Journey to a Nicotine Free Me

Did you know I smoked for 19 years?  .

I know, I know.  Moms don’t smoke!  Neither do teachers, Pilates instructors, vegetarians, runners or Health Coaches.  And you know what's weird?  I don’t regret it one bit.

I smoked for majority of my adult life and I loved it.  It started as the “cool” thing to do, that years later turned into my biggest regret.  There were years that I was a pack-a-day smoker.  I would quit and then start again, due to sadness, withdrawal or weight gain.  Nicotine totally controlled me.  My stepdad used to say to me, “Hey Sarah.  You know that smoking really contradicts with your healthy lifestyle.”  Duh.  If it was easy to set them down and walk away, I would have done it the first time I wanted to quit. Here’s the thing:  Nicotine is a physical, mental and emotiotional addiction.  It's not easy to “just quit.”  

A few things played a role in my decision to finally stop.   in 2015, Ziggy was beginning to say words, and the thought of him asking why I smelled like smoke, or asking me what a lighter was for terrified me.  I didn’t want to continue to be that closet smoker mom.  

I had also recently read The Compound Effect, an amazing, quick read, that reminds us that all things, good and bad, over time, have the ability to yield HUGE results.  In this case, it was not-so-hot-results.   My role as a Health Coach had recently begun as well, and I was working daily to inspire others as they embarked on their health journeys.  It just seemed wrong to be telling people that their body was their most valuable asset, then put my baby down for a nap and sneak a smoke break.  {liarliarpantsonfire}

 
 

So, on July 5, 2015, I smoked my last cigarette.  And just like that, I began my journey to being nicotine free.  No patches, no pills, no gum. I would be lying if I said it was easy.  It really sucked.  I loved smoking cigarettes.  It was like losing a best friend.  There were days I felt sad, others angry.  Some days I screamed in frustration, and others I wanted to just curl up and press fast forward.  My husband Chris and my clients were my biggest cheerleaders. Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months.  

And before I knew it, one day, I realized that I hadn’t thought about smoking. It was awesome.  

 

I still think about cigarettes sometimes.  They were there for me in good times and in bad.  They were there for me when I needed to decompress or to take a break from a stressful situation.  We shared lots of laughs together with good friends.  And I don’t regret smoking a single one of them.  They were a big part of my life for a really long time.  

I look back now and think about the TIME and MONEY I have gained, not to mention truly treating my body the way it deserves to be treated.  Because hey, if we don’t have our HEALTH, what do we have?

Here’s the thing: Change is HARD. Change takes TIME. It takes CONSISTENCY. It takes WILLPOWER and most importantly, keeping your eye on the prize. And that is your WHY.

We all have room to grow and make ourselves happier, healthier versions of ourselves. As I continue to grow and change, I am especially thankful for those closest to me, who see both the rays of sunshine and the thunder crashing down.  Without them, I wouldn’t ever find the strength to make it through difficult tides.  

In whatever positive change you are making in your life, stay strong. YOU are worth it.  I promise. 

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Contact me here.  I'd love to connect! 

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Food is Medicine: My Journey to Reproductive Health

UR2.jpg

I always believed in the power of food as medicine.  It has the ability to make or break us; the power to be used as preventative medicine, or even as a tool to reverse adverse effects on our health.  I became a vegetarian in 2006 in an attempt to not only fuel my body with more plant based foods, but to save money, support sustainable farming practices, as well as animal and worker welfare initiatives.  For the longest time, this way of eating served me.  And then, I had Ziggy! 

I waited until he weaned from nursing, around 1 year postpartum, to begin taking birth control again. I had always done well on the pill, and figured it would be no different postpartum.  It turns out a lot changes hormonally after growing a human from scratch.  I was an emotional roller coaster, and experiencing a string of strange symptoms.  My skin was dry and itchy and my hair was falling out in clumps.  There were days that I was debilitatingly exhausted, which I chalked up to being a working mom who was building a business in the background.  

In December of 2015, I had a root canal, with an antibiotic to follow.  My existing symptoms worsened, and I began to experience chronic mouth sores, deep boils on my face, as well as extreme digestive discomfort.  It was time to see a doctor.  All of these symptoms had to be linked together in some way.

_______________________

My dermatologist recommended a topical cream for my dry, itchy skin.

My PCP tested my thyroid.  When the test came back normal, she recommended counseling, and also offered antidepressants as an option.  

An ER doctor prescribed me stool softeners for my digestive discomfort.

________________________

 

No one seemed to think that any of my symptoms were related to one another.  So, in February, I decided to stop taking birth control, hoping that my symptoms would subside, or at least lessen.  But instead, another was added to the list...

___________________________________________________

March passed, and then April, and my period never returned.  I went to see my widwife for my annual check up and expressed my concern.  She wasn't overly concerned about my missing cycle, as it can sometimes take a few months for a woman’s cycle to re-regulate after birth control..  

So, I didn’t stress about it, until May passed, and then June.  Still no period.  My midwife ordered a blood panel, to find that my estrogen was low.  

Low estrogen  no ovulation  no period.  

