Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Red Underwear

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve and I find myself incredibly shocked another year has passed.  On this night last year, as I was readying to ring in 2014, I read some insane fact that wearing red underwear will ensure you find love in the new year.  Ridiculous, I know, but I was all aboard!  I am so happy to report that my being ridiculous actually paid off for once.  This year, I did find love…with myself.
A few weeks ago at a friend’s party, I saw a few people that I haven’t seen in several months.  Obviously, I look very different than I did over the summer and some people don’t read my blog.  It’s a shame, I know. :) The following conversation occurred,

Person: “So Sarah, you look great!  What are you doing?  What happened?  Are you in love?”
Sarah: “Yeah, with myself.”

Totally accurate.  I guess many people do have a specific reason for making a drastic change in their lives and I’m assuming that many people do it because of love.  I’m doing it for the love of myself.  The journey might not have started out that way but I am amending my course.  I will keep going and striving because I, honestly, love myself too much to put my body through the hell I used to.  Now, the only hell I endure is in the name of sweat and muscles.

I have the luxury of being incredibly selfish.  I will continue to put myself first because after 28 years, I deserve it.  I deserve to be the #1 priority in my life.  My health and happiness are at the forefront of my mind every day.  If that means turning down a late dinner, running 5 minutes late to work because I was at the gym or saying no to a social situation I can’t be trusted in then that’s the way it goes, folks.  I love a lot of things, especially cupcakes, but right now I have to love myself more.  

In 2014, I fell in love with myself and my new life.  People (who, I don’t know) always say that you won’t find love with anyone until you love yourself.  I won’t need any red underwear this year because I know love will find me soon.  I know this because I’m open, ready and already completed step #1.  Plus, Sylvia the psychic said I would.  Let me guess, you want to know what color underwear I’ll be wearing tonight?  That would be yellow, friends, which is supposed to bring you wealth, prosperity and/or success.  Why?  Because I need wealth in order to afford all the new clothes for the cute new me!  Another skinny girl struggle.  Visit here to see meanings for what color undies you should rock tonight.

This photo is the LAST one I have of my old self.  It was taken on 12/31/13 at a pajama NYE party.  Exactly 2 weeks later, I had my consultation with the weight-loss clinic.  Here I am 52 weeks after photo, extremely thankful that momma bought me new pjs for Christmas!  Can we talk about how even my HANDS are skinnier?

Happy New Year, everyone!  Drink champagne, dance on tables and don’t forget to eat your black-eyed peas tomorrow.  Call a cab, or your mom, tonight and celebrate responsibly!  Cheers to 2015!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Sur-prise, Sur-prise

I hope everyone had the merriest of Christmases!  My time at home was short but I had a great time with family and friends.  I definitely have to get my eating under control as I’ve been on and off the wagon since my birthday.  I really missed the gym, too.  I was gone for 2 days, which is totally normal, but it felt like longer.  The ONLY thing I cared about eating on Christmas was this baked brie.  Holy Toledo, it was worth it.  I made it with apricot preserves and Crescent roll dough.  If you’ve never had one of these, get your life together and make one.  It took about 15 minutes and 3 people to destroy it.  Ah-mazing!  Also, here's a photo of me passed out at like 3 p.m. from all the carbs I consumed.  Mom thought it was funny that Oliver and I were napping but he promptly awoke when she broke out her phone to get a pic.  His eyes are the reason mom called him devil dog for the first 3 years of his life.  Well, his eyes and the fact that he can be a jerk sometimes.  How cute am I in my lumberjack chic look?  #lumberjackchic is going to be trending one day so wear it and hashtag it!  Anyway…

Remember a few posts ago when I said I wanted an honest-to-God surprise for my birthday?  Well, I got a few of them.  Technically, some of them weren’t necessarily for my birthday but they were definitely in the vicinity.  On the eve of my birthday, I saw a shooting star.  Well, I think it was actually a meteor as apparently showers are really common in the beginning of December.  Thank you, Google.  I was out walking Oliver on his last quest of the night and I glanced over my shoulder and saw this bright light shooting across the sky.  It took me a second or two to register but I closed my eyes and made a wish because you just never know.  The second thing that surprised me was the generosity of my friends.  I know I said I didn’t want my surprise to be a gift and I’m holding true to that.  I’m not surprised by the gifts but rather about the thoughtfulness and meaning behind them.  I believe I threatened to punch a few people over the enormity of their thoughtfulness.  The biggest surprise of all was finding that the truest of friendships will always shine through.  This year has been rough and I have definitely had a tribe of people behind me showing support.  Those same people are the ones that were there to celebrate my day.  Many helped me celebrate from afar but they were phone calls, text messages and cards filled with wishes.  As I get older, I realize that the quality over quantity mantra is so true.  I would much rather have 10 dimes than 100 pennies.  I want to thank all the dimes in my life for making my birthday so incredibly special.   Hugs!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Call Me For Ya’ Free Readin’

As stated earlier, I’ve just arrived home from a weekend away in Savannah with some friends.  It was an epic girls’ weekend filled with fun, food, shopping and a psychic.  What?  I know!  Wandering along River Street, we saw a sign for Sylvia and decided to give it a try.  I am, obviously, not disclosing who participated or what was said in anything other than my own read.  Also, I’m not revealing ALL of what Sylvia told me about myself as I’m not sure if that negates it from coming true, much like a birthday wish.  We waited to meet Sylvia and decided to get a tarot card reading.  When it was finally my turn, I was incredibly nervous.  What if she told me I was going to get hit by a bus tomorrow?  If she did, I would book it out of there as I have a plane to catch and food to eat.  I shuffled the deck 3 times, as instructed, and had to shuffle another 3 times because Sylvia told me that someone’s energies were still left in the cards.  Not something I think someone should be leaving behind anywhere but you do you.  She deals my first cards and reveals some VERY accurate information about my professional life.  While I realize that her read could probably apply to many young professionals, the fact that I have uttered the exact words that came out of her mouth multiple times in the last few months is freaky.  I’m starting to become a believer.  Next, specific details withheld, Sylvia goes on to tell me when I’m going to find love (she even told me some interesting details about him), about the kids she sees in my future and some very exciting news about 2015.  Let me guess, you’re still skeptical?  Well, Sylvia tells me that this year I’ve really been focusing on myself, figuring out where I want to be in life and planning how to get there.  Do you think she reads my blog?  I know I won’t win all of you over and most people don’t believe in any of it.  Regardless, this experience was so much fun and has left me feeling incredibly optimistic about the future.  Even if Sylvia is wrong and none of it is in the real cards for me, I’m looking forward to playing wait-and-see game.

OH!  I totally forgot to post my progress chart from the doctor last week.  Look at that beautiful downward slope!  Sorry, ma’, I’m not calculating it.  I absolutely put it on my refrigerator just like mom would hang my macaroni artwork when I was a kid.

Cupcakes and Lost Lunches

I apologize for the silence, friends!  The past 10 days have been beyond busy!  It all started last weekend with 3 parties, moved on to birthday celebrations (I use the whole week) and ended with a trip to Savannah that I literally just walked in the door from.  I was itching to get a post up to you as I have been contacted by several people asking when the next installment of my life would be available for the masses.  I will probably disappoint for a few weeks due to not having as much time to ponder and write with the holidays rapidly approaching.

Not ready for all this jelly
These past 10 days have not only been busy but have also been filled with food.  Most days, I ate cake, a cupcake, ice cream, a beignet or some other form of something I shouldn’t be eating on the regular.  I did make a fabulous find in Orlando at the Blue Bird Bake shop.  Their cupcakes are ON POINT!  This is a picture of the box my parents and I got after my birthday lunch.  This picture also captures my face of disappointment that I can’t eat this PB&J cupcake every day of my life.  Vanilla cake.  Peanut butter icing.  Grape jelly syrup on top.  I DIED.  It was amazing.  I HIGHLY recommend this cupcake shop and will be back once I’ve lost all the weight I will inevitably gain from this week.

