Why the weight doesn't stay off

Why the Weight Doesn’t Stay Off [Podcast Episode #074]

Have you ever watched one of those weight-loss transformation shows? The participants work so hard, exercising and being meticulous about their diet. Their hard work pays off - They look like completely different people by the end of the show!

But then...

A year or two later you read about them in a magazine. ​They've gained back all the weight, and oftentimes weigh more than they did when they began. It's so disheartening to see their digression, but this story just keeps happening over and over again.

Why does weight re-gain happen so often? Has it happened to you? And, how can you avoid falling into this pattern in the future?

Episode Resources:

Why the Weight Doesn't Stay Off [Full Text]

Dave: Hey, thanks so much for joining me in this episode of Make Your Body Work Podcast. As you know, this show is all about helping you live a healthier and happier life. Today, we’re going to talk about something that’s been in the media a fair bit recently, and you probably seen either news stories about this or maybe read about it online.

It’s the idea of people, particularly those who go through transformational weight loss, so on some of those popular programs where people lose an astonishing amount of weight, and then when reporters follow up with them six months down the road, or a year down the road, or two years down the road, more often than not, they put all that weight back on.

Sometimes, that can be so discouraging because we look at stories like that, and they seem so inspirational when we see them on TV. But then, when we hear the follow-up, and they’re right back where they started, or in some cases, have put more weight on than they originally even lost, it can feel very defeatist. It can feel like, “Well, why would I even start?” and that’s exactly what Jennifer wrote in as a question.

She said, ”Everywhere you look in reports and in the media, it says the vast majority of people who lose weight gain it back. How do you make sense of all the negative press and research?”

Jennifer, I just want to say thanks because while I do … Maybe you’ve heard me say this before on the podcast, but while I do love some of those transformational type shows and I do think that there can be some positive messaging from it, I also do think that they set up an unrealistic expectation of what’s possible for the average person who’s still working a regular job, and looking after a family, and cooking their own meals, and having to squeeze in exercise amongst so many other activities.

We’re not in a position where we’re getting dedicated support 24 hours a day like those people in some of those shows, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t start. It doesn’t mean that we can’t have a transformation in our own bodies. I just really was looking for a guest who could shed some light on the idea of why weight loss in many cases doesn’t stick, and I found a really amazing guest today.

Her name is Sarah Anne Stewart, and she’s got such a great personal story about her issues around weight and some of the eating disorders that she’s gone through. How she came out of that, a really amazing event that sparked her out of that, and what she’s learned about her mindful practices, the way that she practices mindfulness in her life on a daily basis, and how she does that with clients, and how you can do it too to get out of this risk of losing weight, and then just gaining it back. I’m really excited to introduce to you, Sarah Anne Stewart.

Meet Sarah Stewart

Dave: Hey, Sarah. Thanks so much for joining us on the show today.

Sarah: Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to be here.

Dave: Yeah, I’m excited to have you. You and I connected or learned about each other, I guess. We were both speaking at the Done With Dieting Summit recently.

Sarah: Yeah. Yes.

Dave: I’d be interested actually. I didn’t have an opportunity to catch your talk. Can you tell myself and the audience, what were you speaking about?

Sarah: Yeah, so the Done With Dieting talk really gave some suggestions on different ways to shift your thinking away from dieting and move into a more mindful approach to losing weight and ways you can reprogram thinking around food so that you can create body freedom and live a more healthy, happy life outside of the trend that we see so often with calorie counting and dieting. It was a really great talk. I loved it.

Dave: Now, I’m interested if you could tell your story a little bit because I was reading your bio online, and you have actually quite an interesting story of how you got into the whole health wellness field in the first place. Do you mind sharing?

Sarah: Yeah. It’s really interesting, so my father … I grew up in a very holistic world. Both my parents were really clean eaters. They practiced meditation. We did yoga in our basement before it was mainstream, so I grew up in this holistic space.

Then, when I was 14, I started doing pageants, and I was scouted to become a model. So for a decade, I was in the industry of modeling and basically selling my image for money, and I thought that this was going to be a great opportunity. I came from a great home. I was like, “I’m not going to fall into the traps that we see so often with other models, and celebrities, and actors, and so forth.”

