Sarah Anne Stewart is a certified holistic health coach who connects people from all walks of life, strives to end body insecurity, and shows us how we can achieve the body we desire without shame or frustration by nurturing the mind.
What I discuss with Sarah in this episode:
- Even someone growing up in a healthy, holistic household with the looks to make it in the world of modeling can develop body insecurity and life-threatening eating disorders.
- The number one way Sarah believes we can reprogram the way we think about food.
- Nutrition is just a fraction of the holistic equation to wellness.
- Why high-strung entrepreneurs should seek balance now before it's too late to buy health back (and how it will actually make them better entrepreneurs in the here and now).
- The quantifiable benefits of meditation and mindfulness on overall health—from decreased anxiety and depression to weight loss.
- And much more!
Most of us have experienced some form of dissatisfaction with the bodies we were given at birth. Many of us hang our heads in shame over how we've mistreated these same bodies or failed to hammer them into some idealized picture of perfection no matter how many diets we've tried or exercise fads we've bought into. Whether we curse divine forces for passing down flawed genes or ourselves for just not trying hard enough, the result often turns out the same: we hate ourselves in some way, which perpetuates the unhealthy cycles that got us here in the first place.
Despite entering the world of modeling at age 15 and growing up in a household that encouraged holistic health, my good friend Sarah Anne Stewart knows these cycles all too well. After overcoming life-threatening eating disorders and coping with the guilt and shame around how she felt about her own body, she now guides others through the holistic practices—including meditation and mindfulness—that rescued her from the brink of self-destruction.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Though she had witnessed firsthand the healing power of proper nutrition on her father's kidney cancer, Sarah's relationship with food was somewhat damaged.
"I had this tennis match going on in my head of 'food heals' and 'food also kills' and I had to, through meditation and mindfulness, reprogram subconscious patterns and really find my way back to body love and self-esteem and self-worth and all the things that we forget when we're being programmed by media and social conditioning," says Sarah. "So years later, that's what I teach today: meditation and mindfulness, which I believe is the number one thing that can really help reprogram that thinking around food."
Find a Doctor Who Listens to You
Even when a doctor runs endless tests and still can't find anything physically wrong with you, the stress and anxiety that direct your actions may not show up on any medical charts to indicate cause for concern.
"You can still have symptoms and sometimes tests don't tell us what symptoms do," says Sarah. "So it's really important to have a doctor that's going to listen to your symptoms. My symptoms were still exhaustion, brain fog, adrenal fatigue—all these things that they just weren't seeing in the tests. So I had to find my way back through the physical side, which was the nutrition, and I started juicing again. I started eating really clean. I took out all gluten, all dairy, all diet soda—all the things that I would never touch in a million years now."
While this nutritional diligence was a step in the right direction, it still didn't complete Sarah's passage to wellness. Something else was missing—something that didn't show up on the medical charts.
Mind and Body
While the doctors were telling Sarah her physical health was improving, she was still an emotional wreck. It was only when she ran into a meditation teacher who helped her bound these emotional hurdles that she felt like she was making real progress. It quickly became clear that nurturing the body was only part of the equation; the mind needed tender loving care as well.
"You have to focus on the mind and you have to also focus on the body and you have to determine what's your why," says Sarah. "Why are you doing this work, and what's going to help motivate you every day to continue to choose health over fast food and lack of movement and stress and worry and all these things that come with really chronic sickness?"
Listen to this complete episode to learn more about the quantifiable benefits of meditation on overall health (from decreased anxiety and depression to weight loss), how making healthy choices empowers us to nudge our very culture in the right direction, why diets cause more problems than they solve, how we can start practicing meditation today, finding a sustainable motive for inspiration that aligns with self-love, how we can resist the marketers who tempt us to make unhealthy choices, where exercise falls into Sarah's regimen, when social media can be useful in spurring positive change (and when we should probably take a break from it), and how to handle haters with compassion
Resources from this episode:
Emily Fletcher's Ziva Online (10 years of meditation training packed into 15 days.)
Headspace: Meditation and Mindfulness Made Simple
Calm: Relieve Anxiety, Learn to Relax, Meditate & Overcome Stress
Chandresh Bhardwaj's Break the Norms
The Four Types of Meditation with Dina Kaplan of The Path
After 'The Biggest Loser,' Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight by Gina Kolata, The New York Times
Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life by Max Lugavere and Paul Grewal M.D.
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