Pizza & ice cream-worth it!
Okay, cupcake connoisseur dialogue over and back to trying to be fit.  I ate so much on my birthday that I was sick that night, which carried over into the next morning’s workout.  On my b-day, I woke up at 3:50 a.m. (yep, sure did) and worked out for an extra 30 minutes.  I had my normal breakfast and proceeded to eat the following: fried mac ‘n’ cheese, fried pickles, grilled cheese with bacon, French fries, a cupcake, oxtail with faba beans, pumpkin rice, coconut cake and chocolate cake.  I feel like I need to say a Hail Mary like I just left confession.  Lying in bed that night, I thought to myself, “I’m going to throw up.”  I haven’t eaten this quantity or quality food in a long time.  I made it through the night without losing my lunch.  The next morning, I was mid super-setting squats and step ups and I felt like I was going to pass out.  Let’s just say the next series of events wasn’t pretty.  Hovering over the gym bathroom sink, I yelled at myself for eating so much.  I must not have listened because last night at dinner in Savannah I seriously thought I was going to blow up.  I’ve had a food hangover all day.  The struggle is real, people.  Also, in Savannah, I had my first piece of pizza in 6 months and real ice cream in I don’t even know how long.  Let’s take a moment to focus on the positives of the past 10 days.  I worked out 6/10 days (even waking up at 5:30 on vacay to hit the hotel gym).  My pants still fit when I put them on this morning.  Yeah, that’s all I got.  I did have a dang good time and, honestly, needed a break from my low-carb life.  I’m back to good and starting a detox tomorrow.  I don’t even think I’ll eat much/”bad” on Christmas because I’m really looking forward to eating the way new Sarah does.  I miss protein.

I’m hoping to get some blogging in this upcoming week with Oliver at his grandparent’s house and a 4.5 day weekend.  Here’s hoping something funny or embarrassing happens soon so I can keep your readership.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Letter to Me

Happy birthday, beautiful! You make 28 look good! It’s been a long, difficult year and I’m so optimistic about the year ahead for you. I know you’re reluctant to turn closer to 30 but 27 was amazing, and I’m incredibly excited to see what this next year has in store for you. In the past year, you’ve cried more tears and sweated more sweat than any years before but you kept your head up and kept moving. I’M SO PROUD OF YOU. You never gave up. You never fell (figuratively) on your face. Sure, there were slip ups and missteps but you persevered. One day you woke up and believed you could so you did. You proved to yourself that you are courageous, strong and determined. You’ve accomplished eons and I know you’ll keep striving for more. Get the pen ready because you’re going to keep checking items off your goal list and will be adding more along the way. Celebrate today and all of your accomplishments as you deserve a day off! I raise a cupcake to you and wish you health, love and, most of all, happiness. Be you and be great.




Sunday, December 14, 2014

And Suddenly You're Just Different

In honor of my birthday week, I put together a photo montage of me from age 18 to 28.  If a photo couldn’t be found from the day of my actual birthday, it is definitely close.  I’m the smallest I can ever remember being and am way lighter than I was in high school at age 18.  It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago I was getting ready for prom, prepping for college, stressing my way through AP statistics class and caring more about my social life than anything else.

Recently, while hanging out with my friend, Aly, we were talking about my blog, and how awesome it is :), and it was brought up how I was fortunate to not be bullied in high school. It’s totally true. No one was ever deliberately mean to me in high school because of my weight. I had plenty of friends, played a sport and was voted friendliest by the senior class. My true friends never saw me as fat, they just saw me as Sarah. Elementary and middle school was where kids were the cruelest.  I can remember crying to my mom over being the fat kid and feeling so ugly.  I was afraid to try new things and go out for teams because when I did, I wasn’t ever good enough.  Kids would call me fat, or other equally creative names but I’ve always been funny and sarcastic so if anyone said anything mean to me I usually had a comment right back. I let being fat define me and believed it was all I would ever be. Being overweight held me back from a lot and lead me to miss out on things. It’s hard to believe that it took 20 years for something to finally come along that was worth giving up being fat for. Not being chosen for cheerleading in the 7th grade, not being asked to prom, being too fat to ride roller coasters, always being in the friend zone, skipping parties in college when being scantily dressed was theme required or being described as the, “big girl with red hair.” None of these things ever pushed me to be successful at losing weight. Nothing was worth the sacrifices and hard work required for long-term results. Until last December.

Around my 27th birthday, I started to panic that life was passing me by. I called my mom to tell her something I hadn’t been able to admit to myself out loud. I’m terrified of being alone for the rest of my life.  What if I miss out on some of the best parts of life because I can't lose weight?  What if I never find my happy?  We talked about it for a few minutes and she said to me, “You know you’re going to need to lose weight.” I know this might sound harsh but I love her so much for saying those 9 words to me. This wasn’t the first time mom and I have talked about my weight but this was the first time I realized she was, as usual, 100 percent right. A few months earlier she asked if I’d be interested in getting lap-band surgery. “It’s not that bad, mom,” I think I countered. It was that bad, I was just so blind to it.  Mom would never say these things to hurt my feelings. She said them because she’s my mom. She wants what all moms want, for her kid to be happy and live a fulfilled life. I quickly realized after our honest phone conversation that I needed to start designing the life I’d been dreaming of. It was time to stop sitting on the sidelines watching others have happiness. I started going to spin classes, I kept up my (small) gym routine through December and attempted eating better. After the holidays, it was incredibly obvious that I was going to need a little help. All of the pieces fell into place after that. Girl gets meds. Meds help girl lose weight. Girl eats less and moves more. Girl starts blog. Girl loses more weight. Girl gets hot. Okay, you’re all caught up.

I have finally found the one thing capable of snapping me out of my fat phase. After all these months, the one thing keeping me going all this time is the same reason why I started. It isn’t a material object, it isn’t money, it isn’t dreams of being skinny, it’s a concept. The concept of a life where I am happy, accepted and loved.  A life where I'm actually living each day not just passing through it.  A life worthy of being the great story I tell my grandchildren when I'm 90.  Hell, actually seeing age 90.

Looking back, I cannot believe how much has changed in a year since that epiphany.  It’s amazing to witness all the engagements, weddings, babies, job changes, moves and personal growths of friends and family.  I know I am a completely different person than I was this time last year.  I guess that’s the fun part about life, you never know what lies ahead.  I never dreamed I would be where I am or have accomplished the things I have this past year.  Sure, I was optimistic but this year has completely exceeded all expectations.

This past year was, honestly, the most rewarding and the most difficult I’ve had in all 28 lived.  In 2014, I found myself.  I found a girl who was tired of the bullshit she was putting herself through.  I was fed up with being me, so I changed.  I finally flipped the light on and became the person I was too lazy to be before.  Twenty seven was a transition and 28 is my debut.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ain't Worth the Whiskey

To quote the Cole Swindell song, some things just ain’t worth the whiskey.  This year, I’ve definitely been able to discern the difference between what’s worth it and what’s not.  I’m not a wasteful person (especially when it comes to whiskey!) and would never waste my calories, carbs, sugars or fats on something that’s not worth it.  Burger King breakfast, not worth it.  Momma’s chocolate chip cookies, worth it!  I bring to you on this Wednesday several food finds that are worth it and several that are just worth purchasing because they’re not “bad” for you and are ON POINT!

My sweet momma was kind enough to make me my very own dessert for Thanksgiving to enjoy while everyone shoveled pie and cheesecake.  Jerks.  She mixed sugar-free vanilla pudding with pumpkin and cool whip, layered it with cool whip and added a sprinkling of graham cracker.  This delectable little cup was heaven.  She’s so good to me.  After eating one the night before Thanksgiving, I decided to calculate the carbs and sugars.  They were a little more per serving than we would have liked but did save me on calories and fats compared to pumpkin pie.  Regardless, this dessert was definitely WORTH IT.  

A lot of those I follow on IG talk about Complete Cookies by Lenny & Larry.  ONE cookie is TWO servings, which equates to a cookie of 58 carbs, 32 sugars, 16 proteins, 14 fats and 6 fibers.  I quoted the pumpkin flavor as that’s the one I purchased.  These vegan cookies are dairy free with no animal products and no preservatives.  This cookie was AMAZING!  It was soft and had a buttery texture.  If you’re going to have a cheat cookie, it might as well be one of this brand.  WORTH IT!  I got mine at Vitamin Shoppe but you can check out Lenny & Larry here.

I successfully made sugar-free instant pudding with almond milk.  Not supposed to be a thing because it’s missing enough fat to make it pudding-like.  However, if you use 1 cup plus 2 TBSP almond milk and 2 TBSP water it totally works!  This is exciting science news because it severely cuts down on the carbs, fat and calories!  This photo looks like green snot because I made pistachio flavor pudding but it tasted pretty good.  Pistachio was a good experiment flavor because the almond milk just enhanced the nutty flavor.  Also, I added peanut butter and whipped cream like I do to all things.  WORTH IT (as in eating what looks like slime).