I thought I would be fine, but 10 years later, I had, over a decade of eating disorders, everything that you could imagine and really had to find my way back to the mindfulness approach and healing my own subconscious patterns around food. During that time, my father actually cured himself with alternative medicine of terminal cancer. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the time, and he used nutrition to heal his body. I thought that I could just go back and start eating healthy again, and that would fix my eating disorders.

But what I found out was that through a lot of study and really just diving into a couple years of traveling all over the world and working with different practitioners, I learned that there’s more than nutrition, and there is this mind approach that really needs to be looked at above and beyond nutrition or what’s going on in your mind.

I had to really reprogram my thinking in order to create freedom again and be able to live my life because for a time, I just thought, “Okay. I have all these nutrition content. I’m just going to live with this anxiety the rest of my life. It’s just something that happened,” and I began to accept it, and then I dove back into meditation and realized that there’s a cure for this, and I found my way back, and then I began working with other women in the industry and opened my own practice.

The Modelling Industry Exposed

Dave: I have many questions about your story there if you don’t mind. First, I was wondering if you could tell a little bit about the kind of pressures that you felt working in the modelling industry. How was that?

Sarah: Yeah, so I didn’t realize how bad it was, and I haven’t really spoken a lot about it because for a long time, I hid behind the shame of it, and I thought, “Well, you know, my agents did a good job. They helped me make money, which I traveled all over the world. I put myself through school. There was a lot of good things for me.”

But then, as I just have been working with so many clients and realizing how the industry and how the pictures in magazines are influencing these young girls on a subconscious level every single day, I realized that they’re really looking up to these outlets for inspiration, and it’s become my life work to tell my story now and not be ashamed or hide behind it and say, “This is actually a problem.”

What I was told in terms of, “Don’t eat until Tuesday,” or, “You need to lose another inch on your hip, so you can’t play sports,” or, “You can’t be who you really are, and you can’t be healthy,” is a serious, serious thing, and it’s something that really needs to be looked at on a big scale, and the whole industry needs to be aware that when you choose to go into it, there are definitely repercussions of it, and those for me came in ending up in the ER, almost dying, being extremely sick. Now, I’m open to discussing it, for sure.

Dave: Yeah. It’s interesting, you and your story about that because I think we all know that nowadays like Photoshop seems to be the thing that every image … You see those videos online where it shows the before and after, and see how much stuff is touched up, but even in the day of Photoshop, the models are still being asked like you said, “Don’t eat for however many days,” or, “Don’t do this. Don’t do that,” and are really putting yourself in harm’s way.

Sarah: Yeah, and why are we Photoshopping? Before Photoshop, it was makeup artists, and hairstylists, and clothing stylists, and we are always looking for the reality TV stars to tell us what’s right, and what’s wrong, and how to look, and what the newest trend is.

Where have we as a society becomes disconnected to what is it that makes us happy and what is the truth within us that we want to look a certain way because that’s our most authentic self, not because someone on TV is telling us it’s the newest trend?

I think it’s really important to differentiate the difference between creativity and … There are people who use makeup and this sort of things as a creative outlet doing cool things with art, but there is a very fine line with influencing young girls to look a certain way.

I have a lot of parents reaching out to me, and their girls as young as 14 are now being diagnosed with eating disorders because they’re trying to control something because they’re looking up to these girls that are much older because they want this sort of life. I think it’s really important to start to move through this and have this conversation.

Being the Best Version of Yourself

Dave: Mm-hmm (affirmative). One thing that I saw recently … I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this before, but ESPN, they put out something each year called “The Body Issue.” Have you ever seen this before?

Sarah: Yeah, yeah.

Dave: For the audience, if you haven’t seen it before, but basically, what they do is they take athletes from all different sports and photograph them without any clothes on done very tastefully, and the thing that I really like about it is that it shows a huge array of different body types excelling and like performing at the top of the top levels, and the message … They don’t say it, but it’s just obvious.

The message is you don’t have to look just like that stick thin model in a magazine cover in order to succeed in life. I just think that’s a very positive way to use media, I think, and maybe influence some of these body image issues that we do have.

