Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Whoops A Roo

I get super nostalgic around the holidays because another year has come and gone. The cool part about being a December baby is that when I turn a year older the world changes into a new year, too. I equate years of my life with the calendar year and it’s very convenient. I went back on the blog and started to read my posts from around this time last year and back then I was so optimistic about the year ahead. I can say with confidence that 2015 was an extremely hard year. I was coming off this high of success in 2014 and thought that I would stay consistent but life happened. In 2014, I didn’t allow ANYTHING to detract from my goals. I went to weddings, vacations and so many life events but didn’t let myself slip. Cue 2015 and one slip led to another and another and you get it. I never expected the results to be so amazing in 2014 and as 2015 closes I realize that I never expected life to take the turns that it has. I guess that’s the fun part about it all—we never really know what’s around the corner.

In 2015, I fell in love, dealt with the blow of a breakup and navigated getting back out there. I lost a significant family member, I welcomed many new babies into life, I watched friends and family battle serious health issues, and I found myself back in a place I deemed gone forever. I thought that losing the weight would make all of my problems go away. It did, for a time, but weight loss brought on new problems, which all boil down to trying not to relapse. I fought all year to not fall prey to food and I failed, repeatedly. I let life in this year and life won big on me. I had amazing highs, a few lows, a ton of laughs and immense amounts of tears. Losing weight didn’t make the anxiety and depression that I battle go away but the endorphins made them super dormant. The truth is, dear readers, I have to find a way to cope without food. I have to learn how to experience the blows of life (and celebrations, too) without turning to food to get me through them.

As I sat in the Chick-Fil-A drive thru for breakfast one morning, I flashed back to the last few times I found myself in this very line with bad intentions. I thought about my Instagram posts about food, I recalled the cheat meals that led to days, which then multiplied, and I realized every time I felt weak was when I felt anxious. The Panera bagel and scone that were eaten when he blew me off, the ENTIRE bag of Cheetos puffs that was consumed when work was overwhelming, or the ice cream cone that supported me when I had a breakdown. I feed my anxieties (and not with kale) and pray it will make them shut up.

I thought I could handle the food addiction on my own but, honestly, I can’t. Losing weight is easy compared to overcoming the battle of your mind. The war cannot be fought alone and 2016 will be spent working (with a skilled professional) to determine why I turn to food and how to stop.  I think it's important to share struggles so that people know they're not alone.  I am putting it out there that I battle demons just like everyone else and it's important for us to support each other.  It's okay to seek help, it's okay to admit you've failed and it's definitely okay to let everyone know you're not perfect.  Perfection is a facade (and quite frankly, boring).  Let's start 2016 and my 29th year of life on a good foot together.   Here we go...(again, I know, I know).

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Hips Don't Lie

On November 21, 2015, I, Sarah, ran a 15K.  For those of you unfamiliar that is 9.3 miles and about 2 miles more than my body can handle.  I, obviously, do a run/walk.  I finished in 1 hour, 54 minutes, which is a 12.15 pace per mile.  I get that isn't fast.  I realize I didn't finish in the top 50 percent of runners but can we talk about the fact that I DID IT?!?

This race was different than my last because it was at 4 p.m. at night.  This meant a huge focus needed to be on fueling myself throughout the day without eating anything that would have negative impact on my belly.  I consulted my running expert and she helped coach me on what to eat and made sure I stayed properly hydrated.

At around mile 7 my body began to really slow down.  My knees, which aren't great, were hurting and my left hip felt out of socket.  I think I compensate for my bad left knee and therefore my hip was giving me trouble.  I pushed through and just kept praying to finish.  As I rounded a corner toward the finish line, I started sprinting.  I just wanted to be done.  I didn't cry because I was trying to catch my breath and steady my Jell-O legs.  Once you're done, it feels like no big deal.  This huge accomplishment is overshadowed by the fact that you didn't die.  I was completely soaked from head to toe and even took my hat off mid-race because it was so heavy with sweat.  I've never felt more disgusting.  While I was driving home I could smell myself and it was awful.  They handed out chocolate milk post race and it was the best thing I've ever tasted and that's coming from someone who loathes milk.  I scarfed down a sandwich and some chips, then went home and ate a full dinner.  I woke up in the middle of the night and I was starving so I ate half a chocolate doughnut.

The pain the next day was pretty terrible.  I had to sit and scoot in order to get down the stairs at my parents' house.  I was hobbling everywhere and icing down every few hours.  I still have knee pain walking up stairs and my hip bothers me if I'm walking far distances.  I think I'm off of cardio for a bit and going to focus on weight training again.  I can tell I've lost muscle the last few months of being off the wagon and attempting to train for the race.  I'm so proud of myself that I was able to complete it and with a decent time!  I do have a strong desire to do a half marathon now.  I keep telling myself that the last 2 miles were bad and this would be that plus double.  I would have to seriously do some training before that day would come but it's something to ponder!



Final Float

My last post got a lot of responses and I'm so happy to know you all enjoyed learning about the weirdos I encounter through online dating.  Many of you shared your personal experiences and I'm thinking a book needs to happen.  To the single ladies out there who are trying--props to you.  I have, once again, given up the online dating world.  After my stint on POF, I started to try OK Cupid about a month ago.  I met two really nice guys and one that was okay.  In my quest for love, I found a few more blog-story worthy characters.  For now, these will be the finale on the parade of questionable suitors as I am taking a break and planning for it to last a while.

Joe Toes
After about four messages back and forth with the standard, "How are you today," Joe Toes says, "I have to admit, I have a thing for redheads so I think you're really cute."  I get this A LOT.  We're rare, I understand, but it's just hair.  I reply a polite, "Well, thank you!" He shoots back, "While we're on the subject, I have a foot fetish as well, is that okay with you?"  1.  GROSS.  2.  We started messaging like an HOUR ago.  3.  We were NOT on that subject!  In order to not seem rude I ask, "What do you mean by fetish?"  "I just like to suck toes and stuff," he replies.  Oh.  My.  God.  I'm choking back vomit at this point.  Needless to say, I don't respond.  He sends a series of messages throughout the day asking where I went and a bunch of question marks.  After the 5th message I nerve up to tell him that the feet thing was a little weird and too soon into speaking.  This time, he didn't respond.  See ya, Joe.

*FYI his name wasn't Joe and I honestly don't remember what it is.  Also, I am easily able to recall our conversation because I screen shot it to my friend because that's what girls do.


FaceTime Fred
Fred messaged me one night while I was at a concert with little time to chat.  We had a few back and forth over the next few days and he asked to move to text messaging.  Honestly, texting is so much easier than messaging in the app.  The app kills your battery and people can see when you're online, which has gotten me into trouble before.  I've been less than interested and told people I was busy or going to bed and then stayed on to message someone more interesting.  Well, they usually figure it out when your "online now" doesn't disappear.  Whoops a roo.  Anyway, Fred sends me a text and about a minute later asks to FaceTime.  It was the day I was running my 15K so I was no makeup, grungy clothes and ugly hair trying to relax before the afternoon run.  I told him no that I wasn't cute.  He disappears.  The next day, as I'm trying to recover, he asks to FaceTime again.  I tell him I'm busy and can't.  He disappears.  I'm not a rocket scientist but there seems to be a pattern developing!  On Monday morning as I'm getting ready for work he asks to FaceTime once more.  Seriously?  Do you know how long it takes for me to get ready?  I don't have time for this.  I ask him, "What is your obsession with FaceTime?"  He replies, "I just want to show you what I look like naked."  To which I respond, "Pass."  Well, dear readers, Fred was my first blocked phone number.  I can't believe it took 9 months into dating to finally block someone.  What a milestone!

*Sorry mom and dad.

I welcome a deep break from online dating because I'm, honestly, becoming jaded.  I usually assume that they're all going to be the same.  I can predict almost immediately how the conversations and dates will go.  I'm sick of being treated like just some girl behind a screen.  I am sick of hearing that they want a serious relationship but then only text at night, when they're bored or to ask for photos.  GO AWAY.  See?  Jaded.  Choose happy, y'all!






Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Freaks Come Out at Night

I’ve made it kind of a rule not to write about my dating life with details on the guys until it’s something more substantial. Why? In the age of social media, I am afraid a new prospect will find the blog and be afraid that I would write about them. First, if I care about you, it’s kept off the blog and out of social media until we’ve discussed otherwise. It should also be said that my intent isn’t to poke fun or make anyone feel bad. I would just like to present evidence as to why I will probably not meet Mr. Right on Plenty of Fish (POF, the dating app). My last guy wasn’t concerned about the blog, he never read it and we never really talked about it. After much encouragement from my friends, I’ve decided to chronicle some of my trials and tribulations. It’s hard out here for a single girl and those of you who are married, be grateful! Here it is, readers, the parade of questionable suitors.

Gainesville Boy
I took a mental timeout to Orlando after the breakup to decompress and have my mommy take care of me (true story). Well, I decided that it might be time to get back to online dating. I can’t wallow forever and having people show interest in you is a great way to start getting over an ex. POF displays people in your area using location services. Your profile only lists the name of the city you live. Since I was in Orlando but my location was listed as Gainesville it brought up guys from anywhere in between. I started messaging with a few and on Saturday night Gainesville Boy messaged me. We had a few back and forth before we moved to texting. We had great phone chemistry and he was the first person I didn’t want to punch in the face. The conversation flowed and there wasn’t any awkwardness. On Sunday night, as I got home to Gainesville, we decided to meet up. As we’re trying to pick a place and he starts naming landmarks that he’s close to, I slowly realize I have no idea where he’s talking about. He is new to Gainesville so I figured he didn’t know what he was talking about. I Google the road that he says he’s living near, and oops, he’s in Gainesville, Georgia, a mere 6 hours from Gainesville, Florida.

