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Sarah Polite ✨ From NYC to GVL  Hungry for inspiration. Storyteller & story lover. On a wellness journey and sharing all of it with you


What was my biggest fear about going away to @hiltonheadhealth? Changing TOO much. Becoming too healthy. Being afraid of donuts. Yes, donuts. If you’ve followed me then you know they’ve been a part of my identity and for the longest time I thought any step in the direction of health and wellness was a step away from the girl in the 1st photo. That I would be turning my back on her by changing. By becoming a better version of her. She was so wonderful just as she was I didn’t want her to think she wasn’t good enough. She was actually so worth it that’s why she deserved change. Picture 1 was taken in 2015. The girl in it-happy and enjoying those donuts. Laughing hard and smiling. She used donuts as a prop that day because they represented her. But honestly, it was hard for her stand without them and just smile at the camera. So she held the donuts that she bought that morning (after eating one) and smiled bigger than if she were without them. She was living life to the fullest she thought and didn’t think it could get fuller. She didn’t know it could, in a new and different way. A healthy and happy way. Without depriving, shame and rules. Without going to extremes to see the number on the scale move without doing it for anyone else, but for doing it for herself. And then when she finally did it all changed. Scroll to the 3rd photo. 3 years later, this weekend. Same girl, but different. A new kind of happy, healthy, still smiling and living life to the fullest but with a new perspective and point of view. A girl that woke up on a Saturday to do yoga with a friend at a brewery and then enjoyed a beer AND donuts after. Gasp. BUT-you know the difference this time? BALANCE. She didn’t need them, the donuts. They were a part of her day. They didn’t define the day or her. Her identity. She sampled them, savored each bite but only took 1 bite of each. That was enough for her. It was a balance she had never experienced before and it didn't take away from the day it added to it. It didn’t take away from her living life fully, it added to it. That is why the girl in photo 3 will never leave the girl in photo 1 but only continue to grow and get better for the both of them.

Have you ever been shamed for your body? By others or even by yourself? I know the answer. I took photos with my dear friend @mckeelycreative before I came here on this journey and as I was scrolling through them I stopped at this one. My stomach. Hanging out. Right there. I knew right away it would be one of the pictures that never made it to the light of day but then I thought - you know what? That belly is a part of me no matter what. No matter how much weight I lose this is a moment in my life when I was happy and starting to make changes for myself. The beginning. It started in this body and this joyful belly laughing moment was a part of it. I’m celebrating it. I won’t be a better person with a flatter stomach. And that’s not the reason I’m here. I’ve always covered up when my shirt would slide up or my sides would stick out. I felt bashful that my soft rolling skin was coming out to see the light of day. In front of others. I once was getting a manicure and when I sat down in the tiny chair the back of my shirt lifted up and my sides stuck out. My nails were wet and I didn’t even try to adjust but the nail technician came over and did it for me and smiled and giggled and pulled my shirt down over my sides for me. She was embarrassed for me. I could tell. And I was embarrassed because she was. Never again. No shame. Let it out. All of it. Before you look at your next picture that you’re not happy with and shame yourself for your body and say how “fat” you look and feel, remember this belly, my belly. No matter how my body transforms in the future and how it’s changed over the last three months I want to be proud of me at all stages shapes and sizes. I will never shame her, the woman in this photo and her body. No matter how I grow and change. I won’t forget her. She was happy just as she was there and ready for a change. That’s why I’m posting this beautiful accident, a real moment among the other ones that are more polished and don’t show as much skin. A beautiful picture doesn’t have to be perfect. Celebrate all versions of ourselves and continue to be better because we want to be an deserve to be not just because of how we look❤️

{I AM LOVED} A love I’ve never felt before. A love I can’t receive from a man. SELF LOVE. Knowing I’m worth it no matter what society says, no matter my size or my past. Knowing I am strong and healthy and beautiful just as I am in the skin I’m in. A love that makes me feel my most beautiful on the sweaty days after a workout, in my gym clothes, with a giant smile on my face. It’s my new perception of beauty. When I’m not trying to impress anyone but just show up for myself. A love that involves a new kind of self care that includes taking care.

