I always hear about how people compare the Spending Fast and Spending Diets to losing weight because there are so many similarities in the approachs. Since Americans annually waste 2.4 billion dollars on their unused gym memberships I always like to think about alternative ways to stay healthy without the gym.
Julie Wilson from Indiana, has a remarkable story about how she lost 84 pounds without the gym. Julie is the sole writer for Fat Guy Skinny Wallet (created by Khaleef Crumbley to document his journey out of debt and over-weightness). I was curious how Julie became the sole writer for a site with the word “Guy” in the title ;), and she told me that she and Khaleef actually met on YouTube (how cool is that!).
Doing What I Can on My Journey to Good Health. How I Lost 84 Pounds Without a Gym Membership…
How I Started Changing My Life
On December 12, 2010 at 27 years old my life changed forever in many ways. Not only was my first daughter born, but I started on a long journey to better health. I looked into those little blue eyes and promised to set the best example that I could for her.
I had been over weight since elementary school. I was always athletic and involved in sports, but I was always the biggest kid on the team. At a short height of 5 feet 2 inches, I really couldn’t afford to carry much extra weight. It has been a struggle my entire life to try to lose weight. One thing I can say is that there was very few times in my life where I wasn’t trying to lose weight. I had tried fad diets and programs of all kinds. I had lost and gained the same weight over and over.
Being a mom is something I take very seriously, and I wanted to give my daughter the best mom possible. I had to take control of my life to be the wife and mother I wanted to be. I don’t really have any real emotional story of how I manages to become 241 lbs. I just loved good food, a lot of good food.
I was 224 lbs. before I got pregnant with my daughter, Tessa. I had gained 17 lbs. during my pregnancy and was 241 lbs. the day I had her. I started my journey that moment. My goal was to lose 101 lbs. bringing my weight to 140 lbs. (which is still in the overweight category for my height according to the BMI charts). I ordered the healthiest hospital food I could find. I haven’t turned back since. I had to come up with a plan of how to live and make this attempt at weight loss different.
Change Your Brain
I read a book by Chantel Hobbs called Never Say Diet, and I liked her approach. I decided to track my food and exercise on My Fitness Pal, which is an online food tracker. I watched my calories, but decided I would not give up any food I liked because I wanted to do something I could do for the rest of my life. I ate very good 80% of the time and then would eat things that weren’t the best for me about 20% of the time. The book focused on changing the brain. I firmly believe the majority of weight loss has to do with the mind. I had to change the way I looked at food and be more conscious of what I was eating and why.
No Gym, No Problem
Being a brand new mom with a newborn was a challenge in itself. I knew that joining a gym would be pointless because I would never make it to the gym. My husband worked a lot; I had two younger step sons and a baby to take care of. Tessa was born in December and we live in Northwest Indiana, so it wasn’t like going out for a walk was an option. I shoveled snow every chance I got for exercise. I decided to start getting active with the Wii Fit since it was something I could do while Tessa napped, and I also used the Biggest Loser program for the Wii. It was just like being at the gym. I was so sore I could barely move after my first workout, and I couldn’t even do half of the exercises.
I continued these types of workouts until spring came, and then I switched my primary form exercise to walking. I would take Tessa in the stroller and we would walk 3-5 miles a day. I loved getting outside, and she loved to sleep in the moving stroller. I also loved to mow the lawn so I volunteered to mow my dad’s lawn. That is one of the best workouts, and not one someone often thinks about. I continued this routine and found myself 66 lbs. lighter at 175 lbs.
Putting On Weight
Over the summer, I got a little lazy and had put about 10 lbs. back on. It was September when I found out I was pregnant with my second daughter, Taelynn. It was really hard going from losing weight and seeing the scale go down to being pregnant and watching the scale go up. I had some hard times mentally, but I reminded myself it was worth it. I also knew I’d lose it after I had her just like I did with Tessa. I started making You Tube videos while I was pregnant with Taelynn. I decided to document my pregnancy with weekly updates. I gained 32 lbs. during my pregnancy with Taelynn and weighed 217 lbs when I had her.
Documenting the Journey
I decided this time around I would make videos about my weight loss journey. I knew it would give me support, and help hold me accountable. I never dreamed I would find the friends that I did or be able to be impacted by the weight loss community or impact others. I recommend anyone that wants support on their weight loss journey to get on You Tube and watch weight loss video blogs. I started making weekly weigh-ins and documenting my struggles.
Finding Ways Creative Ways to Stay Active
I decided to use the Lose It app on my phone to track my food and exercise this time. I just wanted a change. Taelynn was born in May which was nice because we were able to start walking right away. A friend of mine had given me a double stroller which was so wonderful. Every day we would take off on our walks. Some days we got in a few miles and some days it was a half mile. It just depended on the girls and their moods. On days when it rained, I did Walk Away the Pounds videos on Comcast On Demand. A few months later, I started taking Tessa for bike rides in a bike trailer that we got at a garage sale. We would ride when my husband was home, so he could stay home with the baby. When I got to about 190 lbs., I turned to Taebo. I loved getting Taebo in (something about breaking a good sweat). I would rotate many of these activities to get my workouts in.
