Perfectly Imperfect

January 11, 2013 · 55 comments

When it comes to getting in shape for photo shoots, I have amazing self discipline. When I don’t have a shoot that is in sight, I tend to care a little less about what I eat or drink. Right before the holidays, I was asked by a friend if I would be interested in helping shoot a few pictures for her magazine cover for their health issue. Of course, I said yes. As luck would have it, I was still feeling good about the weight that I lost for the BeFit series. We shot for two days, one at a rock climbing wall in an MIT building and one at Back Bay Yoga studio. I loved the shots but had to wait and see if the publisher agreed.

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Finally, the magazine came and sure enough I was on the cover. My first magazine cover! I’m wearing an Oakley tank top and DA Active capri pant. Panorama is for Boston tourists and available for free in hotels and touristy places like the Prudential Mall. My friend, the editor, asked me for some tips on my favorite healthy places in Boston for her article. When I opened up the pages, she gave me credit too! When I went to get a juice this morning at one of my recommended spots, they had the article framed on the countertop with the cover next to their feature. It was awkward for me, but one of those experiences where I’m sure I’m the only one who notices.

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Since the magazine came out, I’ve been getting a lot of congratualtory texts from friends. It’s exciting but part of me feels fake. Since the shoot, I’ve celebrated two holidays, had more sugar in the past month since well, probably last Christmas and feel like I no longer look the part as I do in the photo. Many of my videos are shot in bulk and uploaded at later dates. Often when a video comes out, it was shot over a month ago. We of course shot a ton right when I got back from LA because I needed them for the New Year but I also wanted to.

I’ve spoken about my hate for photoshop in the past, but really in a digital world, we are the editors of our lives that others view and perceive to be true. Detagging an unflattering picture on Facebook is similar to what Photoshop can do. While you may not like the way you look, only allowing flattering images to be seen, you are manipulating the way people who do not see you regularly think you look like. Disclaimer: The cover photo is barely photoshopped. See my Instagram below for proof. 

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When a company asks to send me a product to try, I usually say no if I think it’s not consistent what I preach on my blog. I’ve tried to be selective and only work with products I would buy on my own without any pr rep telling me to. However, as of lately that would include the pretzel M&M’s I had at the movies, the diet pepsi I had on my flight back from Utah and oh yeah, my friend Katie who makes amazing cookies. I used to hate on Hungry Girl posts that were not clean but truth is, I don’t always eat clean. If you know me in real life, you might be thinking to yourself, “No sh*t.” But if you just read my blog or watch my videos, it may (or may not) surprise you.

I started my blog as a way to help you learn to love fitness, get a body that makes you feel confident and empowered, discover new healthy and delicious products or recipes and learn to love yourself. In 2013, I’m going to continue to help you eat clean 80% of the time.

The other 20% of the time, in my life I kinda of feel like a hypocrite. While I do try to stay away from artificial sweetener, I chew gum on a daily basis. I’ve tried the kind not made with Splenda or aspartame but it’s just not the same, not even close. Sorry. Sometimes I just want a good diet soda. I probably have one, about once a month. It’s like a treat for me, kinda like a cupcake but without the 300 calories. This year, I’m not going to be ashamed of having it! I’m not going to hide it on my blog either.

Imperfect Sarah Fit

In 2013, I’m going to be honest on my blog. I’m not going to feel guilty about not still looking the way I did a month ago for a photo shoot or not practicing entirely what I preach. I can change my mind about my health and fitness beliefs (heck, even my political ones are changing). There is nothing wrong with us for having too many cookies at the party or feeling like we are having a “fat day”. We want people to think we are always in control and when we are not, we often feel ashamed. This year, things are going to change. We are perfectly imperfect and that’s the way I want to be. Life is a journey and to not enjoy the things you truly love is depressing. I’m cool being 5 lbs heavier than my “shoot weight” enjoying them.

Do you have a secret vice like my gum addiction? Share below why you are perfectly imperfect or on twitter #perfectlyimperfect.