So each day I document these moments of self love. These sweaty snapshots that are real and in the moment with no filter. I do it not to remember how I look on these days but how I FEEL in those moments. I never want to forget them. The moments where I feel strong, healthy, free and happy or all of the above. Love yourself. On all days but especially on the real ones, the sweaty ones, the unglamorous non-instagrammable moments you’re doing something for you. Those are the ones that matter. The unfiltered ones. Document it. Celebrate it. SHARE IT. The progress and the act of it. The act of loving yourself. The act of moving for health and happiness and because it feels good, not for the number on the scale or the size of your pants. We all deserve it and deserve to see each other loving ourselves where we’re at just as we are. Do it for yourself. ❤️

It’s amazing to take a moment to pause and reflect. December was a beautiful blur that flew by fast and my second month at @hiltonheadhealth started out and with getting sick and ended with a strength I didn’t know I had. It’s wonderful to start the month one way and end it totally different. Lessons and change from start to finish. In between? So much inspiration and growth that added on to everything I had learned in month one. Read more on my latest blog post - link is in my profile! ⬆️✨❤️💪🏼

We stand together 💕 We all may have different journeys and are on different paths with food, weight, our body and how we feel about all of the above. But we're connected on a common ground that we don't realize until we start connecting, sharing and opening up. No matter our size or our confidence we impact and inspire each other. Our words matter and go a long way. To people and places you never knew you could reach. People you probably assumed didn't care or didn't relate. They do. It's beautiful and inspiring and powerful as you start to hear others say: ~
I've felt that same way too.
I thought I was the only one.
I know exactly what you mean.
As soon as that happens any shame goes away and the safety comes in.  A safe space.  No judgement just understanding.  I've noticed that once I share my story whether in conversations or in posts -the most amazing thing happens- you either listen or read, and then share your story too. It’s beautiful. You open up and let me in just like I let you in. Our stories are different but the same. Similar but our own. It connects us. And that's what it’s all about. We need more connection and support and celebration. For each other and ourselves.  So here's to having more in common than we think. Don't be ashamed of your story. Continue to share it. Listen with empathy and share with vulnerability. It’s liberating to speak your truth. It will inspire others even if you don't think it will. It will, because you’ve already inspired me✨

(CONFRONT YOUR FEARS) A friend reminded me of this recently and as he did I remembered a fear. It was fresh and still made my skin prickle with anticipation even though it started many years ago. It feels like yesterday and I’m sure you have those moments too, the ones that never left you even though you shoved them away for a long time. It starts with the 6th grade physical fitness tests. They were the worst things ever except for the talented few that got the bright blue patches. These tests traumatized me. Mostly, the timed mile. Even though we were children it was expected that we run it and everyone did- except me. There wasn't much kindness or compassion in the process and once I realized that, it was something that I dreaded, avoided and ultimately feared. It’s so easy to take ourselves out of even trying when there’s no encouragement to try. When your gym clothes don’t fit right and you’re afraid of the attention that coming in last place will bring you. Year after year this test happened and year after year I walked it & then cried, faked being sick and then ultimately stopped showing up. I’ve never run a mile without stopping and it’s always been on my list of things I want to do but didn’t know if I would. But I want to now. No matter how long it takes me and for no one else other than myself. And now, after being here I would rather try and fail than not try at all. Now’s the time to tackle the fears, all of them no matter how small or how big. So one day I started by asking my trainer if we could work on learning how to run in between strength training. My voice raised and I stumbled over my words and I felt self-conscious again like that chubby little 6th grader in too tight of gym shorts. I was nervous putting this out into the world. He said absolutely and then the next day we did. Just like that. He took me through some movements to work on my stride and made me feel like this was something that I could do. And step by step it was. Only 45 seconds this time, but 45 seconds closer to my goal and each step we take towards our goals away from our fears count. Not always the end result matters most, but the time it takes to jog there.

