About Me

Short and Updated Version (last updated 2012)

Hello!

view of Boston from my bike/running path

My name is Sarah, and I am a 26 year old recently-inducted nutrition and public health graduate student from and studying in Boston, MA (♥).  I love running, biking, cooking creatively, being on the beach, watching football, live music, telling jokes, reading books, craft beer, writing, winning in scrabble, the font “Georgia,” and also telling jokes. I’ve struggled with weight and food-related issues for my whole life, and am continually working hard to focused my life around living a healthy way that I’m proud of and have been constantly amazed by how my body & mind respond when I treat them healthfully. I created this website in order to have a space through which I can share what I have learned through the combination of my life experiences and excessive Googling in hopes of motivating others to realize the ease and benefits of living life healthfully. Now that I’m studying nutrition (a change that was decided upon about  a year after starting this very blog), my posts can be a bit more accurate, and perhaps present insight from the food and health promotion world that surrounds me. I by no means have it down pat — I’m still fairly fat. Just less much fat than I used to be. I’m getting there, and will get there soon enough.

Summer 2010

While I’m coming at this healthy stuff from the perspective of someone who has been fat for most of her life and for whom weight loss has been one of the most defining aspects of her journey to health, I am aiming to make all that I write accessible to people coming at this “okay, let’s live life a bit more healthfully, huh” thing from all angles. I’ll do my best. I aim to provide helpful information and perhaps be thought-provoking every once in a while, rather than just talk about my life.

As mentioned, I’m currently a graduate student and my degrees will be in Food Policy and Applied nutrition and Public Health. I’m not 100% sure exactly what I aim to do with them specifically, but my career needs to be one that makes it easier for the average normal person to live a healthy life. It’s simply too easy to become unhealthy in our current society, and I’m hoping to change that. No easy feat, but many smart and experienced people are in the same boat with me, so we’ll get there.

I’m looking forward to writing about how to incorporate delicious food, fitness, and general weight-loss related things in to your life without making it the entire focus of life. I’d be absolutely delighted to hear from you with any feedback, suggestions, or questions!

Long Version — written January 2010ish

So you don’t just wake up and realize that you’re 300+ pounds. Unless you’re a Siamese twin, I guess. Or a bear.  A linebacker? I digress…

Spring of 2005

I’ll give you a background. It’s very long, intensely personal, and not something I’ve ever really verbalized. As I’m typing this, I’m amazed that I’m considering putting it in a public forum, posting it to my facebook wall, and essentially screaming to the world, “YES!! YOU’RE RIGHT! I AM FAT!”

But I have decided that if any of this whole blog thing is to have any merit at all, honesty and openness about my journey to 300+ pounds is absolutely vital, if not for you, then for me. There are plenty of people who write about health, fitness, nutrition, etc, but I find that few of them have ever been an unhealthy weight.  Including this whole bit here makes me feel like I have some sort of credibility when talking about these topics, which is something I obviously want to feel! I’m passionate about these topics, and by reading what follows, I think you’ll understand why.

Nothing I write is intended to be self-elevating in the least bit. Yes, I am proud of myself for taking control of my life, realizing what needed to change, and losing all this weight, but if that were to be the focus of a blog, it would, without question, be the most horrifyingly uninteresting and unimportant blog in all the land. Plus, I have no interest in writing that kind of blog. Man, I hate the word “blog”.

So that’s my prologue to my Long Version. Now I’ll dive in. Did I mention that I’m terrified about writing this all? Because I am. Absolutely. Terrified. But here we go.

No, hold on a second… okay. Okay. Let’s go.

Sept of 2010

Right now I am, by at least 40 pounds, the smallest person I ever recall being.  Yes, I must have hit this weight at some point on the way up to 300+, but not knowingly. I was probably 12. I out”grew” the husky boys section at Macys by middle school and was reliant on Lane-Bryant-sized pants from there on out. This is the first time in my life when I can go into a normal store and buy pants. I have burst into tears in dressing rooms for a completely different reason this year.

It’s hard to peg why I became a fat person. Growing up, I think I just sought my comfort in food—it was something that I could get control over and something that I saw as presenting immediate satisfaction. I recognized that I was fat from at least first grade, but I saw that as something which was a part of who I was, and not something resultant from my actions. I was a classic sneak-eater and became an expert liar and food-evidence disposer by an early age (I have some impressive stories about this, but I don’t want to unearth them quite yet…).

young Sarah didn’t know about frizz control products

Of course, I was taken to all kinds of doctors, therapists, etc, but I just never truly cared enough about myself to take their words, or the words of my wonderful parents, to heart. I was (and remain) incredibly stubborn –there was nothing that anybody could have ever said or done to get me to stop eating & start moving. I just cared about food, I think, and trying to figure out how I could get more of it.  I think that my fatness, one way or another, defined every aspect of my first 18 years. I mean it must have, right? Oh, I have no idea. It was such a solid part of my being that it’s impossible for me to pull it away and look at who I was without it.

