Strengthlete Success Stories

Success Stories: Joe Nissim

Left: 235 lbs (June 2015)
Right: 195 (May 2017)
How the scale changed Measurement changes
Lost 40 Pounds -23"

Their Story

Please give a quick (two-three sentences) background on yourself. Tell us a little about what you do and your family (if applicable)

Joe is the founder, CEO, and the Head Food Coach of Strengthlete. During the day, Joe spends most of his time at a desk, working with clients, and writing.

What or how many diets have you tried in the past?

In the past, if the diet existed, I tried it. I tried Paleo, Primal, Low Fat, Low Carb, and Clean Eating just to name a few.

What ideas or behaviors do you think held you back from the body you wanted?

I believed eating less and "clean" was only way to lose weight. It's the only thing that worked for me in the past. I thought dieting was the only way to lose weight.

When was your oh-shit moment?

I was traveling for work and weighed myself to find out I gained 40 pounds in the past year. I knew I gained some, but I didn't think it was 40lbs! I didn't want to do another diet, so I had to figure out another way. I was so sick and tired of dieting and my weight yo-yo'ing.

What are the 3 most important behaviors you learned through Nutribuild?

1) You don't have to be perfect; I messed up so much, but just being mindful made a huge difference.

2) I don't restrict foods anymore; If I want to have something, I have it and enjoy it. I just don't go crazy and binge like I used to. It was such a destructive habit.

3) I learned how to eat at restaurants; I can finally go to restaurants and not eat a salad every time because it was what I felt like I had to do.

What is the biggest emotional relief you learned through Nutribuild?

I never feel like I have to avoid being social to lose weight or feel good about my body. I have found a way to go out to parties and be social without sacrificing my progress.

What was the biggest surprise or "ah-hah" moment you had?

How many foods that I thought were "healthy" that were the had the same nutritional value as some of the foods I was avoiding. This became the basis for the foods comparisons we do on strengthlete.com

What is that food you used to avoid that you now include?

Pizza. I am so happy I can have pizza again. And Jameson. Jameson is good.

Success Stories: Natalie Luzzi

How the scale changed Measurement changes
Lost 16 Pounds -16"

Their Story

Please give a quick (two-three sentences) background on yourself. Tell us a little about what you do and your family (if applicable)

I'm a flight attendant for a major airline who loves her job. I am a runner and crossFitter. I just want to be strong and healthy for the rest of my life injury free

What or how many diets have you tried in the past?

Back in 1996 was the 1st time I remember actually trying a fad diet and that was The Atkins Diet which was a complete failure. When I started running I just watched my calories not knowing what was right for my body at the time. I completely revamped my way of eating, and I was seeing huge results. I basically ran to eat what I wanted, and it worked for me until I burnt myself out and got sick of running. As I got older and my body was changing inside and out, I could no longer eat the foods that I was eating in the past. I tried going Paleo and gained a lot of the weight that I’m dealing with now.

What ideas or behaviors do you think held you back from the body you wanted?

Just not knowing what a balanced diet really meant. The idea of eating 3 meals a day was good until I really started working out and was hungry all the time. I had no idea what portion control meant or what a cup, a teaspoon or an ounce looked like . I thought going into the gym and knowing how to use the treadmill was good enough.

When was your oh-shit moment?

When I couldn't even look in the mirror or fit in my clothes

What are the 3 most important behaviors you learned through Nutribuild?

The most important takeaways were learning to balance my meals by weighting my food, planning my meals ahead of time, and knowing it's ok to mess up because tomorrow is a new day.

What is the biggest emotional relief you learned through Nutribuild?

Forgiving yourself

What was the biggest surprise or "ah-hah" moment you had?

When you can hit your numbers and see the reflection in the mirror and it's ok

What is that food you used to avoid that you now include?

Carbs

Success Stories: Lalia Gagnon

How the scale changed Measurement changes
Gained 2 Pounds -2"

Their Story

Please give a quick (two-three sentences) background on yourself. Tell us a little about what you do and your family (if applicable)

I am a 31 year old insurance broker. I work in NYC and live in Jersey City with my husband and our two cats. I grew up swimming competitively (age 9-22), and I took up running and CrossFit in recent years.

What or how many diets have you tried in the past?

I have only ever tried calorie restriction, no formal diets in the past.

What ideas or behaviors do you think held you back from the body you wanted?

I lacked understanding about what nutrients I needed for optimal mental and physical health. I assumed all that mattered was "eating less," with no understanding of how food served as fuel. My only real aim was to be "skinny."

When was your oh-shit moment?

I realized that all my efforts seemed to only leave me feeling sluggish and weak, and I wasn't seeing any improvement in my appearance or in my performance at the gym.

