Tell us a little bit about yourself!:
Hi! My name is Sarah. My husband and I have 2 kids: 5-year-old and 1-year-old. We live in Northern California and enjoy exploring the beautiful nature and take advantage of the perfect CA weather often. I enjoy cooking, binge watching TV (when I can), traveling with my family, and going to Orangetheory!
What did your life look like before Stronger U?:
I found Stronger U after I had my second baby. I have gone through rollercoaster of weights and body image issues in the past. I was always that “chubby girl”, but my weight shot up significantly when I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had to get my thyroid completely removed at the age of 18. It was a difficult phase trying to balance out my medications and learning about the foods that were nourishing my body. I was in a long-term relationship for 7 years and was constantly told that I “would look so much better if I lost like 40 pounds”. I went on juice fasts and cleanses for weeks and eventually lost 20 pounds that I somewhat kept off.
Soon after that relationship ended, I went from 160 pounds to 99 pounds. It wasn’t until I got out of that relationship that I realized those comments took a toll on me mentally. It was all about the numbers and I lived for “being thin and weighing less than 100 pounds”. I felt good and thought that I was doing well. I didn’t exercise but went through extreme diets to maintain my 99-100lb weight.
That went on for a few months when one day while stepping out of the shower, I fainted. I knew that the way I’ve been treating myself was not going to be sustainable. Upon meeting my now husband, who loved the outdoors and went to the gym regularly, he encouraged me to stay active and eat whole foods that were nourishing for my body. I started to read about the proper ways to feed my body healthy foods without starving myself. I became fascinated with the human body and how it NEEDS food if I wanted to lose weight!
After we got married, we had our first baby and all that sort of went out the window. I gained 60 pounds during my first pregnancy and was so unhappy with myself after my daughter was born. It took me 2 years to get back to pre-baby weight and I struggled with severe postpartum depression. When we were ready for another baby, I knew this time it had to be different. I didn’t want to “try it on my own” but get connected with the professionals right after giving birth. That’s when I came across StrongerU in a Facebook group and it really changed my life.
What does your life look like now?:
Overall, I’ve become more educated about my relationship with food and eating. I used to think that all foods were the same. If I got hungry, I ate what was within reach. Now, I focus on consuming protein to help me stay full and to regulate my blood sugar level throughout the day. I focus on drinking as much water as possible. I don’t shy away from carbs because my body needs carbs! Fat is not a “scary word”, but a fuel my body needs. And there aren’t any “bad” foods, but rather, foods that can nourish my body vs. foods that I can enjoy in moderation.
My relationship with my body image also changed COMPLETELY. I can’t stress this enough. Instead of focusing on the number on the scale each morning, I’ve learn to use it as a tool. I give myself a range that I am okay with and mentally make note of the changes I see. I have learned to evaluate things such as: “Did I focus on protein? Did I drink enough water? Did I consume alcohol or excessive amounts of carbs? Did I get enough sleep?” Then I remind myself that the weight fluctuates depending on what happened and use that number as a guide. As my coach taught me, any “weight gain” the scale shows is actually a borrowed weight, not an actual fat gain. I also remind myself that there’s really no quick fix to this; it’s a work in progress and the most important thing is that I show up for myself, CONSISTENTLY. Nothing long lasting has a quick fix!
My activity level has gone up, too. Since starting Stronger U, I prioritize going to the gym at least twice a week and focus on movements, even if it’s only 20 minutes each day. I used to dread going to the gym after work, so I changed my gym schedule to 5 AM instead. Waking up early in the morning is not easy, but the amount of energy I have on the days I do go to the gym at 5 AM is incredible!
Stronger U has changed my life because not only has it taught me all these life-long tools I will use, but it’s also taught me that results come when I am consistent with whatever it is I am working on. On the days I “needed motivation”, I remembered that one of the things my coach taught me is that motivation actually FOLLOWS my actions, not the other way around. I can honestly say that while I am not “at my goal”, I am comfortable in my own body and have learned to appreciate what my body can do. I don’t go to the gym as a punishment anymore, I go to the gym because my body CAN exercise and it keeps me healthy!
Why do you think Stronger U worked so well for you compared to other programs or diets?:
First, Stronger U wasn’t my first experience with macro coaching. I’ve done macro coaching before with a smaller company and enjoyed it. BUT, the price was so much more affordable with Stronger U, so I made the switch. It might seem like it’s “so expensive” in the beginning, but it was SO worth it.
I think Stronger U worked so well for me because it isn’t just a “diet” or a “program”. It is a lifestyle change. It’s sustainable long term. I didn’t have to think about points or buy a particular company’s food or supplements. No one was telling me to color code my foods or telling me how many containers of carbs I needed to eat. It worked with the foods that were already in my fridge, and as I continued working with my coach, I started to recognize which foods needed to be replenished and which ones needed to stay out of my house. I could read the nutrition label and figure out if this food was worth the amount of carbs/fat, or if I could stay full from consuming other foods that were higher in volume but had less carbs/fat. Stronger U worked better than any other program for me because it’s the way I should have been eating to nourish my body properly. And I can still eat the foods I wanted to eat!
What was something you regularly ate while on Stronger U that people wouldn’t expect you to eat on a diet?:
Mike Nuggets! Baked Salmon with a plate full of veggies and some rice. Salted Caramel cheesecake. Burrito bowl.
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?:
Fitting back into my pre-baby clothes!!!! I was terrified that I would have to dump my entire wardrobe after having baby #2. But I fit into every single clothing that I own and some were even a tad too loose in some areas. It was an AMAZING feeling and I still think this is one of my biggest wins!!
Has Stronger U improved your overall health? If so, how?:
I can lift heavier, run a little faster, and run a little longer. I don’t think that I’d be looking forward to going to the gym if it weren’t for the mindset shift I learned from Stronger U. I have learned to CELEBRATE what my body can do, not punish it for eating something last night.
If someone is thinking about joining Stronger U, what advice would you give them before beginning their journey?:
Consistency is KEY. Macro counting can be tedious and tricky at first, but it just becomes second nature and you will learn so many other tools to help you for the rest of your life! You can’t expect lasting changes to happen overnight. Keep showing up for yourself!
Is there anything else you would like to add about your journey?:
My husband gave me the push that I needed to start this journey. He gifted me a 3 month session for Christmas and always encouraged me to focus on my goals when I was feeling defeated from time to time. I’m so grateful that he nudged me into starting Stronger U!
I’m also grateful for Coach Jenna! I actually started Stronger U with a different coach. Not only was I not seeing results, but I also wasn’t connecting with her and felt like I wasn’t being heard. This was NOT the case with Coach Jenna. She was always there to listen to my struggles and guide me down the positive mindset path, always reminded me that borrowed weight is not temporary, and she totally understood my struggles as a working mom! I’m SO grateful that Stronger U connected me with her as my coach!