Tell us a little bit about yourself!:
I’m a born and raised Chicagoan and live with my fiancé and pup in the city. I’m an HR professional, workout in the mornings with Burn Boot Camp, and am on a lifelong food/restaurant tour in the city! I’m looking forward to my wedding in October and hopefully starting a family next year. I was referred to SU by my best friend, Ana Morales. She turned to SU after her 2nd pregnancy and lost 30 (!!!!!!) pounds, and after hearing her rave about it for almost a full year, I decided to sign-up. She’s now on her 2nd round of SU, I started in January, and have now brought on my own referral, Ashley Duresa.
What did your life look like before Stronger U?:
I lived a really unhealthy life before SU. Diet culture, not being active, not drinking water, and always chasing losing weight is the environment I grew up in. I silently struggled with binge eating and emotional eating my entire life and was actively dieting for as long as I can remember….I think 15 years of dieting is an unfortunate accurate timespan. I tried quite literally every diet/fad you could think of – Whole30, low carb, 1200 calories, juice cleanses, pills, etc. If there was a way to lose weight, I tried it. I also absolutely worked out to exclusively lose weight, so a lot of my activity was cardio-focused – peloton, treadmill, anything high-calorie burning. I truly did not love my body, was not taking care of my body and felt like I could never be successful in a weight loss or self-love journey.
What does your life look like now?:
I’m a work in progress! I’ve found a significant amount of balance with food and a lot of peace in moderation. At the beginning of SU, I definitely stressed about macros and tracking and not wanting to consume anything that I couldn’t weigh and account for. I also used food and alcohol as a crutch and a way to find comfort. Now I’m in a place where I know how to nourish my body and feel the power of sitting in discomfort sometimes. I look in a mirror now and not hate my body – I see progress, strength, and growth. I also enjoy working out and moving my body! I’m doing it not to burn as many calories as possible, but for the community, to get my body moving first thing in the morning, and to be stronger and healthier.
Why do you think Stronger U worked so well for you compared to other programs or diets?:
It’s the only sustainable program I have ever been part of. There a massive education piece of it which there is a lot of power in, but the entire process feels sustainable. There’s nothing “crash” or “fad” about it – it’s a full lifestyle and mindset change. Also, foods or booze isn’t off-limits! It’s just A) understanding what food and booze does to your body and B) making choices in moderation, and C) if you indulge, that is OK and just move on.
What was something you regularly ate while on Stronger U that people wouldn’t expect you to eat on a diet?:
I can eat whatever I want on SU, which is different than anything I’ve ever done before…it’s just all about balance and moderation. 1 glass of wine vs a bottle or a measured-out portion of ice cream instead of a pint. Programs or diets in the past felt really restrictive but SU does not. Even though Coach Jamie tells me that it’s ok if I feel hungry (which is so true, and it’s ok to sit in the discomfort sometimes), I’ve found that I’m rarely hungry, even in a calorie deficit as long as I’m fueling my body the right way throughout the day
How much weight did you lose with Stronger U?:
How many inches did you lose off your waist?:
Did you have any favorite non-scale victories to share?:
My clothes fit completely differently and I’m not winded when working out! In fact, when I hold a 40lb weight (the total weight I’ve lost in my overall weight loss journey), I’m like holy shit this is a LOT of weight I used to carry!
Has Stronger U positively impacted you professionally?:
I’ve found a way to really manage work-life balance. I now allocate time to set myself up for success with meal planning, schedule in workouts before the work day, take calls on walks, and drink a TON of water every day.
Has Stronger U improved your overall health? If so, how?:
Outside of weight loss, I have dropped 3% in my body fat so far!
If someone is thinking about joining Stronger U, what advice would you give them before beginning their journey?:
Enjoy the journey. It’s going to feel really hard at times, but there’s strength and power in that and all of the hard times compound on themselves and translates into really fantastic progress. Also, the more honest with your coach the better! They can only help you as much as you allow them.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your journey?:
I’m a different person thanks to SU. I never thought I was capable of losing the weight I had gained, and I never thought I was capable of loving my body. I never thought I would be an inspiration for others either – it truly feels like imposter syndrome! Coach Jamie will tell me it’s all me, but I absolutely would not be the person I am today, nor the person I know I will be in a few months or years, without her. She’s created such a safe space for me to share how I’m feeling that I truly feel like she’s my person and we’re a team through this. There’s been a lot of trust created through her personal SU experience, her knowledge that she regularly shares, and honestly the results I’ve seen. But outside of creating a safe space to be vulnerable and share my honest feelings and struggles, she tells me what I need to hear and not what I want to hear. She challenges the things I say and think when necessary, and through that is where I have seen the most growth. Actual tears writing this (and this is not the first time she has made me cry happy tears LOL), I owe it all to you, Coach Jamie.