Food for thought: motivation, dedication and kindness. Week 2 at Hilton Head Health

It's when you can't imagine yourself where you currently are that the magic and wonder of it all falls into place. A year ago I was sitting at my desk stressed and rushing, emotionally eating yet trying to wrap up a lot of work before the holiday weekend and frustrated about it all.  It was so much more than that. It wasn't just a day at work that ran too long and took too much from me. It was a series of moments and those kind of days that I didn't even realize drove me to feeling I wanted a quality of life change and to live a healthier life. For being so happy and already on the journey of discovery and freedom that I was on at that current time, I was also so stressed and unhealthy. I didn't think about what I ate. I just ate it. My body hurt. I would never let on that it did but it did. A lot. I always made time for lots of things after work mostly food, events and friends but making time for my body, health, and  wellness wasn't in my schedule. I was burned out and it all was catching up to me and that day at the office was a "never again" moment and I had hoped it would someday be true. 

And now I'm here. It came true. A year later,  I never would have known I would be (that's the best part about it all is that  we never know where we're going to end up even though we want to so bad) but I'm so thankful I'm here, right now,  as I am. Such gratitude. Week two was a reminder of that. A reminder of the path I was on and the reassurance of the path I'm on now. A reminder that I am doing it. I'm here and this is real. This past week was a practice of motivation, dedication and kindness. Especially kindness towards myself. 

Here's some reflections on week 2:

Gratitude changes everything. Start each day with a grateful heart. 

Time is flying and time matters. Each day is valuable. Cherish it. 

This week was a lot harder than week one but also a lot easier. How can it be both? It was harder because I knew what was coming. I had experienced week one blindly, going slowly just to make it through all the initial activities without knowing the actual challenge ahead, the strength needed and the rewards the followed.   It was better- because of all of the things that made it harder but also, because I wanted to show up, do the work and be better. To show up and want to be better in my body is a new revelation that has been so rewarding to experience and learn. 

Improvement comes with time and practice. Even if you think your body won't improve, it will. Each day it gets strong and better if you're working on it. It's amazing to how such a short amount of time can give such amazing results in that. 

Keep going, even when you think it's hard. Don't give up because of a mistake, or something didn't go perfect, or you ate a certain way. Don't self sabotage. 

The non scale victories are more satisfying than the weekly weigh ins. 

It's OK to take time for you. To rest, nap, to honor your body and not push yourself. Don't feel guilty or bad about taking that time. It's needed. 

Doing things that make you feel good physically are much more fulfilling than things that don't and burn calories. Choose the movement that makes you feel happy, strong and confident. For years I just went to the gym and rode the elliptical. Over and over.  I was so bored. I felt like it was a chore. There's so much more out there I was missing out on, there's so much more out there.  

You're doing the best you can and it's better than you think. 

Afternoon beach walks are a wonderful way to end the day. Breathe in the sea air and pause. It is worth soaking in. 

Calories don't have to be paralyzing but just part of the picture. 

Awareness is everything. 

Kindness starts with ourselves. It's then amazing to see it spread to others. 

Take a new class,  especially if you have that flutter in your stomach of uncertainty. 

Sweating feels good. 

Focus on what you can do instead of what you can't. 

We are all on different paths. Honor the parts of the journey we're on differently and meet people were they're at. 

Meditation creates mindfulness. 

Don't let someone else's insecurities be a mirror for yours. 

There is strength in the uncomfortable moments. 

It's hard to sometimes be supported by others and ask for help but OK to lean on them. 

Go your own way and tune out the noise. Focus on your journey. 

People often see things you don't see in yourself or haven't seen in a while.  Listen to them when they remind you. 

There is so much more to do but don't forget to reflect on all that you've done. 

Be proud of yourself.

There are such special people here. Staff, group members, other guests. Smile at them and know they're feeling something you've felt before. There's a common ground here. 

It's so much more than weight loss. It's about strength, power, flexibility and movement. 

It's for you and you alone. 

Show up. 

Keep moving, keep going, keep growing. 

 

Week two was a lot of reflection a lot of celebration and a lot of challenges but every single day here has had a lesson. Amazing ones. Soul shaking ones. Life changing ones. Here's to more lessons, more challenges and celebrations and many more grateful days. 

 

Grateful for you today and every day, 

<3 Sarah 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You're doing the best you can and it's better than you think

 

The minute I started walking my calves started burning. By the time I made it halfway my legs were hard to lift up and by the time I was headed back to the starting point I felt like I was walking so slow, breathing so hard and sweating so much. Out of all of the activities I’ve been doing here the most challenging one for me is the outdoor mile. We do it each week- twice. Once on Thursdays untimed just to get cardio in and as a practice and once on Friday timed to use as a marker, a sign of progress and growth each week from the time we did it last. 

