Julie in her own words:
been living the Body-For-LIFE / Eating-For-LIFE way
of life for a year. At age 19, I had lymphoma and
the treatments nearly destroyed my lungs. I developed
interstitial lung disease, a permanent condition.
Through the years I’ve
been plagued with seriously lung infections, the
last one culminating in pneumonia. I was on life-support
and in a coma for weeks and it took months to rehabilitate.
I have 25% of the lung capacity that I need, or
in other words, half of a lung! Body for Life was
my pathway out of the destruction. Last year I
was alive, but this year I’m living!
I began my first challenge, I was in such bad shape,
I had to wear oxygen to do the least little thing.
The first challenge changed my life forever and
in 12 weeks I only needed supplemental oxygen with
intense exercise. By my second challenge, I was
doing well and my feeding tube was removed. Unfortunately,
I stayed sick with bronchitis throughout the challenge.
I even got thrown in the ICU for a day, but I made
that free day, and never missed a workout until…the dreaded lung contusion in March.
I was bench pressing at home and my bench malfunctioned
and I instantly went from flat to decline and was thrown
backwards onto a set of dumbbells. At the time, I thought, “I’m
ok” and I even finished the workout. Three days later
I was in the hospital in screaming pain, coughing up blood.
This was the lowest point of my entire life. Here I was,
trying to improve my situation, and I got hurt in the process.
I had to start wearing oxygen again 24 hours a day.
recovering from the contusion, I started my third
challenge doing what I call “turtle” cardio and “weightless” strength
training. I soon graduated to rolls of coins and then back
to dumbbells. After six weeks or so, I had gotten myself
back to where I was before the contusion and just used
oxygen for exercise. During this time, I found out that
I had won the inspirational category of the EAS Jump-Start!
Only God understands just how much that meant to me. During
Challenge Three I endured a week of tests at Duke University
Medical Center to be evaluated for lung transplant. I was
hoping I would improve so much that I wouldn’t need
it. During the heart catheterization, they found that my
right coronary artery had collapsed from radiation damage.
They did emergency surgery that day to correct it.
to Challenge Four! A few weeks later I get “the call”.
Not only was I listed for double-lung transplant, but heart
transplant as well. It appears that I’m developing
radiation-induced coronary artery disease. This just devastated
me until…I changed my thinking. A year ago, I couldn’t
even be considered for transplant. Now I’m able to
pass the exercise and other requirements to be considered.
Challenge Five, I spent two days in the hospital
with chest pain and had another heart catheterization.
Everything turned out to be fine and I continued
with the program.
Challenge Six, Porter Freeman came to town and
crowned me the EAS Inspirational Grand Champion
for 2004! To God be the glory! I don't know what
the future holds for me, but the Body-for-Life lifestyle
will be the one constant I can count on. I want
to spend the rest of my life helping and inspiring
Q: Why did you decide to commit yourself
to a 12-week+ transformation?
A: I had
been so sick for so long. I just thought that
life had to be better than this. I read the Body-for-Life
book and at that moment, I said to myself, "I've had
got to make a change." I decided then and there
that I would work myself out of this hole or die
trying. The day
my latest case of bronchitis cleared up, I started
my first challenge.
Q: Were there times you came close to quitting and if
so what did you do to keep yourself going?
A: No, I have
never even considered quitting. No matter what
has happened (and a lot has happened) I always come
back and give it another try. I feel fortunate
in a way that I don't have to rely on motivation to
keep going. My
mortality keeps me going, because quite simply, if
I quit working on this body, it will soon decay and
my life is over. I have no choice but to do this. (If
you think about it, that rings true for all of us,
but my mortality is breathing down my neck!)
Q: What was the hardest thing to overcome during this
A: The hardest thing to overcome
has been my lung disease, which got me in this shape
to begin with. With only 25% capacity
coming from a diseased lung, each day is a challenge. When
an infection gets in that lung, it takes me down quick. I've
had to work hard to stay well and even harder to
get well from lung infections.
