The Stronger U Member Spotlight: Samra Trask

family at dinner table with woman laughing

This week our Stronger U Member Spotlight is shining down on Samra Trask, who worked with Coach Jason Falcon. Jason and Tanner also recorded a podcast with Samra to learn more about what went into her journey, which you can listen to here.

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

Samra Trask

Who was your Coach? 

Jason Falcon

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

Thank you for ALWAYS believing in me. You always expected me to succeed and I really had no choice but to comply!

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

I am the 57-year-old mother of four amazing kids and grandmother of three. My husband of 34 years and I own a cattle ranch in Western South Dakota. I also teach. I am a lifelong learner and I LOVE the challenge of mastering new things. I also love to travel. While flying is my first choice, I take long solo road trips in the summers to visit my kids. 

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

I had just finished putting back on 85% of all the weight I’d taken off 5 years previously and the latest new craze just wasn’t working. My neighbor/cousin/ friend and my two daughters had been patiently watching me struggle for the past year. It was the end of a school year and the start of another ‘fat’ summer. I basically threw my hands in the air and said, “Fine! I’ll try it your way!” And I did. 

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

First and foremost my coach, Jason Falcon. ❤️❤️

My friend, Jody Gallino, was the first in our neighborhood to join Stronger U. She held my hand for the first couple of weeks. Still does…

My daughter, MacKenzie Stangohr, did the program to take off her baby weight. Helped me include some physical aspects. (Still not a fan of sweating but I like these arms!)

My daughter, Jaymie Anderson, did the program through her pregnancy. Amazing! She helped me with day-to-day food choices and prep. (Taught me the joys of sharing MFP menus)

Patty Blancaflor is simply too positive to entertain negativity in her ‘presence’. She’s the quintessential poster child of the Stronger U community.

Nick Sorrell says all the things I wish I could say to students, parents, friends and myself.

So many more but these stick out in my mind. 

What dieting experience did you have previous to Stronger U? 

I started dieting young and tried them all. Most all worked in the beginning but were not effective long term. I’ve tried traditional programs such as weight watchers, fad diets such as grapefruit type stuff, diet pills, liquid protein, keto (before it was cool…), and even physical activity to lose.

By the time I gave up and started Stronger U, my body was broken. As Malcolm Gladwell would say, I was past the tipping point. Nobody’s body could come back from this. 

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 liked to eat out and meals out always included wine and many times a dessert. I didn’t think I made poor food choices at home but my portion sizes were quite large, with many evenings including wine.

I rarely packed a lunch, but instead ate school lunch with the other teachers.

Treats brought to school for teachers were ALWAYS sampled or consumed. (Didn’t want to hurt feelings, you know.)

I wasn’t eating differently than anyone else in my circle but I thought that I had a heavy person’s mindset. It was what it was.

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

This program worked well for me personally because it gave me the knowledge I needed in order to achieve success and then put all the power back into my hands.

I didn’t like being unhealthy and miserable and was willing to work as hard as necessary to make a change. Only drink protein packets for 9 months? Fine. Take this pill every 2 hours? Done. The stuff just didn’t work long term and I had no knowledge upon which to draw to WORK HARDER or DO BETTER!

This program spoke to me because it’s just like teaching high school algebra. (Trust me, this analogy works! I’m going to spell it all out for my man Jason.)

When you teach upper-level math you don’t achieve success by having someone memorize an algorithm and then use a calculator to quickly generate answers before moving on to the next chapter.

Students need to understand the process and then be able to USE this process to solve complex real-world puzzles.

This is what I got from this program. I got the scientifically based understanding behind weight loss nutrition. Once I had it, it was my choice whether or not to use it. Finally, if I wanted to WORK HARDER, I knew how.

My lord. I can’t even tell you how it felt to be in control of my life again!

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

This entire thing was on me. I was the one in charge of my success or failure. Jason was awesome. He was just what I needed him to be. In teacher talk, he was my ‘guide on the side’ not ‘the sage on the stage’. He gave me the guidelines but it was up to me to flesh out my program. Holy crap was this ever stressful starting out!

This program is not an entitlement program: “Ok then. I drank your shake. Where’s my weight loss?

This program is, in fact, an empowerment program: “Ok then. Here’s the science. What am I going to do with it?

Basically, it’s what I tell my students all the time. It might not be your fault but it’s still your problem. What will you do about it?

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

I ate carbs. I would have muffins or noodles or rice. Of course, they were carefully chosen so I would get more bang for my buck. (You know the drill, power muffins, edamame noodles, quinoa, etc.) I also treated myself periodically to popcorn, frozen treats, and chocolate, all legally logged. 

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?

Most work mornings, I have Greek yogurt with blueberries and walnuts. At 10:00 I have a snack of carrots, sugar snap peas, and sometimes hummus. My go-to lunch was a BAS with plenty of protein and variety. I have an apple in the afternoon. I save plenty of my fat and protein so that I can eat a nice ranch dinner most days with my husband. I have an evening snack/treat before bedtime. 

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 used to do half marathons and even one full marathon. I know that I would like to do some half marathons again and I’m partially toying with the idea of trying another full. It would be fun to try one healthy. Don’t tell my coach, but he has me a bit intrigued with the thought of those long-distance running, obstacle course style, mountain climbing races that he does. 

How much weight did you lose with Stronger U?

I lost 80 pounds on Stronger U in just under a year. 

How did your waist measurements change with Stronger U? 

I lost 10 inches from my waist. I also took measurements from 10 different places. I lost 70 inches from those. 

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

  • I can play with my grandbabies all day long. 
  • I went from size 14-16 slacks to size 0-2. 
  • I can move again. Believe it or not, now I walk in the evenings because I enjoy it. 

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

My health was so fragile that it controlled many of my decisions. I feel strong now. It has taken away much of my fear. I’m so damn happy that I’ve found the old me who wasn’t afraid to try new things! I’m taking my first golf lesson next week. Maybe I’ll hate it but at least I’m not afraid to try. 

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. Eat simply. Don’t be afraid of boring food. At least for a while.
  2. Don’t eat out. Do your tracking at home where you can control things. At least while you’re starting out.
  3. Hold off on the alcohol for at least the first month so you can see how this program works.

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

Be willing to put in the work. It’s not a diet that you can race through and then celebrate with a victory lap. It’s a lifestyle change.

Favorite quote ever: All change is painful and it only occurs when the pain of a situation becomes greater than the pain of the change. -Judith Viorst

Be ready and willing to change. 

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