{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut January 11, 2013 at 12:48 pm

I struggle with the same thing…wanting to come across as the good example and the “authority” in my field, but sometimes life gets messy. But people love honesty and relatablity. I get the most inquiries about my health coaching services (yay for IIN!) right after I’ve written a brutally honest (and embarrassing!) post about my struggles with emotional eating. Just know that whenever you share the “perfectly imperfect” side of you, you’re helping someone else feel a little bit better. Great post!

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2 Sarah January 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I am so so excited to start IIN. I start next week! We will see how it goes. My blog readers are VERY different from YouTube viewers. Blog=supportive and understanding. Video=Think everything I do is for an extra $1 and hyper critical of my appearance and endorsements.

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3 Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut January 11, 2013 at 1:17 pm

You will love it and you seem to already have quite a bit of nutrition knowledge already, so that will really help. I’ve thought about doing YouTube, but I don’t know if I can handle the haters. We’ll see! Good luck with everything.

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4 Brynn April 12, 2013 at 1:47 pm

You’re so inspiring – that you brave the mean replies and criticism regardless. YouTube is so amazing for its reach but some people have no kindness.

You’re awesome, and your authenticity is what will help the most people, not perfection :)

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5 Jen January 11, 2013 at 12:48 pm

This post gave me chills at the end! GREAT post, you’re amazing!

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6 Sarah January 11, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Wow! So cool :) Thanks Jen!

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7 Mariève January 11, 2013 at 4:51 pm

I agree! Great post, we’re all perfectly imperfect ♥

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8 Ashley @ Sweat for Sweets January 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Great post! The reality is, no one is perfect. I don’t think anyone expects you to be 100% perfect all the time, either! In fact, your blog will probably be enhanced when you open up about your indulgences, etc. because it will allow your readers to see how much “wiggle room” you allow yourself, while still maintaining and healthy, active lifestyle. Looking forward to it!

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9 Sarah January 11, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Thanks Ashley, I “wiggle” a lot haha so it will be interesting.

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10 Patty(reach-yourpeak.com) January 11, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Sarah, I love this post! I was actually just talking to my family about this yesterday. I may have to do a write up on my blog linked to this and your thoughts because I love it! =)

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11 Sarah January 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Thanks Patty! Yes, please link back if you do so I don’t miss it!

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12 Deanna - Coach Calorie January 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm

I LOVE this! And you’ll find that being honest will help you connect with your readers that much more because you’ll suddenly be someone they can relate to. BRAVO.

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13 Sarah January 11, 2013 at 1:22 pm

But my questions is, do people read blogs because they relate to people or because they want to learn something form them? I guess you can do both but I feel like if someone has a struggle, they want to read about how someone overcame it, not how they can’t figure out the solution themselves, ya know?

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14 Kristen January 11, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Happy New Year! Congrats on the magazine cover!

I feel like people start reading a blog because they want to learn something but continue reading because they find the blogger (and their struggles) relatable.

While training for the marathon I had a rough patch of runs that lasted a couple of weeks. I started reading other bloggers posts about their training and the majority of them talked about how every run was great, they felt strong, every mile was faster than the last ect. As you can imagine this did not help me one bit.

One day I randomly stumbled upon a blog where the author talked about her struggles, I felt better about my training and I still read that blog.

Have a great weekend!

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15 Ellen @ Wannabe Health Nut January 11, 2013 at 4:26 pm

There are so many things you do RIGHT that if you have a struggle here or there, I really don’t think it’s a big deal. I think readers appreciate honesty more than anything. People secretly like knowing you aren’t perfect…even if they give you crap for it! It’s comforting. I wouldn’t worry about it too much because clearly you are doing something right!

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16 Logan January 14, 2013 at 8:28 pm

We read blogs to learn new ideas for health and fitness. It’s great to get tips from someone who is so real and down to earth and has so much knowledge to share. It also makes the whole ‘fitness world’ a little less scary being able to see that having a treat every now and then, a cupcake, a soda, gum, whatever it might be, doesn’t mean you have failed or need to start over. Everyone struggles on the path of fitness and its great to show that. Don’t be ashamed of a struggle. It makes you human. It makes you real. Keep up the great work Sarah, keep sharing. Loved this post.

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17 Clare @ Fitting It All In January 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm

I love this. Thank you!

