Client Transformation Story: Caitlin

Today’s client success story is all about my client Caitlin! Caitlin and I have been working together for about two years, and – spoiler alert – her transformation is about so much more than weight loss.

Caitlin is a busy hospital president and a mom to two young children. When we first started working together, she was about one year postpartum, and although she was someone who liked to exercise, her weight felt like it was creeping up and out of her control. At almost 190 pounds, she didn’t recognize herself as a former triple-sport collegiate athlete and marathon runner, and a consistent exercise routine felt out of reach in the context of her professional life in the healthcare world. Plus, she was already vegetarian – like so many people who are health-conscious eaters, she wasn’t sure how much healthier she could actually eat.

Caitlin in 2022

We started working together in 2022, and I immediately knew that Caitlin was going to be a fantastic client to work with. She was smart, she had drive, and when I said during our consultation that she had to hold herself accountable, she took me seriously.

Over the last two years, I have seen her go through intense highs and lows, including achieving her professional goal of becoming a hospital president, as well as temporarily stepping into a caregiving role when her wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent treatment. I have also seen her weather the day-to-day challenges of being a mom – hitting pause on a workout to help her two-year-old son use the toilet, or adjusting her workout routine during a home renovation, as just a few examples.

But here’s the thing – I’ve never seen her totally quit. And this is the key difference in clients who turn coaching into something transformative. They not only know how to work hard, but also how to be persistent, creative, and resilient, buffering difficult times to push through and keep going. Although weight loss has stayed front and center as a goalpost, Caitlin’s transformation and confidence isn’t limited to her body composition change – it’s the strength of self-efficacy and fortitude that radiates from the inside out. When you prove to yourself that you can stay consistent and achieve personal goals in the midst of challenges, you build self-esteem that goes far beyond your jean size.

Caitlin in 2024

The Results

Caitlin is constantly refreshing and updating her professional wardrobe, because she has…

  • Lost 45 pounds of fat
  • Gained 5 pounds of muscle
  • Lost 7 inches off her waist
  • Dropped 10 inches off her hips
  • Gone from 41% to 22% body fat

Yes, that is an unbelievable 10 (yes, ten) inches off her hips. When she sent me her last updated measurements, I actually messaged her back to redo her hip measurements because I was in utter disbelief at the change! I get referrals from Caitlin not because she is nonstop handing out my business card, but because people stop her in the hallway or shoot her a DM to ask her what she’s doing differently. The results simply show. 

In today’s post, I’m going to let her speak in her own words, but I’ll be jumping in here and there to provide additional context or information.

“There Was No Chance I Would Wear a Bathing Suit…”

2022

When we got started: “In May of 2022, I was heading into another summer knowing that there was no chance I would wear a bathing suit (which means missing out on activities with my kids), and I was doing my best to avoid certain social situations at all costs. My out-of-work uniform would be a baggy top and black tights. I was feeling extremely self conscious and shameful that I had gained weight. I felt both out of control with my eating and lost with exercise. Although I had been fit at various points in my life, I really felt clueless on what would actually be manageable and effective.”

Caitlin listed some of her biggest challenges at the time as:

  • Late work nights that throw off workouts and healthy dinners
  • Losing self-control by the end of the day and not having a good plan for dinner
  • Staying on track on the weekends

“I was Skeptical That It Would Be a Virtual Service…”

“I had no idea what having a trainer would look like or how it would fit into my schedule. I didn’t know where to start with looking for help and essentially just avoided the problem. I would think of a trainer in the traditional way of needing to meet someone at the gym a couple times per week.”

Online training can be a confusing concept for people who are accustomed to going to the gym to meet a trainer – Caitlin was willing to push through her initial skepticism to learn more.

“It was my wife who had the idea to find someone to help. She sent me a few names/businesses of local trainers. Rachel was the first option, and I saw on the website that the first step was a free consultation. I was skeptical that it would be a virtual service, but I wanted to check it out anyway. I am grateful every day that I met Rachel, found the right help for me, and have had the opportunity to stick with her for almost two years now.”

As it turned out, being able to do workouts on her own time (usually after her kids went to bed), have access to a trainer via message, and have calls every two weeks worked perfectly with her demanding hospital administrative schedule… much better than if she had to meet a trainer at a gym several times a week. As with most of my clients, I did not implement calorie or macro tracking, and instead focused on skill-based eating and nutrition education. Caitlin is a great example that you do not need to shackle yourself to a calorie tracking app to be successful.

