Julie Hadden's Fat Chance
A FAT CHANCE
Julie, 34, spent most of her life as a chubby kid and overweight teen. Her childhood dream was to go to fat camp. After she married Michael and they had Noah, Julie was considered morbidly obese. At five feet, two inches, Julie weighed 218 pounds. “It didn’t help that I was addicted to cinnamon buns,” says Julie.
In the summer of 2006, The Biggest Loser producers had a casting call in Jacksonville. After making the cut, Julie realized she had the opportunity of a lifetime to finally lose the weight. On the first day, the contestants were in the desert. “There was sand everywhere,” says Julie. “That was the moment it changed for me…when they took away all my comforts.”
Julie thought she was being sent home, because she wasn’t selected for the red or blue team. Surprisingly, the producers created a secret team for the remaining six contestants: the black team (which made their appearance on the show on Day 10). The trainer was Jillian Michaels (who wrote the forward of Julie’s book).
“When Julie showed up, I was unimpressed,” says Jillian. “But Julie did something that probably shocked both of us: she actually began to prevail.” One day after Jillian kicked Julie out of the gym for saying she was the smallest on the team, Julie sat on the edge of her bed and cried out to God. He brought to her mind a passage from Psalm 139:17 "How precious to me are your thoughts, O God. How vast is the sum of them. Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand." Julie looked at all the sand that poured out of her shoes. “I couldn’t even count the grains on one inch of my hand, let alone my whole palm,” she says. Julie realized that God obviously saw her differently than she saw herself. “I treated my body like a fair ground, not a temple,” says Julie. “He wasn’t mad at me; He was madly in love with me.”
A typical day on the show involved getting up at 7:30 am, grabbing a bite to eat and hitting the gym before Jillian arrived. The typical day involved an hour of cardio and then one-on-one workouts with Jillian. “And oh, how I hated those,” Julie says. After one-on-ones, the contestants would log another hour of independent exercise before a short lunch break. The afternoon was the same. The most intense days involved a challenge in addition to their normal routine. Each challenge took 30 to 45 minutes to complete. After the grueling workouts, Jillian says they would prepare and eat dinner, which was mostly a chicken breast, small side salad and water. Julie dropped eight pounds during the first three weeks on the show. By the end of the show, Julie dropped 44.5% of her body weight. She lost a total of 97 pounds, and today she weighs 130 pounds.
HER FAITH IN ACTION
Julie grew up in a Christian home. She gave her life to the Lord at age 13. While she worked out on The Biggest Loser, Julie says she would recall scriptures that her body was created to worship God and that she was intended to be strong. During treadmill runs, Julie would think about David facing the giant with a few smooth stones. “God gave me a once-in-a-lifetime chance to reclaim the life He so badly wanted me to live,” says Julie. “And I wanted more than anything to be found faithful in return.”
Julie says she and Michael always enjoyed an active love life. However, as she grew larger, Julie said sex would be okay but only with the lights off! After her weight loss, Julie says she realized that her insecurities were from her own thoughts, not from her husband. “I thought he would change after I came home,” says Julie. “My insecurities weren’t from Michael; it was because of me,” says Julie. “I think so many women struggle with that….sexuality is a gift. And if someone tells you you’re beautiful, believe them.”
The Biggest Loser Season 8 finale airs Tuesday, December 8th at 8 p.m. on NBC.
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