Thursday, May 22, 2014

I work out

Some of you are all, well that’s a random title. And the rest of you are singing “Girl look at that body…”


It will be in your head all day now. You’re welcome.

Today I’m going off course as I do sometimes to talk about life stuff. I’ve had a bit of an epiphany over the past four months or so and I wanted to share a bit of the journey with you today.

I know too many people right now who are dealing with the scary, nasty, despicable disease that is cancer. It’s hit especially close and it woke me up to the fact that I have one body and I want to take better care of it. Simple as that. (And in no way am I suggesting those with cancer do not. I just want to do better by mine.) I’ve never treated my body horribly, but I haven’t treated like the temple that it is. Laugh at that if you want, but it truly is! 

So earlier this year I was on a mission. I don’t do resolutions but this mission started suspiciously close to the beginning of the year. ;) But that’s what I do every year just because it feels like new start to me. Thing is, usually by March I’m kind of done and I go back to old habits.

Last summer I got in decent shape and had lost quite a bit of weight – and I don’t know what in the heck happened but by Christmas I was inching up to dangerous territory for me again. It happened SO fast. I was still working out, just not as much. And I was obviously eating anything and everything.

I was tired of it. Tired of doing well and going backward and tired of not treating myself better overall. And I had that epiphany -- I have a healthy, working body and I’m going to take care of it and take advantage of it. How lucky am I?

This time I’m sticking with it. It’s my life now – this is a totally different outlook than I’ve had before. I’m SO thrilled with my progress so I wanted to share little things that have helped me along the way.

First up is tracking what I eat. I’ve had the My Fitness Pal app on my phone for years and never really used it till a few months ago:

My Fitness Pal

So here’s the thing. I still eat. I don’t eat great all the time either. We go out to eat a lot. I like margaritas. And tortilla chips. :) I’m still not eating as well as I should but I have made changes that have helped.

I say that to be honest but I also say that because so often I think we feel like we can’t lose weight unless we eat like birds and eat nothing but lettuce. I eat bread, (real) sugar, meat, ice cream and even fried chicken occasionally – but I don’t eat a lot of it. I know myself and if I restricted everything I love completely I’d be back to my old habits in no time. It’s not always about willpower for me – it’s about enjoying life. I enjoy food and refuse to give up all the stuff I love 100 percent.

I was hard core with My Fitness Pal for months but I’m starting to log in less and less. Partly because I know what many of the foods are as far as calories so I can keep it going in my head all day, but partly because I’m determined to just move more so the calories don’t matter quite as much.

Here’s another thing – don’t eat too little calories! I think anything below 1,400 a day is too low. I’ve lost weight just fine at 1600 to 1800 a day – but that’s based on my weight and some calculations. You need to figure out the calories it takes to sustain your current weight and then from there figure out how many to cut to lose weight. (That’s a post for another day.)

Speaking of moving – you need to find a workout that you enjoy. I’ve tried to become a runner so many times in my adult life and I’m just not one. Although I’m realizing how it works my body in different ways so I’m trying to incorporate it more.

But group fitness I’ve always enjoyed -- in college I did kickboxing and loved it. When I was at my lowest weight about 14 years ago (low weight because all I did was work out because it was how I dealt with a sad time in my life) I started it up again.

But for years after that I rarely worked out at all. A couple years ago a friend had mentioned taking Zumba and it sounded fun…but it had been a long time since I had been in a fitness class. I was intimidated. So instead I got the Zumba fitness “game” for Xbox and starting doing it at home:

zumba rush xbox

Being overweight, walking into a group class you are clueless about, not knowing a soul – it’s not something many people can just do. And if you don’t know what you’re doing and feel uncomfortable, you’re not going to go back.

So this was my way of easing into it – and I LOVED it. After about six months of doing it at home (and seeing some results) I started going to the class. And once you find a class that you love, there’s no going back. It becomes almost an addiction – you WANT to be there. I hate missing class – what?? 

