102: Sarah Moores on Flexing Motivation Muscle for New Strength (F/27)

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A year ago, Sarah had escaped an abusive relationship, was pre-diabetic, and had long given up on her dreams of being an Olympic athlete.

Hear the question that changed her path and helped her discover the fighter within.

“That which does not kill me makes me stronger.”

Weight Gain Background and Contributing Factors

Sarah had childhood troubles with her stomach, involving many surgeries and extended hospitalizations. Upon recovery from this, and once she could eat real food again without a feeding tube, she gained some weight.

Sarah was a successful wrestler in high school, and had aspirations to be an Olympic athlete. Unfortunately, because to life circumstances at the time, she left home at 17 and encountered some difficult times.

Sarah became involved in an abusive relationship and began major weight gain, going from 175-330 pounds in five years (79.5 – 150kg).

“I lost sight of who I was…I really had a hard time loving myself, and before I knew it I was over 300 pounds.”

How Being Overweight Impacted Sarah’s Life

Interacting with people became difficult as Sarah became obese. At age 26 and 5’1″, Sarah was pre-diabetic, had low iron, debilitating seizures, and was told because of stress that she wasn’t able to work.

Sarah shares that, while she enjoys interacting with people, when she was obese she found it difficult to connect with people, and felt that people avoided her.

“I just felt so isolated.”

Sarah describes how she would be out of breath from just a few stairs, and had difficulty with normal daily activities like picking things up off the floor. It was a difficult reality for her when she thought about her past as a champion wrestler in high school. She could still easily remember what it was like to be fit and healthy.

“I felt so lost…I felt like my hopes and dreams were completely taken away from me.”

The Turning Point

For Sarah, deciding to change her life was a longer process than just seeing a number on the scale one day. It began with a question she was asked: If she continued on the same path she was currently on for the next five years, what would her life look like in five years? Sarah thought: “I wasn’t sure I’d still be around.”

“I remember thinking…what is going on with my life? …I decided to fight back a little bit.”

In 2013, Sarah began to discuss possibilities for her life again, and during a discussion about body types and bodybuilding, her boyfriend Justin (now her husband) made a remark about how strong she was. This sparked a new possibility for Sarah.

“I got this glimmer of hope again.”

She fell in love with lifting heavy weights and bodybuilding. Bodybuilder Dana Linn Bailey was a strong inspiration for Sarah.

Starting The Weight Loss Journey

Sarah shares that her all-or-nothing personality had caused problems with dieting in the past. This time was somewhat different.

“I’m a big advocate of baby steps.”

She bought a used punching bag, and hit it for 30 minutes three times each week. She took other small steps like drinking lots of water, cutting out soda, and eating more frequent meals. Sarah spoke to her friend, trainer Mel Veroba, and worked out a clean eating plan and training plan that would fuel her lifting.

Sarah used small whiteboard stickers around her house as reminders for different things, such as tracking water and eating. She and her husband have a positivity board made of cork board that they focus on when things become a struggle, so they can focus on things they are grateful for.

Sarah describes the support she’s received from friends who go to the gym with her, as well as that of her loving husband, Justin. She credits Justin with helping to create an environment where she could heal and work on herself, inside and out.

“He saved my life in a lot of ways.”

In the past year, Sarah has lost 120 pounds (54.5 kg) and found a new life.

Staying Motivated

Sarah faced up and down health during her journey, and her seizures are getting under control. She tries to always remember that she has survived worse, so she get through whatever the current challenge is, too.

She describes her mindset as one where, if you make a big deal about each small victory, memory of those victories can pull you through the discouraging times.

“Lost a couple inches, we made a big deal out of it…Hit a new goal, we made a big deal about it. And when the bad days came, we focused on those good things.”

What Sarah Learned About Food, Exercise, and Herself

“My whole perspective on losing weight was completely wrong.”

Sarah always thought she had to do a ton of cardio, had to cut out everything she loved to eat, and had to “just be miserable.”

“I hate cardio, I am a cardio hater.”

Sarah stresses that food is just as important as working out. She shares advice that her trainer gave her: “Your food is the clay and your workout is the sculpting tool,” and with those two things you can build the body you want. For day to day eating, Sarah eats 4-6 meals each day with clean food and lots of water, and one cheat day each week. She works out 6 times a week, with lifting and short burst high-intensity interval training (HIIT) cardio.

“Your food is the clay and your workout is the sculpting tool.”

Sarah opens up about the difference in how she used to view herself compared to how she does now.

“Right now, I love myself.”

Before, she could not look at a mirror without thinking negative thoughts. Now, she describes waking in the morning with excitement to see what else she is able to do. The most powerful aspect of her that has changed, she shares, is not the weight loss. It’s the process of fighting against something that was keeping her down. She has proven that she can succeed, and it’s that powerful feeling of success that she wants to share with other people.

“I learned that I’m a fighter, and that’s something I love about myself.”

Her current goals are a little further fat loss, a new strength training program to build muscle, and entering a body building competition next year as a physique competitor. Her main goal isn’t tied to a number, but rather on: “If I can look in a mirror and go—yep, damn right, looks good!

“If I can change this much in a year, what will the next 5 look like?”

Sarah’s Advice For Your Journey

Sarah also found strength in committing to the journey for her loved ones, not just for herself, but so that her loved ones would have her around for a long time. One tip: You need to work on your motivation as if it was a muscle. Start on day one, and train your motivation. What is the deep emotional connection to the reason you are doing this? You need to have a why that drives you.

“If you can’t change your mind, you’re not going to change anything.”

Her parting thought is that, from the bottom of her heart, she knows that you can do this, because she did.

“Any one of you can do this, and if you don’t believe me, you can message me.”

Resources Discussed In This Podcast

On Sarah’s Workout Playlist

Contacting Sarah

Sarah shares her inspiring updates on the web at the following profiles:

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