Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Bikini Body Blog

For my entire adult life, I’ve always looked at my really thin friends and envied them. I’d watch what they ate, ask them about their workouts, how much water they drank each day, what vitamins they took, about their cardio, etc!  Anything you can think of that might affect your weight, I asked them.  I’ve researched the internet on weight loss plans, I’ve taken every diet pill that exists, I’ve tried not eating, subscribed to every weight loss and fitness magazine, and attempted every fad diet you’ve ever heard of.  

Only one time in my life have I ever been comfortable enough with my body that I wore a bikini.  Right before my first record came out, I was in boot camp in Nashville and got SO THIN (maybe too thin).  It was a quick weight loss.  I think I probably lost 30 pounds in 4 months. Boot camp was tough and very intense.  My diet was very strict (LOW CALORIE) and I spent hours in the gym every single day. I was not happy while doing boot camp, but I finally wore a bikini!  As a matter of fact, I went to the beach after finishing boot camp and before I left, I bought 3 new bikinis!  That’s the only time I’ve ever worn those bathing suits.  I was happy with my figure for about 6 -8 months. Then slowly, I began to gain the weight back.  I gained back all the weight I lost and then some!  I couldn’t keep up with the workouts I had been doing because I was getting busier and devoting 3-4 hours a day in the gym just was not realistic for my schedule anymore.  I also couldn’t keep my calories that low.  I was finding that I was getting tired because I wasn’t giving my body enough nutrients. 
I was getting burned out on my workouts but still continued them.  I still ate healthy but I was gaining weight. I was so confused as to why I was gaining this weight back. I visited every doctor I could find in hopes that they would figure out I had a thyroid problem or some other medical condition and that some medicine would fix me and make me skinny again. It was all I could think about for a long time.  I guess you could say I was a little bit obsessed with getting back into my bikinis and all the clothes I’d worn during that 6-8 months. 

Slowly, I began to creep from a size 2 to a size 10 and sometimes 12.  I’m only 5’2’’ so when I gain weight, I cant hide it.  I was determined to figure this out!!  How was I going to be on stage in clothes that were too tight?  I was thin on the cover of my first album and people would say that didn’t look like me. Honestly, I even heard those comments! They’d say “Is that you on the cover? It sure doesn’t look like you.” 

Once I was in a hotel room and ordered room service.  The guy delivered it to my room and said “awww, you are eating for two!!”  I said, “No I’m not but I guess I better not wear this shirt anymore!”  I was blaming the weight around my stomach and everywhere for that matter on my shirt!  

Another time, I was in a song meeting with a publisher in town.  I sat down and I could feel my pants rip right in the middle of my butt! My pants were too tight but they were CUTE so I was determined to wear them. Unfortunately, I don’t remember anything he played me that day.  All I could think about during the entire meeting was how I was going to walk backwards when I left his office. HOW EMBARRASSING!!!!  All of those events made me more determined than ever to figure this out; I had to get back to that weight of 108 pounds! 

So, over the past few years, my weight has fluctuated both ways…  Up and down!  Two years ago, I got on the computer and researched other country music artists to see if I could figure out how they stayed in shape on the road. I googled Kenny Chesney and found out that he trained with ‘Innerstrength’ in Nashville so I called them that night.  I was in my kitchen when I was on the phone that night…probably eating peanuts ☺!  I spoke with Matt Royka who actually founded Innerstrength and we set up a time to meet and make a plan to get back into those bikinis! We worked out for a couple weeks and then Matt introduced me to another one of the Innerstrength trainers, Anita Nathan.  I began working out with Anita too! It was their mission to help me figure out this issue and tackle it head on! I began to notice a change in my body, but when you’ve mistreated your body like I had done for years, it’s a battle to get your metabolism kick-started again. I knew it was going to take time…a lot of time.  I hadn’t gained the weight overnight and I wouldn’t lose it overnight.

Anita introduced me to trail running and I discovered I REALLY love trail running.  More weight came off.  But then if I’d miss a week or two and get out off track, I’d gain it back.  I would take one step forward and then 2 or 3 steps backwards.  I began to get a little frustrated and started eating bad again. 

Looking back on it now, I realize that I am a stress eater.  As things became stressful in my life, I’d turn to a can of peanuts for comfort.  Now peanuts are probably not that bad for you, unless you eat the entire can!! But, sometimes I would look down and the can would be ¾ of the way gone.  I would just throw the can away and justify it by telling myself that I would not buy any more peanuts for a few days, and that what I had done was ok. I would just skip a few days eating peanuts and then I’d be ok.  WHAT?  Where did this reasoning come from?  I knew better than that!  But again, it was how I dealt with stress. I have to watch myself even now.  If I get on a stressful phone call, I head straight for the kitchen.  I wish I headed straight for the gym!!!

