Meet Stay Fit Mom Ninja Carolyn! She kicked off the Stay Fit Mom coaching program January 1st, but her commitment to this process has long exceeded the “New Year, New You” hype! Carolyn is eating 450+ calories more per day than when she started and has lost 17.5 pounds in 16 weeks, which is about an average of 1 pound a week. She is looking incredible, getting stronger/faster, and feeling good! Let’s be inspired by Carolyn!
Tell us a little bit about your story. Work? Married? Kids? What does a typical day in your life look like?
Carolyn: Hi all! My name is Carolyn. I’m a 41-year-old mom of an adorable, energetic, sweet yet stubborn 3-year-old daughter and married now for almost 9 years to my husband who I’ve been with for 20 years this fall. We live in Southern New Hampshire with our cat Clo-he (Chloe until we found out he was a boy when I took him for a pre-spaying check up, whoops!) I work full-time as the marketing and communications specialist for a small, non-profit healthcare administrator that provides health benefits for school districts, towns and public entities in the state. I’ve spent my entire 19-year career in communications with a decade as a reporter, editor and copy editor for news publications, and 9 years in nonprofit communications, many in a fairly high-stress field of advocacy for abused and neglected children.
A typical day in my life is pretty much living the routine of a working mom. We get up and get ready for school and work. I typically eat when I get to work. After work it’s daycare pick up and then we generally have about 60 to 90 minutes for playtime/dinner/bath before bedtime for her, which lately can take up to an hour (how do 3-year-olds get so good at the bedtime stall tactics so fast?!) I really try to simplify dinner by getting it prepped while my daughter is eating, having leftovers, or just something super easy so I have time to squeeze in a workout before hand. Or, I’ll get the workout in while something is baking in the oven.
Weekends we spend our time playing at home, exploring new playgrounds and hanging with family and friends.
What made you decide to sign up for SFM macro coaching and how long did you follow along before taking the plunge?
Carolyn: I decided to sign up for macro coaching after about four months of being a Ninja Insider. I’d discovered Krista on my FYP on TikTok and started following her and Tracy on all my social channels sometime in early 2022. I joined Ninja Insiders in July 2022 to get access to more recipes and a better idea of what coaching was all about. Like so many others, I absolutely fell in love with Krista’s recipes, but I was hesitant to take the plunge for a few reasons. The main one being I wasn’t sure I could stick with it and I was tired of failing. I’ve tried so many diets and different ways of eating over the years and just never stuck with any of them for more than a couple months.
I was a competitive runner in high school and college where I had a coach and good dietary guidelines, and soon after graduating jumped into a career filled with deadlines and stress, fueled by coffee and bad food choices. In the last 19 years I’ve packed on about 60 pounds. I fluctuated a ton for a few years, losing weight and gaining it back during the high stress points in my life. Additionally, we struggled with infertility for 5 years before getting pregnant with our daughter, and hormone injections are no joke and sent me all over the place emotionally and physically. When we finally got pregnant I’d been really focused on eating well and continued to throughout my pregnancy. I gained only 19 pounds and I lost all of it and then some in the first couple weeks after having our daughter. I thought, “Great, just keep this weight off,” but once again I let my eating habits slide and gained all of it back and then some, and was the heaviest I’ve been outside of pregnancy this past fall. My energy was low, my knees hurt and I saw pictures of myself at a wedding in October and decided I needed to make a real change.
I wanted to have the energy to run around with my kid, I wanted to look at photos and not cringe at how I looked, I want to show my daughter what healthy and strong look like and pass that along to her, so I signed up beginning Jan. 1 and decided that I was going to shoot to lose 40 pounds this year and get back into a healthier weight range and build my fitness back up – which had dropped off for several months due to an ongoing knee issue.
You’ve been crushing this process since January! How have you been able to stick it out long after the New Year’s resolution motivation wore off?
Carolyn: Seeing progress on and off the scale and wanting to keep that going has been critical. The energy I’ve gained, the feeling of accomplishment in seeing my comparison photos week to week, even the weeks when the scale hasn’t moved much. These are all things that are helping me. Also, I have kind of grown to love the game of it – trying to make my macros as close to triple zero as possible. Yes there are challenging days and weeks with macro counting. Grocery shortages that cause me to have to shift my plans for the week while I’m in the store, days not going as expected and having to change things up in the beginning left me wondering why I even signed up for. But as the weeks have gone on, I’ve been able to put the puzzle together so much more quickly. I’ve come to terms with consistency over perfection. I’ve found it overall to be a lot easier to stick with than I first expected, which has also kept me moving forward. I love that I can eat the foods I love and still meet my numbers and see progress.
How has macro counting surprised you?
Carolyn: I honestly thought it was going to be so much more of a hassle logging all my food. But MyFitnessPal has definitely made the process so much easier, and once you get into it, tracking and logging foods takes just a few minutes a day. I also kind of love playing Macro Tetris and I wasn’t really expecting that. If I’m getting to the end of my day and have the time, I will 100 percent play with what I still haven’t eaten to try to hit those triple zeroes. I’ve been surprised (even though I was warned) by how much I eat in a day. Sometimes I get toward the end of the day and realize, oops, I need to eat a bunch more to hit my numbers. I realize how distorted my image of food has been over the years and it’s refreshing to move past those misconceptions and restrictions I’ve imposed on myself previously.
