September 06, 2018

Weight Loss Update: Julie's 100-Pound Weight Loss, 3 Years Later

Today, I have a guest post from Julie. A few years ago, she shared a bit about her weight loss for the 100th Motivational Monday post (20 people who had lost 100+ pounds). I always love to hear from people who have been working at maintenance for a while, and I'm excited to share her update with you! Here is what's been going on with her, and her weight maintenance, for the last three years. 

I am so excited to be writing this update for you on my weight loss journey. Not for the reasons that you might be thinking, however.

Since writing the first story about my 100 pound weight loss for Katie’s blog three years ago, I have struggled to keep the weight off! Yep, people, the struggle is real. However, losing that 100 pounds has changed my life so dramatically that sometimes I still have to pinch myself because I can’t believe that I am living this life.

After losing 100 pounds in 16 months, I did pretty good at keeping my weight at or around 140 pounds for a solid three years. I was running five days a week and entering a lot of road races. I went from 5K's to 10K's, and eventually signed up for my first half marathon.

I was enjoying my new body! I started a fashion Pinterest board and began to buy beautiful new clothes. The day that I was finally able to shop at Ann Taylor Loft and White House Black Market was magical. Being able to pick out clothes that I wanted to wear instead just buying whatever fit me was a game changer. I was feeling so good about my life!

Then, my weight crept up to about 147 pounds 2016. However, it wasn’t so bad. I still felt great! I was still running 4-5 days a week and I began lifting weights three days a week, working with a trainer. I was feeling very strong.

I turned 50 that year and never felt better. I felt better at 50 than I did at 40, for sure! The year that I turned 50, I decided to check an item off my bucket list by walking the Camino de Santiago. The Camino de Santiago is a 500 mile walk across Spain!

I started my walk in June in St. Jean Pied de Port, France, and reached Santiago, Spain 31 days later. For me, it was a spiritual journey that changed my life in so many ways, but that’s a story for another time. I know, however, that I would not have been able to complete that pilgrimage if I had still weighed 243 pounds.

And, by the way, when you are walking 13 to 20 miles a day, you can pretty much eat whatever you want and NOT GAIN WEIGHT. I ate ice cream every day! Sometimes more than one. Funny, though, other pilgrims were losing dramatic amounts of weight, but nope--not me. On the bright side, I didn’t track my eating for 35 days and I didn’t gain any weight! That was a new concept for me.

In 2017, I began to slowly gain more weight and I was weighing in consistently at about 153 pounds. I was trying to get that 10 pounds off, but nothing seemed to be working. I continued to run and lift weights, so I was still feeling strong--pretty good, actually. But the weight was just not coming off. Since I still felt so good, I guess maybe I wasn’t trying too hard to lose it!

Weekends have always been so hard for me. I love to have good meals with my family, which usually include beer or wine, and I just haven’t been willing to give that up. I was still signing up for road races and by this time, a few of my friends had taken up running, too. We made it a goal to sign up and run at least one road race per month.

In 2017, I also decided to start a 5K road race here in the town that I live in, San Juan Bautista, with the proceeds benefiting the students of San Juan School (where I teach 3rd grade). Thankfully, the race was very successful! (We actually had our 2nd Annual Fiesta Fun Run this past May. We included a 5K, 10K, and 1 Mile Fun Run and doubled our participants!)

Then came 2018--the year I decided to run my first full marathon. Yikes!

The training was much more intense than I thought it would be. It was hard to get all my runs in and and continue to work full time. I was always exhausted and I got sick three times during the winter and spring.

During my marathon training, I decided to take a break from weight lifting. I just didn’t have enough time (or energy!) in my day. My appetite amped up right along with my mileage. I was always hungry. So I started eating more and was not able to stay within my daily Weight Watchers points goal and earn my blue dots (which are earned by eating within a certain healthy range every day).

It was frustrating but I needed the calories! I was still weighing in at about 153, not gaining weight but not losing either. (Don’t most people lose weight when they train for a marathon? Ugh!).

I finally ran my first marathon on April 28, 2018. It was the Big Sur International Marathon and the route was majestic! But it was SO. FREAKIN’. HARD. There was hill after hill after hill!

For a brief moment during the marathon at mile 21, I thought that I might not make it to the finish line. Yep! I hit that proverbial wall. But, I pulled up my big girl panties, prayed a couple of “Our Father’s” and “Hail Mary’s”, and was able to shuffle my way across the finish line. I earned that coveted medal!

Needless to say, I stopped running the next day. At first, it was just for recovery. I kept telling myself that you’re not supposed to run for three weeks after a marathon, right? And remember, I was no longer lifting weights either. So, basically, I wasn’t doing anything. But, I was still eating. A lot! I still had a huge appetite.

You know what happens when you don’t exercise but you still eat like you are, right? You gain weight, people! And that’s just what I did. The scale crept up to 163 pounds. YIKES!!

Now that it is summer and I am on vacation (the benefit of being a school teacher), I have gotten back into running and weight training. For the past month, I have been running 4-5 days a week as I train for a half marathon in September.

I’ll being running The Giant Race, which is a half that I love and have run for the past 3 years. It’s in San Francisco and the finish line is on the Giant’s home field at AT&T Park. It’s so fun and I am totally motivated to train for it!

I’m also back to weight training at the gym three days a week. I missed weight training and I like the way I feel when I am doing it consistently. I feel strong and I love the way my body looks when I more muscular. It’s not perfect, my body. Never has been and never will be.

But after losing 100 pounds, weight training is the one thing that has made me feel more confident about the way my body looks. The muscles help fill up the loose skin, kind of.

I have been working very hard at eating to lose weight. The scale is going down slowly. I am at 159 pounds right now. Though every day is a struggle, I am not going to give up! I will never give up at this weight loss thing. My weight may go up a little and down a little; it’s the ebb and flow of life. But I will always work at being healthy and strong and living my best life!

Julie Castaneda-Hicks lives in San Juan Bautista, California, with her husband of 28 years, Micheal Hicks. She is the mother of two adult children, Ashley, who is 25 years old, and Zachary, who is 23 years old. She has been teaching at her local elementary school for 25 years, where she currently teaches 3rd grade.


  1. Congratulations!!!!! Marathons are such hard work and you chose a tough one!!!! It is more likely to gain weight during Marathon training than not, don’t beat yourself up, the “rungar” is real and it’s tough to keep in check.

    1. Thanks, Valerie. It was a hard marathon. I’m glad that I did it but I’m also glad it’s over!!

  2. Hi Julie. What an inspiring post, thank you. Yes, for most of us, the struggle to maintain our healthy weight is for a lifetime. Your positive attitude will keep you on track. I'm glad you shared. Hopefully you can post again and tell us about the Camino de Santiago walk you completed. Thank you.

    1. Hi Sherry. Thanks for your support. I would love to share more about the Camino de Santiago. It’s one of my favorite things to talk about!

  3. Wow such an inspirational and honest post. Thanks for sharing your accomplishments and setbacks with us. Those kids are lucky to have you as an educator.

    1. Thank you, Laura! I consider my accomplishments and setbacks part of the ebb and flow of life!!

  4. Wow! So inspiring! From one third grade teacher to another, I think you're amazing.

  5. Wow, good on you! You are an inspiration. I've just started my weightloss journey myself, and I hope I suceed.

    1. Thank you, Miss Weightloss! You can do! Stay positive and give yourself time!!


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