Tag Archives: your best body

Your Best Body: Part 4 – Diet

I can almost guarantee that if I were to approach you on the street and say

HEY! I am doing this series on my website about how you can achieve your best body!  You should read it!

You’d probably think I was a lunatic.

Who approaches random people in the street and tells them about their blog?

Freaks, that’s who.

But let’s assume you don’t instinctively punch me across the face and you actually give it a second thought.  Furthermore, let’s imagine that you actually want to achieve your best body.  I can almost guarantee the first thing you’ll say to me is

OMG! What foods do I have to cut out?  Because I will die without chocolate – absolutely die.  Is bread OK? Because I can’t live without sandwiches either.  I eat one everyday for lunch.  Oh, what about pasta?  Can I eat pasta?  Because my Great Grandmother was Italian and so pasta just a staple in my house.  And do I have to cook every night?  Because I don’t have much time to cook.  I mean, I have kids.  And a husband.  And a job.  And I just don’t have time to do all that.

Whoa, buddy.  Calm the hell down.  Who’s the freak now?

If this sounds like something you would say, then you miiiight want to lay off the coffee. 

I’m hoping some of you have noticed that I am putting the posts for this series in order of importance.  Acceptance of your body, finding your motivation, and building a support group are like foundations of a house.  Without those, the house won’t withstand even the smallest gust of wind.

Your diet is what will turn that pile of cement and 2×4’s into something that actually resembles a livable space.  The bricks, if you will.  This piece of the puzzle is absolutely crucial to your overall health and well-being.  I am no nutritionist, but I can guarantee that you won’t be able to reach your fullest potential if you are eating shit all day long.  You can take that piece of advice to the bank.

So, here is the secret…..EAT REAL FOOD.

Put a stamp on it with a fancy diet name, I don’t care.  It doesn’t matter that I am not a nutritionist or an expert.  I’m pretty sure anyone will agree that eating unprocessed, real and natural foods are optimal choices for your health.  But what does this include?

Nuts & Seeds

That’s a TON of options right there!  There are literally millions of combinations you can make for dinner with that list of foods.  The most important thing to note about that list though, however, is that I must stress the importance of those foods being unprocessed.  That means saying no to hot dogs as a protein source.  Or fat-free cheese.  Or little flavored yogurts in convenient little packages.  Or fruit snacks.  These are not real foods, people.

We are starting from square one here.  I am not going to tell you what ratios of proteins to carbohydrates to fats you need.  I am not certified to do that and every person is different.  What I want you to focus on is choosing real sources of food over all else.

But you forgot to list whole grains! We all need whole grains in our diet.

Well, then go out into the field and get you some whole grains, baby!  Because what you see in the stores is not natural and unprocessed so I suggest you stay away from it.  Yep, you heard me.  That whole grain bread and oatmeal is a processed food.  It doesn’t grow out of the earth in that form.  Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just pour boiling water into a field of avena sativa and have yourself a Guiness World Record size bowl of oatmeal.  In it’s natural, unprocessed form, oats look a little something like this…

So if you want to eat it like that, by all means go for it.  And honestly, who likes oatmeal anyways without adding all kinds of sugary shit to it?  Not me, that’s for sure.

Just start there my friends.  As I always say, your health is a process that will last a lifetime.  Don’t get too crazy.  Just make better choices.  Yes, you will have to cook.  And yes, this will be very different from what you are accustomed to right now.  It might seem hard.  I totally understand.  Driving next to a little window where a smiling teen hands you a bag of food is definitely much easier than cooking up a well-balanced dinner.  But it will become part of your daily routine, just like flossing your teeth (which you should all be doing if you aren’t).  Make small changes that will stick with you forever.  Overloading yourself with new patterns and habits will most likely bring you back to where you are right now.  Trust me, I still struggle with that concept in other areas of my life.

One of these days I’ll give you a breakdown of what I think should be filling your plate.  For now, I want you to focus your choices on natural and unprocessed foods.  Your body will thank you for it!