My instructor is now a friend and her classes are intense – almost like a Zumba boot camp. But I love that I feel like I’m dancing the whole time, not working out. The music is big for me – she incorporates some hip hop and top 40 that we know so it makes it so much more fun. Like I’m in da club. But not. :)

I started out with a little Fit Bit to track my steps every day:


It’s great – I wear it all day long now and it syncs to my phone. You’d be surprised how many calories you burn cleaning your house or walking up and down the stairs doing laundry. :)

The Fit Bit doesn’t track things like riding a bike or floor exercises (we do the latter in class a lot) so I ended up getting the Polar Fit as well:

polar fit

This one is more expensive but tracks the exact calories burned (you have to wear the strap around your chest). Most times you’re burning more than the Fit Bit tells you so I like having both.

I think the biggest part of this journey is having support. You know the whole it takes a village to raise a child mantra? Well, I think it takes a village to lose weight. I really do. My husband is SO supportive of me running off to class each week. And I’ve made some wonderful friends throughout the process. About 25 of us did the Dirty Girl Mud Run this past weekend:

dirty girl mud run

It was TOUGH (with five days of rain before) but we had so much fun. And now I seriously can’t wait for the next 5K. We even signed up to do the Indy mini next year – not sure where my head was on that one. It’s peer pressure – but the best kind. :)

Here’s another biggie for me – I have no idea how much weight I’ve lost. I don’t weigh myself anymore. It gets me down. Last time I checked I had lost about five pounds but what was months ago. But overall I’ve lost more than 18 inches in four months – that’s pretty amazing. That is encouraging to me – the scale is not.

Last night I remembered that I had taken some before shots of myself back in January. I never do that but I knew this time was different so I wanted to track the difference. Four months later (this morning) I took progress pics and when I put them side by side I almost cried. I couldn’t believe the difference! It doesn’t feel like much when you’re going through it but the pics made me realize I’ve really started to change my body:

I wore the same pants in the photos – I noticed the other day that they are starting to fall off when I wear them. WHOOT! I don’t really have a goal in mind – I’m just going to keep going and see where I land. Now I’m focusing hard on my arms and that middle pooch. I loathe that middle pooch.

My goal is not to be skinny. I want to fit and athletic and strong:

I do weight training with a friend once a week as well but want to try to start adding a day – weight training does wonders for your metabolism! It won’t make you bulky – it tightens you up and completely changes the way you look.

Even though I have more weight to lose I am in the best shape of my life at 38 years old. Seeing muscles develop is almost as exciting as fitting in my old jeans again. :)

One of the biggest areas I’ve noticed is the “back fat” – I am starting to get a little bit of definition in my back and I love it. And the side rolls are getting smaller and smaller:

I hate taking photos of myself but it’s actually really encouraging to see the progress!

But first, let me take a selfie:

Now THAT song will be in your head all day. Sorry. ;)

Just with DIY and decor I don’t think there’s rules to getting fit – you just have to figure out the way that works best for you. If you still want to eat your favorite foods I believe you can – you’ll just have to cut down and your progress may be slower. I think that’s just fine. I’m sharing my thoughts to encourage but take what works for others with a grain of salt – you need to figure out what will keep you going.

Do you struggle with weight and working out? Do you have a routine that you love to do? Do you run? If so teach me your secrets. :)


  1. Ive been writing about this a lot of my blog- Im 3 months into my goal of losing weight and getting fit! Right now Im eating around 1400 cals a day, but at least once a week I have an off day and go over that. I am learning a LOT about portion control and I definitely cant get through a big plate of food like I used to!!

    As for exercise, Ive been running and soon Ill be starting a bootcamp class!

