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This week our Stronger U Member Spotlight is featuring Jen Knispel, who worked with Coach Ariana Scalfo.

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

Jen Knispel

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 from Wausau, WI, born and raised. I have 2 great kids: Natali, 17 and Jackson, who is 13. For fun, I like to be in the kitchen cooking, baking and making new recipes. I love being outside in the summer, doing yard work, and doing outdoor activities with the kids and my 2 labs. I absolutely hate winter, cold, and snow!!! I have enjoyed CrossFit for the last 5 years and I’m pretty lucky in that my brother owns a local CrossFit gym that’s pretty awesome. 🙂

What led you to join Stronger U?

A good friend of mine had great success with Stronger U. I saw her results and I saw that she never had to give anything up. Most importantly, I saw how happy and healthy she was.

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 done Weight Watchers (multiple times), the Zone diet, and Isagenix. I think none of them ever worked because they didn’t teach me how to eat, or how I felt when I ate certain foods. I mean, come on, you can only live on 2 shakes a day for so long.

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?

The food tracking was key for me because I truly got to see what I was eating. With this, tracking my weight, macros, measurements, and sleep DAILY and being accountable for these things that only I could control was an eye-opener. Never before would I have willingly sent all of this personal information to a stranger, but somehow, this time knowing that my coach was really there for ME made me feel comfortable and okay with doing this. The Stronger U Facebook group is amazing and has helped a lot. The support from this community is so strong and without judgment. It is real people with real struggles who are exactly like me!!

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

Yikes! I love, love, LOVE beer!! Having a few at night was a daily occurrence just to ‘relax’. And you know what goes well with beer? Pizza, burgers, cheese curds, and anything deep fried! Yep, all of this was a good part of my diet before. Not only would I frequently choose these foods, but when I think back on the amount of them I would eat each time kind of make me nauseous!!!

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

I eat a lot of lean protein, most of my lunches and dinners consist of chicken and broccoli. Very boring, but food is just fuel so down the hatch it goes. I am okay saying no to drive-thrus, bad food choices at gatherings, and I am okay with comments about me deciding not to have cake at a birthday party. I try to keep healthy choices on hand, cooked, and ready to go for those times I need to eat right now. I have completely cut out alcohol. I have not had an alcoholic beverage in 6 1/2 months and I feel great.

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 started CrossFit in 2013 but ended up quitting in 2016 because, well, no reason other than I was just plain lazy. I did not start exercising until week 25 of SU when I went back to CrossFit. I loved the results I was getting, but, my goal of just weight loss changed and I now wanted to tone up and gain muscle mass.

How much weight did you lose with Stronger U?

To date, I am down 50 lbs!!!

How did your waist measurements change with Stronger U?

I have lost 11 inches in my waist since I started with Stronger U. That’s about 5 pant sizes and a LOT of trips to the store to buy new clothes!!!

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

My first major NSV was on day 4 of SU. My husband was playing in a pool tournament at a bar and although I really wanted to, I did not have one drop of alcohol. My second NSV was saying ‘no’ and not participating at a ‘pig out day’ at work. Nice name for a food day at work. LOL. My third NSV was when I could comfortably get up from the couch/recliner without my belly getting in the way like I was 9 months pregnant.

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

OMG! It is so much easier just to make it through daily activities! Walking up a flight of steps, getting up from furniture, getting in and out of my car, it’s endless! I did not realize how miserable I was in my body before. I am much less winded at the gym and my body is able to do things it wasn’t able to before. Pistols pushups, pull-ups? Yep, I can do them now! I think my favorite thing is shopping for clothes though. 🙂 I don’t have to look for the largest size hoping it’s not too tight or doesn’t show my rolls too much. I can walk into any store, find a ‘normal’ size, and it fits!!

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

Trust your coach, plan & track your food, and follow the program. It’s really as simple as that! I try to remember these two things: 1. eat to live, don’t live to eat 2. food is fuel, not a reward.

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

Give it a try, you’ll love it! I feel better now than I did in my 20’s or 30’s. This is a real program and it works for everyone. YOU are worth it!

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