FALL­ING IN LOVE WITH LIFE AGAIN Julie Mendy­gral has lost an amaz­ing 41.6kg

Since los­ing more than 40kg in 12 months, Julie Mendy­gral has re­vi­talised her life and her 26-year mar­riage.

Weight Watchers Magazine (Australia) - - Contents -

Julie Mendy­gral gets up well be­fore the sun rises. The house is dark and quiet, with her hus­band, Barry, and two chil­dren, Justin, 23, and Erin, 18, still sound asleep. The mo­ment she turns the light on, there’s a whin­ing at the door. “It’s my lit­tle puppy dog,” says Julie. The young Jack Rus­sell, Peady, has been lov­ing the changes to Julie’s life­style since she joined Weight Watch­ers at the be­gin­ning of last year, par­tic­u­larly the daily walks.

“The day af­ter I signed up with Weight Watch­ers, I started getting up at 6am and go­ing for a 40-minute walk with the dog,” she says. “I now love my morn­ing walks. I know I’ve been ac­tive and I feel happy for the rest of the day.”

It was January 6, 2016, when Julie went to her first meeting. A few weeks be­fore that, she had at­tended a fam­ily wed­ding, and her mem­ory of how she felt at the time isn’t a happy one. “I looked dis­gust­ing and I had to wear this black lace maxi dress and a bolero jacket to cover my arms. I felt bloated and hot, and it seemed like all the other ladies looked lovely in their sum­mery dresses,” she says.

Julie had been a Weight Watch­ers mem­ber be­fore. “My weight has al­ways gone up and down,” she says. “Ev­ery time I re­gained it, the num­ber on the scales went up a lit­tle more.”

This time, some­thing clicked for her. “It just worked, and it kept work­ing. It took me 12 months to get to Goal just be­fore Christ­mas 2016,” she says.

The med­i­cal re­cep­tion­ist and mum of two quickly re­alised small new habits can lead to big health changes. While Julie had al­ways eaten whole­some food, it was her large por­tion sizes and mind­less ‘pick­ing’ that she needed to curb. And her great­est change was fit­ting more ex­er­cise into her life.

She now tracks her steps with an ac­tiv­ity tracker and goes to weekly Zumba classes. “I’m not co­or­di­nated or good at danc­ing, but it makes me smile and work up a good sweat,” she says. And then there’s the gym shed in her back­yard that Julie and Barry set up to­gether, with weights, a tread­mill and a TRX sus­pen­sion train­ing kit. They do work­outs to­gether twice a week. “Barry’s into his fit­ness,” says Julie. “He mo­ti­vates me to do a work­out when I’m not re­ally into it. I couldn’t have got­ten to Goal with­out his help. He’s proud of what I’ve achieved and al­ways tells me how good I look, which re­ally helps with the self-es­teem.”

Julie and Barry have al­ways en­joyed try­ing new cafes and restau­rants on week­ends, so the only real dif­fer­ence is the walks they now in­cor­po­rate – they’ll drive to a beach for a walk, then go for brunch once they’ve worked up an ap­petite. Julie feels their new shared love of ex­er­cise has re­vi­talised their 26-year mar­riage. “We’re spend­ing qual­ity time to­gether,” she says. “We’ve had a few hol­i­days and week­ends away re­cently – our re­la­tion­ship has re­ally im­proved.”

They even em­barked on their first over­seas trip, to Thailand in March. “It was so nice to go over­seas to­gether, it was a big thing for us,” she says. “I ate and drank ev­ery­thing, and I didn’t put on any extra weight while I was away – I was just aware of what I was eat­ing. The best thing about Weight Watch­ers is that I can eat what­ever I want. It’s not about say­ing ‘no’ to anything; it’s about getting value for my Smart­points. If some­one of­fers me a lolly, I’ll turn it down be­cause it’s 2 Smart­points. I can have four crack­ers for the same amount and they’re go­ing to fill me up much more.”

Wear­ing shorts on hol­i­day was some­thing Julie hadn’t done in a long time. “I had re­ally bad vari­cose veins – my feet ached and I had ter­ri­ble bruis­ing be­cause of them,” she says. Af­ter los­ing weight, Julie con­sulted a sur­geon and had a cou­ple of pro­ce­dures to have the vari­cose veins re­moved. “Now I can wear shorts, I can wear skirts… I used to go to the beach, drop the sarong on the sand at the last minute and run to the water. Now I’ll hap­pily walk on the beach in shorts or swim­mers.”

Julie had also never worn a skirt to work. When she put one on re­cently, she took a selfie in the mir­ror in the same spot where she’d snapped a pic­ture of her­self the day she joined Weight Watch­ers. Then she put the two pho­tos side by side and up­loaded the com­par­i­son onto WW Con­nect. “I got some­thing like 700 likes on it,” she says with a smile. “I think I’m on Con­nect more than I’m on Face­book th­ese days. It’s a down-to-earth com­mu­nity; you can find sup­port or get recipes. I love it.

“Life felt very blah be­fore. Now, I of­ten say to peo­ple, ‘I’m still me, just a hap­pier, health­ier ver­sion.’” #

The best thing is I can eat what­ever I want. It’s not about say­ing ‘no’ to anything.

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