With coach Terri’s help, he put in the WORK, transformed his life, and shed over sixty pounds. Read his full story below.
Read James’ full story below
Tell us a little bit about yourself
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I work in home healthcare, working with low-income individuals who have a disability or medical condition that makes it difficult for them to get by on their own. I employ caregivers to help keep those individuals in their homes safely. I own a small CBD and natural supplement store here in Milwaukee. Yea I work A LOT!
I have two rescue dogs that mean the world to me, love traveling, new experiences, and meeting people with interesting stories.
What did your life look like before Stronger U?
The pandemic really made life difficult working in-home healthcare. I went from working 9 hours a day to about 16 so I could make sure all of our susceptible patients were taken care of but still safe. I sat at my desk a majority of those 16 hours and was eating whatever I could get delivered. That meant cold pizza, Chinese take-out and fast food all in the same day.
My weight went up pretty quick and I attributed all of it to working so much but that wasn’t the entire story. My eating and inactivity had been bad for a while and the pandemic just accelerated the inevitable.
What does your life look like now?
Life is so much different (for the most part) I am still working a lot but I make time to be active every day. Whether that is weightlifting, walking, biking, VR sports, hiking, snowshoeing in winter or anything new that I haven’t tried (except running, not going to be a runner, nope) My energy levels are out the roof and sitting still is something I can’t do anymore.
My diet has changed significantly. I rarely eat out (unless its an egg mcmuffin). I make all of my food at home and that usually includes fish, rice and vegetables. I feel like I am not missing out on anything. My cravings for fried fatty foods are for the most part gone. If I am really, really craving something I eat it. I don’t restrict anything out of my diet I just restrict the amount of it I eat.
Why do you think Stronger U worked so well for you compared to other programs or diets?
I never thought of Stronger U as a diet. To me, it was always a lifestyle change that gradually would happen over time. I didn’t come into SU thinking I would lose 20 pounds in a month, I came into it knowing that with time and consistency things would change for the better. Accountability works for me. Having a coach keep you on the level but also understands life and mistakes was key to me losing the weight. It also helps that Stronger U isn’t about restricting foods only restricting how much of the “bad” foods you can eat. Never, not once, did I feel deprived.
What was something you regularly ate while on Stronger U that people wouldn’t expect you to eat on a diet?
I eat gnocchi (Italian here) and rice daily. Carbs are not the enemy.
Has Stronger U have any impact on your exercise routine?
From when I first started in July 2020 to now my energy and strength levels have skyrocketed. I’ve lifted weights for a couple of years but everything went into high gear when I started Stronger U. I lift heavier and longer now. I can ride a bike longer, walk further, and am game to try anything new. I recently went rock climbing, something I never thought I would have been able to do before.
How much weight did you lose with Stronger U?
About 60 pounds
How many inches did you lose off your waist?
Did you have any favorite non-scale victories to share?
My first one was tying my shoe without bringing my foot up to rest on my knee. Sounds small but the day I bent down and tied my shoe was huge for me. Other ones were fitting in smaller clothes and the day I was able to do a pull up. Was never able to do one nor thought I would ever be able to, now I can pump out 25 no problem.
Has Stronger U improved your overall quality of life? If so, how?
I am happier. That is the easiest and most succinct way of summing it up. I look better than I did in my 20’s and I am pushing 40.
My mindset has changed. I don’t trap myself into thinking I can’t do something without ever trying anymore. I was missing out on so much and I never knew it. Its a big world with so many things to experience locally and far away. I am now game to try most of it (except running, I applaud you runners not for me 😉
Has Stronger U improved your overall health?
I used to be short of breath quickly and tired all the time. That is gone now and it makes a world of difference in my life.
If someone is thinking about joining Stronger U, what advice would you give them before beginning their journey?
- treat what your coach tells you as a mandate, not a choice. If you listen to them you will see results.
- Be active as much as you can and try and do something more days than less during the week. Lift weights, walk, run, bike use a fitness video game. It doesn’t matter. Just do. You will very quickly see that you are more capable than you give yourself credit for.
- Get out of your own way and don’t overthink it. A lot of us self-sabotage. Maybe we think we don’t deserve better or try to put up obstacles so that if we fail we have a reason. It’s not our fault.
Truly if I can do this so can you.
Would you like to give a shoutout to your coach, SU staff member, or community member?
Mike Doehla for creating this community, every coach who posts something helpful/insightful on the SU facebook page (a must join for all members) and of course Terri Luna. She has so many wonderful characteristics and qualities that I can not list them all. She is patient, knowledgeable, understanding, hysterical, insightful and won’t allow you to let yourself down. She is amazing, simply put and I am a better person, physically and internally, because of her.
Is there anything else you would like to add about your journey?
I am happier then I have ever been. Physically better then I have ever been. This is not the program to pass by if you want an actual, permanent change in your life.