Julie David 1161

Julie David

We are proud to shine the #HealthyNurse Spotlight on Julie R. David, MSN, ARNP, ANP-BC.  
I am a mother of 2 preschool and school-age little girls, who works full-time as the Magnet Project Director in my organization. I am blessed having my girls despite a difficult first pregnancy at an advanced maternal age (AMA -pregnancy above 35 years old).

It was not very difficult shedding the extra weight after the first pregnancy.  But when I had my second one at 41 years of age, I gained so much extra weight. I literally took eating for two to heart. This was followed by a very busy period as I was spearheading the writing of our hospital’s initial Magnet designation document and site visit. So, I packed on more pounds.

I am petite and could not afford carrying extra weight. This turned me into a very tired mom who could not keep up with my girls, was struggling to lose the pregnancy weight, and did not have any energy to exercise. Of course I did what most people do.  I started eating healthy, cutting back on portions and increased my activity level. I wanted to be so precise that I bought a food scale, weighed all of my food, and calculated my total caloric intake/output for the day through a phone app. Despite all of these actions, the scale did not budge and I became frumpier and more tired. I felt frustrated and became resigned to the fact that it was going to be my new normal because I am already at that “certain age.”  

About a year and a half ago, I attended the annual wellness fair in my organization and my BMI was 24.9. I was 0.01 away from being clinically defined as overweight. It was a choice between buying bigger clothes and doing something about it so I could fit into my older clothes. It did not help that on the same day, someday asked me if I was pregnant again. Of course not! That was just my visceral fat protruding. Did I mention that I also have a very strong genetic predisposition for diabetes mellitus and hypertension from both sides of my family? Well, that was a pivotal moment for me! It made me realize that where I was health-wise was not in my best interest. That day I made a decision to embark, not on a diet, but on a lifestyle change and alter my health trajectory. I did it for me, for my girls, for my spouse, for my family and for my profession. They deserve a healthy, energetic, productive mom, wife and nursing professional.
After I made the decision, I implemented the following steps:
  1. Learned more about nutrition and wellness – I thought as a Nurse Practitioner, I already knew everything there was to know. It was humbling to realize that I did not. I learned about different solutions and the new science that emerged in this arena such as nutritional cleansing.
  2. Implemented what I learned – According to Tony Robbins, true power does not lie in the knowledge but in the execution. 
  3. Started eating clean and healthy – I’ve learned that losing weight is 80% nutrition. I started being mindful and purposeful in what I am putting into my body to ensure that they are nutrient-dense. I stopped counting calories. Instead, I made my calories count.
  4. Began to increase my activity level – The other 20% of weight loss is activity. I started with baby steps – signed up for free exercise programs at work, walked more and took the stairs. Eventually, I started interval running and signed up for 5Ks!
  5. Surrounded myself with people who supported my goals – I reached out to individuals of similar mindset at work, in my community and in social media, who would support and cheer me on. I had heard about the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation (HNHN) Grand Challenge. I learned more about it at the national Magnet conference in October 2017 when I passed by the American Nurses Association (ANA) booth. I was so excited as this was the kind of nation-wide community I was looking for!  I got involved with the HNHN in social media, which provides me an avenue to share my successes, inspire and support other nurses in their journey, and keep me accountable with my personal goals. I use the tips that are shared in the blog posts and discussions.
  6. Monitored my progress – Wellness is a lifestyle.  I bought a personal fitness tracker so I can view my daily stats and make adjustments to my activity and intake dashboards for the week depending on my work schedule.
  7. Set short and long-term goals – I realized that I have to keep myself engaged to keep me on course. I get motivated by joining mini-challenges, completing 5K runs and more.
Every story has an ending. Here’s my happy ending. In the course of my fitness journey, I was able to shed the last 13 sticky pounds and decrease my body fat by 13%. I have enough energy to fulfill my work and family obligations and finish the day with either a run or an intense exercise most days of the week. Just a couple of weeks ago, I completed my first official 10K run and placed 4th in my age group. I feel happier, less stressed, and more physically fit now compared to when I was a teenager. Amazing, right? I started sharing my journey and my non-scale victories in social media and noticed that several people resonated with it and sought me out. So, I started coaching others on how to embark with their own lifestyle change. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my nursing career - being part of someone’s transformation so they can find the best versions of themselves."

Julie David, MSN, ARNP, ANP-BC

Are you a #HealthyNurse? Would you like to be highlighted in our next #HealthyNurse Spotlight? Share your stories with us in our discussion.

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Blog #healthynurse Spotlight 02/23/2018 9:18am CST





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