Love yourself the way you are. You don't have to look like someone else to be your best.

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Sarah: Yeah. I think it’s really important, and we’re growing to really also create this kind of two different belief systems, so we’re moving into the self-love belief system in terms of society, and love yourself the way you are, and find your truth in who you are.

That’s great, and then we also have this other side of like dieting and this extreme dieting, and be someone else, and try to spend your whole life being this other person, and creating your life around them. The challenge is we’re not looking inside ourselves and seeing what is true for us.

When we stay in this self-love space, which I’m seeing a lot of, it’s like we want … I always say to my clients, “Love yourself the way you are, but still want to grow like become the best version of yourself.”

The problem with this self-love side of it is you can say, “Okay. I love myself the way I am, so I’m not going to do any work.” You become complacent in that space, and you almost self-sabotage because you’re like, “I’ll eat whatever I want because I’m okay being this size.”

I think there is a middle ground now that a lot of us are now talking about where “Love yourself. Find the self-esteem. Do the mindfulness work,” but find the middle ground of, “Okay. I really want to become the best version of myself, so I have energy, so that I’m healthy, so that I can live a long beautiful life in the body that I was born into because there’s a reason I was born into this body,” and being grateful for that space is really important.

Dave: That is such a fine line though like how do you even define, “Be the best like the best version of myself?”

Sarah: Yeah. I think it’s constantly looking at your awareness, and your consciousness, and how is that expanding, right? Where are the pain points in your life, and how do we move through them? I always say, “Finding body freedom.” It’s interesting in that I don’t think … I think given the society we live in and the culture we live in, you’re going to go outside and you might have a moment of insecurity. I still do. When I go to the dressing room, I still get triggered once in a while or when I am in a picture that maybe I’m not super happy about my look in the picture.

I have to remind myself and give myself the tools to bring myself back to a place of alignment that my self-worth, my self-esteem, my self-confidence isn’t determined by a picture, or if I can fit in a certain dress, or if my hair is a certain look, or if I look a certain way, but we need to empower ourselves in terms of our clients with the tools that they can bring themselves back to that alignment and keep growing from that space.

So how do we find more body freedom? I always just encourage my clients like, “As you move through this anxiety space of your body, it’s going to get less, and less, and less as you have the tools and you use them consistently to be able to feel free, and feel confident, and feel empowered.”

Dave: Yeah, it’s practicing. Just like anything, as you practice that, it will become more natural, more habitual, and hopefully, will move away from that other type of thinking altogether.

Sarah: Right, right. There might be moments. Our bodies change. Our lives change. Hormones shift. We have kids. Things happen, and we’re … Our bodies are going to change, but how do we move through that with love and grace, and find the space where it’s not about that? It’s about who we are at the core of our existence.

How Do You See Yourself?

Dave: It’s such a cool message. When you’re talking about being self-conscious, it’s neat. I appreciate you saying that, even as someone who’s coming from the modeling industry that you would still feel self-conscious in certain pictures. As soon as you said that, right away, I thought about Facebook, and I’ve had people … A number of times recently actually where people have tagged me in photos, and I look at the photo and think, “Oh, man, I hate the way I look.

I wish they hadn’t tagged me.” It is that sort of sense like even as someone in the fitness industry that I think I’m quite fit, there still is that insecurity and still that tying my value to my physical appearance, so it’s a good message that we all go through that.

Sarah: Yeah, and it’s really important to understand that even when you’re the skinniest that you’ve ever been like when I was the skinniest I’ve ever been, when I had great photographers shooting me, when I had Photoshop, when they were … I had the best makeup artist and hair people, that’s when I was the most insecure and I was the most unhappy.

Like every day, I would go home and think, “Okay. I need to work out for another hour,” or, “I need to like cut more calories,” or, “I need to like get this treatment so I don’t have cellulite on my legs,” or whatever the case may be. It was like that’s when I was the most unfulfilled. You can’t judge someone based on how they’re looking and say, “Wow, she has it all.” She might be suffering miserably inside.

