Ep #1: How to Be Strong as a Working Mom

Strong as a Working Mom with Carrie Holland | How to Be Strong as a Working Mom
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Welcome to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast, I am super excited to be here with you! This show has been a long time coming, and I’m so glad I finally got out of my own way, blew the dust off my microphone, and finally got to work to bring it to you. If you are a working woman who wants to feel better, you are in the right place, it’s game on!

So many women I work with are getting by, but they are not thriving. I believe we can change that, in fact, I am proof we can. For my first episode, I’m introducing myself and sharing a little about my background, and how I went from physician to personal trainer to life coach. Hear the mission for this podcast, how I am here to help you with your fitness and wellness, and the key component you have been missing so far in these areas.

Many of you are not living in the body you want because you don’t have the time or energy to figure out how to eat and exercise in the way that suits you. But it is absolutely possible to feel whole professionally, personally, and physically without having to sacrifice your sanity in the process. Join me this week as I share the three components of wellness and what’s currently missing from your fitness plan (hint: it’s not what you think!) and show you how to take the first step to the mind and body you want.


To celebrate the launch of the show, I’m giving away a wellness journal to five lucky listeners who follow, rate and review the show. I want your honest opinion and feedback so I can create an awesome show, and make it a useful, fun resource for you.

Click here to learn more about the contest and how to enter!


What You Will Discover:

  • Who this podcast is for and what is available to you when you listen.
  • Two simple formulas to help with your fitness and wellness.
  • Why self-care is often the first thing to go out the window as a busy mom, but the thing we often need most.
  • The benefits that any exercise – even as small as 10 minutes – can have.
  • Why you cannot change any problem until you understand it.
  • Some reasons movement and exercise of any type is so important.
  • Why you get to choose your thoughts and how to do so.
  • Some questions to ask yourself around your relationship with food and exercise.

Listen to the Full Episode:

Follow on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher

Featured on the Show:

  • To celebrate the launch of the show, I’m giving away a wellness journal to five lucky listeners who follow, rate, and review the show. Click here to learn more.

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Strong As a Working Mom podcast Episode #1. Today, you’ll learn what’s missing from your fitness plan, and it has nothing to do with carbohydrates.

Welcome to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast. If you’re balancing career, family, wellness, and some days sanity, you are in the right place. This is where high achieving, busy working moms get the tools they need to eat, move, and think. I’m your host, physician, personal trainer and Certified Life Coach Carrie Holland. Let’s do this.

Hey, how are you? I’m Carrie. I’m super excited to be bringing you this podcast. This show has been a long time coming. I’m glad that I got out of my own way, blew the dust off the microphone that literally has been sitting in my closet for a year, and finally got to work to bring this to you. Now that I’ve hit the record button, it’s game on!

So, when I was preparing for this very first podcast, I kept thinking about an analogy that I had heard over and over in medical school and it seems relevant here. I lost count of the number of professors and faculty who told me that med school was like drinking from a fire hydrant. That’s a great analogy; drinking from a fire hydrant.

But after having gone through med school, I get it and they were totally right. Now that this podcast is underway, I feel like the fire hydrant. Because I have so many tools, and concepts, and ideas to share with you. I pretty much had to simmer myself down and filter, in order to get the very foundational pieces of fitness that you need to know today, before we move forward.

So, today I’m going to share with you what’s missing from your fitness plan. And it’s totally not what you think. It has nothing to do with protein or squats, calorie counting, macros, really any of that stuff. Now, I promise we will most definitely get into all of those things in future episodes, because truth be told, I absolutely love to nerd out about all things fitness. But I want you to understand some key ideas before we get into any of that.

So why are we here? And why does this podcast exist? Well, my hope is, if you came across this podcast, you are a working woman who wants to feel better. My mission for this podcast is simple: It’s to connect with and provide a space for working moms who believe that having it all is not a unicorn fantasy.

To me, that means you can be a woman, have a meaningful career that’s more than a hobby, and you can have family, relationships, and wellness. You can feel whole professionally, personally and physically without having to sacrifice your sanity in the process. So many of the women I work with are getting by, but they’re not thriving. And I believe that we can change that. In fact, I’m proof that we can change that.

If you’re shaking your head thinking to yourself, “I don’t have the time. What the heck is she talking about?” You are most definitely in the right place. So, as you get to know me, you’ll learn I don’t take myself too seriously. But I most definitely take my work seriously. I’m going to share stories and experiences from my work as a wife, mom, physician, coach, all those titles. Along with, some sarcasm, because that’s me and that’s just how I roll.

But let me be clear, you do not have to be any of those things, including sarcastic, in order to benefit from this podcast. All I ask, is that you have an interest in feeling better. And as I say to my clients, “Take what resonates with you and leave the rest.”

