Meet Julia – the marathon runner who achieved her target weight by losing more than 4st during lockdown


It was a friend that convinced Julia Bailey to give Slimming World a go last year, but she was doubtful it would work.

Despite being a keen runner for more than 20 years, Julia, from Church Leigh near Uttoxeter, was still classed as overweight. The 56-year-old knew she had to do something about her bad relationship with food that had been holding her back from dropping the pounds.

In a year, she managed to lose 4st 7lbs, going from 14st exactly to 9st 7lbs.

Julia still enjoys running, but now she’s lighter on her feet and recovers quicker from a marathon or a 10k.

She said: “At the start of your weight loss journey you do need to think about your relationship with food and the emotional baggage that you might be carrying. Sometimes food can feel like the only thing you can control, and it can lead to eating too much or not at all. It can happen for a variety of reasons, but once you sort that out and really get your head into it, it becomes a lot easier.

Julia about three stone into her weight loss

“During my first week of Slimming World, I really didn’t think it would work. I was eating more than usual and I even went for a birthday meal out, but I still managed to lose 4lbs by following the plan outside of the meal out. I thought I’d keep going and chip away, I didn’t have an end goal in mind.

“It didn’t feel like a diet. You could eat what you wanted really, as long as you filled your plate with two third veg for each meal. Then if you want a treat, you have your syns. I stopped drinking alcohol during my journey, but would buy the small cans every so often if I fancied a treat.”

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Julia says that staying to group is vital for your weight loss journey. Without the support of her fellow members, and her friend who encouraged her to join, she’s not sure she would have done so well.

She continued: “Going to class is key. It’s a bunch of people who otherwise never would have met, and everyone is so different, but we all have one thing in common, a shared goal. They really motivate you after a bad week and it becomes a social thing. They become your friends.

Julia is now happier and healthier

“During lockdown I was so grateful for the Zoom sessions. They were vital to help us stay on track. I lost 1st 7lbs during lockdown and reached target, and I have the online groups to thank for that.

“It was great to see everyone, even though it was all online, and it really broke the week up and made you feel better.”

Runner Julia is part of Newcastle Staffs Racing and coaches the juniors. She was due to run the Manchester Marathon, which was unfortunately cancelled due to Covid-19.

Julia said: “Most of the time that I was running, I was overweight. The weight can creep on, and even though you think you’re fit, you can still be unhealthy in your eating habits.

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“Before losing the weight I’d run 10 or 15 miles on a Sunday for training and I’d be shattered. It would wipe me out for the rest of the day. Now I recover much quicker.

Julia is now healthier, happier and in a better place mentally and emotionally, especially when it comes to her relationship with food. She’s also enjoying the benefits of her new, slender size 10 figure.

Julia said: “Now I have such a healthier relationship with food and I’ll maintain the weight that I have lost. It’s my new normal and I’m learning not to worry if I have a slice of cake. It’s all about knowing when to pull back.

“I worked out that a block of butter is about half a pound, so altogether I’ve lost the equivalent of about 144 blocks. Imagine carrying those around! When people are disheartened about ‘only losing half a pound’ I always tell them that that’s another block of butter.

“Sometimes your journey might stall but you have to just keep chipping away and it will all add up.

“I’m much happier now and more happy to dress up. Before I lost the weight I had lots of lovely clothes but I’d never wear them because I was worried about what other people thought. Now I love being able to pick something up in the shop and know it will fit me, it’s hard to get used to sometimes.”

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