She, again, prescribed time, suggested that we retest my hormone levels in 6-8 weeks, and I waited.  While I waited, I thought about the possibility of our family being complete.  Maybe this was it? Just 3 of us.  Maybe another baby won’t be an option for us.  I’m not sure how I envisioned it, but it certainly had to be by choice.  I began to question the lifestyle changes I had made--maybe I should just go back to smoking a pack of cigarettes and decompressing with a half a bottle of wine again every other day--I seemed to be healthier when I was doing those things!  Wtf!

___________________________________________________

August came, and I had my bloodwork run again only to find that my estrogen was moving in the wrong direction--it had lowered.  I was referred to an endocrinologist, and made the first available appointment in early October.

By this time, I was feverishly researching my symptoms.  Even though the doctors I had seen didn’t seem to see a connection with my symptoms, I was certain that there was.  I spent hours reading cited articles, blog posts, medical publications.  I watched YouTube videos and listened to stories of others that had similar symptoms.  There was one common link through most everything that I read:


Gluten.


The mouth sores, the dry, itchy skin, the boils.  The patches of hair falling out, the digestive discomfort.  The chronic fatigue, the ups and downs, the hormone imbalance.  All of it.  

 

For people who experience an intolerance to gluten (and no, you do not need to have celiac disease), ingestion leads to inflammation that damages the finger-like hairs called villi that line the intestine. The villi, and the microvilli that cover the villi like hairs, greatly increase surface area for absorption of nutrients. When damaged, they are no longer able to absorb nutrients, which creates a domino effect of other symptoms.   Fortunately, the intestine has incredible regenerative ability and in most cases, if you stop the inflammation, the villi will heal.

So, I cut it out.  

 

 

 

Six days later, my period returned for the first time in 7 months.  And, slowly but surely, my other symptoms began to dissipate.  The mouth ulcers stopped.  My skin cleared up.  My hair stopped falling out.  My skin regained moisture.  I had energy again.  I didn't have pain and bloating after eating, and my digestion re-regulated.  I was mind blown, and decided that now was a good time to commit to the Ultimate Reset, to help my intestines, and get my body shifted back to a state of healing.


When I saw the endocrinologist in October, I explained everything, and told her that I believe I had found the underlying cause to my issues.  She didn't seem convinced that gluten was the root of all of my symptoms, so ordered a full metabolic panel of bloodwork, as well as hormones.  

While I waited, I completed the 21 day elimination diet.  During the process, I lost 7 total inches, nearly 5 pounds, as well as the desire to eat sugar or processed foods. It brought me back into getting my daily dose of greens by way of a giant mid day salad, and hot tea at night. I no longer experience any digestive discomfort, brain fog, or chronic fatigue.

I regained appreciation for food as FUEL, which increased my energy, improved my sleep, and became a more pleasant, confident person. My pants fit again. I became a more patient mom, a more present wife and friend. I found that I am more motivated and creative in my business, not just going through the motions.  And, for the first time since this all began, my bloodwork showed that estrogen was back to a normal level.  The numbers indicated that I wasn’t only just having a cycles again, but that I was also ovulating.  Regulating everything continues to be a work in progress, but every day is a step closer.


Hell.  Yes.


So, what did I learn through all of this?  That all bodies are different.  That all bodies change.  That food IS in fact medicine.  That bringing it back to what we know is REAL food has the ability to heal.   

This wasn’t easy to share, but my hope is that if it helps just ONE person find their answer, it was worth putting out there to the world.  I was the person who needed the answer a few short months ago, and feel very blessed to have found it.  I am now proud to say that I am gluten free, vegan-ish, and officially a huge pain in the ass to feed.  And I have never felt better.

Here's the thing, guys. You have to do you. And YOU know your body better than anyone.  Without you, nothing else happens.  It may require work, and it may even require giving up things that you love (pizza and beer, OMG!)  but I promise it is worth every ounce of your energy. It's just about having the courage to start.

And, I am here to help when you are ready. 

 

xo sarah

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Sarah

We are all meant to share our gift.

I knew from the time that I was very young that I wanted to teach.  

I graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor’s degree in Child Development and Family Studies, and went on to earn my Master’s degree in Education from Carlow University.  I began teaching in Charter schools throughout the city of Pittsburgh, and ultimately found my way into the virtual classroom with one of the largest cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania.  

In the midst of my education and years in the classroom, I began learning more about where our food comes from, adopted a lifestyle change, and honestly just became obsessed with learning all that I could.  I began with food, movement followed soon after, where I added my Pilates mat certification and began teaching in the evenings.  I became involved in the local food scene in Pittsburgh, which inspired the topic for my graduate thesis; Farm To School Programs.

Through those years, I talked about going back to school for nutrition, dietetics, or becoming certified in nutritional therapy. It was that thing that I loved.  That thing that I read and watch documentaries about for fun. You know, that THING! I never went for it because I felt that it was a waste after I had already invested in my education degrees. I had become complacent and decided that, well, I'm a teacher, this is just what I do. 

Then, in March 2014, our son Ziggy was born, and my perspective on the world changed.  Time no longer stood still as he grew.  As we watched him observe the world, the little things suddenly weren’t so little any more.  He was a constant reminder of what was really important, and that my time was invaluable.  His eagerness to explore the world, his passion and joy for every moment inspired me. 

So, in 2015, I was presented with an opportunity to begin building an online health coaching business in the background while teaching.   I began working with men & women in small groups to discover how to transform their bodies.