Truly, if at the end of this podcast, one person walks away with a new idea, or tool, or concept that helps to create more alignment in her life, then I have achieved my mission and I’m high-fiving myself. So, how the heck did I go from physician to personal trainer to life coach? Well, the quick and dirty is this: I had a plan, and my plan did not go as intended. Once I finished my medical training, and I got my first real doctor job, I thought I was set.

I figured I would juggle seeing patients, race to the hospital, deliver babies, teach the medical students, make Pinterest crafts with my kids, maintain relationship with my husband, go to dinner with my friends, walk my dog, sleep, exercise, all of that until I retire.

That was the plan I made for myself, because I’m a planner and I figured this is what working moms do. And here was the problem, and maybe you can relate to this. I got to my late 30’s, and while on paper I looked pretty good; I checked all the boxes. On the inside, I was a disaster.

I kept asking myself, “Now what?” Because I was totally tired mentally and physically, and I was definitely not taking care of myself. I pretty much felt like a jack of all trades, master of none. This was absolutely not part of my plan. Therapy and antidepressants were also not part of my plan. And while they helped, it really wasn’t until I came across coaching that my life started to change.

So, using the foundational piece of coaching, which is a future focus, I started looking for things that brought me joy. This was all with the guidance of a coach. When I really started to look at what brought me joy, it was exercise and nutrition.

Taking that, I did the only thing I knew how to do, which was study and take tests. But this time, I chose my course of study with a lot more intention. So, I got my personal training certification, and I started training clients at the gym where I worked out. Then, I got a health and life coach certification.

I slowly started cutting back at my clinical practice as I built up a coaching practice. And what was cool was, once I started looking, it was not hard to find “us.” There are other busy, tired working moms who felt the same way I did, because we are everywhere. And the more I started working with these moms, the more I realized we have some common desires.

We want it all, and we don’t want to feel like we have to choose. The problem is, how do you have it all when you have two full time jobs; one at home and one at work? Now, I am fortunate to work with so many insanely smart, ambitious and driven women. Many of them have partners and families. And they are constantly grinding to bring their best to both their work and their families.

What I’ve realized is that this comes at a cost; just like it came at a cost for me. And the cost, across the board, is self-care, wellness, feeling good. One of my clients said it best, and I told her I was going to steal this: She said that, “When things get crazy at work or home, taking care of myself is the first thing to go. But it’s really what I need the most. And wellness goes out the window.” And that’s it. That’s where we have room to improve.

It is absolutely possible to take care of yourself while managing your career and family. In fact, it’s a necessity. So, let’s get to it. Let’s talk about what’s missing. What is it that’s missing from your fitness plan? As I said before, this has absolutely nothing to do with carbohydrates.

Often, when I start working with a client, she tells me she needs to start exercising and eating better. Quite honestly, that’s the first thing that most women tell me and why they start working with me. And the thing is, they’re right, to a degree.

But here we go, take a second and answer this question and answer it honestly: Are you too busy for fitness? Do you have enough time for fitness?

So, I’m going to keep it very simple because that’s how my mind works, and I want to keep this as uncomplicated as possible. I also like math, and I’m going to give you some very simple equations to walk away with at the end of the show, so stick with me here. Okay?

When you think of the word fitness, let’s break this down a little bit, what do you think? I’ll give you my thoughts, first. The first part of fitness is moving, exercise. Exercise is most definitely important, and I will argue that there is not a single person on this planet who wouldn’t benefit from moving more. Unlike most areas of science, this is one area where people agree and the literature backs it up. So, you probably know this already, but exercise is good for your body. We know that.

But don’t forget what it does for your mood. It’s been shown over and over again that a single bout of exercise can reduce symptoms of mild depression and anxiety. That’s like one 10-minute walk; a single bout. That is a faster onset of action than any antidepressant I’ve ever prescribed. It’s pretty sweet.

Here’s the other thing. Exercise is definitely not a means to an end for creating the body you want. So, this may be oversimplifying things, but you can use exercise in a couple of different ways. If you’ve had a stinky day, you can use exercise to get out of your head, and sweat. Or, if you’ve had a stinky day, you can use exercise to get into your head and figure out your junk while you walk, or lift weights, or work up a sweat. Exercise can be the way you start your day. It can be your midday break. Or, it can be how you punctuate the end of your work day. You can use it how you need it. But the key here is that exercise, while it’s a tool for your body, it’s a tool for your brain. And I would argue, that in order to have fitness, you’ve got to move your body.

Let me clarify. This does not mean you’ve got to get under a squat bar and squat twice your body weight, or run a marathon. A 10-minute walk counts. But in order to be fit, you have to move your body. So, think about it. If you live in a body that doesn’t allow you to run around with your kids, or pick up a box of groceries from the floor, or climb a flight of stairs without losing your breath; are you fit?