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18 Sarah January 11, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Thanks Clare! I know you understand too as a blogger deciding what companies to work with… it’s like on one hand you enjoy their products but do you want your readers thinking this is your everyday go to snack/drink/whatever…

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19 Nicole January 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Sarah- I love this post and it really hits home. That is the exact reason I was hesitant to start a blog.. b/c you open yourself to the world to criticism. As I have been reading blogs for a couple years now, it really comes off an disingenuous when you pretend you are perfect and in this case (everything you eat is clean). I think healthy is really finding a balance b/w the healthy and not so healthy and you def convey that message via your blog. Keep up the good work.

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20 Sara @ fitcupcaker January 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Great motto! I do actually enjoy eating clean like you, but I also do enjoy a diet pop sometimes, like yesterday at work I was craving one, so thats what I did! And I eat a lot of mints and gum at work too :)

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21 Cindy January 11, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Thank you so much! I am glad I am not the only one with the gum addiction out there. :)

I feel so much better about being #perfectlyimperfect. :) You really made my day.

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22 Sarah January 11, 2013 at 1:42 pm

I wish I wasn’t but yes, I am. Orbitz sweet mint is my poison.

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23 Jen Correa @ Mom's Gotta Run January 11, 2013 at 1:46 pm

I love this blog. I think that it is something that fitness blogger think about often, myself included. If I am not doing living a fit and healthy life, how can I dare speak on the topic. The truth is that we are all human. We can only do our best. Being healthy and fit is also about enjoying life and sometimes that includes a cupcake… or two. :)

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24 Alison @ Healthy-Assets.com January 11, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Congratulations! What an exciting honor to be on the cover of a mag.

I love your self acceptance of being imperfect. We all have our guilty pleasures and that is what makes us human. You are no more human than any of us which is great to hear!

My secret vice is I MUST have chocolate after lunch & dinner. Something about those meals that triggers my sweet tooth. I’ve tried to shake it but I find I go back to it. I am still healthy & fit so why not!

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25 Sarah @PickyRunner January 11, 2013 at 1:55 pm

This is so fabulous! I love it. Nobody is perfect and anyone who says they are is lying. This is such a great post and I’m so glad you cleared the air for your readers. Not that anyone is expecting you to be perfect. If they are, they’re crazy ;)

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26 Caitlin January 11, 2013 at 3:35 pm

This is such a great post. Thank you! I think sometimes you are a little hard on yourself and it will be a great release for you to set yourself free! Also, I will add that this doesn’t make you weak as a fitness leader to your audience….it makes you stronger, because it’s more realistic and sets up all of your viewers to have a healthy relationship with food and exercise that does not include restriction or guilt. We can all learn from this post.

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27 Kimberly @ Healthy Strides January 11, 2013 at 4:11 pm

I definitely like this post and greatly appreciate it as your career is one that I admire. I often feel like I have to live up to a certain standard because people perceive me in a certain way. Heck, when I went to the cafeteria today, I justified getting fries to the woman who comments that I eat so healthy all the time. Who cares if I eat fries every now and then? My guilty pleasure, #perfectlyimperfect “thing” is getting an ice cream cone from McDonald’s after a night group fitness class. So. So. Good.

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28 Sarah January 11, 2013 at 4:14 pm

on my way to bar method last night there was a cookie food truck outside! I secretly wen the longer way to see if it was still there when class got out, it wasn’t haha.

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29 Pikmin January 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Well said.
Stop feeling guilty about cookies or a soda now and then. It’s not gonna boycot your fitness journey, quite the opposite, as health also relies on overall well being, happiness and lightheartedness.
Feeling restricted 100% of the time doesn’t quite sound healthy to me.
Pikmin

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30 striving2befit January 11, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Congrats Sarah! :)
I wanted to tell you that I’m relieved to know that you are not perfect! It makes me love your blogs and videos that much more. It’s a relief to know you that even though you are a health enthusiast and you do enjoy a cookie or margarita in a while. Thanks for the honesty! :)

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31 Saskia January 11, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Hey Sarah,

great post! It’s so true what you’re saying and I really feel like we all should be more honest to admit that we are not perfect and have our flaws and cravings and that everyone indulges sometimes! Does it sound cheesy when I say that I “felt” your words? :-)

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32 Christie January 11, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Love love love this post.
I absolutely hate when my friends see me eating a burger or pizza and they’re like “that’s not healthy Christie”. Life is about balance. Period.

