How One Woman Is Inspiring Moms to Eat Better, Work Out and Be Smarter with Their Money
Like many of us, Taryn Newton had some high highs and low lows last year, but her knack for keeping it real on Instagram and looking on the bright side is helping her family and others improve their lives in realistic ways.
I loved having the opportunity to sit down with Taryn Newton and chat about all things lifestyle, wellness and motherhood. If you're not one of her 300,000-plus Instagram followers (@tarynnewton), she's a mom to four boys, wife, influencer, career woman and more. She not only shares her adorable family, affordable fashion tips and lifestyle content with her community on social media, but she also keeps it real—especially when it comes to her financial wellness journey, her workouts and loving her body as it changes.
In the past year, her family was about to close on their dream home only to lose it when the pandemic hit (learn more about that here), had a new baby in June and were able to move into an even better home before the year was over. Through all those major life changes, she kept sharing her journey and forging ahead while trying to eat better and ease back into an exercise routine.
We talked about how she handled the challenges that 2020 threw at her, how she manages to find time to work out with four kids and two jobs, how she eats healthy, her past financial wellness challenges and how she remains positive. (Responses have been edited for length and clarity.)
Q: For people who don't follow you on Instagram, can you introduce yourself and share just a bit about yourself and why you feel it's important to talk about where you've come from?
I'm a Michigan native. I lived there my entire life and started my family there with my husband, Rick. While we were in Michigan, we knew we weren't thriving financially and were struggling to get by living paycheck to paycheck. We decided to move to Texas for better opportunities.
We were able to transfer our jobs and instantly started to grow. It was a leap of faith that paid dividends. I had this itch to do more, so started my blog in 2016 as a passion project. I focused on clothing tips and styling at first, but as I went on I realized I wasn't showing every aspect of my life that I wanted to share. I took a step back and realized I wanted to share more about home, finance, kids, everything.
Rick and I made huge strides. We had dug ourselves in a financial hole, and after we moved we had to think about what we wanted to do to have financial freedom. We came up with a game plan to be disciplined and, most importantly, started making financial goals.
Many people don't talk about financial goals, and that's why they keep doing the same thing all the time. Rick and I slowly but surely started laying out our financial turmoil and made a game plan to tackle it. We scaled back. With a game plan, we were able to buy our first house in 2017 and we continued to thrive and it felt like we were living the dream. We wanted to keep growing our family, and Cyrus came along in 2017. In 2018, I came back to blogging and it started taking off more when I started sharing more of my life. I was starting to connect with so many women across the country.
We had made so many mistakes and wanted to continue to live beneath our means while we had more abundance, be able to continue to give to our church and to our community, and break the generational curse.
Money has always been a sore point in our families and no one has thrived financially. Many family members have had bankruptcies and I didn't want to be that statistic. We try to continue to put ourselves in a good position and create generational wealth for our boys.
Q: Reflecting on the past year, can you tell me about one of the best things that happened to you in 2020?
Having Cashton, our fourth baby, in June. He was the joy that we truly needed. We were still reeling from losing our house and living in a random rental home, and he was the best part. He keeps it all in perspective. Homes are material items—it's our shelter and haven, yes—but also many people have lost lives in 2020. I have my six family members here alive and if the worst thing is we lost a material item when people have lost jobs and lives, we're truly blessed.
And the redemption of still being able to close on our house in November, after getting knocked down earlier in the year, felt so good.
Q: And what was one of the lowest points of the year for you?
As we got ourselves in a good financial spot and continued to set new goals, we wanted to be in a bigger space for our growing family. Our new house was going to be done in early 2020 and then the bottom fell out. Even when you think that you have everything together, life happens. We were buying in the middle of the pandemic, and the loan program we were using just stopped. It was one of the hardest times of our lives.