For your viewing pleasure, I have put a slideshow of random pictures from different meals I’ve had.  I love to take pictures of my food.  It doesn’t actually look very pretty most of the time, but it tastes delicious.  Follow me on Instagram for more food photos: @saadatch

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Your Best Body: Part 3 – Support

I have a really great group of friends here in Madrid.  We took to each other like family within days of meeting one another and now, as some of them are preparing to return to the states, I can’t imagine my life without them.  They are some of the most intelligent, creative, hilarious, and unique people I have ever met.

One of our favorite activities to do here is to lounge in the park and botellón.  Botellón for Spain is like pre-gaming for the States with the only differences being the lack of any actual game.  Basically it’s just a bunch of people, lounging in a park or open area, listening to music and drinking alcohol.  Generally this is a night-time activity, but my friends don’t discriminate against the earlier hours of the day.  We will botellón anytime, anywhere.

Recently, during one of our many afternoons in the parl, I noticed something that probably no one else in my group of friends would have ever picked up on.  After a round of drinks had been poured and dispersed, the group raised their glasses and said their cheers to one another.  In my normal fashion, I was without drink.  I raised my empty hand, mimicking a drink, and said my cheers right there with them as my friends pretended to clink their glass with mine. To us, our friendship, and to this amazing life we are living together!

What was so memorable about that second in time was that no one even questioned me when I raised my empty hand.  There was no ‘Where is your drink?’ or ‘How come you aren’t drinking?‘  My friends just know.  They know about my healthy lifestyle and that I choose to not drink alcohol for the most part.  They know that my workout is a top priority in my day even if that means joining them in public with my gym clothes on.  They know that I don’t eat certain foods purely by choice.  And you know what?  They are ok with it.  In fact, they are some of the most supportive people I’ve ever met.  To be honest, I don’t know how they can manage to be seen with me when I show up wearing spandex and my hair looks like I’ve been electrocuted.  Not to mention I smell.  Good friends, I tell you.

When I originally switched my eating habits, I was faced with a lot of challenges socially.  A lot of my friends didn’t understand why I didn’t want to eat certain foods.  Many of them would even try to make an argument about it.  If you have at all changed the way you eat, surely you have heard at least one person say, ‘C’mon! It’s just one bite’ or ‘It’s not going to kill you.’ And for the most part, they are right.  One bite is not a big deal.  One meal will not kill you.  It won’t even undo all of the progress you’ve made.

But that’s not the point.  That person, just by even trying to convince you of something, is not being 100% supportive of your goals.  And that is something that can definitely make this process toward a healthier life extremely difficult and grueling when it really shouldn’t be.

Now don’t get crazy and go ditch all your friends.  That’s a bad idea.  They won’t like it.  You won’t like it.  And you definitely won’t like it when you have reached all of your goals but you are sitting at home on a Saturday night, all alone with no one to show off your hot body to.  (Because that’s our ultimate goal, right?  Showing off our hot bod to as many people as possible …..or is that just me….?)

As you are changing your lifestyle and prioritizing health and wellness, TELL EVERYONE!  Tell your mom, your dad, your boyfriend, your lover, your boss, your annoying neighbor that you hate, and even your children.  Tell everyone.

Not everyone will be 100% on board, and that’s OK.  Your kids will probably tell you that they hate you and that you are the worst parent everrrrrrr for making them eat broccoli.  Some friends might get a bit jealous when you are starting to look super hot and want you to order the mozzarella sticks with them.  Colleagues will want you eat that piece of cake for so-and-so’s office birthday party.  You will face judgement and adversity.  But I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a support group around you pushing you to be the best of yourself.  These people will be vital in your long-term success.  Find that group of people, big or small, that won’t question your habits or pour you a gin and tonic at your next botellón against your wishes.  You want to surround yourself with the people who will clink glasses and cheers to you even if you aren’t holding a drink in your hand.  To us, our friendship, and to this amazing life we are living together!

