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This week the Stronger U Member Spotlight is shining brightly down on Shannon McFadden, the Collage Queen of Stronger U!

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

Shannon McFadden

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’m originally from Poughkeepsie, NY but have lived in CT for over a decade. I’m a career Firefighter in Danbury, CT, and my soon-to-be husband is also a firefighter (in another CT city).

What led you to join Stronger U?

I went to middle school and high school with Syndi and was FB friends with her. I had seen pics of her success, but most importantly her first client’s transformation. I was sold on the fact that her first client didn’t work out and had great results. Finally one day I got fed up because I had to go up a size in my work pants and sent a message to Syndi. I started a few days later and I couldn’t be happier about the journey I’ve had so far.

What dieting experience have you had previous to Stronger U? Was there a reason you were or were not successful? Why did you stop?

10 years ago or so I had hired a nutrition coach. He gave me a 3-day menu of 4 specific meals a day – and many of those meals repeated within the 3 days. I ate those repeating meals for 12 weeks. I lost 20 lbs but if you’ve seen my food collages you know that is just NOT a sustainable lifestyle for me. So… it didn’t last and I gained the weight back. I’ve also tried diet pills – which didn’t yield any results, and a brief stint of WW – which I didn’t stick to for long enough to see any results.

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?

Stronger U is exactly what I needed. I have the ability to include all the foods I love into my day – although maybe not all on the same day! My schedule is crazy, I work a lot of crazy hours, and I needed the flexibility Stronger U provides. I love changing things up, I love trying new foods and snacks. I love good beer, pizza, and Ben & Jerry’s Ice cream. I’ve learned the importance of balance – and most importantly how to balance, which makes this a completely sustainable lifestyle.

Can you give some insight on your eating habits BEFORE joining Stronger U?

I thought I was eating healthy. I didn’t follow any sort of diet or fad – but once I started tracking my food I realized I was getting too much fat from cooking oils, too many fats and carbs from snacking, and nowhere near enough protein.

Now that you’ve joined Stronger U, how have your eating habits changed?

After 2 sessions with a coach, and over 15 months on my own, I’m still tracking all of my food 98% of the time. I know what my body needs and that’s what I want to give it. (Sometimes I want to, and decide to give it a little more.)

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?

This isn’t an answer to the question but I wanted to share because I feel like I’m definitely not the norm on this. I don’t like exercising. I try to exercise and I quickly lose interest. It’s more of a chore to me – not something I enjoy. When I get an urge to exercise I do – and the monthly challenges I’ve participated in have kept me engaged. I know it’s important, but it’s just not for me. I do stay very active with my job, and never seem to stop moving at home… for all of you exercise haters out there – just keep moving.

Has your change in body weight or composition improved other areas of your life? If so, explain what areas and how.

I’m definitely more confident, comfortable, and happier with everything in life.

Are there any tips or advice you’d give to new members of Stronger U to help them succeed early on?

Be honest with yourself and honest with your coach. This is a journey… not a quick fix. It’s a learning experience – if you embrace it you’ll have the tools to make it a sustainable lifestyle change.

If someone is thinking about joining Stronger U, what would you tell them?

If you are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to learn the basics you will succeed. It’s something that will work for anyone – as long as you want to make it work.

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