    Ive lost about 10lbs in the past 3 months, but I have definitely lost a lot of inches. Only problem now is none of my cute outfits fit properly anymore :(

  2. I just have to share- I used the Fitness Pal for a rather extreme (and not surprisingly, unsuccessful) calorie count regimen some time ago. A few of my co-workers jumped on the bandwagon and it go to the point where we were all really irritated with our "counts" and one co-worker started referring to Fitness Pal and Fitness Punk as a result. It stuck, and from there on out we were always talking about what The Punk says and such.

    Secondly- good for you for finding an exercise that enjoy enough to do! I joined a Crossfit gym for 6 months last year and it was the best thing I've ever done. I don't think I really understood what "working out" looked like until Crossfit. It helped that it was a woman-owned gym and all the coaches were women (though not all the gym members). It was excellent training and now I do the workouts on my own.

  3. You're looking fabulous. I think there is a huge difference in your looks and the best part is you feel good.

  4. Gosh, you inspire me in so many ways! You have been inspiring me in my home for years, in my finances, and now in my health! I go through good and bad spells of health, like most people. Thanks for encouraging me to get back on the wagon and treat my body well!

  5. Join a running group like you did zumba :) One that does walk/run intervals to train for a 5k. Have you tried the couch to 5k programs on your own?
    I joined a running group 10 years ago. I run on my own now, but the key to getting me in to running was that group.
    Good luck! Your progress is amazing and encouraging :)

    1. That's a great idea. We thought we'd start running together to train but it does intimidate me a bit. I tried the couch to 5K years ago and didn't get very far, but I wasn't in nearly as good of shape then either. I downloaded the couch to mini but haven't looked at it just yet. ;) Thank you!!

  6. Amazing! I've been trying to lose weight for awhile now. I get motivated and then I slow down. I'm down 10 pounds from a year ago but still want to lose another 20+. Some people and I participated in a walk against hunger this weekend and it felt great. We walked 3 miles. I want to start getting more active but don't feel I have the time or money to take a class or get a gym membership so I'm trying to do everything at home. My husband and I have started taking walks after work. It is sporadic but we plan on making it more of a regular thing.

  7. Good for you!!! I started running two years ago because I could never do it. It took 2 rounds of couch to 5k. I love the half marathon distance and will be training for my 5th in July. :)

    Also did my first EVER group fitness class this week - boot camp. Those ladies are hard core! It is incredibly intimidating to go to a class where the group is already formed but it's so much fun. Cross-fit type intense stuff was never anything I was interested in....but I thought why the heck not??

    I was never overweight. But I was also never healthy. Exercise is good for the soul :)

  8. 1) When you get a song stuck in your head, it is called an ear worm. ;)
    2) You look fabs!!
    3) I am overweight and struggling to get started. Wanna be my friend?

  9. Keep up the good work! Anything you can do is better than nothing. I find anything "extreme" will only set you back at square one. Small changes that become life habits are what work for the long haul. You said you wanted to be fit, athletic and strong. That is me! I dreamed of lipo after baby, but after she arrived almost 2 years ago I started researching and decided it wasn't worth it and what example am I setting for her? I want to be strong and healthy (mentally & physically). I am staying away from quick fixes and fad diets, yet really paying attention to what I consume (reducing processed foods and sugars) and staying active w/ cardio and weight training. Wishing you all the best.

  10. That looks amazing! I'm a runner, but I'm the first person to admit that you have to *love* running to really stick with it and make it a part of who you are; you just can't fake it, and there's no point in exercise that you don't enjoy (which is why organized classes scare the crap out of me).

    I needed to see this today...I'm seven weeks postpartum after a high risk pregnancy, premature baby in critical condition and weeks in the NICU. I spent the last four months of my pregnancy planted on the couch (or in bed, or basically anywhere else I could be planted in front of a television and told not to move) and the months have not been kind to my body. I just started back up running last week and it is UGLY. I've done ultramarathons and I think those were easier than the 2-3 miles a day I'm pushing myself to right now. I've just got to focus on the small steps, daily goals and I'll get back there.

