This week, the Stronger U Member Spotlight is highlighting Loni Basciano, who worked with Coach Aaron Bellotto to lose 105lbs!
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 live in Lagrange, NY and I am married to my high school sweetheart for almost 19 years. We have 3 beautiful children; a sophomore in college, a high school senior, and a high school junior. I enjoy being a mom, being creative, music/theater, and being outdoors.
What led you to join Stronger U?
Life’s stress got hold of me and I dealt with it by stuffing my face and drinking heavily for 2 years and woke up one day 100lbs heavier than I’d been just 2 years before. I saw some photos of myself on a cruise last October and cried so hard I picked up my phone and Google led me to Mike which led me to Stronger U. (My other option was going to be surgery)
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 been a yo-yo dieter much of my adult life. I had become a pro at losing 30,40,50lbs and keeping it off for a year and then gaining back double what I lost. I have always fixed my issues with food. I’d done South Beach, Atkins, Starvation, Fat Burners, you name it I tried it. When I felt like I reached a good weight I would quit and go back to eating the way I always ate. And the weight would come back even faster. I considered surgery this last time around but decided I needed help. I needed a lifestyle change. Surgery won’t solve the underlying problem.
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?
One of the biggest differences is the support system and being accountable. Also, a game changer for me was being taught the right way to eat. Portion sizes, measuring, really paying attention to how much I was putting into my body every day. I just hit my numbers every single day as my coach told me to and it worked. When I saw results I pushed harder in my workouts and I saw even better results. It was invigorating. Also giving up alcohol was a game changer for me. During the two years I was struggling with depression/anxiety and some family issues I leaned on alcohol a lot and that made things so much worse for me. It really impacts diet and weight a lot. That was an eye-opener.
Can you give some insight on your eating habits BEFORE joining Stronger U?
I married into an Italian family that LOVES food and I started eating a lot of pasta and fried foods, oils and sauces and sugary desserts. Also as I mentioned Alcohol was a big part of my diet. During sports seasons with my kids, we would eat fast food nightly just to make time to eat before rushing out the door in different directions. I formed a lot of bad habits and didn’t seem to care much until it got out of control. My way of dealing for years was to eat salad for a few months to get the weight off. It was a very unhealthy lifestyle which not only harmed my own body but was modeling bad behavior to my children.
Now that you’ve joined Stronger U, how have your eating habits changed?
I eat to live, I don’t live to eat. I keep my food very simple and I eat the same meals almost every day with little variation. It works for me. When I want a treat I plan it in but for the most part, I stick to what keeps me full and helps me reach my goals. I’m still in a cut so I’m sure once I hit maintenance I will be able to change things up more but for now I’m happy with my choices. I know what my trigger foods are and I avoid them!! But when I want a dice of pizza or a piece of cake on a birthday I make sure I plan it in so I’m not feeling deprived. As long as its special occasions and not every day, I’ve been able to manage it. And I’ve consistently lost weight every single week I’ve been with SU (with the exception of the cruise I went on last week where I let loose and threw all the rules out the window. I’m still working on getting back the few pounds I let come back. But I worked hard all year and wanted to give myself that time and experience.) I went straight back to tracking and planning the minute I got home and it’s continued to work as it has all year.
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 working with a trainer about a month into SU and I loved it. I worked twice a week one on one for 6 months. I also did cardio on my own another 2-3 days a week for an hour a day. With the trainer, it was mostly bodyweight exercises and a little bit of machine weights. It was so much fun to watch my body change, my endurance, my drive, and my strength. I started on my own right about when Mike started the August running challenge and I pushed myself to run every day and saw even more growth. I did my first 5k in September and couldn’t believe I ran the whole thing and felt good about it. I began hiking not long after that and have fallen in love with that too. I’ve found I have so much energy and strength and as I progress with trying new things I surprise myself how much more I can do. I still train at the gym on my own 3-4 days a week but am looking forward to some new direction with SU Fitness soon. Mama needs a pair of GUNZ! 😉
How much weight did you lose with Stronger U?
I woke up on November 1st, 2017 at 234 lbs. I lost 18lbs on my own before my official start date with SU and then 79 more with SU since January 4, 2018. Now a total of 105lb loss.
How did your waist measurements change with Stronger U?
I have lost 19” in my waist from Day 1 of SU.
What were 3 major non-scale victories you experienced with Stronger U?
I ran a 5k for the first time. (In under 30 mins too) I bought a size 2 pair of jeans which I’ve never even as a teenager been able to wear. But the most significant life-changing victory has been my reduced anxiety. I am no longer riddled with fear every day walking in public or talking to new people. I am finding a true happiness within. It’s a great feeling.
Has your change in body weight or composition improved other areas of your life? If so, explain what areas and how.
It’s changed every part of my life. I’m a happier person in general which makes me a better mom, a better wife, employee and friend. I’m not struggling with the mental crap I had going on inside so I’m able to focus on living my life, smiling, being kind to others and making this world a better place. I lived many years sad and angry and hating myself and the things going on in my life. I am happy to have let so much of that go.
Are there any tips or advice you’d give to new members of Stronger U to help them succeed early on?
The best advice is to trust the process and just be consistent. It can seem difficult at first but if you keep going you’ll see results. And the habits become second nature. Planning your day will take 5 mins, planning your week 15 mins. Prep and plan and you’ll reach your goals. You can’t fail if you hold yourself accountable.
If someone is thinking about joining Stronger U, what would you tell them?
Don’t wait for tomorrow (or next week or next year) to start. Do it today. There’s no better time than right now.