Freshman year of college

On January 8 of 2006, after deciding that I was sick of my fatness defining me and I wanted to get rid of it as fast as I could, I went for a 12 mile walk all around my town. Two weeks later, after solid, daily exercise, I joined WeightWatchers online, seeing “300” on the scale as my start weight. (Side note: I have lost my weight following WeightWatchers online, and I believe that it is a logical, easily integrated, and truly healthy program with great resources) For the following semester of college, I followed my own “revised” version of WW and hardly ate (except for after weighing-in, when I would stuff my face in celebration) and exercised like a madwoman. I hit my goal of losing 10 pounds a month for 5 consecutive months. I was hungry, I was tired, but I was happy to overlook that for 5 months because the scale was going down as quickly as I thought it should, I was repeatedly stabbing new holes in my belt, and people were noticing that I was losing weight. Instead of obsessing over food, I was obsessing over the scale. When I had a week where the scale didn’t go down, I felt like a failure. I had always first defined myself and my self worth by my weight, and I was continuing to do that. Shockingly, this weight loss didn’t all stick—it wasn’t a maintainable lifestyle for me at all, but looking back, I think it was what I needed to realize that my weight was in my control.

I have lots of brothers

Over the next 3 years, my weight went up and down, but the entire focus of my “healthiness” was on the scale, and thus the “healthiness” was always short-lasting. I was never re-committing to myself and my health with quite the right objectives. I wanted to be immediately thinner. I always thought that fat people were completely disgusting and that if I was thinner, I would be instantly cool, amazing, popular, perfect, etc, etc. I never looked at weight loss as a health-related thing. I was young and invincible, after all, despite struggling to climb more than 2 stories of stairs at a time.

Christmas 2009

On October 8, 2009, I re-committed to WeightWatchers and a healthy lifestyle, not because I wanted to lose weight, but because I realized that, looking towards the future, I wasn’t very excited about what I saw for myself. This was the most important thing that I ever recognized. I was torturing myself by asking my body to process ridiculous amounts of in-nutritious food. I was treating myself miserably—of course I felt miserable! This was all in my control.  I began to treat myself the way that I deserve to be treated—that was the best thing I have ever done for myself. I came to see that weight loss isn’t actually about weight loss, but really about treating your body like an amazing treasure (which it kind of is—it’s the only thing that is completely ours for all of our life) so that it treats you like an amazing treasure. I began to shape myself, both physically and mentally, into a person who I would be proud to be, and that’s what I continue to do every day.  Man, that seems sappy. But it’s how it is.

Ran on 10.10.10 in 2:25!

I ran a mile for the first time in my entire life on Jan 8, 2010, exactly 4 years after that day when I went on the 12 mile walk and decided I wouldn’t be fat forever. I ran a half marathon last October, and I continue to be hooked on running, which seems kind of absurd to me since I was the kid who lied about how many laps I had completed when we had to run The Mile in gym class. I can’t help it, though. I love this stuff.

Throughout my life, even at the “darkest” times, I was always able to portray myself as confident, happy, and positive (fat people are excellent liars), but wasn’t until recently that that Sarah who I was portraying was the same Sarah that I saw myself as. I have absolutely changed mentally more than I have changed physically (and -115 pounds is a lot of physical change), but I think that those who are closest to me aren’t as aware of the mental changes as I am— I guess I’ll have to ask them.

summer 2010–Morgan & me biking to the beach with our dorky camelbacks

I am proud of the way I live my life. I am no longer going through the day lying about my actions— the Sarah that I portray is the Sarah that I am. If I eat far too many M & Ms, I’m not ashamed to tell people (but I also don’t go around screaming about it). All I can try to do is try to convince my fat-person & food-focused mind (which I will absolutely always have) that I live like a healthy and fit person now, and work to emulate those behaviors. Healthy & fit people occasionally eat far too many M & Ms. They occasionally skip a workout just because they want to watch more marathons on Bravo.  So I do those things, too, and that’s perfectly fine.

Despite being no more certain of my future than I ever was, I am so freaking excited to be me right now and looking down the line, I feel like I will be happy, because I have found a way for my happiness to be in my control. That feels amazing.

I know that I am going to have to keep this all fresh in my mind and continue to work at this Healthful Life forever and ever, and that is completely fine with me—actually, it’s kind of exciting. I feel amazing—I can’t even describe it. If I had known how great my body and my mind could feel back when I was trying to find new stash-spots for empty Ben & Jerry’s cartons, things might have been a bit different. But I wouldn’t trade my journey for anything in the world, since it got me to this place where I am now.