    And again, look *amazing*!!!

    1. Keep paddling, September. You'll get there.

      My two girls were preemies; both were born at 29 weeks and had health issues in the NICU. They are now 16.5 and 14 years old, and are doing great in school. Take good care of yourself, and take all the support you are offered. It's a tough road, but I will be praying for you.


  11. Love your before and after pics! There is a LiveFit in my town and I joined a Biggest Loser challenge in mid-March. I was terrified, but some sweet girls who were part of the LiveFit community were so encouraging and I took the plunge! Our team didn't win, but I am eating healthier than I ever have (still eating things I want - yea, SUGAR!!), but I dropped 18.2 pounds and 14.25 inches in 8 weeks! I even lost weight while on vacation. I'm working out 3-4 times a week for an hour and loving how my clothes fit - including my shirts because that 'back fat' is shrinking!! Thanks for the encouragement and honesty - it inspires me to keep on keeping on!!

  12. Woman, it's like we're the same person. I have so many of the same thoughts, and we even have similar body types. I totally agree that giving up everything I love 100% is not the way to go for me, but I'm working on ways to make having less a little bit easier. I don't eat sweets during the week, for example, but allow myself something small on the weekend. I'm also working on reducing sugar in other foods I eat regularly, like yogurt. I struggle with working out, not because I don't enjoy it, but because I work full time out of the house and when I get home I'm exhausted and just want to stare at the TV and eat cookie dough. I go in spurts and right now I'm definitely on an "off" spurt, but I'm working on gathering the motivation :). I do try to get outside and walk during my lunch break as often as possible though, because otherwise I sit at a desk for 9 hours a day. I just booked a little getaway to CA in 2 weeks, and nothing motivates like knowing you will be in a swimsuit in public! The timing of this post was perfect. Thanks for the kick in the butt!

  13. Sarah-You look great! Unfortunately I now will probably NOT recognize you when I am at HomeGoods and searching for you in each strangers' face (sounds creepier than it is).
    Keep up the good work...I'm sure you will motivate many!!!

  14. Sarah, good for you for getting on this fitness journey and sticking with it. That is the hardest part! You look amazing!

    I've been a reader for awhile but don't comment too often. Mostly I just admire your house and your handiness. :) However today your post really speaks to me. Unfortunately I can relate to the first bit. Cancer has hit my mom, who is only 55. It is advanced and came out of nowhere. She was the very healthy person that should never have gotten sick and now she is. I am 37, close to your age, and just had my fourth child. My health hasn't been a priority these past 6 years because I've been pregnant or nursing or whatever. Life happens! But I'm turning a corner too... slowly. Life is short and precious and my perspective has changed. Thank you for sharing your experience here and please keep us updated on your progress. It is great motivation for me to continue on my healthy journey. Take care. :)

  15. That's so funny...I have been doing the EXACT same thing, right down to the Fitbit and the Zumba Kinect! It has worked great for me too! I have the Fitbit Flex, which you wear around your wrist. Like the Polar Fit, it counts calories burned and does measure floor exercises and bicycling. Congrats on your hard work. I feel so proud of myself for finally sticking with it and, like you said, changing my lifestyle. I don't think I'll ever go back to the way I was. Yay us!~ <3

  16. Sarah,
    This same thing happened to me last fall. I was fed up with how I was looking and I hated buying clothes that were bigger and looser just to feel comfortable in them. So on Sept 29th I started T25 which lasted me 16 weeks. I did it straight through for 16 weeks! I had never committed to a workout program like that before. But it was only 25 minutes every day and I started seeing results so that kept me motivated. By the time I was done I had lost a lot of inches and around 15 pounds or so. I then moved on to the Insanity workout DVDs. I'm not as committed to them on a daily basis because it's nice outside now and I do a lot of yard work and am starting to run occasionally. Sometimes you just have to get in the right mindset to start a major lifestyle change like this! I love food, but I am so much more conscience of eating healthier now! Good luck on this journey! I'll be right there with you!