I discovered ThinSlim Foods the way I do most things, through Instagram.  This product line boasts everything from bagels, breads, cookies, muffins, brownies, sweet squares and pizza dough.  I ordered a random sort of foods to sample.  I purchased a pack of the Love the Taste Bagels in everything flavor, which has 16g carbs, 0 sugars and 14g fiber.  Again, net carbs are carbs minus the amount of carbs with no impact on blood glucose levels, therefore many would subtract the fiber to gain 2g net carbs.  However, I’m under the impression that you’re still consuming 16g carbs and the same amount of calories regardless.  The fiber is an added bonus.  Either way, I’m okay with the 16g carbs for a bagel.  I toasted mine and added some veggie cream cheese and it was tasty.  It was a little dry but I may have over toasted it because I wanted it to be crunchy.  I’m still experimenting.  The brownie was decent (again, added PB and whipped cream, duh) and was very moist (barf, I know but I have no other word for it).  I had a chocolate chip muffin that wasn’t as good as momma’s but nothing is.  The double chocolate muffin was pretty dry, though.  Obviously, all the things I’ve tried are not replicas of the real thing but they are extremely good substitutions.  You can check out ThinSlim here.  Bagels get the thumbs up.

While in Orlando for Thanksgiving, I made it a point to go to Whole Foods to get some Halo Top Creamery ice cream.  I’ve heard good things.  I bought the lemon cake and strawberry flavors.  The lemon cake was so good!!  For ½ a cup you get 12g carbs, 4g sugars, 7g protein, 3g fat and 4g fiber.  The strawberry, however, left something to be desired.  It was nowhere near as good as the lemon cake.  I will for sure buy lemon cake again but probably not the strawberry because it’s ‘spensive for a pint.  On the lemon cake, I drizzled some almond butter and added whipped cream (y’all know by now that this is my M.O.) on top.  

Also, while browsing Whole Foods, I found my new favorite thing of life- SUGAR COOKIE SLEIGH RIDE tea.  I’m not exactly sure what a sugar cookie sleigh ride is but I want to go on one and never leave.  This tea is amazing AND caffeine free.  Hallelujah!  I also purchased a few other flavors but the sleigh ride tastes just like a sugar cookie.  Mix in a sweetener and a dash of almond milk and you have Christmas in a cup.  Promise.

Choices these days are all about what’s worth it and what’s not.  If you’re going to eat a treat, you might as well enjoy it and have it taste good.  There’s nothing more disappointing than giving in to a craving and having it totally suck.  I’m still trying to figure out what’s not worth drinking whiskey over.  I’ll continue to ponder…

Please be warned that when you finish the pint of Halo Top and attempt to take a photo of the carton for your blog that an unsuspecting doxie will sneak in.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Roller Coaster Ride

Butterbeer lovin'
I’ve been obsessed with roller coasters since I was a kid.  Being a tall child, I met the height requirements by the time I was 4 years old.  I was that fearless kid who wanted to ride over and over again.  I love the rush and thrill of rides and growing up in Orlando around theme parks was amazing.  I remember at one point in life wanting to design roller coasters for a career.  Good thing I let that go because there’s no way I would have made it through an engineering program in college.  In high school, I got a part-time job at Universal Studios so I was ALWAYS around rides.  It’s crazy to think about it now but I haven’t been on a roller coaster in nearly 10 years.  One day after work at Universal, I met up with a friend at Islands of Adventure (where the big rides are) to hang out.  We went to ride on the Hulk coaster and when I sat in the seat it seemed noticeably smaller.  My fat ass couldn’t get low enough in the seat so the over-shoulder restraint wasn’t close enough for the seat belt to reach.  I PANICKED.  It was probably one of my top 5 most embarrassing moments of life.  I had to GET OFF the ride and wait for the next car to come forward and they put me in a bigger seat.  It makes me sick to even think about that moment now.  The next week, a bunch of us from my department took the day off to go to Busch Gardens in Tampa.  Having the experience I just did, I was so nervous about getting in line for coasters.  I faked a stomachache for the first few but knew I’d eventually have to brave a ride and stop sitting out.  Luckily, on the next coaster, they put up a diagram of what seats on the car were bigger.  I asked a friend to switch seats so that I could sit next to another friend but really it was so that my big butt could actually ride the ride.  I proceeded to go on this coaster about 4 times in a row because I knew I could.  It’s so sad and embarrassing to admit this to you all.  That was probably in 2005 and I believe was the last time I rode a roller coaster.  Until yesterday.


On Wednesday, my friend and I decided we needed to get out of Gainesville and go on an adventure.  We decided to choose happy and settled on a day trip to visit the new Harry Potter attractions at Universal and Islands of Adventure.  I had a freakin’ blast!  I geeked out on all things HP, drank my first frozen butterbeer (calories don’t count when you’re on Diagon Alley) and rode zillions of rides.  I had forgotten how much fun roller coasters are!  I was screaming and laughing all day.  

All set!

I had a slight nervousness upon riding the Hulk and waiting in line I was reminded of that extremely embarrassing moment years ago.  All the coasters now have signs throughout the line area directing guests as to what rows are “modified seating,” which they describe as being able to fit other body types.  Where were these signs years ago?  Regardless, I comfortably fit and have a photo to prove it!  The sign above my head tells you that certain upper body types might not fit in the seat I’m sitting and the seat next to me is one of those modified seats.  I’m so happy that I was able to fit in all regular seats and my weight didn’t hold me back from anything on this day.  I was running through the lines out of excitement and had no issues walking the entirety of BOTH parks.  I treated myself to an annual pass and I can’t wait to go back!

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Sun Always Rises

HAPPIEST OF BIRTHDAYS to my #1 fan, Papadopolous!  Enjoy your first day of retirement and eat anything you want!  I love you more than donuts!

Well, kiddos, I didn’t make my goal.  Whomp, whomp.  Technically, when I set out on this journey, I wanted to weigh under 200 lbs. by my 28th birthday on the 15th, which I still have time to make.  However, I won’t.  I’m not giving up.  I’m not throwing in the towel.  It’s seriously just not possible at this point with 8 pounds to go (unless I get that miracle!).

I changed my goal date to December 4th so that it would coincide with a doctor’s appointment, but a few weeks ago I had to reschedule an appointment and that put me back a week.  I don’t weigh in at the doc until the 11th.  With all this said, I was committed to keeping my goal date at the 4th because that’s what I wrote down and put out to the world.  Here’s the thing, I should be devastated that I didn’t make it.  I should feel like crap and put myself down for failing but I CAN’T.  I didn’t fail anything.  Look at me!  I lost 84 pounds in 46 weeks.  I feel amazing and I wouldn’t trade any cookie, bagel or missed workout.  I lived life this year.  Yes, it was EXTREMELY hard work and will continue to be a struggle every damn day but I definitely worked my real life into my new life.  Of course, there’s a tiny part of me that’s disappointed I’m not where I wanted to be, but the rest of me is overshadowing that part and knows I’ll get there eventually.

When I went to Miami a few months ago, I woke up early on the last morning to watch the sunrise.  It was overcast and there were clouds completely blocking the horizon.  I was one of many people standing on the beach waiting for the sun to come up.  In the end, it didn’t disappoint.  It was painted with so many different oranges and pinks turning to deep gold and red.  Regardless of a little cloud cover, the sunrise was still so beautiful.  You, dear reader, are following me on this mission of mine and will hopefully continue to regardless of a cloudy day.  I might not have made my goal but in the end I’ll still rise.

I’m not perfect.  Not everything can go according to plan.  When you fall off the wagon, get up, dust yourself off and start running.  I’m assuming the wagon is being pulled by very fast horses.  Something changed in me in the last few weeks and I realized this is a marathon and not a sprint.  It’s not about losing weight the fastest I can, it’s about getting rid of the weight and NEVER gaining it back.  I used to beat myself up and get discouraged by a number on the scale and then I woke up.
 As long as I move in the general right direction, I’m going to be successful.  If any of you are disappointed in my failure to reach a goal, sorry I’m not sorry.  I would usually say a favorite four-letter F word to you but I like to save those for special occasions as I have to apologize to momma whenever I use one.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dollar for Your Sweat

Thank you Pinterest for all of your crafting, fitness, eating, drinking, clothing, party planning and SO much more glory!  After seeing a pin recently for a reward system, I have decided that for every work out I do I am going to pay myself $1.  This way, I reward myself with something wearable or a vacation instead of food.  I also decided that I am going to retroactively pony up for my work outs from this whole year.  As of yesterday, I owe myself $165.  With the holidays and my birthday coming up, this seems like a crazy time to start allocating funds to this cause but I really feel like I have earned every penny.  Why can’t I reward myself for all of my hard work this past year?  That’s right, I CAN!  I can’t decide when I’ll cash in though.  I was very good to myself, and momma was EVEN better to me, on Black Friday and with the Christmas tree project so there’s nothing I really NEED right now.  I think I’ll keep saving my earnings and work out toward a cruise in the spring, which will require a whole new wardrobe, again.  If anyone would like to join, I’m currently recruiting friends to bid bon voyage with me.

