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Archive for October, 2013

32 and better than ever.

posted on Monday, October 28th, 2013 under General Ramblings |

I think it’s important for me to take a minute to reflect on my life in the last year. On October 19, I turned 32 (or as I prefer to look at it, my double sweet sixteen) and ran the fastest 10K of my life, finishing in 1:01:41.

Just a year ago, as I dreaded turning 31, my life was so much different. I was training with Brandon, and had finally JUST decided to listen to him and make some serious changes to my diet and lifestyle. The month of October, I dropped over 20 pounds and earned client of the month.

I still wasn’t anywhere near where I wanted to be, but I had finally put in place the giant missing piece to my healthy living puzzle. I felt a renewed sense of confidence that I could get back into decent enough shape to start doing short triathlons and races again. I never even dared to dream that included running a sub-10:00/mile pace for anything longer than a sprint here or there. I never thought it would even feel feasible to discuss the possibility of running a full marathon or completing an Ironman 70.3. Becoming a spin instructor was a shiny, shimmering dream that seemed a million miles away.

Then November came. As I’ve written before, my uncle was in the hospital with cancer and my grandpa had been staying nearby to be with him as he recovered. In the process, Grandpa got sick, seemed to get better and then was rushed to an emergency room the day after Thanksgiving. As I sat in the waiting room, I discovered Brandon had been killed overnight. The next day, as I got ready for B’s wake, Grandpa passed. Normally, all of this sadness would have been enough to ruin everything I’d worked for. I would have let myself fall into depression, but this time, I was stronger than that. The sadness kept me out of the gym for a while, but once I met my new trainer, Josh, I knew it was okay to go back and pick up where B & I had left off. He and Grandpa would have wanted me to continue, and I did just that.

And I should be proud of myself for that. I AM proud of myself for that. I don’t allow myself that pride very often, because A) my brain is a total dicksauce and B) I don’t ever want to seem braggadocios or superior. But it’s really important that I give myself a bit of credit for not letting depression swallow me up yet again, as it had so many times before. This was the first time that I felt I had any level of control over the depression that has plagued me pretty much my whole life.

Because I kept working and kept getting help from Josh, and from the amazing Teresa, and seeking out nutrition information from resources like Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites/21DSD, Juli of PaleOMG, George of Civilized Caveman and Steph of Stupid Easy Paleo, and others, AND getting amazing support from my hubby, this last year has been filled with PRs, new races, achieving goals, setting new ones and making progress beyond my wildest imagination. I have had and continue to have amazing help along the way, but the bottom line is, none of this would have happened if I hadn’t done the work. I don’t say that to myself ever. I don’t acknowledge that I’ve really done some awesome things. I tend to attribute my success to outside sources, and while I want to give credit where it’s due, I also recognize that I owe it to myself.

This is probably one of the most difficult posts I’ve ever written. I battle negative self-talk every single day. My brain is constantly ready and waiting with a million reasons why I’m not good enough. But screw you, brain. I’m pretty f*cking awesome. And at the fresh, young age of 32, I’m poised and ready to get even more awesome from here on out. I’m a Spin instructor. I’ll be group exercise certified in a few months. I’m a runner. I’m a triathlete. I’m an athlete. I’m nowhere near perfect, and you know what? That’s A-OK with me. Life’s a journey and I’m going to enjoy it!

So GO ME! And GO YOU! Because holy crapbucket, if I can do this, I promise you can, too.

Handy dandy detox in book form!

posted on Monday, October 27th, 2013 under 21-Day Sugar Detox |

Oh, hello there! I know we have lots to get caught up on, including my recent lovey-dovey Jamaican vacation, AKA Sarah Finally Gets Her Way, but I have been meaning to get this post done for a couple of weeks, so that will just have to wait. Also, my camera is being a jerk and what good is a vacation post without ample pictures? This post, with cell phone pics, will do just fine. :)

So, I’ve posted several times before about the 21-Day Sugar Detox and my experience with it. I created an entire blog category for it, so if you’re curious, here you can find all posts related to my first go at the detox. I had mixed feelings about it until it was over and went back to my ‘normal’ way of eating that includes some dark chocolate, dried fruit, fresh fruit, etc. THEN I could feel the impact of the detox, and I’ve been looking forward to off season so I can give the detox another go – and fix the screw ups I had the first time.

Needless to say, when I was offered the chance to receive an advanced copy of the book to review it, I was SO STOKED. The author, Diane Sanfilippo, also runs Balanced Bites, one of my favorite resources for nutrition tips and great recipes, and she’s a little bit of my idol. She’s realistic, honest, incredibly intelligent and just easy to like. I hate podcasts (I just don’t like having to pay attention with my ears…my ADD does not always allow it), but I’ve listened to several of hers and actually paid attention. Okay, I read transcripts for a few, but still. The fact that any of this happened is a testament to how much I dig what she does.

Anyway, she’s uber smart and has seriously helped me refine my nutrition. The girl’s got serious street cred in my book. Back to the review of HER book now.

The original detox plan came in the form of downloadable PDFs (with support on Facebook and via email as well). I love the PDFs, which are perfect for printing the YES/NO food lists, but if I get too much paper happening, I lose things, I get disorganized, I end up re-printing things…so having a handy book to reference is so great. AND it’s pretty. Just look at it.

