie is celebrating a phenomenal 16 stone weight loss since she set out on her journey in January 2016 and she told the Leinster Express about how she has gained a new lease of life.
Julie set herself the challenge of reaching her huge 16 stone weight loss by her birthday on June 5 this year and she smashed that target three weeks early.
It has been a long journey for her, throughout her life, Julie has always been overweight and she has tried numerous diets over the years.
“I would set myself a goal for a wedding or Christmas, but as soon as the event was over the weight would go back on.
“In 2009 I lost seven stone, but put 10 stone on the following year, that’s the way I was, up and down over the years,” she explained.
In 2015, Julie sadly lost her dad who she was very close to suddenly and within three months she put on a further three stone.
She was eating through her grief and pretty soon she realised that she was a heart attack waiting to happen.
“My health was deteriorating, and I knew if I didn’t do something about my weight I wouldn’t be around for much longer. It came to a stage that even walking across the room had me out of breath,” she said.
In January 2016 she made the decision that it is her time to make a change.
She got a big shock when she stepped on the scales and saw her weight at her first weight loss class in Portlaoise but she put her head down and focues on her goals.
“I started cooking for myself and focussed on eating three meals and two healthy snacks every day.
“Now I am never hungry, and I don’t deprive myself of anything. I am in control of food now whereas before the food was controlling me,” she said.
While she nailed the food side of weightloss, Julie said tackling exercise was more difficult.
“Exercise was my stumbling block, but I knew I had to start somewhere so I began walking around a tennis court near my home.
“At the start, I could only walk for 12 minutes but now just two years later I’m walking for an hour every day and I also love going to dance classes and have started training for a Couch to 5K. I’m fitter than ever,” she said.
To keep herself focussed, she sets herself mini goals and challenges and works towards them month by month.
“I believe I can reach my goal and I am not giving up,” she said.
“It’s just amazing! I love the clothes I can wear now and my new shape, I used to cover up before – but now I can wear what I like and feel great.
“Nobody will ever know the feeling until they have been in that situation, anyone who never suffered from being morbidly obese, it is like winning the lotto it is so hard to describe, it is so hard to put it into words the feeling you get going into a shop and you are able to buy a sixteen as opposed to a size 34/36.
“I can even walk across the swimming pool in my swimsuit and not care who’s looking at me – that’s the level of confidence I now have. I’m a lot happier, a lot healthier.
“People always said that I was the life and soul of the party, but nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors, my weight was bothering me. I always wished I could do something about it and now I have,” she said.
Julie is proud of what she has achieved from weight loss to getting herself off all medication.
“I am so proud of myself and of what I have achieved. It’s only since I reached 16 stone weight loss that I’ve said to myself
‘You know, I am pretty damn awesome’.
“My health has gone from rock bottom to top level. I am now off all blood pressure medication and my blood sugar and cholesterol levels are perfect now. I’ve never been so healthy in my life and it’s all thanks to the fantastic plan – it has really changed my life.
“And though I am still on my weight loss adventure, I know my Dad is looking down at me smiling and saying, ‘I am so proud of you’,” she said.
Julie was recently selected as one of 10 finalists for the title of Unislimmer of the Year as she has the biggest weight loss Unislim has had in 45 years.
This will be judged by Snapchat star James Patrice and Managing Director of Unislim, Fiona Gratzer on October 3. The winner will receive a €1,000 prize.