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My support group extends much further than Madrid.  I am lucky enough to have support sent to me from all over the world.  A special thank you to everyone who continues to push me to be the best version of myself! Without you, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish any of my goals.

Stay tuned for Part 4 of the Your Best Body series!

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Your Best Body: Part 2 – Motivation

I mentioned in Part 1 of this series that the first step to reaching your health and fitness goals is to accept your body the way it’s built.  That is probably the hardest, yet most important factor impacting your success.

The next aspect of reaching your goals is your motivation.  What motivates you?  Why are you trying to reach this particular goal?  What inspires you to get in control of your health?  Why are you trying to lose weight?

I like to think that there are two types of motivation for achieving your goals:
short-term and long-term

Short-term motivation is easy.  I mean, how many times have you told yourself, “I’ll start tomorrow”?  Well if you were to ask me that question, I would tell you to count the number of days I have been alive since about the age of 14 and you will have your answer.  You are extremely motivated in that moment when you tell yourself that ‘tomorrow is a new day’ – I know you are.  I’ve been there.  Hell, I’m still there. Even when I was at my best physique, I always told myself that the next day would be better.  There were always changes to be made.

Tell me if y’all feel the same way, but I am really good at finding short-term motivation.  I can pop on the internet, look at some pictures of really fit girls, and be extremely motivated.  A simple Google search can send me in a tailspin to thinking there is more I can do here to improve my diet and my body.  We are surrounded by short-term motivation in the form of magazines, internet, television, movies, and so forth.

But for me, this motivation only lasts for about 8 hours.

I might spend the majority of my day being motivated and even following through with my goals, but then the evening hits after a long day and I am feeling super lazy and begin to rationalize eating crappy food.  Where did my motivation from this morning go?  I must have left it on the metro somewhere.  Or knowing Madrid, someone pick-pocketed it!  Hey, give that back!!!

So I will ask you again.  What motivates you?  Why are you trying to reach this particular goal?

The hard part about motivation is seeing it from a long-term perspective – finding the answer to those questions that will push you through the simple distractions.  Your brain is a funny thing.  It can really trick you sometimes and you need to learn how to be in control of it.  I can’t begin to tell you how many times my brain told me that it was acceptable to eat that ice cream or skip out on my workout.  And with a damn good argument to boot!  After all, I believed him didn’t I?  But to really pinpoint your long-term motivation, you have to look within yourself.  Be honest.  Only you will have the answer to those questions – no one else.

Find your real motivation.  For me, the motivation to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle is so that I can avoid getting sick in the future.  I saw my beautiful grandmother suffer from not one, but many strokes and the affect it had on her life and the lives of those around her.  Frankly, I don’t know if her diet contributed to that or not.  I wasn’t around enough years to know.  All I know is that I want to do everything humanly possible to avoid it for myself and if that means choosing all natural foods over processed crap, then so be it.

Your motivation might be to finally look in the mirror without bullying yourself and filling your mind with self-hate.  It might be that you want to join a certain sports team or alleviate symptoms from an auto-immune condition.  Hell, I don’t care, we can be a bit more shallow with this as well if you want.  Your motivation can be to fit into that super cute bikini and turn some damn heads.  I got you on that one, girl!  Or men, maybe it’s to be able to play sports with your kids.  Or just to take your shirt off at the pool and not be embarrassed.  I don’t care what it is!  JUST FIND IT!

Your long-term motivation is what will push you in the tough times when you feel like the work you are doing isn’t showing any results.  It’s the thing that will comfort you when you feel like you can’t do it.  It’s the thing that will pick you up after you fall and remind you that mistakes are human.  And it’s the thing that will tell that sneaky son of a bitch in between your ears, “Nice try buddy, but I am not going to eat that ice cream or skip out on my workout because it is not helping me to reach my goal!”

So, what is it?  What is your motivation?  Why are you doing this?  Whatever it is, don’t ever lose site of it.  Write it down and hang it on the wall if you have to.  We all need a constant reminder of our aspirations.

Stick around for Part 3 of Your Best Body!

