Getting Clean in 2015

Come Thanksgiving or Christmas every year (especially after I visit my parents) I have an insatiable urge to do a cleanse. I think you all know what I mean―food baby comas, headaches, stomach aches, the -itis. I love visiting my parents, but they love meat and carbs, and by my third or fourth day of any trip, I’m craving an all-you-can-eat salad bar. Add the extra Christmas cookies, candies, cake on my birthday (Dec. 23), and the junky road food that comes with our new 12.5 hour trip back home, and by New Year’s Eve, I’m icky, bloated, and my self-esteem is pretty low.

I’ve been sick.

At this point, I think it’s IBS. Back track to college. I was my heaviest―nearly 270 lbs. I had skin rashes and went to the dermatologist and a walk-in clinic several times for cellulitus. I got several painful cysts. College is also some of the last times I can remember getting strep throat (I’m a strep carrier). I got sinus infections all the time―once to the point of going to the E.R. because I could barely breathe and started gagging up mucus. The worst of all these problems, however, were the gastrointestinal ones. I would get bloated, constipated for days, and often experience diarrhea. I had several instances where I barely made it to a bathroom, and even one where I did not. Continue reading


Grad School, Pin Up Photos, and Summer Reading

The Brave New Body photos are here! I get the final edits from my photo shoot today, and I’ll be working on your perks over the next few weeks. Thank you for bearing with me!

It’s been nearly a year since my surgery (July 19th) and I am still astounded and amazed by the love and support around me. I’m also blown away by how much my life has changed in the last year. I had a conversation with some family last week, and admitted that 30 has, hands down, been the best year of my life. My 21-year-old cousin later questioned me with, “Really?” Absolutely. I have been waiting for years for these moments. I’m happy with my body, my love life, my choice to attend graduate school.

And I told Chris the other day: I’ve been wanting to go back to school—and trying to go back to school—for years. In total, I’ve applied to nearly two dozen programs since 2007, but only now, only this year, did I get accepted—to three! Plus, two of the offers were in Northern Virginia where his family lives and mine does, too. It couldn’t have happened better. I was supposed to come to this place with him, and whatever force in the universe is looking out for me knew I had to meet Chris before this could happen.

So, that all said, this blog is going to transition—again—over the coming months. The Brave New Body journey is definitely not over, but it’s certainly expanding. Over the coming months, I’ll certainly spend more time on the mental more than the physical. (But, admittedly, I’m in a great place to work on physical, mental, and spiritual…lots of free time ahead!) Continue reading

Why You Should Keep Your Favorite Fat Clothes

My friend Ed gave me this shirt in 2004/2005. It was from his home of Uganda, so I didn’t want to tell him I wish he’d gotten me an XXL instead of an XL. It was tight, and I tried stretching the midsection without popping the hem. (I popped the hem, my biggest fat girl woe.)

Still, I’ve worn it to its edge.

This week, I was having a “fat week” and feeling down, so I pulled this out to sleep in because it’s comfy. I’ve been down to my pre-surgery weight of 175 (got to 174!) and back up again to 186. It’s been annoying, but I’ve been lazy. I hate the cold, so when I’ve cheated on my calories, I haven’t been countering it with working out. In the midst of all this, it’s really easy to get hung up on where I am, not where I’m going or even where I’ve been.

Let me reiterate that this shirt fit snugly around my midsection. It’s not even the biggest shirt I ever owned. I yo-yo’d in college, always up and down. Still, this shirt is from a year I look back on as massive so far as my weight is concerned. (See below. No photos of me actually in this shirt unfortunately.)

Look at it now. It would be too big even on my dad (a horse of a man at 6’4″)!

If you are in this journey, too (or even if you’re thinking about starting) set aside one of your favorite outfits. I didn’t keep around any of my pants, and I highly regret it. I wish I could really see where I’ve come and remind myself from time to time.

That being said, don’t keep them forever. I have plans for Jean and t-shirt quilts once I get to 150. That’s a “before the wedding” sort of plan, and one that, for the first time in my adult life, seems completely and easily attainable. 35 lbs.? That’s the cover of People magazine kinda deal. “Lose X by summer!” I’m working on it everyday, still using Lose It!, and vowing to get up in the mornings and start working out again.

Just remember, some days you just have to remember where you started.



The Mind Plays Tricks On You


Sometimes—like 10:30 at night, when I’m settling myself for the night, filling the dishwasher, and getting my lunch ready for tomorrow—I look at my life and freak out a little.

Upstairs, the dog is probably asleep in our bed, even though she has two of her own. The cat is lurking or making mischief. My boyfriend is getting ready for bed…a normal night, and I panic.

How do I have this? How does this man love me? He’s handsome and smart, he loves me and he wants to be that guy for me.

And I’m not panicking because of that.

I’m panicking because for one split second, I am 260+ lbs. again, size 24 jeans, XXLs, unhappy, full of self-loathing and convinced I’m not worthy of anything.

The panic is so quick and sharp that I have to stop and forcefully remind myself by (looking down, or placing a hand to my stomach, that No, Sarah. Calm down. You are not that girl anymore.

It’s weird, little moments like this that remind me that weight loss is so much more than a physical journey.

I get asked so many times, “What’s your secret?”

And the answer is always, “Oh, no secret. Just diet and exercise!”


But there is a secret. You have to be ready to lose this weight and take this journey. You have to want to do it for you. I thought I was ready dozens of times before, but the truth was I didn’t have a clue. Even as I got started, I had no idea what was ahead of me on this journey.

My secret was me. I ready to commit and not give up anymore. I was ready for a change, to feel power and strength in my body. Did it take a lot of hard work? Yes. Did I need a ton of support? Without a doubt. This journey had to happen exactly when it did, and it’s not over yet.

Some days, I still feel unprepared. I think those are the days that the old me sneaks up on me, makes a disparaging remark about my weight fluctuations or slip ups, clouds my thoughts and makes me forget how far I’ve come.

And some days, I just have to close my eyes and remind myself, No, Sarah. You are not that girl anymore. You are strong and powerful, and you are working hard to be better each and every day. You are here now. Be proud of you.



…and, yes, the dog is asleep on the bed.