Even though Thursday’s walk was untimed I immediately put pressure on myself to go as fast as I could. No one else did. I did.  I wanted to see how I improved from the week before and hoped that if I went faster that day then the walk the next day would be even faster. I ended up timing myself on my phone even though it was supposed to be a no pressure, casual walk. Why do we do that to ourselves? Add pressure and stress when there is none? 

I walked too fast to start and ended up hurting. A lot. Each step was a reminder of where my body was actually at currently and what I could physically do. Or what I physically couldn't do. Even though Sia was on full blast  on my playlist and the positivity was in my earbuds I started to feel down, disappointed and mad at my legs. 

I finished. Last. My group cheered me on and even though I finished I was frustrated. Really frustrated. I was breathing so heavy. I caught my breath and I didn’t/ wouldn't let the negative self talk I had in my head come out. I then talked to a staff member Doreen who I adore and told her how frustrated I was at my body for the walk I just took. She immediately looked at me and smiled so kindly and reminded me of how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time. She reminded me that two weeks ago I wouldn’t even be taking a walk on a Thursday and the fact I did is growth and progress.

She and I talked some more and we emphasized that it’s a journey. I decided that I needed to take care of my spirit and body and take off all the pressure from Fridays’ mile. I didn’t want it to be something I dreaded weekly and instead something that I did on my own pace and honored my body and how I was feeling. 

So Friday morning I decided- I wasn’t going to care about the time. AT ALL. I was going to walk as slow as I wanted and try to not have my calves burn and just finishing was a success. I was going to listen to my favorite songs and soak up the beauty around me. It’s so beautiful here. I wanted to appreciate it more. Be grateful that I can even walk a mile and not take it for granted.

As I arrived on Friday morning I walked in and proudly announced to my group as they were warming up in the cardio room, “Today, I am not worrying about time. I’m just going to take my time and focus on me as I walk. You don’t have to wait for me as I finish. I’m OK.” Everyone looked at me and may not have gotten it but still got it. They smiled and nodded. I knew they would still wait because they're the best. Next thing I knew we were off. 

Slow and steady. Still last. Sia still in my earbuds and this time I sang along. I was smiling. My breathing was calm and so was my heart. I even stopped a couple times and took a moment to pause and enjoy the beautiful morning and birds chirping around me. I finished, slowly and smiling. Breathing normally and not sweating like the day before. Then, do you know what happened? They read me my finish time and I stopped in my tracks and realized- I finished faster than I did last week. I finished faster and I thought I was going slowly. I finished faster and I still enjoyed the walk. The moment I let go of the pressure I put on myself it happened- PROGRESS. 

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Health, WellnessSarah Polite
Food for thought: reflections, perspective and inspiration. Week 1 at Hilton Head Health

Raise your hand if you sometimes believe the stories you've always told yourself about who you are and what you'll do in your life. I did and have. Even arriving here.  I alway told myself that while I was confident in my body and owning it no matter my size I would never be the person who was fit, or physical or would actually love to move just because that was the way I had always been. That celebrating food and life is all or nothing and that there's not a happy balance between a full life of living well and being well.

It's amazing when we let all that stuff go. The negative self talk, the fear, the stories. Let go of all the stuff holding us back from who's really under there and lean into the strong, fierce human in our hearts. It's in there. I promise. Even if you've forgotten about them for awhile. That person is ready to step out from the shadows of your stories and live the life you want for them even though its uncertain or scary or even uncomfortable. 

I knew coming here my inner person would get a shake up whether she was ready to come out or not. She is. She's here and even though it's a new territory for me it's more comfortable than I had ever imagined (or not imagine) all those years I was telling myself I was something other than  who I am now. 

Every single day here I've learned something new. About health, about wellness, about my body and about my strength.

Here's some of my lessons from week 1: 

Our bodies are meant to move and so inspiring when they do. They are beautiful no matter our shape or size and were and tear and should be taken better care of, we only have one. 

Gyms are scary and intimidating but this place isn't. It's safe and inclusive and welcoming and giving a space for so many to learn about ourselves which is vulnerable and difficult to do but it's been so beautiful to see the people around me do it. I've already seen bodies change, confidence soar and people growing in ways that isn't always reflected on the scale. I want everyone to feel safe in the space they workout in. 

It's not always about that number on the scale. It's about so much more. 

Breathe through it. 

Everyone has a story. Meet them where they're at and honor it.