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Your Best Body: Part 1 – Acceptance

Disclaimer:  I am not a nutritionist/personal trainer/health coach/cave woman/chef/morning-person/camel…it doesn’t matter what I write here because I lost all credibility within the first five words.  If you haven’t left yet and made it to this part of the disclaimer, remember to speak with a professional for your personal dietary or fitness recommendations.

I get asked quite frequently, “Sarah, how can I lose weight?  Apparently the Muffin-Top was never in style…”

First of all, you’re right.  The Muffin-Top was never in style.  You know what is always in style though?  Being healthy.

Let me set something straight first before I give you my non-medical, unapproved advice on how to trim down that tire around your six-pack.  This might be some of the best advice I will ever give you and yet I know most people will choose to ignore it.  For those of you who really want help being healthy, I suggest you pay close attention to the information in this particular post.  But only for those of you who are serious about being healthy.

Here it is: The body you have is the only one you’ve got.  No one else has your body.  Something that works for one person might not work for you.  There will never be a one-size-fits-all approach to health and fitness.  I know, I know, that’s really fucking annoying!  I totally understand.  I wish there were a rule book on how to be ripped and all we needed to do was just follow it step by step.  I mean, people try.  They’re called “diet books”.  Your local book store probably has a few shelves full of them.  Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t – it just depends on the person, right?  Right.  That’s because everyone is different.

For some reason, people seem to push that piece of information to the side like it’s not important.  I still find myself doing it sometimes.  I’ll spend hours looking at blogs and websites trying to find the perfect meal plan to trim down.  But there you go!  There’s a reason why I spend hours looking.  Because there isn’t just one way of doing things!  Everyone has their opinion.  Listen, I would love to be able to eat whatever I want and not gain weight.  We all know people like that – people who can eat a cheeseburger, milkshake, and fries and not gain an ounce.  And we hate those people so stop being friends with them.  Just kidding (sort of).  But my body is not built like them.  If I order a milkshake, I gain weight before it even arrives at the table.  And I just have to accept it.  That being said, my first and most important piece of advice for losing weight is to embrace the body you have.

Now, there is a big distinction between accepting the body you have and accepting the condition your body is in.  Don’t go out there telling yourself, “Oh, I am overweight and I will always be overweight so I’m just going to continue eating like shit.” No.  The condition your body is in is a result of your habits.  Bad habits = bad body.  Good habits = good body.  Accepting your body type is a completely different thing.

I’ve told you before that my mom is a smart lady.  She is the reason I am even slightly concerned about my health.  She’s not just healthy for her age, she is healthier than many of my 25 year old friends.  She also has these massive weapons attached to her body that she worked really hard to attain.  Here is a candid shot of them.  I can only imagine what they’d look like flexed.

So naturally, people (especially women) would always comment on her arms whenever she allowed those pythons to show.  They would always ask her how to lose weight or get in shape, and she would always have the same response.

“I just realized that I will never be one of those skinny girls so I just decided to start lifting weights and work with what I had.”

I never really paid much attention to this growing up (among other things), but I realize now how relevant that statement is when I look at the overall health of a person.  As I’ve gotten older, and because I am the spawn of this beast, I’ve recognized that my body is very similar.  I will never be one of those naturally skinny girls.  I have muscle (a lot of it).  I am definitely heavier than I look and I will always weigh more than most girls.  I have a big ass and I love it.  I will never be smaller than a size 4/6.  I will always have to watch what I eat if I want to stay trim.  I gain weight really easily.  There will never be a gap between my thighs, but I will always have strong legs.  Bread.and.sugar.make.me.fat.

I could go on for days comparing myself to other people.  The main thing I want you to work on before we move to part 2 of this series is accepting your body.  Recognize the things you will never be able to change and just get over it.  Hell, make a list if you have to.  Write down every single thing that you can’t change and post that sucker up on the wall.  Then get over it!  Accept your body for what it is.  Only until you have done this will you be able to find a lifetime’s worth of success in being healthy.

Stay tuned for the next part of this series toward your best body!

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