SUPA PROUD time!  This week, I’m supa proud of my Papadopolous for tomorrow he crosses off his last day of work and enters RETIREMENT!  Congratulations, Dad!  We’ll be poppin’ bottles to celebrate over Christmas when I next see you.  Now seems like a good time to explain the whole Papadopolous thing.  We took a family vacation to celebrate momma’s retirement in June 2013 to Italy, Greece and Croatia.  Upon landing in Venice, I started calling dad Papadopolous.  I vaguely remember it being the name of a company or something I saw on a sign but it immediately stuck.  We debated over the spelling but I think we have a good thing here and there’s no going back now.

Tomorrow, as many of you know is D-day.  December 4th was when I set to lose 92 lbs. by.  I haven’t shared my actual weight in a few weeks to keep you in suspense.  I already know the outcome and of course there will be a post about it on Friday.  See you then!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Tree in all her glory!
Happy December, friends! I can’t believe that my favorite month is finally here. For obvious reasons, my birthday and Christmas, December is by far the best. The weather, the holidays, the time with friends and family, and the cupcakes make it #1 out of all 12. I have decided not to do a challenge this month because it’s really difficult to fit in extra work when I’m travelling and so busy. This month has so many events on the books that I’m just asking myself to get behind. I will get back at it with January, I promise. I’m still 4 days away from finishing my squat challenge as Thanksgiving really threw me off. Dang, Turkey. I had to quit the plank portion of my challenge this month because it was causing serious issues with my lower back. To avoid injury, I bowed out. Forgive me, please!

With the holiday season upon us and life being about choosing happy, I decided that it was time for a real Christmas tree. I love Christmas trees and always have. Sitting in a dark room with the lights a glow is one of my favorite parts about the holiday. Usually, I put up my tiny table-top PINK tree with colorful ornaments. This year, I wanted to have an adult tree and also wanted it to be my first LIVE tree. As a kid, we always had a fake tree and I’ve never known any different. What better year than this to start something new? I loaded up on ornaments, purchased a stand, finally found a skirt and headed out to find the perfect tree. Those who know me know that I am extremely indecisive, so there I am, dancing around the tent set up in the Lowe’s parking lot looking for a tree. I have no idea what I’m doing! I’m lifting trees up, examining them, judging them and panicking. After about 20 minutes, I find what I believe is the perfect 6-7 ft. Frasier fur and drag it to the check out. After my tree has a fresh cut and is wrapped up, I haul it to my Jeep. Sane people would put it on top of the car but I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get it up there on my own. Mind you, I did a massive shoulder workout about 4 hours before this. BIG mistake. I put the tree in the trunk and headed home. I carry the tree inside and set it up in the stand ALL BY MYSELF!! I’m covered in sap, dripping sweat and wondering, “When does this get fun?” After nearly 28 years on Earth, I finally know why husbands and boyfriends are needed. This was a lot of work alone and Oliver was no help at all. I wanted to rewind and go back to before I purchased the tree and just get one in a box with pre-strung lights!

After an additional ornament run and a few glitter explosions, the tree is complete! I absolutely love it and it smells like Christmas in my house. I think my favorite part about having a real tree is that it isn’t perfect. Its limbs weren’t designed in some factory to be level and even among the tree. The tree has a bare spot and a slightly crooked top but that’s what gives it character. I accept my gorgeous tree for its flaws and sat in awe at what I had accomplished. It may seem like no big deal to some but I’m proud of myself for taking on something and not giving up when it seemed too hard. I wish this tree would last forever because it matches my living room so well! The girliest of trees with glitter, pink and gold ornaments to match my hot pink couch.

Your takeaway from today’s post: do even the smallest of things if they make you happy, love imperfections, and with enough determination and endless glitter I could probably rule the world!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Giving Thanks Where Thanks is Due

Since Thanksgiving is finally here, I’m sure your newsfeed has seen a few of the, “What I’m thankful for,” posts.  I try not to flood anyone’s Facebook with my life, which is why I started a blog!  It’s your one-stop shop for all the things you need to know about my every thought. :)  I’ve got some pretty big things to be thankful for this year so I wanted to take a moment to write them down and give some shout outs.

Momma, thank you for putting up with me and my endless shenanigans.  You are always the finder of lost things, walker of Oliver and my #1 stylist/shopping buddy.  This past year has been really HARD and it’s nice to have you along for the ride.  You are my sounding board and shoulder to cry on.  Our family would fall apart without you because you are the glue that binds us.  I know I have dad’s knees, hands, math brain and height but I have your heart.  I love you to the moon and back.

Papadopolous, thank you for being my #1 fan.  Your encouragement and dedicated following is so beyond appreciated.  I strive to make you proud and you never miss an opportunity to let me know you are.  Life would be far less fun without you.  You fill our home and lives with laughter.  I am so thankful that Chris and I have a role model who proves that growing up is overrated and farts are funny at every age.  Bonus points to mom for putting up with the three of us!  I can’t even be upset that Oliver loves you more than me because you deserve it.   Love you!

I’m INCREDIBLY blessed with amazing friends.  This year has really taught me that real friends will be there for you no matter what.  They aren’t just a Facebook-photo-like notification; they are text messages and phone calls filled with real, genuine, honest and encouraging words.  I will attempt to thank you each one by one.  I will keep it short but could really go on for days.

Alexa, you are my #1 boo and I would still be the scared girl waiting in her car at the gym who was intimidated by the equipment inside without you.  You are my gym buddy for life.  Thank you for finding and trying new foods, fads and workouts with me!  Remember that time you made me do Smith machine donkey kicks?  Embarrassing but worth it.  I love you and babygirl so much!

Tracey and Michelle, you two joined me on this journey and I am so grateful and proud of your accomplishments!  Tracey, I remember when I told you that I had a huge desire to lose weight.  We were standing in the parking lot getting ready to leave work and I clearly remember you saying, “What do we have to do?”  Emphasis on the “we.”  I’ll never forget how you were in it to win it with me from the moment I had a plan.  As if there was another option because we have to keep looking alike or people might stop confusing us.  Love you, Rachel.  Michelle, I appreciate your honesty and candor.  You always make me turn around and show you my butt when I wear new pants and there was that time you rubbed my belly and said, “Look how skinny you are,” in front of people!  You always keep me in check when I’m being dramatic and emotional, which could be your full-time job.  Sorry I’m not sorry that we get in so much trouble together.  Love you, from Fievel.

Kate, PIC, Ride or Die, I was incredibly lucky to stand next to you this year and hold your dress while you peed as you became a Mrs.  I will also be there to hold your hand next year as you welcome your first baby into the world.  I warn you now, if it’s a girl there will be a glitter and bow explosion in your house. :)  She’ll have to be properly dressed for tea time at Auntie Sarah’s.  I love you and our ridiculousness and that I can call you from the backseat of a car after too much Captain and Fireball and you will listen to whatever nonsense I thought important to say.  We will run a race together one day!  Love you, hooker.

Aly, you and I clicked from day 1 on that high school lacrosse field.  We can go weeks without talking and months without seeing each other and pick up right where we left off.  Thank you for always encouraging me!  You are always first to say how proud you are of me and I really appreciate that.  I wouldn’t be the shopper, crafter, party planner or home decorator I am without you feeding my addiction.  Love you, little sis!

Jennifer S., thank you for being my sounding board and Tuesday night phone date.  One day, we will be together again for Taco Tuesday with tequila.  You’re the margarita to my sangria and I would go insane without you.  You are always there to listen when I need an ear no matter what time of day.  You inspired me to start this blog and encouraged me from day 1.  When I grow up, I want to be you.  You knew what you wanted, chased it and never apologized for being yourself.  I’m still sad you moved away, again, but it lead you to your happily ever after, which is what life is really about anyway.  I have to go doodle your name now.  Love you!

Heidi, thank you SO much for going to UF law school!  I am so excited that we got to become real friends again.  Thank you for your thoughtfulness and kind words.  You are so encouraging and I greatly appreciate it.  You are always just a text message away when I need a friend!  I will continue to deny that you will graduate next year because I’m not ready!  Love you bunches!