  17. That takes a lot of guts to take a selfie and post it for us all to see. I can REALLY tell the difference. Good job sista!

  18. I'm also guilty of starting and stopping my fitness goals. I was down 20 lbs. last July and it all managed to find its way back so here I go again. For cardio I like Turbo Fire and I'm trying to get into weight training so I bought Chalean Extreme. I understand the benefits of weight training but I don't enjoy it as much as cardio so that's been a struggle for me. Keep up the good work and post some more progress picks in a few months.

  19. way to go on getting fit and getting these songs in my head.... make them stop! ;)

  20. You go girl!!

    I keep starting to try and lose weight, and give up really easy :( But my husband and I are goign to try and do it together this time, I'm hoping we can stick to it.

  21. I have a fitbit flex and I'm loving it! I also track all my food on my fitness pal. It's been working so far!

    As for exercise, I go to spin class 4-5 days a week. When I don't spin on the bike, I use the elliptical. I JUST started running on the treadmill. I am not a runner, but everyone says if I keep at it, I'll learn to love running. :)

  22. I've had a difficult few months which included, but is sadly not limited to my husband being diagnosed with cancer, my son having emergency surgery, and my brother committing suicide. After a discouraging clothes shopping trip today and realizing how much all this stress has affected my health, I was looking for a way to get remotivated. This post is an inspiration to me, so thank you. I have the fitbit one and I LOVE it. My sister recommended the My Fitness Pal app and I've been meaning to research it, so that's what I'll be doing after finishing this comment. I enjoy walking and lifting weights and I plan to get my 13-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter involved. Please continue posting what motivates you. I'd love to read about it.

  23. look great! So inspiring! I'm on day 6 of -- no sweets, no sugar. Will be adding in walk/run outside this week. I'm not tracking with a scale either..just want to feel better. Thanks for the words of inspiration!

  24. Have you seen the documentary "Fed Up" with Katie Couric? I have not but I definitely will soon. From what I understand and have heard, it will scare the bagebies out of you. It's all about sugar and so much of the food we consume is killing us and I definitely believe the saying "you are what you eat". I am a sugar freak. I will send you a personal email with more info I want to talk to you about.

  25. You look awesome!! That mud run looks so fun. I actually did my first half marathon when I was living in Indy because I found it motivating that it ran around the speedway. We became Nascar fans in Indy and when it came to it I actually stopped and to kneel and kiss the bricks like the race winners do. Now I need to log back into MyFitnessPal and get back on it, I have heard good thing about the UP bracelet that works with it, but it has bad reviews on Amazon. Anyway, congrats, you look FAB!!

  26. thanks for sharing! lookin good!!!! high five

  27. Love this post! You are very inspiring and you look fantastic. Way to go!!!

  28. Good for you! I've always watched my diet, but I've had to really watch it carefully as I've gotten older. I don't think about it much though since I tend to crave the healthy stuff now. I never thought that would happen! I used to run, but I was getting achy knees and realized I had to make a change. A close girlfriend (that's also a fitness model) has been after me to stop the machine weights and get into free weights. I did and I swear I burn more calories in my garage doing crossfit routines than I did at the gym or running. Not to mention I am getting some major definition. I got most of my info from pinterest and youtube videos. Who knew?!

  29. 8 weeks ago today I joined a Beginner's CrossFit class and 6 weeks ago today I joined in their regular classes. That was a HUGE step for me because meeting all those new people was totally outside my comfort zone. But I have continued to go as many times a week as I can (3-5) and now I actually enjoy it so much, I am sad when I have to miss. CrossFit has shown me just how weak my body is (even though I considered myself strong) but the coaches and the fellow CrossFitters are so encouraging, walking with you and cheering for you every step of the way though the toughest workouts I have ever done. Though I used to get on the scale daily, I rarely do now since working out has built noticeable muscle that the scale numbers have actually increased. However, I feel better about my body than I ever have before. Plus, the confidence you gain is immeasurable. The feeling of pride I get from all the Olympic lifting is unreal! As you said, I am no longer interested in being skinny - I want to have a sexy, strong body. One CrossFit shirt says it well, "Strong is the new skinny." Congratulations and keep putting one foot in front of the other!

