Required Reading

Pushing Through the Pain

Why do we push through the pain?  In life, in a workout, at work, at home, with the kids, out with friends.  We push through the physical and emotional pain that is inevitable in our lives because it’s a basic instinct for human survival. We slap on our smiles when we are sad, pick up the barbell again even when our arms have lost their ability to function, face adversity because we want to stand up for what we believe in, and we love even when we are not loved in return.  These human qualities are why we progress and these qualities make us warriors.

So I ask you, when do we need to stop pushing through the pain?  When do we need to sit quietly with our thoughts and actually feel our pain and accept it, process it, and be ok with it?  I ask you this question because this question is one that I am learning to ask of myself.  I am a fighter, I refuse to give up, I tend to be one of those folks who freakishly enjoys pushing through the pain BUT if I refuse to face my pain, I start to crumble.

Last night, I let myself cry and I hate to cry – I’m a stubborn woman and often hide my heart to “be strong” and “push through” but last night I was like an overflowing well.  I told my husband why I was sad, just saying out loud what I have to push through gives life’s hardships validity and gives a voice to why we keep going and why it’s hard; I miss my mom, I feel like I’m doing too much, I can’t figure out how to make it all work, and I am afraid that time is going so quickly that I’m missing out on some of those precious little moments.  Does this mean that I want to give up, that I’ve lost my strength, that I am weak?  No, it was a moment of being real in the safety of my own room, in the arms of someone who loves me, and it was what needed to happen because today, I’m ready again to push through the pain – and I can do so happily, with confidence, and even with joy!!

The moral of the story?  It’s ok to admit that life is not always a bed of roses, in fact, we are all better off for it.  Maintaining a constant strong persona is not a bad thing but really feeling your pain and honoring that pain every now and then is a healthy way to continue to live your best life with your head held high, knowing that you are human with real emotions and real challenges.

Now I’ll go cook something and post a recipe soon because food is so much more darn fun.

Sarah Fragoso

Sarah Fragoso is an international best selling author of 6 books, co-owner of the Chico, CA based gym JS Strength and Conditioning, and founder of the Everyday Paleo franchise. Sarah is the co-host of the popular Sarah and Dr. Brooke Show podcast and she also conducts workshops and retreats on the subjects of nutrition, lifestyle and fitness.

Her message is from the heart and she carries a genuine desire to help other families looking for guidance. These attributes have contributed to her successes and provide the drive to keep the discoveries coming.

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  1. Ashley says:

    You are such an inspiration!!! Real life happens here!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks Ashley. : )

  2. steph butler says:

    dear sarah,
    you hang in there. it’s actually cleansing to cry sometimes.
    i wanted to email you and tell you that i had my husband go thru your book last night and pick the 1st recipe that he wanted me to make and i wanted to share with you the one he picked…it was the stuffed peppers. i was writing down my grocery list and i have never bought and used fresh herbs before, the recipe says “3 cups of fresh basil chopped”. really 3 cups? sorry, this is probably a dumb question but for some reason it just seems like alot. don’t laugh, i am still learning! LOL…

    1. Sarah says:

      Nope, 3 cups is totally right! It’s cooks down a lot in the peppers and is so so yummy! : )

  3. Kendall says:

    Sarah, it’s like you took the words out of my mouth. I’m a fighter, too. It’s so hard to let that guard down, but good for you (and for me when I manage to get there.) Thank you for sharing your beautiful words. Going to tuck them away somewhere special so I can remember them when I need to stop fighting for a while.

  4. Thank you for sharing this very personal lesson you are learning. It will help all of us.

  5. John Torres says:


    We push through pain so that we conquer it! We cry because we are human after all. 🙂 If there was no pain, we would not be challenged. And without challenges there are no rewards that are worth savoring. So challenge yourself everyday and cry (out of joy and/or pain) as much as you want!



    1. Sarah says:

      Thank you John! I’m smiling! : )

  6. Lia Parker says:

    After 25 years of marriage…my husband knows when I need “that cry”…I too hate crying because we see it as weakness…but afterwards I, too, feel so much stronger and ready to take on the world again! Your vulnerability and honesty is a real strength. Thank you for posting this. You are a blessing to alot of us!
    Cant wait for the new recipe!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thank you so much Lia.

