It seems so fitting to publish this on Mother’s Day.  I am nervous because it’s always a challenge to tell someone else’s story and do it justice.   So here it is, a story in pictures, a story that has it’s high and it’s lows.  The physical transformation matches the emotional one and Sanada is someone you can sit down in front of and see the fire in her eyes.  That was not always the case, that fire has been a defunct match, a slow fizzle, a burning storm and at a times a light that never really shined as bright as it does now.


However, it’s the darkness that allows light to shine it’s brightest.

Photography: ajpstudios.com

Hair and make up: Color Me Gorgeous

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Sanada was born and the survivor of what was supposed to be a twin birth. Her twin never made it, but Sanada did.  Her life became about survival.  A childhood that left her wondering exactly who she was in life and turning to food seemed to be her greatest comfort.

“When you are the chubby kid, food seems to be the way out,” Sanada explained.  She only played modified soccer because her coach refused to cut anyone. “Let me just tell, I was terrible.  I was so bad, you have no idea.”  Sanada’s modified soccer coach found a way to reach a young girl struggling with her weight and as high school approached the young girl began to flourish as an athlete.   

By her senior year of high school, Coaches Dave and Tracey Ranieri were recruiting her to play for the women’s Oneonta State Women’s soccer team.   The decision to attend O-State would greatly impact Sanada for reason’s she had no idea were coming.

“My coaches took on the roll of parents.  I remember watching families come to Oneonta for team picnics and stuff and realizing that they interacted very differently from my own family. I remember wondering if that was how families were supposed to interact?”  As Sanada watched and listened to her teammates and their families, she began to realize things had been very wrong growing up and the hurt of a fuzzy and troubled childhood suddenly became very clear.  “I just remember wanting what they had.”

Sanada would continue to train with her teammates and admitted she vehemently stalked her future husband. “Hh he didn’t know I was stalking him, but I definitely was.”  Sanada seemed to be pulling life together with a successful soccer career, a college education and a future husband on her arm as her boyfriend.

The pinnacle of her career came her senior year as the Oneonta State Women’s Soccer Team found themselves in the 2003 Elite 8 NCAA women’s soccer bracket and as the dream season continued to unfold they made it to the Final Four.  In November of 2003, Oneonta State earned the right to play the National Championship game on their home turf against Chicago.

“I can still remember everything, the sounds, the locker room, it’s amazing how your mind can go right back there.”  That day would go down in history as Oneonta tied the regulation game with 30 seconds remaining on a goal by Brooke Davis.  “The story was just not over.”

Three minutes ticked off the over time clock and Sanada found the ball at her foot and would go on to score the biggest goal of her life to put her team in a 2-1 win for the National Championship goal.  “You know there were so many goals I never scored, so many goals I had missed. There was a reason for that.”

Despite the epic finish to her career, self doubt and what Sanada refers to as “the hurricane”  found her once again.  “I am a survivor and I just always felt that a hurricane followed me where ever I would go in life and all I wanted to do was crawl into the eye of the storm.”

Sanada married her college boyfriend and gave birth to two incredible children.  The struggle with weight came back full force.  “I just remember thinking, this isn’t me.”  Her weight was gaining and her troubled past was something she was allowing to drown her.   Sanada explained that the strained relationships with her family were something she never let go of and even though she now had her own beautiful family, the hurricane was wearing her down.

“I had everything I ever wanted and I was drowning.”  Sanada looked at her life and how much she had cherished her time at Oneonta.  Though she took away several life lessons from her time there she knew that she had put in the time to survive her runs, she had physically pushed herself beyond what she thought was capable, she had found people that loved her like a daughter and she had been taught that the little changes, over time, make big changes.

 

So that is what began her fight against her emotional baggage that was translating into serious weight gain.

 Sanada has lost 60 pounds and counting and is now inspiring others as a Beach Body coach.

“I found my eye in the storm,” she explained. “I knew if I wanted something I was going to have to work for it. ”  Through the immense support of her husband, Sanada began chipping away at a life time of pain emotionally and physically. I want moms to look at me and the girls that look at me to be like, ‘she’s rocking it with stretch marks and imperfections, but she’s doing it’, that is what I want them to see.

The transformation story began as Sanada began to let go of her childhood traumas and onto the dreams she truly wanted to embrace.

This power momma refused to let the past cling to her and take her body and mind prisoner.  As the changes she made began to take hold, she found a passion for teaching and encouraging others.

Understanding what being a mom truly looks like and understanding where her pain was, she could move away from the hurt and toward the two babies in her life that made everything so complete.

The love of a mom is a powerful drive and it was Sanada has used to show her children what a survivor looks like both emotionally and physically.

This is her story. 

This is her comeback.