I help people who are stressed out, busy, and sick and tired of being sick and tired.  This opportunity not only gave me the means to leave teaching, but affirmed that, YES, this is the gift I am meant to give the world!

While many transform in the group environment, there are some who will only THRIVE with 1:1, individualized support.  So, I began training to become a certified Holistic Health Coach!

I continue to offer online group fitness + nutrition coaching, as well as customized meal planning packages, workshops, cleanses, and 1:1 health coaching, with a holistic approach.  My 90 day intensive  program is designed for people who are ready to uncover what’s been stopping them, slowing them down, or keeping them from having the body- and the health- they want and deserve! 

Here's what I've learned:  There is NOT one cookie cutter approach.  Your one {body} is unique and powerful and strong, and what it needs is different than what I need.  There are as many “diets” and programs as there are people on the planet!  <3  

Reset with the 3 Day Superfood Reboot

You've hit a plateau, you add too much over a holiday, you want to rid the bloat before the wedding or vacation, or maybe post wedding or vacation... whatever it is, we've all been there, and can all benefit from the opportunity to take a step back and give ourselves a quick little reboot.  I do this every 3 months or so to get myself back on track, and truly just give my body the opportunity to reset! 

The point of this cleanse is not calorie restriction, per se—it’s nutrient efficiency. The aim is to get the most nutrients possible into the fewest number of calories. The goal is to put all of these calories to use as energy, to rid your body of undigested foods and toxins, and to bring your hydration levels back to balance. The result you are after is not weight loss—though it will likely occur—but for your body to be running more efficiently. This should make you feel lighter and more energetic, even though if doing an exercise program.  No hangry-ness required.

Here's how it goes down:

Movement:  Yoga, stretching, matwork or walking daily!

UPON WAKING:

16 ounces water with lemon
1 cup of green tea OR 1 c black coffee

BREAKFAST:
Vegan Shakeology – 1 scoop, blended with ice & 8-10 oz of water
Optional: ½ cup of fruit

LUNCH:
Vegan Shakeology – 1 scoop, blended with ice & 8-10 oz of water, 1 scoop Greens Boost OR 1 handful raw greens (spinach/kale/chard), 1 scoop Digestive Boost OR 2 Tbsp ground flax

1 piece/1 cup of fruit
1 cup of green tea

SNACK:
Vegan Shakeology – 1 scoop, blended with ice & 8-10 oz of water
( before or after dinner)

DINNER:
Salad (Greens/low starch veggies with 4 oz lean white protein OR 2 HB eggs + 2  Tbsp home made oil & vinegar based dressing)

FLUIDS:

Drink 1 gallon of water throughout the day.

Some people choose the salad for lunch instead of dinner. Feel free to play around with the order that you have things to fit into your daily lifestyle.

That's it!  3 days to a lighter, more energized you:


This is always more about how I feel on the INSIDE--metal clarity, increased energy, better sleep.  Though I would be lying if I said it doesn't feel good to FEEL GOOD in my pants! 

If you feel like this 3 day Shakeology reboot is what you need to help you get back on track with good habits, to jumpstart your efforts, or to give you a little nudge in the right direction, please reach out to me.  I would love to discuss your goals and see if it is a good fit for you!

Name *
Name

 

You know, you're stronger than you think you are.

 

xo sarah

 

All Access: A Workout Revolution

In April 2015, I bought a the 21 Day Fix workout program on DVD.  I paid $160, received my workouts, nutrition guide, magical color coded containers+ superfood shake and was plugged into the support and accountability group offered by my coach.  I got what I was looking for after of completion of this program--mental clarity, increased energy, a confidence boost, time for myself, pounds and inches lost:

Then, in 2017, something revolutionary happened.  They took every single program available and bundled it into one neat little streaming package.

 This means access to EVERY SINGLE PROGRAM (old, new, premium) as well as new programs and content being updated regularly, streamed right to your smart TV, laptop, tablet, phone....from anywhere with wifi.

It's called The Annual All-Access Beachbody On Demand membership, and here's how it goes down:      

They've bundled it all.  A year long subscription to Beachbody On Demand (AKA the Netflix of workouts), including every.single.workout.ever.created + 30 days of Shakeology + the portion controlled, color coded containers (ya know, the ones that take the guess work out of what we should be eating, and how much).

Here's the thing.  Health and fitness as a lifestyle; not a 21 day or a 30 day commitment. It’s a life long mindset that starts by giving you ALL the tools you need to achieve your results over time.  

THIS is where the Annual All Access Beachbody On Demand Bundle comes into play.  It gives you the same tools I’ve used over the last 2+ years at your fingertips.  You know, what I have paid HUNDREDS of dollars for. 

No contracts.  No fine print.  No weirdness.  Just full access to every single program that Beachbody has ever released, including immediate access the anticipated releases for 2017.  

Here's how it will go down:

1) 1-Year Subscription to Beachbody On Demand with all content included, plus new releases

2) 30 days of superfoods

3) Portion Fix (includes 8-piece control container set, nutrition guide & shaker cup) 

4) Exclusive access to my personalized online mini course; Clean Eating 101, meal planning/prep, goal setting.

5) My online support & accountability groups as well as 1:1 daily motivation and support.