  30. Good for you, Sarah!!! Since you are my favorite blogger, I had to tell you that I am proud of you and happy that you are getting in shape!

    I am in my sixties and about a year ago I had bronchitis which turned into pneumonia. I think is was in large portion due to the fact that I was also going through a very unhappy time in my life and I just spent my days sitting on the couch on the computer. When I got so sick I could not eat (this NEVER happens to me; I NEVER lose my appetite) so I must have been very, very sick and probably should have been in the hospital. My husband would fix me meals and all I could eat would be a couple of tablespoons of food and the only thing my stomach could tolerate was fruit salad. He was constantly running to the store getting me cup up fruit.

    Anyway, I digress. I lost over 20 lbs and I think that fact alone helped me get better. I kept the weight off for a long time but another crisis hit and this time I ate it away. So even tho I am not back to my previous huge size, I am not where I want to be. So I enrolled in a Master Gardener class. It was a huge commitment for me but what a rewarding thing I did for myself! I now volunteer at the Missouri Botanical Garden every week and garden in my own yard almost daily. (Maybe in the winter I will try Zumba :) Believe me, gardening is not for wimps!!! I am killing myself almost every day but boy am I getting stronger and more fit. My legs are getting shapely, my butt is rock hard and my upper body (arms and back) is getting very strong.

    You are so right about your body being a temple. A temple of the Holy Ghost given to us by God. It will rise on the last day and we are obligated to take as much care of it as we do our children's bodies. Thank you for reminding me that I must keep working physically as long as I possibly can.

    You know the thing about put the oxygen mask on before you put it on your child? Well you have to stay strong because you never know what will be put into your life that will need your strength. So we owe it to God, to ourselves, and also to those we love. God bless you, Sarah!

  31. Sarah, thank you so much for blogging. I truly look forward to your posts regardless of content. So many of us share similarities on this wild ride of life and it is heartwarming to share if only through the computer! Computers are both a curse and a blessing but I am thankful it allows those of us who are not near each other in person to "know" each other through the internet. Kudos to you for opening up your home to us and letting us live vicariously through your determination and can do attitude. I am getting soooo close to trying things on my own and stocking up on caulk before I do - thanks to you! Best wishes!

  32. Sarah, first off, congrats on the positive steps (no pun intended) you've taken to live a healthier life! You look fantastic - and as one who has been on the weight roller coaster more times than I can count, I can TOTALLY relate - I know how GREAT it feels to see progress when you're losing weight - but I also know how EASY it can be to tip the scales in the upward direction too. I'm SO with you on diet playing an incredibly important role in leading and enjoying a healthier life - I truly believe that the old saying "you are what you eat" is FACT - so much so that I embarked on a health and wellness journey of my own last year and took an amazing online course to become a Certified Culinary Nutritionist (and can proudly say that I am one now!) For me now, it's not so much about counting calories as it is knowing that the food I eat is REAL - nothing processed, mainly plant based. In fact - back in March, I decided to start blogging on a more regular basis about my nutrition and wellness journey (among other things), and I'm truly enjoying it: I should also mention that YOU were a HUGE influence in my decision to focus on blogging more seriously - I've been a subscriber to your blog for at least a few years now, and have read every one of your posts religiously. Your style is authentic, engaging, and has without question been a HUGE inspiration to me when starting up my blog. Should you decide to take a peek at my blog, perhaps I can repay you in some small way by giving you a few fresh ideas as you take your own health and wellness journey! Thank you again for being such a motivational force, and best of luck in your continued quest towards healthy, strong, and vibrant living!

