Deb’s Stronger U Story

Kenzie Faris
Community Coordinator

Tell us a little bit about yourself! 

I’m a 45-year-old mom of two teenagers, and I lead marketing for a Shoe retailer.

 

What did your life look like before Stronger U?

As an executive, I travel a lot (or at least I did pre-COVID). I ate relatively “clean” and low carb due to multiple Whole 30, South Beach, and Keto stints, but I ate way too much fat and drank wine too often. I’ve always been active but would be inconsistent due to business travel, kid duties and generally having life and work getting in the way.

 

What does your life look like now? 

My life looks similar on the outside – but I’m now much more aware of how the choices I make influence my health. I drink less, work out more, and eat in a more balanced way (I eat carbs!)

I’m more in tune with how much better I feel when I work out, and how different food choices make me feel and perform. That doesn’t mean I don’t fall face-first into the pizza occasionally, but now I have the tools to get back on track afterward.

That said, maintaining is still work. The times in the last 6 months since hitting my goal weight that I relaxed my vigilance for more than a week or so, my weight would creep back up. Instead of letting it all go, I went back to weighing, tracking, I signed up for another session – I’m committed to having a healthy lifestyle stick.

 

Where did you hear about Stronger U? 

A Peloton Facebook Group – watching Food Dad preach macros led me to check out the program

 

Why do you think Stronger U worked so well for you compared to other programs or diets?

I like clear rules and boundaries, and SU provides that while also giving real flexibility within a framework. I was tired of thinking I’d never give myself permission to eat pasta again. Now, it’s like okay, so I want wine? Great, I plan for it. I want cheese or bread or chocolate? Same. Still hungry? Eat more veggies or some chicken breast.

I really like how macro counting allows you to see how different foods make you feel, and finding new favorite foods that are better for me was really fun. Turns out I LIKE plain yogurt, who knew? The act of logging and journaling and checking in also provides mindfulness.

Ohhhhh I ate that and I felt bad later. Maybe I should reconsider next time. Hmmm, I was emotional and ate this and it didn’t fit. How do I learn from that? I was really hungry today, and it’s because I ate junk. Okay, I’ll make better choices next time, because being hangry is not so fun.

 

What was something you regularly ate while on Stronger U that people wouldn’t expect you to eat on a diet?

I started baking Sourdough bread during the pandemic, creating my starter from scratch. I know it’s cliché – and it’s so delicious! I still bake almost weekly and have been amazed at how easy it is to fit into my macros with some light butter and a little honey. I also enjoy a small little dish of dark chocolate chips almost every night.

 

Did Stronger U have any impact on your training? 

I started PowerZone training on my Peloton and doing the HardCORE calendar for strength training. There’s something about losing weight that makes you want to move more, and I’m loving my newfound muscles. I currently lead the PowerZone challenge team for SU! It’s been really fun to meet other SU’ers through the challenges, and I have made some really good friends that way. We keep each other accountable to exercise.

How much weight did you lose with Stronger U? 

A little over 35 pounds.

 

How many inches did you lose off your waist?

I lost 10 inches from my waist, 6.5 from my hips, and went from a size 14/16 to a size 8

 

Did you have any favorite non-scale victories to share?

I can climb stairs without getting out of shape. I can walk into a boutique clothing store and know that I can try on clothes that will fit.

 

Has Stronger U improved your overall quality of life?  

Losing a lot of weight is life-changing. Now for the harder, and long task of maintenance, and fully becoming this fit, healthy person. I’m getting there, one day at a time. I’ve improved my health – which is amazing – and I also get to wear a size 8 now which makes clothes shopping FUN.

 

If someone is thinking about joining Stronger U, what advice would you give them before beginning their journey?

The program works. BUT – you have to DO the program. If you are ready to put in the work, the results will follow. If you aren’t willing to weigh, measure, change what you eat, change how much you eat…or cheat yourself in that process, it won’t work. I took more than a few maintenance breaks which made a big difference for me because then I was able to recommit to a cut. Taking breaks is perfectly fine with a lot of weight to lose – it took me almost a year to lose the 35lbs.

 

Would you like to give a shoutout to your coach, SU staff member, or community member?

I owe so much to my fabulous friend and coach Billy Phipps. He’s such a fantastic cheerleader, teacher and his no-nonsense approach was exactly what I needed on my journey to lose the weight. This summer I signed up and worked with Adina Gilliam, and have really appreciated her insight and grace as I’ve navigated my mom’s Alzheimer’s decline, post-vaccination vacations, and fun and keeping my fitness journey going as I’ve battled a few illnesses myself.

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