6) Access to the Fixate Cooking Show as well as all nutritional guides PDFs and workout calendars for every program.

Are you ready for the best part?

  • The Annual All Access Beachbody On Demand Challenge Pack, outlined above, is only $160 USD, $186 CAD.  
  • You can also choose the Beachbody on Demand Kick Start Challenge Pack which includes the 3 Day Refresh, which is truly the BEST option to start fresh, cleanse and get on the path to success in the New Year. That is $205 USD and $237 CAD.

What if I am a current BOD Member?

  • If you are a current BOD member, you can upgrade to the Annual All Access Membership here.    

With the support + accountability from me as yours truly, the simplified nutrition of Shakeology+ Portion Fix, as well as a catalog of top rated fitness programs, you have everything you need to get started on your journey and begin today and beyond, all tied up in one neat little package. You are getting a mobile gym membership with access to the world's leading fitness programs + nutrition guides for just $13.30/month.

If you're ready to take advantage of this INCREDIBLE deal, complete the form below, and I will reach out to you directly.  
 

Name *
Name

 

 

Food is Medicine: My Journey to Reproductive Health

UR2.jpg

I always believed in the power of food as medicine.  It has the ability to make or break us; the power to be used as preventative medicine, or even as a tool to reverse adverse effects on our health.  I became a vegetarian in 2006 in an attempt to not only fuel my body with more plant based foods, but to save money, support sustainable farming practices, as well as animal and worker welfare initiatives.  For the longest time, this way of eating served me.  And then, I had Ziggy! 

I waited until he weaned from nursing, around 1 year postpartum, to begin taking birth control again. I had always done well on the pill, and figured it would be no different postpartum.  It turns out a lot changes hormonally after growing a human from scratch.  I was an emotional roller coaster, and experiencing a string of strange symptoms.  My skin was dry and itchy and my hair was falling out in clumps.  There were days that I was debilitatingly exhausted, which I chalked up to being a working mom who was building a business in the background.  

In December of 2015, I had a root canal, with an antibiotic to follow.  My existing symptoms worsened, and I began to experience chronic mouth sores, deep boils on my face, as well as extreme digestive discomfort.  It was time to see a doctor.  All of these symptoms had to be linked together in some way.

_______________________

My dermatologist recommended a topical cream for my dry, itchy skin.

My PCP tested my thyroid.  When the test came back normal, she recommended counseling, and also offered antidepressants as an option.  

An ER doctor prescribed me stool softeners for my digestive discomfort.

________________________

 

No one seemed to think that any of my symptoms were related to one another.  So, in February, I decided to stop taking birth control, hoping that my symptoms would subside, or at least lessen.  But instead, another was added to the list...

___________________________________________________

March passed, and then April, and my period never returned.  I went to see my widwife for my annual check up and expressed my concern.  She wasn't overly concerned about my missing cycle, as it can sometimes take a few months for a woman’s cycle to re-regulate after birth control..  

So, I didn’t stress about it, until May passed, and then June.  Still no period.  My midwife ordered a blood panel, to find that my estrogen was low.  

Low estrogen  no ovulation  no period.  

She, again, prescribed time, suggested that we retest my hormone levels in 6-8 weeks, and I waited.  While I waited, I thought about the possibility of our family being complete.  Maybe this was it? Just 3 of us.  Maybe another baby won’t be an option for us.  I’m not sure how I envisioned it, but it certainly had to be by choice.  I began to question the lifestyle changes I had made--maybe I should just go back to smoking a pack of cigarettes and decompressing with a half a bottle of wine again every other day--I seemed to be healthier when I was doing those things!  Wtf!

___________________________________________________

August came, and I had my bloodwork run again only to find that my estrogen was moving in the wrong direction--it had lowered.  I was referred to an endocrinologist, and made the first available appointment in early October.

By this time, I was feverishly researching my symptoms.  Even though the doctors I had seen didn’t seem to see a connection with my symptoms, I was certain that there was.  I spent hours reading cited articles, blog posts, medical publications.  I watched YouTube videos and listened to stories of others that had similar symptoms.  There was one common link through most everything that I read:


Gluten.


The mouth sores, the dry, itchy skin, the boils.  The patches of hair falling out, the digestive discomfort.  The chronic fatigue, the ups and downs, the hormone imbalance.  All of it.  

 

For people who experience an intolerance to gluten (and no, you do not need to have celiac disease), ingestion leads to inflammation that damages the finger-like hairs called villi that line the intestine. The villi, and the microvilli that cover the villi like hairs, greatly increase surface area for absorption of nutrients. When damaged, they are no longer able to absorb nutrients, which creates a domino effect of other symptoms.   Fortunately, the intestine has incredible regenerative ability and in most cases, if you stop the inflammation, the villi will heal.

So, I cut it out.  

 

 

 

Six days later, my period returned for the first time in 7 months.  And, slowly but surely, my other symptoms began to dissipate.  The mouth ulcers stopped.  My skin cleared up.  My hair stopped falling out.  My skin regained moisture.  I had energy again.  I didn't have pain and bloating after eating, and my digestion re-regulated.  I was mind blown, and decided that now was a good time to commit to the Ultimate Reset, to help my intestines, and get my body shifted back to a state of healing.


