How It Started
My Stronger U story started in 2018. I joined after a particularly uncomfortable night spent feeling awful because I ate too much pizza. I wish I could say this didn’t happen often, but it totally did. Over the course of a few years, I’d put on 50 extra pounds, and I blamed all the normal things, primarily stress and being busy. It finally got to a point where I couldn’t do basic things like take a hike without feeling awful and wanting to cry. I worried about whether or not I could physically do things with my family and I spent a lot of nights awake because I’d overeaten. No joke, like overeaten…..a lot. Did I mention that I hid food from my husband? Well, I did. I frequented drive thru joints because I was “too busy” to cook or because “I deserved it” after a long day.
My friend Jennifer told me about Stronger U more than once and I just wasn’t convinced that I could do it; I put her off and told her I was committed to trying other things first. I’d tried a LOT of diets and never managed to see them through. I was really worried about starting something AGAIN only to fail. I started Crossfitting before I was willing to change how I ate. I can’t tell you the number of times I worked out and felt like I was going to die while I did it. I just couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t losing weight working out so hard.
I finally gave in and signed up with coach Jodi Burchill in July of 2018. Remember the part where I said I was afraid of failing? I was so scared about it that I didn’t even tell my husband I joined. He’s not stupid though, so he was suspicious that something was going on when a food scale suddenly showed up. He is amazing, so he went with it and didn’t ask a lot of questions.
Am I crying right now writing about this? Dangit, I guess I am. Those feelings from way back then just don’t seem to go away, so I get all the feels when I talk about where I started and just how lucky I am to have this guy with me while I do it all.
During my time with Jodi, I had to get real, like really real, with myself about WHY I overate. I tried to be super engaged in the process and really pay attention to what was going on in my mind in those moments that I was compelled to eat. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to myself over the last few years, sometimes out loud, about what I want and whether or not the food in front of me aligns with those goals. That doesn’t mean I don’t indulge! The difference now is that I’ve learned how to do it in a controlled way and I’m forever grateful to Stronger U and Jodi for that lesson.
How It’s Going
During my time with Stronger U, there were holidays, summers, vacations, and I finished up a Master’s Degree; all the while, I lost weight. It honestly blew my mind. In the time I worked with her, I learned more than I ever expected not just about weight loss, but about my entire relationship with food. Food used to be a reward, a comfort, and everything in between. I learned to live my life and enjoy food rather than feeling like the food controlled my life and my decisions. Have I mentioned that I’m grateful for that? I’ll say it over and over again. I’m grateful for the whole dang thing.
Now, I can hike with my husband and never give it a second thought. The clothes in my closet just fit! I can’t tell you how many hours I spent putting clothes on only to take them off over and over again over the years; it blows my mind that I can just order things in a consistent size now and they fit. Craziness! The biggest moment for me after the weight loss was the last big vacation we took pre-COVID. My husband is a pilot and we fly in small planes because that is what he loves to do. I used to dread the idea of squeezing into a plane. Two years ago we flew to Utah to hike in Zion National Park. What??? I fit comfortably in the plane and took an ACTIVE vacation on purpose! We went to a concert, and it might honestly have been the very first concert I ever attended without a drink. I can’t even begin to explain how much more I enjoyed that music than any time before. It was one of the best trips we’ve ever taken and I can’t wait to do it again!
Since I started with SU as a member, people have mentioned my weight loss, for sure, but more than that, I hear from people how much happier I look. I couldn’t agree with that more. I am! I learned a lot about myself during my weight loss. I realized along the way that I was in control, not just of the food, but of the way I live my life. That may seem big, like, aren’t we just talking about weight loss? Nope. I realized that I want to feel good, physically and mentally. I learned that I’m in control of how I feel, how I use my time, and where I want to go from here. So, that leads me to the rest of the story.
So, What’s Next?
Since 2005, I’ve worked as a nurse in the operating room, and more recently as a nursing director, and I’ve always enjoyed what I do. After my experience with Stronger U, I started to wish that I could help people feel as great about themselves as I do now. I was so thankful for my coach and all of the people in the Facebook Group who shared their stories, their before and after photos, and their encouragement to keep going. I really wanted to give that hope back to other people because I knew how much it helped me. I decided to work on my own nutrition certification to learn more so I could help people who want to feel better.
After earning my certification, I reached out to a friend who I thought might be interested in getting some coaching while also letting me practice my new skills. Over time, I found myself working with more people and I realized just how much I love helping other people meet their own health and weight loss goals! I always thought working with Stronger U would be the ultimate in awesome since I learned so much during my time as a member! Earlier this year I got the opportunity to do just that and I couldn’t be happier!
So, here I am! Now I get to use my nursing knowledge and all I’ve learned about nutrition and weight loss to help my members! I can’t even begin to express how much I enjoy helping other people find their way with food and meet their personal goals. I’ve got some of the best members and I love using my experience with weight loss to help them keep going.
I want people to realize that we all have struggles. Some struggle differently than others, but I hope that my experience helps my members feel empowered to take control of their relationships with food. I hope that my experience reassures them that it can be done. I love getting messages about how great they feel and all of the really awesome NSV’s (non-scale victories) that come in time with Stronger U. The weight loss is awesome, sure, but it’s so much bigger than that. THAT is what I want for my members. I want them to be the people they want to be, and I’m here to help along the way.
Stronger U isn’t just about the food and the weight loss. Our emotions, our thoughts, our lives……it’s all tied into that relationship with food. Stronger U is about learning, progressing, and being better than we were yesterday. That never ends. We get to use the skills we learn here for a lifetime.