  7. Fantastic post. I know exactly what you mean. As a single mom, I feel like I am constantly pushing through the pain, shoving down the tears that seem to well at the most inopportune times. Until, finally, they will be held back no more and I’m forced to be alone with all of my fears and pain and just let the tears flow. And, you’re right, the next day shines anew and I’m ready to take on the world again. Thank you.

    1. Sarah says:

      Thank you Debbie. : )

  8. “I am afraid that time is going so quickly that I’m missing out on some of those precious little moments.”

    Hey Sarah, you are setting a wonderful example for lots of people who only know you indirectly and an even better example to those closest to you, especially your kids. You are participating in life to the nth degree, and honestly I don’t think those precious monments occur as often for folks who simply sit back and observe life as it passes them by.


    1. Sarah says:

      Thank you so much Tim. : )

  9. I often feel that way. I hold it all in and try to push my way past disappointment, sadness and pain.

    I’m glad to know you had a chance to let it out!

  10. Lisa says:

    What an awesome post! I shared on my wall, I feel like you wrote the words for me!! Thank you for changing my thoughts about food and what I feed my family. Also it is nice to know that strong people can cry sometimes too. You are a true inspiration!!!

  11. Chrissy says:

    Your post is so true and so bang on. One thing I have found is that eating Paleo has “leveled me out”. I chose to begin Paleo on April 1st in the midst of crappy/crazy/one of the most challenging times in my life. On two occasions, I have ate non-paleo (at a wedding and at a cultural event) and the next day felt horrible, both physically and mentally. I often think that if I wasn’t on Paleo, that I would feel pretty blah every day because my stress level is quite high. You are an inspiration, your book is amazing and I love to see that you are human too! Thanks for all you do!

    1. Sarah says:

      I think the same thing to Chrissy, I enjoy so much being “leveled” out way more then I used to be. : ) Thank you so much for your kind words!

  12. Jill says:

    I think this is an invaluable thing to learn. We all push through it sometimes, but there is a time and place when it is necessary to feel what we feel. Fantastic post, and thanks for sharing.

  13. Laura says:

    Hi Sarah-

    Thank you so much for your post today. It has been hard lately, as a good friend of mine suffered a severe stroke in April, and it looks as though we will be saying goodbye to her soon. She is very young, and this was a reminder that life is so fragile, and that time is not promised to any of us.

    Today on my run the grief hit me and I had to stop for a few moments before I pulled myself together and was able to move on. I am thankful that I’m living my life to the fullest, and I know that on beautiful mornings like today, I will often think of my friend, and remember that sometimes the best reason to DO is because we CAN.

    1. Sarah says:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your friend, hang in there and big hugs!

  14. Diane says:

    That is so funny that you posted this because I was on your blog the other day (as I often am) and wondered to myself: “How does she do it all?! She’s a wife, a mother, a trainer, a women, and now an author!”. So it’s nice to know that you are, most of all, human. =]

    Learning how to balance everything is so hard, but just keep going and you’ll find that “sweet spot”.

    1. Sarah says:

      Thank you Diane! : )

  15. Jen Sanchez says:

    Wow! Maybe it’s the moon phase this week as I am having a similiar week. “I miss my mom, I feel like I’m doing too much, I can’t figure out how to make it all work, and I am afraid that time is going so quickly that I’m missing out on some of those precious little moments “…articulated it perfectly. I actually think it’s Mother’s Day that triggered it. It’s a time to reflect on our own mothers and for those of us who no longer have them with us we reflect on what we miss about them. And then we look at our own mothering experience and wonder how did life get so hectic and where did the time go? I was just nursing these precious babies and now they are these big boys!! I feel ya and cry right along with you!!
    Hope you find time this week for some precious little moments.

    1. Sarah says:

      Thank you so much Jen, and I think you are right about Mother’s Day. I lost my mom on May 14th which of course always falls right around Mother’s Day so this time of year typically feels a little rough. Hope to see you soon and big hugs!