It’s really about our own mind-body connection, and who we are, and that connection to food, our relationship with food, our relationship to our environments, our relationship to our life, and then the relationship we have to ourselves. We are the only one that can judge that for ourselves. We can’t look at someone else that’s gorgeous and think she has this perfect relationship with her body.

How you judge yourself affects you more than how others can judge you

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Dave: It’s too bad, but people definitely do that. I’m sure even … You sent me some pictures that I’m going to use for this podcast. You’re a beautiful woman and looks so in shape, and I bet you … I know people are going to look at that and think, “Oh, if only. If only I was blessed or if only I was lucky to look like that,” but the reality is we all have things that we don’t like about our bodies. We all have things that we wish we could change, and that’s something that we all have to work through.

Sarah: Right and right. Like on a spiritual level, like I found peace in that we’re all gifted our bodies for a certain reason and that you actually … Deep within you at your very core, you don’t want to look like someone else. You want to look like you. You were given your body and your looks as a beautiful gift, and that’s something that I personally believe. It was something that we chose before we got here or on a spiritual level.

It’s something that we’re gifted with, and we should be grateful for that, and so when I go into those moments of insecurity, I always come back to gratitude of just like, “Thank you for this extra 10 pounds that I gained this last two weeks on vacation. It’s helping me learn something about what I should be eating or what I shouldn’t be eating.”

It’s helping teaching me lessons of compassion and gratitude that I’m not going to always be the same size, that things are going to shift, that my hormones are going to shift. As I get older, my metabolism is going to change.

I’m going to have to reinvent how I stay in shape in different movements and so forth, so thank you for the opportunity to consistently be working from a place of bio-individuality on myself, and thank you for the lessons that it’s teaching me in compassion and love.

Be grateful for what you already have and you will attract more good things in your life

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I think that’s a really important thing just to keep coming back to is like, “What is it teaching you? What is your body teaching you? What lessons can you learn from it, and where can you move then?” Move those lessons to other areas of your life and be an inspiration for other people around you because we are creating based on who, what, where, and when we see everything around us.

Why Does The Weight Come Back ?

Dave: Yeah. Again, I completely agree with that. It’s interesting. We haven’t even really dove into today’s question at all, but a lot of what we’ve talked about is very applicable. Jennifer, she says basically, when she looks in the media, she sees people that are losing weight, but then has read stories as I’m sure you have and I have where people that have lost a lot of weight will gain it all back.

Sarah: Yeah.

Dave: When you read that question, I guess, what came to mind first? Is that something that maybe you’ve seen with your clients or seen in the industry you’ve worked in?

Sarah: Yeah. Most of my clients actually have been through this exact same situation, and I’m really excited that she asks this question because it is so common. What happens is most of the ones who come to me have been through multiple health coaches. They’ve been on dozens of diets.

They have dealt with the ups and downs, ups and downs, and why that’s happening. We even see this with reality TV shows where people would go on these drastic diets, and then four, five months later, when they get home, they can’t stay on the diet, and they gain all the weight back.

The reason for that, which I found and then what I found to be a very consistent measure in actually making permanent change, is the fact that most diets, most health coaches, most people … and this is shifting quite a bit as become more aware of the mind-body connection and the space of how important it is for mindfulness, but your mind always goes with you, so if you’re trying to run away … A lot of people pick up and leave a city because they think they can run from their problems, but the problem is your mind always goes with you, right, so it’s no different with dieting. It’s no different with anything else.

Your mind, the subconscious patterns, the unworthiness, the lack of self-esteem, the lack of self-worth is always coming with you from diet to diet to diet until you address that specific thing. We can do … We can learn everything we can about nutrition. This is something I did. I suffered with this for 10 years.

I studied from dozens of different certifications all over the world. My father cured cancer with alternative medicine and food. I knew a lot about food, but yet I was still suffering, gaining weight, losing weight, gaining weight, losing weight because I wasn’t willing to work on my mind.

When you’re willing to work on the patterns, the unworthiness, all the things that happen as a child or that one traumatic situation that happened, that forgiveness that needs to happen, that sort of permanent change takes place because then, you’re not craving the food again because when people lose the weight and the weight comes off, they’re like, “Am I worthy of this body? No, I’m not worthy. I still feel unworthy,” whether it’s conscious or subconscious, and then they gain the weight back. That’s a long-winded answer, but yes, I see this all the time.

