Making a commitment to health


I have a long history as what you would call a yo-yo dieter. Since my early twenties I’ve bounced back and forth, using diets and different fitness classes (Cardio kickboxing, Bikram, Pure Barre). I would lose a lot of weight, sometimes nearly reaching my goals! But, of course, overtime I’d fall right back into bad habits and I’d inevitably gain it all back (plus some). I’d move away from my gym, change schedules, start having a few too many “cheat days”… and just like that I’d be back at square one.

I eat pretty healthy. Throughout most of my life I’ve avoided junk foods and empty calories. I grew up eating clean, I just didn’t grow up eating carefully. I know what portions SHOULD look like meal to meal, but I enacting that discipline every day and at every meal just didn’t come naturally. You really CAN have too much avocado, brown rice, and nuts.

When I gave birth to my daughter in February of this year, I’d reached my absolute biggest. Sure, I was pregnant, but only a bit of it would be considered baby weight. I was shocked and disappointed my body had gotten out of control so quickly. How could I have gone from goal weight to my biggest in just a year and a half? I knew I needed to take charge of my health.

See, the thing is that I have always focused on just one side of my fitness at a time. I’d have the exercise routine down but not the eating, or the other way around.

Now that I’m a mom, how was I going to get the exercise and nutrition I needed for success now that I had EVEN LESS time? I can’t get to a gym when I only have a few hours each evening with Ziva! I already know as soon as it’s cold out I’ll stop heading to even the gym in our complex right here at home…

I knew it would have to be something simple, easy to follow, CONSISTENT, and that I could do at home.

I knew it had to be Beachbody.

I’ve seen this program change people’s lives, and I wanted in on that magic.

Sure, I might be late to the party, but I’ve been watching women I admire take charge of their lives both physically and financially over the last few years. I’m inspired by people like my Cousin Jen, and Amy Silverman (top beachbody coach and adventurer).

I started following the meal plan a couple of weeks ago and found it really manageable, and I’m in my first cycle of the 21 day fix and I’m loving it. Sure, I’ve done online workouts with the Tone It Up! girls and Blogilates in the past and I loved them, but being part of a private challenge group, having a team of people to be accountable to, and a structure to follow motivates me.

I lost the first 30 lbs of baby weight on my own, but in the last few weeks with beachbody I’ve lost 9 1/2 pounds. I was able to break through my plateau. It’s Not a lot, I know, but this is just the beginning. 

Pounds aren’t what it’s all about. I’ve regained confidence in my body and my abilities. Sure, I pushed out a 7 lb baby sans medication, I know my body is some legit warrior material, but I had lost mobility, comfort, and confidence in movement. I’ve only been doing the workouts consistently for a week, but I’ve already regained some of my strength and mobility. I feel free. Free to move, dance, climb, free to move like I have ownership of the body I had let get out of control.

This isn’t about weight, I think there’s beauty in every size.

This isn’t about being “beachbody ready”. This is about living my life free from limitations, with strength, mobility, and energy. 

Fitness may not have always come naturally to me, but MOTIVATION and DEDICATION always have. With a path to follow, I can get where I want to go.

Want to join me in making a commitment to health? I can help you find your path on your fitness journey, help keep you on that path (even when there seems to be NO TIME and NO MOTIVATION). Let’s get on this road together!

Leave me a comment here, send me a facebook message, or go to my page here if you are interested in learning more. I’d love to see some of the people I love join me on this journey.

My Favorite Home Workout Resources


Top left: Tone it up. Top right: Blogilates. Bottom left: Beachbody 21 day fix. Bottome right: bodyrocktv.
Top left: Tone it up. Top right: Blogilates. Bottom left: Beachbody 21 day fix. Bottome right: bodyrocktv.

After a long day at work away from my baby the last thing I want to do is take more time away from her to go to the gym. I know some people may feel differently, they’re just dying for a little “me” time away, but Ziva is still so young and I want to be home with her as much as possible. BUT, I still want to be a good example for her of self-care and fitness. For years I’ve followed a few of these online resources:

I would get into it for a while and then fall off the wagon. I needed something with a bit more accountability, a bit more human interaction and support. I’ve recently started using Beachbody products and I’m loving the challenge groups and the way my coach (who is also still on her fitness journey) checks in with me and helps keep me on the right path with healthy, clean eating and working out. So, now my new favorite-

I’m definitely drinking the cool aide (if by cool aide you mean protein shakes full of vitamins and healthy ingredients). I’ve found new motivation to press play each night once I get Ziva to bed. It took a while to figure out when exactly I could fit in a workout, but now that I have I’m feeling, and seeing the results.

For more online/at-home workout resources, check out this comprehensive list from Huffington Post- 

What are your favorite at home or online workout resources?

Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge Prep

Week 1 haul

I’ll admit, when I saw the headline for the Buzzfeed Food Clean Eating Challenge I thought it was satire. I didn’t even click through. Later a friend mentioned that the recipes actually looked pretty good, so I gave it a second look.

Though the lengthy shopping lists and daily instructions seem a bit daunting at first, I was glad to see every detail of how to logistically follow the challenge laid out in full (i.e. prep this today, defrost that, etc.).

Be prepared to spend A LOT up front ($160+). We had many expensive ingredients already on hand, like chia seeds and flax seeds, and it still cost an arm and a leg.
Clean out your fridge in advance because you are going to need the room. I wish I’d taken a pick of the packed shelves before I started the meal prep!

