Julia at 218 pounds.
I have loved Jesus as long as I can remember. I always trusted The Lord through anything and everything… except when it came to my issues with food.
I think the first time I realized food affected me negatively was the day I came home from summer camp in high school and had gained 10 pounds in a week. In college, some people gained the “freshman fifteen.” I gained the freshman forty… and thus began my exploration into every diet program I could find and afford.
Many years of yo-yo dieting followed. I can safely say I gained and lost over 1000 pounds.
In 2015, I was done. I had fought this battle long enough. I was clinically obese and I was exhausted emotionally, physically and spiritually. I felt terrible about myself. I couldn’t tie my shoes without significant effort. No amount of working out worked. I couldn’t fit into any of the clothes in my closet and I wasn’t about to go shopping for bigger clothes at this point. The shame and self-loathing was all consuming.
Even though I prayed about it, I didn’t truly believe God wanted to be involved in “my little food problem.” Did God REALLY care about whether or not I ate the rest of my kids’ chicken nuggets out of the sink? Washed them down with a glass of wine (or 2?) Did He notice the delicious chocolate pick me up after dinner that got me through the dishes? Or the snack in front of the TV? Of course not. He had bigger fish to fry.
Desperate and depressed I went to my doctor and asked for stomach surgery. She said she wouldn’t approve it. Instead she suggested I attend a food addiction recovery program.
WHAT?? ME???? AN ADDICT???? Not possible. I struggled through denial for a short time, but grew more and more desperate. I realized I was in a very hopeless situation and this program was my only hope.
And so I went... kicking and screaming...but I went. I will be honest with you, these first few days and weeks were very hard. I felt alone, scared, ashamed and very, very angry.
The following 2 years in the program helped me tremendously. I spent the 1st year asking God if he really cared about my food issues. His answer was a resounding, “Yes. I care, because I love you.” My next question was, “Would He save me from my food issues?” His answer was a resounding, “Yes. I will, because I love you.”
And so, with the Lord’s help in the next 2 years, and a community He provided surrounding me, we managed to restore my body to a healthy weight - a weight I maintain to this day by His grace.
With this new found weight loss, I thought my chance had finally come to have a smokin’ hot body. Then, almost 2 years to the day after I started down the road of healing and recovery. I got very sick.
It came on quickly. One week I was fine and the next week I felt deathly ill. I was in and out of the ER and doctor’s offices for seven days, but no one knew what was wrong. Sunday morning I felt something explode inside my body and I couldn’t get off the floor. My husband called 911 and I was rushed to the ER.
Turns out I had a terrible infection inside my body and I was septic. It was unclear if I would live through surgery. The surgeon on call, cut me open right down the middle and cleaned me out. I survived by the grace of God. That horrible night was followed with 3 touch and go days in the ICU, then 4 more days in the hospital. I left the hospital after a week with a huge wound/slice down the front of my body about a 6” long. To this day, no one knows what happened or why.
Healing from surgery of this magnitude under infected conditions was very difficult. Plus, as result of the surgery, I got a huge hernia. Once again, just when I thought I was getting better I was in the hospital, having surgery. Through it all the Lord was with me, reminding me that He does care and He does help in amazing ways only He can and does.
My body will never be the same. However, I am thankful for this journey and these scars because they have brought me here to this moment with you… and to health coaching. I discovered my years of lay counseling in the church, personal experiences, and desire to help others all came together in the field of health coaching. As a result, I entered in to a rigorous year-long training program at the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy.
Now, I am a professional health coach, trained in Functional Medicine and Positive Psychology and loving it!
I get it. If you're like me, you've tried many times to make the same health change (and failed) and are afraid to try again. My own experience reminds me of the classic DC Talk song, "What if I Stumble" "What if I stumble? What if I fall,? What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all..." But His love does continue - through it all. In my journey as a health coach, I've learned that there are tools for changing the patterns that stump us - and we can remove strongholds for good. I've been there, I've found what works for me, and together we can find what works for you. God has an amazing plan for your life. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future." Let's lean into that promise without shame from the past or fear of the future. Today is the day.