2018

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I colored my hair purple and blue right at the end of the year.  It’s vibrant and awesome and HELLO HERE I AM.  

What. A. Year.  I wish I could say 2017 was the most amazing year I’ve ever had, but that would be a lie.  It did have some very high points.  I did things that I’m supremely proud of, especially now.  It had some downs too…but you know what?  While those times were super crappy, I overcame and didn’t totally fall down the Black Hole of Sarah Self-Pity.  Well, at least for very long.  🙂

So…as I’m sitting here a week into 2018, I’ve been actively thinking about what I want to accomplish this year.  (I know, had I been on the ball I would have wrote this a week ago, but I’m in California with the fella right now and it’s hard to think of real life when you’re somewhat on vacation.)

I’ve got a lot of small to big goals that I want to do for the year, but I don’t really want to talk about those right now.  I just want to talk about one.  The big one.   The one that all the other small and big goals feed into.  More than anything, in 2018, I want to be PRESENT.

What does this mean?  To me it means a variety of things.  It means I want to engage the people in my life, the people I want in my life, to a much greater extent.  I need to remove distractions and make time for them.  (The reverse is also true, I need to NOT give time and presence to the people that are dragging me down and not on Team Sarah.) I need to be present and comfortable in MY skin.  Last year I lost 35lbs.  It was necessary. This year I need to focus more on refinement and learning where the contentment with my body lies.  There are a few things that I want to learn and perfect.  I need to give those hobbies my time and my focus.  I have a bad habit of letting life and circumstances control me.  Lastly, I need to be present with my emotions and actions.  I need to stop saying “sorry” for things that are not my fault, just because it’s my default mode.  If I feel a certain way its ok for me to feel it.

I have no doubt this year is going to be hard for me emotionally.  Things are happening that are just…sad.  But I really hope there are highs too.  I’m praying that I can make my own happies.  🙂

Oh, and I also hope to blog more.  But that is neither here nor there.  Ha!

TODAY I LOVE: sunny days, coastal breeze in my hair, and the smell of the trees

 

 

gasp! we are all broken in some way.

Don’t let anyone fool you, especially those pretty put-together instagram folks, no one is perfect.  It’s so very simple to take photos or share the one tiny corner of your life that is clean, tidy, skinny, modern, detailed, polished, or beautified while ignoring the other 98% that is “normal.”  (I cannot tell you how long we discussed “what is normal and who decides it?” in my abnormal psych class in college.)  Anyway, today’s post is a raw one.  A real one.

So, if you’ve been keeping up with me at all over the last several months, you know I’m working hard on my fitness journey to lose weight, gain confidence, and be fit.  I’ve made so many great strides.  When I’m having a good mental day, I feel really good about myself.  But then I have those days where I don’t.  Those days where all I see are lumps and bumps, stretch marks, bruises, and just how much further I have to go in my journey.

Those days it’s hard to remember how far I’ve come.  It’s hard to remember that I’m not the only person out there who isn’t perfect.  I posted a “progress” photo the other day on instagram and while most people have been simply wonderful it’s hard to deal with some of the things others have said.  Things I’ve heard:

  • Um, whoa.  I had no idea you looked like that.
  • It’s taken you 7 months?
  • I mean…look at your arm!
  • Still losing that weight?  Lookin’ better.

First of all, yes, I was a lot larger and unhappy with myself when I started.  That’s a known fact to me.  Why do you think I wanted to change?  But some people, when they say these things, it’s not in the “nice criticism” way.  It’s more of the “wow, I had no idea you were so gross and why did it take you so long to get to now.” (Before you yell at me for getting upset over criticism over a photo I willingly put out into the world – don’t.  I opened myself up to it.)  I’m certainly strong enough to smile away the negativity if it were to give someone else out there hope.

Anyway, it is just one of those days where I’m focusing on remembering why I do this.  That not everything I see is perfect for everyone else either.  I could tidy up one corner of my apartment and make it look magazine amazing, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the place looks like a tornado went through it.  Those beautiful people on instagram likely aren’t so polished and lump-free all the time either.

