Month three: full of reflection, hope and not one resolution in sight

Month three. A point in time that seemed so far away for so long was finally here. It arrived quickly and silently and before I knew it the holidays had passed and 2017 was coming to an end and 2018 was beginning. New beginnings- there were so many surrounding me in the months leading up to this one but this month was going to be preparation for maybe the biggest new beginning of all. Life after this transformative experience in my new home. Transformative- causing a marked change in someone or something. I was changed. And just as quickly as it all began it was officially my third and final month at Hilton Head Health. 

 

 

Week 9

HAPPY NEW YEAR - So, what's your New Year's resolution? This question and tradition is engrained in our culture year after year lists of goals and things we're going to get right this year.  Until we don't. And what is right anyway? Should, shouldn't, better than we were last year, than we are currently. I love New Year's and new beginnings but there is a lot of pressure on a moment at midnight and a fresh slate for the year ahead. By the beginning of February I've forgotten half of the things I wrote down and the rest I'm doing because I should not even because I want to.  And when I stop doing the things there is shame and sabotage and so much disappointment - in myself. That is why this year I decided in this new season I was in entering in this new year I resolved to not make resolutions. I wanted to be kind to myself just as I was and celebrate all of the things I did this last year and was currently doing. It was a lot. And I never wanted to forget it.  I love goals but sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in them and have our eyes on where we're hoping to go that it's easy to miss all the progress in the present. 

 

 

Week 10

I woke up one morning. It was a normal day like any other but I felt IT. It was that feeling that everything I was doing here felt like second nature. It wasn't something I had to do or felt like I should do but I knew I would do and could do.  I KNEW this would be a part of my life moving forward. I had hoped it would be before this but today, I FELT IT. That health and wellness was important to me. Self care, strength and loving my body no matter where it is on this journey. Forgetting the story I had told myself all these years about what my body can do. Unlearning what society has taught me about beauty. Sharing it and celebrating it. Every step of the way. This ordinary day on this regular week ended up being extraordinary because I knew I could. 

 

Week 11

This was the week I wanted to soak it all in. Seeing the end in sight and holding on to the feeling I had being right where I was. It was the week I started counting my "lasts" around campus but I knew they were all just beginnings. I remember being in a hip hop dance class with one of my favorite instructors Ashley and after class I hung around like I normally did but this time both of us told the other how much the experience has meant. How much we would miss each other. But that we have one more class together. One more. In my heart I hoped so many more but I knew that no matter how many times I return there will never be anything as sweet as that first time of discovery and learning in that way of the unknown and uncertain. And I cherished every minute of it. Closed my eyes tightly hoping it would remain just a little longer. 

 

Week 12

A week I never thought would arrive or could arrive was here. In someways it flew by. It other ways it felt like the perfect pace of time. I remember before this even began I couldn't imagine how I would feel and who I would be on the other end of this experience. Three months felt like such a long amount of time but in my whole life it's just a flash in the pan. That is the most beautiful part of it all. I went into this unsure but wide open and came out so certain and cracked open even wider than I ever thought possible. I was hopeful. I was ready. The last three months lead me to this moment and everything ahead of me was possible. I wasn't scared but inspired and excited to go live this new life. And I knew I would be back soon. That's the thing with those places and people that us. They remain with us forever no matter where we go. I knew this was just a chapter in my story and that it was just getting good. 

 

 

 

Here's to surprising ourselves. To wanting more for ourselves and going out and taking the time to do the things we never knew we could do. We deserve them. Here's to health AND happiness ahead. Here's to just getting started. 

A new kind of healthy, 

<3 Sarah 

 

"Welcome to the Dr. Oz Show, we're so happy you're here..."

For eight years those words were my opening line. My greeting card and my welcome to all the guests that came to The Dr. Oz Show. I was the Travel Supervisor for the show and was responsible for all of the guests once they were booked for segments. My team and I were the ones who got them to NYC for their taping, taking care of all their travel accommodations behind the scenes while they were in town and at the studio for the show. 

After 14 years in NYC and eight years at Oz I recently left both in August to take an inspired leap and move to Greenville, SC to focus on unchartered territory- myself. To do the thing I was scared to do. To go and see what was out there for me so I didn't have to wonder what if.  To listen to my truth and to follow my inner compass even if I wasn't sure where it would lead.

