Hey everyone, Sara Bernstein here! Before we begin, let me just say how absolutely humbled and honored I am to have been invited into the wonderful Listen! It’s Vetrano family, and how excited I am to get to share something that I love so much with all of you. I want to dedicate my first post here on LIV to my story [you can read my bio here] to give y’all a little insight into who I am, how I got here, and why I’m so passionate about healthy living.
I was only 17 years old when I left home and moved across the country to go to college in the big, oftentimes unfriendly, city of Boston. It was there that I experienced a few traumatic and life-altering events, which ultimately turned me into a very unhappy, unhealthy person — someone who was truly grasping for something to keep me afloat. Around my 19th birthday, and shortly after breaking up with my first real boyfriend, I began forcing myself to throw up after I ate. At first, it was a distraction from the chaos that was going on in my life, but soon, I had become a full-on bulimic.
I was eating an astronomical amount of calories each day. Although I was throwing it all back up (or trying to), I was eating so much that I had put on roughly 25 pounds, topping out at my all-time heaviest– 159 pounds. [Note: I’m 5’5 3/4” and weighed in anywhere between 130 and 138 in high school when I was very active and fit from dancing. You should also know that I haven’t weighed myself in about four years, which has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for my health.] During that time, I was throwing up so much that I damaged my vocal cords and couldn’t sing for more than a semester, which was not a good thing considering that’s literally what I was in school studying. On top of all of that, I decided that the best way to deal with the extra weight was to fake a need for the same ADD prescription that my little sister was on, knowing that one of its side effects was appetite-suppression.
Fast forward a few years, I had graduated and moved to Nashville. Over the following years, there were a number of things that helped slowly wean me out of my bad habit, including the support of a dear friend who had also dealt with an eating disorder and discovering The Bar Method, which I went on to teach for almost 3 years. In 2014, things finally took a turn. I began working out with a personal trainer twice a week. I confided in him about my issues with food and how much I hated my body, which I truthfully believed I would never be satisfied with. He graciously supported me through my frustrations and tears as we worked together to figure out how to help me reach my physical goals.
He loaned me his copy of the book It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig –now my Bible, truly– to help me learn a little bit about the importance of nutrition. The book changed my life and I devoured it while completing my first round of Whole30 (which I will definitely cover in another post). From then on, I was hooked on learning everything I could about food and nutrition. The more I learned, the more I put into practice. Suddenly everything changed. I began eating whole, real, nutritious foods. What do you know? My workouts improved, my mood improved, my body felt better as I lost weight and… wait for it… for the first time since I could remember, I actually liked my body and how it looked! It was a miracle– something I never thought I would say. I actually loved myself. I was able to heal my eating disorder, and all of the damage I had done to my body and soul, with food.
The point of me sharing my story with you is two-fold. One is to show you that everyone, including me, has some messy, hard-to-look-at skeletons in their closet. They are nothing to be ashamed of because they have taught us the lessons we were put on this earth to learn and shaped us into the people we are today. Second is that it is possible to heal your body, mind, and spirit, and reach your health goals, no matter how dire your current situation might be.
Mine is an ongoing journey, but I know that my life has been drastically improved by what I’ve learned and by the changes I’ve made thus far. I became a Certified Health Coach, and recently started my own Health Coaching practice, Sara Rose Health, so that I could do my part to pay it forward and help others who are ready to make changes in their own lives.
I want to thank you all for coming on this journey with me! I can’t wait to share some of what I’ve learned with you and, hopefully, inspire you to be the happiest, healthiest, most vibrant version of yourself.
P.S. I would love to hear your stories and/or some suggestions on what topics you’re interested in learning about, or answer the questions that you may have, so please comment below and let’s get the conversation started.