  16. Thank you. Just what I needed to read today 🙂

  17. Joy says:

    Thank you Sarah! While I am keeping my family on the Paleo diet, I am fighting to get my daughter more services to meet her special needs. It takes strength, patience, and resilience to rise to life’s challenges. Thank you for sharing what challenges you and how you rise to it 🙂

    1. Sarah says:

      Thank you Joy, and hang in there!

  18. Sammie says:

    Wow, you hit a nerve with me! I lost my mom 2 years ago and its hard for me to feel the loss and pain. This month, I am following the Whole30 plan to kill the TV. I am realizing I hide from my pain with the distraction of TV. So now without it, the pain is ever so raw. Been crying a lot the past week or so, but I feel lighter, more able to let the pain go, realizing how short life is and to get out and live. Its so hard to admit how I really feel to myself, but now there is just me and my feelings. Thank you so much for your post. You are such an inspiration to all of us!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thank you Sammie and I’ll be thinking about you, I know how tough it can be when you finally face your loss and really feel that pain. Big hugs to you..

  19. Heidi says:

    I loved this post! I constantly battle with similar feelings and am plagued with “mother’s guilt”. There will never be enough hours in the day and we will never feel like we are doing enough (at least us Type A control freaks). Whenever I feel like falling off the paleo bandwagon I think of how I want to be around as long as I can, living as healthy as I can, to enjoy more of life’s precious moments. (I’ll do anything for my kids… so it really helps in the motivation department!)

    You are giving your family the best gift ever…. health, happiness, and longevity. You are doing something that you love, while helping others! And from the looks of all the photos in your blog, your children look beautiful and very happy! I think you are following your calling and I bet your Mom is looking down on you, prouder than ever.

    Thanks for everything that you do and try to not be so hard on yourself. I know, easier said than done. 🙂

    1. Sarah says:

      Thank you so much!

  20. Lynn says:

    You know what Sarah, THESE are the precious little moments!! You can feel the pain and express it, that’s precious!! Life is whats happening around you while you’re trying to plan other things, someone said that to me today! I remember an Oprah quote, “When you’re in the middle of a crisis stop and say thank you, because when the crisis is over, you will be better.”

    1. Sarah says:

      You are so right Lynn, and I love that quote, thank you!

  21. Mary Beth says:

    Thanks for sharing…that was awesome.

  22. colleen smith says:

    I lost my dad 3 years ago Friday 🙁 I find great pleasure in preparing a good home cooked meal and I think of him when I do so because cooking was something ha loved to do. He taught me a lot of what I know about cooking . My sister won a first place award at a chuck wagon cook of with his pinto bean recipe. His secret ingredient was dried Basel leaves along with bacon and garlic. Sometimes he would add a can of rotel tomatoes for a spicy addition. I have added the tomatoes along with German wedding sausage for a more hardy version. Sarah God bless you and keep you in your time of sorrow and may he bless you with happier days to come.

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks so much for sharing that Colleen. Your comment made me smile.

  23. Jay Clarke says:

    Dear Sarah,

    When my dad died years ago there were lots of crazy and confusing emotions. Nothing out of the ordinary but overwhelming and hard to handle. I remember speaking to my mom about his death and the emotional roller coaster that I had been on and I asked how she was coping, because I wasn’t doing so hot.

    What she said changed me. She said these emotions were like the tides of the ocean. There were going to be some that were really high and some that weren’t and we had no real control as to what the tide was going to do. Nor did we have any chance of stopping the tide; we might drown if we tried. Better to let the water wash over you as it rose knowing it would recede and just enjoy the getting wet.

    I love that. I try hard to never fight the tides now and it feels much healthier…. much more human. Almost cleansing.

    1. Laura says:

      Thanks, Jay, for sharing this. Your mom is brilliant. I’ve thought a lot about these words in the last few days.

    2. Heather says:

      Sarah and Jay,

      Thank you for these words. It amazes me how healing I found them. Unfortunately, I was tragically made a member of the “losing a parent” club. It’s one from which I wish so badly to be excluded, but I can definitely relate to the tide metaphor.

      Sarah, I have been following your blog for over a year now all the way from southeastern Pennsylvania. At first it was your recipes that drew me to view your blog, but your excitement, candor, and humility keep me returning to read more.