When I saw the endocrinologist in October, I explained everything, and told her that I believe I had found the underlying cause to my issues.  She didn't seem convinced that gluten was the root of all of my symptoms, so ordered a full metabolic panel of bloodwork, as well as hormones.  

While I waited, I completed the 21 day elimination diet.  During the process, I lost 7 total inches, nearly 5 pounds, as well as the desire to eat sugar or processed foods. It brought me back into getting my daily dose of greens by way of a giant mid day salad, and hot tea at night. I no longer experience any digestive discomfort, brain fog, or chronic fatigue.

I regained appreciation for food as FUEL, which increased my energy, improved my sleep, and became a more pleasant, confident person. My pants fit again. I became a more patient mom, a more present wife and friend. I found that I am more motivated and creative in my business, not just going through the motions.  And, for the first time since this all began, my bloodwork showed that estrogen was back to a normal level.  The numbers indicated that I wasn’t only just having a cycles again, but that I was also ovulating.  Regulating everything continues to be a work in progress, but every day is a step closer.


Hell.  Yes.


So, what did I learn through all of this?  That all bodies are different.  That all bodies change.  That food IS in fact medicine.  That bringing it back to what we know is REAL food has the ability to heal.   

This wasn’t easy to share, but my hope is that if it helps just ONE person find their answer, it was worth putting out there to the world.  I was the person who needed the answer a few short months ago, and feel very blessed to have found it.  I am now proud to say that I am gluten free, vegan-ish, and officially a huge pain in the ass to feed.  And I have never felt better.

Here's the thing, guys. You have to do you. And YOU know your body better than anyone.  Without you, nothing else happens.  It may require work, and it may even require giving up things that you love (pizza and beer, OMG!)  but I promise it is worth every ounce of your energy. It's just about having the courage to start.

And, I am here to help when you are ready. 

 

xo sarah

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Sarah

Reboot with the 3 Day Refresh

So, why a cleanse?  

Because sometimes you just need to take a step back and reboot.  I like the 3 Day Refresh because it is gentle, simple and is the perfect opportunity to reset and reboot.   I do it about 3x per year to get myself back on track, or to de-funk after a holiday or long weekend that is full of indulgences.  It is a fast effective way to get back on track with better eating habits.

The first step in successfully completing something like this is committing by setting a start date and ordering. Next, it’s getting in the right mindset.  The final step; preparation.  

 

My kit arrived, and my {very simple} meal planning began.  I ventured out to get everything on my list; organic fruits and veggies (raspberries, blueberries, grapefruit, raspberries, green apples, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, summer squash, spinach, sprouts, vegetable broth and 1 gallon jug of water, which I refilled with filtered water daily).  

 

The plan is simple:  

-->1 gallon of water throughout the day (this is A LOT of water)

___________________

→ 1 vegan Shakeology

→ 1 serving fruit

→ 1 c herbal tea

___________________

→ 1 Fiber Sweep (digestive health drink made of seeds)

___________________

→ Vanilla Fresh (vegan protein and fiber shake)

→ 1 serving fruit

→ 1 serving vegetables

→ 1 serving healthy fats (I used either almond butter or unrefined coconut oil over the course the 3 days)

→ 1 c herbal tea

___________________

→ 1 serving vegetables

→ 1 serving healthy fat

OR

→ Raw juice (juicer required)

___________________

→ Vanilla Fresh

→ 1 dinner option (all based on veggies and healthy fats)

→ 1 c organic veggie broth

→ 1 c herbal tea

So that seems like a lot of food!!  It is definitely much less than I am used to eating, but you drink enough throughout the day that not much else fits. ;)  I prepped my foods the night before, so when I woke, everything was all laid out and ready to go.  This left no room for error, or to “accidentally” eat something that wasn't laid out in my meal plan.  Because the plan is low in calories, intense exercise is not recommended.  Workouts are a part of my day, so I chose a few “active rest” days to begin each morning.  I took my starting weight and measurements and was ready to rock.  Here’s to sum up:

Day One

The day started off much like it normally does; Pilates Fix, hot water with lemon and Shakeology.  I wake early each day to get some quiet time before Ziggy wakes--this time has become so precious to me.  I spread my portions about 2-3 hours apart through the day to help sustain my energy and keep me satisfied.  On the menu: sauteed summer squash with coconut oil mid day, fresh juice, Vanilla Fresh blended with cinnamon, fresh fruit.

The day went great overall, though I felt low on energy.  Hungry?  No.  Tired?  Yes.  I rallied through until an early dinner (veggie soup, some almond butter and a Vanilla Fresh), and we settled in for the night.  I was in bed right after Ziggy, and asleep before 9pm.  I slept like an angel.

Day Two

My body wanted nothing to do with my normal 5am wake up call.  So, I let it sleep.  As you cleanse, your body is doing some pretty incredible things.  This hard work requires energy from the inside, which is reflected on the outside.  We woke with Ziggy around 715, I got my Extreme Yoga Fix in, hot water with lemon, Shakeology.  Good as new.  On the menu:  Berries, Vanilla Fresh with vanilla extract, apple with almond butter, fresh juice, garden cucumbers.  

