Julie pictured with her Unislim leader Breda McCann
Portlaoise woman Julie Fitzpatrick has done herself, her family and town proud by winning the national Unislimmer of the Year award 2018.
Julie has lost almost 17 stone since January 2016. Within one year she had lost 10 stone as she quickly adapted her lifestyle to planning meals, exercise and hitting her goals.
Julie told the Leinster Express that she never thought she would lose so much weight so quickly. It has been a whirlwind few weeks for her, from preparing for the awards in Dublin last week and appearing on Ireland AM to being announced as the winner.
“The shock of it all, I didn’t think in my wildest dreams I would win because it is just so amazing to be a part of it, I cannot believe it.
“It was so emotional to win, it was all hitting home. I am overwhelmed with the support from the town, all the calls and texts and messages. To win is like getting six numbers in the lotto.
“My journey means so much to me, I have made this fit into my lifestyle and I am so passionate about it.
“When I started out I thought it would take me five years, I was saying to myself ‘how do I do this and how do I lose 17 stone?’.
“I knew I would complete it, I just thought it would take a lot longer but then I lost 10 stone in the first year.
“I am one and a half pounds off 17 stone now, I will have that before three years not in my wildest dreams did I think I would do it so quickly,” Julie said.
Support and well wishes flooded in as Julie went from being a local inspiration to a national one. She shared some advice for anyone looking at her who wants to make a difference to their life.
“All I want to do is try and inspire people and give them hope. Join a weekly class and do this for you, tell yourself ‘I deserve to lose weight’. Sit down and do a plan, set yourself mini goals. Plan and prepare your meals, when I sit down on a Monday morning to do mine, I know exactly what I am eating that week.
“You have to put in the time and effort but what you do now will change your whole life,” she said.
The grief of losing her father in 2015 drover her to change her life with the support of her family.
Julie’s son Colin Fitzpatrick has been her rock throughout her weight loss as well as her mother Mary, brothers Willie and Mark, sisters in law Mary and Elaine, her nephew Craig and niece Emma.
“They are 110 percent supportive, it means so much, my friends are amazing and there is great support in the town,” she said.
In relation to the €1000 prize money, Julie has big plans!
"I am going to go shopping to buy myself all size 14 clothes, I am going to hit the town running!," she said.
Julie expressed her thanks to five local businesses who supported and sponsored her for the awards ceremony.