Janie R. and Jamie S., you are both crazy and I love you for it!  Thank you for always taking such great care of my mom.  Beach weekend away with the two of you was one of the best times I’ve had this past year.  You both have accomplished so much!  You can relate to all the feelings and experiences I’ve had, which is pretty rare.  Janie, you are my second momma and I know that you are always there for me.  I’M SO PROUD OF YOU!  You deserve the world and I know you can do it!  Keep up the amazing work!  Jamie, it’s pretty cool that we’ve been nearly aligned this through this whole thing.  It’s great to have someone to squat challenge with and to celebrate cute dresses with.  You inspire me to keep going!  Keep it up, girl!  I promise I’ll stop saying cray.  Just kidding, I won’t.  Love you both!

Candice, ‘member that time we flew that plane and played Bang, Bang on repeat?  I love you for always saying how skinny I look because some days I really need it.  We are kindred for our love of all things pumpkin and glitter.  Also, you have the cutest kids on the planet.  Thank you for always making me laugh and for your loyal blog following.  I’m sorry for that time I said that girl’s hair bump was bigger than yours.  You are funny, despite what spouse says. :)

Paul T., thank you being a part of my Gainesville family and for that extremely eye opening talk at FL/GA about the male brain.  Thank you for the countless dinners and lunches, asshole.  :)

To all my other amazing friends and dedicated readers, Brother Chris, Shivonne, Jennifer P., Alex L-S, Kayla C., Stefani B., Tara K. and my Gator family- Linda, Jim & Beth.

To anyone else who reads the blog that I might not be aware of, whether we’re friends IRL, Facebook friends or have never met, thank you.  I’m thankful that you take time out of your day to stop by and read!

Finally, I’m super thankful for Gator football, Gainesville Health and Fitness Center, my spin instructor, and peanut butter.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I hope you have an amazing day with family, friends and food.  Take a moment to offer thanks for the blessings in your life.  Also, eat some dang pumpkin pie AND apple pie for me.  Bonus points if you warm them and top with ice cream!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Splurge Saturday

I have to start today with an embarrassing moment that wasn’t embarrassing at all and was extremely humbling.  On Friday, during spin class, my instructor starts off class with, “Whenever I hear about success stories, I love sharing them with you guys.  I hope I’m not embarrassing her but Sarah, up here in the front raise your hand.  Sarah has lost 80 lbs.”  This was followed up with applause and cheers and me grinning from ear to ear.  Several people came up to me after class to congratulate me and I was beyond grateful.  There was this one lady who is in her upper 70s and recently completed a marathon.  She was telling me how great I looked and how she’d noticed how much work I’ve been putting in.  Me great?  Ma’am, I want to be YOU one day.  She’s in the gym every morning and RAN A MARATHON.  Regardless of her age, that’s still awesome.  You can’t have a bad day when it starts with such encouragement.  It was exactly what I needed to reassure myself that it’s about how far you’ve come not how far you have left to go.

With December right around the corner, I have decided to implement Splurge Saturday.  I made a list of all the foods I want to eat.  Some are a singular food and others are a meal.  I’m hoping that if I have something to look forward to, I will stay better on track during the week.  This list made me realize that I haven’t had pizza since June 30th.  Yep, I know the exact date because it was the last day I was in NYC after my 2 trips there this summer.  It’s amazing the foods you want when you haven’t had them in so long.  I’m not sure why so many of them involve bananas or fast food.  A few items have been crossed off because I had them between when I made the list and today.  I only get ONE item per Saturday.  I might need another New York trip soon to get a pistachio muffin and a bagel with butter, which would require being there for 2 Saturdays, darn!  I could extend it to 3 weeks so I could have pizza, too.  Thank God they built a Shake Shack in Orlando, otherwise I'd need to move to NYC.  Also, cupcakes didn’t make this list because they’re a DUH with my birthday approaching.  The holidays, my birthday and a Savannah mini-vacation with friends are all challenges on my horizon.  Consistency in the gym and moderation are going to be my besties these next 6 weeks.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Toys 'R' Us Kid

A few months ago, the owner of the company I work for asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up.  I, at first, was really offended by the accusation that I’m not already a grown up.  I pay bills, I vote, I have a 401K, and I manage to keep myself and a very snarky dachshund alive.  Do these not allow me to sit at the adults table?  I equate being a grown up with growing and I hope I never stop doing that.  I hope I never stop learning, changing and accomplishing.  If you finally reach this elusive grown up status, are you done with life?  Nope!  Just because you have a steady job, husband/wife, mortgage payment, kids and responsibilities, doesn’t mean you are done living and finding yourself.  I know it sounds extremely Peter Pan of me but I never want to stop growing up.
My 28th birthday is exactly one month from this past Saturday.  I can’t believe how much I’ve grown in the last year.  I’m trying to focus on many self improvements and that will be a constant in my life.  I’ve done so much self evaluation and reflection this past year.  I’m incredibly proud of the person that I’m growing in to.  Turning 28 used to be a moment of drama for me—another year closer to THIRTY!  Ugh, how awful.  The last few months, I’ve had a change of heart and am really looking forward to the next year.  Twenty seven was a dang good year and I can only imagine that it goes up from here.  Thinking about that age old interview question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”  I honestly have no freaking clue and for the first time I don’t care.  I’m kind of done worrying about what’s going to happen next because it makes you miss out on what’s happening right now.  Right now, I’m healthy, happy and optimistic.

So, now you’re wondering what I want for my birthday, right?  I want to be surprised.  Like an honest to God, I didn’t see this coming, hand over mouth, surprise.  It doesn’t have to be a gift. In fact, I hope it’s not.  Maybe it will be witnessing a miracle.  Maybe it will be meeting my goal.  Maybe I’ll be cured of my excessive sweating.  Maybe I’ll meet Justin Timberlake.  Heck, it could be all of these things!  That’s the beauty of a surprise; they’re unexpected, exciting and the best ones don’t require wrapping paper!

Does he look thinner? :)

My Supa Proud award this week is going to my Oliver.  He’s managed to lose ½ a pound on his diet.  Keep up the great work, moo moo!  I know it’s hard work and you’re hungry but we need to make sure your back always stays in tip-top shape.  I love you even though you steal my socks.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Wobble Wobble if I Gobble Gobble

Before I get to today’s post, I have to give a HUGE thank you to the random stranger at the gym who made me cry on Friday.  I was on my spin bike warming up before class started and a woman approached me to tell me how great I look.  She said that my transformation is tremendous and she noticed when I was running on the treadmill the other day how much weight I had lost.  I couldn’t say thank you enough.  When she walked away, I started tearing up.  This person, who I’ve never met before, who doesn’t even know my name, not only noticed that I’d lost weight but took the time to compliment me.  It seriously made my day and, quite possibly, my year.  I wanted to find her after class to thank her again but she left before we cooled down.  I know she doesn’t read my blog but THANK YOU, lady on bike #6.  You make me want to be a better person because you complimented a complete stranger on something that she struggles with every day.

The great debate plaguing me lately is whether to attend Thanksgiving dinner or not.  Every year, we go to my mom’s Aunt’s house down in Vero Beach.  I love Thanksgiving.  It’s about family, football and FOOD, hence, my aversion to participating.  What is Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes, corn casserole, stuffing, crescent rolls, green bean casserole (my personal fave), gravy, pumpkin pie or apple pie?  Turkey.  It’s basically just eating the turkey.  Sure, I can eat my turkey with a salad and plain veggies and make my own dessert to bring but the challenge is being around all that food.  I could just take the day off and, mildly, enjoy some of my holiday favorites, however, my goal day is exactly 1 week from Turkey Day.  I need every point I can earn leading up to that day.  I’ve entertained other alternatives to celebrating the day like staying in Gainesville at my apartment for a movie-fest day or taking a mini-vacation somewhere but being solo on a holiday just sounded sad.

With 100 percent certainty I can tell you what I will miss the most about Thanksgiving is leftover turkey sandwiches.  The soft, fluffy white bread with just mayo and turkey is my absolute FAVE!  I die at the thought.  I will simply have to focus on all of the shopping that I plan on doing on Black Friday.  Yep, I’m that person.  I will be out with my shopping buddy, Aly, early in the a.m. to snag some great deals.  This girl has a winter wardrobe to rebuild, y’all.  So, when the carb-tastic food is being passed under my nose, I will be dreaming of the skinny jeans, leggings and sweaters that will soon fill my closet.  Hopefully, it will be enough for me to resist!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

I Love Food.

