Sometimes it takes losing someone you love to make you look closer at your own life and how you want to live it. That’s how Julie Watkins found her way to Found.
Overweight, Watkins had battled Crohn’s disease for years, and it posed seemingly never-ending obstacles when it came to losing weight. Her dad was always her biggest advocate and cheerleader on her journey to lose weight and get healthy. When he passed away in January 2020, Watkins realized she was ready to make the change for good. “I finally was like, ‘You know what, I’ve got to do something. I'm sick of this. I'm sick of being overweight,’” she says.
And so she did. Googling a number of weight loss programs, Watkin’s learned about Found, and its multi-faceted approach to weight care really spoke to her. She wanted to lose weight in a sustainable way and learn the tools she needed to keep it off long-term—and she says that having access to both a doctor and a health coach felt like the complete package. “It's nice to know that I can ask a doctor questions and also have a coach who helps me figure out food options and meal ideas. Whenever I feel like I've hit a wall, they can help give me ideas on redirection. That was my biggest thing,” says Watkins.
While she misses her father’s love and support, Watkins is blessed with two other special people who support every step of her weight care journey: her husband and 15-year-old son. “They’ve helped me this whole time, cheering me on. Whenever I felt like I was hitting a plateau and couldn't keep going, or I was getting annoyed and wanted to give up, they pushed me to keep going,” she says. Her son even agreed to make it a team effort, and the two hold each other accountable for eating well and staying physically active.
Watkins has lost 75 pounds to date. She has hit her goal weight and is no longer on the medication prescribed by Found. Yet she chooses to continue working alongside her coach for support and accountability—which has helped her maintain her progress. The biggest victories, however, have been the ones she’s discovered off the scale. Although she continues to manage her Crohn’s symptoms, they have improved as a result of her weight loss and positive lifestyle changes. Watkins is also feeling more confident in her own skin. “I just feel better about myself. I don't feel self-conscious. And I enjoy clothes shopping, where I didn’t before,” she says.
Her self-confidence didn’t come without hard work, however. Watkins says she developed some important healthy habits that shaped her progress along the way.
Here are three of them:
“I get up and start drinking my water before I do anything else,” she tells Found. Since upping her water intake, she’s also cut back on many of the sugary sodas she used to turn to.
Eat the rainbow
We know that eating fruits and vegetables is good for us, but enjoying a good variety can be challenging. But that variety is important for weight care and overall health. “I'm getting a good balance of my vegetables at every meal, as well as some fruits. Now I just have to try to keep pushing my husband to start doing more of the vegetables,” she laughs.
Exercise is key to a happy and healthy life. The hardest part is often just getting out the door. For Watkins, it’s become a part of her routine, in large part thanks to her son. “I didn't really do a whole lot of anything before if I didn't have to. I was very lazy during the winter,” she laughs. “Now we're very active all year long. We go to the gym at least three days a week if not four. And my son's really big into basketball and Taekwondo, so he's always challenging me.”
Watkins’ son helps her stay healthy in all areas and keeps her committed to maintaining her progress long-term. And while he’s her greatest motivation, her father remains her greatest inspiration. “I know my dad's looking down and seeing all of the progress I’ve made, and he's so proud. He always wanted that for me. He never wanted me to struggle with weight—because he did,” she says. “He also sees that I've made the change for my son and that my son is not going to go through the same thing that I went through. So that's my biggest achievement.” Her dad continues to be the positive voice inside her head as she continues to work on her health goals.
When we asked Watkins what advice she would give other members going through similar weight care journeys, she offered these valuable insights:
Give it time
“Don’t give up, and don't expect it to always work immediately. Sometimes it takes some changes to start seeing a difference with the medication,” she advises. “I went through that—and had to make some adjustments on the dosages. You just have to work with your doctor.”
Watkins encourages setting achievable goals and committing to your own process. This can set you up for success in your weight care journey. “Every person is different, every body is different, and [we all] respond differently to medications, diets, and other factors—which is why Found gives multiple versions and options for how you can lose weight,” she explains. “That's why this program works for so many people. It enables people to follow through with doing their part. You have to work for it.”
Communicate your needs
It can be hard to ask for help or to know what kind of help to ask for. But the more open and honest you are with your doctor, coach, and loved ones, the better able they will be to understand your unique needs and give you the right support.“Always ask for advice,” Watkins says. “When you get stuck, ask your coach for advice, and they'll guide you. And if they don't know, they'll reach out to another coach and get you the help you need–they're there to do that for you. So use it.”
We are so, so, so incredibly proud of Watkins and her success with Found! And we know her dad is proud, too. Thanks for being such a positive example for your family and the Found community.
Found is among the largest medically-supported weight care clinics in the country, serving more than 200,000 members to date. To start your journey with Found, take our quiz.