This week the Stronger U Member Spotlight is shining on Julie Busby, who worked with Coach Jeremy Galo. Congrats, Julie!
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 was born and raised in the Great White North (mainly Edmonton, Alberta) but moved to Boston almost 8 years ago for a job after business school. I got involved with a startup church, fell in love with the city, and am still here three jobs later. I love being an aunt to my nephew and try to ensure he and my friends’ kids remain sufficiently spoiled. I spend my time planning my next travel adventures. In the next few months, I’m heading to Iceland, Vancouver, London, and Norway.
What led you to join Stronger U?
My weight was a struggle for my entire life. I entered 2018 wondering if it might be time to stop trying to find a wardrobe that made me feel confident at my larger size, just accept all the dismal research that said obesity is genetic and that you can’t sustain weight loss. But during a trip to Italy, I faced the reality that my body was just not comfortable at that size. A well-timed conversation with a coworker about SU after I got back from my trip had me signing up without knowing much except for the fact that I’d have a coach and accountability.
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 used to have a lot of guilt and shame about certain foods and struggled to moderate what I ate because of that. I DID have a lot of success with Weight Watchers, but I didn’t take advantage of all the accountability resources, community, and used it only to moderate what I ate and not to fundamentally shift my relationship with food. I stopped because a “cheat day” turned into a weekend, then a week, then a month. You get the picture.
Then I spent years feeling like I really needed to start again. When I signed up for SU, I had been considering Weight Watchers again but wanted the accountability and support of SU to do it right this 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?
It’s not a diet! SU has been about learning to change my relationship and approach to food as a means to fuel my body rather than a way to restrict my calories in order just to hit a number on the scale. I’ve approached my SU journey with a mindset of building sustainable and lifelong habits.
Can you give some insight into your eating habits BEFORE joining Stronger U?
I bounced back and forth between feeling guilty and trying to eat random things that claimed they were healthy (e.g. if I just put egg whites and turkey sausage in this breakfast sandwich it’ll be good for me) and using food to cope with stress. I mindlessly ate all the time. I would sit in front of the TV and eat dinner, which was often take-out and not my own cooking.
Now that you’ve joined Stronger U, how have your eating habits changed?
I plan. I prioritize. I prepare my own food. I eat with intention. Every night, I’ll sit down and sketch out the next day. I have the same smoothie every morning for breakfast. I’ll pack my lunch and snacks for the next day. I cook dinner and sit and eat at my dining room table with no screens so I can enjoy my food. I eat ice cream. Real Ben & Jerry’s. That’s so huge for me! Ice cream was always a struggle for me before because I either avoided it or I sat down with a pint in front of the TV and suddenly my spoon would hit the bottom! Now I weigh out a single serving size and just sit and focus on my ice cream and enjoy it. No guilt!
And all that said, there are times when I go off plan because there’s something I prioritize more than hitting my numbers. I just choose to be intentional about these moments and fill up on protein as much as I can and listen to my body and watch portion sizes.
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 had gotten into running 7 years ago but a sprained ankle and work schedule change got me out of that habit. That wound up being the catalyst for me gaining back the weight that I had previously lost. Before joining SU, I was doing strength training and some heavy bag classes at a local boxing gym. I had given up on running because it was just too hard with all the extra weight I was carrying and it was more important for me to have a regular workout routine than to put pressure on myself to run. A few months into SU, I started running again, and now I’m now training for a half marathon! My workout routine consists of a treadmill interval class, a strength class, a cross-training cardio/boxing class, and two days of running.
How much weight did you lose with Stronger U?
Almost 80 pounds so far.
How did your waist measurements change with Stronger U?
I’m down 14 inches to date.
What were 3 major non-scale victories you experienced with Stronger U?
- I just set a new 5k personal record. It was over a minute faster than my previous record 6 years ago.
- Boston has almost no plus-sized clothing stores, so it’s a major NSV to be in sizes that I can shop for and try on!
- Finally and most importantly, the mindset shift. I no longer feel like an imposter who managed to lose a couple of pounds. I am fundamentally different now and excited for what this active, healthy and intentional lifestyle will bring.
Has your change in body weight or composition improved other areas of your life? If so, explain what areas and how.
Super practical things like being able to shop in stores and try on clothes before buying them, and having extra space in my airplane seats. It’s like every flight I have a free upgrade to business class (minus the leg room and champagne). On a deeper level, my confidence has gone way up, partially because I finally feel like I am able to manage this struggle that always made me feel out of control, and partially because I’m just less self-conscious about how the world is perceiving me.
Are there any tips or advice you’d give to new members of Stronger U to help them succeed early on?
This nutrition program is a shift in mindset and will feel like a lot of work at the beginning. I promise it will get easier. Focus your effort on building the habits and the systems rather than on having perfect willpower and discipline. Life is going to happen and you’re not going to be perfect. What will carry you through both progress and maintenance are the habits and mindset that you build, not hitting a perfect macro day every day.
The moments where life happens and you don’t hit your numbers are not the moments that define your habits. For me, this has been a long journey and I’ve been patient with myself as I steadily build new habits, a new relationship with food, and a new way of approaching the moments where there is less in my control or I want to prioritize other things over hitting my numbers. It feels like a lot of work in the beginning, but when you put in that effort, there comes a magical moment (for me it came about six months in) where the habits you’ve built make everything easier AND you start to see a noticeable difference.
If someone is thinking about joining Stronger U, what would you tell them?
I never thought it was possible to get where I am today. But here I am! What are you waiting for?