This week, the Stronger U Member Spotlight is shining down on Michelle Traxler Lacy—who worked with Coach Jason Falcon.
What’s your name? (First and last names, pretty please)
Michelle Traxler Lacy
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 am 46 years old professional who is the General Manager of a Recreation and Park District in California. That means I have 5 bosses all of whom are elected officials, which creates a pretty hectic and demanding work environment. Growing up I lived all over the country and went to 14 different schools in 12 years, so adaptation was a skill I learned at an early age. I enjoy sports both watching and playing, but basketball is my first love and I played competitively throughout my youth including a stint on a Jr. Olympic team that traveled to Sweden and Finland.
What led you to join Stronger U?
For about 7 years I had belonged to a Crossfit Gym (Diablo Crossfit) and had been hearing about Stronger U for about a year from various gym friends. Those friends had seen great results, but they were the ones I considered in-shape and I thought that SU was to dial-in nutrition to make those people who were already athletes even better. So, I didn’t really consider it since I had so far to go to even get to their starting point. Then my gym friend Anthony Garcia posted on his Facebook page about his success over the past 8 months with his SU coach Jason Falcon. I saw myself in Anthony and decided if it worked for him then it could work for me. I met with Anthony, asked lots of questions and signed up that day. I truly believed that SU was my last chance to lose the weight I needed to lose or else I would just be big the rest of my life.
What dieting experience have you had previous to Stronger U? Was there a reason you were or were not successful? Why did you stop?
This is such a long list, but a lot of the typical plans Weight Watchers, South Beach Diet, Paleo, Keto, Beach Body, and almost all of the diets or fads that made their way into the magazines at the grocery store check-out aisle. If there was a woman who lost 50 lbs or more on the cover I always bought the issue and tried the plan. The last diet I tried right before SU was AltShift which is basically Paleo with a carb/calorie cycling element. There are lots of reasons why I did not sustain success on any of my previous attempts, but the main reason was the lack of long-term sustainability. Almost all of the plans, except Weight Watchers, required total elimination of some food or drink and most required elimination of many items. I found for me that making anything off limits made it more desirable and I craved it more. Also, how can I never eat a bagel in NYC or pasta in Italy? I just don’t want to live that life.
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?
There are many reasons this program worked so well for me, but the major reason is that it is tailored to me and my personal situation. There is no box or formula that is prescribed for everyone and your coach provides guidance to make it fit your lifestyle. The guidance of a coach who is looking at your numbers and adjusting based on your data is key and has helped me reduce plateaus that previously would have derailed me. The personal coaching also has helped me gain perspective on what is important is not the scale, but my habit changes, performance, and general outlook on nutrition.
Can you give some insight on your eating habits BEFORE joining Stronger U?
Before SU I ate out every day for lunch and most days for dinner. Eating out at lunch was a way to escape my sometimes stressful job that demanded long hours. I often ate out for dinner because I was too tired to prepare food or I was meeting up with friends. Being single my social outlet really became meeting up for drinks and dinner or sitting in a bar watching sports like football. I like to believe that I was making “healthy” choices when I was eating out so frequently, but after SU I can no longer pretend that was true.
Now that you’ve joined Stronger U, how have your eating habits changed?
First, I cut back on eating out to no more than once per week, but most weeks I don’t eat out at all. Second, I plan my next day every evening while sitting on the couch decompressing in front of the TV. This approach has allowed me to be flexible with my hectic life and fit in some treats or unexpected lunch meetings. Third, I prepare 95% of my food at home and use the food I buy at my local Farmers Market, Safeway or Trader Joe’s. Lastly, I don’t eat food that I have not planned. Previously, I would eat food because it was offered, available, or to satisfy some emotion at the time. Now if I have a craving or want something I plan it into my day for sometime in the future. Delayed gratification is an amazing skill and I have really strengthened my fortitude with SU.
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?
Prior to starting SU, I was doing Crossfit off an on about 2-3 times per week for about 7 years. During my first 12 weeks, I maintained a schedule of about once or twice a week and lost 50 lbs. Once I lost that weight I began to commit to more time in the gym and started to make performance goals. Thanks to my success with SU I committed to doing a Spartan Super in June of 2018 which required me to train more frequently (now about 5-6 days per week). I also started running conquered a 5k, multiple 10k’s and a 6-hour run. I’ve been inspired by my coach and others in the FB group to try new sports and activities. This year I tried rock climbing, SUP, mountain biking, and running all of which I would have wanted to do, but wouldn’t have tried due to my size. Now I find myself saying “YES” to athletic experiences without hesitation or research which is how I’m now training for a Spartan Ultra next August. Love my SU fam!
How much weight did you lose with Stronger U?
How did your waist measurements change with Stronger U?
To date, I’ve lost 18 inches (58″ to 40″)
What were 3 major non-scale victories you experienced with Stronger U?
1. Being able to walk into any clothing store and find clothes that fit (from a size 24 to size 10) 2. Completed a Spartan Super 3. No longer look to hide behind someone in pictures.
Has your change in body weight or composition improved other areas of your life? If so, explain what areas and how.
In so many ways, but the most significant has been the confidence I have developed has spilled over to many areas of my life which has led me to be more courageous. I have started to take risks in my personal life that I wouldn’t have taken a year or even six months ago including starting to consider dating. Gasp!
Are there any tips or advice you’d give to new members of Stronger U to help them succeed early on?
My advice is to fully commit to this for 12-weeks and do everything you need to do in that 12-weeks to see how this can work. For me this included giving up eating out, eliminating alcohol (even on a one-week trip to Mexico to an all-inclusive), eating leftovers (yuck) and planning my day every night. All of these things were hard for me, but I realized that I could do anything I wanted to do for 12-weeks. Now, during my first 6 weeks, I had a trip to Chicago (week 2), work travel (week 4) and a trip to Mexico (week 6). Now I wasn’t perfect during those times, but I was perfect all the other days when I was home and in control. Once I committed to doing what I needed to do over the 12-weeks I realized that it wasn’t that difficult, I didn’t miss alcohol like I thought I would and that I could do this forever. Sometime ask me about the moment when I realized that the weight I had lost was NEVER coming back.
If someone is thinking about joining Stronger U, what would you tell them?
Just do it now! There will never be a better time to start than now, if there was some magical perfect time you would have already found it. My only regret is that I didn’t start when I first heard about SU because I would have enjoyed all the awesomeness one year earlier!