Julie Fitzpatrick from Portlaoise is celebrating a 14 stone weight loss.
A Portlaoise woman who has lost fourteen stone celebrated her fantastic achievement by crossing the finish line of a 5 km run in style.
Julie Fitzpatrick recently completed a 5 km run in Mountmellick in aid of the flood relief fund. She completed the route in 41 minutes, her best time so far.
"It is a fantastic feeling to be able to jog over the line and when you look back I wouldn't have been able to walk for five minutes a year and a half ago and now I am out looking for races I am just a totally different person I am seeing what I can better myself with, looking for classes and what’s next," she said.
Julie has lost an impressive 14 stone since she decided to turn her life around back in January 2016. She said that the sudden death of her father and not being able to find clothes to fit her were what pushed her to change her life.
"I lost fourteen stone in 23 months. In January 2016 I decided that I wanted to lose the weight and get healthy and turnaround my life that's what I wanted to do. I am a new person I don’t know myself I am jogging, doing boxercise, zumba, I swim, I could walk anything up to 30 or 40 km a week, I walk with my friends it is something I would never have done when I was at my heaviest.
A picture of Julie before her weight loss.
"I wanted to start off a couple of things that I would be able to keep up and something that is a life changing thing because I have been on diets in the past that work for two or three weeks and then you put it all back up.
"I would have never exercised I would have drove from A to B the whole time parking near the door of the shopping centre and now it is quite the opposite.
"I have turned around my life thank God and I am loving every bit of it, I am loving the fitness end of it.
"I am a lot healthier, I would have had high blood pressure when I was very very overweight and that's all gone now, I have reversed it the tablets are gone. I have fantastic support from my family and friends, all of the support that I want is there. Sometimes when I look back I can’t believe how far I have come," she said.
Julie described the feeling she now gets when she goes shopping.
A fantastic picture of Julie now.
"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. That is an amazing feeling to be able to walk into the smaller shops and buy clothes," she said.
The sudden death of her father alerted Julie to health conditions and the difficulty she had finding clothes also spurred on her motivation to lose weight.
"I have been losing weight all my life, I would have lost a few stone a couple of years ago and put it back up. My Dad passed away in 2015, that kind of spurred me on because if I hadn’t have done something about it at the time Lord knows what situation I would be in today.
"Going into the shops that Christmas 2015 and not being able to get clothes to fit me. I was so unhealthy, so unfit, high blood pressure I was a ticking time bomb to be honest.
"There is no money in the world could buy it, it is a fantastic feeling," she said.
Noel Coss took this fantastic photo of Julie crossing the finish line at the 5 km run/walk that was held in aid of Mountmellick Flood Community Support.
The photo sparked huge reaction online with hundreds of people congratulating her achievements. Julie wants to give a special mention to her Unislim leader Breda McCann.