Hi everyone – my name is Julie Zigari and I’m from Galloway, NJ. I’m a 21 years old college student, I work full time, and I have the craziest new found love for health, nutrition and working out.
I started my weight loss journey in January 2013. At this point I was 192lbs, and I was scared to look at myself in the mirror or even catch a glimpse of my reflection when walking into a store. I couldn’t stand straight and face how large I was – and I would never ever think about stepping on a scale. I always found myself dodging group pictures, I thought I was too fat to find a dress and attend senior prom, plus no guy wanted me as their date.
I was miserable – and I lived this way until my freshman year of college when I went to the dentist for an emergency root canal. The nurse asked me to step on the scale and I told her that I wasn’t looking and to please not tell me how much I weigh. I opened my eyes a little bit too quickly, the number stared me right in the face… and I began to cry. I knew I was big, I knew I was in denial – but being just 8 lbs away from being 5’2 and 200lbs was terrifying to me. I was obese.
From that day, I decided to go to the gym on a daily basis. I forced myself to do at least 1 hour of cardio per day and began eating healthy. I read blogs, followed almost every fitness motivation account on Twitter and Instagram, and quickly found the right recipes and ideas to begin dieting correctly. Between the change in my eating habits and consistent workouts I started seeing minimal changes. The consistency of my workouts and my new diet was the foundation for my beginning results. I would force myself to run for as long as possible, and it got easier day by day.
Little things like cutting out soda and only drinking water yielded immediate results (however small they might’ve been). My brother Stephen would go to the gym with me a lot in the beginning in order to keep me motivated and teach me new workouts and pound by pound, day by day, the number just kept decreasing.
My attitude began changing and I wasn’t afraid to look at myself. The bulk of my weight loss occurred in the summer of 2013 while I was away on my internship in Orlando, Florida working for Disney. When I returned to school for the spring semester nobody recognized me. Some of my good friends and old coworkers would just walk past me, and I was always offended by it, until people started realizing and telling me I didn’t even look like the same person, or that I shrunk.
My favorite part about my transformation is the fact that something I used to be afraid of and something I used to have to force has now become my favorite part of the day, and my favorite hobby. I go to the gym, I weight train, or I do some type of cardiovascular activity every single day. I am always on my feet and I hate to sit still. I love the new amount of energy I have, I can run about 3-5 miles per day, and I am in the best shape of my entire life. I now even wear smaller jeans than I did when I was in 7th grade!
I currently weigh 118 lbs – going from a size 14 to a size 2. I feel confident, I love taking pictures, and the same boys that used to call me fat in high school are now throwing money down and buying me drinks at the bar, or messaging me on Facebook to see how I’m doing. I love my lifestyle, I love being asked how I did it. I know for a fact that there really was no secret to it – I just woke one day made a huge life change and kept at it. Anyone can do it, I promise.
The body is capable of the most amazing things. With the right attitude and determination ANY goal is attainable. The bottom line, and some tips I have are as follows:
1. Everyone has time to work out! I work, I go to school, and I still saw results.
2. Consistency is key!
3. Your diet is everything. Eat clean! Read up and find healthy recipes – make sacrifices if you want to see results.
4. Say goodbye to soda, and anything that could be cooked in a microwave.
5. Cut your carb intake off by 3 p.m.
6. Set goals and reward yourself.
8. Lean proteins, fruits and veggies should be the bulk of your food intake.