My energy had increased from day one, but still not to my 100%.  I was able to sneak in a 45 minute nap, and then rally into the evening, enjoying a salad and another Vanilla Fresh.  It took all of my willpower not to eat the few bites of non-vegetable food that Ziggy had left on his plate.  Another night tucked early into bed, and slept like an angel.

Day Three

Pilates Fix + hot water with lemon + Shakeology and I was ready to conquer the day!  I felt like myself again!  Whew. I was already brainstorming what would be on the breakfast menu the following day.

Aside from feeling like the Stay Puft Marshmallow man, I felt great overall.  Why so puffy?  Let’s put all of that water into perspective:  1 gallon=128 fluid ounces.  Your recommended daily water intake should be approximately half of your body weight in ounces, and for 3 consecutive days, I was flushing my body with more than my body weight in ounces.   3 gallons = 24 POUNDS of water.  Not a good idea to do for the long term, but a great way to flush the system in the short term.  

Ziggy and I had a busy day, followed by a busy afternoon, and I felt great overall.  On the menu:  Fresh fruit, garden cucumber, sauteed mushrooms with coconut oil, Vanilla Fresh with cinnamon.  I wrapped up the day with steamed veggies tossed in coconut oil, sea salt and cracked pepper.

Today’s energy was so awesome, that I had a tough time getting to sleep, which landed me on the hunger train.  A small glass of almond milk and a few strawberries (NOT on the plan) did the trick, and I laid in bed dreaming of the oat bowl I was going to have for breakfast.

3dr results.jpg

Post Refresh

After completing something that requires a huge amount of self discipline, I felt awesome and accomplished on day 4.  Chris joined me for morning workout, and I enjoyed a big ‘ol bowl of oats with fresh fruit and unsweetened almond milk.  I achieved what I set out to do:  Reboot,, recharge, and regain self control.  I usually stick to a vegan diet for few days following a Refresh to ween my body back to its “normal.”  I am always excited to not only have my energy back, but to feel back in control.  Bonus?  

On the Inside:

Mindless eating habit GONE

→ Constant craving for sugar GONE

→ Regained self control ON POINT (good bye kid snacks)

On the Outside:

→ 3 lbs GONE

→ 2 inches GONE

This isn't about what's on the outside. {though I would be lying if I said it doesn't feel good that I'm getting back into my pants} It's about regained habits on the inside, and giving my body the opportunity to reset and reboot when I feel like I have hit a wall. I was shocked to step on the scale to find I had lost 3 pounds.  I didn’t think this was possible after feeling so distended and water logged the day prior, but I appreciate the side effect of my hard work!    

If you feel like a 3 Day Refresh is what you need to help you get back on track with good habits, to jumpstart your efforts, or to give you a little nudge in the right direction, please reach out to me.  I would love to discuss your goals and see if the Refresh is a good fit for you!

 

You know, you're stronger than you think you are.

 

xo sarah

 

Where I Started

And so it began.

The moment I became a mother changed my life on so many levels, but perhaps the most eye opening was the POWER of my body. Here was this perfect little person. My body grew him and brought him into this world. What my body provided for him for nearly 12 months sustained him. As he continues to grow, change and learn, I am reminded of this. For the first time in my life I can truly say that I RESPECT my body. It isn’t always perfect, but it is mine and I am given a choice to take care of it.

In February 2015, just shy of 1 year postpartum, feeling defeated by a long Pittsburgh winter, I was bogged down by stress and cold. In the midst of life-- working full time, being a mama, a wife, a friend... I had lost sight of what I found is most important foundational piece--ME. I needed to focus on discovering this balance--finding time for me, so that I could be better to all of the important people and things in my life.  That's when I began an inward journey to pay it back.  To me.

My initial goal--to find balance.  What I didn’t realize at the time is that I would find balance not only in my fitness and personal wellness, but in all facets of my life.

 
 

I went in without a weight loss goal--only the goal to make time for myself and regain self control (hello goldfish!).  Like everything, I am a work in progress, but I continued to hit awesome and unexpected milestones along the way. I am in better physical shape than I was when I became pregnant, and have more energy. I realized that I did have time to fit in intentional movement for myself regularly, and time to plan, cook (and share!) healthy and delicious meals.  

My transformation on the inside, as well as what radiates outward continue to amaze me.   Since beginning, I have conquered self doubt and regained self-control. I've begun to wake up feeling energized and motivated. I've learned to carve out time to do what I love with who I love. I put myself back in the picture and began capturing moments.  And it is done with the support of a group of people on a similar journey--all to reach different personal goals in their lives.  To think this is just the beginning.  

I was so thrilled to have found a way to take care of myself in the midst of my madness, that I wanted to share it with everyone. At home fitness programs. Simple nutrition. The best part? A supportive community of LIKE MINDED people all on a mission to reach similar goals. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

You can, too. 

My Favorite: 21 Day Fix Extreme

In March 2015, I was introduced to 21 Day Fix; a program that most literally changed my life.  It changed the way that I thought about food and about working out.  It helped me to really put the meaning of CONSISTENCY into perspective.  And, it was the program that transformed my post baby body in a way that I didn't think was possible.  But, just like everything, there comes a time to take it to the next level.  

 

Meet 21 Day Fix Extreme.

