By Josh Saunders
A massive mum whose weight caused her to suffocate 65 times an hour each night has healed herself after dropping ten stone to become a figure competitor.
Julie Marchak, 44, from Victoria, Canada, was diagnosed with sleep apnea three years ago after constantly feeling exhausted despite sleeping for up to nine hours a night.
Fearing the problems serious health problems that can be brought out on by the breathing disorder including an increased risk of a heart attack, diabetes and more, she knew she had to change.
The mum-of-three weighed a whopping 20st 8 (288lb) giving her a BMI of 40, which put her into the highest level of obesity.
She switched her high calorie diet for an Isagenix programme, consuming two protein shakes, a healthy meal and healthy snacks
Within a month she lost a stone and a half (20lb) and now she’s dropped more than half her body weight, as well as ten dress sizes.
Now weighing a slender 10st 3 (143lb), she was a finalist in a body transformation challenges and has qualified for the World Beauty Fitness and Fashion Show.
Julie, who manages family business Millstream Self Storage, said: “Before I had one foot in the grave, if that wasn’t a wake-up call I don’t know what else was.
“I was waking up 65 times an hour throughout the night and was told I would need a machine to help with my sleep apnea for the rest of my life.
“I was horrified to have my husband sleep beside me, I didn’t feel attractive with the machine and couldn’t let my teenage daughters see me with the mask on my face.
“I don’t think I was comfortable with any of my body parts before but now I love showing off my arms, legs and stomach.
“My husband says when he sees before photos of my back you can see how much my shape has changed.
“He described it as looking like a caterpillar with lots of rolls and no ident of a waist because my stomach stuck out really far.
“I had no bottom, I was kind of rectangular, now I’m a shapely beautiful butterfly.
“My husband calls me ‘hot Julie’, he is just really amazed, he loved me big and loves me small, but thinks I’m really hot now.
“He feels like he married two different women.
“I always felt beautiful inside but now the outside reflects that too.”
Julie was overweight since childhood and remembers being mocked for her larger clothing and taking salads to school.
She would regularly lose weight, which she would then put back on and then some.
It additionally hit home in 2015 when she struggled to go on a hike with her friend and forced them both to head back less than half way in.
Julie said: “I had a friend who liked big walks, I had previously been able to do them with her, but when I went on a hike I couldn’t make it half way before having to turn around and go back down.
“I couldn’t make it through and was so disappointment with myself, I was holding her back and I was already struggling on the easy parts 45 minutes in.”
Her cousin told her about Isagenix and encouraged her to try to 30-day trial – within a month she had lost 20lb.
Julie said: “She was looking a lot leaner and more muscle without exercising other than walking.
“It felt like the weight was falling off me, every day I woke up the scale was going down.”
Julie was announced a finalist of the Isagenix IsaBody Challenge earlier this year, celebrating her remarkable transformation.
Her newfound life has led her to run her first 10k and even inspired husband Murray, 47, to five stone (70lb).
Julie said: “To be selected as a finalist was incredible, it was a huge challenge with over 46,000 submissions so being chosen was amazing and still to this day feels surreal.
“Previously for photographs I would hide by putting my children in front of me so you could see nothing more than my shoulders and face.
“Now I love my reflection when I look in the mirror, I love the confidence I see and I’ve found I’m looking people in the eye a lot more and smiling.”
BREAKFAST – XL flavoured creamed coffee and fast food breakfast sandwich or nothing
SNACKS – nuts and candy, coffee, muffin
LUNCH – leftovers, once a week Thai food – chicken curry with rice and spring rolls
SNACKS – granola bar, cookies, cheese and crackers, coffee cream and sugar
DINNER – Hamburgers, noodle casseroles, pizza, beef Burritos
DESSERT – ice cream, diet pop
BREAKFAST – Isalean Protein Shake
SNACKS – Apple/pear or berries with nuts or Greek yogurt, coffee with almond milk
LUNCH – Isalean Protein Shake
SNACKS – veggies, tuna or egg, rice crackers
DINNER – (lean protein) chicken beast, (health carbs) sweet potatoes, wild-grain rice, (veggies) salad with health fat