MOLO Mom - Four Years Later!
When I started the Mother Love Challenge (MOLO) in 2016 I was about to turn 40 and was told by my doctor that I was pre-diabetic, hypertensive, had high cholesterol, and a vitamin deficiency.
At the same time, I worked out almost every day. I thought I was eating fairly healthy. OK...so I never stuck with the lifestyle changes long enough to change what was actually going on INSIDE, at the core. That was it. I got my butt in gear and made a plan with my doctor to improve my “numbers” through diet and exercise.
Game on. I love a challenge!
I worked with a registered dietitian, and followed the weekly MOLO challenges. It paid off! I lost pounds and inches, all my “numbers” had improved and I was named MOLO Mom of the Year!
The amount of well-intentioned health advice out there can be overwhelming for anyone. Moms have the added pressure of trying to balance their health with ensuring the health of their entire family. As the main grocery shopper and meal preparer we are the first introduction to healthy living for our children. I’m so grateful to have had Mother Love (MOLO) challenges to follow. My health outcome would have been very different without the direction and support of my Mom Strong community throughout MOLO. After each MOLO challenge, I chose at least one take-away and incorporated that into my family’s lifestyle. Here are my top 5 MOLO takeaways (BONUS - I've been maintaining each of these for the past 4 years):
Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!: I found a 25 oz. water bottle that was easy to thoroughly clean and fit perfectly in the water dispenser of my refrigerator. Everyone in the family has one and we make it a practice to fill our water bottles every night before bed. I also keep water by my bed so it’s the first thing I drink in the morning, and I make sure to take a full water bottle (and a full spare) with me everywhere I go. I try to drink water before every meal and snack because sometimes I’m just thirsty and not hungry at all.
Cutting added sugars: This was by far the hardest thing to do and it is still a daily work in progress for me. Yes, even four years later. During MOLO, the 'Reduce your use of sugar & artificial sweeteners' weekly challenge always falls right before my Valentine's Day birthday. Well played. Well. Played. I started small because cutting added sugars completely is like an addict going cold turkey off of any addictive substance. I knew immediately the first thing that had to go -I had a Grande-Skinny-Soy-Caramel-Macchiato-a day-habit, and not only was it costing almost $6 per day, but at 8-10 grams of sugar per serving it was a no-brainer. And wow did that make a substantial difference! It gave me the confidence to cut other sugary foods billed as “healthy” out. Understanding the different names for sugar has made me more mindful about reading nutrition labels and I’ve become more aware about how I fuel my body.
Moderation not Deprivation: On the challenge’s Facebook group someone used ‘moderation not deprivation’ in a comment and that really resonated with me. Although I have heard ‘experts’ saying similar things, reading about another mom’s experience in our community was the motivation I needed. Instead of depriving myself I simply ate less and made more mindful choices. For example, I still ate my slice of pizza but I paired it with a big salad (dressing on the side). You know what? I was too full for that second slice. I still enjoyed my birthday cake but served myself a smaller slice with a full cup of water. So instead of cutting out whole food groups from my plate, I just ate smaller portions.
Meal preparation: It took me a good two or three MOLO experiences to get meal preparation right. My first try was an EPIC fail because in my excitement I started too big and it became overwhelming. But I learned and the third time was the charm!
I started by prepping one meal, breakfast, because it set the pace for the rest of my day. My go-to breakfast prep is dry oatmeal with all my pre-measured dry ingredients in mason jars. I’m not a fan of overnight oats. I add warm water or milk in the morning. I also like the idea of salads in a jar but after a week it’s just not practical for me. Instead I like to separate my salad ingredients in air-tight glass dishes, then for lunch I pick and choose what I want in my salad that day. It’s getting me closer to achieving my dream of my own personal salad bar in my kitchen. Sigh! A girl’s gotta have a dream!
Get your family moving too: You can Google any study and it will lead to the same conclusion: parents that model healthy habits will pass those same healthy habits onto their kids, who will then pass it to their kids, as so on. My kids have been watching me exercise at Baby Boot Camp since they were babies and now at 9 and 6 they understand that making time to exercise is a necessary part of our day. We go for long walks, hikes, or bike rides when the weather is nice. We make up obstacle courses inside, have dance parties or do yoga together during cold, snowy or rainy days. Having my family along with me on this journey has led to successes that I wouldn’t have achieved alone. I truly believe this healthy lifestyle has reversed what would have been detrimental generational health outcomes for me and for my children. Together we broke the cycle and I am so grateful for the MOLO experience - we ARE so worth it Mamas!
Carolyn Morris is a Baby Boot Camp Instructor with Baby Boot Camp Morristown & Parsippany, NJ.
Carolyn is an ACE Group Fitness certified Instructor and has taught with Baby Boot Camp Morristown & Parsippany, NJ for almost 2-1/2yrs. She came to Baby Boot Camp as a client when her oldest was 9 months old, fell in love with the community & even become the 2016 MOLO Mom of the Year! Carolyn is currently working on starting FIT4Kidz, which is a Bootcamp program for kids to encourage them to love and value exercise.
Here's what Carolyn had to say about her MOLO journey back in 2016 - "MOLO has been about challenge, dedication, comradeship, accountability, change, and most importantly, new beginnings. This is truly a beginning for me because I know my journey has been bigger than pounds or inches lost, and I feel healthier than I did when I started. One day, one goal at a time!"