Julie’s Stronger U Story

Kenzie Faris
Community and Content Specialist

Tell us a little bit about yourself! 

I am a 49 year old mother of 2 – a 21 year old daughter and an 18 year old son. I’ve been married for 25 years and this is our first year as empty nesters! I love hiking and doing any sort of outdoor activity with my family. I have 2 great Cavalier King Charles Spaniels who have been wonderful therapy dogs for us through the pandemic.

What did your life look like before Stronger U?

I tried every diet known to man. I would lose weight, then I would go back to whatever was easy (fast food, fried frozen foods, etc) and gain the weight back plus more. I was to the point where my weight was making daily movement painful. I was in constant pain and taking anti-inflammatories daily. My feet, knees and back hurt all the time. My activity level was pretty much non existent, which was very difficult coming from someone who was a college athlete and loved exercise. I was extremely depressed.

What does your life look like now? 

I actually enjoy eating balanced meals, because of the way it makes me feel. I try to get some kind of movement in daily. I have recently gone back to work, so my schedule has changed significantly. I am working my way back into a schedule. We converted our guest bedroom into a mini gym and I love spending time in there on the Peloton or doing core/strength classes. As a family, we plan active vacations, which we were never able to do before because of my physical limitations. I feel so empowered and feel like it’s helped my family, also.

Where did you hear about Stronger U? 

My friend, Loni Basciano

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

SU isn’t a crash diet or paint by number of sort. It is a constant learning experience about how to change daily habits of your own into healthier habits. There’s no right or wrong foods to eat, if you balance out your day accordingly. I would find that as soon as I was told that I couldn’t eat something (i.e. carbs), that’s all I wanted to eat. Once I realized that I just had to hit my numbers consistently to see/feel progress, I just took it day by day. There’s no end point, either. It’s really a lifestyle change. SU helps you adjust to bumps in the road and helps you to not completely derail and give up.

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

Whipped cream! I ate it every day with proats or protein waffles.

If you exercise or train for a sport, did Stronger U have any impact on your training? Or did Stronger U have an impact on your decision to start exercising or training for a sport?

Stronger U actually made it possible for me to start exercising. I was able to lose enough weight without exercising, that my body felt good enough to start slowly moving again. With the help of Jodi, I was able to start riding the bike, walking, interval jogging, and strength training. I even got to the point of doing box jumps!!! Prior to SU, I couldn’t get both feet off the ground at the same time. SU has literally given me my life back.

How much weight did you lose with Stronger U? 

90 lbs at my lowest weight and still going

How many inches did you lose off your waist? 

12 inches

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

Going from a size 24 jeans to a 12

Has Stronger U improved your overall quality of life?  

Hands down, YESSSS! I feel good physically every day (unless I’m sore from a workout), I have more options of things to do with my children (hikes, walks, gym, kayaking, etc). I also have gotten to a point that I never thought I would get to again. I never thought that I would be able to hike or do anything active again. The fact that I can see the world up close and personal through hiking and water sports and even the high ropes course, is truly a dream I didn’t think I could achieve. I also don’t stress about not fitting in movie theater seats, or airplane seats, or rides at amusement parks. I didn’t realize how much added stress that was on my life and how much it took away from my enjoyment with my family.

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

Make sure that you believe in yourself and that you can get to where you want to. Keep it simple, and do what you’re doing for you. Reach out to your coach and be completely transparent with them. I wish that I had reached out to Jodi sooner. They are there to help you, and are some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met. Give yourself grace – forgive yourself for any hiccups and move on, don’t dwell on it, just make changes to offset it.

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

Jodi Burchill has been a complete rock star throughout my journey! Loni Basciano for introducing me to SU and being a support. Clayton (CJ) Tyger for being a support.

Anything else? 

This past summer, I had some serious family issues come up, and my focus was shifted away from myself and my own health. At the end of the summer, my father passed away suddenly. This shook up my entire world. It continues to be a struggle daily, as I am an emotional eater. I have gained some of the weight back, but with the help of Jodi and this community, I am releasing it again. I know that I can get back to where I felt the best, so I’m not really concerned. The beauty of this community is that there is never any lack of support when you’re down or struggling in any way. There is no judgement, no “failures”. Stronger U isn’t a “diet” program, it becomes an extension of my family and my new healthy lifestyle.

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