Julia’s Stronger U Story

Kenzie Faris
Content and Community Specialist

Member Spotlight

Tell us a little bit about yourself!:

I am an active stay-at-home mom to two little girls (2 and 4). Originally from Upstate NY and now a resident of Charlotte, NC, for going on 8 years. I love working out and always have. I also have a huge sweet tooth, which is ironic since I have been a Type 1 diabetic since the age of 5.

What did your life look like before Stronger U?:

Before I started Stronger U, I was already very active. I have been an avid walker all my life and took personal training and Bar Method classes as well. I had never been someone who tried diets and was always of the mindset that the number on the scale doesn’t matter, it is how you feel. I didn’t own a scale until joining Stronger U (for weigh in purposes only).

I had my oldest daughter four years ago and went up one pant size after that pregnancy. I was still okay with how I looked and felt. Then Covid started a month before giving birth to my second daughter. Between pregnancy round #2 and a global pandemic, I gained another pant size. The isolation of having a newborn and two year old, along with the scary times in the world, led me to find joy in “treats” of cookies and curbside pick up orders. In June of 2021, I started realizing that I wasn’t happy with how I looked or felt. My energy was down and I would avoid taking pictures. I didn’t want to set an example for my girls of being unhappy with my body, so I went on a local mom’s Facebook group and started asking about what other moms had done to regain control of their weight. A few mentioned Stronger U so I did a quick google search and dove right in!

What does your life look like now?:

After two pregnancies as a Type 1 diabetic, my relationship with food was complicated. During pregnancy, I was told to avoid as many carbs as I could to avoid spikes in blood sugar and to protect my growing babies. When I joined SU, this was still my mentality. I thought it best to do as “low carb” as I could. My amazing coach, Katie, helped to shift my thoughts on this. I realized that it was a balance and there was no “good” or “bad”. I also soon became aware that my real struggle was my love of fats, not carbs. I spent two pregnancies eating as much cheese and turkey bacon as I could since they were low carb… turns out they aren’t the key to healthy eating 🙂

The biggest change in my activity has been my ability to push harder and further. Thanks to the SU community, I bought a Peloton bike in August of 2021 and a Tread in January of this year. I always hated running, but now that I have less weight on my bones, I have become an avid runner. I discovered that I actually LOVE to run. For perspective, I quit cheerleading in high school the day they made us run a mile ;p this is a HUGE change.

Stronger U has helped me find balance in my life of eating well balanced meals and have a better understanding of what I am putting in my body to fuel it.

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

I had never done another program or diet before, so I can’t compare to other programs. I will say the most appealing part of the program for me was the accountability factor. Working one on one with a coach and being expected to show up every week has been crucial for me.

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

Cookies 🙂 My sweet tooth is still alive and well. Now I just do my best to plan ahead in my day and account of any sweets that I may eat.

How much weight did you lose with Stronger U?:

54

How many inches did you lose off your waist?:

11

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

The most recent NSV that I am proud of is that I bought and wore shorts for the first time since I was 7 or 8 (maybe younger). I have never loved my legs and always covered them up, even on 100 degree days in NC. I noticed my oldest daughter refused to wear shorts or dresses last summer and I realized she may be learning that from me. I bought three pairs of shorts this spring that I have been wearing. While I still may be critical of my legs, I still wear them proudly. My daughter is now happily dancing around in shorts and dresses too!

Has Stronger U positively impacted you professionally?:

Yes, in that it gave me the confidence to keep working hard at one of my favorite forms of exercise, Bar Method. I was approached at the end of last year to see if I was interested in getting certified to teach. It has been a 6 plus month process but I am getting close to being fully certified to teach Bar Method. I proudly show off my muscles and skills that I wouldn’t have been confident enough to do before Stronger U.

Has Stronger U improved your overall health? If so, how?:

It has made my Hba1C lower and my insulin needs have dropped.

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

I would say to think about what you really want out of the program. My goal was never a number on the scale. I just wanted to feel better in my own skin. It helped me keep moving forward on the days that I wanted to order a box of 8 cookies and not think about macros.

Is there anything else you would like to add about your journey?:

I want to say that my husband was a huge part of helping me through this. He told me he would do whatever I needed to support me. He never officially joined SU, but began counting macros and following along with me. He has lost and maintained a 40 pound weight loss as well and is the most amazing and wonderful human.

Coach Katie was also wonderful. She had an understanding of what it is like to deal with Type 1 diabetes and food. Yes, there are days where I may go way over my carb macros from unexpected lows, and that’s okay. She is also a mom so she understands the chaos that can bring. She was reassuring and positive. She led and continues to lead the way for me.

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