Q: What helped you get through this change in lifestyle
A: First and foremost, God gets me
through each breath of life. The
community of people on the Body for Life Guestbook have kept
me going. We
all write in and support each other. I've made
great friends there. That has also given me accountability. I've
made a public declaration of my intent and people out
there are counting on me to follow through. When
I mess up, I not only let myself down, I let the
group down. If
I don't post within a few days, someone calls or writes
me to find out why.
there a particular area of your body you wanted to improve
arms, legs, etc)? If so, what did you find most beneficial
in achieving that goal?
A: The area of
my body I wanted to improve the most was my cardio-pulmonary
system! Some people want six-pack abs--I
want an extra percentage of lung capacity! I
wanted to improve my immune system so I wouldn't catch
everything coming and going. I wanted to make
the rest of my body strong, to help me out when I get
lung infections. Vanity
has never motivated me to make a change, but by putting
my health first, I got the extra bonus of an outer
Q: What is/are your favorite new
healthy meal(s) that you incorporated to achieve
your goals? Please include recipes if necessary.
A: My life being limited like it
is, I have to keep things simple. I
have to pace myself through each day, so I keep my
meals simple. I eat six small meals daily and
drink lots of water. My favorite protein is egg
and easy. My favorite carb is fruit. A
favorite meal is egg whites and an apple. I
don't like many vegetables, so I load up on the ones
I do like, such as spinach and green beans. I
pour a tablespoon of flaxseed oil over my spinach
to get my EFA's. My
husband grills chicken breasts or fish for me to
have handy during the week to microwave. I
also drink two Myoplex shakes a day.
Q: What is your favorite exercise
that helped you lose weight and maintain that
A: I use a treadmill
to do my cardio and I love it. I crank up my
favorite dance music and do 20 minutes of high-intensity
interval training three days a week. After
cardio, I spend a few minutes stretching out my muscles,
because flexibility is so important. Three
days a week I use dumbbells and a barbell to do my
strength training. My favorite
exercise of all time is the decline crunch. It's
a killer and it works!
did you do when you felt the most temptation to cheat
in order not to?
A: I focus on
my reasons for doing the challenge. Having
control over food is powerful. If
you can back yourself away from a jelly donut, you
have made a huge accomplishment and are rewarded
with a dose of positive energy. On those moments
when I cave into temptation, I feel bad about myself
for not honoring my self-promises. That's the
worst feeling! Most
of the time, I stick to the program, but when I mess
up, I forgive myself and get right back on track.
Q: Did you use any supplements,
EAS or otherwise, and if so which ones? Do you
think they helped you?
I've used Myoplex Lite shakes from the beginning. Drinking
two of those daily gives me the benefits of a multivitamin,
plus enough good protein and carbs to make a meal. I
also use the Myoplex Lite bars when I'm not at home
and need a snack. I use Betagen, which contains
creatine, HMB and a heavy dose of antioxidants. My
advice on supplements is to do some research on what
is right for you. Don't add a supplement to
your diet unless you know what it will do for you!
that you've achieved your goals, have you maintained
the same workout and
diet or have you modified them to keep the results you've
gained. If so, what changes
have you made?
I've achieved many goals, there are still goals to
be achieved. I still follow the Body-for-Life plan. I
change my weight-training routine every four weeks
to keep my body guessing. Our bodies are great
at adapting, so we have to be a step ahead. I
still stick with the same meals I ate when I started
Body for Life 16 months ago.
Q: What have you done since achieving
your goals that you were not able to do
A: Well, to start
with, I can lift a paper cup now! I've made tremendous
strides. I couldn't do anything for myself after
the coma and now I can do most everything. We
recently went on a cruise and my husband could not
believe how much I was able to walk around that ship
I've gone from totally, completed disabled
to mildly disabled. It's a huge change and
I'm so happy!
Q: How has achieving your goals
changed your life?
A: During the process of strengthening
my body, my mind was strengthened
as well. I have found so much happiness doing
nothing like the feeling of setting goals and achieving
them. I've learned to be happy despite my limitations. Even
when I'm very sick, I keep a positive mindset,
knowing I will overcome this.
Q: Do you have any advice for
others currently working towards their goals or
having troubles getting to them?
give up. Never stop trying. As long you're
trying, you haven't failed. Surround yourself
with positive people. Read positive books. Help
other people. Form friendships with others
who do Body for Life. Stay focused on your reasons for
improving your life. If you WANT to do
it, you CAN do it!