There, I said it! Hi, my name is Sarah and I love food and like 5 people. If I’m not eating, I’m usually thinking about what I’m eating next. I am definitely a person who lives to eat versus what you’re supposed to do by eating to live. I really miss cooking and my new life doesn’t lend itself to much kitchen time these days. I was being extremely adventurous last weekend and I tried 3 new recipes. They were all boss. Since I love you all so much, I will kindly share my new food adventures with you.

Protein cheesecake. Holy, delicious. I found this recipe from a girl I follow on the Instagram and substituted her strawberry protein powder for my recently purchased Cellucor red velvet. On Tuesday,I made the cheesecake on Sunday, I realized that I forgot to add Stevia. I actually think it tasted amazing without it but I will add it in next time to compare. You’ll need:

  • 2 6 oz. containers of plain Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • 2 8 oz. bars of lower fat cream cheese, at room temp. (I used Philadelphia because I’m not a huge fan of the taste of Neufchatel)
  • 1 ½ cups of baking Stevia (or don’t because I didn’t)
  • 2 scoops protein powder (I used red velvet but I’m sure any flavor would work)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • Vanilla (recipe didn’t specify but I used a tsp.)
I mixed all of the above with an immersion blender and poured in a greased pie pan. You bake it at 200 degrees for 20 minutes and crank it up to 300 degrees for 35 minutes. Let it cool back to room temperature and cover and refrigerate. Of course, I added a bit of peanut butter and whipped cream to mine. The texture was exactly what I was expecting. The edges were a little dry but the center of the cake was perfect.

Canadian bacon pizza cups. You can pretty much guess what’s in them but I’ll tell you in case you’re not sure:

Canadian bacon. Marinara sauce. Cheese.

I baked Canadian bacon slices in a muffin tin at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Next, add a spoonful of sauce to each and sprinkle cheese on the top. I put these under the broiler until the cheese melted and the smoke detector went off. They’re done! Reminder to clean my oven. These were epic and life changing. You can see from the photo that even Oliver wanted to snag some but he got nothing as he’s still on a diet. Poor baby. You can totally use whatever sauce you prefer. I use a Publix brand sauce as it had the lowest sugar and carbs on the sauce aisle. All I did was check some labels and narrow them down. Reading is wonderful, peeps!

Cilantro lime chicken. This is a Crockpot recipe so I’m already in love with it. It’s so freaking simple that it’s ridiculous I don’t do this more often.
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (do as many can fit in your crock, mine fit 3)
  • 3 limes (recipe I was following called for 5 but that seemed excessive)
  • 1 clove minced garlic (if you haven’t purchased the squeeze tube of this, go do it right now. Life is so much better with pre-minced garlic. My Italian DNA is shamed.)
  • Chicken broth
  • 1 white onion
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper
Put the chicken breasts in the bottom of the Crockpot (you can also use a whole chicken). Squeeze the juice of 3 limes into the pot. Pour in some chicken broth until the chickens are nearly covered. Cube the white onion and throw that in. Add garlic and sprinkle salt and pepper in. Add several stalks of cilantro on top. Put your lid on and cook for 4-6 hours. I set my crock at 6 hours but got impatient and only cooked chickens for 4 hours. They were perfect! The smell in your house will also be INSANE. Once cooked, throw away the wilted cilantro stalks. I pulled out the chicken breasts and put into a dish and shredded with 2 forks. I saved the onion and added it to the shredded chicken. I strained a little of the liquid back onto the shredded chicken to add some moisture back to it. I chopped some fresh cilantro and tossed it in with the chicken and onions. This chicken would be AMAZING in some tacos or on nachos but this Mexican food junkie just ate it with a side salad.

Sunday had me feeling very much like Aunt Martha (Stewart, duh). Links to the two actual recipes I (kind of) followed are below. I wouldn’t lie about food so you guys know these things taste good. I haven’t lost all sense! Happy eating!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I’m a Bad-Ass Mother Who Don’t Take No Crap From Nobody

You can see my sweat.
For those of you who think my English is shot to hell and don’t know that I’m quoting Cool Runnings, shame on you! Go rent it right now. I’ve been feeling like a bad-ass mother this week. I’m not sure if all of the endorphins are getting to my head but I am feeling so strong and able lately. I can feel muscles in places I never knew were supposed to have muscles. I, obviously, have a long way to go but I can totally see progress in my photos. Sorry, kids, these photos will never be for public view since I’m in my undies. You’ll just have to trust me. The thing that no one tells you about weight training is how much time it takes. There are people who have been sculpting their bodies for years, which is frustrating for those of us with little patience. I know I’ve said it before but it’s really in the little things. For example, this month’s squat challenge is so much easier than the last one and this one is more squats each day! My form is better and I can rep the squats quicker. I even notice a difference in the way I walk. While out with Oliver the other day, I realized that I was almost gliding. Such little effort is required to walk, stand up and climb up stairs that it’s weird to stop and think about how difficult things used to be. I don’t feel as weighed down, which seems obvious since I’ve lost 80 lbs. but everything is just easier. It’s hard to explain but I hope y’all get it.

Duck face- you're welcome
I decided that I’m making a shirt that says, “I Can Rack My Own Weights,” because help has been offered to me TWICE again this week. I’m a girl, not incapable. Back off my plates! I realize that guys might be being nice but I’m insulted. I was kind of rude to the guy who just started pulling plates off my calf machine yesterday morning.  I faked a, "Thank you," in the nicest way I could.  It feels funny to say this aloud but I feel really cocky lately. I lived my entire life as a self-conscious person and shedding that insecurity is the most difficult thing I’ve had to do this year. To feel so good and know I look good is so foreign to me. I was like strutting around the gym this morning and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and was taken aback at how slim I looked. I hate gym selfies and refuse to promote douchebaggary so I captured myself when I got home! The gym is basically my 3rd home after work and my actual apartment. I was once a scared girl who would run to a treadmill and not make eye contact with anyone. That girl is long gone. I’m so comfortable at the gym and am always trying new machines and workouts. I never thought I would be someone who is excited to lift, can’t miss a spin class without being bummed or wakes up at 4:15 a.m. It’s never too late to become the person you see yourself as or to go after a dream. You just need a plan, some focus and a drive to succeed.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Gretchen Wieners Had Cracked

I’ve had my share of meltdowns over the last 42 weeks. Whether they be personal or professional, I can usually call one of my therapists and they talk me off the ledge. Last week, I cracked.

I am a serial scale user. It’s a HORRIBLE habit, I know, but it’s one that I cannot step away from. I weigh myself every day. I don’t weigh throughout the day, it’s always just in the morning. I was up 6 pounds last Sunday morning. Not a huge crisis as I did eat and drink things I shouldn’t have on Saturday while at the mother of all football games, Florida/Georgia. I knew that this day would be challenging and accepted it, which is why I prepped and worked out so much the prior week. Monday began the week just like all the others except I was still up those 6 pounds. Hmmmm. I kept working out, stuck to my eating plan and flooded myself with lots of water. By Thursday, those 6 pounds were still hanging around. This wasn’t phantom weight gain that sometimes shows itself after a late dinner, a carb fest, retaining water, etc. This weight gain was for real. I had no warning, no slow creep of a few pounds at a time. My body gave me a big eff you and gained 6 pounds. The only thing I can attribute it to is my recent obsession with oatmeal. I eat it every day. I love it. I used to HATE oatmeal and now I can’t go a day without it. I figured there were worse things I could be addicted to than weight-control oatmeal. Lies.

At last Wednesday’s spin class, it’s slowly sinking in that I’m legitimately up 6 pounds, seemingly overnight. We’re doing a climb and Amnesia by 5 Seconds of Summer is playing and I can feel tears welling up in my eyes. This is the LAST thing I need 4 weeks before my goal date. I feel like a fucking failure (sorry, ma’). I cried the whole way home from the gym. I feel so defeated. How am I ever going to get back to real life if eating OATMEAL makes me gain 6 pounds? I totally deserve to gain like 2 pounds after the weekend shenanigans but 6?! What did I do to deserve that?

I’m so tired. I’m so sick of over analyzing everything I do. I could spend all day researching my next step, tracking my workouts and food, and planning my life but I have a job and responsibilities. I wish I could live in a world where I didn’t have to think about food at all times of the day. Saying, “I wish I could eat whatever I want,” is completely unrealistic unless you have the gold medal of metabolisms. I do wish that I could take a day off and not feel like I’ve taken 6 steps back because of it. I cracked to my friends. I cracked on the phone with my mom that night. I will not make my goal. I refuse to do anything unhealthy or completely starve myself to try to lose weight quicker.