It’s one week into the new year. How are you feeling? Have you already strayed from your resolutions? It’s ok- you’ve got this. Have you already set strict boundaries for yourself and you’re worried about what happens when you go out of them? Loosen them a bit, you’ve got this. Have you already beaten yourself up for not being perfect? Be kinder to yourself,
you’ve got this. Goals are great and help keep us get motivated and remain inspired but there is so much pressure around this time of year and on us. It’s ok if you’re not where you want to be right now and it’s ok if you’re having trouble resolving to be all the things other than how you are right now as you are, right in this moment. Good days, hard days, all the days are a chance for a new start and not just at the new year. May this be the year we resolve to put less pressure on ourselves while resolving. To be ok as we are even if we want to make changes and be better. To be kind to all and start that kindness with ourselves first, even if it’s hard and unfamiliar. To do the best we can. You’ve got this, we’ve got this. No pressure. ❤️

The first sunset of the 2018 was one that was worth pulling off the highway for and parking on a dirt road somewhere off of 26 to soak it in and watch it set. Slowly. Peacefully. Full of fire. The sky continued to turn more orange. It was cold and my breath got caught in my throat occasionally and while I wasn’t sure if the lower temperature made it happen or the fact I was thinking about my current journey and all that has happened and all that is still ahead. My eyes were full of tears and my heart full of gratitude. It’s my third and final month @hiltonheadhealth. The last two have inspired and changed me so much already but the month ahead is full of so much hope and possibility- just like the year ahead and all that is after that. There’s still so much I can do here and so much I want to do before heading home. Reflect. Celebrate. Challenge myself. Keep going. The sun continued to set and the sky faded. I wrapped my scarf a little tighter and closed my eyes. I made a wish and decided in that moment that I would have an intense fire inside of me for the month ahead and it will burn as bright as the sky on this New Year’s day night 🧡🔥

2017: the year I changed everything✨ 2018: the year everything is possible ✨

365 days summed up in 9 photos. Ultimately decided by likes, BUT this recap doesn’t define us, it just brings some awareness to what resonated this year for you & for me. Normally in the years past my grid would be pretty photos of food and maybe some sunsets and selfies sprinkled throughout which is still great, but there’s something really amazing about my top 9 from 2017- they all take place AFTER my move to Greenville and most are from my current journey at @hiltonheadhealth. Wow. That’s something special. The community I’ve formed through posting moments and writing words about them from my heart have brought me such joy this year. YOU have brought me such joy this year and I thank you for the constant reminder and reassurance that I’m right where I’m supposed to be and doing what I’m supposed to be doing. When I forget, you remember. A year ago I didn’t feel as certain as I do now and this reflective grid is a beautiful, beautiful reminder. Thank you for it. ✨ #2017bestnine #yeahthatgreenville #hiltonheadhealth

F the scale. Forget it. The day I decided to stop weighing myself for a bit was a day I had done more things physically than I had in my whole life. I went for a bike ride that filled me with pure joy. I lifted weights that were heavier than I had ever lifted and I felt empowered. I took a cardio class and endured longer and went faster than I had in the class before. And then I stepped on the scale. It didn’t move. Every other week it had. Some weeks a lot, some weeks a little but there was movement every other week until now. I know that it’s natural to not lose weight every week or even for weeks at a time and this whole journey for me isn’t even about the weight AT ALL, but in that moment I had the irrational and self doubting thought “What did I do wrong this week? Why didn’t I lose?” All the good vibes and empowering thoughts I was feeling earlier disappeared from my head. Oh heck no. Not today. Not ever. My self worth and value aren’t wrapped up in a number. Yours isn’t either. Know that. And in that moment I knew - I had done NOTHING wrong and EVERYTHING right. I had moved for health and happiness and strength. I learned new things and pushed myself for the way they made me feel and NOT for the number on the scale. So, in that moment of question I stopped my thoughts and stepped off the scale and decided that it won’t be making a weekly appearance in the upcoming month and that I won’t let it’s negativity creep into the current freedom and happiness. I know it’s easy to, to weigh ourselves weekly, daily, even after every meal. To be consumed and paralyzed by the number under our feet and thinking happiness will happen once we hit the magic number we hope for- but please don’t let it. Don’t let it creep into your freedom and happiness either. You deserve both no matter what the scale says or no matter what anyone says- including yourself ❤️

