Julie’s journey began in January 2011 when she decided it was time to make a change. She experienced many health problems that were starting to interfere with her life including sleep apnea, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Walking short distances was becoming increasingly difficult.
Julie lost 40 pounds independently by learning to read nutrition labels and cutting back on portion sizes. She started walking for five minutes at a time. To counteract her sweet tooth cravings, she figured out alternatives, tried new foods and learned how to cook.
It was difficult, but Julie will tell you that she didn’t do it alone. “Having people close to me that held me accountable kept me moving in the right direction,” she says.
After being approved for gastric bypass survey, Julie saw results right away, which motivated her to keep moving. Julie lost an additional 132 pounds. In total she lost 172 pounds, which is 52% of her original body weight. In addition, Julie was able to reverse her diabetes diagnosis, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and sleep apnea disorder.
Easter Seals Iowa has been there to support Julie along the way, and she participates in many health and wellness initiatives offered through Easter Seals Iowa. Finding an accountability partner also kept Julie on track. At Easter Seals Iowa Julie has taken part in five move-a-thon challenges, participates in a local food box program, now uses a Fitbit and participated in a community health forum. From only being able to walk for five minutes, at a time, Julie recently completed her third 5k. Julie enjoys going to the YMCA and activities such as walking, boxing, lifting weights and yoga class.
One of Julie’s favorite quotes is CARE, which stands for Commitment, Attitude, Respect and Effort. If you care enough about your body, then you have to make the commitment to eat healthy and exercise regularly, have the right attitude that you are going to take care of your body, respect your body, and make every effort you can to live a longer life.
Obesity rates for children and adults with disabilities are far higher than rates for children and adults without disabilities, according to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With this statistic in mind, Easter Seals Iowa has made a commitment to make our organization a healthier place to work. We’ve made tangible changes to our worksite environment and have started programs to support the well-being of our clients and employees. This includes implementing a treadmill desk, activity challenges, wellness trainings, onsite garden, walking meetings and being mindful of healthy food choices at meetings. Easter Seals Iowa earned the Blue Zones Worksite® designation and is the first nonprofit in Central Iowa to achieve this designation.