“I Do What I Can Do”
Throughout my journey, I always say, “I do what I can do”, and that’s pretty much become my motto. Some weeks I got to work out seven days, and some weeks I didn’t get to work out at all. I had to always remember to be a mom first. I knew I could keep getting healthy as long as I ate well and exercised when I could. During these times, I relied on You Tube videos for support and motivation (free!).
In October, I decided I was going to attempt to run my first 5K. I woke up one day and thought I would try running, and it was the best decision I could have made! Running is my new love, my passion. I ran my first 5K on Thanksgiving Day 2012. My time was 35 min and 23 seconds. I love the freedom I have, the alone time, and the fact that I can do something I never could have done before. I also started incorporating high intensity interval training. I found interval workouts on You Tube and would wake up early to get them in before my girls woke up.
Where I’m at Today
It is now February 2013, and I am proud to say on New Year’s Day I set off on my own to run a 10K. It was amazing, and a wonderful way to start the year. I am doing weight training with dumbbells in my living room three days a week and running when I can. I am looking forward to this summer when both of my girls will be big enough to sit in the bike trailer together. I am also going to be signing up for more 5K and 10K races. The thought of a half marathon is brewing, but not exactly a definite, “Yes” quite yet.
As of this morning, I weighed in at 156.2 lbs. That is a total loss of 84.8 lbs. since I started my journey two years ago. That puts me 16.2 lbs. away from my goal of 140 lbs. I went from a size 22 to a size 10. I still eat all foods in moderation, but I focus now on better foods than I did at the beginning of my journey. I know I still have weight to lose, but I feel like I am at goal. I am focusing on how amazing I feel; not so much on a number.
I am doing things now that I never dreamed of. I am not made of money, and I don’t have a lot of extra free time. I know that I don’t belong to a gym, and I do all my grocery shopping at Aldi. I just do what I can do with what I have. My goal is to live my life, and inspire others along the way!
Have you found ways to stay fit and active without a gym membership?
Julie has been such a huge source of inspiration for me since I started watching her videos on YouTube!
She never lets anything in her life become an excuse to not make the best choice possible! I love her dedication and I love that she has lost nearly 100 lbs simply by being wise and motivated. She hasn’t followed any programs or fat diets…just great choices.
I guess you can see that I can go on and on about her. We have become great friends, accountability partners, co hosts of a weekly weight loss talk show, and she is both a staff writer and VA for my websites! I don’t know what I’d do without her…she pushes me in so many ways!
Her story (and yours!) is so inspirational and I love how she’s completely changed your life by being committed and taking action!
Thank you for the kind words.
You are right…meeting her has definitely changed my life for the better! She has been a blessing to me and my wife and I pray that we can be partners for a very long time!
Thank you for giving her an opportunity to share her story!
What an amazing story! Congratulations!
Thank you so much:)
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Great story. Exercise is very important but your body composition is largely determined by what we eat. What kind of diet where you on? Have you heard of the paleo diet?
Kevin, Thank you. I am not on a specific diet. I eat clean and healthy 80% of the time, and I enjoy foods that I may not always have about 20%. My best friend does Paleo. It’s not something I would do because I could never stick with it for life. I eat great healthy foods to fuel my body, and enjoy some of my old favorites in MODERATION:) That is the key for me.
Really amazing and inspiring story
could not agree more!
Thank you so much!!!
I loved this post! I always look at people funny when they told me they spend on average $100 a month for a gym membership. Some use it…but most don’t. I lost 31 pounds myself without a gym membership and I can;t believe I found myself thinking about getting a membership here & there. So glad I didn’t because now I have extra money to by clothes!
I know for me it’s easier to get myself motivated to work out if I actually have to go somewhere to do it but still… there’s the park and tracks and running stadium stairs and hikes and, well, you know;)
Thank you so much!! Yes! This is so wonderful! Great job!!!
I am more motivated with a membership. But, you have to be focused on using it! What a wonderful story and I am so proud of her.
Thank you! We all have to do what works for us! That’s what is so great, it’s our own journey and we get to own it! I hope to join a gym one day when my kids are bigger and I know I can go:)
Congratulations! This is huge in so many ways. Love all of the goals that have been made, so far, and not giving up on the others. Truly inspirational.
Thank you so much for all ur kind words:) Still fighting!
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you have inspired me so much. I love this post, it is so real. Thank You.
This is amazing… all you have to do is believe in yourself. Don’t ever give up!! :)
I know this is old but thank you so much i really needed to read this my daughter is 18 months i gained about 65 pounds while i was pregnant prior to getting pregnant i was the smallest ive been as a adult and to gain so much weight being pregnant didnt get me down until i started to try and lose it after having my lovely daughter i stayed very active while pregnant and worked out up until the day i went into labor i just knew i would snap right back lol well that didnt happen i ended up with a c section which meant no working out for awhile i lost a little weight at first but breastfeeding mad me keep the weight on i had to keep up calories to make milk she is now fullly weined so he it goes again