Catching up with Julie

Back at the beginning of January Julie Carroll blogged about her struggle to stay healthy and her intention to make some positive changes in 2015. A couple of months later, we caught up with Julie to see how she was getting on. Here’s what she said:

Since your last blog, have you managed to stay healthy?

I really have tried to make those changes to my lifestyle. I think it’s important to think of it as a lifestyle, not a fad diet or something you’re going to try for a week or two. We all have reason to celebrate sometimes or if we’re busy and less organised, have a bad a day/week when it comes to exercise and making the wrong food choices. Try not to beat yourself up about it. Just get back on track and think positively about planning your meals and getting more exercise. With Spring/Summer upon us, it’s the perfect time to do this and just get up and go!

Have you tips on what’s helped keep you motivated since then? Also, what (if anything) has blocked your progress?

There have been a few bumps along the way but that’s going to happen. A certain Kildare man is now my fiancé which was cause for a few celebrations (and bubbles)! I also ended up on medication after a bad ear and throat infection that had me out of action from my circuit classes for a few weeks. Prior to that at the end of February, I had been making a big effort to go and was really enjoying them. Making healthier food choices was a welcome change after too much festive fun but I still had the odd treat which I think helped keep me on track. I’m really looking forward to starting the classes again this week and organising my meals again.

I cannot stress enough how much planning my meals helped - eating filling, healthier foods was far more enjoyable and cheaper! I had much more energy from getting into a (slightly) better sleeping routine, better eating habits and drinking all of those desk jugs of water!

Having a friend/relative/partner to encourage you – does it work for you or is it annoying?!

This is quite a subjective area, I’m sure. Weight is a very sensitive issue and something so many of us struggle with. I think there is a balance of choosing the right words that won’t offend and showing your support by action rather than telling someone to be healthier. After my fiancé read the blog I wrote, I came home to a very tasty, healthy dinner which was a lovely gesture. He started hiding treats if he bought them and eating the odd takeaway when I was visiting my Mom or out with friends which really helped me. It’s important to communicate to your friends/family that you are trying to make healthy changes so that they understand and can offer help if needed. Starting a walking/hiking group is a great way to catch up and get some exercise too – we have started doing this some lunchtimes in work and it’s something anyone can do. There is no cost and an option for all abilities!

If you are a parent and looking to make healthier changes for your family, here is a link to some helpful tips and advice.

Have you got a long-term goal that keeps you motivated?

I don’t think there’s much better motivation than a wedding dress but I’d like to quote Dr Donal O’Shea for my long term health goals and for anyone without dress measurements to think about. He says “For adults it’s really important to know your weight, and track your weight a couple of times a month to make sure it’s not going up. Every parent should find out what their kid’s weight is and find out if it’s right for their age and height. If we could solve the kids [obesity problem] we really would be on the way.”

He added that children don’t have to lose weight – they can stay the same weight and grow into it as they age. The same is not true for adults. I also remember him saying in a radio interview that if you are trying to lose weight, every half stone down and inch off your waist can really help reduce the risk of some diseases and any pressure on your heart. Pretty important don’t you think?

When during the day or week is it hardest to fight temptation? How do you overcome that?

I mentioned in the blog I found coming home late and hungry in the evening my absolute worst time for caving in to treats, unhealthy options or eating bigger portion sizes. Eating a more fulfilling lunch and a healthy snack before I leave work really helped with this. Weekends are always harder with more temptation and social occasions but just try not to over indulge, get some exercise in and try to stay on track during the week.

Any practical tips to stay away from treats like the biscuit tin? What food do you find handy if you feel like a snack?

Again, planning and eating more fulfilling food really helped with this. I found when biscuits/treats were offered to me, I genuinely didn’t want them as I wasn’t hungry and far less tempted. Well, it worked most of the time! Eating a handful of nuts is a great snack and keeps hunger at bay too.

How many times a week are you exercising?

I found fitting in 2 good exercise sessions during the week and one at the weekend manageable – a good walk on the alternative days is great if you can fit it in too. It didn’t work out every week as I mentioned but I was very happy when it did and felt all the better for it.

running in the rain

If you miss an exercise session, what would you do?

Don’t panic; just literally get back on the horse. Speaking of, I went horse-riding to mix things up a bit and make the weekend session more fun. It is such great exercise albeit not everyone’s cup of tea/purse friendly but even at a walk, you are using nearly every muscle group. I couldn’t believe how sore I was the next day! My main point with this is, include activities you find enjoyable and fun – you will be surprised at how much you’ll look forward to it and far less likely to skip a session. If you don’t like running, skipping is a fantastic way to easily include cardio into your day – it’s free and can burn more calories too. Here is a great jump-rope-workout to try!

Have you noticed any changes since you started on this journey?

Well it’s always nice when clothes fit you better but having more energy was a very welcome change. The main change I struggled to make was with sleep. Quite the surprise to me as I would live in my bed if it was socially acceptable! I had no idea how much time I was spending on screens before bedtime – I’m not one of those people who can pass out as soon as their head hits the pillow and looking at the TV/laptop/phone really does have an impact on getting to sleep and the quality of sleep you do eventually get. It’s a work in progress for me!

Can you recommend any resources that have really helped you?

Fitness apps are a great place to find inspiration and also keep track of your progress if you have a smart phone. The couch to 5k app is a great option. The internet is the best resource there is - looking up healthy recipes can help keep meals more interesting and it’s great for ideas on how to make takeaway dishes healthier if you do want a treat. We have some really nice, calorie counted recipe options on our own site.

Youtube is also fantastic for free workout videos and you can do them anywhere, even a hotel room if you travel a lot with work.

These resources can all help but it really comes down to you wanting to make healthier changes – not an app/book/wish! When I found it really hard to leave a cosy fire behind on some wet, cold nights I went to classes – I tried telling myself “You never regret a workout”! I don’t think you ever do, the hard part is just getting out the door. My advice is to do just that - you won’t regret it.


Posted: 20/03/2015 16:11:59 by Julie Carroll
Filed under: Weight loss

About Me

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Julie Carroll
I work with the Communications team in safefood. My background is in Marketing and PR and I work on our awareness campaigns, promotional activities and events. I’m a Dublin native who lives in Co. Kildare with my husband. I love anything beauty/health related, crime dramas (True Detective being a favourite) and anything social that involves my family and friends. I recently became an aunt for the first time and am in love with my new nephew, Seán.