Clearly, I could go on writing about this for ages and ages and pages and pages, but I’ll restrain myself and end with this: there is nothing more empowering than feeling that you are living a life which is fully yours, fully in your control, and freaking fantastic.

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29 Comments to “About Me”

  1. Sarah,
    Thank you for creating this site.
    I am on the 100+ board on WW and have seen your postings before and followed your progress.
    You are such an inspiration!
    -Maria (aka Mimi95670)

  2. Sarah,

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I’m loving your website – lots of great information. I especially like the workout music tab. I’m heading over to iTunes right now!

    Amie

  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

    You are my hero.

    ❤ Binger

  4. Your site is great! Just when I was feeling a little discouraged, this was just what I needed.
    Thanks! You look fantastic & have a wonderful outlook!!

  5. Sarah, Andrea sent me your blog, and I have to say that I am very proud of you! You look fantastic and I am amazed at your transformation. As someone who is always trying to lose a few pounds, I know that the amount of weight that you have lost is no easy task. I wish you all the happiness in the world. You go girl!

  6. Sarah – simply stated – you are FANCY!
    Excellent blog. 🙂

  7. SNOvello. You’re wonderful 🙂

  8. I am a fellow 100+ board member and have also been amazed by your progress. Your blog is wonderful! Honest and inspiring. You are truly delving into your feelings and your motivations and understanding why we do what we do is the only way to make this last.

    Thanks for a wonderful read! See you on the boards!

    Joyce (April485)

  9. This is an amazing blog Sarah. Your transformation is incredible. You look happy, healthy and bright!

    Jolene

  10. I am so happy to have found your blog! I too have lost over 100 lbs and have been trying to define my relationship with food…its very complicated, I’m a chef too….thanks for sharing your story!

  11. Thank you for sharing your story. I have 100+ lbs to lose and just started exercising again. Loved reading your story, definete inspiration 🙂 I will have to check out the WW online program. I tried Weight Watchers a long time ago, but that was a different life. Thanks again for sharing. I can’t wait to read more of your postings!

  12. Sarah – I love your site! This is soo great ! Michael and I have adopted a healthy life style and it has made all the difference 🙂 We are working on the girls ( cece, audrey & Amanda) too but not sure it’ll stick.

    You look so gorgeous and more importantly very happy. I love the picture of you and the boys with your Mom. I remember you all at that time. Hugs to you – we are living in Belmont now and would love to see you .

    Hugs! Lisa

  13. Sarah – This website is wonderful. So very inspiring. You project a very wise and balanced perspective for such a young woman. thank you for sharing your experience and great ideas.

  14. You are an inspiration especially because you have the right attitude. You want to lose weight but you also want to be healthy, you exercise, you take all of the necessary steps to succeed at this long term. That is what I am hoping to do too. Thank you for finding my blog and in turn leading me to yours! Oh, and my WW online is : dacialee33

    • It’s about committing to this healthiness stuff for the right reasons, Dacia, and the sooner that everything clicks mentally, the more exciting and easier this weight loss thing is. It’s not about the scale, it’s about us and our lives and making our bodies as strong and healthy as they possibly can be so that we can set ourselves up for the best lives possible.

      gosh, i’m a corndog. is that a thing to call someone when they say something whacked out like that? corndog? whatever. it is now.

      glad what I’ve written rings true for you 🙂

      • I agree. I use my weight as an indication of my success for my blog and yes I do set my goals around loss but my focus on how I get there is eating well and exercising. Every day I try to push myself in my work outs, try to build endurance and gain some muscles. I know there will be weeks when I gain because I didn’t eat right but there will also be weeks where I gain because of muscle growth. I measure my BMI and body fat because those are really important numbers for me. Pounds, though, are easier for people to relate to understand. It is all about making positive changes you can commit to forever, because the journey never ends.

  15. Sarah, thanks for visiting my blog! The story that you have outlined here is amazing, and in my humble opinion, you have every right to be proud of yourself, and to feel amazing about yourself 🙂 I’ll be back 😉

  16. Good on you Sarah for being so dedicated in your weight-loss journey and having the courage to share it with the world.

  17. Everything that you have written above is my life. Completely. Thank you for being brave enough to share it. I hope yo use your success story as a motivator of my own. At 29, I have the health complications of a 75 year old, so I also just recently joined Weight Watchers, and I hope to someday be able to share my story as you have.

  18. I just read a little. Now I get it! We are supposed to be friends! And now I have to go back to your very first post and REALLY stalk you. Can’t wait….

  19. I love you, Sarah Novello, and I think you are completely FANTASTIC! Can’t wait for you to kick my ass again next year riding to the Cape 🙂 I look forward to it!!! Let’s meet up for a ride before the snow if we can!

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