This week our Stronger U Member Spotlight is shining brightly on Meredith Boze, who was coached by Ariana Scalfo. Read her story below.
What’s your name? (First and last names, pretty please)
Tell us a little about you in 5 sentences or less. Where are you from? Are you a parent? What are your hobbies? Anything unique about your life that you want to share?
I am a married mom of three wonderful and crazy boys. They are the 6th generation of my family to live on our family farm in Bentonville, Arkansas. I love CrossFit but spend most of my time hauling my kiddos to their activities. I also run a small cake business out of my home in my free time.
What led you to join Stronger U?
I had our little one in January of 2017, and I was back to being just as heavy as I was when I walked into Crossfit NWA in June of 2014. All those years of work were just gone. And to top it all off I could barely lift a barbell. I was devastated. While I was pregnant, half our box started SU and I saw amazing results from my friends. This was our last baby, and I knew that it was time to get my ass in gear. I had three little ones who depended on me and I was doing them a disservice by putting my health in jeopardy. I decided that no matter what I had to do, I was going to make this work.
What dieting experience have you had previous to Stronger U? Was there a reason you were or were not successful? Why did you stop?
My experience with dieting started very young. As an adult, I had some success with Weight Watchers and Metabolic Research Centers and a number of prescription medications but I always gained the weight back. I tried paleo, whole 30, Atkins, and the Mediterranean diet. Basically, if it was popular, I tried it out. I never stuck with any of them because they were so restrictive and most of them didn’t work for me.
It’s clear Stronger U worked for you. Why do you think Stronger U worked so well when other programs or diets may have not?
I am a numbers person. I work in accounting, and I like quantifiable data. It’s one of the reasons I love Crossfit. I can see improvement. Stronger U fits that mold too. I can see how the foods I am eating meet my needs. But it also allowed me the freedom to splurge and not feel guilty. I am an emotional eater, and on other diets, if I ate one thing off plan, I felt like I had failed and thus I should eat everything in the fridge since I was a failure anyway. I don’t feel that guilt now. I can have ice cream and feel content.
Can you give some insight into your eating habits BEFORE joining Stronger U?
I tried to cook what I thought was healthy for my family most of the time. My husband and I were always trying to lose weight but it never seemed to work. I now see that my portion sizes were OUT OF CONTROL! Adding to the problem was the fact that we do live in the south, and biscuits or cornbread should be consumed at every meal and the best way to eat a vegetable is to have it fried. And cake. Lots of cake.
Now that you’ve joined Stronger U, how have your eating habits changed?
I think the biggest change in my eating habits has been that now I look at the day as a whole. Not just meal by meal. I don’t have a big dinner if I had a big lunch. We still eat a lot of the same meals that we did before, I just realize now how much a serving is and I stick to that. I have also had a big change in thinking. Before food was fun. Whatever tasted good was what I wanted. Now I look at food more as fuel. What is the food going to do for me? Is it going to make me feel full and good about my choices or is it going to make me feel bloated and sluggish?
If you exercise or train for a sport, what does a typical week look like? Did Stronger U have any impact on your decision to start exercising or training for a sport?
I Crossfit 3-5 times a week. Crossfit really pushed me to join Stronger U. I had been doing CF for 3 years and although I was stronger, there were still a lot of movements that I couldn’t do, and that bothered me. I liked being the strong girl, but I wanted to be more than that. I wanted to be able to run the full two miles in Murph. I wanted to do pull-ups and real push-ups. But I knew that I would never be able to do those things carrying 100+ extra pounds.
Has your change in body weight or composition improved other areas of your life? If so, explain what areas and how.
Oh lordy. There aren’t enough words to express the changes. Sure my performance in the gym is SO much better than it was before. It’s like I get a new movement every month to add to my skill set. But to me, it is truly astonishing how much of life I was missing out on. I am a people person, I love to talk, and I love to make people laugh. But at my biggest, I tried to hide. I felt too big. Not just physically but personality wise as well. I didn’t want people to see me. I shared on the Facebook page about running the bases after practice with my two oldest boys. They had the best time, but I wouldn’t have done it before. I was scared. Scared that my son’s friends would see me and tease him about his mamma so fat… Scared that every stranger was going to make a snide comment. Scared that my fit friends were only being nice to me as a charity case. Somehow in the process of losing weight and getting stronger the act of being in control of my food led to controlling the chaos in my mind. Now I’m not saying I don’t think any of those things can happen because I have lost weight, I just know that I can overcome any of those things now, and I don’t have to turn to food to fix it because it never really fixed anything. It only perpetuated the problem.
Are there any tips or advice you’d give to new members of Stronger U to help them succeed early on?
First and foremost, weigh everything. In grams. It’s SHOCKING how small a serving can be. Then, I know a lot of people love the 3-3-3 method, and it works. But for me, finding the small swap-outs and keeping my normal routine was so much easier. We do taTuesdayday at our house. We have done it the whole time I have been on SU. I swapped out our fatty beef to lean beef or turkey or fish. I switched to fat-free re-fried beans, sour cream, and cheese. I found low-carb tortillas. My kids don’t notice the difference, and I don’t feel like I am excluded from our family meals with different food.
If someone is thinking about joining Stronger U, what would you tell them?
First, find your why. This isn’t a quick fix and at times it isn’t fun or easy. You will have days you just want to eat and not have to do any math, so you have to have a driving force. Your coach is there to help you but they can’t be your source of motivation. Then DO IT. Sign up. IT WORKS Believe me, I have failed more diets than Oprah, and this worked for me.