Becoming Emotionally Present

Dave: Look, I 100% agree with you, and likewise, I see with the clients I work with all the time. What would be your advice then for someone like Jennifer who’s saying, “I want to make these changes, but I know it doesn’t stick,” or maybe they’ve had past experience where they said, “I did it before and it didn’t stick?” How do they start to actually make those mental changes that you speak about?

Sarah: Yeah, so there’s a lot of different tools that you can use. What I would recommend is really taking a break from the nutrition, really … staying focused on, obviously, the things that we already know like plant-based diet, trying to eat as healthy as possible, but really saying, “Okay. I’m going to take two months off of the diet ups and downs, and I’m really going to focus on myself. I’m going to focus on figuring out my why. Why am I doing this? Why do I want to live? What are the things that are really important for me?”

A lot of people are motivated by fear, but fear isn’t an enough good motivator. Actually, it’s been shown not to be as effective, so if you’re fearful of maybe getting sick, or dying, or these things, they’re too far-off and they’re too scary for us to really address, so figure out your motivation factor around joy, and creativity, and love, and inspiration like what is it that you really want to accomplish when you lose this weight?

Then, my biggest thing is like meditation. That’s just quieting the mind twice a day, and then just getting rid of those when we go into these stress and anxiety moments around food and our body. I recommend meditation a couple times a day, but then also, becoming emotionally present.

As you move into fear, anxiety, stress around your body, around food, taking two to five minutes sitting down, quieting your mind, why were you feeling what you’re feeling in this moment? Jot it down. Think about it. Start to analyze where these patterns are coming from. If you can figure out this subconscious, where in your life did trauma happen? Why are you repeating the pattern? Why are you like feeling unworthy?

There’s multiple tools you can do. You can do forgiveness letters. You can do gratitude. You can do compassion, gratitude meditations. You can do vision boards around how you want to feel versus how you want to look. That’s a big one. There’s tons of exercises, but just becoming emotionally present is a really great place to start because you’re going to analyze, “Why are you craving that food at night? Why are you craving something on Sunday night?”

It’s probably because you have to go back to work on Monday and you’re really stressed out, or are you craving food because you just got in a fight with someone that you love? Are you craving food because you are unfulfilled from a spiritual perspective or creative perspective because you are missing dance that you used to do when you were a kid? You’ll figure it out. You have the answers inside of you. It’s just taking the time to listen.

Dave: Mm-hmm (affirmative), and that’s really hard to do particularly in our society when there’s not very much time. There’s so many distractions as well that can prevent us from listening.

Sarah: People want instant gratification because it’s what’s been promised, but there’s a reason why the dieting industry wants you to fail because most of these companies are owned by each other where they want you to fail and like come to next, and the next, and the next one.

They promise instant gratification knowing that it’s not possible, and then when you fail, you feel the guilt and shame that you failed again, and then you look for instant gratification or excitement in something else, and you’ll try something new, but then the pattern just continues to repeat over and over.

I say if you can just do one thing like just change your thinking around dieting. Let it go. Unlearn what you’ve been told around dieting. Take everything that you’ve been told and to say, “Okay. I’m going to quiet my mind for two months, and I’m just going to listen to myself.” Even we can give individuals a diet plan.

I can go fill your fridge with greens and all these amazing products and super foods, and tell you to make these great smoothies, but if you’re craving the unhealthy unworthiness of McDonald’s, you’re going to go and grab that on the way home, and you’re not going to do anything that I’ve put in … what I’ve planned for you, so it becomes counterintuitive.

Developing a New Attitude

Dave: I want to dive in a little bit more deeply into the whole motivation factor because I think that’s so important is identifying why we want to make these changes in the first place, and you said something really profound and true that fear-based motivation is probably quite common, but is very ineffective, and that’s something that I’ve seen with a lot of people that I meet.

They’ll talk about things like fear of being left out, fear of being alone. A lot of parents will say fear of dying at an early age and not being there for their children, so that’s definitely a theme or a trend. What would be some examples of some motivators that would be non-fear-based?

