This week our Stronger U Member Spotlight is highlighting SU Superstar, Kara Hume. Congrats, Kara!
What’s your name? (First and last names, pretty please)
Who was your Coach?
If there was one thing you could say to your Coach, what would it be?
Thank you for not being scared to take me on and helping me feel “normal” during an abnormal time! thank you for accommodating my needs during treatment but not allowing me to get away with stuff either 🙂
Tell us a little about you. Where are you from? Are you a parent? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and am on faculty at UNC. My career focuses on supporting students on the autism spectrum. I am a single mom to 2 kiddos, Kate & Sam, ages 12 & 9. I love Crossfit and mountain biking, being with family and friends, and listening to bad pop music or the Hamilton soundtrack.
What was the moment that made you decide to join Stronger U?
I was in the middle of treatment for breast cancer. I had finished chemo, surgery, and radiation, and had months of infusions to go. My body was so different I didn’t recognize myself. I had gained 10 pounds, no energy, couldn’t exercise the way I wanted to and felt out of control with all that had happened TO me. I had little choice about the treatment path (I had an aggressive form of cancer that was in the lymph nodes, so I had to act quickly and aggressively). I decided I needed to DO something, and SU was something I could do that was good for me, my choice, and could help me feel more like me even without exercise.
Is there anyone from the SU community you would like to shout out?
My sweet friend Alexa Moore was kind enough to join with me, and now we have a whole amazing crew from Chapel Hill area that supports one another. They are the best!
What dieting experience did you have previous to Stronger U?
Not much. Did some Paleo challenges with the gym but I was one of the few that actually gained weight!
What were your eating habits like before joining Stronger U? Did you prep your meals? Did you eat out regularly? Did you think you were already eating healthy and in moderation?
My weight gain during cancer treatment was related to not moving enough, likely depression, and from not caring about what I was eating in an attempt to just “get through” treatment. During chemo so little sounded good that I ate way differently than usual (all the bread and potatoes, nothing green). Then that carried over into the months afterward.
Why do you think Stronger U worked so well for you compared to other programs or diets?
Clear boundaries but allows for lots of flexibility.
What was the biggest challenge or change when you first started with Stronger U?
Tracking! Eating more vegetables, being more mindful of what I eat
What was something you regularly ate while on Stronger U that people wouldn’t expect you to eat on a diet?
Sour Patch watermelons! My daily treat, but just a few 🙂
What does your typical week of eating look like? How many days a week do you meal prep? Do you have certain meals you make most often?
I’m weird in that I like to eat the same things over and over, and I don’t like a lot of effort. So I take a bag of frozen vegetables to work every day for lunch and add a protein, eat a lot of eggs/veggies. I’m also a big fan of Kodiak pancakes for quick breakfast, salads. I don’t really meal plan but eat a few meals frequently.
How much weight did you lose with Stronger U?
15 lbs that have stayed off for over a year since treatment ended (I celebrated 1 year in remission in June)
What were 3 major non-scale victories you experienced with Stronger U?
Feeling much more like me at the end of treatment than I did throughout; connecting with the friends who are doing SU together; knowing I can do hard things (breast cancer, tracking macros, whatever!)
Outside of the scale, inches, and previously mentioned NSV’s, how has your life improved thanks to your time with Stronger U?
I feel like a bigger player in my own health decisions/health care. SU allowed me to feel more a part of what was happening during my body during a tricky time. It helped me feel more confident during a vulnerable time. What we eat is one of the few things we can control related to our health. being in good health (which I was before diagnosis) sets you up to fight something crazy like cancer in a much better way.
What are 3 tips, based on your experience, that you’d give to new members of Stronger U to help them see success early on?
Find your people! See if you can recruit 1 local friend to do it with you or connect online with a few folks; find few meals that work and just eat them; find 1-2 restaurant meals that you know the macros for so you can still go out but you know where to go and what to order
If someone is thinking about joining Stronger U, what advice would you give them before beginning their journey?
It doesn’t have to be complicated. I rarely meal planned and I entered food into MFP as I ate during the day (not ahead of time). You don’t even have to do recipes, I ate mostly salads, etc where I weighed out components separately. That worked for me throughout, so you don’t have to do it a certain way- find a way that works for you.