After traveling thousands of guests for all those years I realized that I took care of them easily and often without taking care of myself. It was time to. I was looking for a shift in health, wellness and perspective that I had never experienced before. But once I started to look- I found it, or actually, I think it found me. After my move to Greenville I was connected to Hilton Head Health- a health and wellness resort within driving distance from my new home where I ended up staying for three months and changing everything. Changing my perspective on a lot of things but especially myself. It's where I saw myself in a new way that I had never seen myself before. Once I started to choose myself it was powerful and got easier with each choice but once I decided to choose my health and that I deserved it-it was even more empowering. It has never been about the weight or losing it to me. Never about a number on the scale or a size dress on the tag.  It was about the movement and the knowledge and the sustainability of living a full and healthy life without being restrictive, deprived or shamed. 

And just like that in a beautiful blur and only 6 months I went form NYC to SC and then back to NYC to share my new journey with the person from the person from thats been there from the start of it all- Dr. Oz. It was a wild and wonderful full circle moment that I never expected to get but so thankful I did. To show up at the studio and be the one welcomed and greeted with open arms the way I always tried to welcome guests was a powerful moment of pause, gratitude and reflection and I wanted to share my behind the scenes moments with you from this special day. 

 

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I walked by this sign on every tape day for years as the audience lined up right next to it before each show. As I walked in this time passing the audience like I used to I knew it was different so I paused to take a moment to reflect on how big of a full circle moment it was.

    

 

 

I had to check in through security at the front where I always greeted all of the guests. It was weird and wonderful to be the visitor this time. I made sure to wear the name tag just in case anyone asked me to do any work that day. 

I had my own dressing room! This was part of my job each show day to escort all of the guests that were going to be on the show to their rooms! To have that happen to me was a surreal moment.&nbsp;

I had my own dressing room! This was part of my job each show day to escort all of the guests that were going to be on the show to their rooms! To have that happen to me was a surreal moment. 

Hair &amp; makeup time!&nbsp;

Hair & makeup time! 

Getting hair and makeup done- BEFORE

Getting hair and makeup done- BEFORE

AFTER&nbsp;

AFTER 

The best part of this whole experience was my best friend Nicole produced me! How amazing is that? It was the best and this is a photo of us before the show. Me sitting there in disbelief listening to her talk about the segment and trying not to cry (spoiler alert- I cried anyway. She cried too. OK - we all cried. EVERYONE CRIED.)

The best part of this whole experience was my best friend Nicole produced me! How amazing is that? It was the best and this is a photo of us before the show. Me sitting there in disbelief listening to her talk about the segment and trying not to cry (spoiler alert- I cried anyway. She cried too. OK - we all cried. EVERYONE CRIED.)

It's almost SHOWTIME!&nbsp;

It's almost SHOWTIME! 

Last few moments before my segment with Nicole. She's giving me a pep talk and I'm thinking about what I was going to say out there in front of everyone &nbsp;but reminded myself to just speak from my heart.&nbsp;

Last few moments before my segment with Nicole. She's giving me a pep talk and I'm thinking about what I was going to say out there in front of everyone  but reminded myself to just speak from my heart. 

A new point of view.

A new point of view.

And just like that it was over! But it's only just beginning. It was amazing and something I'll never forget even though it was a beautiful blur.&nbsp;

And just like that it was over! But it's only just beginning. It was amazing and something I'll never forget even though it was a beautiful blur. 

This moment says it all. The segment had just ended, we got a photo and I smiled and told him "we had fun, didn't we?" and that I was thankful for the chance to catch up. When you watch the segment you'll see from my face how excited I was to be there with him and talk about my journey and Hilton Head Health. I think you'll also be able to tell from his face he was just as excited.&nbsp;

This moment says it all. The segment had just ended, we got a photo and I smiled and told him "we had fun, didn't we?" and that I was thankful for the chance to catch up. When you watch the segment you'll see from my face how excited I was to be there with him and talk about my journey and Hilton Head Health. I think you'll also be able to tell from his face he was just as excited. 

Did that just happen? YES YES IT DID! SO much fun to have one of my favorite people that have meant so much to me along this journey be there in person to support me from Greenville, SC. Thankful for Taryn on all days but especially this one!&nbsp;

Did that just happen? YES YES IT DID! SO much fun to have one of my favorite people that have meant so much to me along this journey be there in person to support me from Greenville, SC. Thankful for Taryn on all days but especially this one! 

