As Juliett Colome stepped on the scale and read 130 pounds, a rush of emotions went through her head. She realized how far she had come. There was euphoria, satisfaction and a sense of immense accomplishment.
Just months before, Colome, 20, had weighed 180 pounds. She had struggled with knee and lower back pain that affected her performance as a high school volleyball player. On top of this, she had dealt with issues such as binge-eating and insecurity about her weight.
When asked about the biggest lesson she has learned in all of this, she reminds herself and everyone on a similar path: “It doesn’t take a number on the scale or what you look like to really value and love yourself,” she said.
Colome, now an instructor at Crunch Fitness in Pembroke Pines, has traveled a difficult path to weight loss. She has recently put all those struggles behind her and strengthened her mind along the way. Her support system includes her mom, Sandra Colome, and her boyfriend, Christian Gutierrez. They are proud of her resilience.
“Her family, close friends and I are excited to see her continue on in this journey and will always be there cheering her on,” said Gutierrez.
When the pandemic hit, it forced everyone in the country to stay at home. At a time when everyone was overeating and gaining all kinds of weight, she did the opposite. Colome chose to use quarantine not as imprisonment but to push herself to reach her ultimate physical and mental goals.
Born and raised in Miami Lakes, Colome has been happy, but also frustrated, by the numbers on the scale that have negatively affected her confidence.
In elementary school, physical education teachers would call her “fat” and “overweight” when she would share that number on the scale. In middle school, girls at sleepovers never failed to remind her how she was “much bigger than them,” Colome recalls.
When her senior year in high school began back in 2019, she shifted her diet and physical activity. Just as she was getting the hang of it, the world was rocked by the emergence of the COVID-19 virus the following year.
“I was in a good mental place because it was just me, God and working out,” says Colome when talking about the quarantine and how it positively affected her journey.
Colome set up an at-home gym and never skipped a day, no matter how tempting it seemed. The one challenge she continued to face, though, was the looming temptation to binge eat, one she has dealt with for years.
“My binge-eating disorder came from being comfortable with how I looked,” she said.
This comfort in her appearance is what finally pushed her to embark on her fitness journey. She describes her binge eating not as eating copious amounts of food in one sitting, but rather “a mindset that convinced me that eating that one cheat meal, then another, and another was okay until it got out of hand.”
Whenever she did binge eat, she would use all kinds of temporary fixes to put a patch over the guilt she felt in eating zingers from Ale House, a key meal.
“I started taking fat burning pills, drinking apple cider vinegar or hot tea that would force me to use the bathroom and I even turned to laxatives,” Colome said.
Just like many other issues in Colome’s life, though, she took it on and overcame it by turning to journaling whenever she would felt triggered.
When talking about her journey, she passionately describes how her mental health played a huge role in it all.
“You’re going to have ups and downs, there’s gonna be days that you don’t want to get out of bed, days you want to eat bad,” she said. “But that is when your mental discipline needs to come in and you have to be 1% better than you were yesterday.”
Her mom, Sandra, acknowledges her daughter’s grit and tenacity. “I see her push through her rough days with discipline and hard work,” she said. “We are all very proud of her.”
Colome even started her own fitness service during the pandemic. She called it “JulieFit” and began using it to share her knowledge of nutrition, fitness and mental strength. Zoom workout sessions with clients, along with snippets of her own workouts became the normal on her Instagram feed.
She took immense pride in this branch of her journey in helping others and says that all those she has met and has been able to help is because God placed them on her path.
“When I work with someone who is in the same place I once was, I like to focus on their mental health more than the exercise I give them,” she said. “I don’t look at them as a paycheck, I see them as someone that I can reach and teach.”
Colome’s manner of combining physical and mental positivity benefited client Alessandra Arias.
“She showed me the light and for that, my body has made unbelievable changes in just a short time,” said Arias when commenting on how working with Colome has been nothing short of beneficial.
This passion has just recently secured Colome as a coach and trainer at Crunch Fitness in Pembroke Pines. Her motto is “Growth Loading,” which to her means there is room for growth in everything that she does.
“Everyday, you grow in anything that you do… whether that’s at work or in school or a simple skill,” she says. “I always look to grow in something because growth is everywhere.”