What are the 3 most important behaviors you learned through Nutribuild?

1. I stopped thinking about "eating less"

2. I learned to stop thinking about food only in terms of calories.

3. I started eating a wider variety of foods, I learned that nothing is "off limits"

What is the biggest emotional relief you learned through Nutribuild?

I learned to eat foods I enjoy without feeling guilty.

What was the biggest surprise or "ah-hah" moment you had?

The biggest 'ah-ha' moment was when I realized I had gained weight (and weighed 15 lbs MORE than what I had thought my ideal weight was)....and I looked significantly better than I had at lower weights and felt more energetic than ever.

What is that food you used to avoid that you now include?

There are so many, but one example would be burgers and sandwiches. Going out to eat, I always felt like I had to order a salad, even if I didn't actually want a salad, simply because it was the stereotypical "healthy" option. Now I order things I *really* want.

Success Stories: Patricia Nord

How the scale changed Measurement changes
Lost 6 Pounds -3"

Their Story

Please give a quick (two-three sentences) background on yourself. Tell us a little about what you do and your family (if applicable)

I'm a budget analyst in Denver, CO. I live here with my husband, Michael, and dog (child) Nana.

What or how many diets have you tried in the past?

Nutrisystem, Isagenix, Paleo, Advocare.

What ideas or behaviors do you think held you back from the body you wanted?

Having to give up certain types of foods, starving, and just the overall obsession with what goes into my body.

When was your oh-shit moment?

Previous diets had caused me to binge eat and feel guilty. I needed a normal, workable routine to keep me performing well and looking good!

What are the 3 most important behaviors you learned through Nutribuild?

I can eat whatever I want, as long as I plan. Listen to my body. Calories aren't important, macros are.

What is the biggest emotional relief you learned through Nutribuild?

It's ok to eat "bad" foods!

What was the biggest surprise or "ah-hah" moment you had?

I can eat my sweets and still progress towards a more fit me!!

What is that food you used to avoid that you now include?

Cheese and chocolate candy.

Success Stories: Leigh-Anna Jones

How the scale changed Measurement changes
Lost 1 Pound -4"

Their Story

Please give a quick (two-three sentences) background on yourself. Tell us a little about what you do and your family (if applicable)

I have always been an active person since high school but have always struggled with seeing significant results in my body composition. I have a very busy and stressful schedule and keeping track of my food and maintaining traditional diets have never worked for me in the past.

What or how many diets have you tried in the past?

Paleo, Whole 30, Sugar-Detox

What ideas or behaviors do you think held you back from the body you wanted?

Counting calories has always been something that I thought I needed to do in order to be happy with my body. I also struggled with the idea of "failing" at a diet and then just calling it a lost cause and giving up.

When was your oh-shit moment?

I was going to the gym 4-5 times a week and actively training for marathons but not seeing ANY changes in my performance or my body composition. I realized something had to change in order for me to break through this plateau.

What are the 3 most important behaviors you learned through Nutribuild?

1. Overeating one day or not meeting my macro goals once was not reason to give up: tomorrow is another, new day.

2. You can eat what you want, within reason and with planning -- you do not have to be restrictive.

3. Eating is a lifestyle change; not a month-long diet.

What is the biggest emotional relief you learned through Nutribuild?

Food is just food (it's not good or bad) and it does not have to dictate my feelings or emotions throughout the day. Eating a snickers bar no longer makes me feel like a failure for the rest of the day.

What was the biggest surprise or "ah-hah" moment you had?

Eating MORE might actually have been the change that my body needed in order to perform like I wanted.

What is that food you used to avoid that you now include?

Avocados, Burgers, Ice Cream, Cookies

Success Stories: Karl Haviland

How the scale changed Measurement changes
Lost 17 Pounds -10"

Their Story

Please give a quick (two-three sentences) background on yourself. Tell us a little about what you do and your family (if applicable)

I am a software engineer who works full time in Manhattan. In my free time, I volunteer with local organizations, and play music.

What or how many diets have you tried in the past?

My main approach had been to cut back, or cut out, entire foods - such as being gluten-free, or not drinking alcohol.

What ideas or behaviors do you think held you back from the body you wanted?

There were a few behaviors that I can think of. First and foremost, I wasn't eating enough food to fuel the demands of my body. I think this one was the most surprising. Also, my sleeping and social habits left me tired and unmotivated. Those habits snowballed from one day to two and three. Lastly, I did not have consistency with exercise, nutrition, and sleep. My body was dealing with a constant state of extremes.

When was your oh-shit moment?