That's a wrap! With my best friend AND producer Nicole after the segment. We both cried so hard during and after the segment and I'm the most thankful that she was the driving force behind this experience. She gave me the greatest surprise in the segment that I can't wait for you to see!&nbsp;

That's a wrap! With my best friend AND producer Nicole after the segment. We both cried so hard during and after the segment and I'm the most thankful that she was the driving force behind this experience. She gave me the greatest surprise in the segment that I can't wait for you to see! 

My episode of The Dr. Oz Show is set to air Friday 3/30. Check your local listings here to see where and when you can watch it! 

Sarah Polite
Month two: four more weeks and even more lessons

Month two started out with sickness and ended with a strength I didn't know I possessed. In between? So much inspiration and growth that added on to everything I had learned in month one. 

Looking back it was a beautiful blur and I spent most days in as many classes and lectures as possible trying to soak it all in and give it all I had. The result is a later than hoped blog post recapping all of it but many moments of being present and aware. Sometimes the moments pass us by and we just have to feel them and live them and and write about them after. This was my month for that. This was the month I came into my own here and learned that this is what I want to be have in my life moving forward. Movement. Health. Wellness. A new kind of happiness. This is the month I realized that I won't just be strong and healthy here but I can be strong and healthy out there too. That's liberating. This month was the best month for so many reasons. 

Here's some reflections week by week: 

WEEK 5: Self care is health care.  I had just wrapped up my month long program and I got so sick that I had to take some serious time to regroup and recharge. This was so hard for me as I wanted to keep the momentum going from the weeks before it and continue on. But, because I was sick, I couldn't. It took me a full week of rest to realize one of the biggest realizations for me I've ever had- movement is important to me and I missed it while I couldn't. WHAT? Yes, I missed movement and working out. What a revelation! THIS was the moment I realized I liked it and it made me feel GOOD instead of something just to do to get an end result. Sure, there were goals and acommplishments in the first month that drove me to continue on and to work harder and get better but THIS week showed me I want to work out just because it feels good and just to feel it. We should feel good. Let's do more things that make us feel that way. 

 

WEEK 6: Getting my groove back. This was my first week back after being sick and easing into my new program- Living Well. It's designed for me to pick the classes, lectures and activities I want. I am the captain of my ship and I was ready to sail. I knew that after 4 weeks of a structured guided program to go it on my own could mean a lot of trial and error situations of things I like,  don't like as much, and things that make me feel both challenged, capable and uncomfortable. It's all the things happening at once, but isn't that like life? Finding out what works, what doesn't, what inspires us and makes us happy, and what no longer serves us and then we can adjust accordingly? I loved the idea of it. The option to get ready for life when I leave. I also knew that after being in a group setting for the first four weeks meant that I needed this time to see how I planned my days.  It all happens here and works towards after here.  The classes I like now will most likely be the classes I seek out there when I head home. My fitness style is important so that I know what works for me in everyday life. Instead of trying things that don't fit into what makes me HAPPY and feel good. This program is full of options to challenge and prepare for that and every day after week 6 was a deliberate, conscious decision of how I can take every single thing and apply it after here.  And with that came choices and power. Power comes from choosing for you.  And deciding for myself and feeling it all fall into place the definition of just that. 

 

WEEK 7:  Strength is what I was looking for all along. Personal training has always intimidated me. I've been a member at gyms before and had a complimentary meeting with trainers each time where I would struggle through a workout, feel shame somehow about where I'm at on my journey and never make another appointment with them again. And they never reached out to check on me to see why I never called. Just another face, another client. It was a vicious cycle that happened a few times. Along with that weights were an unchartered territory for me. How to use the machines, what weight was good for me, and to look as little out of place as I could was my only goal. They seemed scary and like you had to show up and know what to do. I always walked right by that section and hopped on my elliptical machine. Deep down I had a feeling of longing to learn it but never did. "Maybe someday." I thought. I knew this was an uncomfortable space with me so I decided in month two I would sign up for personal training and we would focus on one of the things that scare me -strength. . 