Me: “Are you in Gainesville, Georgia?!?”
GB: “Yeah, why where are you?”
Me: “I live in FLORIDA!”
GB: “This f*ckin’ app.”

We were both really bummed as we did have a connection. He offered to meet me halfway sometime during the week. I told him I needed time to think about it. The texting didn’t stop and on Tuesday he said he wanted to meet me…TONIGHT. I’ll admit, I was wrapped up in the attention and the excitement over meeting someone new. I ignored some red flags and went against the advice of my friends. I was wrong.

I left work, drove to Tifton, Georgia, which is 2.5 hours from me and 3.5 hours from him, and met him in the Wal-Mart parking lot. It also helps the story that this was on day #2 of a juice cleanse so I couldn’t eat or drink. We decided to meet in the Wal-Mart parking lot and would move on from there. I dropped a pin and sent it to my lookouts just in case I went missing. We’d talked a few times on the drive but I was still really nervous. I pulled into the parking lot and saw him standing next to his truck when my stomach fell to my ankles. I wasn’t attracted to him AT ALL. Shit. I got out of the car, he handed me a bouquet of pink roses and I hugged him. I was so uncomfortable. He was wearing sport flip flops (like shower shoes), jeans and a Planet Fitness t-shirt. Long story short, we did a lap around the Wal-Mart so I could, “calm my nerves,” but really I was just trying to stay in public because I thought I was going to end up as a skin suit. We sat on the tailgate of my Jeep in the parking lot for 45 minutes and I finally fessed up. I told him I didn’t feel the spark anymore and that something just felt like it was missing. I felt like the biggest asshole. He was so disappointed and it was as if I had kicked his puppy. We went our separate ways and I let him know I got home okay and thanked him for meeting me. In the end, I was glad I made the trip because the texting would have continued and we would have been building on something that wasn’t going to be there in person. Oh, Tifton.

The Dentist
I started messaging with The Dentist and he had great potential; owned a home, was in his final year of dental school and is super cute according to his photos. Note: my friends question the validity of these photos in hindsight. When we moved to texting, he started to let his colors show. Not only did he ask how many cavities I’d had in my life but he wanted to know what color my fillings are. Okay, maybe it’s not that weird as teeth and oral hygiene are very important to someone who makes it their profession. When he asked me for photos of my teeth, I laughed it off and thought he was kidding, so I sent him a wide-smile selfie. He had to clarify, he wanted AN OPEN MOUTH PHOTO. I dodged the photo for a few days and finally leveled with him after he kept asking for the pics. I agreed to send an up-close and personal photo of my teeth if he set a date. We picked the place, date and time and I readied my camera. After sending it, he replied, “You’re awesome,” so I thought that maybe this was his way of seeing if I could roll with a joke. I was terribly, terribly wrong, friends. His next text said, “There’s a little bit of camera shake and I can’t see your back molars clearly. Try again and then send one of the top.” OH HELL NO. I was enraged, insulted and extremely creeped out. “Are you kidding me?” I asked in response. “C’mon, you can do it,” he replied. I wrote him a paragraph sprinkled with expletives to convey my annoyance. Seriously? I don’t need a date that bad, buddy. In fact, at the time, there was a line forming. Who does this asshole think he is qualifying MY TEETH before he’ll date me? You can tell by my profile that I am clean, I’m employed and I have nice teeth, which ma’ and pa’ Stewart spent plenty of money for orthodontia on. As advised by a friend, I deleted the paragraph telling him off and simply said, “You seem like a nice guy but this is getting weird so no.” I doubt he showed up for the date.

Come to find out, because Gainesville is extremely small, a friend of a friend, who is also on POF, got the exact same requests from The Dentist. He’s making his rounds through Gainesville one girl’s molars at a time. Gross.

The Golden Calf
It started out as normal messaging back and forth, which it always does. They usually don’t let the crazy out until at least they know they have my attention. In his defense, he did warn me that he was going to ask me some unusual questions. I rolled with it because at this point in online dating I’ve seen and heard it all. The following is our real and true conversation…y’all know I can’t make this stuff up.

GC: “I’m going to ask you a series of questions that are kind of unusual. There is no right or wrong answer but please don’t just use yes and no.”
Me: “Okay…”
GC: “Would you say you have large or medium size calves?”
Me: “Large.” (I think I do for a girl)
GC: “Great. Would you say your left or right calf is stronger?”
Me: I’m right dominant so, “Right.”
GC: “When you flex, does the muscle move up and down or side to side?”
Me: WHAT? Tests out flexing, “Ummm…up and down I think.”
GC: “If you are standing up, can I lay on your calves?”
Me: “I have no idea what that means.”
GC: “I have a vivid imagination.”
Me: “I guess, yes.”
GC: “When I lay on your calves, would you be barefoot or in flip flops?”
Me: WHAT? I HAVE NO IDEA. ARE WE OUTSIDE? I decide this is where the answering stops.
GC: “?”
GC: “Where’d you go?”
Me: “The calf questions are intensely weird.”

It’s also worth noting that my calves are visible in 3 of 6 of the pictures on my profile. Weirdo.

Obviously, dear friends, there are so many more but these are the top. Online dating is a life of its own. I could seriously write a book about my adventures. I’ve met some really great guys and some real jerks. At least it makes for a great story!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Get it Together

Another month has almost come and gone and I can’t believe how nothing has changed. Getting back on the wagon this round has been incredibly difficult. I keep saying, “I’ll start Monday,” which then eventually rolls to Tuesday and then a week has gone by and I’m still out-of-control eating. My dating life was blowing up for a minute. I went 5 straight weeks having a first date with someone. The streak broke last week as I wasn’t able to meet anyone new by Sunday. The truth is, dear friends, dating is extremely stressful and has brought on some anxiety. What sucks the most is putting yourself out there again. I’m terrified to get excited about anyone and to open my heart up. I’m afraid to feel broken again. I’m scared of wanting to curl up on the bathroom floor, to feel the coolness of the tile just to feel anything at all. Hearing the sound of my heart actually break has been really hard to get over. Standing in his driveway, knowing our relationship was ending, I actually heard my heart shatter to pieces. I get a lump in my throat just thinking about it. I know what you’re thinking, “Girl, you only dated him for like 4 months,” which is totally accurate but I made him my whole world. I didn’t know that I shouldn’t have. I didn’t know that wasn’t how it was supposed to go. I didn’t expect to fall in love with him and I never expected him to love me back. Do you know what it’s like to have someone tell you that you’re everything but it’s still not enough? I feel like a piece of Swiss cheese. He left these holes in me and I keep trying to fill them up with food. So I eat a cookie, or 7, but the emptiness never fades. I’ve hit a low point and have got to pull myself up. No one is going to do it for me. No one is going to motivate me and make me work out. I have to get my shit together.

The anxiety of dating, attempting to mend my heart and a lack of self-control has earned me 13 pounds. It was very easy to gain, I barely even tried. After a lot of tears, I’ve decided that I have to put me first and I have to go back to being selfish. I deleted my dating apps, I packed my lunch and I’m going for a run after work (stupid 15K). I can’t conquer the world today but I can choose happy. Food has a way of making you feel better in a single moment. As I burn through a burrito or slam down a doughnut, I feel an instant buzz but that fades at last bite. Nothing is worth this feeling of regret and anger and my pants not fitting. I’m going to start with just today. I’ll worry about tomorrow at the alarm ring but for TODAY I can make it through and be strong.

I talk about my parents all the time and how incredible they are. If you know them, you know it’s beyond true. After my last blog post went up, my mom sent me a text that brought me to uncontrollable tears. I’m going to share it with you, I hope she doesn’t mind, in case you need a little inspiration, too. It’s her birthday tomorrow and I wish I had words to express how much I love her. Her text is stored as a note in my phone and when I’m feeling weak I can read it. It’s also the center focus of my new motivational board in my bedroom. Mom- thank you for the slap in the face. It took me a few weeks to sink in but I promise I’m going to get it in gear. Love you to the moon and back.

“I love you to pieces and am going to give you some advice. As a person who has lost a lot of weight many times and put it back on, I know regret. Get back on your eating and exercising plan. Now. The longer you let it go the harder it is to get back on track. You will be angry at yourself and regret it so much. You have worked so hard, stayed on track through vacations and weddings, don’t blow it now. It is going to be a battle your whole life but you need to fight the good fight, grow that bamboo, and face the challenge. I love you skinny or chubby but you love the fit you. Fight for it. It is worth it. Love you to the moon and back.” -Mom

Monday, October 5, 2015

One More Step

September was a pretty terrible month for me. Looking at my calendar, reviewing the last month, I counted that I only went to the gym 8 days. EIGHT days out of 30. It's the least amount of days, during a month, that I put in gym time during the last 20 months of life. I keep telling you guys that I'm getting my ass in gear and it just hasn't happened fully. I'm incredibly excited to say goodbye to September and welcome the fall season. In order to be successful, you have to evaluate what’s going wrong. Here’s what I know about September: I was emotionally derailed by getting my heart broken, I was unmotivated to work out and was constantly exhausted, I turned to food to cope, and I just didn’t give a fuck (sorry, ma’). The scary part about all of this is that my old habits crept back in because I let them. I never expected something to hit me so hard that it got in the way of my goals. I’ve faced a lot of challenges on this weight-loss journey and I always found my way back on track. This time, it’s as if I don’t even know how to start the car to drive to the track. I can’t manage to get myself out of this rabbit hole that I created.