We had sold our first house, I was pregnant, we were living in an Airbnb and we had nowhere to go. It felt devastating. We had to take a step back and figure out what we were going to do next. We had to make a new game plan and rebound because life is going to bring challenges. Luckily we were in a better financial spot and got under contract with a new builder and started building yet again.
Nobody has a picture-perfect journey. Life will always happen and you need to have perspective and keep that in mind. Do not allow yourself to get so discouraged when hard times hit. Stay the course in troubled water, because good things can and do happen on the other side.
Q: I saw you're doing WW (Weight Watchers). What's your favorite part of the program?
WW has helped me change the way I eat. I've run marathons before and I know how to get out and go work out, but I've never been the best eater. I've had diligence with working out, but what you eat is the most important piece—and as I got older and had four kids, working out wasn't enough. I have a healthy balance now. I can be busy and still eat well.
The hardest part of having a healthier lifestyle and losing weight for me is just thinking about how to be healthy. WW has tools to help me eat healthier. If I'm going out to a place like Chick-fil-A I can just search in the app and it tells me what to eat.
Q: Any tips on how to feed a family and still eat well?
Being busy can lead to eating out more. We worked on trying to eat out less to help us eat better and spend less.
My 13-year-old is excited about cooking and we bought a healthy cookbook and now we cook together. I'm a big casserole person too. I just add a lot of healthy ingredients and the kids don't really know and eat the casserole. The key is making meals that the whole family will love. (Need inspiration? Here are One Month of Healthy 30-Minute Dinners to Feed Your Family.)
Q: I want to ask about body image. I love your body-positive messaging and how you've been embracing your postpartum body. Have you always felt that way or was it a journey? And, especially with comparison traps on social media, how do you stay positive?
It has been a journey for me. As I've gotten older I've had more confidence now than I've had in years previously. When I was younger and smaller—why was I not embracing my body then? Where was my confidence when I was younger?
Now, I've had four children, I'm not going to be the same size as I was when I was younger. But regardless of children, your body changes and we need to embrace the season we're in. Even if you want to make changes, you can still love the body you're in now and embrace the things your body has done. (Try these tips for 3 Easy Ways to Practice Body Positivity Right Now.)
I've been really intentional about pushing insecurities out of my brain and knowing how to dress my body in ways that help me feel good. You have to know what you can wear that makes you feel good. On social media it can be hard because there aren't a lot of influencers that are my size. You don't see a lot of people in the middle zone and everybody should see themselves on social media. That's why I share my struggles, my confidence and my size so everyone can feel represented.
Q. You're sharing some of your fitness tips on Instagram. How do you stay motivated to be active when you're so busy?
I start my morning and it's non-negotiable that I work out. Before I even pick up my phone, before I start my day—I go work out. When I wasn't working out, I didn't have the best routine. You have to find the rhythm that works best for you. My health cannot be put on the back burner. I keep myself healthy to be the best mom for all my kids. This is essential to me, so I make it happen. (Try these 6 Best at-Home Exercises, According to a Personal Trainer.)
Q. Financial wellness is a piece of wellness that often gets overlooked, and it's something key you often share with your community. Do you have any getting-started tips to help others get their finances in better shape?
Assess your mess. You have to know your big picture and you have to know your starting point. No matter how ugly it is, you can make steps to move in the right direction. Get a game plan, get a budget. There are so many free resources available, so get yourself educated.
If you're married or have a partner, if you're doing life with someone, have a family business meeting. We sit down and talk about our family business, and it's our dedicated time to talk about financial goals. We talk about our budget and rebuilding our finances to make sure we're on track.
Assess your mess, create a game plan and don't get discouraged, because you're in it for the long haul.
Q: Do you have any goals for 2021?
Our big financial goal is to pay off our student loans. We've paid off all of our small debts, so that's our big financial debt goal for next year.
My health goal is to work out consistently three or four times a week, and I want to get down a couple of sizes to make sure I can be the healthiest mom I can be.
For our family, I want to prioritize getting outside more as a family. I want to find family activities we can all do together and stay active.
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