I found myself not feeling well from too much going out, staying up late, and not eating right. After a few discussions with friends, I was determined to make some changes.

What are the 3 most important behaviors you learned through Nutribuild?

1. First, no food should be classified independently as healthy or unhealthy. Your behaviors with diet over the day/week/month are a better barometer of success.

2. Second, an athlete with a moderate exercise routine needs to consume enough food to fuel their body. Without enough food, your body is under stress which not only may prevent gains in performs, but may actually result in weight gain.

3. Third, is that it is important to remain consistent with protein and sugar intake. A small amount of planning can make a world of difference between consistency, and throwing yourself off track. This behavior helps build an informational database of the makeup of what you're eating.

What is the biggest emotional relief you learned through Nutribuild?

Building a sustainable diet - not a 3 week fad. Also, fitting into my clothes, and seeing progress.

What was the biggest surprise or "ah-hah" moment you had?

I need to eat more than I am. I am not getting enough protein or nutrients to support my workouts.

What is that food you used to avoid that you now include?

Breads, and beer. It's all about how to manage intake - avoid extreme.

Success Stories: Michael Carlise

How the scale changed Measurement changes
Lost 13 Pounds -16"

Their Story

Please give a quick (two-three sentences) background on yourself. Tell us a little about what you do and your family (if applicable)

I'm a software developer; and my family and I live in Boston, MA. I'm a former collegiate athlete (wrestling), and I currently do crossfit 4-5 days per week.

What or how many diets have you tried in the past?

Being a wrestler, for the longest time I just would cut all carbs and fat out of my diet whenever I wanted to lose weight. But recently, I spent a lot of time trying different diets I would find online; including zone, paleo, eat to perform, and my own versions of just cut anything I think made me fat.

What ideas or behaviors do you think held you back from the body you wanted?

The most inhibiting diet idea/behavior I believed in was that dieting had to be unnatural and hard. I would often go on extreme elimination diets (no breads, sugars, coffee, etc...). No eating out; and tried to adhere to long lists of foods I can't have.

When was your oh-shit moment?

As I got older, every run at these "elimination" diets didn't seem to work like before. My body I guess didn't respond to the extreme deficit of calories anymore; and I slowly just started gaining more and more weight; despite being in the gym several times a week. Eventually, I felt like I tried all the diets. I didn't know what else to try. I actually started feeling like maybe some people genetically just are not supposed to be healthy. At this moment I decided that I needed to build a support system; that could help me devise a attainable goals and a follow able plan.

What are the 3 most important behaviors you learned through Nutribuild?

I would say the best behaviors I picked up from strengthlete is to track everything; even your "cheat" meals.

1. Don't eliminate foods; just eat smaller portions and/or plan to include your favorite foods while still eating your numbers.

2. Weigh yourself less often. Trust the plan, and don't quit if it didn't go to plan; just accept the setback; make adjustments and move forward. You didn't gain the weight in a month, you're not going to lose it in a month.

3. Do not be antisocial when dieting. If you don't confront your eating habits in front of people you will never have a healthy relationship with food. Strengthlete (through challenges) taught me to eat at my favorite restaurants and you still can lose weight; just take a moment to devise a simple plan.

What is the biggest emotional relief you learned through Nutribuild?

That I can eat anything, and still lose weight. I even have beers and pizza with my friends while watching games. I also find myself thinking/worrying about my weight less often. Tracking and eating normally has just become a natural part of my day.

What was the biggest surprise or "ah-hah" moment you had?

The best 'ah-hah' moment is learning to trust your plan (that it will be enough). In the beginning I used to think 4-5 slices of pizza wasn't going to be enough. After only eating 1-2 slices, and I realized that you can be just as satisfied with smaller portions.

Another great 'ah-hah' moment was never eat out of the big box of crackers, cookies, etc... Pre portion your snacks into single servings; and include them in meals (not by themselves).

What is that food you used to avoid that you now include?

I used to avoid beer, pizza, ice cream, cookies, crackers/chips, wine. Just about everything not a vegetable. Now, I find myself having these things a few times a week.

Success Stories: Jessica Silverman

How the scale changed Measurement changes
Lost 7 Pounds -9"

Their Story

Please give a quick (two-three sentences) background on yourself. Tell us a little about what you do and your family (if applicable)

I am (almost) 32 years old. For work, I currently I work in customer service full time, and part time I (essentially) run around with small children a few days a week.

What or how many diets have you tried in the past?

Let's see, when I was much younger I did Weight Watchers. I tried Paleo style eating for about two years.

I've tried to do macros--but on my own and guessing (I'm sure you can guess how that went). I've tried just doing low carb. I've tried just doing low fat.