I want to sit here and question whether I’ve learned anything at all but the truth is I know what to do. There isn’t a magic formula; I know what I should eat and I know I need to work out but the issue lies in actually DOING IT. The reality, dear reader, is that I can’t seem to. And there it is, the word that I preach so much against. Can’t. The only four-letter word I try to stay away from. The word that got me to 291 pounds where I was obese and unhappy. The word that I let define any previous attempt at weight loss.

So I signed up for this 15K, right? My attempt to prove to myself that I CAN do anything I put my mind to. I made a calendar of how many miles I need to log each week and set out on Saturday to get 4 in. Not only was my average time over 12 minutes per mile but my entire body hurts. My knees hurt, my back hurts and my hip feels like it’s popped out of socket. Dramatic, I know. As I was running, and wanting to stop every other second, I was talking myself up. “You wanna throw up? Do it and move on. You want to give up and quit? You want to go back to being that girl who thinks she can’t do anything to help herself? Then why did you work your ass off for so long? Why are you sabotaging yourself with food? Your legs aren’t giving up, Sarah. Just take one more step. One more freaking step.” So I did and one step slowly turned into 4 miles. They weren’t my best, they were really, really hard but I did it. I don’t want to be the girl they have to drag over the finish line on November 21st. I want to be the girl sprinting toward the end. Only 7 weeks to go!

Trust me, I know life is hard. Food tastes so good, exercise sucks and it’s so much easier to not work so dang hard. But I don’t want to be that girl again, y’all. I refuse to be her. As my pants grow tighter by the day, I need to be reminded that no one is going to do this for me. No one is going to shake me awake at 4 a.m. No one is going to slap the pizza out of my hand. Trust me, I put an ad on Craigslist and no one is applying. I have to do it for myself and I have to stop trying to fill the empty holes in me with food. Or puppies—I also contemplated getting a new puppy. Jeans are coming back into wardrobe rotation and I want a smaller size. Let’s do this together, friends. Let’s be better together. 

Happy October!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

That Time I Dated Someone

The first time he sneaked up behind me, wrapped his arms around my waist and kissed my cheek in public felt incredibly strange. It was our third date and we were at the local grocery store by his house.  Waiting in line for rides at Disney World during week 2 of dating felt like someone else’s life. Walking hand in hand with him down the streets of St. Augustine on our first trip together, I realized how happy I was. I never thought someone else could supplement my happiness in such a way. I’m still blown away by the fact that he’s attracted to me. The first time he called me beautiful, I about fell over. Then there’s the day he told me I looked the, “prettiest [he’d] ever seen,” when I was wearing a loose plaid button up, cuffed skinny jeans and Chucks. Nothing revealing, tight or short. He’s seen me without makeup, in a bathing suit, hanging out in pajamas, covered in sweat-- and he hasn't run away. I sometimes catch him staring at me and I panic into a full-body check to make sure my fly isn’t down, I don’t have a booger or something else embarrassing isn’t going on. Nope, he stares because he’s just that in to me. I’ve cried tears of pure joy, multiple times, over how excited I am that I found him.  This guy, who feels completely out of my league, sees the girl I’ve been all along.  We’ve all done it, because we’re bitches, we’ve seen the girl who is overweight or unattractive with a good looking guy and think, “What’s wrong with me? How did she get him?” Whenever we’re in public, I can’t help but wonder if girls are thinking this about me.  When I gather the nerve to tell him I’ve never been in a relationship before, he’s puzzled and confused. I remind him of my self-esteem issues and how I was 90 pounds heavier. His response, “Yeah, I mean, I saw photos of you before but I still don’t get it.” I also warn him that my self-consciousness might be an issue in our relationship. I explain that I’m not used to being vulnerable and I tend to be shy at first. I caution him I might pull back because I’m new at this and am so scared to mess it up.

I wrote this just 4 weeks after meeting him and finally decided it was time to share.  Well, dear reader, after 4 months together we just couldn't make it work.  I'm basically putting my heart out on display here but I need everyone to know that I am beyond grateful to him and for our relationship.  Yes, there are many reasons why we didn't work but at the root of everything he taught me that it is possible for someone to love me for who I am and what I look like (no, not you mom/dad/bestest of friends).  I lost hope in that and thought I would never find anyone to accept me as the work in progress that I am.  I will always love him for loving me.  The honest truth is, I lost myself in this relationship.  I frequently skipped the gym, lost countless hours of sleep, and put someone else's needs above mine.  I don't regret anything because I've learned so much from him and who we were.  I spent the last week embracing carbs, eating my feelings, sleeping in, and not going to the gym.  When you start feeling weak, you have to do something to prove to yourself how strong you are.  The last time I got my heartbroken, I started this blog.  This time, I signed up for a 15K, which is 10 weeks from yesterday!  Pray for me, y'all!  The last heartbreak healed and I know this one will, too, I just need time.  I am slowly getting back to focusing on me.  Eating right and exercising starts tomorrow, another juice cleanse will come next week, and I (and Oliver) am my only priority.  To quote a very wise friend, "You lost like 100 pounds, getting over this is like nothing."  Thank you, Candice, and you're right.  Losing weight and changing my life are my most proud accomplishments, and it's going to take something really big to top the challenge that it was and still is.  Without it, there never would have been a him or anyone else.  It's totally true, friends, you can't love anyone until you love yourself.  Very often, love isn't enough in a relationship, which is why I have to hold on to the love I have for myself so tightly.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Lost Girl Found

"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy.' They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life." -John Lennon

One year ago yesterday I launched Sarah Chose Happy.  I still remember toiling over the decision to start a blog for weeks on end this time last year.  I had my editors (you know who you are) read a few of my initial entries and with their stamps of approval I moved forward.  The point of the blog was always to be an outlet for me to express the challenges and celebrations that come with my weight-loss journey.  Along the way, the blog turned into me setting an example to those around me.  I like to think of myself as a trend setter and I always feel ahead of the curve.  For example, I was rocking Navajo chic before the tribal print took over every clothing store.  I was obsessed with chevron when people still thought it was just a gas station chain.  While I certainly didn't start a "choosing happy movement," I do feel like I've seen more posts, discussions, and even a Today show series about happiness.  I love that I've heard from so many of you about how you empower yourselves, or even your kids, to make being happy a part of life.

While I am truly great with directions, I've felt very lost as of late.  Getting lost is starting to become a pattern in my life.  In December 2013, I was the most lost I've ever been.  I needed a way out of my life and had no idea where to begin.  In January 2014, as you loyal readers know, I started my program and began to find my way out of the dark hole.  Since that start day, I've been reading, researching, and educating myself on how to live a healthier life.  I look for new workouts, I read articles on muscle development and weight training, and I'm constantly figuring out things about food and diet.  I have to be honest and tell you that I find myself lost again.  A few months ago, I started getting chronic headaches.  I began attributing them to stress and tried to nail down a reason why every day I would wake up, and eventually go to sleep, with a pounding head.  The headaches were sporadic at first and then came on daily.  They were accompanied by a lot of sleepless nights and a whole lot of dizziness.  After working with my doctor, we narrowed down that a change in my medication (the one I use to aid my weight loss) might be the culprit.  As of two weeks ago, I am completely drug free.  It's incredibly scary to be off of something that has helped immensely change my life.  I suspect that only one of the medications was causing the headaches but decided to stop both of them simultaneously.  I know that I don't want to live my life as a slave to these drugs and I eventually would have to come off of them as they are not long-term medications.

As a result, and some REALLY terrible eating habits, I'm up weight.  I'm almost 10 lbs. heavier than I had gotten down to.  The headaches really derailed my eating and my exercise routine.  I was completely unmotivated and just didn't care about eating healthy.  I stopped choosing happy.  The last two months have been a total blur and most days I felt like I was in a fog.  Today, I'm excited to report that I'm really starting to feel back to normal.  I need to get back to the root of jump starting this second life (and this blog), which is me.  I am ready to start investing back into myself.  This is the perfect time because without medications I have to make sure that my diet and exercise are on point.

I want to thank all of my friends and family (and chocolate olive, too) for being supportive of me the last few months and for putting up with me.  I haven't been much fun and my mood has been sour.  I've been lagging in posts lately because I've just plain been unmotivated.  I hope to start year 2 of blogging with more frequent writing.  To do that, I've got to start living a blog-worthy life again!  Thank you, thank you, thank you, as always, for reading!  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I HATE Her

Do you ever sit at your desk at work and dream about all the foods you want to eat? No, just me? Yesterday, it was Krispy Kreme donuts. I could actually taste one in my mouth. I haven’t eaten a Krispy Kreme in like 5 years but for some reason my taste buds really wanted one yesterday. My friend Michelle, who is also on her own weight loss journey and doing amazing, and I work down the hall from each other and will randomly e-mail or yell names or types of foods at each other that we want. The other day after I typed, “Boneless teriyaki wings DRENCHED in ranch w/ seasoned fries,” I asked her, “Do you ever think about the stuff you used to eat and get jealous of your fat self?” What I can’t figure out is if I’m jealous of what she was eating or just jealous that she didn’t have to think about it. Yes, fat Sarah definitely thought about the food that was going into her mouth and how she shouldn’t be eating it but she did it anyway. I am so sick and tired of thinking about food. I analyze when I eat too much or too little. I worry about making everything fit into my macros or calories for the day. I plan my meals out, sometimes days in advance, and grocery shop every 4-5 days. I just wish my life wasn’t consumed by food all the time. Yeah, even on vacations when I take a break and eat what I want, in the back of my brain is the worry about how much weight I’ll gain or how long it’ll take to get back to pre-vacation weight. Unfortunately, when God was designing Sarah he gave her humor and good hair but didn’t want to make her too perfect so he gave her a less than optimum metabolism (and a sweet tooth). We have to play the cards we’re dealt and my whole life will be a battle against my weight.

