Sarah Talks Food...and Recovery!

Anyone who starts an email off with "I am a big fan of your work and how you are improving the world" gets a vote in my book! <3.  Sarah Roberts, gorgeous health and nutrition beacon of light who runs Sarah Talks Food continues: "I am a 43-year old recovering alcoholic living in Ottawa, Canada. I first got sober in 2002 and am still on my journey and excited for what's to come. I am passionate about helping people to know that they are not alone. My blog is an evolution of my journey, with a focus on health and fitness as well as finding my people and sharing about my story and sobriety. 'The Decision' was the first post I wrote, and the one that finally freed me. I shared it above and would welcome a conversation with you if you believe it could have value for your readers."  So without further ado, I'll let Sarah take it away.  Happy reading, and thank YOU, Sarah, for sharing your radiance with the world.   xoxo, Laura.


The Decision…

I am finally officially writing my first blog post! I am actually doing it!!

I have wanted to launch this blog for over a year, but I’ve been stuck by the thinking and over-thinking that comes when I want something to be “perfect”.  I have been passionate about it being something that truly serves people, and not just a place for me to call my own. And so although I don’t consider any of that time “wasted”, I am simply going to start here. Period. I am making a decision and I have decided that although this blog may end up becoming something that I can’t envision right now, NOW is the time that I am embarking on this journey.

The only time is now. Perhaps we’ll discover that this is the exact right time for you to join me, too. 

Life is a journey, and we never arrive at a place in our lives without making a series of decisions. Everything starts with a decision. We decide what to think. We decide who to spend our time with and what we will do with that time. We decide where we will work. We decide what to eat at each meal. We decide whether or not we will exercise…

Decision after decision after decision.

The Truth

I made a big decision when I was 29. I’m afraid to share it with you because I’m uncomfortable with judgment and criticism. It’s another reason it has taken me so long to launch this blog, and although I’ve even shared this truth on television, I have told very few people about it personally. Even some of you who think you know me quite well may not know what I am about to share. But if we are going to be friends, I want you to know who I am. And if I am going to use this space to share my opinions, thoughts and beliefs, I had better get used to judgment and criticism. Plus, I feel stronger whenever I push myself to grow outside my comfort zone. So, here goes. Deep breath…decision.

When I was in my twenties, I was what is labeled a “high functioning alcoholic”. I had a good job, made good money, sat on boards, volunteered, went to work each day, had an active social life, and generally looked like I had my life together. But behind closed doors, I drank. In social settings, I drank, too, but I always tried to keep it together until I got home. Then, I would drink alone until I passed out and woke to my alarm at 6:30 the next morning, where the cycle would begin all over again.

At 29 years old, I had to admit to myself, to my family, and to a select group of friends that I was an alcoholic. I hated the label, but I also needed it to keep me accountable. I relapsed only 4 days after quitting and then again a few months later. The relapses only lasted a day each, and I feel like I needed them to remind me that the more I wanted the drug of alcohol, the more of an addict I was. Those relapses ended up empowering me to stay strong through the next stage of my life.

The Plunge

I needed to create a whole new life. I had to disassociate with several friends who were essentially my drinking companions. I needed to become a whole new “me” as I felt myself floundering, wondering who I even was without the mask of alcohol.

I decided to quit my job and enrol in business school. On the first day, after my first class, I made the decision to take this seriously. Really seriously. I had not taken high school or my previous attempts at College or University seriously, and I needed this to be different. I needed it to be different or else I didn’t know how I could justify the not drinking.

So, I decided to kick ass. I busted my butt working at those diplomas. Studying and working hard had never come naturally for me, so it took enormous self-discipline and focus for me to accomplish my goals.

The Journey To Health

I lost weight immediately when I quit drinking, and I used the weight loss as the impetus to start working out seriously for the first time in my life.  Throughout my time at college, I went to the gym 5 days a week and began to really focus on my fitness and nutrition. I quit smoking, a habit I’d picked up in my youth, because I knew that if I wanted to truly live a healthy lifestyle, the cigarettes had to go.

I felt good in my body for the first time in a very long time. I felt energetic and healthy. It felt great. Instead of AA meetings (of which I did attend a few, but never resonated with), I chose school, exercise, and healthy eating as my recovery plan.