What ideas or behaviors do you think held you back from the body you wanted?

I used to be like everyone else and think carbs and fat were the devil.

I also have always been a stickler for the number on the scale and I let that determine how "good" I looked and felt. I always had this notion that at my height (I'm only 5'3") I HAD to be with certain weight.

BMI chart was king!

When was your oh-shit moment?

Honestly I'm not sure if it was one moment. When I was doing the Paleo thing, it worked for a while. I got a little bit leaner, I was performing in the gym. On the plus side I also discovered foods that really did irritate my belly.

At some point I just felt like a plateau, nothing was changing anymore and the 'leaness' I was feeling seemed to go away.

At some point I decided...I was working REALLY hard, 5 days a week 1-1&1/2 hours at the box...and I just wanted it to be a little more physically apparent.

However, I also knew I didn't know how to achieve this and still support the intense exercise.

What are the 3 most important behaviors you learned through Nutribuild?

1.) F*ck the scale ... I've made peace with it...MOST days :)

2.) BALANCE is one of the most important things. I like to think of myself as one who would be generally considered a "healthy" eater. I try to be mindful of the things I put in my body in terms of portions, processed junk, etc. But I've also learned it's okay to have a handful those goldfish that I love, the bread I want to eat. It's not going to ruin my week.

3.) Carbs & Fat are not the devil. They're totes your friend!

What is the biggest emotional relief you learned through Nutribuild?

The scale. The scale. The scale. It has it's value, but it's not everything.
Also not feeling "GUILTY" or like I was "CHEATING" when I had a craving and wanted a snack.

What was the biggest surprise or "ah-hah" moment you had?

The moment I realized I was only 5lbs less now than I was at my most overweight/out of shape, but my figure was COMPLETELY different.

Again, the scale isn't everything.

What is that food you used to avoid that you now include?

Bread and Pizza and all of the starches...my most favorite things!

Success Stories: Robert Collegio

How the scale changed Measurement changes
Lost 50 Pounds Not Applicable

Their Story

Please give a quick (two-three sentences) background on yourself. Tell us a little about what you do and your family (if applicable)

I'm an IT manager by profession. I enjoy running, CrossFit and weightlifting.

What or how many diets have you tried in the past?

I tried a meal delivery service in 2011 and Nutrisystem back in 2007.

What ideas or behaviors do you think held you back from the body you wanted?

I thought I was eating healthy and exercising enough but had no clue until I began tracking what I ate. I'd spend hours doing cardio only to undermine myself with poor food choices.

When was your oh-shit moment?

I knew I needed to lift weights and cross train to improve my running so I joined CrossFit Jersey City. I liked not having to think about my workouts and jokingly asked if someone could tell me how to eat. That turned into a year long conversation that have yielded pretty great results all around.

What are the 3 most important behaviors you learned through Nutribuild?

1) I had no idea how I was eating until I started tracking. It was eye opening to see what I was actually eating too much off versus not enough of. Once we dialed in some macros that worked the weight started dropping and PRs in running, CrossFit and weightlifting started happening.

2) Nothing is off limits, I don't have to deny myself stuff that I enjoy eating when out with family or friends.

3) Not worrying about the scale has been a relief. The important thing for me is that my clothes fit better, I feel better and I continue to get faster/stronger.

What is the biggest emotional relief you learned through Nutribuild?

I can mess up occasionally and not throw all the progress out the window as long as I get back on track the next day or meal.

What was the biggest surprise or "ah-hah" moment you had?

Once I figured how much I got to eat and still lost weight. It seemed counter-intuitive at first but it was hard to argue with the data once I started seeing results.

What is that food you used to avoid that you now include?

Ice cream (I go with Halo Top since I can eat the whole pint and still have macros to spare rather than a half-cup of something like Häagen-Dazs)

Success Stories: Shannon Fary

How the scale changed Measurement changes
Lost 8 Pounds -15"

Their Story

Please give a quick (two-three sentences) background on yourself. Tell us a little about what you do and your family (if applicable)

I started my fitness journey 7 years ago at 325#. I met the love of my life and like any bride to be I wanted to look my best on that day. So I started Crossfit and the Paleo diet to get down to 160#. It wasn't a sustainable lifestyle when Life came knocking! My husband was diagnosed with Lymphoma (Blood Cancer). I didn't know Balance like I do today. I was working 9 hour days, staying up at night to care for my husband and all the while I was surrounded by people who saw the gym and Paleo as their religion. I was just trying to stay healthy and find the time to make it to the gym. It got to a point where the only fight I had left was not crying in front of my husband. I didn't care anymore about grass fed anything or what the WOD was today. I needed just 1 person to tell me that I was human and the feelings I had and my reaction to them were pretty damn normal! I found that person in Joe. I can't express what this program has done for my emotional eating and I will never be able to put into words just how thankful I am to have met Joe...a nutritional coach with a Heart.