That’s another reason why movement is so important; it’s functional. It keeps you mobile, and it allows you to do the things you got to do to get through your life. And that’s without pain or without limitations. Truthfully, the older we get, the more important this is.

So, I don’t know if you can relate, but I had my kids when I was a little older because I was too busy studying. While I am pushing fifty, they’re pretty young, and constantly remind me of that. And truthfully, I want to be able to bust a move with my kids at their wedding, so I need to be fit. I need to move.

Truly, it does not matter what kind of movement you do. The key here is to find something that you love, or something you can at least tolerate and do it regularly. So, that’s the movement, piece of fitness. Very simple. Find what you love, find something you can tolerate, and move your body regularly.

Alright, so the second component of fitness, remember, we’re keeping it very simple here; is eating. Everybody’s got to eat. But this is where many, if not most, of my clients really struggle.

Let me ask you this: What’s your relationship with food? Are you happy with the way you eat? Are you trying to lose weight? Are you eating in a way that feels good to you? Or, are you so busy that you don’t have time to plan ahead, and your diet consists of mostly processed food, fast food, or takeout? Let’s talk about it. So, I see this all the time, and I promise you’re not alone. Often, you’re so busy working and shuttling kids, folding laundry and managing your house that nutrition takes a backseat to both your work and your family. Now, I know for many of you, you may not be living in the body you want, because you haven’t had either the time or energy to figure out how to eat in a way that works for you.

If you’re trying to lose weight, you already know it is not as simple as just eat less; overeating, emotional eating, mindless eating, they are real, and they are common. And if you add to that the problem of the widely available cheap, ultra-processed food we have, it is no wonder we have a problem.

So, you have to eat. But here’s the thing, you get to choose what, how much, when, and where you eat. And it’s these choices that ultimately will impact your fitness. Too often we don’t plan ahead, and we are left making choices at the last minute that don’t serve us.

What should you do? How should you eat? I get this question all the time. And we will most definitely cover nutrition in future episodes. In fact, episode two answers this question; how should you eat? But that’s not the main topic of today. Let me leave you with this, spoiler alert, there is absolutely no one right way to eat, no matter what anybody tells you. There is no one diet truth.

So, that’s it. There’s eating. And there’s moving. I wanted to touch briefly on exercise nutrition, because so many women think that this is their ticket to feeling better. And it’s with good reason. Look at social media, turn on your TV, go to the diet book section at the bookstore. Everywhere you turn, somebody has a new diet, a new workout, a cleanse, a powder, something that claims to bring you fitness, weight loss, better sleep, better skin, basically a better life, seriously.

But all of these things have something in common. They’re all action oriented. And this is what’s missing. What’s missing from your plan is your thoughts, your emotions, your brain; you have to think.

So, I saved thinking for last because this is where I made my mistake. And I hope you can learn from my mistake. I’ll use myself as an example. A few years ago, I was the fittest I’ve ever been. And I was about to step on stage for a bodybuilding show, which was ultimately canceled by the pandemic.

But, while I was super fit, I was going through probably the most difficult season of my adult life, so far. Despite being fit, a stink on the outside, I was an absolute disaster on the inside. But here’s where I screwed up; I thought, “Well, if I’m eating and moving properly things should be good. By all accounts I’m fit.” But I was totally wrong.

So, think of it this way. Eating and moving are external actions. You eat in this time window, you avoid such and such food, you walk for 30 minutes, three sets of 10 reps on the bench press. Do this, do that, and you will feel better. You will be fit.

But what happens when you’ve had a horrible day at work and you skip your workout? Or, what happens when that one skipped workout leads to two, or three, or a week of missed workouts because you’re so stressed and so tired you don’t know which way is up.

Or, what happens when you’ve had an argument with your partner and all you want to do is devour a pint of Ben and Jerry’s™. By the way, Chunky Monkey™ is my longtime favorite. And what about when you’re trying to give up sweets and your family and friends keep telling you, “Just one won’t kill you,” then what do you do? Do the diet books or influencers tell you how to manage that? The books and the plans, they don’t give you the answers to these problems. Because those answers are not in a book. The answers are in your very own, very smart, very strong brain. The answers are in your thoughts.

But here’s the thing, fitness does not do you any good without wellness. They go together. So, here it is, and this is the key, here’s your math, Okay? Fitness = Eat + Move; that’s external. Wellness = Eat + Move + Think; that’s using your mind. And you do not have wellness until you have all three components. That’s where the missing piece comes in; you manage your brain.

What this means is that in order to make your habit stick, and in order to move and eat in a way that aligns with your fitness, you manage your thoughts. Otherwise, your fitness is temporary.