The program takes everything that we love about 21 Day Fix, and kicks it up a notch.  It incorporates those daily, 30 minute workouts and combines it with that same portion controlled clean eating.  If you are going by the book, there are no cheats, which helps to deliver REAL results in just 3 short weeks.   That said, I would be lying if I told you I didn't enjoy my Friday night glass of wine, and I still was in best the physical shape of my life after just 21 days!

21 Day Fix Extreme takes it up a notch with the workouts as well.  You'll integrate weights and/or a resistance band in (7) 30 minute workouts each week, getting a wide range of cardio, weight and circuit training, as well as active rest through Pilates and yoga.  It is a natural next step for 21 Day Fix grads, as well as anyone who is ready to take it to the next level.   

I am a vegetarian, and the meal plan easily translated for my dietary needs.  Here's an example of a weekly menu:

So, who is this program for?

People who: 

→Have completed 21 Day Fix, or another Beachbody program, and are up for a challenge.

→Are interested in a program that delivers REAL results in just 3 short weeks.

→Have reached their weight loss goal, and are ready to focus on toning and sculpting.

Learn more about the entire 21 Day Fix Extreme here.  If you are interested in learning more about finding a program to help you meet your goals, please contact me directly!  We offer monthly support and accountability groups, full of resources, support and ideas as your begin your journey, so you are never in it alone!  

My Journey to the Race: Half Marathon + P90X3 Training

If you told me a year ago that I would wake up at 430am on a Sunday to run 13.1 miles in the rain, I would have called you cray.  I am not a runner.  I mean, I run.  But only because I know it is good for me.  I do a 3 mile loop here in my neighborhood, and I run one or two 5k races a year to support causes that are near and dear to my heart.  

So, when my friend Keri approached me with a proposal to run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, I had some thinking to do.  My initial reaction was, um, hell no.  But after doing a little soul searching, I decided to go for it.  I said yes because Keri had inspired me in her own health and fitness journey in the months leading up to her proposal.  And, if she could do it, I could do it.  WE could do it.  


I looked at a few training schedules, created my own incorporating P90X3, and I started.  My meal plan ended up taking a little bit of trial and error-but was perfected by the time race day rolled around.  

I will never forget that first 4 mile run with Chris while we were in Florida in February.  It sucked.  It was hot, I was tired, and I was sore.  

I had a lot of learning to do-all of which happened as I went:

 

-Always run in the morning.  The day can weigh you down.

-Stretch.

-40-50 degrees is the optimal running temperature. 

-That little pocket in the back of a windbreaker isn't stupid at all-it is perfect for keeping your phone rolled and tied tightly around your waist.

-Surround yourself by encouraging people.

-Eat an extra carb the night before a long run, not the evening after.

-Never buy new shoes 3 weeks before race day.

-Eat a Shakeology bowl the night before a long run.

-Drink 32 ounces of water and an Emergen-C the morning before a long run.

-Plan your long routes in cities or parks where a bathroom is available for an emergency mid run pee.

-Listen to your body.

-Fill your non running days with active rest, weight and resistance training (P90X3, holla!).

-Plan your routes the evening before using the "measure distance" feature on Google maps.

-Run near water, in cities, and on trails that provide enough distraction to keep you propelling forward.

-Soak up your surroundings. 

-Document and share your journey.  Encouragement will come from the most unexpected places.

-Invest in dry fit socks.

-Celebrate each small victory.

-There will be days that 3 miles feels like 10.  You just.keep.going.

-Let your partner be your biggest cheerleader.

-Never attempt to run more than 3 miles alone with a busy toddler.

-Fuel with friends the night before the big race.  Because everything is better when celebrated.

-Don't register and pay for the full when you only want to run the half. 

-The beers you drink post race will be the best beers you have ever tasted.

-And most importantly, start where you are-

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If you would like a copy of my 12 week cross training plan, 12 week meal plan, or would like like to talk about getting started on your own race journey, contact me!  I would love to help you get started.  

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You know, you are stronger than you think you are.

xo sarah

21 Day Fix: A Game Changer

In March 2015, I was introduced to a workout program that most literally changed my life.  It changed the way that I thought about food and about working out.  It helped me to really put the meaning of CONSISTENCY into perspective.  And, it was the program that transformed my post baby body in a way that I didn't think was possible.

Meet the 21 Day Fix.

The program is simple.  It incorporates daily, 30 minute workouts, combines it with portion controlled clean eating, and delivers real results.  What I love most is that anyone can do it--there is a modifier in each video, and the program can really grow with anyone as they become leaner, stronger, and as they increase their cardiovascular strength.  

The meal plan is color coded and simple.  You calculate how many of each container you have each day, based your current weight.  If you want to lose, you calculate a deficit.  If you want to maintain,  you follow the maintenance bracket.  The program includes a nutrition guide containing recipes, tips and a suggested food list. These are all foods that you already eat, which makes it really easy to plan meals around your portions.  The containers end up really becoming staples to your kitchen as measuring tools.  It is not a diet, but a very realistic way to transition to a healthy lifestyle!

I am a vegetarian, and the meal plan easily translated for my dietary needs.  Here's an example of a weekly meal plan:

So, who is this program a good fit for?

People who:

→ Struggle with what to eat and/or how much to eat      

→Like to enjoy life without feeling deprived (ie wine and chocolate!)