What or how many diets have you tried in the past?

You name it and I've probably tried it - Weight Watchers, Paleo, Zone, Atkins, Clean Eating, and many more.

What ideas or behaviors do you think held you back from the body you wanted?

Diets don't address the emotional underlying issues and the stigma associated with "good" or "bad" food.

When was your oh-shit moment?

I had a macro coach thru a very popular service out there and week after week she proved to me that she wasn't really listening to me. She referenced my husband's name as my child. (I don't have kids) There was a week that my husband was in the hospital after having a bad reaction to his cancer treatment and her advice to me was life happens but that is no excuse for not tracking! What?! I spoke to Joe once and realized this guy gets it! He cares about his clients. He wanted to tackle the emotional side of eating and no program I have ever tried really cared about that.

What are the 3 most important behaviors you learned through Nutribuild?

1) There should be no guilt associated with food! There is no "good or "bad" food.

2) Go into social situations and holidays with a game plan.

3) If you have a bad day, put it behind you and keep moving forward...Life will get the best of us sometimes. No need to beat yourself up or feel guilty for enjoying life even if you enjoyed it a little too much.

What is the biggest emotional relief you learned through Nutribuild?

That I don't need to have anxiety over eating a cookie or spend the next week running miles on the treadmill to pay for it. Food is not the enemy.

What was the biggest surprise or "ah-hah" moment you had?

I could eat real food and enjoy what I was eating and still lose weight and gain strength. Amazing!

What is that food you used to avoid that you now include?

Pizza and Chocolate

Success Stories: Stephanie Santoro

Left: June 2016
Right: August 2016
How the scale changed Measurement changes
Lost 12 Pounds -12"

Their Story

Please give a quick (two-three sentences) background on yourself. Tell us a little about what you do and your family (if applicable)

Stephanie is a speech pathologist and new Mom. During the day, Steph spends most of the day working with patients.

What or how many diets have you tried in the past?

I tried the Paleo diet and the low carb diet. They both worked, but I rebounded hard on both of them.

What ideas or behaviors do you think held you back from the body you wanted?

I never wanted to get started because I believed that losing weight took so much time and effort. The shopping, the cooking, and the packing food into tupperware was more discouraging than anything else.

When was your oh-shit moment?

I had a very rough pregnancy with my son. I ended up putting on 80 lbs in total. My body was exhausted and had been through a lot. None of my clothes fit and I just wanted to look like I did before getting pregnant.

What are the 3 most important behaviors you learned through Nutribuild?

1) It doesn’t take big changes; Most of the changes I made were small ones, but I did them everyday

2) You can go out to restaurants; A little planning ahead and I could go out to eat and order what I wanted. I didn’t order grilled chicken on a salad everywhere I went.

Biggest Surprise?

For the first time, my progress was not just tied to the scale. Even though I only lost 10 pounds, my friends and family tell me it looks like so much more.
(Look how much her body changed!)

Best part of Nutribuild?

I was able to enjoy the entire summer, go to bbqs, bashes, and parties. I started the program right before the 4th of July, which I was hesitant because of the summer, but it was no problem.

Success Stories: Chris Horbal

How the scale changed Measurement changes
Lost 15 Pounds -7"

Their Story

Age

33

Profession

Sales

Activity during the day

Semi-Sedentary

Workout Preference

Running, Weightlifting, P90x

Diets Tried

Low calorie

False Assumption

I always believed supplements, specifically protein, were always for serious people at the gym. Little did I know how much I was under eating protein.

My "Oh Shit" Moment

Before my wedding last year, I lost 40 pounds, only to put back 30 lbs of it shortly after the honeymoon. I didn’t want to my weight to yo-yo anymore, so I had to do something different.

Transformation - Physically

I lost 20 pounds in the first 6 weeks of the program. I was eating more! I am almost down 35 pounds in total now.

Transformation - Mentally

I go out to eat and I am not worried about getting that look like, hey man, you probably shouldn’t eat that. Everyday, I have food in my bank and I withdraw against it. No matter what people are thinking, I say screw it because I actually know what I’m doing now.

Biggest Surprise

I didn’t have to change much of what I was eating. I am a NJ born and bred Italian and I still get to have the good Italian eats.

Best part of Nutribuild

I can adjust everyday depending where I am and what kind of day I am having. I am seeing cuts and muscles I have never seen before, which my wife Steph also loves.


If you are ready to learn how to lose weight
the right way, let’s get started now.