I can equate the hate to how adults feel about young people. I thought life at 16 was so freaking hard. Girl, hard is paying bills, having a job, and overcoming debt. We always think that life is so difficult in the moment we’re in. I would give anything to be a carefree 18 year old with no bills or responsibilities. Yes, life was EXTREMELY hard as the fat girl but proving that I’m no longer her by battling her inner demons and working my ass off is SO much harder. The trick is remembering that it’s all worth it. I have to remember how great I feel, how I can fit in cute clothes and how heavy I look in old photos. When I dream about eating pizza, calzones, garlic knots, French fries, cheeseburgers, subs, cookies, and on and on and on, I have to focus not on the food of my past life but on how much happier I am in present life. Something will appear one day (kids, family, mortgage payments) and be harder than life is right now and future me will hate current me. Although, it’s super hard for me to imagine that anything will ever be harder than turning down a donut.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Are You Gonna Eat That?

They kept us corralled in the dining hall after breakfast while the gates were opened. Parents, siblings and friends were all filing into camp not only to see their kids after 4 long weeks but to witness the incredible transformations they had. Leaving the dining hall, was a giant (I’m talking giant) hill you had to climb in order to get back up to camp. We always joked that it was punishment for the food we’d just consumed. Today, we all took it at a sprint. I remember running to my bunk with exceptional speed to get to my parents a little bit faster. My mom was standing in the center with our U-shaped community of bunks around her and she was crying. I ran toward her and gave her the biggest hug and both her and my dad were in awe of the weight I lost. Parent’s Day meant off-camp time to eat whatever we wanted and do whatever we wanted. Nutrition class after nutrition class, we were supposedly prepared to live life on the outside of camp’s walls. That day, we went to Friday’s for lunch and I remember ordering a side salad with ranch (on the side), chicken fingers (fried, duh) and French fries. I talked non-stop about camp and all the fun things I was doing and we caught up about stuff I was missing at home. I was so distracted by conversation that I looked down and all my food was gone. I remember wondering if I had let my parents down. They spent so much money to send me to camp and had I learned nothing? Was this just a pre-warning that old habits would settle back in once I returned home? I vividly remember being embarrassed. Embarrassed and ashamed that nothing had changed. Yeah, my clothes were baggy but I was the same.

We followed up lunch with shopping and some new clothes. Saying goodbye was hard but my 6 weeks were almost up and I’d be home in no time. Later that night in the bunk we all showed off our shopping finds from the day and talked about all the food we ate. In our next nutrition class, they asked how it went and several of us confessed that we sort of blew the day out. The nutritionist told us that it was okay because we had that plan going into the day. It’s not like we planned to eat right and then were tempted by something and went off the rails. We knew going into Parent’s Day that we were going to cheat and that dinner back on camp was going to be back to healthy ways.

Food shaming is extremely real, kids. I don’t know anyone overweight who doesn’t feel like everyone is staring at them when they order something unhealthy and dig in. It’s a good thing fast food places have drive thrus because they allow for a sense of anonymity. I can’t tell you how many meals I’ve eaten and then hidden the evidence of. Burying stuff in the bottom of the garbage or finishing McDonald’s before I reached my destination and stopped at a random trash can to throw it out. Yep, been there multiple times! I’ve even taken food to go because I was “too full to finish it” but then just went home and ate it immediately. I prefer to sit in booths while dining out because they’re usually off to the sides and hidden away. Tables are too exposed—the food you ordered in site of everyone walking by, your muffin top isn’t hidden by the high-back booth wall, etc. Heck, I’ve even been ashamed to order certain things or multiple courses for fear of judgement from the server. I wish I were kidding but these are all REAL thoughts and feelings.

Overcoming food shame and the embarrassment of eating out is a slow process and I’m still not out of the woods. So if we’re ever out to eat together and they ask, “Booth or a table?” Let’s say table and order cheesecake just to prove that the opinions of others don’t bother us.

Who am I kidding? It’ll be booth, please, and I’ll have the salad.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Once It Hits Your Lips It's So Good

You loyal readers might remember that my “last supper” was McDonald's. I drove to it immediately following my first appointment at my weight-loss clinic and ate a Big Mac, fries and diet coke. That was January 16, 2014. I didn’t eat McDonald's again until May 31, 2015 and it was out of convenience. In the beginning, I cut out fast food entirely. Along the way, I would grab a drive-thru meal only when desperate and I intentionally avoided McDonald's in order to prove to myself I could make it through life without. In 6 weeks, I’ve eaten McDonald's 3 times. The first was breakfast while on a Disney vacay: egg white delight and a hash brown. The second was a crispy snack wrap while on a work road trip. The third was a 10 piece nugget meal and French fry because I was feeling weak. Yep, that happened. Obviously, McDonald's is my gateway drug. I actually CRAVE it. When I get it in my mind, I have to have it and I can’t think of eating anything else to pass the thoughts. So, my beloved arches, I’m done. It’s nothing personal, I just cannot resist your greasy goodness.

Let’s review my life’s history with that other redhead, Ronald McDonald. Papadopolous ran a McDonald's back in the early '80s. He was even the recipient of a Golden Spatula Award (you go, Pops). This was during the time we refer to in my family as BS (before Sarah, of course). McDonald's is just one of those ever-present experiences in your life as a kid. Slamming down some nuggets before running into the Play Place where you’d climb through tubes, slide down slides and face plant into a giant pit of plastic balls. I can remember singing the Big Mac song—yeah, there’s a song—with my mom as we ate them. “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.” Feel free to call me if you need me to sing the jingle to get the full effect. There was time in 7th grade when we sneaked out of my friend’s house and walked to McDonald's to get fries. It was about 2-3 miles away, along a major road and dark out but we were rebels I tell ya’. I remember that honey was a sauce option for nuggets (it tasted better on the fries), they used to have McDonaldland cookies (like animal crackers but with a hint of lemon flavor) in shapes of characters like Grimace, Mayor McCheese and the Hamburglar, and Happy Meals used to come in a box.

McDonald's was a normal occurrence throughout my life and, weirdly, holds a lot of memories. Unfortunately, I cannot be trusted and once the golden arch gateway is opened I go ham (burger).

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Shipwrecked

June 2013                                June 2015
If y’all don’t know it yet, my parents are freaking awesome. They celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in June and treated our family to a cruise vacay. Yeah, they reach a milestone and bring their kids with them to celebrate—life is SO hard. I haven’t been on a cruise since our big family trip two years ago to Greece, Venice and Croatia to celebrate mom’s retirement (again, a nod to their awesomeness and love of me/us). The photos that are my permanent memories of that vacation were a huge factor in realizing that I had a problem. I can vividly remember scrolling through the photos on Facebook that I was tagged in and being embarrassed. I couldn’t believe how BIG I was. I have a love/hate of these pictures. I love to see how far I’ve come and I loved that trip but I hate that the once-in-a-lifetime vacation was clouded by my fat ass. Looking back now, I don’t remember being that overweight. Sitting in a too small airplane seat for hours, being out of breath walking around the gorgeous cities I visited and just being so damned uncomfortable all the time. Tight pants, tight shirts, tight seat belts, tightness all around me. What I can’t figure out is how I fit in the shower. I am 90 lbs. lighter and smaller by 5 sizes and I could BARELY fit in the shower on this most recent cruise. Also, all the stairs! Waiting for an elevator can be tortuous so you end up walking up flights upon flights of stairs. How did fat Sarah make it to dinner every night? Yeah right, like she’d ever miss a meal. Can we talk about all the food on a cruise? Serve yourself ice cream, buffets open all the time, dessert for days and as many dinners as you want! Most nights, I ate two desserts and I didn’t give a rats. Life is about enjoying myself and my vacations. However, if I bit a cookie and it wasn’t good it went into the trash because it’s just not worth the calories. I can tell you that the bread pudding WAS worth every last drop. I died. Let’s just say, I had a great time.


