This week our Stronger U Member Spotlight is highlight Alison Fiffy, who worked with Coach Alicia Castaneda! Congrats, Alison!
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 31 years old and live in Massachusetts with my fur baby, Ruby! I supervise a unit of child protective Social Workers for Massachusetts Dept. of Children and Families, where I have worked for almost 9 years! I love to travel, be outside, go to the beach in the summer, and spend time with my friends and family.
What led you to join Stronger U?
After struggling with the loss of my fiance almost 3 years ago, I completely lost control of my life and my health. I struggled to cope with my pain and sadness and found myself turning to food, lots of nights out at the bar, etc. Around the holidays in 2017, I finally took a step back to look at where my life had gone and knew I needed to make a change. I came across a transformation post of a mutual friend on Instagram and was so intrigued by her results! I decided to take a look at the Stronger U website and eventually sent along an email with a whole boat load of questions I had before signing up. After getting a quick and thorough response, I decided to give Stronger U a shot and I have not looked back since!
What dieting experience have you had previous to Stronger U? Was there a reason you were or were not successful? Why did you stop?
I have tried almost every fad diet, cleanse/juice diet, etc. over the years. With each of those programs or ways of eating, I found that I was required – or expected- to give up entire food groups and/or foods I really enjoyed eating if I was going to have the results they promised. I would eventually get to a place where I felt very restricted and was always unable – or maybe unwilling – to maintain that way of dieting long-term. I was never able to stick to a program, system, or fad diet long enough because to me, it was not realistic or sustainable if I was going to live life at the same time.
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?
Stronger U has worked for me because I feel as though it is a sustainable way of eating/dieting. I don’t have to restrict or cut out certain foods or food groups, I can still enjoy social engagements and activities, and I don’t have any guilt associated with food anymore. My coach has been a significant part of this process for me, as well, and my relationship and communication with her has really helped me to stay on track – or get right back on track when I have had an off day or week. The accountability and community that is provided by Stronger U is one of my favorite parts of this program!
Can you give some insight into your eating habits BEFORE joining Stronger U?
In the past when I have tried to lose weight with other programs, systems, or diets, it has seemed as though it was necessary to cut out SO MANY foods or food groups – almost always carbs! I always thought carbs were the devil and they would make me fat so any time I tried to lose weight, I would try to cut out any carb source. Looking back, I didn’t even know what carbs were back then because my diet almost always included fruit, which is a CARB! I would always get to a place where I would feel so restricted and that would always lead to binge eating.
Now that you’ve joined Stronger U, how have your eating habits changed?
I can finally say I have developed a positive relationship with food. My diet consists of mostly whole, nutritious foods, however, if I want a treat or snack, I am able to adjust my macros and have a treat! I try not to make this a regular thing, but because I have the ability to do it, I don’t feel restricted with my eating. I have learned to enjoy the foods I am eating, which has helped me to stay on track.
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 have always been a regular gym goer, but in the past, I believed excessive cardio was the key to losing weight. I had incorporated some strength training in the past, but cardio was always my focus. Since I started Stronger U, I have focused much more around my strength training and less on cardio. Currently, I go to the gym 5-6 days per week, incorporate some cardio, but spend the majority of my workout using weights and/or resistance bands. With the combination of the right foods/macros and the focus on strength training, my body has completely changed! I have muscles in places I never knew existed!
How much weight did you lose with Stronger U?
How did your waist measurements change with Stronger U?
30.5 to 22.75 – Down 7.75 inches!
What were 3 major non-scale victories you experienced with Stronger U?
I have FINALLY developed a healthy relationship with food! I no longer identify foods as “good” or “bad” and don’t feel like I have to completely restrict anything from my diet. This has been SO significant for me because I no longer binge eat, which is a habit I think I developed when I felt restricted with previous diets. I have developed a sense of confidence that I have never had before and am FINALLY able to look in the mirror and feel proud of myself and all the hard work I have put in to get to where I am. I used to stand in the mirror for periods of time and pick my body apart and now I can look in the mirror and notice the changes and progress I have made while working with Stronger U. I don’t know if I have ever felt this strong or confident ever in my life!
Has your change in body weight or composition improved other areas of your life? If so, explain what areas and how.
The physical changes I have seen since starting Stronger U have certainly positively impacted every other area of my life. I feel strong, I feel confident, and I feel comfortable in my own skin. Those are things I never thought I would be able to say – but now I can. I am no longer hiding behind bigger/baggier clothes, hiding behind people in pictures, etc. and I am proud of how far I have come and how I look!
Are there any tips or advice you’d give to new members of Stronger U to help them succeed early on?
Communication with your coach is KEY! If you are struggling, reach out to them for support! Your coach is going to be a huge part of this process and even though you might feel like you’re bugging or annoying them – that is what they are there for! The facebook group/community is AMAZING! People you don’t even know will be cheering you on all around the world – how cool is that?! Plan ahead! Meal Prep! That will be so significant in helping you stay on track and meet your macronutrient goals! and lastly – don’t give up! There will be days, weeks, or maybe even months where you slip up or get off track. Don’t beat yourself up! Work with your coach to develop a plan to get back on track. You are worth it!
If someone is thinking about joining Stronger U, what would you tell them?
DO IT! It will be the best decision and I feel pretty confident that you would not regret it! You will learn so much about food and yourself through this process! I am 63 weeks in and haven’t regretted the decision to sign up not once during that time!