If I restrict myself, I go absolutely insane. If I eat a cheeseburger when I want one, my mind is content and my body satisfied.

Find your balance and live it out!

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33 Audrey Adams January 11, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Wow, I really appreciate you putting this out there! This is awesome! Perfectly Imperfect! Right there with you!
Congrats on the magazine cover!

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34 kelsea January 11, 2013 at 11:02 pm

I like your post and your honesty. As a reader, I don’t hold you to the “perfect standard” because, well, that would kill it for the rest of us imperfect gals reading your blog for inspiration :) Life is all about balance and 100% of anything is usually never that fun or rewarding. I look forward to reading about the perfectly imperfect aspects of your fitness and nutrition.

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35 Jess January 12, 2013 at 1:17 am

I think “perfect” is disordered and boring. Your approach is much healthier.

Congrats on the cover! That is awesome!!! :)

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36 Erin January 12, 2013 at 2:17 am

I love your raw honesty takes some guts to admit all that! nearly finished my degree in nutrition and dietetics and I wish more people shared this view. Life is about balance, food can’t always be about fuel – If we go 100% all the time – we fall off and binge. Congrats on the cover – you look amazing!

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37 Kim @ AQuietCouple January 12, 2013 at 9:58 am

I struggle with finding balance right now. I try to mind my calories and the nutritional value of what is in my food, but I want to enjoy my life occasionally as well. I would say that is my biggest issue at the moment – striking that fine balance between obsessing about it and finally just accepting that MY healthy lifestyle does not need to be all healthy all the time. I like the 80% idea – I think that is what I am averaging now, and I don’t think that’s so bad :-)

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38 Tara January 12, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Great post! I think one of the reasons I keep reading your blog is because it is so relatable. I too am a fitness junkie and a clean eater but I still enjoy having drinks with friends on a Saturday night. Sometimes I get that “fraud” feeling as well but hey we’re human and its more about what you do majority of the time and not once in a while.

Gum addict is not even close to what I am! You aren’t alone!

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39 Devonshire January 12, 2013 at 1:49 pm

I struggle with the mentality that if i can’t give something 100% then it’s an automatic failure. Dieting, hitting the gym, etc. If i don’t stick to a diet 100% then what’s the point, if i don’t make it to the gym 5 days a week, then what’s the point of only going 2 or 3? This, i think, has been my demise and cause of all my weight gain. You don’t have to do everything 100% by the book. We’re all human and each have our own vices (mine happens to be chocolate!). I love your blog because you seem like a realistic person with realistic goals. You share information that isn’t so far out there that the ‘normal’ person can’t do. You reach a far greater audience from being real than from being ‘super fit woman who never eats m&m’s, always goes to the gym, never once has a ‘lazy’ day or doesn’t ever eat one unhealthy thing”. Don’t feel bad and you’re not a hypocrite, you’re real.

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40 Gigi January 12, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Hi Sarah!

I had a bout of school-related depression and somehow found myself weighing at least 25 lbs more than usual – I was so upset I didn’t even leave my house because I didn’t want anyone to see how fat I had gotten. I tried losing weight so many times, with no success at all.

But, I was able to turn things around once I found your blog. I watched so many fitness and nutrition videos on youtube, but I never did anything until I found you. Your emphasis on nutrition really changed my approach to weight loss, and you are so personable in your blog and videos that I felt like your advice would actually work. It sounds cheesy – but it’s true! I felt like you were a real person, especially since you acknowledged your indulgences. I lost 18 lbs over the summer because you inspired me.

I’m still struggling with my weight because that’s what high stress school environments do, unfortunately, but I still come to this blog for comfort :)

I love your posts and videos – keep up the good work!

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41 Vanessa January 12, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Excellent post Sarah! Thank you!

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42 Jacqueline January 12, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Hey Sarah,

Love this post. One of the reasons I read your blog and watch your videos is because you sometimes don’t eat clean. Eating a completely clean diet seems unattainable and some fitness bloggers eat and live in a way that is just a little over the top and well, obsessive. So I read your blog and watch your videos because you set an example for me, because I feel like its doable: Becoming more fit, losing weight (well, fat) etc, without having to be perfect all the time.