I promised myself that the cruise was the last hurrah and I would get my act together once back on dry land. False.  Life has been ice cream, donuts, bagels, french fries, chips and salsa, and fast food.  As you can tell from my last post, I’m dating someone and life has been really hard. Juggling a new relationship, gym time, work, Oliver, my friends, family, etc. is proving to be really difficult and I deal with difficult things by eating foods I shouldn’t. I know what you’re thinking and he isn’t the problem—he’s disgustingly healthy and tracks macros just like I (attempt) to do. I had such bad anxiety when we first started dating that I lost a bunch of weight and was ½ a pound from making 100 lbs. lost. Well, that ended REAL QUICK. So, dear reader, I am shipwrecked. I’m stranded on a food island that I can’t manage to get off of. I just imagined myself fashioning a raft out of Twinkies and Twizzlers with a Fruit Roll Up sail, and a Twix for an oar.  Another let's get serious, I'd eat it all before making it to shore.  Low point.  Needless to say, I've gained some pounds and am determined to get back to that new relationship weight. Today marks day 1 of starting over and I’m serious this time. I realigned some goals and am putting it out there for you guys to see so that I am accountable. I say it all the time but it still rings true, it’s not about getting knocked down but in how you get back up. I recognize my problems and getting my butt in gear. Here we go, AGAIN…


September 10th: 110 lb. goal (avg. 2 lbs. per week)

December 3rd: 120 lb. goal (avg. 1.5 lbs. per week)



Monday, July 6, 2015

Unexpected Sundays

On my 3rd day of being on the online dating app POF, he messaged me. He was funny, cute and had an extremely honest profile, which is where he openly admitted to loving Disney. We exchanged a few messages and then he was gone. “Well, that was a fun few hours,” I thought. The next day, a Sunday, at 6:45 p.m., I get a message from him, “Sarah! What are you up to?” I told him that I was cleaning and doing housework and he said he was doing the same. He said we should blow it off and go get drinks. It’s a work night. I’m in sweatpants and haven’t showered yet for the day. It takes me all of 2 seconds to ponder what my response is. “I can be ready in an hour!” 

We plan the place, I shower and put on my favorite skinny jeans, and text my friends to let them know what’s going on. You never know with these online dates…I could end up as a skin suit! Also, it’s required that I send them a photo of my outfit before I head out the door. He calls me as I’m pulling in to the restaurant to let me know that he’s there. I park and he’s standing on the sidewalk, grinning from ear to ear. Cue the butterflies. I get out of the car and walk toward him when he excitedly pulls me in for a big hug. Here we go.

That was 11 weeks ago.

Let’s go back to those 2 seconds when I decided what to respond when he asked me out. There in my room, I thought about all the times I sat on the sidelines waiting for life to finally start. I thought about how long it would take me to get ready, how I didn’t have anything to wear and how terrified I was (remember, dating was SUPER new). I could come up with at least 10 excuses of why I should turn him down and get a raincheck. Instead, I grabbed that girl, the one sick and tired of waiting, and told her, “Fucking go! Don’t be afraid. Don’t turn this down. Have fun, Sarah! CHOOSE HAPPY.

I did. I do. I will.
 
Blissfully, unequivocally, incredibly, stupidly, amazingly, excitedly, just plain ol’

happy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I Don't Know How She Does It

It’s confession time, y’all--the juggle struggle is real. I’m having an extremely hard time juggling all of the stuff going on in life right now: gym, eating right, single-mom hood to Oliver, dating, work, blogging, personal life, etc. I’m up about 6 lbs. right now and am feeling awful and disgusting. It’s AMAZING how different what used to be a few pounds feels like. I can see this weight gain in my face, I feel it in my gut and am severely aware of it when my new shorts are cutting into my muffin top. Six pounds used to be no big deal but nowadays it’s HUGE! And so am I. My work is a little out of control lately and I’ve traveled out of town at least once during the last 4 weeks. I’ve been grabbing food on the run and barely getting in gym time. I’m embarrassed and cannot seem to get a handle on it. Dessert one night has turned into dessert every night. Fast food one day lead to fast food multiple days. It’s disgusting and I hate admitting it but I know that some of you can relate.

I feel like life is going in waves, I’ll be feeling so amazing and then ruin all of it in a few days. I’m back on track today and started a juice cleanse again. I’m only doing 2 days and this first day is a little different. I’ll report on it later this week when it’s over to let you know how it went. I’m hoping this baby cleanse will help clear the bloat in my gut and make me feel a little better leading into the weekend. I have a cruise coming up in a few weeks and would like to hit a certain number before embarking. I have to motivate myself because I want to look good in my cute new suit and not feel guilty if I indulge a little when I’m on the high seas.

Lifestyle changes are hard and I know I’ve said before how I’m in awe of people with children who are able to juggle so much. I’m learning and trying to improve but I think it’s going to take a little time. Life might be insane but I’m always thinking about the blog. I think I spoiled everyone with my frequent postings in the beginning and I’m having trouble keeping up. Thank you, as usual, for your continued reading and support!!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Take me to Church

Just a reminder, here on Sarah Chose Happy I am striving for balance. I seek opportunities to better my physical, mental and spiritual self on a near-daily basis.  I remind you because today isn't really about weight loss.  I was raised in the Catholic church and stopped attending mass and practicing for several years due to a lot of personal reasons.  Seeking solace, I started attending mass at the end of this past November.  I went to a few different churches in Gainesville and finally found one that I really enjoy.  I get that religion can be a taboo topic but I'm pretty much an open book in life so it was time to share my experience with you, dear reader.  Going to church makes me feel better.  It's as plain and simple as that.  Do I agree with all of the beliefs and doctrines laid out by the church or my denomination?  Nope, sure don't but that doesn't mean I can't attend.  I kind of relate this to a person's upbringing.  Your parents raise you to be a certain way.  They teach you right from wrong, good from bad and their beliefs on life.  However, eventually you grow up and develop your own views on the world but you still show up for Christmas dinner and love your parents.  I may disagree with parts of the faith I follow but the overarching belief in something greater than myself is there.

The church I've chosen to attend asks you to turn to your neighbor and offer to pray for their intentions.  The best was when the little old man next to me whispered, "I got you."  A few months ago, a woman in my pew leaned over and asked if I had any intentions I'd like her to pray over.  I kindly said, "Thank you but no."  I don't feel comfortable sharing my personal prayers with strangers and, honestly, it's a long list and we didn't have a lot of time.  I, regretfully, didn't ask her in return.  I don't know why but it was a jerk move on my part.  I was new and uncomfortable with the whole situation.  I regretted it that day and still did weeks later.  One Sunday, the woman was in my pew again and I was determined to offer to pray for her intentions.  The time came, she offered, I declined and I asked her, "What about you?"  She asked me to pray for her youngest sister who has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time.  Suddenly, my problems seemed so small, tears welled up in my eyes and rolled down my cheeks.  I realized in that moment that we're all struggling with something and you never know what the people you meet are going through. I'm not sure why this encounter struck me the way it did and made me so emotional but it has left me thinking a lot about the power of prayer.  Agree with me or don't, I don't really care because it's MY blog, but I truly believe that prayers can be answered.

Has everyone seen the movie Bruce Almighty?  If not, go rent it--it's hilarious.  When Bruce takes over the ability to answer prayers on behalf of Morgan Freeman (God), you hear the ridiculous things that people pray for like winning the lottery, losing weight on the jelly bean diet, a favorite sports team winning a major title, etc.  I used to be THAT person praying for such nonsense.  I spent countless nights praying to lose weight, "God please just make me skinny," but it doesn't work like that.  I started, instead, to pray for strength, willpower, determination and knowledge.  I prayed to believe in myself that I could achieve something amazing on my own.  Well, you all know how that turned out.  I decided in November that I had so much to be thankful for and so many blessings bestowed upon my life that I needed to start dedicating time to church.  I might not make it every week but I give thanks to Him for granting me with my able body, focused mind and positive attitude.  I pray for the strength to continue when I feel like giving up.  I pray to be an inspiration to those around me and hope they realize their own capabilities.  I also pray for guidance to be on the right path.  Conversely, there's also power in the unanswered prayer and I want to thank Him for a lot of those that occurred the past few years.  I prayed really hard for something that was never meant to be and I'm elated He knew better.  Those unanswered prayers made me more self aware, stronger and happier.  I trust in His plan for me that everything will turn out as it should.

How's that for Monday motivation?  Have a great week, friends!

Friday, May 15, 2015

A+ Student

I've officially been attending my weight loss clinic for 69 weeks.  I actually had to go back and count because I don't really keep track of these things anymore.  Last year, I could tell you what week I was on, I kept a weekly log of my measurements and weight, and I took photos of myself every month.  All of that has fallen by the wayside.  Why?  Because it doesn't matter anymore.  I was obsessed with the numbers of weight loss but now it's more about looking good and FEELING good.  As long as my clothes are fitting (or getting loose) and I'm seeing results on the scale, I'm totally okay with not knowing my waist size or documenting what I look like in my undies.

I went for my monthly appointment yesterday and discovered that I am an A+ student.  I saw a new dietitian as my appointment was later in the day and she was SO impressed by my success.  She told me that she's never seen anyone who has attended the place this long and not gained weight.  She said most come and go, losing and gaining, over the span of months, years, etc.  She was super impressed and basically called me a star student.  I've always been good at school!  I lost 3 lbs. this past month and finally hit the 90 lb. mark on their scale.  Remember, I report my scale findings from home because I weigh first thing in the morning and naked.  :)  At the clinic, that's frowned upon so I'm consistently 3 lbs. heavier according to their scale.  Breakfast, snacks, clothes and shoes weigh a lot, people!

I've been feeling REALLY good lately and I'm actually up weight due to some last minute vacationing the last two weekends.  Otherwise, it would have been a STELLAR month on the scale.  I'm back on the grind as I have another getaway planned in two weeks and I want to be back down.  I'm really focusing on portion control and fat content as of late.  I've been really good about tracking my food and trying to hit my macros every day.  Reminder--macros are the portions of carbs, fats & proteins that make up the calories we consume.  I'm really feeling this way of eating and have seen proof of it working if you're diligent and consistent.  I've been super anxious about a lot of stuff the last few weeks so I've been fitting in extra gym time, too.  Oh, it's 3:30 a.m. and you can't sleep, Sarah?  Well, get up and go to the gym.  Okay, so that only happened like 3 times but I was able to get in such amazing workouts that early.  There weren't people in my way and I could stay longer.  It's time to get summer body ready as it's already hotter than Hades here in Florida.  Bathing suits are unforgiving and this girl doesn't want to cover up at the pool anymore.