I slowly realize that sometimes things won’t make sense but you just have to roll with it. It sucks but this is where I am and life is going to keep moving. This particular week, my body decided that it wanted to weigh 216 lbs. For those of you who think there are magical secrets that I am hoarding and that weight is just melting off of me, you’re wrong. This is my REAL life and I struggle just like everyone. I put enormous pressure on myself with these goals by putting dates on the end of them. For a brief second, during the crack, I became old Sarah who doubted herself and let herself believe that she couldn’t do something. ­ I can’t take the goals back and I refuse to stop trying just because they seem that much more out of reach. It’s Sunday and the 6 lbs. are gone. I’m back to sitting at 210 lbs. So, dear readers, while I probably won’t make my goal of 92 lbs. lost by December 4th, I do promise to not stop trying. I will make it to 199 lbs. sometime soon and, with the right mindset, it will hopefully be before ringing in 2015.

Say crack again.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Even My Dog is Chubby

Anyone remember that weirdo impression you did as a kid of the kid named Chubby? You know, where you smush your cheeks together and say, “My name is Chubby. My mom’s chubby, my dad’s chubby and even my dog is chubby.” First, what the hell? Why was this remotely entertaining as a child? Second, I wish I could remember the rest. I really hope someone knows what I’m talking about otherwise I sound like a lunatic. Nothing new. Three weeks ago, I took Oliver to the vet for his annual checkup. Little man weighed in at 23 lbs! He used to teeter between 17 and 20 lbs. but this is definitely the heaviest he’s been. The vet comes in and we’ve never met before. He’s a new doctor on staff and is supaaaaaaa cute. I digress. The first thing we talk about is how Oliver is overweight. Poor guy. I felt like I needed to explain that Oliver comes from a chubby family but we’re really working on getting ourselves on the right path. I mean, he just turned 5 years old and he’s been less active lately. I felt like I was in trouble for Oliver being a chunky monkey. Because Ollie is a dachshund, excessive weight can be really dangerous for his back. All I could think of in that vet office was Chubby and his family’s epidemic of being fat. Then, I was embarrassed because I convinced myself that they were judging me being overweight so naturally I’d have an overweight dog. Yes, I realize that this is all probably in my head but these are the actual conversations I have with myself.

After a shot and several treats, Oliver and I headed home to begin his new diet plan. He’s on reduced food and I swear he’s depressed over it. Last night he laid by the kitchen with the biggest, sad eyes looking at me and then looking toward the kitchen. I get it, bud, you’re hungry. Join the club. We’re getting T-shirts. I was quickly able to distract him with a toy much in the way I distract myself from hunger with shopping. This morning, we had a conversation about the importance of exercise and healthy eating habits. I told Oliver that he needed to stop finding waffles and cheeseburgers in the bushes on our walks (yep, that happens all the time). There was that time I had to pick him up and carry him because he was fighting me so badly to get to a Swiss cake roll. He can also spot a McDonald’s bag from about 100 feet away. Seriously, who is leaving uneaten French fries in the parking lot? You need to reevaluate your life. They say that dogs resemble their owners! Oliver has my attitude, is super cuddly and loves all things food.  Just like his momma.

The entire Stewart household is officially dieting and exercising more. I can’t believe it! I also can’t believe that “smush” isn’t a real word. The red squiggly line underneath it in Word told me so.

This week my Supa Proud Award is going to...drum roll, please...THE FLORIDA GATORS!  Holy, Moses, I can't believe the game against UGA this past weekend.  I might take back all the mean things I said about Will Muschamp IF he can pull out a win against Florida State, too.  Hey, a girl can dream!  Happy Wednesday and, as always, go gators!

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Week I Punched Everyone in The Face

The new workout plan is going extremely well. I should NOT have complained about not being sore in a while and am definitely paying for it this week. Everything hurts. I went to the gym all 5 days last week at 5 a.m. and busted it out while I was there. I might need to switch some things up because it seems like everyone does legs on Tuesdays. I originally started doing legs on Tuesdays because it was far enough from Friday’s spin class for me to be able to make it through the class. Now that I’m in shape and spinning 3 times a week, I can really do legs any day. I focused on quads and glutes last Tuesday and was having trouble getting on the leg press machine. I spotted an opening and booked it. Well, there was a guy who was rotating machines but he said I could jump in and use it while he was doing hammy curls. Then, he went to take weight plates off the press. “Let me grab some of these off for you,” he said while reaching for the plates. I punched him in the face. “I got it,” I interrupted and began adding weights. I’m insulted that he thought I couldn’t handle the 135 lbs. he was pressing. Is it because I’m a girl? Because this girl reps 270.

On Fridays, at the 6 a.m. spin class, it’s more crowded so you have to get there early to reserve a bike. Normally, not an issue at 5 a.m. class on Monday and Wednesday. On Wednesday, I was running a little behind but I got to the spin room with 5 minutes to spare. There he is, some jerk face is sitting on my bike! Listen, sir, I sit on bike #9 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning. I basically have my name written on it. As I walked by him to find another bike, I punched him in the face. The bike I had to use had an uncomfortable seat and would click at the pedal when I was in standing position. I can’t live like this. I’m going to suggest to the gym that we be able to reserve certain bikes. It’s a matter of health. Well, mental health as I’m a creature of habit and don’t like change. Bike #9 is my jam. I’m pretty sure the seat has molded to my ass at this point. It’s in the middle of the front row, which provides the perfect view of the screen and the instructor. It’s not too cold as the fans circulate on the rows further back and the acoustics are perfect. Second mental punch in the face of the week down.

On Friday, another spin morning, I decided to do some light legs before class. I was still hurting from Tuesday’s quad workouts but really needed to squeeze in more leg work for the week. I grabbed a Smith machine to do some squats and was using light weights so I could actually walk over the weekend. All of a sudden, a man comes up and takes the only 45 lb. plates off of my machine. Ummmmm, excuse me? I interrupt my new T. Swift 1989 album playlist and rip off my earbuds. “Are you going to bring those back when you’re done?” I attempted to sweetly ask. “I can. I didn’t think you were going to use them since you’ve only got 25s on there now,” he replied. I look around to the other TWO Smith machines behind mine. Both have about six 45 lb. plates each and both have DUDES at them. Is this because I’m a girl, again? Did you pick my plates because you assumed I wasn’t using them and couldn’t handle them? I was so irritated but being the non-confrontational and nice person that I am, I just replied, “I was going to use them but I can grab some from the other machines if you’re not done when I need them.” But don’t you worry, dear reader, I punched him in the face. I was legitimately going to use the plates as part of the new workout program is to increase weights and decrease reps as my sets go on.

Obviously, no one taught these guys that you don’t mess with redheads. Especially one that is more than likely hungry!

Please note, no humans were actually harmed in the making of this body. All punches thrown were 100 percent mental and completely deserved.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Earn That X

Back in January, I decided for every day I work out I am going to denote the day with an X in my planner. Yes, I still keep a planner. I tally up all of my marks and compare month to month my weight loss to workout ratio. As of October 27th, I have 142 “X” marks.
October 27th is the 300th day of the year, which means I’ve worked out a total of 47% of days. That’s pathetic. Battling the plague last week thus missing a gym day and doing light workouts when I was there have me feeling pretty gross this week. I’ve been really discouraged by the slowdown of my weight loss lately so I said to myself, “If you’re not happy with the results, it’s time to step up your game.” November is quickly approaching and it’s time to kick my ass into high gear. I’ve noticed that my workouts are becoming easier and I’m not changing them quick enough. My body is bored and not being challenged. I can’t remember the last time I was sore. Monday, October 27th, marked day 1 of my new training regime. I’m upping my gym days from 4 to 5 and am committing to running on Sundays. I’ve also broken out my weight training into smaller muscle groups that will rotate week to week, which allows for more time to focus on specific areas. Yesterday, was quads and glutes day versus just “leg day.” My morning consisted of squats, leg press, leg extension, squats, lunges, donkey kicks and hip thrusters. If I see positive results, I’ll post my calendar for those of you interested.

I sold a bunch of clothes at a garage sale this past weekend in order to get rid of fat Sarah’s stuff. With my earned money, I treated myself to some new gym clothes. After having two different pairs of spandex capris fall down during spin class, I decided it was time for some new ones in a size that fit. I downloaded some new music and created new gym playlists to power me through. I have 5 weeks until goal and 11 pounds to go. It’s time to take it to the next level and do everything possible to meet my upcoming goals. I’ve worked too damn hard to back off now.

