If you’re a working mom feeling overwhelmed at the idea of macro counting Andi’s story is sure to give you encouragement. Andi is a doctor that does shift work while keeping up with her little boy and has been working with Coach Lindsay since September 2021!
Tell us a little bit about your story. Work? Married? Kids?
I am from the southside of Chicago and went to college with Coach Lindsay. I met my husband during medical school, we moved to New York for my residency, and then Providence for final training. We have enjoyed living in Miami for almost a decade. We have a 2 ½ year old son who is amazing. My job includes shift work in the Emergency Department. Shift work creates a unique schedule as I don’t work the same time or number of shifts each week.
What made you decide to sign up for SFM macro coaching and how long did you follow along before taking the plunge?
I loved seeing Lindsay post about SFM. I trust Lindsay. She has great values and I knew any program she was behind would likely match my goals. I had been trying to find someone to replace my prior nutritionist. I didn’t want a meal plan because I value flexibility. At that time in my life, I needed more motivation than a one-to-one nutritionist. Lindsay sent me a handful of messages, voice messages and links, and I was sold. I signed up for the next session. I loved that it did not promise anything in 60 days. I did not want a fad diet, I wanted a long term strategy.
We know that you’re a doctor. Do you feel like medical school gave you an advantage in terms of nutritional knowledge?
I don’t think medical school prepared me to eat well. I knew that eating well and exercise was important for longevity, energy, sleep, preventing diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. I learned how foods, such as alcohol, carbs, fat, and protein, were digested and metabolized, but I don’t think I made the connection between those biochemical pathways to the birdseye view of overall nutrition. It’s kind of like learning physics in high school. Just because I can calculate the velocity of a car, doesn’t mean I think about it when driving.
The sheer volume of information you learn during medical school can be overwhelming. Even if I had been taught well, I was likely focused on the more challenging aspects of medicine (diagnoses, how to connect symptoms to different diseases, how to evaluate for each and when). Perhaps, if I had gone on to train in primary care I would have received more education and more practical knowledge regarding the implementation of nutrition into a person’s life. That being said throughout my experience in emergency medicine, I believe that many common ailments I see in the emergency department (i.e. back pain, headaches, chronic pain, chronic abdominal pain, etc) could have been prevented or have the potential to improve with a focus on: nutrition, wellness (both psychological wellbeing and mindfulness), sleep and movement (increased steps, exercise, stretching). My experience with medicine has helped me gain perspective. Just as there is not only one treatment pathway for a disease; there is no one size fits all nutrition program. The best nutritional program is one that you can be consistent with. SFM has the same mission: provide a flexible structure that allows clients to be consistent, with a coach that modifies the target based on client feedback.
How has what you’ve learned here at SFM with Coach Lindsay surprised you?
I think the most important thing SFM taught me was to value myself. I think a part of me thought that because I had so many tasks on my table, I should treat myself to fast food. SFM taught me that I’m the only one that can create the change I want to see in my life. Krista’s recipes are satisfying. They taste good but they make you feel good. Eating with balanced macros, I sleep better and I have more energy for my family and work. While grabbing fast food may give me the initial dopamine surge I want, I wasn’t feeling good once I finished eating. I was fatigued and lacking the energy I craved.
SFM helped in a variety of ways. During the initial six weeks, I knew that I had a daily tracker sheet, I was going to be posting photos, and that there was a whole group of newbies and coaches behind me. I had the “motivation” and social encouragement to stick with the plan. It was similar to whole 30 and paleo. I had a structure and I could do it. The difference was I also learned habits to keep me disciplined when the initial motivation of a new, exciting plan began to dissolve. I learned how to stack habits (i.e. drink water while waiting for my coffee to brew; put my calories in for the day while I’m winding down at night or drinking my coffee). I learned it’s hard for me to perform cognitive tasks in the morning. It’s better for me to do physical tasks like laundry, garbage, working out and organizing when I’m waking up.
I think the most important thing SFM taught me was to not throw away an hour, a day, a week, a month because I “ate bad food”. Nine times out of ten once I enter in my calories in MFP I can easily finish the day green. I listen to my body. I eat earlier or later depending on my hunger. I enter things that will help me stay on track (the dinner I plan to eat out, the Salt and Straw ice cream I’m getting with my family later, the dessert I made before I went to work). I think Coach Kirstin said it the best: “I like the structure of flexibility.” I have grown the most in allowing myself to enjoy things for years I didn’t eat. I used to laugh when people said they could eat one oreo. Because of the flexible structure we have in SFM, I don’t have a restrictive mindset. I know I can have dessert every day if I want.
