When you go through a life-changing transformation, you’ll naturally want to inspire others to reach for the stars. After losing 80 pounds in 19 months, one woman from Atlanta, Georgia, wanted to share her secrets to success with others. 26-year-old Julie Black motivates people daily on social media to achieve their weight loss and health goals. She’s had to struggle just like everyone else trying to lose weight, but she rose above her excuses. An unexpected diagnosis of insulin resistance from her doctor made Julie realize she needed to make a change.
She knew losing weight wouldn’t come easily, but she wanted to take her life back.
The journey toward better health
“I was rapidly gaining weight, and I didn’t understand why. I ended up at 306 pounds, and I went to the doctor and found out that I was actually insulin resistant. My world was turned upside down when I got the news of the insulin resistance because with that diagnosis came a huge lifestyle change.”
Insulin resistance happens when the body’s cells respond abnormally to the hormone insulin. Since the cells can’t process it correctly, your body can’t utilize blood glucose for energy. As a result, your blood sugar goes up. This can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes if left untreated or mismanaged.
A lot of people can’t tell by their symptoms if they have insulin resistance. When Julie went to the doctor, it came as a shock because she had no clue anything was wrong. However, there are a few signs to look out for.
The most common signs of insulin resistance include:
- A waistline above 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women
- Blood pressure readings of 130/80 or above
- A fasting glucose level over 100 mg/dL
- A fasting triglyceride level over 150 mg/dL
- HDL cholesterol level under 40 mg/dL in men and 50 mg/dL in women
- Skin tags
- Patches of dark, velvety skin
Risk factors/causes for insulin resistance
- Obesity, particularly fat around the midsection
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Eating a diet high in carbohydrates
- Gestational diabetes
- Health conditions like nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and polycystic ovary syndrome
- Hereditary diabetes
- Ethnicity — insulin resistance occurs more often in African, Latino, or Native American individuals
- Being 45 or older
- Hormonal disorders like Cushing’s syndrome and acromegaly
- Taking medications like steroids, antipsychotics, and HIV medications
- Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea
To find out if you’re insulin resistant, your doctor can perform simple blood tests. Lifestyle changes like losing weight, exercising, and eating a balanced diet can help manage this condition. Julie is a perfect example of how changing your habits can ultimately change your life. Now, she hopes to inspire others to take control of their health as well.
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“By far, the best thing that has come from this journey has been being able to inspire other women to start their own journey,” she says. “There are so many of us out there who are struggling in silence, and the truth is that we are not alone.”
Julie hopes to inspire others to become the best version of themselves
She began her health journey in September 2019, and at first, it was hard to get accustomed to eating differently. However, she learned to enjoy healthier foods after a while.
“I had to go low carb which was a really big transition for me, but I persevered. I am now down 80 pounds in 19 months. I know that’s longer than most people, but with this condition comes a way tougher time losing weight. So, I’m really proud of myself for how far I’ve come.”
After dieting, the next step was a gym membership
Once she got her diet down, she decided to sign up for a gym membership. After trying out a couple of gyms, she found one that seemed like the perfect fit for her goals.
“I didn’t start working out until about 3 months into the journey. I started off at Orangetheory and then switched over to Burn Boot Camp after about 8 months at Orangetheory because I wanted to get a lot stronger. So, that’s where I’m currently working out. I’m loving it, and it’s been a huge part of my journey.”
Like anyone else, Julie’s story has been full of ups and downs. However, even on the hard days, she kept her goals in mind. Even if she took a small step each day, it was better than doing nothing at all. For Julie, giving in to bad habits just wasn’t an option. Now that she’s made it to the summit, she inspires others to climb that mountain, too.
She actually started her own business called “Say Yes 2 the Fresh.” It’s a weight loss and accountability program that teaches women positive behaviors regarding fitness and nutrition. According to the website, the program can help you “improve your relationship with food, your attitude towards life, and learn to love yourself more fierce than you could ever imagine.”
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A reminder for anyone trying to get healthier
“If I had to give anybody advice who is just starting out their journey, I would say choose something that you like doing,” she advises. “Just don’t bite off more than you can chew at the beginning.
Health and consistency look different on everyone, so just make sure that whatever you choose to do is something that you’re enjoying and that you can sustain for a long time. You can do it. If I can do it, you can do it too!”