Sarah: Yeah. I always say, “Look at all areas of your life and make a diagram of …” Whether it’s a circle or you want to just put it in your journal. In what areas of your life do you feel need improvement or would you want to have become larger or grander?

Our thoughts become our reality, so if we’re thinking fear-based, fear-based, fear-based, “I’m going to die when I’m young. I’m never going to be healthy. I’m sick. This weight is on me. I can’t get it off,” that energy of that projection is actually creating a reality and keeping us stuck, or even the idea of, “I need to lose weight. I want to lose weight. I can’t lose weight.”

Your thoughts become your reality. Keep positive thoughts in your mind.

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It’s all like future tense, right? “I need this future,” so getting back to the space of creating a diagram of like the areas of your life, so the creative components, the career component, the relationship component, the family, the friends, and just making a diagram and saying, “Okay.

What areas of my life do I want to grow, and expand, and make better?” Through being healthy and happy, those things will also flourish because we’re not … We can’t compartmentalize our life. Our health is really the center of everything we do.

I’ll have clients that have had these dreams, and they wanted to accomplish these great things in their life, and their weight is holding them back. As soon as we map out their life of how it would look, they’re like, “Well, if I lost the weight, then I would be able to go skydiving, or I would be able to go spend time with my grandkids and run around the park with them, or I would be able to feel confident enough,” and so there’s always a reason for your weight. We just have to figure out what it is and really, just being honest with yourself.

I think that’s the hardest thing is people are scared to be honest with themselves, but as soon as you are, then you’re like, “Oh my gosh, I can now lose weight because I’m being truthful with myself like this is the honest truth.” It takes time, and it’s terrifying. It’s scary because we’ve been programmed our whole life to believe that maybe you are not good enough, or maybe someone else deserves it and I don’t, or whatever the case may be.

Dave: Yeah, and I think you hit the nail in the head too when you said it takes time, it takes work because there are those quick answers for why we want to lose weight, or get in shape, or do any sort of like physical goal, the quick answers that everyone says, but they don’t hold a lot of weight, and those quick answers aren’t going to be so motivating when we’re faced with our first hurdle or our first challenge when we’re trying to make these new lifestyle changes.

Sarah: Yeah, exactly. We can only stay motivated on like long-term things that we want to accomplish, and we can look at the little things upfront of like, “Okay. I want to drink more water,” or, “I want to eat more greens today,” but that’s not going to sustain us long-term.

We have to look at our whole life of like, “How do we want to live our lifestyle?” We want to be happy. We want to be healthy. We want to have body freedom. We want to go do what we want to do without these sort of anxieties and worries in the back of our minds.

It does take time and work, and that’s what people, I think, get scared about. They’re like, “This is going to be so much work,” but I can tell you, if you do the work now, six months, a year from now, your life will be completely different if you just begin to look at the patters or why you’re creating what you’re creating, and where the weight or even the disordered thinking is coming from.

Dave: I think that’s so motivating because you say six months from now, you’ll be able to look back and see all this progress. To some people, six months, that might seem like a long time, but time flies.

Sarah: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Meditation as a Solution?

Dave: We’re going to be six months in the future. It’s going to seem like a snap of a finger, and it will be so neat when you’re able to look back and see these improvements that you’ve made.

Sarah: I always like … It’s amazing. The thought of meditating is scary. It’s the same as journaling. You have to … You’re writing down your thoughts, and then you have to address your thoughts and actually face the truth. It’s the same thing with meditation. People are terrified of meditating because it’s this window into their mind. It’s the window into the truth of what’s really happening, but on the other side of it, I can tell you so many people are like, “This is amazing. I’m so excited.”

Like once you get in the flow, it’s like, “Wow, I just had this awareness and this awakening, and I just created this awareness in my mind. Now, I know that this is coming from this one thing that was said to me on the playground when I was five years old, and this has stuck with me my entire life.”

You will be amazed at the little things that come up, and you’re like, “Wow, my whole issue with eating was from one comment that was said to me, or the way that my father used to treat me, or the way that one relationship I was in that affected me to think that I wasn’t worthy of another relationship.” You’ll figure it out like I have no doubt that we can look in our minds and really discern … and with good coaches, discern what is happening and how to fix it and move through it.

