1.Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi everyone! My name is Sarah and first up I’m a certified life coach, working with women all over the world who are sick to death of fearing food. My big jam is to help women eat chocolate, lollies and cake without giving a crap.
For those who don’t know too much about me I’m a Melbourne born and raised, 30 something year old, extroverted virgo, currently living it up in Bangkok with my fiancé Chris. We packed our bags almost 3 years ago to jet set to South East Asia to satisfy our insane curiosity for travel, culture, food, and different career opportunities.
In my spare time you’ll find me: Moving my body in a reformer pilates class, walking, chilling out anywhere that has aircon (hello humidity!), scouting out the latest and greatest café, catching up with friends, cooking, watching Netflix, eating chocolate and skyping my family and friends who are scattered all across the globe.
2. Tell us about your journey with food, exercise and your body.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been preoccupied with how my body looks and held this belief that my body defined who I was as a person. I was obsessed with fitting in at school and aside from controlling how my body looked, I didn’t really believe there was all too much else I could control (like my two left feet, my mild stutter, my looks, etc).
This lead to honing in on my food and exercise which got particularly troublesome in my mid 20s after a relationship breakdown with someone who I truly believed dumped me because I wasn’t pretty and healthy enough for him. With the mantra: “Being thin will transform your life”, I started cutting out food groups which lead to identifying myself as a raw gluten free, sugar free vegan (mouthful!). I spent way too much time at the gym and before long started to strain every friendship and relationship I had outside of my ‘wellbeing’ peeps.
It wasn’t long into my newfound journey that I wound up with a far different transformation to what I had ‘expected’. My skin was acne ridden, I was constantly lethargic, my mood was irritable and moody and importantly my period had vanished some 10 months ago. My quest for health had ironically left me far from healthy.
I knew something had to change if I wanted to life a different life to this, which was the catalyst for a plethora of support I went on to receive.
3. Can you explain what a life coach is?
Life coaching can be defined as “Enabling powerful and personally affirming life change through the enhancement of the self”- Beautiful You Life Coaching Academy.
Life coaching draws upon a variety of different techniques from disciplines such as psychology, sociology, social work and personal development to assist people with positive change in their lives, moving from where they are, to where they want to be. Life coaching helps people think and behave differently, conscientiously learning what is best for them and the life they want to live.
Effective life coaching helps people uncover what is truly important to them, their personal values and what they feel is missing from their life, setting goals and creating a plan that sees them actively move towards the change they desire.
It’s important to note it does not replace psychology or counselling or other therapeutic modalities within the category of helping people discover why they are in their present situation. Life coaching is instead present and future focused.
4. Why did you decide to become a life coach?
I decided to become a life coach as a bit of an experiment to be honest. I have always been in the business of helping people achieve their goals (I have a psychology degree and have worked as a paediatric occupational therapist for the last 10 years), but I have never felt like how I was going about my why was spot on.
While I enjoyed helping others I realised that in order to fully be of service to others I needed to be of service to myself and own up to the fact that I wanted to be able to help people in a more holistic way. I wanted to run my own show and define my own work hours, I wanted to pick and choose my own clients and work wherever it was my passport and suitcase took me next.
After having gone through my own coaching experience, and coaching having had the most profound effect on me, I thought, ‘Why not see if life coaching could be that something you’ve been searching for?’
I enrolled right away into the Beautiful You Life Coaching course having worked with the CEO and founder, Julie Parker, myself. To say I loved the course is an understatement. The course was as powerful for me as the teachings I would then go on and share with others. It was another nail in the coffin to truly starting to know and embody who I really was, very important practices I teach my clients for their own recovery.
Now I’m truly living my purpose: I work when and where I want to work. I work how I want to work (which means I utilise tools from a range of different modalities – be it psychology, aromatherapy, counselling, coaching, personal development, occupational therapy, etc) and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
5. What’s your definition of good health, and how do you stay healthy?
‘Good’ health for me is about feeling physically, emotionally and spiritually well and good. I have no pre conceived rules and plans- I go with the flow. I can sit in the uneasiness of not having an agenda. I’ve relinquished control because I have learned that there is no power in trying to control my food (in fact the opposite is true: a large majority of people trying to control their food end up powerless, hence the phrase ‘diets don’t work’).
What I have learned is that good health is first and foremost a way of thinking. Personally, once I got rid of the ‘junky’ thoughts that weren’t serving me in relation to food and my body I was able to change my way of living (i.e. I was then finally able to stop dieting, restricting, binge eating, etc).
Today, I stay healthy by tuning into what is going to serve me physically, spiritually and emotionally, rather than what I feel I ‘ought’ be doing. Because health to me isn’t about following rules – it’s not about drinking green smoothies, doing yoga or jumping on the latest fitness bandwagon ‘because’. It’s about paying close attention to what in the moment is going to serve me. It’s about doing what feels good in each and every moment. Moment to moment, whatever I feel like doing, I give myself permission to do that.
Because truth be told I’m ‘ok’ with trusting myself and my decisions, even if I do get a bit scared from time to time (i.e. hear my ‘mean girl’ pop in with objections). I have taught myself that I can do no wrong with food if I choose to see it that way (I believe your perception is an incredibly powerful body image tool).
Hot tip: The people who make it out of this food mess are those who are able to take a gamble and trust that at the end of the day everything in regards to their food (and ultimately their bodies) will be ‘ok’.
6. What’s your perspective on society and body image today?
In a nutshell it’s bloody scary. There are a variety of conflicting, confusing and confabulating messages about health and wellness in various forms of stimuli (magazines, radio, social media etc) all trying to feed us incredibly narrow minded, and very often misinformed views. Is this bad for me? Will cutting that give me a six pack? Will eating this boost my metabolism? Maybe if I chew my food so many times I’ll eat less… Everyone is desperately trying to avoid one thing: being fat and also being perceived as fat. Sadly it’s just all too easy to fall prey to this ‘BS’ that ‘fat is bad and thin is good’.
However as grim as the times we live in may be, it’s not impossible to re-write the limiting beliefs and values you have adopted, or even escape adopting them in the first place. There’s a bucketload of strategies I could recommend involving a ton of body image work, but one of the most powerful strategies I spent a ton of time on was working on my sense of self. Because truth be told, the people who respect, accept and can treat themselves with self-compassion are the people who thrive and survive within this body bashing ‘BS’.
7. What are your top three favourite blogs/websites?
8. What makes you happy?
Making my dreams become a reality, authenticity, giving and receiving love, and feeling ‘well’ and ‘good’ physically, emotionally and spiritually.
9. Shameless plug time: do you have a service, book, blog or something similar you want people to know about?
I sure do! Because I get asked a ton of questions about how I healed my relationship with food and my body I wrote an ebook, Be Free, which has a number of beginner level strategies which may well be just what you need to kick start your journey to food and body freedom. By saying ‘yes’ to my ebook you’ll automatically get access to my weekly coaching email (and private facebook group!) which contains some exclusive information I don’t always share on my blog. For anyone wanting to dive deeper you can check out my coaching packages and hit me up for a free 45 minute complimentary chat to see if coaching is right for you.