 I continued my running and workouts but my eating was TERRIBLE!  Although both Matt and Anita advised me on what to take in for my diet, I just ate however I wanted to eat. Candy-coated peanuts were a staple in my car!  Seriously, I know I cant have those and expect to get back to 108 pounds.  I was up and down for about a year or more and then towards the end of last year I got fed up with myself and became more dedicated to my goal. 

Matt & Anita have been encouraging from the beginning and knew that I would see progress if I just buckled down and focused on all aspects of a healthy lifestyle. So, I started taking Chains classes (Matt and Anita teach those), started kickboxing (Anita teaches that), continued my trail running, went to ‘spin’ classes on occasion, and began Bikram (hot) yoga. Anita and Matt even helped me complete my first Half-Marathon last year! Below is an article country weekly published about the Chains classes and my workouts.  You can check that out and see what I do there!  I also started eating healthier and the weight began to come off.  People began to notice.  When I went home for Christmas this year, my family members noticed. So, I thought it was ok to cheat a little and eat bad.  I think it’s ok to eat bad on occasion, like for birthdays and holidays but my holiday has lasted a good month and a half!!  It’s time to get back on track!!!!  That’s what this new blog is going to be all about!!!

SO, why am I blogging about this journey? 

Often I get messages about my fitness classes or my diet from some of you so I thought I would invite you to join me on my journey to “bikini land”.  I am going to tell you every day what I eat and what I did for my workout. I am going to track my weight on the scales and let me tell you, I HATE THE SCALES!  Most of the time I don’t even look at them, I just pay attention to whether or not I can fit in my clothes.  I will tell you about my progress and how I’m feeling that day.  I’ve also asked Anita to watch my journey and on occasion write in with advice on what I should do different.  

So, here are my goals...

  1. I’ve always wanted to take Mama to a beach in a tropical place…like Cabo San Lucas!  Thankfully, a girlfriend of mine invited us to come with her this summer so I am taking Mama there for a belated birthday present!!!  YAY!  So, 6 months from today I will be in Cabo San Lucas and my goal is to be wearing my bikini again!  I also want to feel good about myself when I am wearing it! 
  2. I was my lowest weight when I weighed 108 in 2004.  I don’t think I want to stress about getting back to 108 because it wasn’t fun trying to stay there. I want to live my life and have a hamburger, a glass of wine, or a dessert every now and then, so I am!  I think if I pick a more feasible goal weight and work towards it, I will have more success.  So, I am making my goal 112-115 pounds.
  3. I have some clothes in my closet that I haven’t been able to wear for years.  I love these clothes and am determined to get back in them. I will post pics of them when I fit in them again!!
  4. Anita is going to help me take tape measurements and I will post those and track my progress on those numbers getting smaller also.


I am excited about this and I know that it will keep me on track knowing I am telling you all EVERYTHING I do!  

My birthday is next Tuesday so I am going to eat some cake, eat some French fries, and maybe some fried pickles!  Like I said before, I believe in living and enjoying my life so I will not deprive myself on my birthday!  If I stay on track 90 percent of the time, I think I will reach my goals!!  

So here I go….my journey to BIKINI LAND!!!!

Country Weekly Magazine


  1. I have always struggled with weight, and it really gets me down when I go off-track and gain. When I was in the Army, I got down to 156 (a very healthy weight for me) and then got injured. 6 months on crutches = 40 lbs gained. Then I had a baby. Another 15 lbs. I got into a great routine when I lived in Tucson and lost about 20 lbs. We moved to Seattle and I completely fell off track. Now I feel like I will never ever look "good" again. Seeing someone as beautiful as you struggling with the same issues makes me feel better, because I know it's not just me. (Not to say I'm glad you're struggling, of course!) I just want to tell you that even at your heaviest you are exceptionally beautiful, and carry your weight much better than I do. But I know exactly what you mean about wanting to fit into those cute clothes you have had in the closet for a few years. We should team up and get skinny together!! Good luck and God bless!

  2. Its not always getting down to the weight like 112-115 but more of the size, because when you are working out and taking the extra weight off or losing it you might loose 5-8 lbs but size will be greater your turning it all into muscle and that weighs more, so Julie I would set a goal of about 120-125 you will a be slim but more fit. and that low fat diet crap is more harm then good look for more natural and you can eat more meat, just look for buffalo or venison very lean and healthier.

  3. Good for you Julie, I'm hoping to follow along with you and maybe I can get into great shape too!

  4. Oh my goodness, I have just started trying to lose weight too! I'm soooo thankful that we can do it together! Skinny jeans HERE WE COME :)

    Blessings, Britt

  5. Julie you are so inspiring to me!! Im getting married in June and Im trying to diet and exercise hard core too..We will BOTH get our bikini bodies :):):)

  6. You can do it Julie, you definetly have the power to achieve whatever you desire. I wish you the best on your journey !

  7. i think you already look great, but i know it's something you have to do for yourself! good luck to you! :)

  8. nice pict good ...

    sexy n hot ...

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  9. I love the Blog Design....WOW!