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This week our Stronger U Member Spotlight is shining down on Steve Dacks, who worked with Coach Jason Falcon.

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

Steve Dacks

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 am 76 years old and live in downtown Toronto with my wife of 53 years in a 112-year-old, 3 story, semi-detached Victorian house. We have 2 children and 3 grandchildren. I was an officer of a public company and had my own financial services business. I have been a woodcarver for the last 11 years. We are snowbirds and spend our winters in Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Florida.

What led you to join Stronger U?

I was ready – finally. After at least 50 years of poor eating habits, I looked in the mirror and said enough is enough. I don’t like the way that I look and I don’t like the way that I feel. I was huffing and puffing, having trouble bending over and convinced that I was ill. So last May, I went and had my heart and lungs tested. And guess what? I’m in the top quartile in both areas. It did not take a genius to figure out that my problem was weight more than anything else. At the time, I weighed 223 and my waist was 47″. I resolved to do something. Not the first time, I have probably made that same resolution almost every day for years. I looked at Weight Watchers and some of the other popular diet programs until my daughter identified Stronger U. She wasn’t a member at the time but had heard good things about the program. I figured if my daughter who is a big Cross Fitter says this is good and is so convinced that she will pay for my first session how could I say no? I also used this as part of my initial motivation because I did not want to let her down.

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 haven’t been on a serious diet for over 30 years. The fad in those days was low carbohydrates. I never lasted for more than a few weeks and my main method of weight control has always been physical exercise. Since then, I have tried sporadically to cut down on my consumption of junk and to stop grazing. I have woken up many mornings and said today is the day! Didn’t turn out that way most days particularly in the evening in front of the TV. My problem was the common problem we all have – discipline. Until Stronger U, I was never able to control “fat me” for any period of 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?

The overall environment is so well thought out and structured that success is far easier than failure. From Super Mike, to my coach Jason Falcon, to all of the close-knit community who post, to the blogs, to the emails, to the understanding that there is a whole family of caring people on the same journey with the same problems, everything is stacked in our favour. The SU plan is really simple. This is not a diet plan. This is a behaviour modification/lifestyle change plan. The nutrition advice is great and absolutely necessary but it is only one step in a life long process. After about 3 weeks with my coach answering all of my newbie questions, I basically just decided that he knew his business and that my best bet for success was to just go with the flow. Jason’s knowledge, empathy and quick understanding of my quirks made the process so much easier.

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

I ate LOTS of healthy food. Big portions but a fair amount of protein. I also grazed whenever particularly in front of the TV in the evening. My favourites were pastries and bread products, frozen yogurt, cookies and salted nuts.

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

I still eat lots of healthy food. Portions are smaller and proteins are higher. I don’t graze much but I know TV time is my weakness, so I cater to it. Fit Crunch, Greek yogurt, a few almonds and fruit work just fine.

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 walk for an hour and change about 4 times a week and switch many of the walks for bike rides in the summer. Nothing new about this except that I look forward to it more because it is way easier. My walking pace has improved, we will see about the bike this spring.

How much weight did you lose with Stronger U?

I have lost 40 lbs in total, 35 with SU.

How did your waist measurements change with Stronger U?

10″ total, 9″ with SU

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

My physical well-being has significantly improved. I don’t huff and puff anymore, I can easily bend over to pick things up and my bike ride uphill is way easier.

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

Aside from what I said above, the biggest change has been in my outlook. I am 76; luckily I am healthy. I wasn’t living a healthy life style and now I am and I feel way better physically and mentally and know that I am going to feel better in my last years on this earth than I have for decades. Something great to look forward to!

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

Be ready.
Be ready to change your behaviour.
Be ready to accept what your coach tells you.
Be ready to be disciplined consistently – every day.
Be ready to understand that every day may not be perfect but the next day can be.
Be ready to accept that the dieting phase is not easy – why should it be? You took xx years to develop all of those bad habits and put on all that fat – it isn’t coming off in 3 weeks.
Be ready to accept that if you do this right, you will achieve your goals.
Be ready to focus on your goal and not to sweat the small stuff.
Be ready to accept that after a while, this process will become second nature and your behaviour pattern will adapt the same way that your body will.
Be ready to accept that maintenance is a great place to be. I am 3 weeks in, eating about 2500 calories and 155 grams of protein a day and still losing a bit of weight. My biggest problem now is having too much food to eat! After completing 2 sessions, I plan on staying in maintenance for 3 months and then going back to SU for the next cut.

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

Just do it! If an old boy like me can learn new tricks at 76 – anyone can! The lessons learned and the results will be life-changing.

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