The takeaway from today's post (I promise there are a few):
1.  Keep going, even when you feel like you can't anymore or want to give up, DON'T.  This shit takes time.
2.  If you're struggling, plan a small goal for yourself like a last minute trip to Disney World, a new bathing suit or a beach day.  It'll not only give you something to look forward to but it might help push you to stay focused.
3.  It cannot be one or the other--you have to put in time at the gym AND eat right.  BALANCE, peeps!
4.  I'm a success story and YOU CAN BE, TOO.  I shouldn't be such a shining example at the clinic because I haven't done anything that others can't.  I just didn't ever give up (see #1).

Happy Friday, yay weekend, make good choices!


Monday, May 11, 2015

Where Are You Goaling?

There’s a regular at the gym who frequently chats me up at the free weights. He says hi every morning and sometimes comments on what I’m doing, “Keep going, girl.” Last week, guy came up to me and commented on how much weight I’ve lost. I said thank you and kept on with my routine. He said, “What’s your name?” I told him, he introduced himself and then he said, “What’s your goal, Sarah?” Being put on the spot isn’t my best and I’m trying to count reps here so my response was, “To keep going.” I’ve lost sight of my goals the last few months and have nothing to blame it on but myself. I decided that this journey would have to be woven with my real life. Yes, I’ve still been dedicated to the gym but my routines could use a refresh. Yes, I’ve still balanced my eating with a 90 percent on, 10 percent off vibe. I haven’t derailed and I’m still losing weight but I’ve lost my focus. My goal for 2015 was to step up my game and guy at the gym reminded me that I don’t really have a quantifiable goal that I’m working toward. That changes now. I have 30 weeks until my birthday and I want to lose 30 additional lbs. It’s not going to be easy and it’s going to require a lot of food adjustment but I think once I dip below that 170 lb. mark, I’ll be comfortable with where I’m at. I’m declaring it out there to you, my blog world, so that you can help me get to where I’m going. It’s important to not lose sight of where you’re going. Remember, if you’re not working toward a goal how will you know once you’ve reached something great? I thought I was satisfied with just allowing my body to take it’s time but I’m not and I’m growing evermore impatient. Week 1—here I go!


I’ve been a SUPA slacker lately on blogging and on my Supa Proud Award. I know it’s not Wednesday but I just can’t wait. This week (and all the weeks, honestly) I’m supa proud of my friend Alex. Alex is a fellow chooser of happiness and has really taken life into her own hands recently. Alex- I LOVE YOU. You always say that I inspire you but you, dear friend, inspire me to infinity and beyond. You sought out the life you wanted and continue to aspire to greatness (and Snap Chat fame). Life would be less hilarious without you in it. Please never lose that spark that makes you amazing. In your honor, I end with several hashtags that are supa appropriate. #choosehappiness #beyoubegreat #perfectlyimperfect #makegoodchoices #prom2012 #bluedranks

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fishing in The Dark

Posts have been sporadic and I take full responsibility but I’ve been out there choosing happiness, y’all! I’ve come to the realization that my soul mate is not waiting for me at Publix. He’s also not at Target or at my mailbox or at Midtown (bars!). As of last Thursday, I’ve officially rejoined the online dating world. Please pray for me. As a repeat Match.com-er, I decided to go a different route this time and join POF (Plenty of Fish). I was busy making my profile by answering questions and filling in the blanks that I’d almost forgotten my fear of that one particular qualifier, “Body Type.” Ugh. My options: thin (hahaha), average (hmmm), a few extra pounds (preach), BBW (big, beautiful woman for those unfamiliar). In the past, I would have selected “a few extra pounds” and shamefully it should have read, “a hundred extra pounds.” Here’s a fun fact, the average size of an American woman is a 14. Ta-Da! This girl is now considered “average.” I prefer “spectacular” but that’s not an option. Tsk, tsk, POF. My about me section states that I go to the gym 4-5 days per week and need someone on my fitness level. Admittedly, when I see a heavier person with gym stats like that I kind of wonder how truthful they’re being. In order to combat these naysayers, my profile reads, “I'm at the gym 4-5 days a week (you should see my before picture!) and need someone who also lives an active lifestyle.” BOOM! I should start walking around in a before picture T-shirt. Well, dear reader, I’m not sure if it’s my slimmer figure or my “average” status but I blew up. I was flooded with messages and notifications from the app. I’m legit not bragging here, as most of them went unanswered for multiple reasons (most were creeper status). So, I’m out there. I’m giving this thing a try.

The thing I still struggle with is when to bring up old Sarah and new Sarah’s blog. This blog is like a diary and has SUPER personal information and I’m not sure I want someone reading it all here first. Your past inevitably shapes you but it doesn’t have to be the first line of your story. Could you imagine me showing up to meet a date for a drink, sitting down and saying, “Hi. I’m Sarah. I’ve lost 90 pounds and I write this blog that’s sometimes funny and sometimes really sad slash raw.” Uhhhh, no. With every new contender comes the peeling back of the layers. Layer by layer, the blog will expose itself. The right person will think it is awesome, run home immediately to read it and text me that I’m so cute and hilarious.

For now, I’m keeping date details close to the vest but will keep you posted of any progress and funny anecdotes that I can share without jeopardizing anything. Always, always, always CHOOSE HAPPINESS!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What's Gonna Come Poppin' Out?

I heart Melissa McCarthy. Serious girl crush going on over here. When you put her with the incredibly talented Sandy Bullock in The Heat, you get one of my favorite movies. You also get me in unavoidable tears during the bar sequence. “You’re covered in nuts. This is just a dream.” If you haven’t seen it, go rent it right now and invite all your best friends over for Skinny Pop and pajamas. It’s hilarious, I promise. Another memorable scene, SPOILER ALERT, is when the two characters are in the bathroom discussing Spanx. Most women, sorry dudes, know what Spanx are and have probably worn them or a similar brand in their adult life. Spanx is the Q-tip of undergarments, as in they’re what everyone refers to regardless of brand (ala cotton swab). I’m not even sure what you’d refer to them as…fat holder inners? Cellulite streamliners? Oh, wait, I actually think they’re called control-top panties or shape wear. OMG, I can’t believe I just used that word on my blog, y’all. In case you aren’t versed in Sarah, I HATE the word panties. Gross. I could probably write a 10-page essay on all of the words I loathe. Panties. Moist. Chunky. Tits. Dump.

Holy moly, tangent. While there are many times that Spanx are 100 percent necessary, what no one tells you is how badly they suck. They’re tight, even when you buy the correct size according to height and weight. They’re hot and sweating just makes them more impossible to get on and off. Remember when Ross from Friends can’t get his leather pants back on in a date’s bathroom? It’s like that. They’re a nightmare when you pee often or are in a rush to pee. You have to hike them up when you want to wear anything a little bit short. You’re self-conscious walking up stairs, praying that they’re not peeking out the bottom of your hemline. As an overweight girl, wearing shape wear was just a part of my life. For as long as I can remember I’ve been wearing spandex shorts under dresses in order to avoid the dreaded chub rub. In college, I went through this phase where I wore a corset thing that would help control the muffin top overhanging on my jeans. I remember being terrified that my friends would feel the ribbing through my shirt when we would pose for photos or dance closely. Well, dear readers, I have finally been set free! Thanks to my weight loss (and probably all those leg days), I am no longer constricted by my undergarments! I’ll admit, I was a little nervous the first time sans Spanx and worried if a roll was detectable under my dress. I was calmed by constant mirror checking and reassurances from friends. Let’s not get crazy, Spanx are still a necessity when wearing body-hugging dresses as they do help smooth everything out, but I can sport a bunch of my wardrobe with new-found ease.

Here’s to undergarment freedom! Not underwear and bras though, those are necessary in like 98.9 percent of situations!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Blame it on The Juice

As I took a bite of the 3rd cupcake on my NY trip last month, I decided I might need to do some serious detoxing when I returned back home. Usually, a binge roller coaster is the hardest to get off of. I started researching juice cleanses as they are growing in popularity and have been described as an excellent “reset” for your body. I departed for NY at 203 lbs., returned home at 208 lbs. and was, surprisingly, back at 203 lbs. after a little less than a week. Getting back on the wagon wasn’t as difficult as I’d imagined because I was so eager to get back to my routine. I was craving my boring food and wasn’t threatening to commit crimes for a sugar fix. I fell back into life quite seamlessly but was still entertaining the idea of juicing. I haven’t been able to break the 203 lb. wall since I was plagued in January and didn’t eat. Juicing seemed like a great way to get me over this hump. I don’t own a juicer and they can be pricey so I determined that I was going to do a bottled cold-pressed juice cleanse. I didn’t have plans for Easter and had busy work days ahead of me on that Monday and Tuesday. Juicing is the best when you’re busy and short on time to think about food. I landed on a great review of the Suja brand (sujajuice.com) cleanse. They offer a variety of products and programs and, honestly, greatly appealed to me because you get a “dessert” juice at the end of every day. I did the Original Fresh Start program for 3 days. It’s a series of 6 different juices a day repeated for 3 days. I found 2 one-day kits at Whole Foods and was able to piece my 3rd day together with the exception of 2 juices (of course the dessert juice wasn’t in stock as an individual bottle). I substituted 2 juices from the line for those unavailable. Whole Foods was having a sale on the Suja products so I was able to get my 3-day supply for about $92. Normally, online it’s sold for $162. A few things I was sure of, 1. No exercise during juicing as I was already going to be at a high calorie deficit, and 2. I would drink a bottle of water before every juice to help with fullness. It’s important to note that on this cleanse you can have as much water and tea as desired. Luckily for you, dear readers, I kept a diary during my 3-day stint on the juice. I would like to apologize to my friends, parents and Oliver (the dog) who were in contact with me over the course of those days and regret anything I may have said out of hanger (hungry anger).

