We caught up with Julia Linn, 62-year-old force of nature who has been through a remarkable health journey, was told she wouldn’t make it past 40, and is now living to help others take control of their health. She discusses her inspiring health story, the lessons that she would like to teach others, and her new book, My Power Decade: A Story of Mindset, Weight Loss, Muscle Gain, and Reclaiming Health After Age Sixty.
For those who are not familiar with what you’re up to, can you give a brief summary of your health journey?
My health journey started early and dramatically at age 11 when I was diagnosed as a Type 1 juvenile diabetic. Complications began in my mid 20s: diabetic blindness, nerve damage, kidney failure, heart disease, and almost dying at 34 when a double organ transplant surgery saved my life. It cured the diabetes which was literally killing me! My doctors said without that I was not going to make it to 40. Then, at 48, I required a triple cardiac bypass; at 50, a thyroidectomy. Despite all this, I always had a desire to take the best care of myself that I could.
At age 62, I knew my life was possible because of my organ donor and I wanted to honor this gift of life for which I was so grateful. I began to really weight train for fitness, so that when I turned 64 — my 30th anniversary of the life-saving transplant — I’d compete on stage as a bodybuilding athlete. I did, and won first place. I have continued to compete in 7 contests for women 60+.
It has been a way to show my gratitude for my donor, my life, and prove there is nothing standing in the way of living your best life but your own mind.
“This book is not a ‘how to’ but rather a story of ‘how come?’ ”
Tell us a little bit about your new book.
This book is not a “how to” but rather a story of “how come?” Why would a 62-year-old woman want to get in the best shape of her life? And then compete in a sparkly bikini in heels on stage in front of hundreds? At age 64?! It starts with how I — and any woman age 50+ — grew up in a toxic diet culture and how each experience relating to my body through chronic illness, low self-esteem, yo-yo dieting, and impossible beauty standards affected me. It’s about my losses, failures, triumphs; I share everything.
Each chapter has a reflection section where I process what I went through, the choices I made, the losses I experienced, having a near-death experience, and more. I reflect from my place of being in “My Power Decade” — my 60s. I offer journal prompts for the reader to explore their own experiences in tandem with mine. To uncover their own truths and put their experiences relating to body image, mindset, health, self-esteem, and self-worthiness into a new and forgiving perspective.
Why did you decide to write it?
I’m telling my whole story so women over 50 can see theirs in mine. With all the drama, messiness, low self-esteem, self-loathing, poor choices, vulnerabilities, triumphs, love, loss, hope, and courage. Your body takes the brunt of all the illusions. You live your life by the self-limiting beliefs, the ideas that you’re not worthy or deserving. And that comes from years of not being seen, not being heard, not being validated, but you are this beautiful being.
Our bodies are our Soul Chariot and reflect our inner state. My book is about the deeper levels that have affected the state of my health and my body.
This book is a mirror reflecting back to women over 50 about what’s possible. What’s possible? Everything!
“Mindset is everything and fitness is a lifetime journey”
What general themes will someone learn from reading your book?
That mindset is everything and fitness is a lifetime journey. Each experience we’ve had, especially the difficult ones, will teach us the most. There is always a way, and there are miracles. Never give up. If I can achieve this, you can too.
What are 3 important lessons you hope to teach people?
That total fitness is a spirit-mind-body vision.
Losing weight is a shallow goal that doesn’t address the reasons we cannot sustain a healthy, fit, strong body.
You are never too old and it’s never too late to completely transform your life; and each difficult experience is a gift to help you do so.