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I was a heart attack waiting to happen

October 23rd, 2019 1:10 PM

By Emma Connolly

Julie says patience, effort, and taking one day at a time helped her in her incredible weight loss journey.

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Imagine losing 17 stone in weight? That’s exactly what one woman did when she went from 30 stone 12 lbs to 13 stone 12lbs – and now she’s coming to West Cork to share her story and give others the motivation to start their journey to improved health and happiness

A WOMAN who lost 17 stone in 33 months will be sharing her incredible success story with West Cork audiences this month. 

Julie Fitzpatrick weighed 30 stone at her heaviest and got her life-changing results after joining Unislim and making the decision to turn her life around once and for all. 

She’ll be visiting Bantry and Dunmanway Unislim groups next week where her message will be: ‘Take it one day at a time, and with patience and effort you’ll get your results.’

Julie admits to having always been overweight and despite trying ‘every diet under the sun’ she never got lasting results. 

‘I would set myself a goal for a wedding or Christmas, but as soon as the event was over the weight would go back on. In 2009 I lost seven stone, but put 10 stone on the following year, that’s the way I was, up and down over the years.

‘In 2015 I lost my dad who I was very close to suddenly and within three months I put on a further three stone. I was eating my way through my grief and pretty soon I realised that I was a heart attack waiting to happen.

‘My health was deteriorating, and I knew if I didn’t do something about my weight I wouldn’t be around for much longer.  It came to a stage that even walking across the room had me out of breath.’

She decided in January 2016 to join the Unislim group in Portlaoise. 

‘I got a big shock when I stepped on the scales and saw my weight, 30 stone 12 lbs,  but my leader Breda said, “It’s only a number Julie, you can do this."

‘I started cooking for myself and focussed on eating three meals and two healthy snacks every day. Now I am never hungry, and I don’t deprive myself of anything. I am in control of food now whereas before the food was controlling me. 

‘Exercise was my stumbling block, but I knew I had to start somewhere so I began walking around a tennis court near my home. At the start, I could only walk for 12 minutes but now, just two years later, I’m walking for an hour every day and I also love going to dance classes and have started training for a Couch to 5K. I’m fitter than ever!

‘To keep myself focussed, I set myself mini goals and challenges and worked towards them month by month.  I believe I can reach my goal and I am not giving up. My confidence and energy levels have absolutely soared since joining Unislim. It’s just amazing!’

Despite people thinking Julie was the ‘life and soul of the party,’ her weight always bothered her. 

‘I always wished I could do something about it and now I have.  I am so proud of myself and of what I have achieved. It’s only since I reached 17 stone weight loss that I’ve said to myself  “You know, I am pretty damn awesome.”

‘My health has gone from rock bottom to top level. I am now off all blood pressure medication and my blood sugar and cholesterol levels are perfect. I’ve never been so healthy in my life and it’s all thanks to the fantastic Unislim plan – it has really changed my life.

‘And though I am still on my weight loss adventure, I know my Dad is looking down at me smiling and saying, “I am so proud of you.”’

Julie describes her weight loss as like winning the lotto – and she wants others to feel the same. 

‘My message to West Cork people is not to be afraid, to take that first step. You’ll never look back and I’m living proof of that. I’ve gone from a size 34 to a size 14; from being limited to what I could do and even worrying about going on a plane to now walking across the swimming pool in my swimsuit and not caring who’s looking at me – that’s the level of confidence I now have. I used to cover up before – but now I can wear what I like and feel great.'

Unislim class leader in West Cork, Maura McCabe is looking forward to welcoming Julie to her meetings. 

‘Imagine meeting the lady who has banished 17 stone? That's the highest weight loss since Unislim began 47 years ago!

'We're really looking forward to Julie's visit to Bantry and Dunmanway to hear what changes she's made to lose this incredible amount of weight and how she feels now  - what difference it has made to her lifestyle.

‘I have heard Julie speak at a recent Unislim Leaders' conference and I was very impressed with her honesty, to hear about the obstacles she faced and how she has overcome them.

'She will definitely knock the socks off my members and I am very honoured to have her visit my classes in West Cork.’

Meet Julie at Unislim

Bantry West Lodge Leisure Centre, 

Thursday 24th October, 10.30am and 6pm. 

Dunmanway Hospital Grounds, 

Friday 25th October, 10am.

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