I am a 41-year-old Oncology Pharmacist and mother of one very spunky 7 year old. A former Army Major we have always struggled with my weight. I just finished almost 2 years with my coach.
Life before Stronger U.
Before Stronger U, I tried a lot of diets. Most of them involved some form of restriction or elimination of certain food groups. They were usually not sustainable, as we all know. When I joined the Army after Pharmacy School, I got into running 1/2 marathons, and was probably at the time at the peak of my health, until now. About a year or so before I joined Stronger U, I joined a CrossFit gym for one of their 6-week lose 20 lb challenges and had recently started running again, as that had worked in the past to lose weight. I lost a little bit of weight but gained it back plus some very quickly after the challenge was over.
Why do you think Stronger U worked so well for you?
I think that Stronger U worked so well for me because I did not have to restrict or eliminate any food groups. Which to me I think is the real game-changer. When I first started this program, I worked in M&Ms every day, but I also started to incorporate more filling foods into my day and M&Ms became a nice treat every so often. For anybody that knows me, knows that I am a junk food junky. I could sit down and eat 3-4 packs of Reese cups, not that normal size one, but the big size ones in a sitting and then eat chips and more candy in one evening. Just yesterday, I was cleaning out my pantry and actually threw out chocolate and candy that has been sitting there for over a year. I still enjoy the occasional treat, but I don’t crave it the way that I did.
So what’s your life look like now?
Since I joined Stronger U, I have continued to run. I ran a 1/2 marathon the weekend I had joined, it was my slowest race ever, if my sister hadn’t been with me, I would have walked off the course. Fast forward to Feb 2020, and my last in-person race for this year, and I ran that race over 1 hour faster than March 2019 when I joined. Jack, my coach, taught me how to properly fuel leading into the race (especially since I was in a cut) and how to fuel during and after. And can I say WOW what a difference! Even when I was running races when I was on active duty, I hurt afterward. I completed the virtual Marine Corps Marathon this past October, cutting over 50 minutes off of my 1st in-person attempt, and I could actually walk afterward. The first time I completed the race, I almost asked for a wheelchair when my plane landed (also, note, don’t fly out after a race). But this time, I was sore, but nowhere near what I had been when I first completed the marathon. I am also now currently training for the Disney Dopey Virtual Races in January 2021 – 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon, and Full Marathon back to back over 4 days. Completely crazy. But besides my running, I am so much happier than I was before, and I have lost all the weight, plus what I was expecting. I enjoy doing things with my daughter, who has so much energy. We enjoy bike rides together and I can actually keep up with her.
Any favorite non-scale victories to share?
I am so excited that I’ve gone from medium-sized clothing to extra small. Also from size 6 pants to size 0! I was happy reaching small size clothes or pant size 2-4. Also happy to see how clothes fit better on me now compared to being so self-conscious in the past.
Living her best life.
Stronger U has absolutely improved my quality of life. I’ve lost 120lbs and 11 inches off my waist. I am so much more active since I started Stronger U. I don’t dread doing active things with my daughter. Before Stronger U, I was struggling to stand up if I had to sit on the floor with my daughter, but now getting on the floor isn’t an issue. I am also, so much happier since starting Stronger U.
Besides the obvious weight loss, for the first time since I was on active duty, I am in a healthy BMI range, I am no longer morbidly obese. And when I do go to my PCP, I don’t get a printout, recommending that I cut 500 calories a day to lose weight. Which is really nice. My blood pressure started being an issue since my daughter was born, and while I stopped my blood pressure medications prior to Stronger U, it was still running on the high side. The last time I was at the doctor’s office, it was 96/74 I think and the nurse asked me if that was normal, I told her not sure, but I run a lot. But I usually sit at a very normal blood pressure and I am not concerned with them telling me that I have to restart the medication again.
What advice do you have for someone that’s thinking about joining Stronger U?
I would say absolutely start this program, It is a game-changer. No restrictions, no gimmicks. But I will also, say that you have to be motivated as well. No one is going to tell you what to eat with each meal or how to plan your day. But I think that you learn so much more on this program and it translates to other parts of your life as well.
Consistency is key, you do not have to be perfect in any way. It’s a marathon and not a sprint. We didn’t put this weight on overnight, it isn’t going to come off that fast easier, but if you stick with it, it works.
Also, do listen to the critics of your journey. I have a colleague at work, who when I turn something down food-wise at work, says to me “Oh that is right you can’t have that”, to which I respond, no I can have it, I just choose to not have it right now.
Jack, is an awesome coach. He was exactly what I needed and he has a great sense of humor as well. He was always there when I needed help. He made running and life in general enjoyable again. He gave me all the resources that I needed to fuel my running, while still losing weight. I would also, like to thank Mike “Food Dad” for starting this program, it is a life-changer.
Any last thoughts?
This has been an amazing journey. I never expected to end where I did in this program. I initially signed up for 12 weeks very skeptical that this program would work, as so many prior had failed, but ended up staying almost 2 years, with my last almost 5 months working on maintenance with Jack. This is the first time since I was 25 that I have been able to get the weight off and more than I had thought would be possible. Have faith in yourself, your coach, and this process because it does work, but you also have to put the work into it.