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43 Savannah January 13, 2013 at 9:00 am

And this is one thing we all love about you. You are honest. You are true. You are REAL. You’re a human, like the rest of us. It’s hard to relate to these people who “act” perfect all
of the time. You know they slip a mouth full of cookies from time to time and just don’t admit it. This makes us look at fitness in an unrealistic ( defeating ) way. <3 Thanks for all you do and your inspiration!

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44 Janet January 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm

I love gum too – a habit I picked up studying for finals in college and then working in offices as an intern. As odd as it sounds the munching action helps me concentrate… and I suppose munching on that is better than munching on office vending machine snacks or something.

I really appreciate your honesty! Keep it up.

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45 Nicole January 14, 2013 at 1:27 am

You go girl, I love this post! You should never feel guilty about having a diet soda or cupcake from time to time. Like some have mentioned, healthy living is of course about fueling your body well and exercising often, but it also means balance – balance to indulge sometimes. NO ONE IS PERFECT. It’s no fun always being super healthy 100%, you gotta let loose a little! So go on with your fabulous self, and don’t feel like you’re being a hypocrite if you drink too much or have dessert one night.

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46 Amy T. January 14, 2013 at 11:33 am

This post is a perfect example of why I keep coming back to your blog: honesty, inspiration, and you write like you’re talking to a friend. Thank you!

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47 Sarah January 14, 2013 at 11:51 am

Aww thanks Amy! I try. I know I’m not the best writer but I aspire for my content to come across just as you said it does for you. Thanks for being a regular :)

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48 Wainy January 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I LOVED this post. The main reason I follow you is because you are realistic, no one grows up eating steel cut oats and wheat grass especially in the US. We fall in love with food that is horrible for us and are not always educated on nutrition. Its hard to give up things forever and its ok to indulge in those items every once and a while. If you are being judged for having some wine then obv that person does not know how to live. You are amazing, keep it 100!

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49 Jenna @ Spinach In My Teeth January 14, 2013 at 8:14 pm

AMEN SISTA.

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50 Tonya @ Will Run For Yoga January 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Great post! I wish more people would be open and honest about these things. I spent the first 29 years of my life trying to achieve “perfection,” but in reality, no one is perfect. My yoga teacher says it best “we are all made exactly the same, with an infinite number of differences!”

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51 Amanda January 18, 2013 at 10:33 am

I can relate to this post, for sure. I pride myself on working out and eating well and, although I’m really trying to break the habit, I tend to view things in a black or white way (i.e., that food is “bad”). I looked and felt my best on my wedding day in November, but since then I’ve been on my honeymoon, ate my way through the holidays, and lightened up on my discipline a bit. I know this is just the ebb and flow of life, but I can’t help looking at my wedding pics and thinking that I’ll probably never look that good again. Buuut … I think that’s ok! I became kindof a crazy person leading up to the big day, doing two-a-day workouts a few times a week and letting other things fall to the wayside. It really is all about balance!!!

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52 Miranda @ Biting Life January 19, 2013 at 5:29 pm

What a great post! And congratulations on the cover, that’s awesome!! :)

One question: Am I missing something? … is there something wrong with chewing gum? Haha. I usually tend to think of it as a healthier thing, because sometimes I’ll chew a piece of gum instead of having an extra snack, because I know that I just want to eat because I’m bored or something like that.

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53 Sarah January 19, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Chewing gum has a bunch of ingredients that are not exactly good for you… aspartame, sucralose to name just two.

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54 Erin January 23, 2013 at 11:58 am

This post? Is great. I find it so easy to get sucked into the “all or nothing” game – like I either work out and eat well 100%, or I slip and get all “Okay, I’ll just live off of macaroni and cheese for the rest of my life.” Thanks for reminding me that a healthy balance is the most important aspect of living a healthy life : )

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55 Rachel @ Healthy Chicks January 28, 2013 at 12:38 pm

This is beautiful Sarah! I love how real & honest you are. There is no such thing as perfect, and those who strive to be “too perfect” may miss out on all the fun, that is simply enjoying life!

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