      Thank you,

    3. Sarah says:

      Thank you so much Jay, your mom’s words are very healing, I will carry that with me from now on. : )

      1. Lindsey says:

        Jay, I love this! Thank you for sharing!!

  24. Keet says:

    Sarah, I am up at 4:30 in the morning with anxiety & stress over my life & then happened across this. It is somehow helpful to know that someone currently enjoying great success (congratulations on the warm reception of your book!) can still struggle with doubts & sometimes overwhelming feelings. It helps me to not feel as alone & to remember to be where I am & not always wait for “things to get better”. I am not a crier either but also let me myself just feel sad about a movie recently (not my thing) & took advantage of having a rare good cry. I think that’s probably a healthy thing to do on occasion. I guess I need to let myself do it more. Thanks.

    1. Sarah says:

      You are so very welcome Keet. I do the same thing with movies, it’s a good excuse to get it all out. : )

  25. Kelly says:

    I told you last week, its the tides or something 😉

    1. Sarah says:

      I know Kelly – you are so right!

  26. Melissa Simson says:

    Hi Sarah

    Your post really spoke to me today. So many people look up to you and you are very integral in helping people’s journey to health ( and i think happiness bc the two go very well hand in hand) and it can be a lot of pressure. There is NOTHING wrong with a cry, and i don’t let myself do it enough. Everyone needs a release, to ignore it makes u not human. Thanks for reminding us all that sometimes a small moment of sadness ( which we might regard as weakness but is just us being human) is necessary to be THAT much stronger/ better/ more focused and read to tackle the next day.

    1. Sarah says:

      Thank you Melissa!

  27. sarena says:

    Thanks for being real and sharing excerpts from your experiences. It makes me for one feel more human. A lesson we can learn is to teach our children and the next generation that crying is ok sometimes.

    1. Sarah says:

      Thank you Sarena for your comment, and I agree, we need to model to our children that it’s ok to be sad when we need to be sad.

  28. Clarence says:

    Thanks for sharing your feelings! I definitely can relate, over the past two years life has change tremendously – going from happily married most days…lol, to divorce, living in a 3000 sq feet home to renting a room – six digit income to wondering how to pay for the necessities of life..deep in debt, feeling overwhelmed and in terrible shape! I found your blog after reading articles on marksdailyapple, browsing the net and trying some of your recipes has been a godsend. Things are constantly improving, actually just ordered your book and am very grateful..still breathing and willing to push on, push through the situation I have placed myself.

    Thanks again for the info. provided here! Most of all – THANKS for sharing!

    God Bless!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thank YOU for sharing Clarence and best of luck to you. : )

  29. Lori says:

    Your post almost made me cry. I have been going through the same emotions. Being a single mom and now just trying to work full-time has been overwhelming the past few weeks. It’s also made me realize what I really want to do in life. Our Cross-fit instructors told us that when we get stronger it will roll over into our daily lives. He is right even during the days I want to cry (and I do). The world is always on my shoulders and I get overwhelmed with life. Thanks for posting your thoughts it makes me realize that I am not alone.

    1. Sarah says:

      You are in no way alone Lori, big hugs to you my dear.

  30. Rochelle says:

    Thanks so much again for you honesty. I feel so lucky that I have someone like you to be my role model. I know this is silly but I just wanted to let you know that after 3 months of eating pretty strict paleo my 5 yo girl asked for salad and spagetti squash and ate it willingly, and then asked for more. I know this is only one small battle won but I wanted to share my small victory with you. Thanks.

    1. Sarah says:

      Huge victory, thanks so much for letting me know! : )

  31. tricia says:

    Thank you, Sarah for sharing. You are a true warrior! ONWARD!!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thank you Tricia!

  32. Lorraine says:

    I’ve learned this week that it’s good to listen to ourselves sometimes. It’s hard to find that balance between pushing ourselves to improve and realizing that sometimes, if we push too hard, we break ourselves and then we’re even farther behind than we were to begin with. It’s hard when we worry about what everyone else is doing or thinking(“Everyone else can do that WOD RX…I guess I should” too runs through my brain daily.) Sounds like you have a good balance going and know what works for you and yours, regardless of anyone else’s thoughts on the subject. Good for you.

