We caught up with motivational speaker and founder of Too Fat to Run, Julie Creffield. She is a keen runner who, in her own words describes herself as “not your typical runner…because I am FAT”. She hasn’t let her weight hold her back though and is determined to help others feel the same.

Interview with Julie Creffield

Name: Julie Creffield
Home: Stratford, East London

Age: 38
Environment I like the most: I love living in a city, but having green spaces to enjoy is important to me…the sea always makes me feel reflective
Best place I have visited: Vietnam, 2 weeks travelling alone in Vietnam blew my mind
Favourite adventure: I went to columbia for 3 weeks with a friend, neither of us spoke the language and my blonde hair caused a stir everywhere I went. Loved the music and the dancing. I wasn’t really into fitness then, I was at my largest in fact, but we went on an awesome trek (which almost killed me) where we found an incredible waterfall.
Dream adventure: I would love go on a trek somewhere really remote perhaps in the states, alone with my thoughts and perhaps a journal. Sleeping under the stars and facing my fears of bugs, spiders, snakes and bears
Can’t go on an adventure without? A sense of humour. Things go wrong. You just have to deal with it and not let it ruin your trip. Having faith that people are generally kind and safe helps too

What was the turning point that spurred you on to run your first race and to start training?
I was working on the London 2012 games during the bid phase, it was so exciting but I wasn’t exactly a good role model for living an active life. I took part in a community fun run and almost died. I was also shouted out “Run fatty run” and it hurt. I decided I needed to change and get fit…I signed up for The London Triathlon a week later

What was the hardest part of changing your lifestyle?
Having people to talk to about it, my partner and my friends and family thought I was crazy, they didn’t get it. Knowing what kit to buy, where to go for advice…it was really tough. And putting a stop to my partying lifestyle was a challenge too. I was a bit all or nothing, where as now I know its about balance


What advice would you give women who are being held back by their weight?
Don’t wait to live your life at a perfect weight, it doesn’t exist. I spent 20 years trying not to be fat instead of focussing on being healthier and happier. We all have our own natural weight and lots of reasons for not being at it. But that doesn’t mean you are any less of a person. Your body is yours and yours alone, its there to house you for your life not look good for others.

What are your top training tips for people getting into running? 

  1. Just get started
  2. Be consistent even when you really don’t want to go
  3. Learn to switch off the negative voices, replace them with positive ones
  4. Find a way of using running to multitask…make it part of your lifestyle not something separate
  5. Enjoy it…I combine my running with travelling and socialising, my 3 favour things work really well together

What are your top nutrition tips?
Listen to your hunger signals, learn to trust your body. Try to avoid as many chemicals as possible, but don’t drive yourself nuts with it.

Do you ever encounter negativity being a plus-sized runner? How do you handle this?
Yes a lot of people assume I am a beginner, where as I have run 3 marathons, 30+ half marathons and hundreds of smaller races. Everyone wants to give me weightloss advice which is annoying. I often get heckled in the street too…I have learned to ignore this.

I hate that’s its difficult to find plus size running kit too, which is why I started selling my own stuff…who wants to wear black all the time?

What’s next for you?
I have huge plans for the Too Fat to Run movement which involve training up coaches and growing our FREE virtual 5K OneBigFatRun which takes place every month. On a personal level I am really getting into crossfire at the moment and trail running….I have my eye on an ultra marathon for next year…just need to up my milage again after a bit of a break over the summer. I am open to all kinds of adventures coming my way…I am likely to say yes to anything.

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