A Nurse, a Pandemic, and a Success Story

Sarah before and after

Sarah before and after

Meet Sarah, a member of Nerd Fitness Coaching who has one of the hardest jobs you can have today: a nurse in a hospital!

Want to know what’s incredible about Sarah?

During the toughest year and a half of her career, Sarah also managed to get healthy and build a body she’s proud of!

If your first thought is “that’s totally bonkers,” welp, you’re not alone my friend.

That was my initial response too!

I’m sure you’re excited to find out how Sarah achieved her incredible results, all while fighting the pandemic.

Let’s jump right in!

How Sarah Found Success: 6 Lessons LearnedSarah before and afterSarah before and after

#1) It’s Okay to “Respawn” as Many Times as You Need

NF Coaching was not Sarah’s first rodeo.

In the past, Sarah had tried:

  • A gym membership (that she never used): “I found it intimidating and didn’t know what to do when I was there. So I never ended up going.”
  • Fitness classes: “I’d need to work extra hours and then I’d miss a class during the week. That would snowball into never going back.”
  • Hiring a personal trainer: “It felt like the trainers didn’t know how to adjust their programs to accommodate my needs (I’ve had major knee surgery and there are certain exercises my surgeon recommended modifying or avoiding), so it became intimidating and discouraging.”

Oh, and that’s not to mention all the diets Sarah has tried!

“I’ve tried many different fad diets, tracking all my food intake, meal delivery services, etc.

But I had an all-or-nothing mentality with anything nutrition-related. A single slip made me feel like a complete failure. I’d then give up and go right back to my old eating habits.

I knew I wanted to change, but after years of stagnating I just wasn’t sure if I could do it alone.”

Takeaway: Sarah (like many in our Online Coaching Program), tried to get in shape time and time again. But she never saw any lasting progress.

While this can be incredibly frustrating (I’ve gone through this myself), if you find yourself relating, I want you to know: it’s okay.

It’s totally normal and common for us to take a few attempts (or more) until something finally clicks:

The important thing is to keep trying and to try differently.

As long as we haven’t thrown in the towel completely, progress can still be made.

#2) Sarah Decided to Put Her Oxygen Mask on First

Sarah before and after

Sarah before and after

Sarah is a nurse, so it’s not too surprising that she usually put others’ needs before herself.

“Prior to NF Coaching, I prioritized work above everything else – it led to long hours, lots of stress, and poor eating habits (I’d eat every meal at the hospital I worked at, which meant takeout or cafeteria food).

When I wasn’t at the hospital I was so burnt out from work that I felt like I didn’t have the energy or time to do anything else. So I would just spend the time playing video games to try and relax.

Work was my excuse for everything – why I couldn’t get healthy, why I was miserable, why I couldn’t spend time with friends, etc.

Since I work in healthcare, I tried to justify it as the greater good, because I was helping people.

However, I’ve now learned that making the effort to change my habits and adopt a healthier lifestyle actually is still helping others. That’s because today I have way more energy and resilience (both from a physical and mental standpoint).

This lets me do a better job in all aspects of my work and life.

Takeaway: Airlines always remind us that in an emergency, we need to put our oxygen masks on first, before we start helping others.

Alf putting on an oxygen mask

Alf putting on an oxygen mask

Even if we want to, we’re not going to help anyone else if we’re busy suffocating!

Sarah learned this herself after years in the healthcare field.

She spent so much time helping others, she forgot to look after herself!

So remember: put your oxygen mask on first.

It isn’t being selfish. As Sarah learned, it’s actually one of the best ways to help others.

#3) Sarah Still Allows Herself Some Treats

Sarah before and after

Sarah before and after

Working in a hospital can be stressful.

So Sarah drinks a cup of coffee with a little hot chocolate every time she goes to work.

I think this is great!

It gives Sarah something to look forward to on a stressful day.

Sarah explains:

“Ah yes, my morning coffee with hot chocolate in it…hmmmm, so tasty.

That’s been my treat throughout the pandemic. It brings a little happiness and self-care to a hectic day.

At first, I was worried it was something I’d need to eliminate to follow a healthy diet, but my coach helped me realize little treats can still have their place

It’s an intentional decision and something I look forward to on my workdays.”

Takeaway: Healthy eating doesn’t mean we eliminate every single treat from our lives.

And no, we don’t have to wait for “cheat day” or whatever either. The term “cheat day” implies we’re doing something wrong. Life is too dang short.

If drinking a little hot chocolate makes us happy, we should do it!

As long as we have the big pieces in place (protein with most meals, lots of veggies, etc.) a daily treat can be fine. Beneficial even.