{My holiday/all the days wish for you} This year has meant so much to me and so much has changed since my holiday cards were sent out last year. Actually, everything has changed. If you’re reading this then you’ve been an important part of my journey and story this year and I’m so thankful you’re in my life. Here’s to making more magic, celebrating the everyday and being kind to ourselves. May you continue to spread joy and love always like you have so deeply in my life. Merry EVERYTHING & Happy ALWAYS! ❤️Sarah 📸@mckeelycreative

Push yourself, surprise yourself, believe in yourself: “Go lower.” he said. I looked at him questioning what he just said to me as if I didn't hear it at first and then moved my gaze from him to over at the chair behind me. I paused. Squats. My initial instinct was to try to do them on the chair because I had done them there just a month before, and I knew I could do it. It was comforting to know I could. The only difference this time was I was hoping to do more of them to put me into the improvement category and to be honest -just to get them done. A lot had happened in that time since the last time and I know I had gotten better at so much BUT I was still uncertain I could go as low as I was being asked to go. “You mean low like ON the step?” I asked, even though I already knew the answer. “Yes, on the step. Go low. You can do it, do just one. I know you can.” He reminded me and smiled in a playful way that pushed me. And I felt it. That he genuinely believed in me. It’s amazing to me that he believed in me so deeply that day when I wasn’t sure if I believed in myself on the same level. Sometimes others see us before we see ourselves and it’s sometimes necessary when we hear from them what we should be telling ourselves all along. Even though I had been telling myself one thing that day - it was there. The desire to want to go for it even though I immediately went for the easier option and didn’t push myself. I’ve never really needed to push myself physically or known how to. But in that moment I just needed a reminder and reason to go for it and he saw me and gave it to me. It’s better to try it and not accomplish it than to not have tried at all so I decided to go as low as I could no matter how low I couldn't go. I moved my legs shoulder width apart, put my weight on my heels and I hesitantly lowered myself, lower, lower and then I felt the step under me. I stopped mid squat, looked up, and smiled, surprised, “I did it!?!?” He smiled right back and quickly said, “yeah, but now KEEP GOING!” And I raised myself up before lowering myself back down and up and down again and up and down again and did just that- kept going.

I made my way to the beach. I was the only one there besides the seagulls and the seashells. I walked into the water. It was cold. Icy, but refreshing. I dug my feet deep into the sand and I stood there until I couldn’t feel my toes anymore. I closed my eyes and breathed in and out and in and out again. I wiggled my toes. Deeper. I repeated the process again with the breeze by my side and the sunshine on my face. Eyes closed. In that moment nothing else mattered. I opened my eyes and looked around, smiling. Clear headed. Calm. At peace. In that moment - everything mattered.

I woke up homesick today. Really homesick. I couldn’t decide if I missed all the holiday festivities and snow in NYC, family traditions in PA or just a yearning for my new home of Greenville. I felt the lump in my throat 10 minutes into my treading class this morning and it didn’t go away. I knew I was going to cry at some point for sure (you ever have those days when you just KNOW it’s coming?) and I know needed to honor how I was feeling but it also made me feel really sad to do that too. Sometimes it’s easier to ignore our feelings than honor them and really feel them. I stood at this beautiful fountain and thought of a friend in Greenville I miss. I text him telling him I was thinking of him and as we were texting I told him how I was feeling. I knew he sensed it before I even said it and immediately told me 1) not to give up 2) to continue to push myself and 3) to keep going because I’ve already come so far. Boom. Just like that. It was short and so sweet and a crystal clear reminder of exactly what I needed to hear today as I read his words over and over again as I cried in the bathroom stall (see- I told you I knew it was coming). They were good tears though, to know everything he said was true and that I have and will. How are you feeling today? However you are - feel it. No matter how hard it is it’s better than soothing with something else and pushing it away. ✨❤️