Not everyone will support the journey you're on, focus on the ones who will. 

Wearing fun workout clothes makes workouts more fun.

Take a cardio class instead of a nap you'll feel more energized.

 Food can be celebrated in new ways and there can be new rituals around it.

Eat the rainbow.

Slow down you're eating too fast.

Stretching is a form of self care and an important end to every work out.

Start each day with a grateful heart.

Walk the long way home. 

Smile, it makes workouts more enjoyable for you and everyone around you.

Throwing a 10 pound medicine ball can be more comforting than emotionally eating. 

Get up for the 7AM beach walk, it's worth it.

 Be open to new experiences and unexpected opportunities will come from them.

Try new things. 

Talk to someone new today no matter their age or what you think they'll give you in return, just connect.  

Keep breathing.  

Be vulnerable and honest with yourself and others of where you're at and celebrate it and you.

 Be kind to those along the way but also be just as kind to yourself.

Get rid of negative self talk.

Support others. We need each other. 

Get out of your own way.  

Trust the process. 

It's your turn and it's ok to put you first. 

You're just getting started. 

 

And that was just week one! Wow. Here is to the week ahead. Thank you for being here. For reading my words, following my journey and for your support and kindness. I send it all back to you so you can have a strong and inspiring week too. I would love to hear your lessons from the week you just had. Tell me the things that inspired you. Send me a note and don't forget to be kind to yourself this week!  

 

WE'VE GOT THIS. 

<3 Sarah 

 

 

 

 

Hilton Head Health Journey Announcement
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I’ve made a lot of changes lately. Big ones. Most of which you know, but it’s amazing that a series of life changes and choices lead me to exactly where I needed to be even if I never could imagine needing to be here.

If you’re reading this I’m officially on my next adventure and though I’ve had a lot of life changing ones lately I know this is a once in a life time experience.

I’m writing you from Hilton Head Island- my home for the next couple months as I embark on a new journey of health, wellness, and inspiration. There is a special place called @hiltonheadhealth and they’re changing lives. They’ve invited me to come and live with them for a little and do their programs and share my story along the way. To document the days, to tell you about my experiences here and to live it. The result? A practice of self care, love and strength like I’ve never given myself before. It’s time for that. It’s time to take care of myself in a way I’ve never known how. To learn how and to do it. I deserve it. We all do. ✨ 
It’s not about a number on the scale for me but to live well in the body I’m in and to make it stronger like the rest of me. To learn about nutrition, emotions and how both affect me because they do. To continue to love & celebrate food but also love and celebrate me. To be present, mindful and grateful about where I am on the journey and to honor it. To try new physical things, scary things and not say no because I’m worried about how my body will get in the way. To not letting my body get in the way and to doing the damn things. To sharing it all with you. The fun, the new, the healthy & delicious and the uncertain. The good days and the hard days. We all may be on our own paths and journeys with wellness, our bodies, food and how we feel about all of the things that go along with those three words but there is a common thread that brings us together. I hope to share my experiences with you and hopefully we’ll all find some inspiration together along the way. ✨
It starts tomorrow. I’ll be sharing on here and my new site that will be launching this week too! In the meantime, say Y E S to adventure and to yourself- you never know where it may lead🦋

Parking Lot Beauty
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{My current to do list} Instructions to living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. ~ Mary Oliver ❤️ This magnolia tree was in the middle of a TJ MAXX parking lot and stopped me in my tracks. I actually had thoughts before moving about how maybe there wouldn't be as many things for me to photograph here as in NYC but I've been proven wrong with so many surprise moments that have left me speechless.

Beauty is everywhere even if it's different than what we're used to which can be so inspiring in itself.
New eyes, new experiences and new stories to share. It's exciting and beautiful.
Pay attention to all of it even when you're in a parking lot.
Especially when you're in a parking lot.
There's something beautiful around you, I promise- so look for it.
WellnessSarah Polite
The Seasons Change and So Do We
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{The seasons change and so do we} As November approaches and the leaves are changing around me, I’m changing too and about to embark on another adventure that I can’t wait to share with you soon. Just when I thought leaving NYC and moving to Greenville was my big change for 2017 - life surprises and brings opportunities, ones that I had never thought/ dreamed of.
I’m doing something that I’ve never really done before which is scary but also so beautiful that chances for change can leave us speechless and scared and excited at the same time. It’s all of the above currently over here 🙋🏻 and more on all of it soon, but in the meantime make sure to pause today and soak up the brisk fall sunshine and feel those leaves crackle under your feet and think about how this season has brought change to your life... maybe without even realizing it 🍂🍁✨
WellnessSarah Polite