This week our Member Spotlight is shining down on Rebecca George, who worked with Coach Syndi Acampora.
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 live in Southeastern Wisconsin, but am a true Iowa farm girl at heart. I am a wife to my husband Steve and soon to be empty nest Mom of two young adults, aged Liz -20 and Mitch-18. I am currently a first-grade teacher and love to spend my free time in my basement gym, rowing, lifting and running both indoors and out.
What led you to join Stronger U?
I guess you could say I was tired. Tired of working out and not seeing results, tired of being overweight, and tired of not feeling my best. Over the past 10 years, circumstances had led to me not taking care of myself. I had let myself fall into unhealthy patterns of eating and drinking and no matter how much I tried to workout, nothing seemed to help me shed the extra weight I was carrying. About 2 years ago I started seeing some friends and acquaintances have success with this program and it got my attention. I still waited for a good 6-9 months debating whether or not Stronger U (and myself) were worth this kind of investment. Ultimately, I decided that I was worth it, and It was the best money I’ve ever spent.
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 have tried everything under the sun to lose weight. Paleo, Weight Watchers, Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet (that was a fun one), South Beach and had even tried counting macros on my own. Nothing seemed to work for more than a couple of months. I would have some short-term results, and then lose motivation and eventually end up putting the weight back on and then some. These diets never taught me the skills I needed to sustain my success and teach me the skills I needed to make it a permanent lifestyle change. There was also some type of deprivation involved and something that you couldn’t have. I love that with Stronger U I can plan for special occasions and can work treats into my day. This mindset has helped me break the cycle of emotional eating and feeling guilt around what I chose to eat.
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?
First and foremost, I think Stronger U works because it is all about relationships. First, it helped me develop a relationship with my coach that was supportive and gave me the accountability I needed to be successful. Second, it helped me reevaluate and reexamine my relationship with food and helped me learn to make healthier choices that serve and honor my body and support my goals. And third and possibly one of the best relationships are those you are able to develop with other members of the program. I have made some special friendships with people in the Facebook group and having their support is another aspect of this program that helped me stay accountable. Watching others share their successes, failures and genuine snapshots of their lives gives us meaningful connections with each other that are often lacking in the online world in general.
Can you give some insight on your eating habits BEFORE joining Stronger U?
It was a train wreck! I would attempt to eat “healthy” for short amounts of time but I was generally lacking any kind of motivation to keep it up beyond short amounts of time. I loved cooking and baking and those were part of my emotional relationship with food. There were always sweet treats around the house that were not healthy options and I had little to no self-restraint. Because, if I ate them all, then they wouldn’t be around to tempt me. This would lead to a cycle of berating myself for poor choices, leading to more negative emotion and then eating to feel better. I used to eat out frequently giving no thought to what I was ordering. Now, I still eat out but make much better choices that better serve me and my goals.
Now that you’ve joined Stronger U, how have your eating habits changed?
I eat a much more balanced diet and definitely eat more vegetables now than I did a year ago. I still eat out frequently. As a teacher, I go out with co-workers each Friday at lunchtime. However, now I choose a salad at lunch because I know it’s likely that I will go out to dinner for pizza with friends most Friday nights. I’ve given up alcohol 95% of the time. I realized that I would rather save alcohol for truly special occasions when I want to celebrate and that I don’t need 3 drinks with my Friday night pizza. I’d rather have those macros for pizza!
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 Stronger U, I had done some Crossfit until my Box closed. I transitioned to doing some strength training with dumbells and using my rowing machine sporadically. Since starting Stronger U I have made exercise a consistent part of my life. I’ve added a squat rack, barbell & weights, & pull up bar to my basement gym. I’ve been progressing through a weightlifting program and row and run consistently. I’ve gone from not running at all to regularly running 5-6 miles. Losing the weight has given me more energy and stamina to add more intense exercise into my routine.
How much weight did you lose with Stronger U?
I have currently lost 55 pounds and am shooting for an additional 10-15 pounds.
How did your waist measurements change with Stronger U?
13 inches. I went from a 39 inch waist to a 26 inch waist.
What were 3 major non-scale victories you experienced with Stronger U?
1. Learning to not deal with emotions by eating.
2. I have been able to disconnect food and exercise. I used to exercise to punish myself for what I had eaten, or so that I could eat more. Now, I eat to control my weight, and my exercise helps me develop my strength and cardiovascular abilities and to help my mental health.
3. I have amazing energy levels. I never would have admitted prior to joining Stronger U that I was lacking energy, but now I know what it feels like to truly have energy that lasts all day. ( all those “aged related” aches and pains have disappeared as well)
Has your change in body weight or composition improved other areas of your life? If so, explain what areas and how.
It is hard to put into words how my life has improved. I am less afraid of taking risks, have more confidence and in general, just have an attitude that anything is possible! I feel and look better at 43 than I did at 33.
Are there any tips or advice you’d give to new members of Stronger U to help them succeed early on?
Do not try to put a time limit on your success. I know it’s difficult when you are thinking about the length of your session. But try to remember that if you are consistent and doing the things you need to do, you will eventually reach your goal. It may not happen in the time frame you originally had in mind, but that doesn’t matter. If you consistently take action and continue to take action, you will get there eventually. Also, take various body measurements beyond your waist. Some weeks, when I had a plateau on the scale, seeing those other numbers get smaller was just what I needed to keep me motivated.
If someone is thinking about joining Stronger U, what would you tell them?
If you are on the fence about joining Stronger U, just do it! Like with anything worth doing, there is some investment of time and money. But you are ultimately making that investment in yourself. You are worth the money it takes to join this program, you are worth the time and energy it takes to consider the types and amounts of food you are eating. If I had known how this program was going to change my life for the better, I would have joined the minute I first heard about it. The Stronger U Facebook page is filled with great ideas, awesome support, and some of the most inspirational people you will ever meet. I love sharing the benefits of this program and love helping support my friends and family who have joined the program alongside me. If you think it might be for you, reach out and I would love to answer questions and help you decide if it’s right for you.