This week our Member Spotlight is shining down on Kaley Crebs, who has worked with Coach Clark Hibbs up until January before moving to Registered Dietitian and Coach Josette Curtis. Congrats, Kaley!
What’s your name? (First and last names, pretty please)
Tell us a little about you in 5 sentences or less. Where are you from? Are you a parent? What are your hobbies? Anything unique about your life that you want to share?
I’m a young(er) professional living in Tampa Bay, Florida. I live with my husband, his two boys (ages 10 and 12), and our cat, Pixel. I work from home in Program Management for a technology team. I am active with OrangeTheory, Peloton, and I paddle-board as often as I can. When I’m not working or exercising, I’m cooking new recipes in the kitchen (often plant-based/vegan to suit my husband’s preferences), reading (I read 70+ books last year!), or watching all the things on Netflix.
What led you to join Stronger U?
I heard about Stronger U through the Peloton membership page and I was curious. I had never tracked macros before and associated macros with either keto or body builders. All in all, I was tired of being overweight and tired of my poor health and eating habits, but was also completely overwhelmed with the different dieting information. Keto, Paleo, vegan- there were so many different options and I didn’t know where to turn and what would work for me. Stronger U was a leap into trying something I’d never done before.
What dieting experience have you had previous to Stronger U? Was there a reason you were or were not successful? Why did you stop?
I’ve always been overweight and can’t remember a time in my life when I was under 200lbs. I grew up doing WeightWatchers with my mother (on and off). I’ve lost and gained throughout my whole life and most recently had lost a 50lbs on my own (about 5 years ago) with diet and exercise, but then slowly gained almost all of the weight back when things got busy and weight loss wasn’t my main focus.
It’s clear Stronger U worked for you. Why do you think Stronger U worked so well when other programs or diets may have not?
For me, macro counting has been a great, flexible way of eating which allows me to eat the foods I like and nothing is off limits. Stronger U has given me the opportunity to work with a coach set my macros and tell me the specific numbers I should be consuming. This professional consultation has helped me to trust the process and be willing to dive in with a new way of eating. There are so many different macro calculators online and so many different opinions on what constitutes a healthy diet and having a coach give me parameters was huge and helped me to trust the process and continue hitting my numbers when I was unsure. The accountability with my coach has also been really important in my journey. Knowing I needed to check in and report in with honest data has helped me stay on track- I want to make my coach proud!
Can you give some insight into your eating habits BEFORE joining Stronger U?
My husband is vegan, so we end up eating relatively plant-based in our house. In general, I was eating “clean” whole foods, but not measuring portions at all. For instance, I would roast veggies and potatoes in olive oil with no thought as to how much oil I was using or portion sizes on my plate. I would replace meals with protein bars (read: fat/carb bars). Any sort of clean eating at meals was coupled with plenty of unmeasured snacking, wine a couple of times a week, and uninhibited restaurant dining on the weekends.
Now that you’ve joined Stronger U, how have your eating habits changed?
I have so much more awareness in my eating habits now. I’m planning my day ahead and prepping proteins in advance. In general, a lot of my cooking and meal preferences have not changed- I still make new recipes weekly, my vegan husband and I eat the same (with some tweaks to meet my macronutrient needs), but I am much more aware of ingredients, portions, and I measure and track everything. Although I am still making new recipes, it’s not for every meal- usually, my breakfast and lunch is pretty simple and standard which provides me the flexibility to mix it up in the evening. I always set aside macros for a sweet treat (like a Yasso bar or square of dark chocolate) at the end of the day because I know I’ll want it and I enjoy it. My alcohol consumption has plummeted outside of special occasions. I don’t drink wine at home by myself during the week anymore and often I’m even choosing club soda at happy hour with friends. I’ve learned that I’m able to participate but still make decisions that work towards my long term goals. I also feel and sleep so much better without alcohol which is a huge bonus for me.
If you exercise or train for a sport, what does a typical week look like? Did Stronger U have any impact in your decision to start exercising or training for a sport?
I don’t exercise or train for a sport, but I’ve always been active between OrangeTheory, my Peloton bike, or walking or running outside. The Stronger U August run challenge reminded me of my ability to run and because of that challenge, I signed up for another half marathon (which I said I would never do again) and I’m on track to beat my last PR by nearly an hour.
How much weight did you lose with Stronger U?
82 pounds and counting!
How did your waist measurements change with Stronger U?
I lost 10inches of my waist
What were 3 major non-scale victories you experienced with Stronger U?
1. Performance gains at OrangeTheory- my endurance has greatly improved. I can run longer and faster and can outpace most women AND men on the rower.
2. Size 10 pants. Never, ever in my life did I think I could buy a size 10.
3. Better travel experiences- need less room in an airplane seat, able to pack less/smaller clothes, can squeeze by people in tight situations. Traveling has become so much less stressful as a smaller person.
Has your change in body weight or composition improved other areas of your life? If so, explain what areas and how.
Yes, in many areas. Improvements in my overall health and confidence have made it easier to say yes to things, from signing up for races, to running around with my niece, to choosing clothing that stands out and makes me feel great. Within the last year, i’ve also received a promotion at work and there is nothing like walking in the door in new business clothes, feeling confident and great in your own skin.
Are there any tips or advice you’d give to new members of Stronger U to help them succeed early on?
Trust your coach- they’re the professional that you hired to give you guidance. Follow that guidance. Be willing to change. If that’s trying new foods, attempting to roast those veggies WITHOUT all of the olive oil you’re used to, going for a run, spending 10 minutes the day before planning ahead- be willing to try something new to work towards success. Take progress photos! My progress photos have been the best tool that I use on the days when I’m not feeling it or where I feel like I’ve hit a setback. It’s a nice reminder to see how far I’ve come and why this journey is important.
If someone is thinking about joining Stronger U, what would you tell them?
Invest in yourself. Take it slow. You don’t have to master everything at once- drink your water, hit your numbers, get more sleep, focus on the mini-goals and master things one by one. Don’t compare yourself to other people’s success, other people’s numbers, other people’s coaches- this is YOUR journey. Create the experience you want to have. And be gentle with yourself- this is something I’m constantly reminding myself almost 9 months into my journey with weight loss and Stronger U. Not every day is going to be awesome. Just because you’ve hit your macros every day for months, doesn’t mean you’re not capable of hitting a snag or falling back into old habits. Learning to gently course correct in the moment and not blow my whole day/week/journey because of one mistake or challenge is something that I have to constantly remind myself.