I did most of my shopping at Trader Joe’s (that’s our usual store so we were headed there anyways). I ended up making a separate trip to Whole Foods and Meijer for the remaining vegetables that either were not available, didn’t look good or were too much in quantity at TJ’s ( I had to go to Meijer’s because Whole Foods was out of Arugala, apparently that’s a hot item on Mother’s day). If you don’t mind the price tag, you could do your full shopping trip at Whole Foods and avoid the running around. We also had a number of ingredients already in the house. Be sure to take stock before you leave to save yourself the money (and space!).

There is a bit of extra food prep on day 1 to get all of the smoothies frozen ingredients bagged up, and if you are going to need to pack your next day lunches to take with you, I recommend you start earlier in the day to prep, not 9pm. If you have any evening plans during the week you may want to pre-make or prep the ingredients for those as well.

The plan-

  • The full plan and links to each day and the printables here
  • Printable plan with instructions and recipes here

Shopping lists-

  • Week 1 shopping list here
  • Week 2 Shopping list here

Daily Instructions (instructions without images are included in the printable plan as well)-

I started on Monday (the plan starts on Sunday) so I’m just shifting each day forward one. So far so good!

Wish me luck! After just shopping and prepping I’m already a little nervous about what I’ve gotten myself into. If you’ve tried a challenge like this before or are doing it now too, or eat like this on a regular basis (look at you, super star!!), please comment with any tips or tricks for staying on top of it all.

Now let’s just see if I can go two weeks cranking meals out like this. The eating isn’t the hard part, it’s definitely the prep time.


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Mindfulness Challenge

Today was one of those days This has been one of those WEEKS where it just felt like the world kept piling on. The difficult encounters, challenging assignments, things to do and the incredible heat that pressed down on me all week was beginning to bubble out of my ears and spew from my mouth as hurtful, negative babble. As it often does.

Image by hamner_fotos via Flickr

I came home from work exhausted. Partially from keeping long hours, and partially from walking home though the heat (which a friend described as “living inside someone else’s  mouth”). I grabbed my mail on the way in, happy to find my monthly Elle and Vogue, and headed upstairs to the semi-relief of my window unit ac.

After pacing back and forth for a while trying to decide which of the seemingly important tasks I should tackle first (packing, unfinished work, emails, packing), I finally cleared the half packed boxes and strewn clothes from my bed and crashed with my magazines.

Now, I may have been ripe for the intrigue, but I found myself fascinated by two articles.

The first (Hey- Wanna live forever? by Joseph Hooper, ELLE August 2011) described the discovery of, and current research on the enzyme telomerase. Shout out to UC Berkeley where the researchers who identified the role of the telomerase enzyme hale (and my home turf).

The job of telomerase (from what I understand), is to protect the chromosomes in our cells from damage. Particularly our reproductive cells. It was not the possibilities of harnessing the enzyme for a magic anti-aging elixir that grabbed me, but the statement that “A fast growing body of studies tells us that shorter-than-average telomeres are associated with a far greater risk of dying from heart disease or cancer”. The article also seems to suggest that, like with many other aspects of health, there are lifestyle factors that effect your telomeres length. This reminded me of what I’ve learned about the effect of high levels of stress on health and wellness, i.e. bad for you.

The second article (Soul Provider, by Rachel Rosenbilt, ELLE) was about a young New Yorker named Gabrielle Bernstein who is gaining a following for her “post modern spiritual” coaching. While I was drawn to some of the messages expressed in the article, and a few quotes from miss Gabrielle, I wasn’t sold on her as my personal role model.

Image by AlicePopkorn via Flickr

What I  did really like about the article, is that it reminded me of what I’ve been planning to do since I left California for grad school 2 years ago, to learn and adopt the practice of mindfulness meditation.

OK, so at this point it may be obvious to you how these two articles are connected. The ELLE editors likely devised it this way intentionally when planning the issue. But, for me they couldn’t have come at a better time.

My mother said (probably many times in my life) that when the world wants you to see something it will keep introducing it to you until it gets your attention. Well, I guess I’m ready to start paying attention.

I am a serious worry wort. I don’t just mean about realistic stuff (I didn’t get the nickname Worst-Case-Scenario-Sarah  for no reason). I’ve been concerned for some time about the effect that my continuous hyper-concern, exhaustion, and self-imposed pressure is having on my health and longevity. I even started trying to take action at one point to battle my anxiety (which sometime bubbles into venomous internal rages at people who stress me out). After one all day retreat at Spirit Rock in Marin County, CA, I fully intended to take what I had learned about mindfulness meditation and mold myself into a centered, organized, unbreakable powerhouse of zen… and two years later I’m ready to take this challenge on.

I’ve thought about trying to ease meditation into my life… but as a worry-prone planner, I think it’s best I try this in an organized way.

So, what’s the plan?

I am going to find three guided meditation videos on YouTube. One for morning, one to do during my workday, and one for in the evening. I figure by planning guided mediation breaks into my day this might actually catch on.

Video 1, Morning Yoga Meditation with Elena Brower – YogaEarth

Video 2, Mid-Day : 10 Minute Guided Body Scan (uploaded by MeditationCoach)

 Video 3, Evening: Guided Meditation – Breathing Meditation (uploaded by OnlineMeditation)

I’m going to start this tomorrow morning and will do my best to keep it up for a month. I’ll check back later with updates. Best of luck to me (and any future reader I might acquire who decide to try this too)!