Day 1: Sunday, April 5th
Weight: 203.6

I slept in this morning and woke up already hungry (awesome). Prior to my first juice, and recommended by the Web site, I drank some warm water with apple cider vinegar to start my day. After the water, I waited for more hunger signs from my belly. The first breakfast juice is green and has mint tea. It’s not horrible. I’ve decided not to drink water during my juices as I want to absorb all the nutrients from the juice as possible. I’m going to try to wait at least 2 hours between juices. Mid-morning juice is orange and primarily carrot but also has turmeric (this will be my favorite juice with the exception of “dessert”). When lunch rolled around, I was excited that my lunchtime juice was red because I thought that meant fruit base.
FALSE BEYOND ALL FALSE. It’s beet. This is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever tasted. It’s like drinking dirt so I chug until I can’t, take a minute break, chug until I can’t and repeat until it’s gone. Holy moly it was terrible. I did offer to buy a friend a golden retriever puppy if she would bring me a double cheeseburger, fries, 3 piece chicken tenders and a strawberry milkshake. Low point. The worst part about today has been that I’m at home. I just keep thinking about how easy it would be to go to the kitchen and eat every last thing in my cabinets and refrigerator. I miss chewing. The best part about today was the dessert juice. Change your life goodness. The dessert juice is called Vanilla Cloud and is made with almond milk, water, honey, coconut meat, cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s not from a lack of anything that this juice tastes so good, it’s just genuinely heaven. I didn’t have any “symptoms” of detox today besides hunger. The stomach’s growls couldn’t be ignored but I drank a ton of water and am going to bed early.

Day 2: Monday, April 6th
Weight: 200.4

Well, it’s nice to wake up 3 lbs. lighter! The hunger was a real struggle last night. I didn’t sleep very well and my stomach was growling loudly around 9 p.m. It’s so strange to have gone over 24 hours without ever having that full feeling. I was really dreading drinking that lunchtime juice today because it was so terrible. I was SLAMMED at work today and actually had to remind myself to drink a juice. You’re supposed to drink your last juice 3 hours before bedtime to allow for proper digestion. I also don’t start my first juice until after I’ve finished a bottle of water and a glass of tea in the morning. I have to fit the 6 juices in 12 hours, essentially, so I have to stay on schedule of every 2 hours. Research told me that day 2 of a cleanse is usually the “honeymoon day.” Well, that’s a fact! I feel so AWESOME today. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I saw results on the scale or the juices but today was incredibly easy. The Vanilla Cloud at the end of my day was such a treat and I am so sad that tomorrow doesn’t end this way. I’m lying on the couch and am in extreme awe at how thin I am (for me). My stomach is completely flat, there’s no bloat or discomfort in my gut. Again, I’m flooded with water and going to bed early.

Day 3: Tuesday, April 7th
Weight: 199

HOLY SHIT, you guys! I finally broke the 200 lb. barrier! I stepped off the scale, did a dance and stepped on again to double check. Besides the scale victory, today was terrible. I’m not sure if I was feeling the side effects of the detox but I felt like absolute crap all day. I read a lot about the following days and how to return to normal eating. Basically, lots of fruits and veggies, taking it easy and no dairy or protein for a few days. Yikes. I’m leaving for Orlando tomorrow for an extended weekend with my friends to celebrate my BFF Kate having a baby! Therefore, eating needs to be a thing. I could barely stomach the juices today. My mouth and body wanted to reject them upon unscrewing the bottle caps. I couldn’t finish my last 2 juices of the day because I thought vomit would follow closely behind. Instead, I had ¼ cup coconut milk yogurt, 3 blueberries, 3 raspberries and 4 almonds. Smallest. Dinner. Ever. I haven’t been sleeping well because my body is so hungry at night. I’ve been busy tonight with packing and organizing for my trip and for the baby shower I’m hosting. It’s a nice distraction and I was waiting to see if the non-liquid dinner decided to be vengeful. So far, so good. I’m never juicing again.

I took it easy the next 2 days by eating really small meals throughout the day. I didn’t have any issues transitioning back into normal eating. The worst part about the after phase of a juice cleanse is the lack of bathroom trips. Your digestive track has been in hibernation for 3 days and you have to be REALLY careful not to shock it. Then, it takes a few days for it to get back to functioning. It took me 3 days. Overshare but these are things you need to know. Another side effect that might be from the juice is my skin exploding in breakouts. I can’t 100 percent say it was definitely the juicing but I would bet my body wanted to rid some toxins by way of my face. Looking back, the juice was a good experience. I learned what TRUE hunger felt like and will use this experience to reset my portion size moving forward. It’s amazing how little your body can survive on. I did miss my workouts so I’m excited to get back to the gym. Obviously, I indulged this weekend at the party and over some leftovers but I’m back on track today and eating small portions in 2 hour increments. I was a tad heavier this morning but I’m hoping to get that back down by Thursday as I have to go weigh in at the doctor this week.

I’m really glad I did the juice cleanse because I proved to myself that I could and now I know that there’s nothing I’m missing out on by NOT doing it. If every day were like day 2 then I would juice a lot more but day 3 was miserable. I would definitely recommend the Suja program because that Vanilla Cloud made it ALL WORTH IT! I tried some of their smoothie juices (more fruits, thicker texture) in the transition off the juice cleanse and they’re delicious. These can be found at local grocery stores like Publix, Lucky’s, etc.  Reach out if you had a positive or negative juicing experience as I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

In This Skin

I decided to have a #lovemyselfie celebration this past weekend.  Friday and Saturday marked two huge milestones for me, I was comfortable with myself.  On Friday night, I was going out with a friend and decided that I wanted to wear a dress.  A sleeveless dress.  Without a cardigan.  The rare times that I do go sleeveless are usually because of some formal event.  Everyday sleeveless or strapless dresses are always worn with a cardigan in order to hide my arms.  I'm usually super self-conscious about my flabby arms and going out sans sleeves was a huge deal.  Especially since we were at several college-crowd bars.  Sure, my arms still jiggle more than I would like them to but I'm not over here doing the wave or anything.  I'm 100 percent positive that the swarms of girls in cutoffs with their cheeks (not face) hanging out were getting more stares than my arms.  On that note, girls, put those away!  Crack or cheek are NEVER a fashion statement.

About a week ago, I was asked to go to a water park in Orlando on Saturday.  My immediate reaction was, "Hell no!  I'm not walking around in my bathing suit all day."  After much debate and a severe case of not wanting to miss out (FOMO!), I decided to go.  My bathing suit is a bit big in areas as it's from last year but I made it work and didn't give anyone a show (that I know of).  I didn't wear shorts.  I didn't walk around in a cover up or T-shirt.  It was just me in my super cute orange suit.  A few years ago I wouldn't be caught dead walking around comfortable in my bathing suit.  Remember when I said I was the girl who wouldn't even take her shirt off for the doctor?  Today, this girl didn't give a rats about what she looked like.  Sometimes I wish I had a shirt that said, "You should see my before picture."  Strangers might not know how far I've come but I sure as shit do and I feel so much better about myself.  Sure, there were cute girls in bikinis who would make anyone feel bad about what they looked like but I didn't care at all.  I was having so much fun that I forgot about any qualms I had about my exposed body.  Also, how awesome is it that I didn't have to worry about weight limits?!?  Most rides had a 300 lb. max and not too long ago I was severely close to that marker.  Another comfort I have now is me without makeup.  I have blonde eyelashes and eyebrows.  Most people don't know what I look like without makeup.  I was the girl who, at minimum, always wore mascara.  Even waterproof couldn't survive the water park so bare face was my only option.  Again, it didn't bother me!  I never wear makeup at the gym and have become so much more accepting of the way I look without it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not without insecurities but I am becoming more comfy in this skin.  I'm slowly learning that people will accept me and love me regardless of my imperfections.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Knee Bone's Connected to The

Hey, collar bone!
A new discovery has been made, I HAVE BONES!  I know, it's crazy, right?  Okay, sure, I knew they were in there somewhere but now I can actually see them!  I have a collar bone, hips, wrists and hand bones.  I can trace the outlines of the bones in my knees, shoulders and down my sternum.  I finally have the ability to count how many ribs I have.  I'm seriously concerned about the size of my rib cage.  It seems abnormally large.  Maybe I am just big boned after all?

Now that I'm less squishy, I'm obviously not a very good pillow.  I think my dog, Oliver, is offended by my bones, which are in the way of his nestling place.  A friend recently rested her head on my shoulder and complained that I was super bony now that I'm not fat.  My marshmallow exterior is gone and I'm developing a frame.

Make no bones about it, progress is progress.  I still have a long way to go but I'm loving these new developments!

