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This week our Stronger U Member Spotlight is shining down on Elizabeth Orea, who has worked with Coach Kate Mazzoni.

What’s your name? (First and last names, pretty please)

Elizabeth Orea

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?

Hey there! I live in the great state of Texas and am happily raising two sweet little heathens that make my world go round- Harper and Ethan. I have been in the recruiting industry for nine years and work as a Senior Search Director with an incredible recruiting firm and absolutely LOVE what I do. When I am not “mom-ing” or working, you can find me outside running or on my Peloton. I am currently training for my first ½ marathon and was inspired by a fellow SU-er and sweetest friend, Corey to give the 1/2 marathon a try!

The Stronger U community has hands down been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

What led you to join Stronger U?

I was part of several Peloton groups on Facebook and Stronger U kept popping up. I clicked on the link several times and was always too scared to take the plunge but the success stories blew my mind. The defining moment came when I was trying a dress on for work in a dressing room and was devastated by the person looking across from me in the reflection. That very night, I signed up for Stronger U.

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 it all. Before starting Stronger U, I had done a short stint with weight watchers and had been doing keto for four months leading up to when I started Stronger U. Unfortunately, keto was so unforgiving that the 5 pounds I lost while doing Weight Watchers, I actually gained back during keto plus 5 more pounds. All of this weight gain even happened while I was riding my Peloton 5 days a week. It wasn’t until I made the switch to Stronger U that I really felt and SAW the impact of nutrition and how it affects weight loss.

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?

There is just something so special about Stronger U. It starts with being paired with a Coach who is literally there to walk the journey with you and constantly supporting you. Without my Coach, Kate- I would have wanted to throw in the towel when the scale was being stubborn or if I would go over slightly on my macros. She is always there to tell me to “give myself grace” which is huge for me because I can be very hard on myself. The second piece of it comes from the community. You suddenly have an online family of supporters who are uplifting, knowledgeable, and there to encourage. Lastly, it is SO apparent that the Stronger U team KNOWS THEIR STUFF. There are always seminars or online talks related to nutrition education and I am always ready to soak it up.

Can you give some insight into your eating habits BEFORE joining Stronger U?

I would eat even when I wasn’t hungry. If my kids would leave a small bite of pop tart on their plate, I would eat that small bite not realizing how quickly all of those small bites can add up. I always thought I ate relatively healthy and really, I did but it was those small bites here and there that stalled me out.

Now that you’ve joined Stronger U, how have your eating habits changed?

I might be weird for saying this but I LOVE planning my day out the night before. I get so much joy out of planning and structure. The weighing of the food and tracking was a welcome change for me. It was also extremely eye-opening.

If you exercise or train for a sport, what does a typical week look like? Did Stronger U have any impact in your decision to start exercising or training for a sport?

I am currently training for a ½ marathon so run 4-5 days a week, ride my Peloton 1-2 a week, and try to rest at least two days as week. Stronger U 100% has had an impact on training and working out. Losing 70 lbs opened my eyes to how much I LOVE being active.

How much weight did you lose with Stronger U?

I have lost 67 pounds to date. I started this journey at 201 lbs, a size 14, and extremely unhappy in my own skin. To date, I am 135.4 lbs, size 4, and HAPPY. The happiness doesn’t come from the number on the scale or the size of my clothes but truly from feeling like I have found myself again. Not wanting to cry in a dressing room has been huge for me.

How did your waist measurements change with Stronger U?

I have lost about 8 inches.

What were 3 major non-scale victories you experienced with Stronger U?

1) I am currently training for my first ½ marathon. This is after years of negative self-talk and convincing myself that I wasn’t meant to be a runner because “I had bad knees”.

2) One of my close friends called me FIT. This was honestly so exciting to me because I had never been classified as a fit person before. This coupled with my scale putting me in the “athletes” category on body composition fat tissue ratio. I did a little happy dance when I saw that.

3) Eating ALL the food without any of the FEAR. It is truly victorious to be able to eat something as simple as a sandwich or pizza without any sort of fear of repercussions. Learning that food is not the enemy was truly so empowering.

Has your change in body weight or composition improved other areas of your life? If so, explain what areas and how.

Yes! It has given me a self-confidence I haven’t felt in years. This confidence has stemmed into all aspects of my life like being more active for my kids and for myself. I am signed up for either a 5K or higher for every month this year! I have also signed my kids up to do the family one-mile runs. I have noticed that my kids are also taking a huge interest in either “going running with me” or riding their stationary bikes next to my peloton.

Are there any tips or advice you’d give to new members of Stronger U to help them succeed early on?

1. Using the words my coach says to me regularly, give yourself grace. Stronger U is all about changing your mindset and creating new habits. Keep in mind that this takes time!
2. Don’t let the scale rule your emotions. I say this and totally struggle with it myself but it is so true. The scale is great for data but you will see and feel things that are different than what the scale says.
3. Reach out to the community as often as you need! We have all been where you are and we are always willing to help! Whether you need some words of encouragement or some good macro-friendly snacks- we are here!

If someone is thinking about joining Stronger U, what would you tell them?

Take the plunge! I would shout it from the rooftops if I could because Stronger U has completely changed my life. I am a different person because of this program. It is hands down the best investment I have ever made.

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