Sarah Hamilton was a stay at home mother with two children and her husband was deployed.
At 5’4” 192 pounds, the weight made getting around painful and difficult.
After changing her diet and starting to exercise, Sarah lost 57 pounds in 8 months.
After Sarah had her second child she was diagnosed with food allergies.
Dairy was among one of the ingredients she could no longer have, so she had to take a closer look at her food.
“I had to go to the store and look and read labels,” Sarah says about how avoiding dairy changed how she ate.
“I had to read all the labels.
I had no choice but to start reading labels and that’s when I realized I couldn’t eat anything from the center of the grocery store.
If I was going to live, I needed to start eating from the perimeter of the grocery store eating mainly whole foods.”
Sarah felt discouraged by the weight she gained, and never lost, after having children.
She realized her weight was affecting her emotionally.
She says, “It just seemed like slowly after a while all that weight sort of defined who I was.”
“Just looking back for photos I realized I stopped being in photos and slowly I was edging myself away from life.
That was just really a scary thing now that I look back, how much I started edging myself away from living.”
Being diagnosed with food allergies led Sarah to make changes in her diet, but she thought she needed more information.
“I kind of felt like I didn’t know what I was doing so I talked to an expert and I talked to a registered dietician.”
“Then I started moving,” Sarah says as she tells a story about how she started exercising.
“A friend of mine was getting ready to move and she offered me her jogging stroller and I thought, ha, ha, that’s funny, I don’t jog.”
“I loaded my children up anyway into the stroller and I just started walking.
Every day in the morning I would load up my two small children into the stroller and we would walk.
Then in the evening after dinner I would load them up again and I would walk until they fell asleep at bedtime and that was primarily what I did.”
Sarah has three meals a day and has snacks in between, which provide energy for exercise.
Of her daily eating, she says, “For breakfast I would have a couple of eggs, a lot of veggies tossed in there and for a snack I might have some nuts and some grapefruit.”
“Then for lunch I’ll have some rice and a chicken breast and then whatever veggies are in season.
Then I’ll have another snack, maybe some deli style meats where it’s real thin because then I can get a lot of slices of it and fill gratified like I’m having a lot of food but I’m not.”
“Then like a piece of fruit.
I’ll reach for fruit with my meat.
After that I’ll have dinner which would be pasta and sauce and more veggies and that’s it.”
Sarah tries to avoid dessert as much as possible, only having it on special occasions.
If she feels hungry after dinner, Sarah has another piece of fruit or a fat-laden snack.
To keep temptation under control, Sarah manages it in a unique way.
She says, “Well, recently I’ve taken to brushing my teeth.
If I’m really, really hungry I’ll have a snack similar to what I had described, but if I start feeling tempted usually it is because I’m bored or I’m thirsty.
So, I’ll brush my teeth so I won’t want to eat anything and I’ll just drink water and then I’ll go and find something to do.”
Since starting out with taking her kids on walks in the jogging stroller and losing 70 pounds Sarah has become an athlete.
“I’ve set a goal for myself,” she says about her dedication to being fit.
“I’d really like to run 50K this April and then after that next year I’d really like to do a triathlon.
So, in the morning I get up and I swim for an hour from 5:30 to 6:30, so an hour of swimming.
Then I come home and I do yoga for a half hour.
Then after that somewhere in the morning I’ll do another hour of either riding the bike or running, so that’s a lot.”
For the most part, the family eats what she eats.
The most important thing to Sarah is setting the right example for her kids.
“A lot of my motive is to be healthy so that way I am the first role model my children see,” Sarah says about including the family in healthy eating.
“We don’t eat a lot of casseroles or anything like that.
I don’t know, my family just kind of adapted with me and they all kind of understand.
I think they kind of understand the bigger health picture and that has been a huge blessing.”
“To not wait so long,” she says, thinking about what she’d have done differently if she had to start again.
“I’ll never forget the first class I ever took at the YMCA while my husband was deployed.
It was a kickbox class and it was so fun.”
“When it was over this lady from the front row turned around and she was like eight months pregnant and I thought to myself, holy smoke; that could have been me.
I just think about all that time that I wasted.
I look at every day that I spent fat as a total loss.”
Dream it, wish it, do it!