  33. I love your blog so much - it's the first one I look at every day! I always think I could hear your exact same words coming out of my mouth. And now I see that we are on the same journey with our weight/health as well!! That's just too cool! I started working out on my own back in February, just in an effort to get in better shape and lose some weight. All of my clothes were too tight and I hated catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I built up my endurance and noticed a little bit of a change - not so much with my weight, but in how I felt in general. The (many) trips to the gym and the changes I made in my diet had really started to make me feel better and stronger. Then in late April I did a 5k and met a personal trainer who offered me a deal I couldn't refuse - small class training with cardio and strenghth, 3 times a week for 3 months, nutritional counseling, all for $120. Yes, $120!!! There are only three of us in the class, so it's like having your own personal trainer and a couple of sisters to push you harder. He's amazing and I love it so much - I hate to miss class too! And I am seeing such great results for the first time in a long time. I'm peri-menopausal at age 44 and the weight is stubborn, but my body is tightening and toning like it never has before. I'm so thrilled! And guess what?? When I accidentally caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror yesterday, I wasn't grossed out by what I saw. I was proud - surprised, but proud! So I know exactly how you feel and I wish you the best of luck on your journey. Keep it up girl - we can get there!!! :)

  34. Great post Sarah! I am a big time workout girl and find that if I don't work out, it affects my mood, my energy, my day. It's the FOOD that I struggle with most! If I could be as vigilant with my eating as I am with working out, I would be ripped. ;-)

    You look fantastic! So great that you can see the results without being a slave to the scale, because really, we know when we're not where we want to be, based upon the way our clothes are fitting, right?

    I have gotten hooked on more weight training than cardio these days, and I love how strong I feel as a result. Strong is the new skinny. :-)

    I say go for it with the Indy Mini! We've done that race a few times, and it's a great one. Very flat, lots of fan support, lots of fun. My suggestion would be to train with a running group - it really helps pass the time, and you'll be amazed at how close you get to people that you run with when you have time to pass while running. No conversation is off limits. ;-)

    Congrats again and thanks for sharing!!

  35. Hi, Sarah, I don't have time right now to read all the comments, but I will make time. I'm glad you are making a difference in your life as well as others' lives. I am 58 years old...and by the way, I don't know how that happened. I was 24 one day, and when I woke up the next day, I was least that's what it feels like...which means that I don't feel like 58, for sure.

    Anyway, I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two years ago on June 29, 2012. If that doesn't knock the wind out of your sails, I don't know what will.. Long story short, I had early symptoms (which most people don't have), and my cancer was in an operable location and had not yet spread to the inoperable point. I was terrified, partly because I buried my good friend in 1987 at 32 years of age seven weeks after she had her third child from this same disease.

    Fortunately, on July 19 of 2012, I had a ten-hour surgery at UCSF (Univ. Calif. San Francisco), known as the Whipple procedure. They got the cancer!! Yay for me!! Six months of biweekly mild chemo as insurance and so far, I'm still cancer free. They check me every three months and will follow me for ten years. Love UCSF!! They have and are helping me beat the horrible odds!! Fingers crossed!!

    Ladies (and gentlemen, too), treat yourself well, eat right, exercise.. Sarah, Thank you for sharing your journey and continuing to inspire people (like me) in so many ways!! Keep up the good work.

    Judie S.

    P.S. Kept reading your blog post-surgery when I was in hospital at UCSF!!

  36. Definitely stop with the calorie counting and just eat real food in moderation... calorie counting is the biggest sham. Beware of hidden sugars. If you don't care about skinny (good for you) and just want to be fit and strong, start CrossFit. It's the most effective programming out there. Hands down.
    Enjoy the journey.

