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This week our Stronger U Member Spotlight is back and is shining down on Juli Young, who has been working with Coach Katie Leahy for nutrition and Coach Robbie Farlow for strength training. Congrats on all of your success, Juli!

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

Juli Young

Who was your Coach? 

Katie Leahy

If there was one thing you could say to your Coach, what would it be?

Thank you for giving me the tools to change. You’ve been my cheerleader, therapist, coach and friend. You are 3000 miles away, but if I was spiraling, you were there to catch me and talk me down (more than once). You’re always there for me, making me feel like I’m your only client (or one of a handful).

Tell us a little about you. Where are you from? Are you a parent? What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I’m a Southern California native married to Greg, another SoCal native, for almost 19 years. We have 3 kids – a 25 year old son from Greg’s first marriage and our two teen-age daughters. I love to cook, workout, read, and do any fun outing with Greg and the girls.

What was the moment that made you decide to join Stronger U?

The ugly combination of being post-keto, most of my clothes not fitting, being miserable and afraid to really eat anything other than chicken and veggies. I kept looking at SU after hearing Mike on a podcast and hearing details Peloton Facebook boards.

Is there anyone from the SU community you would like to shout out?

Paula Bates for her motivating and inspiring FB and Instagram posts. Jen Hershberger and Christy Ingle for joining me on this SU journey – much more fun when friends come on the ride.

What dieting experience did you have previous to Stronger U? 

I used to joke that I was born on a diet. I started with Seventeen magazine diets as a preteen, moved on to NutriSystem in high school, crazy diets with the gyms I’ve belonged to, Clean Cleanse, 7-day blasts where I had a smoothie, some soup and a salad for the whole day, WW, Keto, Intuitive Eating, Vegetarian, and probably 10 more I’ve forgotten.

What were your eating habits like before joining Stronger U? Did you prep your meals? Did you eat out regularly? Did you think you were already eating healthy and in moderation?

I love to cook and I’m a stay-at-home mom, so I’m in the kitchen quite a bit. I often stick with what I enjoy – egg whites and veggies or a protein smoothie for breakfast and a BAS for lunch. Our family doesn’t eat out that often, maybe a couple times a month. Home-cooked dinners are the usual for us – usually timed around daughters’ sports. While our food choices haven’t changed that much, I think portions and awareness has. I’ve experienced tremendous changes in my eating habits: awareness of BLTs/drive-by kitchen snacking/post-dinner nibbles at family style dinners, letting go of the good/bad food dichotomy and the guilt that came from eating anything out of the “bad” column, ending the habit of drinking wine every night with dinner just because that’s what we’ve done for years (!), getting more choosy with how I want to spend my calorie/macro budget (i.e. realized I like a dessert after dinner WAY more than a small pour of wine with dinner), getting a handle on my fat consumption and fear of fruit (really all carbs except green veggies) after a miserable run at the keto diet.

Why do you think Stronger U worked so well for you compared to other programs or diets?

Stronger U never felt like yet another diet based on deprivation and hunger. Everything has been about empowerment and education. I love that I can eat anything, albeit not ALL of it. I’ve never had a diet that showed me how to work in my favorite bakery treat or ice cream. Realizing that nothing is truly off-limits, has removed whole food categories from the pedestals where I put them. Then there’s the support of Coach Katie and everybody on the SU Facebook group. If I had a question, it was answered in record time. If I felt like I was spiraling, I was picked up and dusted off. If I needed to celebrate, I’d hear the horns sounding. Most diets and programs can feel very isolating. SU feels like a tribe of like-minded friends all together.

What was the biggest challenge or change when you first started with Stronger U?

In the beginning, I felt a lot of anxiety if I didn’t hit my macros correctly or when I had to eat out of the house. Because we don’t eat out often, I’m still working on my comfort level at restaurants.

What was something you regularly ate while on Stronger U that people wouldn’t expect you to eat on a diet?

Dessert! My Yasso bar is the FIRST thing I put in MFP every day. Followed closely by half and half for my coffee. After that, it’s all just what I’m in the mood for eating that day, but always logged before a single bite has crossed my lips.

What does your typical week of eating look like? How many days a week do you meal prep? Do you have certain meals you make most often?

I have a couple breakfast options I usually choose from depending on what my plans are for the rest of the day (ie. lunch out, higher fat/carb dinner, special occasion). Lunch is almost always a BAS with protein. I have an afternoon snack if the timing works and doesn’t ruin my appetite for dinner. Dinner is usually grilled protein, veggies and potatoes. Night ends with dessert, which is usually a Yasso bar or a protein smoothie.

If you exercise or train for a sport, did Stronger U have any impact on your training? Or did Stronger U have an impact on your decision to start exercising or training for a sport?

I’ve been a gym rat since I was 12 years old. I was always a cardio junkie, but knew the value of strength training. I’m more focused on lifting since joining Stronger U. I have set lifting days/routines 3 days per week and always looking for progressive overload. For the first time ever, cardio is only 2 to 3 days/week. I’m also finding the value in rest and recovery, which was something I usually turned a blind eye towards.

How much weight did you lose with Stronger U?

I’ve lost 25 lbs from my highest weight right before signing up with SU. Closer to 20 lbs if you use my actual start date with SU.

How did your waist measurements change with Stronger U? 


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

  1. All of my clothes fit or are too big. 
  2. I can do a pull-up! 
  3. My abs appeared and my dreaded back fat disappeared!

Outside of the scale, inches, and previously mentioned NSV’s, how has your life improved thanks to your time with Stronger U?

I’m more selective about food, how I spend my time, and what I say yes to. But, the biggest change is simply my feelings about my body. I didn’t even know I could look like this. The inches lost over this time. The muscles showing. The strength. This body, my body, is something that other people had, not me. I was always bigger, on a diet, unhappy with it, beating it up, hating it, apologizing for it. Now, when I’m undressed, I look in the mirror and just smile. Is it really me? I think how I’ve never seen some of these visible muscles and angles. Yes, my boobs are simply non-existent, but I don’t care. I don’t look and think “I’ll get implants”. I look and think “I love all of me”. Never, have I ever thought those words.

What are 3 tips, based on your experience, that you’d give to new members of Stronger U to help them see success early on?

  1. Log everything. Your body knows if you’re sneaking food even if you don’t fess up in your logging app. 2. Use your coach often and unapologetically. Not only will you develop a relationship with him/her, but the more he/she knows you, the better able he/she will be to help you. 
  2. Make room for whatever you want to eat that will make this easier for you. There’s no need to white knuckle through this. You are about to begin a journey that you can feasibly sustain for the rest of your days.

If someone is thinking about joining Stronger U, what advice would you give them before beginning their journey?

  1. Play for a week or two on MFP, and make sure SU is compatible with who you are. 
  2. There is NO “right time” to start. Just jump in and start swimming. 
  3. You will mess up and feel overwhelmed when you start, and that is ok. Before you know it, much of this will be second nature.

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