I completed 3 diplomas in 3 years and I loved every minute of the experience. I tutored other students, I acted as a mentor and I graduated at the top of my class. As I stood in front of 2,000 people accepting the award for the highest achievement, I spoke about my passion for the experience and how I would pledge to always work to my potential, something I had struggled with until then.

I went on to get my degree in Business Management, and continued to exercise 5 days a week even during the busiest times. I felt connected to the fitness and connected to the idea of being healthy, which also helped me justify not drinking. A healthy person can more easily say “I don’t drink” in social situations, and that is what I did. Instead of telling people I was an alcoholic, I was trying hard to just make abstaining from alcohol “normal” in a society who reveres it, values it, romanticizes it and tends to judge people who don’t do it.

The Move

At 34 years old, I decided to pick up my life and move to Ottawa, Ontario. I was still finishing my degree at the time and I got a job at a local restaurant. I relapsed with alcohol within a few weeks of being in the city.  This relapse lasted 22 days, and it crept up slowly. At first, I avoided the house parties and bar nights by telling people I had to study or I had to work early the next morning. Then, it was one drink after work with new friends. Then, a few drinks at the pub down the street. A week later I was buying wine at the liquor store to have at home, “just in case”. I just couldn’t bring myself to stick with “I don’t drink” in this new city. Plus, I really wanted to give drinking another shot… “maybe I’m not really an alcoholic. Maybe I just needed a few years away from it”, I told myself. Even at the time, I knew I was in denial about my disease, but there was a part of me that was hoping that my new life in this new city would allow me to escape from my demons.

One night at home, I finished a whole bottle of wine to myself. I looked in the mirror and I hated what I saw. I told myself that this was the last time I would ever have a drink. I told myself to go and make something of my life, to not waste all those years of hard work and sacrifice at school. Because I knew, deep down, that if I allowed this to go on much longer, that I would die. I knew that I could never live the life I wanted as long as alcohol had a place in it. I haven’t had another drink since. That was almost 9 years ago.

My Spiritual Awakening

As I pursued career options, working in marketing for a local realty and then later in sales for a full service marketing agency, I also embarked on a spiritual journey and became aware of the law of attraction. I watched and read “The Secret”, I studied Napoleon Hill’s work, “Think and Grow Rich”, I became aware of Bob Proctor’s work, I read “The Science of Getting Rich” by Wallace Wattles, I learned of Dr. Wayne Dyer’s philosophies, and I was forever changed by “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth” by Eckhardt Tolle. I can recommend many more resources on the law of attraction including Michael Losier’s exceptional work “The Law Of Attraction”, but the fundamental thread that binds them all is this: We are all connected to the same source energy. Thoughts become things, and if we become crystal clear and laser focused on the things we want, we can manifest our deepest desires. This realization and clarity gave me strength and determination when I was alone in a new city, and it reminded me that I could do, be, and have anything I wanted if I just got clear.

My Health 2.0

I began connecting with experts in the field of health and wellness, meeting with chiropractors, nutritionists, physiotherapists, massage therapists, yoga instructors, personal trainers, exercise physiologists, my own doctor, and various others who had a knowledge base and opinion on health, nutrition, fitness and exercise. I didn’t know where all my research would lead me, but I knew I was passionate about it.

I used the same discipline I’d used in school, and I became a ‘regular’ at bookstores reading voraciously on the subject of health and fitness. I watched documentaries on the condition of our food supply and what we are doing to our health through or food choices. Although I can honestly say I have never been “on a diet” in the way that society uses the term, I realize that we are all “on diets”, meaning that the way we eat IS our diet. So, throughout my research, I have tested and tracked various diet and exercise plans.

I was raised by a stay-at-home mom who valued home-cooked meals and healthy choices, so my foundation in food and nutrition was solid, but I began to develop a passion for all things health-related.  I found that the more I learned, the less I understood and I realized that others must feel the same way. With the sheer volume of information and number of divergent opinions, I felt the need to find a common thread among all of my research.

