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Julia Westover's story

Julia Westover before surgery at Tufts MCMy entire life, I have struggled with being overweight. No matter what fad diet I tried, I always failed. No matter how active I was, my diet was never under control. Until now. 

In high school I was a 3-sport varsity athlete: Field Hockey, Basketball and Track and Field. I attended Northeastern University as a full-scholarship Division 1 hammer and weight thrower on the Track and Field team. As a thrower, my number one goal was to get big and strong. To do that, I worked out 6 days a week, twice a day, and ate a lot of protein and carbohydrates. In college, my workouts counter balanced my eating habits. But when I graduated, while I worked out less, my diet never changed. Within a year of graduating, I had gained 75lbs and was the heaviest I had ever been at 325lbs.

Finding Tufts MC Weight and Wellness Center

In September 2018, one of my best friends asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding the following summer. While I was ecstatic to be part of her big day, I was overcome with extreme anxiety and self-doubt. What if the dress she picks doesn’t come in plus sizes? What if I have to get the dress taken out? What if I am the largest bridesmaid in photos? I was done feeling this way about myself and realized in that moment that something had to change. No one was going to change my life for me. If I wanted to feel confident and beautiful, I needed to make a change and commit to it. 

Julia after surgeryThat is when I found Tufts MC Weight and Wellness program. It took stepping out of my comfort zone to schedule an appointment, and when I walked into the office for the first time, I was so terrified that I almost walked right back out. But in that moment of fear, I realized this was the first of many obstacles I would face on this journey. Facing my fear turned out to be the best decision I could have ever made for myself. 

Putting herself first

In order to fully commit to this journey, I needed to be honest with myself.  Would I realistically go to the gym near my work? No, because I had tried that before and failed. So I joined the gym directly next to my apartment for more flexible and accessible workouts. Would I be honest about what I ate? No, because I never held myself accountable before. So I started logging every meal, whether good or bad, to discuss at my next appointment. The athlete in me never wants to lose. In this competition against myself, I never want to go to my next appointment up on the scale. I’ve realized that it’s okay to say no. No one else actually cares if you have that drink or eat that cookie during the holidays. As long as you make choices intentionally and prioritize your health, it’s okay to have things in moderation. 

I have never thought of this journey as a diet. It is a lifestyle change to become the best version of myself. One year later, I have lost 85lbs and am the smallest I have ever been in my adult life. I’ve even signed up to run my first 5k road race, something I never thought I would ever do in a million year! While my journey is far from over, I feel a little more confident and beautiful every day. I’m learning to fall in love with myself, which is something I don’t think I have ever done before. The bad days are a little less bad and I enjoy life a little bit more. This past year has been far from easy, but when you put in the work and commit to yourself every single day, it makes it all that much easier because you put YOU first!