The PDF version (EDIT: is only available during pre-order for the book, then will go away) was full of amazing information, but the book takes that information to a new level. If you aren’t very familiar with the effects sugar has on the body, and perhaps why you need a detox, this book will explain it, thoroughly but understandably, and with bonus adorable doodles. You know I’m a sucker for cute things.

You know I’m especially a sucker for things that remind me of my childhood. LEGOs to diagram how the body stores sugars? Yes, please.

Any time someone can take a scientific process and make it easily digestible (hehehe), it’s instantly useful information…information normal humans can understand and then use to influence their behaviors. To me, that’s the key to making lifelong changes that positively impact your day-to-day experiences. I don’t mean to excessively expound on this point, but it’s seriously one of the things I love most about this book. She takes what is normally boring, dry, hard-to-understand data and boils it down into readable facts that resonate and help make it click as to why your body reacts how it does to the standard American diet (or, as it’s so aptly abbreviated, SAD).

Okay, on to another thing I adore about this book: OMG THE RECIPE PHOTO INDEX.

I mean, swoon. I have a total book boner over this for a few reasons. First of all, the detox is intimidating, even to someone who has taken the time to research food and get to a more informed place. Seeing photographic evidence that 3 weeks of no sugar could actually be tasty and enjoyable? Oh hell yes. There are over 90 recipes, each one photographed deliciously.

Second of all, no matter how descriptive of a name a recipe has, you don’t really know how much it appeals to you, especially if it has ingredients you aren’t so familiar with, until you see the finished product. And if you’re anything like me, well…you might just be too lazy to give something so unknown the good ol’ college try. Just seeing some of these thumbnails had me drooling. I’m excited to start my next round of the detox on Nov 4th, just so Mr. T has an added incentive to help me whip up some of these yummy recipes.

And finally, it just makes the recipe list that much easier to navigate. It’s so dang pretty! It’s a veritable feast for your eyes, which will convince your stomach to get on board, too.

The list includes some of the recipes from the PDF, but TONS of new ones. A highlight of what I’ll be trying for sure: Veggie pancakes, buffalo chicken egg muffins, apple streusel egg muffins, crunchy curried beef lettuce cups, shrimp pad thai, tuna salad wraps…okay, pretty much most of the recipes. And if you know anything about me, it’s that I’m a fairly picky eater (even though my tastes have expanded quite a bit) – so knowing there are so many recipes I’m excited for should indicate how rad the recipe list is.

A couple more highlights…the book features a meal plan for each level, so if you don’t want to do any thinking at all for 3 weeks, you just pick your level (based on the quiz provided), print a shopping list online, get your ingredients and go. As stated above, I’m too picky of an eater for that, but the meal plan is still incredibly helpful (as will be the printable shopping lists). She even gives all the revisions needed for those with additional food sensitivities, such as nightshades, eggs, etc. Seriously, this book eliminates the need for much additional thinking, which is awesome as the whole premise is a daunting one. She has simplified things so much that she’s helped eliminate much risk of failure. That’s just huge.

This is a crummy picture, but I kind of didn’t want to give away too much and make things easy to copy, because you really need to buy the book if you’re interested in the detox, but the addition of a success log is just one more tool to prevent failure. She also has printable logs available online.

And the one thing you CAN see in the blurry pic above is that I’ve already carried around the book so much that I’ve managed to spill coffee on it and warp/stain some of the pages. At first I was bummed, but then I realized it’s only going to get worse as I splatter food on it while cooking from the recipe pages, and bend it from carrying it around, so it’s all good.

So here’s the thing. The book comes out October 29th. You can pre-order it now and immediately get the PDF toolkit for free. That’s a pretty sweet deal, because then you have the best of both worlds – everything you need to get started, printable goodies AND the arrival of a book full of even more good information. If you don’t act now, the PDFs will go away once books hit shelves…but the book covers all of the PDF info, so you’ll still be just fine. With 3 levels to choose from, along with recommended modifications for athletes, breastfeeding moms, those with other allergies, etc., I really do think this is a great way to break yourself of sugar dependency – ESPECIALLY with the holidays coming. I’m starting my second round of the detox at level 3 on Monday, Nov. 4th. Will you join me? I’d love to have people to commiserate with along the way, in addition to the great community Diane has created online.

I’m no pusher, and I get absolutely zero dollars in return if you buy the book or PDFs, so it’s not going to hurt me one way or the other…but it might help you beyond any level of expectation you have. Now that I’m in my off season, I can’t wait to see how my body reacts to the detox. I’ll be documenting it again here, but I’d love to have you join me on the journey to a happy, fully functioning body!

And to Diane, who I hope has a few spare minutes in her crazy schedule of releasing this book while finishing ANOTHER one (eeeeeep, a dedicated cookbook just for the detox! Even more recipes!!!!!) to read this review: THANK YOU. Your hours upon hours of hard work clearly show on every single page of this book. The world of nutrition is full of critics, haters and clueless trolls, but also those of us who are just uninformed, looking for guidance and battling to find the right solutions in an environment filled with fad diets, lies and absolute misinformation. Your work provides those solutions and guidance, and I hope you know it’s appreciated.