Dave: Okay. I’m excited to ask you about your practicing of meditation because admittedly, this is on my to-do list is to become a master meditator. I really struggle with it. I took a meditation class, and we were supposed to meditate for 30 minutes. Honestly, I found it so difficult to focus, and my mind wandered. I know sometimes that’s maybe okay in meditation, but you talked about meditating several times per day. Please tell me you’re not asking people to meditate for 30 minutes at a time several times a day.

Sarah: I personally meditate for 20 minutes twice a day, but meditation doesn’t have to be like quieting your mind completely. In terms of meditating more of just taking a few deep breaths in the space of anxiety, so sitting with yourself and asking yourself where the emotion is coming from, and then you’re actually looking for an answer.

Even if it’s just, “I’m having anxiety because I don’t want to go to dinner because I … my dress isn’t fitting, and I feel bloated,” taking like two or three minutes even in that space and allowing yourself and your mind to quiet and say, “What is it that I’m really feeling? Well, it’s actually because my ex-boyfriend is going to be there, and I’m feeling a little insecure,” and how do we move through this within the moments of deep breathing?

I personally meditate 20 minutes twice a day. I work with a coach here in LA. His name is Chandresh from Break the Norms. I also recommend Emily. Emily Fletcher has a program called “Ziva Mind” that I highly recommend. It’s like a beginner’s course to meditation, but also, I think what really works for like eating issues and weight loss is guided meditation. I always think it’s important to choose a meditation that resonates with you.

A lot of people do TM. It’s really like what resonates with you and what feels good, but I always recommend trying it at least for a couple of weeks, and sitting with yourself, and really allowing yourself to experience it. There’s hundreds of different types, and I teach … In my programs, I do like compassion, gratitude, forgiveness meditations because I think those are really important for food, so even in the space in your kitchen, how do you want to feel in your kitchen?

You can use a visualization experience of sitting in your kitchen, quieting your mind for 10 minutes, feeling what it would feel like to be cooking and eating really healthy foods, and having a great group of friends who are all experiencing a beautiful dinner together in a place of love, and compassion, and gratitude. That is in itself a meditation that you could do in your kitchen.

Dave: That’s a different way of meditating. I think of meditating as sitting cross-legged on the floor, and making the lights dim, and closing my eyes, and trying to clear my mind, and what you described is very different.

Sarah: Yeah. You can do like visualization. I love guided meditation. That’s what actually the giveaway is. It’s a guided meditation to move you through letting go of dieting, and I think those are very helpful. I also think it’s really great if you can record your own voice.

Hearing yourself speak and telling yourself something that is powerful actually is reprogramming your thinking to believe in that belief that you want to create for yourself, and I think that that’s very powerful as well. If you have time, record your own meditation. What do you want to be telling yourself that you want change with?

Dave: I love that. Honestly, I’m going to try that.

Sarah: Yeah.

Dave: I’ll send it to you. I’ll send you my own personal guided meditation.

Sarah: I would love it. It’d be great.

Make Your Body Work Takeaway

Dave: Now, you’re gracious enough to offer … You mentioned a giveaway. For the listeners, if you go to this episode of the show, so it’s makeyourbodywork.com/74, I’ll put link to Sarah’s guided meditation that you can download, and give a try yourself, and experience the type of meditation that she practices with her clients. Sarah, I like to wrap up the show with what’s called a “Make Your Body Work takeaway,” and that’s just boiling down everything we talked about.

I know we talked about a lot different concepts and giving one action step where someone like Jennifer who maybe wants to make some change, but has seen the cycles of weight gain and weight loss, and is skeptical that she’ll ever be able to do it and keep it off. What’s one thing that you would get someone like her to do today?

Sarah: In this space … If she was just going to start right now today, I would literally say drop everything, sit down, turn on some beautiful music, light an incense, light a candle, and just quiet your mind. Whether that is thoughts coming and going, it doesn’t matter. Just give yourself the space to create a healthier and happier life through meditation. If you’re scared of what meditation is or that you’re doing something wrong, it doesn’t matter.