Every mom knows what it’s like to work out with kids at home

“The News Devastated Our Lives…”

A little over six months into our journey, Caitlin had lost 20 pounds and seemed unstoppable. She was knocking out her home workouts; getting stronger and leaner; eating a healthier, higher-protein, more nutrient-dense vegetarian diet than she had been before. But then something terrifying happened…

“When my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in November of 2022, I was at a point where my weight was steadily going down and I was closely following my workout plan. The news devastated our lives, routine, plans for the future, and so much more. It did not feel right in those first few weeks to be running on the treadmill as my wife worried about her prognosis and painstakingly went over options for treatment. After a month or so, Jaimee chose her oncology physicians, had a better idea of her prognosis, and settled into a treatment plan, which included surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. I talked to Rachel throughout the entire process. We talked about staying active in small ways, relying on the new eating habits I had formed, and the importance of self-care. Getting back on track after those weeks was an essential step. It was positively necessary for me to hold onto the progress I had made and even continue on my wellness journey, in order to feel strong and at my best to care for my family.” 

Caitlin and Jaimee

Something that Caitlin did so right during this period was to embrace flexibility. Her workouts and routines did not look the same, but we kept doing our calls and pinpointing small ways that she could practice self-care and maintain momentum in the midst of chaos and fear. It’s notable that on Caitlin’s weight loss chart, you can see the most intense period of Jaimee’s treatment, followed by renewed progress.

You can literally see the cancer diagnosis in late 2022

During times of crisis, it’s unrealistic to expect that we will be emotionless automatons that plow through challenges. We have to account somewhere for sleepless, tearful nights… or the mornings that we need a coffee and a friend more than we need a workout. But reframing exercise and healthful eating as self-care can be powerful, and can maintain momentum during difficult seasons. The result? A “weight loss journey” that gains maturity and depth, instead of sputtering out, because it comes about more than weight loss.

Now, most importantly, Jaimee is through treatment and cancer-free – but Caitlin has also learned confidence in her abilities to absorb life challenges into her healthy lifestyle and keep going, which is invaluable.

“I Feel Strong”

Caitlin says: “I feel strong, and I feel like I am in control of my food choices. There is a certain peace I feel that I did not have two years ago. I haven’t hit all my goals yet, but I know that I can. Exercise and the food I eat is now part of a sustainable lifestyle. It was a series of changes I made that have never felt drastic or severe. In the past I viewed diet and exercise as something temporary, a major shift from what I was comfortable with and was therefore hard to maintain. The routine I have established is now part of my everyday life.”

“I have lost weight at various times in my life, but it was usually stress related. The fact that I made a plan with Rachel, was able to stick to it, and saw results has been incredible.”

2024: newfound confidence

Also, one of the most joyful aspects of Caitlin’s transformation is reclaiming her athleticism and physical power. As a former college athlete (including soccer), it  has been inspiring to see Caitlin train for races (and improve her times) on top of home strength workouts.

“I have run four 5K races in the last two years. The last race was in October, 2023. I trained fairly hard to run at a comfortable but improved pace. I cut 30 seconds per mile off my previous runs and felt great the entire race, even at the finish line. I have always considered myself a slow, not so good runner. I didn’t think I could make considerable improvements to my running, and I never thought I could feel good while doing it.”

She’s currently training for two races this spring, and I’m so excited to see what she can accomplish!

It’s interesting to me that Caitlin’s biggest issues when we started – late work nights and off-track weekends – continue to be her biggest challenges. I’m sure any mom can relate! The obstacles haven’t gone away – she has simply become better at working around them and overcoming them.

This is growth – not that that life becomes easier, but that we become stronger.

“Trust the Process”

Caitlin has some words of wisdom for you if you’re struggling to prioritize your health:

“You can really start to feel down, but there are slivers of light and moments of inspiration. If you can quickly grab ahold of those moments and DO SOMETHING at those times… it can be all the difference.”

This is so true.

And finally, the sports aficionado she is, she can’t help but quote the 76ers.

“As the Philadelphia 76ers say, ‘trust the process’. It doesn’t happen overnight, but the changes I have made are permanent and sustainable and over time they have become life changing. As a person who works in healthcare, as well as someone who watched their spouse navigate a cancer diagnosis, I know that we go through life thinking there are so many competing priorities and there isn’t enough time in the day. What you realize very quickly is that the most important thing we have, far and away, is our health.” 

Beautiful words from Caitlin!

If you want to get personalized guidance like Caitlin did, click this link to set up a free 30-minute Zoom consultation

Rachel Trotta

I am a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Physique and Bodybuilding Specialist, and Women's Fitness Specialist. I live in New Jersey in the NYC metro area, and I coach clients online all over the world. As a trainer and health writer, my mission is to make healthy living sustainable for the average person. I’m also a wife, mom, nature lover, runner, avid cook, weightlifting aficionado, history nerd, travel addict, and obsessive podcast listener. Get in touch!

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