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Health assessment follow-up: Julie

Have those healthy habits been maintained, or has the going got tough and those good intentions been derailed? We revisit Julie to see how she's doing with her diet and exercise plan.

See Julie's original health assessment and recommendations.

At 22 years old, Julie came to us as she wanted to tone up for her wedding and improve her nutrition and exercise programme. Her lifestyle had always been very busy: juggling a full-time job, sport, spending time with her fiancé and his son, and social and wedding preparation commitments. Julie often found she was eating in different places and as a result her intake was variable; although she didn't skip meals, she would 'snack' her way through a mealtime and eat takeaways a few times each week. She also craved sugar and used caffeine-containing beverages for a pick-me-up. A thorough medical assessment also picked up that Julie had low serum ferritin (17ug/L. Reference range 20-160ug/L).

  • Removing protein shakes from Julie's intake
  • Low-GI (or slow-acting) carbohydrate sources at every meal and a protein and iron source at lunch and dinner
  • Having healthy choices on hand to counter the 'sugar fix'
  • Fuelling appropriately around exercise sessions, including small snacks after training
  • Minimising takeaways, sweets, extras and desserts to lower fat and sugar intake
  • Iron supplementation to normalise her iron stores

Her exercise programme was similar to her previous programme, including three weights sessions per week as well as some soccer training and running sessions; but was more appropriately targeted to soccer.

Julie lost just over 2kg and made it to her wedding day in one piece! She was enjoying more regular, less energy-dense meals and was much more organised with her eating. Although she had some difficulties sticking to parts of the exercise programme leading up to her wedding, she still achieved results in this area.

Julie's eating has continually improved in the time since her wedding. After a small 'lapse of concentration' following the wedding in both the nutrition and exercise area, she is pleased to report that she hasn't gained weight since the end of the programme. This has been achieved through exercise and an awareness of nutrition habits in the last few months after the wedding. Julie feels that she could have done more in the exercise area but is looking to next year's soccer trials and has recently started doing more cardiovascular exercise and fewer weights to start shifting some more weight.

Julie is the first to point out that she still doesn't eat perfectly, but she is still doing the right thing 90% of the time. She feels her awareness of which foods she should be eating has improved substantially: she eats fewer takeaways (about once a week) and she hasn't had the sugar cravings for quite a while. Julie feels that while the programme was stressful, she knows what she has learnt will impact the health of herself and her family. We can't ask for much more than that.

First published: Dec 2006



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