Although I am by no means an expert, and don’t claim to be, I have logged what worked for me and what didn’t, and after 13+ years of trial & error, I feel I have finally found a balance that feels good, and I am so excited to be able to share my findings with you.

The Meeting (or, the law of attraction in action)

I met my partner, Roger, at a networking event, and shortly thereafter I quit my job at the marketing agency and began working in his family’s business in the health industry. Now that you and I are friends, I can share with you that I manifested him as well as my new career.

Not long after my relapse, I wrote down a list of 100 things I wanted in a partner. When I met Roger, I felt like we had met before, and I realized soon after what had happened. I showed him the list and he agreed that it was remarkable the number of characteristics that I had asked for that he possessed.

I did the same for my career. As an exercise at an event I attended called “Just Say Yes”, I wrote a letter to myself 3 months into the future. I wrote about how I worked with people to help them reach their health and fitness goals. I talked about my joy and passion for sharing knowledge and inspiring action. It was amazing when, less than 2 months later, I was setting up the studio with Roger and I began helping clients on their health journey. Amazing. Thoughts become things.

Serving Others

I loved being able to share my passion for food and fitness with our clients, and I was thrilled to help Roger shed over 40 pounds eating more than he ever had before! I felt a connection to those with food addiction, as I could relate to their addictive traits and their shame, and I began sharing my story with them. I was able to connect on a deeper level through our common struggle with addiction. I felt my own shame lifting, and I felt exhilarated knowing that I was helping others, but I also felt stifled by the job of running the studios. When Roger’s family announced the decision to close the doors on the business, there was a sense of sadness but also relief. Roger and I were able to get back to our roots in marketing, becoming entrepreneurs in the industry. We opened our video studio, combining my passion for health and fitness with the new marketing strategies and technology that Roger was learning, and we connected with some important health professionals whose businesses we were able to help grow.

That brings me to today. Roger and I continue to work together, where his passion lies in helping expert entrepreneurs share their message and build and online business. I am passionate about the same, and I target experts in the health, wellness and fitness industry. I also aim to help fellow entrepreneurs achieve optimal health, creating the energy they need to live their dreams and serve the world using their unique gifts.

I hope to use this forum as a source of information, inspiration and comfort to those who may have struggled with diets, weight or managing to live a healthy lifestyle. I want to save you the trial and error of all those methods I tested because I know how busy you are and how overwhelming it can be.

That feeling of overwhelm is the impetus for this blog.

My Mission

I am on a mission to help you look and feel better than you ever thought possible. I want to share the thread that connects all of the information that makes the most sense to me: that if we prioritize our health and realize that it is our decisions that create our bodies and our lives, then we can enjoy vibrant health for years to come. We just need a plan and the belief that it IS possible. Because if an alcoholic, smoker, and non-exerciser can turn her life around, you can do it, too.

One thing I know for sure is this: Our secrets keep us sick. Until I was able to start sharing my truth and saying the words out loud, I was stuck. I feel so blessed for this opportunity to share with you who I am and the struggles I have had in the hopes that it might help someone else who is struggling.

In A Nutshell

  • Creating a healthy lifestyle can be simple (and fun!) if we have a plan.
  • Understanding that what we put into our bodies truly does become who we are, will cause us to change the way we look at our diet.
  • Moving our bodies simply must become a habit if we want to live fully and well.
  • Our bodies and our minds are one. Thoughts become things and we decide what it is we want by putting our focus on it.
  • There is always hope. No matter what we have done in the past or how dire things may seem, we are not alone and we can overcome anything we put our minds to.

My Vision

What I see is a place where I can share my own experiences and where I get to introduce you to some of the amazing professionals who have helped shape my health philosophy. I envision meeting new people who can share their journey and beliefs on health with us. I imagine freely discussing and discovering differing points of view (some of which will resonate with you and some of which won’t) and I wish to be a vessel, someone who is serving, in a way that helps make this crazy business of eating and moving and living just a little bit easier.

My blog won’t be for everyone, and that’s ok. But for those of you who stay, my hope is that you will find something that speaks to you in a way that pushes you to take positive steps towards better health.  The universe rewards action, and the only time is NOW.

It all starts with a decision. I have decided. I hope you decide to join me on this journey, too!

Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time,

Sarah

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