Traveling (Wo)man

Look how much seat belt is left!
This past year and a half have been completely insane and I've been traveling so much for weddings, work and getaways.  It's amazing how traveling can help quantify how far I've come as new Sarah.  I'll never forget my first plane ride after starting my weight-loss journey.  It was nearly a year ago and I was flying to my best friend's wedding.  I was flying to an extremely small airport in Virginia and small airports mean small planes, which means even smaller than normal seats.  For the first time in my adult life I was, relatively, comfortable on an airplane.  I boarded, took my seat and couldn't believe how roomy it was!  Fitting in that seat really put into perspective how far I had come.  Present day, I've doubled my weight loss since that flight and have so much less anxiety about flying.  A few years ago, I would dread the center seat and when I lost a bet with karma and got stuck in one I would have to cross my arms the whole flight in order to not spill over onto the people next to me.  My hips (and ass) would pressure the arm rest upward and I would fight to push it down hoping the strangers didn't notice.  Don't even get me started on the seat belt, which was always maxed out and still cutting off circulation to my legs.  It is such a relief to be an average size now.  Flying takes on a whole new outlook because I don't have the stress over being jammed into a seat that I didn't fit into.

Have you ever noticed how small hotel towels are?  Nope, you probably haven't if you're not overweight!  I used to pack my own towel on every trip I took.  It didn't matter where the trip was to or how long I was going for, I had to make room to pack a towel.  All because I couldn't fit in a normal size towel.  It was basically like trying to dry off with a washcloth.  It's so embarrassing to admit to you guys but it's the truth.  I now have more room in my suitcase for clothing and shoes because my BYOT days are over!

I'd like to tell you about how I'm able to pack lighter and bring a smaller suitcase nowadays but that's 100 percent false.  I convinced myself that on this last trip to NY I would be able to have a smaller bag because my clothes are so much smaller now.  Ha!  What a joke.  I was still at max capacity with my 48 lb. bag.  I guess it had nothing to do with the size of my clothes, I just over pack.  I think it's hereditary.  Listen, a girl has to have her essentials.  I will NEVER be the girl who just travels with a carry-on bag.  I can't even fit my hair products into a quart size bag let alone all the liquids I need for a trip.  It takes a lot to look this good, okay?

I'm searching for my next getaway destination as I usually like to have something to look forward to.  For now, I'll celebrate my travel victories and continue to discover why life as a lighter person is so much better.


Monday, March 30, 2015

That Time I Ate a State

Georgetown #1
Georgetown #2

I'm backkkkkkkkk! I think this has been my longest blogging hiatus and hopefully you have missed me. I've returned from my New York trip and am trying to get back to normal life. I was so ready to sleep in my own bed, go to my gym, grocery shop and catch up on my DVR. Before my trip, I made the conscious decision to not track my food. I've been consistently tracking my food for over a month in the My Fitness Pal app and aiming to hit my macros every day. It doesn't always go to plan but each day gets a little better than the last. I was able to get to a low number on the scale and really scared myself and began to regret my trip ahead. I knew the temptations would be too great and I was looking forward to taking a break from life, so I decided to enjoy myself and not care. I vowed to still work out but eat as many cupcakes as I wanted to. Boy, did I.  Getting back on the scale this week will not be fun but I made a choice and I chose happiness and pizza, which are pretty much the same thing.  I wouldn't say that I went overboard but I did eat dessert at least once a day.  In case you don't follow me on Instagram (BTW, you totally should @sarahstew15), then you missed out on all of my fabulous eats.  I did make it to my beloved Georgetown Cupcake on two separate occasions!  There were too many flavors to fit into one visit!


Cronut and ALLLLL it's filling
I had a lot of pistachio stuff while I was gone.  I've always been obsessed with pistachio and was introduced to pistachio muffins by my friend, Jen P., a few years ago.  I. Can't. Even.  They're SO yum and amazing.  I had two on my trip and a macaron, a cupcake and Cronut.  Those of you unfamiliar with the Cronut craze, they are a doughnut made of croissant, which were popular a few years ago and the originals are sold at a bakery in Soho by Dominique Ansel.  The flavor of Cronut changes monthly and you get no choice.  Upon arriving at the bakery, we discovered the flavor was pistachio orange.  INSTANT EXCITEMENT.  Mom and I each ordered one and we sat down to pose for photos before digging in.  Holy disappointing.  Each layer is filled with either orange jam or this pistachio cream.  It sounds amazing but was basically all filling.  I was squeezing it out and wiping it off--gross.  It didn't taste anything like pistachio.  I'm hoping this was just a fluke in the flavor but I'm completely lost on the madness surrounding the Cronut.  You can keep it and I'll be visiting the tried and approved Donut Plant for yumminess instead.

I regret the Cronut.

I did so much walking around the first few days in the city.  Mom and I cranked out at least 20,000 steps each day.  We schlepped all over despite the 5 inches of snow that arrived the first day we were there.  I managed to get 4 days of the gym in and I even went on Friday night because it was snowing and there wasn't much else going on.  The gym at the hotel in the city was quite amazing.  They had several weight machines, a whole rack of dumbbells and even a rack of barbells.  I was very impressed!





My week was filled with all of my favorites: chicken parm, pizza, bagels, cupcakes, Italian cookies and so much more!  I don't regret anything but am so ready to get back to my new way of eating.  By the end of the trip, I was feeling so gross and one major meal even made me sick.  I can't eat the quantity or types of food that I used to.  There's no way around it that life is different now.  I actually missed my daily eggs and ham scramble breakfast.  Today is day 1 of the NY detox and I'm back on track and logging my food.  I will probably gain a few pounds from the last week but this is life.  You can't be perfect all the time and everyone deserves a break now and then.  The real challenge, dear friends, is not letting the week turn to three (or more).  Put down the cupcakes and get your butt in gear.  Are you listening, Sarah?  Happy Monday!  

Friday, March 13, 2015

Pizza, Thy Love

I've said it before and it needs repeating, I love pizza. It's (usually) cheap, it's simple and it evokes so many memories for me. As a kid, I can remember walking to the nearest pizza shop with my cousins for slices in the afternoons of summer when we would vacation to Long Island. Then there's the middle school sleepovers with friends where we'd order by phone (weird, right?) and request it be delivered by the cutest boy working that night. Then there's college, where we'd get Five Star or Gumby's to feed the crowd gathered at our apartment to soak up the beer in our bellies. Or that one time, my favorite, where a friend bought a large pizza on the street from a vendor while walking out of a bar. After graduation, when I was poor, I'd get $10 Pizza Hut to feed myself for 2-3 meals. Let's be honest, Sarah, it was usually dinner and then breakfast the next morning and maybe 1 slice left for a snack. Next, I went through the homemade pizza phase where I'd make crust from the Pillsbury can and add my own sauce and toppings. I would usually eat the entire thing! Pizza was such a present meal/food in my life and the fact that it's convenient made it a staple.

Question! What's weirder- the fact that I can count the number of times I've had pizza in the last 14 months on one hand or the fact that I know the exact dates of these pizza/Sarah encounters? Well, I think they're both weird. In my old life, I probably ate pizza at least three times a month, which would be 42 times since new life started. In fact, I didn't eat pizza for a solid 6 months when I was disciplined in the beginning. My pizza-eating timeline is as follows:

1. June 13th. Cheese. Rosemary's in Farmingdale, NY. SO GOOD!
2. June 16th. Margherita. iL FORNO in Hell's Kitchen, NYC. It was okay.
Less than 2 weeks later, I was in New York again but this time it was a team-building trip for work. I indulged in New York's finest cuisine on two occasions on this trip.
3. June 27th. Cheese. Somewhere on 8th Ave, NYC. Classic and delicious.
4. June 30th. Specialty slices that I cannot remember because they weren't life changing. Food court at Grand Central Station. Again, okay.
5. December 21st. Ham and tomato. Vinnie Van GoGo's in Savannah, GA. Definitely smells and looks better than it tastes. It didn't live up to my hype and wasn't worth waiting 6 months for.

There you have it, kids! My 5 pizza encounters in 14 months. Crazy, huh? I was thinking about this the other day and how incredibly strange it is. I pondered this pizza timeline for days because I was sure I had missed a few but I haven't. That's it. By now, you're probably wondering, "So what?" The point of my pizza anecdote is to show you that those vices you think have a hold of you are a figment of your imagination.  Food doesn't control you and you shouldn't give it so much power.  It reminds me of a story that I've heard along the way on my always-on-a-"diet"-life about a nutritionist.  This nutritionist had clients who were severe over eaters and were extremely obese because of it.  One client, ate an entire dozen of Krispy Kreme donuts a day.  Holy moly!  So, to combat this, they had him cut back to 6 donuts a day, then 3 donuts a day, then 1 donut every other day until he was able to avoid them all together.  Another client would eat an entire box of Double Stuf Oreos.  Is it a box or a bag?  Tray?  Oh, container, maybe?  I don't know.  They had him switch to regular Oreos, then reduced fat, then 1/2 a bag and so on.  What I'm trying to say is that you don't have to quit your vices cold turkey but you can work to slowly remove them from your life.

I love pizza but I've survived without it. No, pizza isn't the sole reason I was fat and I don't intentionally avoid it. I just save up my pizza points for a worthy experience.  I've got major pizza-point cashing in to do when I finally venture back to NY in 1 week from today. Don't worry, I'll be sure to blow up your Instagram feeds (follow me @sarahstew15) with photos of my food quests.  

Great, now all I want are donuts, Oreos and pizza.  Happy weekend, friends!