What would you say to women that are hesitant to start macro counting?
Carolyn: There is commitment involved if you want to see change – no matter your goal. And consistency is so critical. You DO NOT have to be perfect every day and you should still live your life, but take stock of what your goals are, how fast you want to reach them and how committed you are willing to be. It might mean having a seltzer with a splash of cran instead of a vodka tonic when you are out with friends unless you feel it’s worth the splurge that night. It might mean making pizza at home instead of ordering out (still delicious!) and it takes time to plan and prep if you are going to hit your numbers. But it gets easier than it feels in the first few weeks and this will not have to be your life forever. You are gaining education and tools to come back to over and over. If you have big goals and want to see change you have to take a big leap. When you are willing to live outside your comfort zone is when you’re bound to see the most growth and change.
How do you make macro counting work with your everyday life?
Carolyn: It felt really overwhelming at first. I was trying to plan every meal for the week before the week started and I was driving myself bonkers trying to input every recipe myself to account for minor changes in ingredients. Plus, I’d have this entire plan in place and then I’d get to the grocery store and there would be no eggs or egg whites, none of the cheese I needed, one night there wasn’t a chicken breast to be found, and I’d be so stressed that I wasn’t going to make my week work. I realized I just couldn’t keep that up long term. So now I try to put together a loose plan for each week and we have go-to really easy dinners that have good macro balance for nights where we are short on time.
I have a few go-to breakfasts that I LOVE and I know that if I’m planning a higher carb breakfast, like the strawberry Nutella pancakes or overnight oats, that I should plan a lunch that my carbs mostly come from veggies to keep me full but keep my day on track. I love a good carb with dinner, like rice or pasta, so I really just think about what I want my day to look like and what will make me feel most satisfied at the end of the day, because if I feel like I’m depriving myself, I won’t stick with it. I’m also a treat after dinner die-hard, so I always make sure I have some carbs for whatever that’s going to be, even if it’s something as small as 4 sour gummy bears.
I try to prep breakfasts at the beginning of the week, as those are the hardest for me on the fly. And if I can’t get to prepping lunches on Sunday, too, I’ll often do a super easy dinner on Monday so I can get my lunches taken care of on Monday evening. As long as I get a good handle on those two meals, I can almost always make my day work.
I’m also obsessed with a specific deli turkey from our local supermarket and I ALWAYS have it in my fridge for a protein boost if I need it. (If you are a New Englander and have a Hannaford nearby – low sodium honey maple turkey. It’s amazing!) I keep a number of different snacks on hand that give me a fill of protein or carbs or fat and fill in based on what I need for the day.
How has your macro journey impacted other areas of your life besides just needing a new wardrobe?
Carolyn: It has definitely impacted my energy levels. I was taking a nap every weekend, at least one day and sometimes both, when our daughter took a nap. I can’t remember the last time I did that. It’s been weeks. Now I’m using that time to meal prep, shop, exercise or get stuff done around the house.
It’s also given me some self confidence back, I’m just feeling better in my own skin. On the day I’m writing this, my boss mentioned completely out of the blue that she can see how much progress I’ve made.
But the biggest thing is it’s given me is part of me back. I think what I was most unprepared for becoming a mom is the loss of identity I’ve experienced. A big part of my life pre-kid was participating in local group runs and road races, but between Covid and injury and wanting to spend what little time I have during the week with my daughter, I’ve been very inactive in that arena. My last three years have been so focused on being a mom, that I’ve almost forgotten how to be myself. But doing this has been something for me. It’s been something that is making me feel good both physically and emotionally. It’s helped me refocus on rehabbing my knee and I signed up for my first race since the fall of 2021 coming up in early May (at least partially on my high school cross country course!). I LOVE being a mom, I love our little family, but I definitely need to take more time for myself, and this has reminded me that.
Tell us about your experience working with Coach Heather.
Carolyn: Working with Heather has been wonderful. She is motivating, always has great responses to my check ins, answers for questions and is available when things come up mid-week that I can’t figure out on my own. Having accountability with Heather each week has made me really stick to my goal of 6 or 7 green days each week. I’m so appreciative of her recommending me for this client spotlight, even if it means posting embarrassing before photos online. I appreciate her approach and the attitude that your goals can be met if you are willing to put in the work, but that you should still live your life too. It helps me find the balance I need to continue seeing success.
What Coach Heather has to say about working with Carolyn.
Heather: Carolyn is an absolute joy to coach! She has the most incredible attitude and is always willing to put in the hard work. She has had her share of tough weeks along the way, but she always pushes through and keeps that consistency high. This has helped her make incredible progress! Carolyn is eating 458 more calories each day than when she started and has lost 17.5 lbs in 16 weeks, which is about an average of 1 lb a week. She is looking incredible, getting stronger/faster, and feeling good! Her progress is inspiring!
If you’re interested in joining our 1:1 coaching program, we’d love to have you. Find out more information HERE.