{Eat the damn crepe} Don’t over analyze it. Don’t beat yourself up for it. Enjoy it. This whole wheat crepe with berries, coconut cream and cashew butter is on the menu every day for breakfast and every day I’ve been avoiding it. Why? I didn’t realize I was or mean to at first but then I slipped into some food rules I created for myself about good and bad and should and shouldn’t and this crepe brought up some old feelings for me. Memories of the mornings of eating sweet breakfasts and not caring and continuing to eat sweets all day long. I felt like it would happen again. With one bite I would be back. Kinda like my gateway breakfast to old habits and unhealthy choices. Even though it wasn’t high calorie and was made with healthier ingredients my mind was still reeling every time I thought about ordering it. One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned here is the ranking system - unwise, better and best. It’s all about choices and we need to make them daily. Scary right? These three categories help eliminate the good and bad mentality around food. It’s been eye opening and freeing for me and been giving me grace around meals. This crepe scared me but that meant it gave even more reason to try it, so I did. And ... it was really really delicious and I enjoyed every bite and guess what? I continued on with my day. Life went on. There are going to be crepes and morning buns (miss you @methodicalcoffee) and donuts and treats. Life is worth living and celebrating for me and the whole part is not eliminating them but welcoming them in with a new point of view. Remember, it’s not about pounds and obsessing It’s about longevity and not a quick fix diet that won’t last. This is life. This crepe and the lessons I’m learning here helped change my mindset that morning and I’m grateful I got more that what I ordered on the menu that day. ✨

I slept in today. Late. I had a whole plan of things I wanted to do and classes to take by a certain time today and then I slept past that time plus two hours. When I woke up I thought “now what?!” and decided that I could either let the day defeat me before it’s even started (which has definitely happened in the past) or start the day in that moment and continue on making it the best day I could. I’m so glad I decided to have that kind of day. I’ve had times when I’ve been so hard on myself for something small like this and let it sabotage me and before I know it I’m a sleeve deep into the Oreos. Then, the day is down the drains and there’s no turning back. But there is. I know you’ve felt this way too. Self doubt, judgement, and lack of kindness to ourselves is real and happening daily. Shortly after waking up, I posted to my stories (from my bed) saying how I was feeling in that moment and I heard from so many of you today saying you have felt the same way and currently were feeling it deeply. Well, no matter where we’re at in the day guess what? There’s still a lot of day left to do some good. No matter the time, there’s always time. I said it sleepily at first without even realizing the impact of my words but after thinking about it again it resonated. We are so hard on ourselves all. the. time and the pressure to be always working, “on” and being put together is there and in full effect. What if we just honor ourselves no matter where we are in the day -messy, tired, stressed and all and how we’re feeling about it and do the best we can. Isn’t that enough? It should be. I think it is. It was with a little grace and kindness to myself this morning that began my day with a new perspective and continued into the rest of my day even if it was two hours later than planned 🌸

Week 1,2,3,4 and just like that my first month at @hiltonheadhealth is complete! ✨There’s a new blog post up (link in bio) about how I measured success this month -and it’s not in pounds or inches!❤️ Also- I’ve taken a photo every week I’ve been here and I'm posting these photos now not to dissect and discuss how my body has changed or to receive compliments but to honor where I was on that first day and where I was on that 30th day. THAT is worth celebrating. ✨💪🏼💃🏻🤸🏻‍♀️🏊🏻‍♀️🧘🏻‍♀️🚣🏻‍♀️🏋🏻‍♀️👊🏻✨

I remember capturing this moment of @nicole.m.oneal and P on a warm spring night as we were about to have an adventure together like we often did. She looked so effortless and happy as a new mom and the sky shined behind her almost as brightly and she was shining herself. ✨ I remember thinking the minute I saw it that I would save posting this photo for something special. All these months later it is only fitting to post one of my favorite photos I’ve taken of my favorite person on their special day. In all the years we’ve known each other we’ve been really lucky to spend our birthdays together and even though this year we didn’t get to spend our usual birthday week in person daily counting down and celebrating with red cups and festive fun, elves and holiday & birthday cheer, I am the most thankful for her and her friendship now more than ever especially during such a big year of change in my life and celebrate her no matter where I am. She shows up for me every single day and supports me unconditionally. Her family is my family. Her friends are my friends. I love her and I’m so proud of all she’s lived & loved this year and can’t wait for our next adventure soon. Love you the most @nicole.m.oneal - HAPPY BIRTHDAY💜✨