I want these to be the days that define my journey. These are the days when old Sarah would give up because it feels like a goal isn’t in reach. Muhammad Ali said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” I will, sir. I am going to push myself, test my limits and earn my “X.” I don’t want to look back and wish I had tried harder.

I really slacked on the Ab-Tastic October challenge with all the travel and sickness plaguing my life. I’m not going to quit on it though! I’m slowly working through the days and will finish it by November 5th. Whoops! For November, I know I contemplated doing a lunge challenge but I’m having some issues with my left knee and lunging aggravates it. I’m going to do another squat challenge and, since it already has a cute and fitting name, a plank challenge. Say hello to Planksgiving and Turkey Squat November! I have no idea what a turkey squat is, I made it up and it sounded cute.

Happy (almost) Halloween!  I'll be on my couch eating peanut butter, drinking water, watching Hocus Pocus and dreaming about candy bars.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fat Girl Walking

It’s the dreaded words that everyone hates to hear, “We need to talk.” Usually, they’re said by your significant other who has finally decided they can’t stand you and want to break up. Or, worse, it’s your boss telling you that they’re restructuring and you’ve been chosen to be relocated to another job at another company. This time was not even close to either of those scenarios. It was my friend, Michelle, and she had a serious look of concern on her face. I sat down in the chair in her office (we’re also coworkers) and I asked, “Okay. What is it?” What came out of her mouth next, I never dreamed. Michelle said, “We need to talk about your walk. You still have a fat-girl walk.” I countered, “Me? I walk like a fat girl? What does that mean? Do you think other people have noticed?” I think she could hear the panic in my voice. She calmly told me that it’s okay and we can work on it. She then had me strut past her office and I focused really hard on walking up straight and as normal as possible. She said I wasn’t doing it that time but I was instead walking like a zombie. Well, great.

We made plans to go to the mall the next day with plenty of area for me to walk and her to critique me. It was decided that my fat-girl-esque walk comes from me lowering my shoulders and occasionally swaying when I walk. After years of self-esteem issues and wanting to blend (aka be lower than everyone), I don’t walk up straight. The swaying, however, is a habit derived from a self-consciousness over hearing my thighs rub together. Every girl owns a pair of pants that’s made of that specific fabric that makes the swish, swish noise when you walk. No, not corduroy. I’ve never owned corduroy. My office is a very quiet environment at times and I can hear myself walking down the corridor, so I sway. I’m sure that’s why so many girls strive for that thigh gap, so that they can walk confidently in quiet places. It’s embarrassing and it’s like I’m announcing to my floor that I have arrived for the day. Sarah’s here! You can hear her and her thighs coming up the stairs.

With research, development and some thigh toning exercises, I hope to shed my fat-girl walk. I’m admitting it to all of you in my world with hopes that you help correct me. Feel free to make a buzzer sound when I slouch or sway. It takes a village and I strive to one day glide confidently from room to room. I want to thank Michelle for providing me an opportunity for self-improvement. I love you for your honesty and willingness to still be seen in public with me despite my fatty-person gait.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Is a Cough Drop a Carb?

I thought drinking and dieting was hard but being sick and attempting to stay on track is rough. It all started last Wednesday as a slight discomfort in the back of my throat. Armed with hand sanitizer, tissues and Mucinex, I braved the elements and tried not to succumb to the germs. By Saturday, I’d reached full blown plague status. I don’t know about you but all I want when I’m sick is comfort food. The only thing that sounds appetizing is my momma’s chicken and dumplings. Thankfully, momma lives 2 hours away (y’all know she’d drive some up to me if I asked nicely because she’s the best). Dumplings aren’t exactly on my eating plan and, normally, I would forgive a day in the name of sickness but this girl has goals to meet.

I took Sunday to rest and only left the house to get more meds. Here’s a not so fun fact- cough drops have 6g carbs and 5g sugars for just 2 measly drops! What the heck?! The first ingredient is sugar on all the brands I looked at. Is this real life? Help a trying-to-get-fit girl out. Purchasing the sugar-free drops were not even on my radar as they’re rumored to give you other issues. If you’ve ever read the reviews on Amazon for the Haribo sugar-free gummy bears, you know what I’m talking about! Gross. I skipped spin class on Monday morning because I really needed the extra 2 hours of sleep. I hated not going but I didn’t want to push myself. There’s also a courtesy of trying to not infect those around you that, obviously, someone didn’t pay to me. I hit the gym yesterday for leg day Tuesday because I couldn’t stand to be out of the gym for 4 days in a row. I made sure to wipe down anything I touched with sanitizer. My balance was severely off, and since I’m prone to falling, I cut the leg work short and just walked on the treadmill. I’m also 3 days behind on my Ab-tastic October Challenge because I’ve been too exhausted. This challenge is a difficult one but I’m definitely feeling results! I won’t get any more of the “rest” days of the calendar because I’ve used them up.

I’m praying for some relief by the end of today because ain’t nobody got time for this. I need to be at full strength because tomorrow marks 40 weeks completed of this journey, which means 6 more weeks until goal. Holy shit. It’s insane to think that I could have grown a human at this point. Instead, I chose to lose 80 pounds.

I posted this picture to IG and Facebook on Tuesday in honor of #transformationtuesday. This week, I’m Supa Proud and SO overwhelmed by everyone’s encouragement and support. Your amazing comments and messages mean the absolute world to me! It would be incredibly difficult to keep going without amazing friends and family like you guys! The photo on the left was taken October 25, 2013 at a friend’s wedding. I despised the way I looked in every picture we took at this event. Looking back, I don’t remember being that girl. The photo on the right was taken on October 20, 2014 while I was organizing my clothes for a garage sale this weekend. My mom reminded me of the photos from that wedding a few months ago. When I saw myself, I had a look of disgust on my face. She promptly yelled at me and said that I was beautiful then and am beautiful now. I know she’s right but LIFE is more beautiful now.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Motivate Me Monday

I’ve been lacking inspiration in the blogging department lately. You guys have to realize, I wrote the posts prior to launching this blog in my head for a VERY long time. I poured over each of the entries for nearly 6 weeks before deciding to put them out there to the world. If I were smarter, I would have saved some and not posted them all at one time. I seriously feel a huge pressure to be witty and, unfortunately, I don’t feel very funny lately. I’m pretty sure I’ve nailed down where my inspiration to write came from and now it’s gone. Long story, which could honestly spur its own blog. Luckily, one person I always find incredibly inspiring is Tim Tebow. ::Swoon:: For those of you whose hearts don’t skip a beat at his name or picture, thank you. Less competition for me. Anyway, this former Gator and current SEC Nation commentator was hired recently to Good Morning, America to host a segment called Motivate Me Monday. I am going to emulate Timmy and offer you some motivation sources on your Monday since I have a bad case of writer’s block!

I find quotes I love and that speak to me…
“Today is my tomorrow. It’s up to me to shape it, to take control and seize every opportunity. The power is in the choices I make each day. I eat well, I live well. I SHAPE ME.”

“Strive for perfection & progress will come. Success is the good fortune that comes from aspiration, desperation, perspiration & inspiration.”

“When you stop chasing the wrong things, you give the right things a chance to catch you.”

Sometimes, I write notes to myself on my mirror…
“I will beat her. Not just in the number on the scale or size on a pair of jeans. I will beat her regardless of my faster pace and physical strength. I will beat her because even when I’m tired, when every fiber of me hurts, when my muscles are screaming in pain, I manage to put one foot in front of the other and take another step or push another rep. I will beat her because I keep going when she had given up.”

“Suck it up, Buttercup.”

“If Britney Spears can make it through 2007, you can make it through this.”

On special occasions, I buy myself pretty things to fit into…
For the two weddings I was in this year, neither dress fit when I bought them. They did when I walked down the aisles!

Last Thursday, I purchased a grey wool Michael Kors coat (humongous sale) that WILL fully zip before Florida winter rolls around.

Randomly, I’ll put on old clothes to show how far I’ve come…
Like my prom dress from my senior year of high school.

Or the Gator sweatshirt that was tight in May and is baggy now in October.

I can tell you all the secrets to my success, which aren’t actually secrets at all. I can tell you what I eat, post workout ideas and give you funny anecdotes about falling at the gym. What I can’t do is make you change or want to succeed. Find sources of motivation for yourself and splatter them all over your life. It’s easy to focus on the negative and the huge mountain ahead of you. If you are struggling with weight loss, I hope that I can serve as a source of motivation for you, but I urge you to discipline yourself to be your own cheerleader, believe you can accomplish anything and take your first steps up the mountain. I’ll be waiting for you at the top with a high-five.