What are some of the challenges to counting macros as a working mom? How have you managed to overcome those challenges?
I think the biggest challenge is having a variety. I used to make the same recipes frequently and then a month or two in, I wouldn’t be able to finish the recipe I made because I was tired of it. Now I limit my favorite recipes: buffalo chicken bake, biscuits and gravy, alfredo beef to once every few months. I go through the cookbooks and have a running list of next recipes to make for food, breakfasts and desserts and put them in a running ‘next up” recipe list in google keep.
Also, I admit when it’s going to be hard to hit my macros. Hard weeks I grab my “go to foods” (rotisserie chicken, cottage cheese, protein shakes), prepare krista’s crack chicken or greek chicken dishes, and order my double protein chicken bowls and call it a day. I found my crutches, continued to expand them and reach for them without hesitation.
During the time I’m on my phone with my coffee in the morning, I’ll add the ingredients to my google keep checklist so I can easily pick them up at the store.
I usually have about 3 meals prepped (two for me and one for my family – they’re vegetarian) and one mostly protein dish (greek chicken, chicken parmesan muffins) so I can mix and match my day.
How has your macro journey impacted other areas of your life besides just needing a new wardrobe?
Eating well has encouraged me to be mindful about the way I live my life. The tracker we complete includes my energy, sleep and how I’m physically feeling. By following other aspects of my life I noted how sleep, stress, and alcohol contributed to fatigue, energy and my adherence to my macro goals. About six months ago I stopped drinking alcohol. I’ve had less than five drinks in the past six months. I noted how one drink contributed to my insomnia and stagnated by progress in my weekly check in photos and weight. Insomnia led to fatigue, less workouts and less motivation to hit my green days. I feel so much better. I have found hop seltzers, the apple cider vinegar seltzer, and drink virgin spicy margaritas when I’m out at restaurants. I still enjoy the feeling of relaxing and enjoying myself without the buzz. It feels amazing.
Coach Lindsay has spoken about the book Atomic Habits and this led me to be more intentional with completing my household tasks, work projects, and signing notes for work. I don’t spend time scrolling on facebook mindlessly for 30 minutes. When my son is with my husband, I hit the ground running. I’ll throw a recipe together. I’ll do a quick work out. I’ll take a bath and journal. I’ll complete a presentation for an upcoming lecture. I used to push things to later in the day and now I try to take advantage of every opportunity to fit in a task. There is not going to be a better time to do what I have time for now. Seems incredibly simple, right? However, sometimes being a mom feels so overwhelming, getting started with any step feels insurmountable. “Motivation follows action” – Coach Kirstin. In the past, I would wait for motivation all day. Instead, I commit to an action. I always feel better, less overwhelmed, more fulfilled, and in more control by having this new plan.
I have learned to speak out loud about my goals. I let my husband and sister know my work out goals. This gives my husband opportunities to support me,
“Hey, you should take 30 minutes to work out”.
This is so helpful. It’s so easy as a mom to feel guilty doing anything for yourself. Having other people in your corner, reminds you that you are important. My sister and I use the google keep app to list our goals for that month. Then we text each other to check in how those goals are going, what we can do to improve and what are key ways we plan to implement them.
What keeps you continuing with coaching over and over again with Coach Lindsay?
Lindsay is incredibly supportive, enthusiastic and realistic. Lindsay always cares about my mindset. I lost 20 lbs with reverse dieting over about a year and maintenance for the last six months. That’s incredible. I love her and the group so much. I’ve never seen negative comments in response to a tough month, summer, or year that someone has had. The comments from the group are encouraging, constructive, and include practical tips and never in a proselytizing way. You never get the “oh they’re showing off how good they are at this vibe”. You truly feel supported by this group. Finally, all the coaches, including Krista and Tracy, are beyond supportive and engaged in the facebook group. What’s a better motivator than the leaders of an organization participating in the lifestyle they promote?
If you’re looking to start one on one macro coaching, we’d love to help. Register for our next coaching session HERE.