Note to self, note to you: On the sick days. The sore days. The sad days. Even on the good days when we feel alright. All days should be full of more self care. A cup of tea, a cozy blanket and book or even a face mask, it’s important to fill our days with things that make us feel good especially when we aren’t. Take it for someone who is so great at pushing through and continuing on- it catches up. This week I’ve been sick with a cough and even though I’ve been tempted to work out and have actually missed the movement (something I’ve never said before now) I’ve really had to honor my body and rest and listen to it and do nothing. Nothing- why is it so hard to do nothing? Tomorrow is my first day back to working out (easing into it of course) and I know I wouldn’t be able to do it without the multiple days I spent doing nothing but sleeping, the many cups of hot tea with honey I sipped on, the unlimited hours or Hallmark Channel Christmas movies I’ve watched from my bed this week and all of the coloring books I’ve doodled in. I felt bad at first not being able to do the thing I’m here to do but I had to take the pressure off of me and give myself some grace. If I’m not well then I can’t show up at all and could get even sicker. After that moment of awareness my priorities shifted and I was immediately kinder to myself. It’s OK to not always be OK even though it seems we always should be. Wishing you grace, kindness, comfort and care in whatever way you need it currently. Need permission for a sick day? A mental health day? A personal day? Here is your note from me. Do it. Do something for you no matter how your feeling ❤️

{Do the things you never thought you could or that you actually would} I had felt this feeling before. We were standing on the floating dock about to go kayaking and it started to rise up. A familiar feeling of self doubt. With my body. My weight. It was so familiar and easy to go to but was so unkind. How could I fit in that kayak and float? How will they get me in and out of the water? Will I slow everyone down? As the instructor got everyone else settled I actually started crying under my sunglasses. No one saw. I’m good at hiding it. I knew that this was the moment where I would tell everyone “I’m ok- but you go without me.”
I had done it so many other times before. Letting the feeling overcome me and actually sit things out because of it and then feel sad after for acting like a burden and feeling like one. As I was standing there about to do the thing I do too often I told myself this time was different and this time I was going to do it. I decided to ask the instructor all the questions I had in head and on my heart so I felt more comfortable and after her information and reassurance, I actually did. I reminded myself that I’m here to do more things like this that I’ve never done before. I’m here to challenge myself both physically and mentally and that part of the reason I moved out of the city was for a better quality of life. To move and have fun doing so in my beautiful new state. To try new things. Hike, walk, bike,
swim, kayak. I didn’t want to hold myself back anymore. I wanted to be free. This is why I’m here right now to do this. Yeah, I’m doing this. So I wiped away my tears, trusted the process and my instructor and wiggled my butt into my kayak (Fun fact- I actually got the double person one for more comfort- and rode with the instructor which gave me no shame in the decision but gave me so much more room and comfort during the trip) and ... before I knew it I was in the water floating, FREE. Not sinking. Not flipping over. Keeping up with everyone else. FREE. It was the most amazing, peaceful day. As I paddled to the front of the group giggling I looked back and laughed out loud, “why didn’t I do this sooner?” 🚣🏻‍♂️❤️ @hiltonheadhealth

THIS QUESTION. Scribbled on a dry erase board just like this left me speechless. It took my breath away. So simple and complicated all at once. It made me question everything in that moment and get in tune with my intention, my reason, my why. The answer goes deeper than likes. Than fear of disappointing people or the pressure we put on ourselves.. it’s more than that and it’s for ourselves. NEW BLOG POST is up {link in bio} recapping week 3 at @hiltonheadhealth and this question ✨

Sometimes happiness is a four hour drive for a great cup of coffee in the sunshine. It will always be worth it to travel home for less than 24 hours for a night in with friends that make me laugh until I cry. To surprise them and then receive unconditional support in return for the journey I’m currently on. For an opportunity to be out in the real world and not mindlessly eat or drink for the first time socially, maybe ever and instead of focusing on the food to savor the conversations and the people more. To honor my feelings and acknowledge when homesickness is there. To be grateful to have a home to be homesick about. To sleeping in my own bed. To spending a Sunday with family, even if it’s not my own and especially when they make me feel like I am anyway. To feeling so inspired from such a short amount of time. To drive back the next day and start the week here with a clear head and heart and knowing home and all the people will be there when I return is a beautiful reminder of exactly why I’m doing this❤️ 📸: someone who made me belly laugh- a lot, and then captured it ✨

Q: What makes you happy?

A: Do more of that.

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