Two days a week we met. My first session started with me nervous and rambling on about how nervous I was and the same session ended with me lifting weights heavier than I thought I could. Two 40 pound sand bags. As he loaded them up in my arms I walked back and forth across the gym floor. Slowly, and I didn't make it far but - I made it. My trainer believed I could. He pushed me in a kind and encouraging way that made me want to do more. "You're strong. Stronger than you think." That sentence is in my mind forever. Words I had never heard about my physical self were both eye opening and empowering. That's what it's all about. Challenging ourselves and seeing what our beautiful bodies can do. It's been a big part of my week now- these training sessions, the growth I'm seeing and knowing I'm stronger than before. That's where the strength was all along- in myself. 

 

WEEK 8: There's no place like home for the holidays but no matter where I am- Hilton Head Health will always be with me. In a last minute game time decision I went home to Pennsylvania  to surprise my mom for the holidays. She had no clue and it was one of the greatest moments to show up on her doorstep Christmas Eve causally wishing her a Merry Christmas.  She said for the first time in her life she was genuinely surprised and it took her until I left the day after Christmas to believe I was really there. Leaving a safe, inspired place like Hilton Head Health can be daunting especially while in a groove and after the journey and experience here or during one of the most food filled times of years- the holidays. I decided I was ready to leave for a couple days, head home and dive right into an Italian Christmas with food and family. I feel like by staying here for so long I also needed to incorporate real life experiences into my experience here since real life is waiting for me when I depart. 

It was amazing to pause, spend time with family that was proud of me and happy to see me and also be aware about the family dynamic and food and how it plays a role in my life and how it impacted me growing up. Everything was a reminder, a revelation, an ah-ha moment and it was amazing to see this holiday through new eyes and an improved self awareness and perspective since the last time I was surrounded by Christmas cookies. As I have been thinking about it since, I've realized I have so much to say about it that I've been thinking about a separate post about what food really means to me. Currently, in the past and as a child. Don't we all?  I would love to share these thoughts with you and hear how you can relate and how food has been a part of your life too. More on that soon, but- it's so important to self reflect and be aware and I get more comfortable with both as they're happening and in hindsight. The greatest reflection of my entire trip was that It's a beautiful thing to spend time with people that know you a certain way and as you show up differently for the first time -they still love and support you.

 

Snapshots of a month to remember. December- that started and ended totally differently. That's the beauty of it. To start the month in one place and end it in another. Growth and challenge, both physically and mentally. Awareness and celebration and honoring what is needed for myself. Getting more comfortable the more physical I become and knowing one thing for certain- I'm just getting started.


<3 Sarah

Health, WellnessSarah Polite
How to measure a month

When I started this I actually couldn't imagine being here right now.  A month in, done with one program and about to start another and totally being happy and at peace. With wellness, health, fitness, movement, and most importantly, myself. Just as I am and where I'm at. 

It's natural to go to the scale to sum up my experience so far here.  To tell you how much I've lost and you decide if it's good enough. It's so easy to rely on the scale, to be motivated by it and to be derailed often. It's an easy way to measure how great of success I've had with the amount of weight I've loss each week, but I won't. There's so much many more things worth measuring and celebrating from the last four weeks. How do I measure my month of success at Hilton Head Health without mentioning the pounds? 

Here's how. Celebrating all the non-scale victories this month. 

Showing up to the unknown and jumping in with a smile. Every single day. 

Finding movement that I LOVE doing and know I'll incorporate into my life when my time is finished here. 

Being aware of the habits that have been holding me back from a healthier life. Talking about them, working on them daily. 

 Trying things I never thought I would try before being here and feeling comfortable doing them. Kayaking. Hip hop dance. Pilates reformer. TRX. Things I would never sign up for before, and signed up for even if I wasn't sure. 

Rewriting the story I've always told myself about my body and ability. 

Being open to new information about diet, fitness, health and emotions. Not being scared of the stuff I don't understand and wanting to understand it. 

I'm no longer out of breathe from walking to and from my cottage. 

Improving my benchmark times over the month and shaving at least two minutes off on each of my activities. Parking lot circuit, indoor mile, pool benchmark circuit and THE OUTDOOR MILE. 

Not being able to do a squat on day one. Being able to do many squats (low ones) at the end of this month. 

Lowering my blood pressure and cholesterol. Something my doctors have shamed me about for years but never worked with me on improving. 

Feeling muscles start to form. 

Being honest with myself and you daily. 