    1. Sarah says:

      Thank you Lorraine!

  33. Well said! I can’t tell you thank you enough for how your blog, podcasts, and now book are inspirational to me. Your recipes are fantastic and you’re easy to listen to and your book is easy to read b/c it’s obvious you speak from your heart. Just finished my 30 day strict challenge with one of my best friends and we feel fantastic! Thanks again, for keeping it real!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks Michelle!

  34. Gwen says:

    Thank god you’re human! I was starting to wonder how you power through all you do. As someone who has a tendency to do the same, it is soooo good to hear about your pain, too. Thanks.

    1. Sarah says:

      I am very much human, that’s for darn sure. Thank you Gwen! : )

  35. I too, have had to push through some pain–mostly in the form of multiple health problems several years ago. What was so amazing, is that it pushed me to discover things about myself, and fueled a passion for health and nutrition that I didn’t know I had! Pain, or “pruning” causes growth, so embrace it and flourish dear Sarah! To read more about my story, I have a blog (though it’s not nearly as cool as Everyday Paleo!)

  36. Courtney McReynolds says:

    Im actually sitting in the hospital room right now with my nine month old daughter. She had surgery on monday morning. My husband is deployed and I started this new lifestyle to be a happier healthier person for him, our daughter, and myself. I am trying to be strong for my daughter and its very hard. I follow your blog and try all your recipes. This was such a perfectly timed post. Thank you for being real.

    1. Sarah says:

      My thoughts are with you. Big hugs and I hope all is well with your little one.

  37. Primal toad says:

    You are one hell of an inspiration Sarah! I own your cookbook and if my mother is to ever go primal it will be because of your book.

  38. Ashley says:

    Sarah, you are such an inspiration! This article made me teary eyed… I’m new to paleo (just finished reading “The Paleo Solution” and “The Primal Blueprint”) and even newer to blogging. My husband decided I should document my journey about food and fitness online and become a part of a community to help me stay on track with my goals. (I tend to lose motivation the minute the scale stops budging). Will you check out my blog @ I would love your support!

    Thanks so much! Looking forward to your next posts!

  39. You might want to look up the work of Weston Price that toured the world to find the causes of dental problems and physical degeneration. “Traveling worldwide, Dr. Price found that beautiful, straight teeth, freedom from decay, stalwart bodies, resistance to disease, and fine characters were typical of primitives on their traditional diets.” He not only studied those tribes where he found this, but he studied members from those tribes that had left the community and now followed a more modern diet and photographed the differences. You will be able to find out more at: the foundation that continues his work and has a lot of information available. The only differences were that he was for the use of dairy, but he noted it should raw not pasteurized, because the heat damaged the milk so the body could not use it. He also talked about the difference between the way we use grains and the way our ancestor used it. While it is true there is nutrition in grains, there are also toxins in grains. Our ancestors would process the grain naturally by leaving the grains out in the sun for some time, or soak them in water, or ferment them, or combinations of these. The above techniques reduced the amounts of toxins phytic acid and lectin and make them safe to eat. Still our ancestors did not eat as much grains as we do.
    Peace and Love, Dan

  40. Janie says:

    I’ve just begun my journey with a Paleo lifestyle. I am 28 yrs old and around 50 lbs overweight. My best friend old me about Robb Wolf’s book and I gave it a shot. I was instantly inspired by YOUR story in the testimonials and dove right into the book and the diet. I have felt tired, lethargic, and unhappy with myself for a LONG time so I am desperately in need of a lifestyle change. I am a mother and a wife as well
    And I need the energy to take care of my family and also lead by example! I have been following a paleo diet for 4 days now and I am loving it so far! I have definitely had cravings for all that sugar and grains, but it is much different than when I’ve been on
    “diets”in the past. I feel very satisfied from the food we are eating and in having a lot of fun trying recipes(I made gingered carrots with flounder yesterday yum!!). Thank you so much for all the wonderful recipes and the inspiring articles to keep me going! Wish me luck!!

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