Meet Sarah

Growing up I was never comfortable in my own skin. I hated my freckles and my thick, unruly hair, I never felt skinny enough or pretty enough and thought that because I looked like my dad that it meant I looked like a boy.

I didn’t participate in many sports because I was too anxious and nervous to put myself out there, I tried different after school activities but never felt anything truly fit. I went to post secondary and started studying rehabilitation medicine which was where I discovered my passion for exercise, fitness, and wellness. Despite this, in the midst of studying, working, dating and maintaining a social life my own health & fitness fell by the wayside.

Not long after, a guy I was dating at the time told me I could afford to lose a few pounds. Rude. I was stunned. He wasn’t completely wrong. But I wasn’t expecting it to be such an abrupt, in your face announcement. I took this opportunity to: A) Break up with him (and/or any man who couldn’t love me for me) and B) Create my best self inside and out.

It started with swimming most mornings, being more mindful of what I ate, increasing fruits and vegetables, decreasing sweets and treats. Probably eating far too little.  I soon became obsessed with at home workouts – Enter Jillian Michaels. If you ever need a workout DVD let’s just say I have it.  I was also over training…. 

Eventually it was time to try something new. I scoured the Internet looking for a class or something I could do with a friend also looking to better herself physically and mentally. I found a Groupon. It was to a CrossFit gym – I didn’t really know what that meant as CF was newer still but the price was right, I was intrigued and my friend was agreeable.  So to CrossFit we went. The workout was the “Filthy 50” and thanks to Jillian I didn’t die. 

I instantly wanted more. These were like-minded people, striving to be better and having a lot of fun along the way. I met a lot of amazing people at this gym and I even was talked into doing a figure competition within those walls. Yes. Bodybuilding.

This is probably where I learned the most about nutrition and how to lose 20 pounds really fucking fast. It wasn’t the healthiest, it was a challenge. But I did it. And I did well, buttt never again. Post competition I was terrified to gain everything back and more as many competitors do. I knew how to count macros. I knew what I should eat. But there was also a lot of delicious shit that I wanted to eat. This is when I started looking into lifestyle nutrition coaching.

I continued to CrossFit, now at CrossFit Sherwood Park, and worked with a handful of nutrition coaches (on and off) online. I struggled because they never got to see me in person. I felt like a number, like I was being given a cookie cutter nutrition program.  So I stopped bothering. Why would I pay someone else when I had the skills and knowledge to do it myself… Kind of… ish.

So I did. And sometimes I did great and other days I binged entirely and then I felt horrible about myself the cycle continued.

Fast forward and I was married, we decided it was time to start a family. We got pregnant relatively easily and then we lost that baby. I was devastated. I remember eating far too much Birthday Cake Oreo ice cream. Way too much. The months following were nutritionally not my best … I wasn’t working out, I was just getting by. I fell pregnant again months later but at my heaviest. While overjoyed to be expecting I was terrified to once again miscarry.  This said I stopped going to CrossFit entirely. Not only because of my fear of doing anything that would harm that baby but please remember I was the fattest I had ever been and would only be getting “fatter”. I was embarrassed to be seen in a place where are used to coach & excel. Completely logical right? *face palm*

I spent those nine months eating whatever I wanted, going on the occasional dog walk and living my best pregnant life.

Kace was born at 9 lbs. 7 oz and after his birth I weighed 15 pounds more than I had before conceiving him which again put me at my heaviest non-pregnant self. Fuck. I also had developed an autoimmune reaction causing my entire body to break out in ridiculously itchy hives, These hives lasted until Kace was over one year old. However they were the worst during his first year.  No Doctor could do anything for me. 

Between having a new baby and being itchy from head to toe, plus some personal turbulence exercise was a struggle and I found myself becoming isolated mostly because I felt so hideous with my painful, raised, red, inflamed skin and sweating exacerbated it..

I did return to CrossFit however it was the one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done. Physically and mentally.

Aside from CF I joined an 8 week program with a nutritionist who was the friend of a friend and I lost 18 pounds. Didn’t win the challenge though. Bummer. During that time I also started acupuncture and herbal remedies for my “rash”, it was slowly disappearing, finally. This mama was getting her groove back. 

It wasn’t long after that I decided to finally start with Shannon. I knew I wasn’t eating nearly enough through the “challenge” and I had no energy to push myself in wods. Also,  I had been watching friends from CFSP have great success while being viewed as more than just “macros” working with Shannon. Shannon’s approach is truly holistic and I am forever grateful for it.

In my time with Shannon I built up to eating the most I had in a very long time. Nearly double in fact and I was still losing weight. Not depriving myself. None of this good food and bad food nonsense. I went  on vacations, celebrated events and the people I love. I became kinder to myself and became better at practicing mindfulness and gratitude. And I’ve been able to share that with others and that’s been really great. Iam a work in progress but I’ve come a long way! I learned more about my autoimmune conditions and gave gluten free try. I’m still trying. 

I’ve truly enjoyed getting to know Shannon better through her own vulnerability and transparency and laughing through our “conversation in the car check-ins”, which are super safe by the way.

My goals with Shannon were get stronger again and to continue to lose the weight I had let myself too easily gain after experiencing loss and then pregnancy. 

Even though I didn’t know what the future held I made it a goal to approach a future pregnancy being in good shape and at a healthy weight. I wanted a pregnancy where I could continue exercising throughout  and eating with insight and accountability.

I write this ~14 weeks pregnant with baby number two. #Overachiever

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