Take the time to get in touch with your inner self and feel what your body really needs.

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Just start with really the basic like sitting down, putting your hands on your lap, spine straight, and just breathe, and feel yourself breathe and fill into your body, and feel the space of, “What is it like to actually feel my body breathing in and out? How can I hold this space of gratitude?”

And then in that space, hold gratitude for your body because when you’re grateful for your body and you want to be alive, you’re going to naturally choose the food, the supplement, the movement, the right relationships, the right career, but you have to get back in your body, and the quickest way to do that is through your breath.

Dave: I love it, and that’s so practical. Okay, so challenge for all the listeners. When you push stop on this podcast, even two minutes, try it. Sit up straight. Breathe. See how your body feels. Get in tune with what your body is doing. It’s something we can all do right now.

Sarah: Yeah.

Learn More About Sarah

Dave: Sarah, thanks so much for being on the show and just sharing so much wisdom. Now, I know that there’s going to be a lot of listeners who will want to learn more about you, connect with you. They might have questions. What’s the best way for them to get in touch with you?

Sarah: Yeah, so just through my website. It’s Sarah, S-A-R-A-H, Anne, -A-N-N-E, Stewart, S-T-E-W-A-R-T.com. All my social media links are on there, and then I have a program that I created called “Meditate Slim,” so it’s meditateslim.com, and that’s the program that I have online that also gives 34 exercises and tools with meditations for each that I have been using with my clients for the last couple of years, and I just put it into an online course.

Those are the two best ways, but I love connecting on social media. I love answering questions. Please reach out. I have a free online community on Facebook. You can join through my site, so I love to connect with anyone who’s listening.

Dave: Awesome. Again, for the listeners, I’ll put links to all of Sarah’s contact and every place that you can reach her on this episode on the show notes, so if you go to makeyourbodywork.com/74, you’ll be able to find all these links there. Sarah, again, thanks so much for being here today.

Sarah: Thank you so much for having me. I’m so grateful.

Dave: Sarah, I just want to say thanks again for joining us on the show and for bringing a really neat perspective when it comes to weight loss, maintaining a healthy weight, and thanks for sharing a bit of your story as well. I know that we all go through very similar situations.

For everyone that might not be weight loss, but we all struggle with things that we’re not satisfied about with our bodies or just the way the situations that we are in life, and it really is a common thread. Everyone has struggles. Everyone can overcome those struggles. We need to support each other and have a healthy perspective. Sarah, I think you did a really fantastic job of just giving us hope and giving that positive message.

I also want to say thanks to everyone who’s tuned in who listened to this episode. Hopefully, you’re feeling inspired right now. Hopefully, you’ve come away with something that you think, “Yeah, I can change the way that I’m approaching my life in blank in such a way.” What is it for you? What did you hear in today’s episode that you can apply to your life today that will make a difference tomorrow, a week from now, six months from now, five years from now, and it can all start today? What is it for you?

Now, if you enjoyed this show and if … Maybe you tune in on a weekly basis. I’ve got a quick favor to ask. I was wondering if you could go to makeyourbodywork.com/itunes, and that will take you to the show in the iTunes Store. This is a free show. I put this out here to help people, connect experts with people who are looking to have their questions answered, and it’s really helpful if you can give this show a rating and a quick comment. It gives me some feedback. It shows me what you like about the show and where I can take it in the future, and it also helps other people find the show in the iTunes Store. Again, that’s makeyourbodywork.com/itunes. I’d really appreciate it.

Next Week’s Episode

I am glad that you are here today, and like I said, my challenge is to think about what’s the application for you. Hopefully, you’ll come back next week because I’ve got a really neat show topic. The topic is … or the show is titled “Why Am I in Such Pain?” For anyone who suffered or is suffering with chronic pain of any type, I have an amazing guest who, we’re going to talk about some ways to deal with pain and more importantly, some ways to uncover the actual source of this pain. It might not be what you think. I know for me I learned a lot about the pain that I struggle with, and we do a really neat exercise that you’re going to want to join in on, so that’s next week. Have a great week, and like I said, I can’t wait to see you here again on the show next week.

Thanks for joining me today!

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