→Are tight on time (um hello, 30 minute workouts)     

→Are at any level of fitness, from beginner to pro

→Are willing to commit to 3 short weeks of the program for guaranteed progress

Check out the entire 21 Day Fix Program here. If you are interested in learning more about finding a program to help you meet your goals, please contact me directly!  We offer monthly support and accountability groups, full of resources, support and ideas as your begin your journey, so you are never in it alone!  


 

 

What Do You Make as a Beachbody Coach?

While not many people ask, I know they are curious.  I was!  It was the first of many questions I asked my coach.  So, I thought I would share.

I was presented with this opportunity at a time in my life that I needed it most--we had just celebrated Ziggy’s first birthday, I was working full time as a first grade teacher, had a daily 60+ minute commute, and was doing all that I could to keep my head above water without letting the tears stream with the overwhelming feeling of stress.  

This was it.  This was my way out of that daily grind. This was my way to ultimately be less busy, to be a more present mother, and to spend my time with the people in my life who mean the most.

 

So, last April, I went all in.  Since that time, I have not paid for one bag of Shakeology or a workout program. I have not gone a day without support and accountability for my health and fitness goals.  I now have the freedom and flexibility in our budget to buy someone a gift on a whim, or treat myself or someone else “just because.”

In September, we paid to have our basement re-finished after an unexpected flood--exterior patching, interior drywall, paint, tile, carpet--without going a dime into debt. What’s even better is that it gave us an excuse to clean out the clutter, reorganize this part of our home, and provide a new parking lot for Ziggy’s mass collection of vehicles.

In December,  not a single gift was purchased with a credit card.  And, we ended 2015 a without $1 in credit card debt.

In February, we had our original wood floors professionally done--another project made 100% possible by coaching income, and is a gift to ourselves that we enjoy every single day.  And in March, our 2016 summer vacation was paid in full.

 

BUT DO YOU KNOW WHAT I REALLY MAKE?

I make people realize that their health and fitness goals are achievable at any age or size.  I make people feel empowered about their bodies.  I make nutrition easy with the help of colorful containers and a superfood shake.  I make others envision a brighter future for themselves and their families.  I make workouts fit into my daily life and inspire others to do the same.  I make hard choices easier with support and accountability.  I make a difference.

When I signed up as a coach, I didn’t realize I would be making a lot more than just a paycheck.  The cherry topper?  This opportunity is going to bring me home with Ziggy after this school year.

WHAT DO YOU MAKE?

If you want to begin working toward experiencing your LIFE and not a DAILY GRIND, I encourage you to JOIN US for our next live, online coaching event-- This is an awesome opportunity to meet our team, learn more about what this Beachbody coaching gig is all about, and the positive impact it could have on your life.  

Start where you are.  And dream bigger than you ever thought possible.  


-->Because nothing comes from hard work: Beachbody does not guarantee any level of success or income from the Team Beachbody Coach Opportunity. Each Coach’s income depends on his or her own efforts, diligence, and skill. If you don't truly want to help people then this will not work for you! <--

The Answer to a Commonly Asked Question: How do You Do It All?

I learned at a very young age that this life can be SHORT.  It is far too short to be unhappy.  So, you have 2 choices:  You roll with the punches and be happy-ish, or you find a way to maximize moments of each day to work toward your goals and dreams.

People ask me all the time, “How do you find time to do it all?”    

I am a mama to Ziggy, the busiest 2 year old I know, wife to Chris.  We work opposite schedules, so are single parents the majority of the time.  We own a home that involves what seems like never ending projects.  I work full time as a first grade teacher.  I coach an average of 12 people per month as they embark or continue their health and fitness journeys, and lead a team of 27+ active coaches, who are on a mission to do the same.  I workout for at least 30 minutes every day.  I plan, shop for and cook our meals weekly.  And, I document it all with pictures and words. 

Here's the thing:  We all have the same amount of time available to us in a day.  It's how we choose to use it.


Assuming we spend: 

-40 hours for our full-time job
-56 hours of sleep (8/day if we're lucky)
-15 hours of commuting/getting ready for work/overtime
-6 hours of working out (1 hr/day 6 days/week)

That leaves us 51 hours of FREE TIME!


So, I may not be up on the latest Netflix series, or know what the weather is going to be tomorrow.  I may have dust bunnies and cheerios in the corners of each room, and a sink full of dirty dishes.  I never style my hair...ever.  And it may mean I need to wake up earlier than I want to, or stay up a little bit later than I’d like.  

But you know what?    It’s okay.  Because I am using those hidden minutes to ultimately make my life less busy. I am working each day to build my family's future. And I am working on myself along the way.  I am working to be stronger and more balanced, and mentoring others as they do the same.  I am working to be the best mama and role model I can be to my little boy.  I am working towards my optimal life balance.  And I am totally willing to make short term sacrifices for long term gains.

When you want something bad enough, and have a strong enough reason WHY, you do anything to achieve it.  Sometimes you just need to dig deep to find it.

You know those things you've always wanted in this life?  You should go work toward them.  It can be done by committing ONE hour a day.  

If you are interested in learning more about how Beachbody Coaching could fit into your busy life, complete the form linked below.   You never know, it could be the vehicle to living your #lifebydesign.