Unbroken people are a rare find.  And I’m ok.  I’m perfectly normal and perfectly me.

TODAY I LOVE:  garden fresh tomatoes

all things may

We are almost halfway through this year.  I hate that my mom was right, that time really does go faster the older you get.  So yeah, May is over (one more day anyway.)  Let’s see how this month broke down for me:

HEALTH: I’m happy to report I was 100% on my macros everyday.  I was never over, although there were a few days that I was under.  I didn’t miss a single mandatory workout (lifting), and only missed one barre class from my bonus workouts.  Win! And it paid off: since the end of January I’m down 21 pounds and 23 inches.  I haven’t starved myself and I don’t workout hours and hours everyday.  The actual scale number is slowing down in it’s decreases, but I’m getting muscle and it looks so much better.  I’m happy with it.

For grins, I almost 100% cut out gluten during the month.  (I still maintained eating my Ezekiel bread every morning.  Not giving that up.)  Other than that, I was gluten free.  I really wanted to see if it made any difference in my belly bloat.  It taught me a couple of things. First, I really don’t eat that much gluten to begin with.  It wasn’t hard to not eat it.  Second, I had very thin crust pizza last night (yes, I considered May over for the most part starting yesterday), and it made my food belly (that I’ve affectionately named Ethel) go CRAZY.  Hello bloat city.  All that said, I think I’m going to try to maintain little gluten/wheat when I have other options available.   Because it did prove to me that it does make me puff up like a fish.

I did get the best compliment this morning.  Two girls who are not regulars at the gym came up to me as I was lifting.  They told me they hadn’t been in in a while and it’s been a bit since they’d seen me.  And they said I looked amazing!  Asked me how much I’d lost and said they could really tell I was working hard.  Anyway, it was so great to hear!  Onward to June.  🙂

RANDOM:  Let’s see…I got my hair done.  Only a trim off the ends, but went another step towards my blonde goal.  To all of you naysayers out there, it really is lighter!  I can prove it.  My hair is so dark it takes a long time to get to blonde.   As far as other beauty stuff, I’ve watched way too many makeup tutorials because now I keep wanting to dip my toe in these strange eye combinations.  Today I’m wearing navy and gold.  Yep.  It is disappointing to report that my eyebrows are still hopeless.  I’m not giving up.

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Ok, so my hair isn’t fixed in either photo (ignore that).  And also ignore the fact that in the second photo I’m getting ready for bed and have no make up and my glasses on.  Hey, real life folks.  You can’t ALWAYS be a beauty queen.  🙂 

I’m totally and completely obsessed with blackberries right now. The fruit, not the phone.  Cannot. Get. Enough.

I’ve read 3 books and am currently diving back into the Tudor dynasty as written by the awesome Philippa Gregory.  I think there are 8-9 books total.  It’s going to take me a while.

I finished season 3 of How to Get Away with Murder.  HOLY SMOKES.  That show is on fire.  I very rarely guess how it is going to end.

Work has been crazy nut-job busy.

I think that’s enough for now.  All in all, May wasn’t so bad on me.  I didn’t go crazy.  I didn’t blow up at anyone.  I think I maybe only cried 3 times or so.  That’s a win, folks.

How was your May?

TODAY I LOVE: the song “Every Monday” by Marvelous 3 (an oldie but goodie.  Takes me back to college.)

you count what?

I’m going to preface this entire post with I AM NOT A NUTRITIONIST.  Honestly, if it weren’t for the instruction from some very smart individuals I’d be flying by the seat of my pants.  I do what I’m told.  So any of what I say you attempt to make your own, I’d encourage you to research a great coach/trainer/source to figure out what is right for YOUR body.   Deal?  Deal.

