We are the McMahons and we want to share a little (ok, maybe a lot) about our Stronger U journey. Stronger U has impacted our lives in such a profound way, and we will forever be grateful. If you have some time, read on and hopefully you will be inspired or encouraged by our story.
What did your life look like before Stronger U?
Shane and I are a second marriage and just short of 5 years ago, for our first Christmas together he gave me a Peloton. I rode that bike like a crazy woman and didn’t lose one pound, in fact I gained some. I was looking at that calorie burned tracker as a reason to eat all those calories back, cause “I earned it.” A few months later we relocated to South Carolina, and I was miserable and disgusted with myself. I was using food, namely OREOS, as my drug of choice to numb my loneliness and anxiety in a new place.
After joining SU I spent hours every day on the SU facebook page and found so much inspiration and motivation there. The voices in my head kept saying, “YOU can do this!” I knew I was going to be successful, but if you’d have told me that I would lose enough weight with Stronger U to weigh ½ of what I did at my heaviest and be smaller than I was in high school, I would have said yeah, right!
I embraced that 3-3-3 method from day one. Rarely having any fancy recipes. The 3-3-3 set me up for success. The weight was coming off and I was filled with energy. I wanted Shane to join me in Stronger U, but someone must want it for themselves, you can’t want it for someone else. So, I just kept on putting one foot in front of the other. A major win for me early on was to avoid evening snacking, I would have one piece of Dove Chocolate after my evening meal. This became a mental and physical cue that “kitchen is closed for the day.”
Another thing that Stronger U taught me was many times I wasn’t eating because I was hungry, I was simply just bored. This is where non distracted eating became very important for me. Prior to SU I ate almost all my food while doing something else and learning to just sit and eat became such a game changer for me as I enjoyed the food and realized what I was eating, not just going through motions.
What does your life look like now?
I spent 3 plus years with a SU coach, taking a short break and will be getting back with a coach after our holiday travels not because I need one, but because it helps me be the best version of me. Shane spent a year with coaches and now proudly flies solo equipped with SU skills.
Shane saw so much success with Stronger U too and is such a firm believer in it. So much so that he put a Stronger U sticker on his Jeep (and he’s a NO sticker on my vehicle kind of guy!). He is continually amazed by how we can go on vacation, enjoy all the things, come home, get right back to our lifestyle and the weight comes off. Through Stronger U we learned, don’t let one bad day turn into 2, or don’t come home from vacation and think “oh, we will start back eating right next Monday”, NOPE, we start right away when we get back.
Thanks to Stronger U we are doing things we never dreamed of doing, like last summer we took a helicopter out to an ice field in Alaska and vertical climbed a glacier.
Where did you hear about Stronger U?
In one of the peloton facebook groups I was in, I kept reading about this Stronger U program that all these women in their 40’s was having so much success with. I researched it a little and saw it was macro based. MACROS, what the heck are those, I thought. So, I kind of disregarded it until one day I saw a pic of myself that Shane took and was horrified. I had let myself get to that place again, that place where I was so ashamed of how I looked. It was that day I thought, alright, if Stronger U worked for all those ladies it CAN work for me too. I signed up and jumped in with both feet in May of 2018.
Why do you think Stronger U worked so well for you compared to other programs or diets?
Prior to Stronger U I would “diet” down to the “goal weight”, but the minute I arrived there I went right back to eating like I had before I started “dieting.” And each time, you guessed it, I had put every single pound back on and then some. It was true insanity……. doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different outcome. One of the first things that I did that helped me be successful is that I signed up for 6 months, rather than 12 weeks. I knew I needed to make this a lifestyle change, not see it as a quick fix like every other time I had attempted to lose weight.
What was something you regularly ate while on Stronger U that people wouldn’t expect you to eat on a diet?
I found it so refreshing how I could eat the things I liked. I just had to learn to not eat as much of certain things and/or find substitutes for some things. I am a very picky eater and always told myself the lie that I’m just not successful as I don’t like the things that you have to eat to lose weight. Another lie I chose to use as an excuse was “well, I’m just big boned, I come from a big boned family” …. turns out my bones weren’t any bigger than anyone else’s, they were just covered with a lot of fat, from poor eating choices I was making.
People can’t believe that we eat burgers and fries every Friday night, pizza every Saturday and enjoy delicious French toast every Sunday brunch. Shane also says his coworkers can’t believe that he can eat chocolate ice cream every night and stays as trim as he is.
One of the largest contributors to our success has been Shane smoking meat for us weekly. Each week he smokes a large pork tenderloin and chicken breasts. We use that all week to eat from. Another way we keep things simple and a way to keep on being successful is we have about 10 different days of meal combos.
How much weight did you lose with Stronger U?
I lost 119 pounds from my heaviest, 84 of them with Stronger U. Shane has lost and maintained his 60-pound loss.
How many inches did you lose off your waist?
Shane has lost over 10 inches off his waist; I have lost 16.5 off mine.
Did you have any favorite non-scale victories to share?
Shane went from wearing XL to smalls, I threw away those size 22 jeans and now get to buy 2’s.
How has Stronger U impacted your training?
Around 6 months in I had hit my original intake “goal weight” and my then coach suggested I start focusing on a new goal instead of weight. Not being a runner, I decided, how about I try to run a 5k every month for a year.
It shifted my focus from that darn scale number to something else. I did run a 5k every month and the weight kept coming off.
I was for the first time in my life, seeing exercise as something I did for how it made me feel, NOTa punishment for eating like an idiot, and wow was that a huge mentality shift. Can’t out exercise your fork, is another truth we learned from SU.
Peloton and Tonal are what we enjoy doing for exercise. I’m still trying to fully embrace strength training, but Shane loves the tonal. But as I said before it is so refreshing to work out because we choose to do it not as a punishment.
Has Stronger U improved your overall quality of life?
We love beach vacations and enjoy time on the water on our boat. Shane loves feeling confident having his shirt off. And as vain as it may sound, for both of us feeling good in our swimsuits is truly priceless. Not thinking about “having to lose weight” before going on a vacation has been an awesome thing! Because of Stronger U we also have learned to enjoy events and celebrate “the thing”, rather than always using food as the thing to celebrate with or going out to eat before or after an event. That has made us become much more present in our lives and fully enjoying events and making memories.
If someone is thinking about joining Stronger U, what advice would you give them before beginning their journey?
If you don’t read anything further at least read this, a quote that we feel has made our SU journey successful… “It’s a lifestyle to be lived, not a finish line to be crossed”
Would you like to give a shoutout to your coach, SU staff member, or community member?
There are so many amazing people who have been part of our journey. Mike, the coaches, and members. You never know when you are encouraging or inspiring others. For us the greatest compliment is when someone tells us that they were inspired by us, knowing that someone else is improving their life cause of a change we made. When we say SU has impacted and improved almost every area of our life, its legit.
Our marriage hashtag has always been #bettertogether and doing StrongerU together has been life changing for both of us. If you’ve read all this thank you, and know that if we can do it, so can you! As hard as it can be, don’t compare your journey to someone elses, just give it your best. And as that dove wrapper says, “Don’t stop until you’re proud!” and even then, keep going!