Trusting the process but staying curious about it. 

Seeing my skin start to clear and stop taking my acne medicine. 

Opening up to the other ladies in my group and building relationships when it would be easier and more comfortable to go it alone. 

Eating mindfully and slowly something I never did before. 

Waking up easier and earlier in the morning and having more energy throughout the day. 

Getting up from sitting after a long period of time and not having my feet hurt anymore. 

Being told I'm strong and knowing it. 

Not focusing on the number on the scale but going off of how I feel instead. 

Looking forward to the next month ahead. To taking the things I've learned this month to using them in all I do from here on out. 

 

Where were you a month ago? Celebrate where you are now no matter where else you think you should be. 

 

<3 Sarah 

 

 

 

I'm posting the photos below not to dissect and discuss how my body has changed or to receive compliments but to honor where I was on that first day and where I was on that 30th day. THAT is worth celebrating. <3 

 

Wellness, HealthSarah Polite
Food for thought: Why am I here? Week 3 at Hilton Head Health

We sat around the table and were simply asked a question in four words that left me speechless.

What is your WHY? Why are YOU here?  

I looked around the room and saw everyone shift in their seats. Their eyes looked up and they were hoping this was a rhetorical question instead of one we had to answer in front of everyone. It was just for us. The question and the answer to our why. The intention to our why and the reason we are here right now in our lives doing what we're doing. I could tell that some ladies didn't know. Some knew all too well and this wasn't the first time they had answered this question and it was hard for them to revisit it. Some never had thought about it before and just did the things they've been doing because they were told they should or had to.  

Out there it's easy to get clouded with influences and reasons that may interfere with your why and your motivation daily. Someone telling you you need to lose weight because they don't know how to love themselves. Doctors shaming you for health reasons to try to get you to diet because that's all they know how to do. Relationships reasoning you into changing because they may be unhappy. Society telling us all the things that are wrong with us instead of telling us what we are doing right. But here, it's a safe space that creates a place that is easier to focus on ourselves and for what we actually want and need to continue on this journey. Everything is illuminated. A space for people that have often focused on everything else but ourselves for so long.  Even if our original reason for arriving changes once we get here- then even better. Growth. Progress. Change. The right kind because we want to not because someone is telling us to. Our whys are now making it more about us and less about them. Focusing more about health and wellness instead of size and weight. I think when the why is our own reason and personal and genuine the rest will follow. 

I could tell you my why but I feel like there is a sort of sacredness to it. I'm finally doing it for me and that's the strength of it all. There have been other times I've tried to lose weight for other people or reasons and it never worked. Sure, it did initially but it never stayed off. This time, it's for me and this time it's not about the weight. It's about everything else but that and that is why I know this time is different and this time is beautiful. 

What is YOUR WHY?  Don't worry, the question and answer is for you and you alone. Think about it. Reflect on it and cherish it.  <3

Week 3 reflections: 

Doing things for ourselves isn't selfish, it's actually the furthest thing from it. 

There is so much pride and hope seeing other people transform before your eyes. They walk taller and faster and easier. Confidence. Mobility. Strength. 

A holiday away from home is a holiday full of more gratitude for the place you miss.

Thanksgiving can be more about the food on the table. It can be about the people you're sharing the meal with, the conversations you're having and the fact we have a beautiful plate in front of us even if it's not the Thanksgiving we are used to. 

Sometimes breaks and rest days are necessary. We can't be all or nothing all of the time. Take time for you so you can continue on stronger than before. 

Our stories inspire others even if we aren't trying. 

Mobility is a gift we have and shouldn't be taken for granted.

Self care is an act of health care. 

Eat the special whole waffles for breakfast the day they’re on the menu. Enjoy them and don’t agonize over any calories after that moment. 

Long catch up phone calls with friends that make you smile are necessary. So is seeing the friends that make you laugh until you cry. 

Listen to people's stories. Deeply. Quietly. You'll find out more about yourself than you think. 

Happiness is contagious even on the hard days. 

Laughter is the best medicine especially when you didn't realize you needed it. 

Finding our fitness style is an important thing- it's not all treadmills and ellipticals. 

Do the things you didn't think you could do but have always wanted to do. 

Our bodies want to move and get better and healthier. We just need to help them to do so. 

 

Be good to yourself this week,

<3 Sarah

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