The Stronger U Member Spotlight — Mara Barber

family at dinner table with woman laughing

This week our Stronger U Member Spotlight is a family affair, shining down on Mara Barber. Mara found SU through her partner, Krissy Warren, who was featured as the subject of our Member Spotlight in November of 2018. Today we’re proud of honor Mara! Congrats, Mara!

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

Mara Barber

Who was your Coach? 

Kate Marsh (still is!)

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

That her guidance and support (and understanding of my disdain for exercising) has been invaluable throughout my SU journey.

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

I just turned 46 in November,  my partner and I have been together for almost 14 years, and we have two dogs, four cats and a chinchilla (all rescues!). I enjoy volleyball, camping, road-tripping and wandering with the pups, Legos, and working around the house.

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

Even after a year of my partner having incredible success with SU, everything finally sunk in after going to a seminar given by Mike and the good Dr Jessica in February of last year.

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

Oh sooooo many!!!! I’ll go with two off the top of my head – Patty Blancaflor is such a cool cat!! Always incredibly positive and inspiring. Tracie Landram for the crazy simple and yet oh so delicious and filling cheesy chicken broccoli goodness!

What dieting experience did you have previous to Stronger U? 

I can’t say that I’ve ever tried any of the fad diets, just a serial yo-yo lazy dieter forever looking for the magic pill that would melt all the fat away. One thing that I always said that keeps coming back to bite me in the butt is that it “doesn’t matter what we’re eating, we just need to exercise more.” Lies, all lies. 

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?

We ate out A LOT. Plus we ate a ton of processed prepackaged and boxed foods, daily. I stopped at a deli for a breakfast sandwich more than I would ever like to admit to, all in the name of convenience. I also had absolutely zero portion control. 

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

Being that Krissy was already a successful SU junkie, I was lucky enough to be in an environment at home that was set up for success. That being said, it was up to me to stick to the plan with both the help of my coach and her MAGICAL macro numbers (they didn’t change for much of my first six months before I went into maintenance). I do have to say that with the type of relationship that I have with food, having the support and encouragement at home and the accountability of an amazing coach has been crucial for me to be successful. 

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

One of the reasons I never wanted to sign up for SU was because I was extremely adamant about never weighing and measuring my food. In my mind it was like being told what to eat, and that just wasn’t ever going to happen. Plus, I don’t like math so I didn’t want to fight with numbers over food!

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

Everything that I eat! Macaroni and cheese! CRUNCH WRAPS! Pop Corners! Pizza! Toll a House chocolate ice cream cookie sandwich! Now mind you, most of it is all much healthier and portion-controlled.  

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 don’t really meal prep, but I do plan each day the night before. This is crucial to me to be successful. My partner and I also sit down sometime during the week and decide on what we’re having for dinner every night the following week. We love dinners now more than we ever did before SU, and that’s no lie. There are so many that after we eat, we’re both saying how good it is! We mix them up each week as much as possible too. 

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 never been big into exercising. I prefer to play a sport like volleyball – which I was able to get back to playing last year after about a 4 or 5-year hiatus because I was so uncomfortable. I do walk the pups as much as I can, and I look forward to getting back out in the Spring and going for hikes with them.

How much weight did you lose with Stronger U?

Officially, I’m at about 50… unofficially I’m at 130. I was lucky enough to lose weight when my partner Krissy Warren started SU a year before I did. Eating regular portions and much healthier food made a huge difference for someone who always thought they could eat whatever they wanted and just needed to move more.

How did your waist measurements change with Stronger U? 

I wear men’s pants/shorts. I went from a size 48 to 34/35. I don’t even remember the last time my waist was that small – high school maybe?

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

1. I now know what my neck really looks like. 

2. A well-loved Carhartt jacket that I’ve had for about 20years – from when I was quite fit and healthy became too big – And the best for last 

3. I was taken off of my blood pressure meds because they were no longer needed (and #4- I stopped snoring!) 

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

EVERYTHING is better. EVERYTHING. And by better, I mean I am happier, which makes everything better. I have even been commended at work for having better relationships with coworkers, and always looking at things with a more positive attitude. It’s AMAZING to wake up each day and be happy to want to tackle it.

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?

Just three?? Super crazy important… Read the guide, plan at least a day in advance, and be honest with your coach, trust them and the process.

Want to learn more about Stronger U and what we do? We’d love to talk to you! You can reach out here.

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