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Emily’s Stronger U Story

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Kenzie Faris

Community and Content Specialist

Tell us a little bit about yourself! 

I am 38 years old and grew up in Massachusetts. I now live in New Hampshire with my husband and our 4 year old daughter. I’ve always loved living in New England with easy access to the ocean, lakes, and mountains. I work full time as a management consultant.

What did your life look like before Stronger U?

I was slightly overweight my entire childhood, and I feel like I’ve been dieting my whole life. I first went to Weight Watchers when I was 16. From there, and through my 20’s and early 30’s, I tried and failed nearly every diet out there. Every attempt was a full blown effort for a month or so, feeling like I was holding my breath the entire time, only to then quickly slide back into my old ways soon after I declared the diet was over.

My husband and I started running together about 10 years ago, which I thought was going to be the key to keeping weight off. We ran numerous 5K and 10Ks, and trained for a half marathon every year. News flash! Running 2-3 days a week – but still eating any which way I wanted – wasn’t the answer!

In 2015 I ballooned to my highest weight. Even so, that was the year I found and joined my local CrossFit gym. I thought I’d try it for a few months and then I’d get bored or I wouldn’t be good at it. To my surprise, I’ve stuck with it. I am around like-minded people, doing something I have grown to love that constantly challenges me. No matter what it is, finding something you enjoy doing can make a world of a difference when it comes to adding activity to your day. It isn’t the only answer, but it helps!

In the past 6 years of consistent exercise and strength building, I lost about 25 pounds and gained muscle. But, I was still about 50 pounds overweight, and the weight I already lost was starting to creep back on in that all-too-familiar way. I knew it was time to address my eating habits if I wanted to see more progress on the scale. What I really needed was accountability and that’s when I decided to give Stronger U a try.

What does your life look like now? 

When I started Stronger U in September 2020, I had the short term goal of “losing weight to look better.” As I lost weight, I started to see improvements at CrossFit. I started to be able to do things I never thought I’d be able to do. I even got back into running longer distances and started to see improvements in my pace. As this was happening, I realized I suddenly had new, meaningful long term goals.

Now instead of focusing solely on weight loss, I am focused on better performance. Instead of only measuring my success on the scale, I’m also measuring my success as my heaviest deadlift, my fastest mile, my max number of pull-ups. Now I can look at weight loss as one of many tools that can help me achieve better performance.

My perspective has changed from “I want to lose more to look even better” to “I want to lose more to be able to achieve more.” It has been such an empowering and lasting mindset shift that has enabled me to lose another 30 pounds and counting.

Where did you hear about Stronger U? 

From a friend at CrossFit who saw great results herself!

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

Stronger U helped me learn that no food is good or bad, we can enjoy an amazing variety of foods as long as it fits into our daily macros. They also helped me focus on identifying my current habits that aren’t serving me, and how to slowly change those. It isn’t just a set-it-and-forget-it diet plan; it’s a whole-life plan. Stronger U has been sustainable because my everyday habits have changed, so when I focus on my habits, I achieve my goals. They also have an amazing online community with other inspiring members, good tips, and great meal ideas.

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

Pizza, ice cream, and ribeye steaks! Mmmmm.

How much weight did you lose with Stronger U? 

30 pounds and counting.

How many inches did you lose off your waist? 

5 inches

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

At 38 and as a new mom, I am the strongest and fittest I have ever been in my entire life!

Has Stronger U improved your overall quality of life?  

Being consistent in my good habits has had countless positive effects on other areas of my life. I’m happier, less moody, and sleep better. My relationship with food has become healthier. I am proud to be a positive role model for my daughter and to be able to share my good habits with her as she grows up.

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

Don’t be afraid to identify your failures and ask for help in fixing them. It is when you can objectively see your whole self, the good and the bad, that you can begin to let old habits go and learn new ones. Trust that good habits, practiced over and over, will eventually get you the results you want.

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

A big thank you to my coach, Angi Williams, for always cheering me on, helping me find my way, and showing me my big-picture improvements in times where I am being too hard on myself. My journey has been a slow and steady one, and having her in my corner every step of the way for accountability and as a guiding voice makes all of the difference.

Also a big thanks to Mike Doehla for creating this program, and staying involved with all of the members in the online community! His no-nonsense advice and wisdom always hits home with me in one way or another.

 

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