Growing up, Sarah Eldridge didn't have a good example of how food should be consumed or what was good versus bad for the body. Food was food and it became such an important part of her daily life as she packed on the pounds. In 2012, she weighed 250 pounds in her petite 5'5" stature.
She lost her father in 2012. He was clinically, morbidly obese. After he passed, Sarah's brother told her he couldn't bare to bring his kids around his father – their grandfather – because he was essentially eating himself into a grave. It was tough to hear, but instead of getting upset with her brother, Sarah realized that was exactly what she was doing to herself.
Sarah said enough. She wanted to be someone her nephews and her step-kids could be proud of. She signed up for Weight Watchers and joined a gym.
Attending weekly meetings at Weight Watchers was a start. Sarah also took it upon herself to log her food and water intake. She signed up for 5Ks to push herself toward a goal. This new Sarah was cutting out the excuses and challenging herself more than any person on the outside would have.
On top of that, she had to teach herself to recognize hunger versus emotional eating, boredom, stress relief and so forth. With a trained mind, she was able to push off cravings. She also packed a lot of her food so she wouldn't be tempted by fast food. Her main focus was what she was putting into body, and the physical activity came slowly afterward.
Sarah made herself a priority. Now 35, she works out several times a week now, trying to squeeze in her exercise in the mornings. She focused a lot on weight loss in the beginning, but now her focus has shifted to strength training. That's right! Using resistance and weights will not make you bulky, but instead will help burn fat and create gorgeous muscle tone.
"I am currently doing Lee Labrada's 12 Weeks to Lean program," Sarah proudly shared. "It groups the workouts in categories of muscles that push, muscles that pull, abs and legs, and cardio every day. I use a combination of free weights, dumbbells, machines and bodyweight exercises to complete my routine each day. I try to make it to Spin and Zumba at least once a week."
Sarah taps into Skinny Mom's recipe archive, utilizing those with Weight Watchers' points. She also uses the workout page to keep things fresh and new – check it out here.
The New Sarah
In the last year, Sarah has completed three 5K races and she's working her way up to a half marathon! She ended up losing 100 pounds and has been able to maintain that weight loss with less of a focus on the scale and more focus on her appearance and strength.
"I really like taking different exercise classes," Sarah said. "Right now I rotate between Zumba, Spin and Yoga, but on non-class days, I usually follow some sort of weight training plus light cardio. I try to be good about having a snack on hand – string cheese and an apple, or hummus and veggies."
She even has a garden where she plucks fresh tomatoes for quick snacks and recipes. Yum!
Her advice: "Don't give up! Don't focus on how much you want to lose, but how you can be healthier. The number on a scale does not define you, nor does it take away the healthy choices you made for yourself!"
Sarah used to describe herself as "ashamed, self-deprecating, out-of-control," but now proudly describes herself as "strong, healthy and confident."