Speaking of getting the big pieces in place…

#4) Sarah Practices Meal Prep Sunday

Sarah before and after

Sarah before and after

“At the beginning of NF Coaching, we focused on meal planning and prepping.

This has been really successful.

A little bit of time on Sunday means that it’s actually faster and easier for me to eat healthy during the week, as opposed to grabbing take-out.

I’ll put on a podcast and spend a bit of time pre-chopping everything and prepping containers that are easy to grab.

Some of my go-to meals include:

  • Scrambled eggs with ham and veggies for breakfast.
  • Vegetables with hummus and crackers for lunch.
  • A piece of fruit or some protein (almonds) for an afternoon snack.

I’m glad I started the practice of Meal Prep Sunday, because it saves me so much time.

Takeaway: Planning our next meal can be super helpful when trying to eat healthily.

A good way to go about this is cooking in bulk. That way breakfast or lunch just takes a microwave to “cook.”

Hand pressing microwave button

Hand pressing microwave button

It works for Sarah and it works for me as well.

Here are some tips for meal prepping for the week.

#5) Sarah Decided It Was Time to Try Something New (by Changing Less)

Sarah before and after

Sarah before and after

When you ask Sarah what surprised her about NF Coaching, she responds with “How easy it was!”

Sarah continues:

“I always assumed it would be difficult to lose weight. That it would mean giving up all good food and sacrificing my free time. That I’d just have to suffer through it.

But Coach Kerry really focused on working together to implement small changes slowly over time, so it never felt like I was drastically changing anything.

She helped show me how to make the good things easier, and the less desired things harder.

  • Easier like setting a reminder in my phone for my workouts and meal prepping
  • Harder like shifting the junk food to a less visible place in the panty.

Looking back, those small things have added up to a complete lifestyle change that I never would have thought possible. Yet it felt natural and easy.”

Takeaway: When we start a new habit, in a way we’re rewiring our brains.

Neurons lighting up a brain

Neurons lighting up a brain

We’re setting up new actions and rewards, like feeling good after a brief workout.

These sorts of things take time.

That’s why we go slow in NF Coaching. We know if we change everything at once, it’s going to take a while for our brains to adapt to all the new habits.

That’s why people often burn out when doing Whole30 or attempting some intense bootcamp.

But if we change one thing at a time – like Sarah eventually did – we allow the habit to form properly. Then we can jump into a new one and allow the process to repeat.

You’d be surprised just how effective this “one habit at a time” pace can be.

It helped Sarah feel like a new person…during a freaking pandemic!

Sarah in her old pants that are too big

Sarah in her old pants that are too big

So if you’ve had trouble getting in shape in the past, maybe try something different. Maybe try less.

#6) We Can All Use Some Help Now and Again

Sarah before and after

Sarah before and after

Sarah needed help prioritizing herself.

Luckily, a coach was able to show her how.

Sarah explains:

“I heard someone once say that the best investment you can make is in yourself.

I really think that’s true after seeing the change coaching has made in my life over the past year.

We’ve made gradual but permanent changes that will last a lifetime, and that would not have happened by myself.

To have that support, and know that there was someone who genuinely wanted to see me succeed and would cheer me on when I was tired – was invaluable.

It’s also sparked a real desire to keep changing and pushing myself, and that has extended into many other aspects of my life.”

Oh, and despite Sarah prioritizing herself more, she’s actually able to do a better job at work too. Critical considering the times we live in.

“One of the most mind-blowing things to me is that this all happened as a healthcare worker during a pandemic.

The work was harder than before, and yet life felt easier.

Learning to take care of myself and put my health first actually helped me recover from burnout at a time it should have been at its worst, and gave me the energy to be there for others when they most needed it.”

Takeaway: We can all use some help now and again.

Unless we’re some type of self-sufficient hermit in the mountains, we’re going to need help from others.

Cabin in the woods

Cabin in the woods

If you have abandoned society, I’m impressed with your ability to stay up to date on Nerd Fitness.

There’s no shame in this.

Like Sarah, we might learn that it actually allows us to help others better.

Want to Be Our Next Success Story? Put Yourself First!

If you’re interested in learning if our Online Coaching Program can help you today, you can speak with a member of our team.

They’ll explain the ins and outs of NF Coaching without being all pushy and salesy (I hate all that).

It’ll just be an honest discussion on how our program works and what to expect when you become a member.


If you want to see if you’re a good fit for Nerd Fitness Coaching, you can schedule a call right here:

With that my friend, I’m out.

For the Rebellion!


PS: I want to give a big kudos to all our Rebels in the healthcare industry.

You’ve had a tough 18 months and many of us wouldn’t be here without your hard work.

Thank you.