It’s my pleasure to share Sarah’s story with you! I think her experience of the ups and downs of weight gain/loss during different periods of her life will resonate with lots of us–but it’s her decision to take charge and make it about a healthy lifestyle which makes her a true mom-spiration. You can find Sarah blogging at Slow Mo Mother Runner (how cute is she?!) about everything from being a BeachBody Coach, to nutrition, to even her experience running The Walt Disney World Marathon (I’m just a little jealous)!
My Fit Family: Tell us a little about yourself!
Sarah: I am a wife, mother, fitness coach and slow mo runner. Working full-time as a lab tech and part-time as a second shooter for my husband’s photography business, free time is a luxury that I don’t often have. Because of this it was very easy to lose focus and pack on a lot of extra weight after my son was born.
In March of 2013 I made the decision to refocus my life and made healthy living my priority. My original goals were to get fit and lose the baby weight, but they soon evolved into something else. During the summer of 2013 I made the decision to sign up for the Walt Disney World Marathon (completed January 12, 2014).
In the past year I completed training for my first marathon, tackled my first half and full marathons, a few 5K races, and 2.5 rounds of P90X. I’m currently working on a P90X/P90X3 hybrid and helping my husband reach his weight loss goals while working on my own running and weight loss goals. I’ve also started to do my best to share my story and help motivate and inspire others to find the time for health.
MFF: Have you always embraced a fit and healthy lifestyle?
Sarah: Yes and no. I think I have always been a health-conscious individual, but my execution was lacking or misguided. I would always get into these healthy kicks, but would find excuses or reasons to stray from my hard formed habits. In college I spent most of my time being active and participated on the women’s rowing team. I also became a pescitarian (vegetarian that eats fish) for a good two years and did my best to eat a healthy, mindful diet. Unfortunately, the stresses of working crazy hours and going to school full-time caught up to me in my senior year and I put on weight again. A year later, I refocused and through diet and exercise was able to get to a healthier weight, but then came the happy weight gain. I became comfortable while living with my then boyfriend (now husband) and found it all too easy to indulge in the foods that he enjoyed. Take-out and delivery were daily occurrences for us and we both put on that happy, lazy couple weight.
In 2009, we moved into our second apartment together, it wasn’t until I saw photos from that move that I realized I had put on so much weight again. A month later we were engaged…so I refocused yet again and was able to lose 20+ lbs for our September 2010 wedding. Back then I used blogging as a way to hold me accountable and it was a great motivator. My husband and I even held weekly weigh in competitions. After the wedding, the happy weight came back and I gained a large portion of what I had lost back (partly due to an unhealthy relationship with food).
It wasn’t until early 2011 that we decided to get back at it again. This time around we chose to use P90X. The infomercials really inspired us both and we liked that we could do the workouts from home (we could no longer afford our $120/mo gym membership). At the time I was motivated to fit into a bridesmaid’s dress and I followed the program strictly for 1 month and I lost the 15 lbs I had put on. It didn’t last though, I became pregnant in May of 2011 and immediately packed on 10lbs and due to some first trimester bleeding I didn’t want to risk anything by being too active so I became fairly sedentary throughout the course of the pregnancy. After my son was born the weight I had gained was slow to come off and I continued to make excuses as to why I wasn’t losing weight. The reality was that I was constantly stuffing my face with unhealthy foods and being lazy.
I didn’t refocus until after my son’s first birthday. This time around was different though. I wasn’t just doing it to look good or fit into a dress, I was doing it because I wanted to be healthy for my son, my family and myself. It wasn’t just about meeting a short term goal, it was about making a long term goal and sticking to it.
MFF: Can you share with us an example of your daily nutrition?
Sarah: Breakfast: I typically have a chocolate Shakeology shake blended with almond milk, a banana, chocolate powdered peanut butter, and ice.
Snack: either an apple or banana or veggies (like carrots) and hummus.
Lunch: I have a mix of a carbs, proteins and veggies. A typical lunch for me is grilled chicken, brown rice and a veggie on the side. I also do salads a lot for lunch.
Snack 2: I have an afternoon snack to help with my lunch workout recovery and fuel me for my evening workout. Usually a second fruit, but sometimes a protein or energy bar (I love quest bars and clif bars).
Dinner: I then finish up the evening with a light dinner similar to my lunch, but incorporate healthy fats like avocado or nuts. I like to prepare my proteins in advance and sometimes eat the same thing for a couple of days. I love black beans and brown rice with chopped cilantro and red onion with a touch of lemon. I pair that with steamed broccoli and grilled chicken (or other lean protein).
Sarah: I try and run 3 times a week during my lunch break. I also do at home workouts like P90X and P90X3. P90X3 is a new favorite of mine because the workouts are short and over with before you know it. We (my husband and I) also squeeze in workouts after work at our local YMCA. They provide us with 2 hours of day care during each day and we usually use one hour to have our couples sweat session. We usually do a mix of weight training and cardio together.
Sarah: I’ve really grown to love running because it is something that I never felt like I could do. Training for a marathon taught me a lot about mental barriers and the importance of know the difference between being mentally tired or physically tired. I also really enjoy strength training because of how much stronger I feel when I am doing it.
MFF: What is your favorite healthy meal or snack and of course we love hearing about favorite food indulgences–what’s your #1?
Sarah: My favorite healthy meal? Hmmm it’s hard to pick just one, but my go to would be the black beans and brown rice with grilled chicken and avocado and salsa topped on a bed of baby spinach. I’ve also really come to enjoy Quest bars and how they feel like cheating.
MFF: Who inspires you?
Sarah: Inspiration is everywhere. My biggest inspiration comes from my family (my husband especially). I’m also a full believer in the inspiration cycle. My followers (that follow me for inspiration) inspire the hell out of me! I’m so amazed that what I am doing is helping someone else get onto the path of healthy living. It means the world to me when people tell me that my story inspired them to get active.
MFF: What one piece of advice would you give out to someone just starting out on their health/fitness journey?
Sarah: My biggest piece of advice is to go at your own pace, but push yourself while you’re doing it. Think about why you want to quit a workout or eating healthy and then think about what it will get you. Setting goals is the most important part of a healthy lifestyle. The goals can be small because many small changes can lead to big results. Another huge factor for me was creating a network of people through Instagram, Facebook, friends and family to act as a support/accountability group. Having other people with similar goals, triumphs and obstacles has really kept me on track. Most importantly, it’s good to remember that results take time. If you’re too focused on immediate results you may give up too soon. If you hang in there long enough and keep pushing you will see progress.
Thank you for sharing your story with all of us, Sarah! I can’t wait to hear about your next marathon!
Never Give Up,