Lots of people say they knowledgeable big moment that motivated these to change their life. Not me — I had two.

The first was your day I flew home to Nyc to be with my mom after she'd been hospitalized for cardiovascular disease. At the same time, my dad was receiving cancer treatment and dealing with a backward fall down a flight ticket of stairs. I had two parents in two hospitals, and I was not able to walk the single city block from the parking garage to my mom’s hospital bed without stopping in pain.

At age 35, I had been nearing 360 pounds. My back hurt constantly, and my left knee would buckle unexpectedly. Dishes piled-up in the sink because I didn’t possess the stamina to stand long enough to wash them. Whenever I walked right into a room, the first thing I sought out was a place to sit.

In short, I wasn’t turning up for my own life. I was creating a smaller life to match my physical limitations.

It took me another year to confess that I was watching life pass me by. I also found myself dating exactly the same guy again and again, creating the same shallow connections when what I really wanted was deep love. This was my second big moment: understanding that I was the common thread in every relationship.

My body was failing. My professional life was uninspired. And my personal life sucked. It was time. So I made one promise to myself: to become healthier and happier when I turned 40 than I’d been after i turned 30. So I started the work of unpacking my own baggage, looking fear within the eye, and creating my very own joy.

Staring at My Mountain of Stuff

How do you change when every­thing hurts — physically and emotionally — and you can’t even imagine feeling different? I started with baby steps.

I called it “soul archaeology.” I’d begin with a problem in my life that made sense, and then dig deeper, brushing away things that were holding me back, until much more of my issues were exposed. I focused on two things: getting my body out of pain and breaking the patterns in my personal life.

To heal my body, I started with exercise. I knew I needed guidance, so I hired an individual trainer. He directed me toward strength training for mobility and functional movement, using my body system weight to my advantage.

Over 18 months, I built muscle mass and began feeling stronger and more empowered.

Next, I unearthed my relationship with food. I started by counting macro­nutrients to know what I was eating. I also practiced mindfulness to learn why I had been eating it.

My whole life, I’d spun around the diet-culture hamster wheel, believing in a mentality of deprivation and also the notion that weight loss could “fix” me. It wasn’t until I realized my physical weight was a reflection of the emotional baggage I had been carrying that I was actually able to do something different.

I also deleted the dating apps from my phone. I noticed that my love life was being a coping mechanism; I was using casual intimacy to stifle my anxiety and anger.

Removing those unfulfilling relationships from my entire life forced me to sit through discomfort, also it allowed me to see opportunities for growth. My motto became “embrace the stuck,” and I did so at every chance I could.

That’s after i discovered Kundalini yoga. I signed up for an intensive class that included meditation and breath work. Twenty minutes into that first class, the tears were pouring down my face. I felt both expansive and truly humbled.

Yoga means “yoking” the body and soul, and Kundalini turned out to be exactly what I needed to deal with my physical and emotional discomfort. It wasn’t well before I enrolled in teacher training.

Making It Count

I would rather think of myself as a teacher along with a thought leader, but telling my story online has also made me a social-media influencer. I publicly share all the joy, the pain, the dance breaks, and everything in between to connect with those other Sarahs out there who feel scared, stuck, and ready for change.

Wellness is not a number on a scale. It’s about a whole life: my relationship with food, my body, my sex life, my self-perceived value like a woman, my spirituality, and my work all rolled together.

The best way to create long-term change is from a location of massive self-love. Motivation fails us all. The unshakable belief that we're worthy of a life that serves us may be the only way to keep going when things get really hard. What matters is that we learn how to lean into the pain and rebuild ourselves from the inside out.

In 2021 I received an e-mail about a wellness event I’d signed up for, asking what size T-shirt I wanted: small, medium, or large. I knew then that I’d be the sole big girl there, so I showed up in cowboy boots along with a sequined skirt, and I wore that outfit like armor.

I’ll never forget what it felt like to be the only woman of size within the room. I vowed that one day I’d create my own event, where all bodies would feel safe, welcome, and celebrated.

Today, at 40, I am living my purpose-driven life. I teach Kundalini yoga and that i run size-inclusive wellness events for categories of 10 to 150 people. My biggest passion is making wellness accessible so others can find hope and create action, because wellness belongs to everybody.

I joyfully share my journey with radical honesty. I will never be a “finished” product. I am a beautiful, powerful, and delightfully flawed individual who has made the resolve for self-improvement. And I share it all to ensure that others may “embrace their stuck” and do the same.

I remember what it was enjoy being Sarah consumed by fear and loneliness. And if I can extend a hand to someone like me, I’ll know I’ve done my job.

Sarah Sapora's Best three Success Strategies

  1. Be unabashedly joyful. Sarah's noted for singing in her car with the windows open. “Let joy in your life chafe on anyone who'll listen,” she says. “The more you shine your light, the more space you create for others.”
  2. Believe change is possible. Sarah was used to feeling uncomfortable in her body, but she took a leap of religion. “When I weighed 360 pounds, I couldn't have predicted that someday I would hike and scuba-dive,” she says.
  3. Eat what you like. Don't be afraid of food, she advises. “You are in charge of the cake; the cake isn't in charge of you,” she explains. “Just understand why you want to eat it.”