Since October, Juliana has lost 20 lbs with Rise. She’s reached her goal and now is moving on to another. How? Read on.

Juliana is a busy graduate student. Having finished her master’s degree, she’s now in law school, driven by a passion to one day improve public health laws and policies, including those to address obesity and food systems. She’s up daily by 7 a.m., fitting in barre workouts and a hectic class and court schedule. She started Rise while living abroad in Switzerland for 3 months. Let’s hear how Juliana did it:

I’ve always been a planner – even before Rise. On Sundays, my fiance and I do a prep marathon and pack food for the week. As vegetarians, we do a lot of bulk-cooking of roasted veggies with garlic –  Brussels sprouts, peppers, cauliflower, kale, mushrooms and more. I like a more savory breakfast, so I’ll use the roasted veggies for breakfast with an egg and a piece of whole-wheat toast. We also pick 3-4 recipes each week to prep in advance so we always have healthy meals in the fridge for lunches and dinners, and can maintain that on nights when we are too tired to cook.

Trying for 6 years

I joined Rise because I had been trying to lose weight for about six years. Post-college I was exercising 5 times a week, cooking and planning my meals and doing everything “right.” On paper, I was eating really well… but I wasn’t shedding the weight. I would read dieting books and they would suggest, “Swap out soda for water” and here I was thinking, “I haven’t had soda for 6 years!”

Enter Rise

I chose Elisa as my coach and she has helped me so much. I was drawn to her during my coach selection process because Elisa specifically works with vegetarian and vegan diets. Ultimately, she’s helped me realize that I was eating healthy, but I was just eating too many servings.  We readjusted my portion sizes and shifted the proportions on my plate and that’s what got the scale moving.

Before Rise, my plate would be about 75% pasta and 25% salad. Now, it’s about 75% salad and 25% something heavier and delicious like pasta. It’s really that simple.  I also try to get a little bit of protein at every meal.

Also, prior to Rise I used to think life was a fruit free-for-all. I’d go to the library to study and take a bunch of apples or grapes with me and eat all of them. Now, I eat fruit in moderation. I also use a food scale and am more diligent with weighing my grains so that I can make sure my portions are good.

As a vegetarian, it’s easy to eat a diet high in carbs, so I’ve cut back and now I’m eating more proteins and more non-carb veggies. In fact, I make sure that I have a protein-heavy snack in the morning after I work out – like 2 tablespoons of peanut butter with an apple or carrot sticks. Then in the afternoon I have a piece of fruit.


I honestly eat all of the things that I love and enjoy. Before, I was just eating too much.

When should I start?

Make a change, wherever you are.

I was in Switzerland for a 3-month internship when I started Rise. I was living in an apartment without all of my regular cooking accoutrements, working 9-5, the grocery stores were different – there was no whole wheat bread there – I didn’t have a gym membership… it really wasn’t the ideal start time. In fact, I was planning to join Rise after I returned to the States. But then I decided, ‘I’m going to do this here. In Switzerland. It may be more challenging, but I’m up for it.’

And that’s when the weight started melting off.

In fact, I was even working out less, because I was obviously thousands of miles away from my gym membership. Still, the weight kept coming off.

The little person living in my phone

It’s been great to have someone hold me accountable. Elisa is the little person lurking in the back of my brain when I’m meal planning, preparing food, or when I encounter a challenge. I know she’s got my back. I’m always thinking, “What would Elisa say? What would she do?”

Before my family vacation, I talked with Elisa about healthy choices. ‘Do I have the piña colada on the beach? How do I handle it?’ We plan and chose the foods that I want to be my treats. We’re being very deliberate about everything; if we simply plan for my treats, my success won’t be derailed. It’s all in the planning.

Constantly there

Rise centers around taking pictures of your food and sharing those pictures with your coach. And each night it’s really important to my fiance and I that we sit down and are present for dinner with each other, but before we can do that, I need to take a quick pic for Elisa. So before we start, I usually say, “Where’s Elisa?” My phone has literally taken on the name, “Elisa.”

My goals

I wanted to lose weight for me, but our wedding is just six months away and that adds motivation. So far since this summer I’ve lost 25 lbs, 20 of which are with Rise in just 3 months. Presently I am at the lowest weight I’ve been since I finished college. In fact, I’m preparing for my first legal cases in January and my suit that I bought last year is already too big, so I tried on the suit that I bought right after college and it fit again! It felt so good.

My relationship with food

I’m a total foodie; I love cooking and I love food, but I haven’t had the healthiest relationship with food. While I’ve never been super-skinny or super-overweight, I still had some disordered eating when I was a teenager. And since I’m type A, things like calorie counting – which I’ve tried – were really toxic for me. It brought out a lot of negativity. I’m really good at self-discipline and self-control, but when I was counting calories I really wanted to be in control and play the numbers game. It becomes all-consuming, obsessive, and it’s not sustainable. It made going out to eat too negative. What helps is that Elisa is not numbers-oriented either. That’s one of the reasons why Rise has been really good for me.

A Word of Advice

When you start Rise, it’s imperative that you’re brutally honest with your coach. The first time I took a picture of a cookie and shared it with Elisa, I was thinking that she was going to scold me or something. But instead, she had the opposite reaction. We had a really great conversation about challenges and plans.

Also, use your coach in anticipation. Talk about any upcoming vacations or deviations in your routine, in advance. Let your coach know about what’s going on in your life so that she’s not shocked about what she sees in your photos. Besides, she’s there to help you.

I don’t omit wine or cookies from my diet – instead, Elisa has taught me that when I eat them, I need to really enjoy them. I need to make sure it’s not an emotional response.

When I was in Switzerland, I didn’t eat the stale croissant from the grocery store, but instead Elisa encouraged me to mindfully sit down and enjoy a delicious croissant at a cafe with my coffee. I was purposefully eating and not just knee-jerk eating.

One of the things I’ve learned from Elisa is that often three bites of the chocolate cake tastes and feels just as good as eating the whole slice.

So now that I’ve reached my goal, I’m moving onward to my next goal. My energy has increased and I know I can do it. I’m definitely moving in the right direction.

Well done Juliana! We commend you!


We’re so proud of you, Juliana! You’re an inspiration, Keep going!


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