How you think will ultimately determine how you eat and how you move. Thinking is where the real change happens, but it’s also the hardest, don’t get me wrong. Know this, your brain is the most powerful tool you have for creating wellness in your life. It’s more powerful than your biceps, or your quads, or your willpower to say ‘no’ to a cookie in the break room. It’s your brain.

So, let’s go back to my original question. Do you have enough time for fitness? What does your brain say? I’m going to use an example that I get all the time, just because it’s so common. You may be able to relate here; If you think to yourself, “I do not have enough time to exercise or eat the way I want,” how does that make you feel? Now, I use this sentence because I hear it so often.

What is the feeling, when you think to yourself, “I don’t have enough time to exercise or eat the way I want,” is it frustrated? Hopeless? Sad? Irritated? Stuck? Disempowered? I get it, I hear it all the time; you are busy. And this might be a sentence you’ve said to yourself so many times, that it’s your truth. But I want to offer you a different thought. So, try this thought on for size instead. What would happen if you thought to yourself, “It is possible that I could make time for exercise and eating better?” Let me repeat that. “It is possible that I could make time for exercise and eating better.”

Now, when you think that thought, how does that make you feel? Hopeful? Empowered? Inspired? Motivated? Do you see the difference here? All we did was look at your thoughts.

Here is the most awesome thing about your thoughts; you get to choose them. I’ve just given you the key of what you’ve been missing. This is the key to your fitness, it’s not the carbs. And in turn, it is the key to your wellness.

It’s managing your thinking; your thoughts create your feelings, which in turn, lead to your actions. So, when it comes to exercise, eating, managing your time, juggling your career, really any problem you’re facing, you get to choose your thoughts.

Let’s go back to fitness. When you choose to think that you might be able to make time for exercise and focusing on your nutrition, and you truly believe it, that’s when things start to change. And don’t worry if you’re not in a space where you’re absolutely believing that it’s possible to make time for fitness. Use some of these words; maybe, somehow, I might be able to, it’s possible. Again, do you see the difference? When you say, “I don’t have time for fitness,” you’re essentially slamming the door shot and locking it.

But by choosing to think ‘maybe’ or ‘it’s possible,’ or ‘somehow,’ there it is; there’s the crack in the window, there’s the open window to the possibility of change. You do not need a diet book or a protein powder to do any of these things. All you need is your mind. Super cool.

Here are the things I’m going to ask you to think about. If you don’t have time for eating and moving, why? What are your thoughts when it comes to making time for fitness? Get really specific, and answer the question. What do you think about when it comes to making time for fitness?

Then, think about the math equations I just shared with you. So, to review really quick, Eat + Move = Fitness; Eat + Move + Think = Wellness. And again, I’m oversimplifying, but I’ve really like simple. The next time you think to yourself, “I don’t have time for…” whatever it is; eating, moving, hanging with your kids, going to dinner with your husband, book club with your friends, whatever. Ask yourself what it feels like when you say to yourself, “I am too busy. I don’t have time for…” and the goal, in this very simple exercise, is simply to create awareness.

We cannot change anything or fix any problem until we understand it. So, pay attention to the sentences in your brain, because that is where your power lies. And if I can be so bold, I’m going to make a promise, it’s this: Once you practice thinking in a way that supports you and is compassionate, the eating and moving become a heck of a lot easier.

That’s what I want to leave you with today. Eat + Move + Think; that right there, that is the formula for how you get to be as Strong as a Working Mom.

Thank you so much for being here with me today. I am so excited to share lots of information with you. And, as I alluded to earlier in the podcast, our next episode is going to answer that million-dollar question; what the heck do I eat?

So, I look forward to talking with you every week. I can’t wait to catch up with you again next week. I’ll see you then.

To celebrate the launch of the show, I’m going to be giving away a Wellness Journal to five listeners who follow, rate, and review the show.

So, you do not have to give it five stars, although I certainly hope you love what you’ve heard so far. But more than anything, please give me your honest opinion and feedback so I can create an awesome show for you. I would love it if you shared your questions and thoughts, so I can make the show a useful and fun resource for you.

Visit CarrieHollandMD.com/podcastlaunch to learn more about the contest and how to enter. I’ll be announcing winners on the show in an upcoming episode. See you next week.

Thanks for listening to Strong as a Working Mom. If you want more information on how to eat, move, and think so you can live in the body you want with the mind match, visit me at CarrieHollandMD.com

Enjoy the Show?

7 thoughts on “Ep #1: How to Be Strong as a Working Mom”

  1. Christine Sokomba

    Eat + Move = Fitness
    Eat + Move + Think = Wellness
    Such good information! Thanks so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge!

  2. Carrie is so well spoken and has crafted a wonderful episode. I am a busy professional mother of 5 beautiful beings. So much of Carrie’s teaching resonates big time. Thank you so much. Love it.

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