Several of you have asked me via various social platforms what I’ve been up to lately as far as my new health and fitness lifestyle.  I’ll talk about the diet part of it today.  Last year I dabbled here and there with switching to counting macronutrients rather than calories.  At the beginning of this year I made the hard shift to doing so all the time.  After years and years and years of low calorie diets, where ALL I did was calculate calories, this was quite an adjustment.  When I used to think the calorie was all that mattered, to now realizing it doesn’t matter as much as the CONTENT of the calories ..well, mental struggle.

For those of you that do not know, macronutrients are the parts and pieces that make up our food.  Carbohydrates, protein, fat, potassium, magnesium, etc….all these things are macronutrients (or commonly called macros for short.) I track the big 3: carbs, protein, and fat.

I had kinda destroyed my metabolism over time from all the low calorie diets, which is fairly common when doing that type of thing long term.  Yes, you temporarily lose weight but your body will adjust, you might be eating calories that really don’t work for the structure of your body, and it’s just not maintainable.

Going into this whole endeavor for me was quite honestly just to lose body fat.  I’ve enough body fat to float a barge and it needs to go away.  I was at my heaviest in my life.  And yes, I realize now more than ever that the number on the scale is really just a number, but even that being said I had/have quite a significant amount of body fat to drop.  Your coach/trainer/source will look at your weight/measurements/body fat and determine a starting point for your macros.  As I said, I’m not a nutritionist so I can’t explain this fully, but making some levels higher than others will help you gain muscle, while lowering some and raising others increases fat loss, etc.  It’s a bit of a puzzle at first because everyone is different and all of our bodies respond differently.  My coach understood that I not only wanted to lose fat, but also needed to repair my junky metabolism.  So she set my macros and off I went.

I weigh every day.  I thought I would obsess over this, but really it isn’t that big of a thing.  It’s not really the number that matters.  It’s simply a gauge to judge, pretty readily, how my body is responding to adjustments.

Tracking my macros is pretty simple thanks to all the apps these days.  I use My Net Diary, which has a website and apps for both iPhone and iPad.   I set my current macro targets, and then daily just input my food.  Instead of calories, I’m watching my carbs/protein/fat totals.  Just like calorie counting you do have to plan a bit.  All in all, thanks to the apps, I’m not finding it difficult at all.  It only gets tricky when you’re near the end of your day and you have x-number grams of carbs to stuff in.  When you have to get just ONE macronutrient, without affecting the others, it can be tricky.  You quickly learn some go-to foods to fill the gaps.

I’m in my fourth month of macro tracking, and I’ve had my macros adjusted 3 times.  The most recent was just this week.  We ADDED more food.  We added more food the last time as well.   Yes, I’m eating more food, with less exercise, and still losing pounds and inches.  No pills, no supplements, no voodoo.  Just science.  It’s quite fascinating.

If you have any questions that I can legitimately answer, let me know!

We’ll talk about the exercise portion of things another day.  🙂

TODAY I LOVE: really soft t-shirts.  It’s like wearing a hug.

 

exercise & travel

I used to think that traveling was great because that meant I didn’t have to workout.  Back in the day when I was running or training for a race, I *might* have a run just to explore a city but I NEVER sought out a gym.  However, when you’re serious about something, even if it’s just getting fit, you find a way to make it happen.

I just returned from my third trip since beginning my new health journey.  This time was different as I didn’t have access to the standard gym.  I had to use alternative means.  I would like to introduce you to The Tube.

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This is a resistance tube that comes in varying strengths and sizes.  It’s small, fits in your suitcase, and can be made into an epic torture device for a great workout.  My best friend/trainer/all around favorite person introduced me to the tube many months ago when we were traveling together.  She had brought hers along in the event our hotel had a crummy gym.

I won’t say all, but MANY of your usual strength training lifts/maneuvers can be done with this unassuming little tube.  As such, I was able to get in all my workouts and lose little ground during my trip last week.  They were great workouts!

If you want it bad enough, you’ll make things happen.  For me, I want to keep seeing the gains that I’m getting to be come a better, fitter, healthier Sarah.

Keep the tube in mind if you need some alternative ideas for fitness and travel.

TODAY I LOVE: tacos.  I just really want to eat a taco right now.