Here is another amazing transformation story our Fran Julien. She is way ahead of her time. The lessons she has learned, most people don’t learn until later in life or still haven’t learned them yet. This is one wise lady. We love her spirit, commitment, determination, and great smile! After reading her story, I was shocked about the one comment on her fitness as she jumps on the 2 foot box jump with ease. I learn so much about our amazing Get a Grip family members when they write their story. This one will inspire you with no doubt. I love the path she chose at such a young age.
Here is her story…
I could dig way back into my childhood and explain all of the reasons and choices that lead me to become 250 pounds as a seventeen years old, but my journey is so much more than that. And really, my real journey to health began about 3 years ago, at the age of 22.
Yes! You read it correctly; my highest weight was 250 pounds. As I graduated high school and moved on to college, my choices became slightly healthier and I began to lose weight slowly. I would have on and off again memberships with the gym as well, but I was still stuck in a body that I did not like. It wasn’t until about 3 years ago, that I realized that if I wanted to break out of a physically overweight body, I also had to break out mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It helped that I was living with a friend who had her own weight loss transformation. Watching her lifestyle choices encouraged me to become wiser at the choices that I was making. I lost a little weight, but again, still felt stuck in a body that I hated holistically.
That’s when I made my very first New Year’s resolution, and it’s one that I continue to make every year. I made the resolution to love myself.
Yes, a big proponent behind that was to lose weight, but I knew I needed to lose more than physical weight. I needed to lose the baggage that had built up with it, the hate towards myself, and turn that into love, fulfillment, and purpose. I was never one for quick fixes…in anything in that matter. I think that’s my creative side. I knew if I was going to lose weight and become healthy, I was going to make changes that would continue for life. I didn’t want to take a pill, jump on an exercise machine for “just 30 minutes a day,” or eat strictly for 6 weeks. I knew if I did any of these, the weight and baggage would come right back once I was done. If I were going to transform, the changes that I was going to make would have to just become my lifestyle.
So, I started small. I began to eat like my roommate, who is gluten free. I started to listen to my body and how it reacted to what I put in it. This helped me cut certain foods out (like breads, grains, and even dairy) and introduce certain foods into my daily diet like a variety of vegetables. I even became more active with friends as well as becoming more consistent in gym visits. But I also knew one of my struggles was portion control (it still is today), so I began to track my calories. It was a way that worked for me. I began to feel so much healthier. My clothes fit better and people were noticing the effects of the changes I was beginning to make.
But like I said, changing the way I ate was just a portion of why I am a much healthier version of myself today. I took a step into faith and haven’t turned back since. The friend group that I entered into once beginning this journey was full of people who had a joy and fulfillment that I loved surrounding myself with. For the first time, I felt like I was experiencing friendship on a family level. Surrounding myself with them meant attending church regularly, in which I began to transform spiritually, understanding that there is a God who has an everlasting love and plan for me no matter how I looked or felt about myself. This was the same love that came from this group of friends. My church family truly pushed me to reveal my full potential as a human being on this planet, thus my physical and mental transformation began to coincide with my spiritual transformation.
At the age of 23, I was down about 50 pounds since high school and felt good about myself. I was beginning to love myself. I was doing things that I never thought I would let myself do because I had let the weight hold me back. I found my voice, or rather began using it. Once a month, you can find me in a local coffee shop open mic and on stage the following Sunday at church leading worship. You may even scroll across a short clip of a song that I just HAD to sing in the great acoustics of my bathroom. I’ll even share with you my story about one of the most dangerous but fulfilling hikes I took to a waterfall in Haiti.
I would’ve never put myself out there like this before! But with transformation on how I thought and felt about myself came a new confidence.
In the summer of 2015, my mom told me about Get a Grip and a special rate that was offered for teachers over the summer. As a first year teacher entering my first summer vacation, my body began to go through a negative transformation. I instantly gained 10 pounds as I took full advantage of lying in bed just a little longer, going out with friends, and lounging on the couch to catch up on all of the shows I had missed in the midst of the crazy teacher life that consumed me throughout the school year. On a teacher’s salary in the middle of summer, it was scary to think about the cost of the gym membership, but it was even scarier to think that I could easily end up where I started if I wasn’t proactive in taking even more charge of my health.
So, I signed up and began to regularly attend boot camps. I danced for 20 years, but never would I deem myself athletic. It was so fulfilling though, being able to complete workout after workout. Boot camps revealed such a sense of endurance, athleticism, and potential I never knew I had. Even though I told myself it was just for the summer, I couldn’t turn back.
This time, as a person who had reached the point of loving herself in each area that I said I wanted transformation, I truly loved the physical transformation that my body went through in just that one summer at Get a Grip, and it left me wanting more. Get a Grip is THE ONLY gym that has kept me consistent in my physical health. The environment is welcoming and supportive. Carrie and her team really do push you to reveal your full potential and I love it! Her vision that health is a holistic lifestyle aligned with mine, and attending Get a Grip has pushed me to make even healthier lifestyle choices, as well as push myself physically in new ways to this day.
I have now been an official member of Get a Grip for about a year and a half. I am down about 70 pounds from my initial 250-pound weigh in and I feel great! Of course, I am continuously working to become even healthier in all areas of my life, but I have liked the pace of this journey. It has assured me that this IS a lifetime transformation.
Within the past year of attending Get a Grip, I have made new friends who are wonderful support systems, I have lost around 20 pounds, gained muscle in places that I never knew muscle existed, dropped 2 dress sizes, and bought my first ever bikini!
I know my body has so much more, and I am still working to become conscious of the everyday choices I am making to contribute to my new lifestyle of health and fitness. But it has been a journey that I know will continue to be life changing. I am SO proud of this young lady and I’m super excited to see what is next for her. She has a whole life ahead of her and she will do amazing things with no doubt.
We are super excited to see what is in store for Fran next!