Black stud arms crossed copyCan you relate?  Have you ever considered yourself a:

  • Seasoned Dieter…been there, done that, I never want to diet again!
  • Mirror Avoider…never approving of self-reflection.
  • Food Vacuum…will someone turn me off!
  • Heavy Breather…walking up one lousy flight of stairs.
  • Weight Bearer…Ouch! My joints hurt!
  • Support and Accountability Seeker…I can’t do it on my own!
  • Fed Up!…and ready to take charge of your well-being!

Well, you’ve come to the right place!

Come on in! Welcome to my home! Please make yourself comfortable and let’s get to know each other.

Three years old 2
I’m the three year old on the right wearing yellow

I’m Julie Yuccas, the above list is a snapshot of my life. I’ve struggled with weight issues on and off for many years, along with self-loathing and mental anguish, clinging hand-in-hand. As an obese toddler and growing up on the taller side, these experiences formed an impression in my mind that I was big and fat. As an easily influenced teen, I watched a TV commercial that told me that if I could “pinch an inch” on my tummy, I needed to lose weight. I believed them. I got out the ruler, and within a fraction of an inch, I didn’t meet the thinness requirements. So, I became a member of the diet roller coaster.

Careless words spoken also influenced a lot of my dieting obsessions. Can you relate? Someone insensitively told us we were overweight, fat, needed improvement, criticized us, gave us a nickname, or made a joke about some part of our body. These comments may have been minor or traumatic. Either way, words spoken like this can make an impression as to how we view ourselves and can influence our thoughts and behaviors—even as adults. I know I let too many negative voices take precedence of how I viewed myself.  I don’t know about you, but I wasted too many years trying to reach the if I am skinny I will be happy goal!

Ava and I contest day

Ava and I competition day

Gratefulness is the attitude I cherish. I so appreciate the learning experiences and opportunities that make me the woman I am today. In 1990, my fitness instructor and precious friend Ava Westadt Niggemann, RIP, asked me to take over her step bench class since she was relocating to another state. Ava’s belief in me started my invigorating career as a group fitness instructor. Trust me, speaking loud enough for someone to hear me in the back of the room was not in my comfort zone!

At the same time and same gym, I met the most encouraging woman, Maureen Lawson. Mo had a gift for finding the beautiful and positive attributes in a person. Mo encouraged me to train and enter a local bodybuilding competition. This is where I experienced first hand the amazing transformation of the human body with diet, exercise, and weight training.  Still not having a healthy perspective of my value as a woman, I continued to base my worth on how much I weighed. At the time, I also didn’t realize that a strict bodybuilding diet is for competition season and is not meant to be a common everyday lifestyle. My crazy striving to maintain the diet and my competition body fat percentage, fueled the dieting obsessions even more.

Frustrated that I couldn’t maintain a competition body 24/7, I swore I would never exercise again. Ha! Funny attitude to have when deep down inside, it is my passion to teach wellness to women. It was my season in life to work part-time, so I returned to my former occupation as a surgical technologist. Back in surgery, it was frustrating for me to see so many people with weak, unhealthy bodies—knowing for some it didn’t have to be that way.

This stirred my passion again, so I obtained my American Council on Exercise, Health Coach-gold certification and my YMCA group fitness instructor certification. I also re-enrolled and graduated from Rock Valley College as a non-traditional student focusing on nutrition and health classes. Under the advisement of one of my professors, I proudly earned my National Strength and Conditioning Association Personal Trainer Certification.

In February 2002, I founded Victory Training, a weight management business encompassing seminars, workshops, corporate accounts, personal training, group fitness, and a copyrighted manual. Five years later, challenges in life hit hard. My mother quickly passed, and I had to take a sabbatical from my business to work back in surgery. Time did not allow for mourning for my mother or my clients. Nor was I prepared for the demands and stresses of working full-time back on a Heart Team. My health took a nosedive, and I was diagnosed with lymphoma three years later.

We don’t know how many days God has given us to be here on this earth. But when I ask myself; how do I want to spend the rest of my life? My answer is: I choose to live long, strong and with purpose. I have been blessed to acquire a wealth of knowledge over the years. Wisdom has set me free from dieting obsessions, self-criticism, and insecurity. I’ve gone from hating my body to loving and appreciating my body, and focusing on my strengths, instead of focusing on my weakness. I look at food as a tool to nourish and nurture my body, instead of the former mindset that food is bad.

With a well-rounded perspective about food, exercise, and body image, Finishing the Race: Dieting Obsessions, Self-Criticism, and Insecurity Eat My Dust! is for you. There is freedom around the corner, and I want to share it with you.

I’m so glad you came to visit! Feel free to linger a little while and take a look around. Please come back and visit me once a week or signup for e-mail notifications for more insight on how you can be stronger and healthier in mind, body, and spirit.

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