Hello, hello, hello!
I recently had the opportunity to speak with my best friend’s cousin, Julia Burke from @genuinely_jules!
Julia is a social worker living in Chicago. She created her Instagram account, @genuinely_jules as a way to hold herself accountable when starting the Kayla Itsine’s Bikini Body Guide.
Julia shares her drool worthy food pics and fitness inspo with her followers, but most importantly, shares her journey of practicing food freedom. She focuses on the importance of balance and a healthy mindset instead of the number on a scale. She loves working out and eating healthy but preaches that it doesn’t define her. Being healthy is not just physical, it’s mental as well.
Julia has grown her Instagram empire to 30k by being… Genuine!!
Without further ado, here is Julia!
HAILS: Hi Julia! Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions for the blog! I am so excited to learn more about the gal behind genuinely_jules! Introduce yourself! When and why did you create your Instagram account, genuninely_jules?
I started my account as a fitness accountability Instagram when I started Kayla Itsine’s 12 week guide, BBG. Slowly, I started seeing more accounts that were about lifting weights and eating more, which intrigued me. I started doing my research and realized how little I was eating and how much I was exercising. My account gradually went from fitness and “clean eating” to a balanced approach to life.
HAILS: What have you found most helpful in your journey to recovery?
Hm.. so much! I think the biggest thing is taking it day by day, meal by meal. It can seem overwhelming when you look at the bigger picture, and breaking it down can really help. I also think creating a network of supportive friends who have been through a similar journey has been incredibly helpful. While my friends from work and school are amazing, a lot of them cannot relate in the same way someone can who has been through something similar. I have found many incredible, strong, and intelligent women through my Instagram.
HAILS: What is your favorite way to celebrate food freedom?!
In so many ways once again! I realize just how far I’ve come almost every day. For example, we have brunches in the staff lounge every Friday. Even the idea of having so much tastiness in one room that was within my reach would have stressed me out in the past! Now, I love grabbing a plate and hanging out and munching throughout the day without obsessing over calories. Drinking wine/any alcohol is another big win! I used to count the calories and sugars on every alcohol and would rarely drink it. Even though I still only drink 1-2 times a week, I just enjoy it now instead of thinking of how I am going to “make up” for the calories I consumed.
HAILS: What does your workout routine look like?
I work out about 4-5 times a week. I like to think of my workouts as “intuitive exercise.” For example, if I only have time/energy for a 30 minute walk, that’s what I’m going to do. Other days, I go all out and do HIIT with strength training or SoulCycle and yoga on the same day! It really all depends. I just try to keep active and mix it up while incorporating a little aerobic and anaerobic activity to keep my body healthy!
HAILS: What does your diet look like?
I don’t have any specific diet! I have not had red meat since the 7th grade because of the impact it has on the environment and it’s never been my favorite. Other than that, I don’t have any restrictions. I do try to focus on lean protein such as turkey, chicken, eggs, and fish as well as micronutrient rich foods like fruits and vegetables! I do meal prep the basics-grilled chicken or sautéed ground turkey with vegetables are two of my lunch favorites. My dinners tend to have some sort of protein with a carb! I also LOVE dark chocolate-I usually have at least one piece of dark chocolate a day! My snacks tend to consist of fruits, yogurts, nuts, protein bars, or crackers of some sort!
HAILS: As an influencer on Instagram, I’m sure many of your followers reach out to you with questions. What is the questions you get asked the most? What do you want your followers to take away from your Instagram?
I think the biggest question is more of a comment or wanting to know how I got to the point where I am. A lot of girls will reach out who are in the throws of an eating disorder looking for advice. My biggest piece of advice is to reach out for help if you feel you are struggling! Try looking for a mental health professional in your area that will help you sort through your relationship with food. I want my followers to take away so much from my account-probably the biggest is that healthy looks different on everyone and you shouldn’t compare yourself to everyone else! You are so much more than how many calories you eat vs. how many calories you burn and the weight on the scale. I think as women, we can get so caught up in our appearance and lose focus on what really matters in life. Trying to stay present in the moment and bettering ourselves as people while living a healthy lifestyle is attainable, but it is challenging! Keep going, day by day, to become the best version of yourself possible!
HAILS: As a junior in college, I have many friends and peers who have internships in downtown Chicago! Many of my friends ask for recommendations in the city. What are your favorite healthier restaurants or coffee shops?
Healthy restaurants? Hm.. I can’t say I eat out anywhere that’s the definition of healthy..haha! I love tacos and pizza-my favorite pizza place is called La Crosta in Lincoln Park and my favorite Middle Eastern cuisine is a cute new place on Clark St. Called Gundi’s-it’s great! Where is you’ve favorite place to sweat? I love a good Barry’s Bootcamp class! It’s definitely intense with low lighting and loud music-but it pushes me to get in a great workout! I also love Yoga Six in Lincoln Park-it just opened up and has free parking (always a plus!) and a good variety of classes. What is your favorite activity to do in the summer in downtown Chicago?! Go for long walks through different neighborhoods!
HAILS: You often share “relaxed” vs “posed” pictures on your Instagram account! You also keep shit SO real and raw with your audience which I find so admirable and inspiring. Have you always felt comfortable sharing so much with your audience? What has helped you feel comfortable sharing everything with your audience?
I definitely have not always felt comfortable sharing this! I think I feel more comfortable now because of the positive response I have received!
HAILS: Aside from Instagram, you also are a full time social worker! What are your top tips for balancing work, relationships, and a healthy lifestyle?
Be gentle on yourself. We can all have goals (I love a good goal!) but it’s important to not be too critical on yourself when you do not meet your goals. For example, I might plan to workout 5 days a week, but sometimes work gets crazy and it would be too stressful to fit it all in, and that is OK! You don’t ever HAVE to workout. I view working out as a celebration of what our bodies can do. If my body is tired from a long day, I rest. In terms of relationships, I try to check in with all of my good friends at least once a week through a phone call, Face Time, or hanging out. I’ve found keeping these relationships is so important for my mental health!
HAILS: Where can we find you?
Thank you SO MUCH for your advice and tips, Julia!
Let me know what you thought of this interview on my latest Insta!