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  38. You look great.I on the other hand do not.Oh yeah the cycle of staying unhealthy. Overweight,try on clothes,get out of shower look in the mirror that for some reason is a circus mirror!,walk by a large window,take a picture and think "it must be the camera" out of breath,eat some more,tomorrow is another day to walk,sit on the couch and get completely sucked into Lifetime movies,that always end the same way,my underwear is shrinking, kinda life. Whew, it's exhausting just writing all that. I guess I'll take a selfie and realize that's really me I see.

  39. Sarah!! What a difference! I'm so proud of you! You look amazing, and it's really making a huge difference on the outside, but I know you're probably feeling a HUGE difference on the INSIDE now that you've finally figured out you're changing the way you look. Ha! I love that you didn't even realize it until you looked at your pictures side-by-side. You're the best! Congratulations on your hard work paying off! Keep it up!

  40. Congratulations!! You look great! I did this about 3 years ago. I've NEVER enjoyed working out but I went with friends & then I started running. I've completed numerous 5K's, 2 Half Marathon's & I've gotten faster. Now I'm training for a mini triathlon. It's crazy but I really enjoy working out now.

  41. First off, you look great! I too, have just realized how I need to thankful I need to be for my healthy body (because it hasn't always been so). Thank you for reminding us all to be grateful and take care of what we have. I am in the same town as you and was wondering if there is any way I can find out who you take Zumba from. My first instructor switched to all Latin music (& I don't know the songs/words!) & my 2nd who I REALLY loved, moved her studio to Fishers. Is there a way to get me your instructor/place's name privately. Unless you feel comfortable posting it here, I just didn't want to put you on the spot. Thanks so much!

    1. Katherine I just saw this -- please feel free to email me and I'll get you all the details! :)

  42. Girl, you look great!!!! I love it when you do these posts. I need the motivation right now! I have a fitbit, and at work we just started a competition counting steps every day. It's a great way to make myself move more! I also like using my fitness pal to journal what I eat and to make me aware of my eating habits. I agree that I need to change my mindset to take better care of my body. What a great post. Keep it up!!

  43. You look wonderful! Congratulations on your new outlook. The thing is, when I started reading this I smiled to myself because it is literally WORD FOR WORD what I told my husband 31 days ago when I decided to take control of my body and treat it properly - it IS a temple! I now walk 3 miles several times a week and have cut all grain and sugar from my diet. I know that I'm now done having babies (3 total) and I want to focus on getting fit, strong and healthy. No more yo-yo dieting, no more losing and gaining the same 30 pounds over and over. I've lost a lot of inches and over 13 pounds in the past month and most importantly I feel SO GOOD! I resigned myself to being overweight for the rest of my life and never thought I could beat the battle of the bulge. Now, I am certain I'll win the war. Thank you for sharing your story. You're an encouragement to anyone who has ever struggled in this area. I've been a longtime reader and fan!

  44. Great job!!!! Btw, if you ever want to consider it, Trim Healthy Mama is helping my family and I to lose weight! The concepts are really simple. Always have protein with your meal. Your meal should either have lots of fat and zero to minimal carbs OR moderate carbs and very minimal fat. I get to eat 3 square meals and multiple snacks during the day. It's pretty awesome like that. I've lost 10 lb. in a month. Other family members have lost about 30 lb. in 3 months. Lots of success out there. Just my 2 cents. Healthy eating!

  45. I don't think I've ever commented before, but I used to exercise. Used to exercise a lot, now not so much (well, not But felt I would add some input, if I may. Weight, does not tell the whole story, as muscle weighs more than fat. So you can weight the same or more, but still be in better shape. The energy you feel when you work out, the way you feel, the way you look, there's nothing like exercise. But whereas a tragedy make you start working out, a tragedy made me stop working out. My mother died and I went into a sort of depression and I stopped working out. Sad thing is I really enjoyed it, I did a lot of kickboxing and dance videos, yoga; you name it. You have found the key to great exercise; have fun.


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