My

Story

Who I Am & Why I Want To Help You

How It All Began

My story began as a young teen. While my parents preached the importance of individuality, the other kids could have cared less about ‘self-love’ and would joke that I “looked like a boy,” was “too tall,” and “too fat.” As I tried my best not to put any stock into what they said, their comments laid the foundation for my years of “body shaming.”

Then, when I was fifteen, I was “discovered” by a modeling agency. At first, it was exciting. Perhaps someone finally believed I was “good enough,” and maybe even something special. But those feelings of elation only lasted until they immediately started exercising their control over my life. They first told me I could no longer play sports (I was already too muscular), and then began telling me exactly what I could eat and when. One Friday afternoon, my agent instructed me, in regards to a casting on Monday, “Make sure you don’t eat until Tuesday.” I thought she had to be joking, but no laugh or smile followed the comment. I didn’t eat just to be safe.

Fear and anxiety about my weight engulfed my entire world from there on out.

I dieted, starved, binged, purged, and exercised for countless hours. I gained and lost hundreds of pounds over the course of a decade.

I partied into the early hours, pill-popped, and attracted a string of unhealthy and abusive relationships, including my relationship with myself. I completely abused my mind and body to pay my rent, travel, and sustain my social life. I justified this existence with occasional yoga, wheatgrass shots, and supplements. I lived far from a balanced life, but, for the better part of a decade, I thought it was normal.

But “normal” doesn’t land you in the ER. After endless abuse to my mind and body, I hit rock bottom and was told by the ER staff, “You’re going to die unless you make a change. Now.”

At that moment, I had the strange but desperate desire that some other scenario landed me in the ER instead of a mental disorder. An unfortunate accident, a car crash, or an infectious disease. I would have taken anything. Anything but the truth that I was on the verge of death because of a mental “sickness” that I felt I should have had full control over my eating habits.

Lying in a hospital bed, I felt so helpless. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. For the first time in a long time, I had no packed schedule, social scene, or alcohol which had allowed me to mask the unhappiness I had with my body. My anxiety was multiplying and my depression about my body –which I had tried to mask with the drinking– was finally staring me right in the face. And there was nowhere I could hide.

Near-dead and feeling helpless, through my tears, I acknowledged the saddest part…

an eating disorder should never have been in my deck of cards. One would never predict that a “mental” disorder could penetrate my upbringing and pull me this far from my truth. I was raised by a family that always emphasized the importance of health, nutrition, and mindfulness. By the age of five, I was already learning how to meditate, moving through sun salutations and being taught why food out of our organic garden was more nutritious than what was being served at school.

Further, as a teenager, I helped my father cure his terminal cancer with ‘alternative medicine’ and the healing power of food, and I had read dozens of books on the subject to support him in his journey.

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Somewhere along my journey, societal norms got the best of me and, looking back now, I can accept that my downfall had been years in the making.

I knew the doctors were right. I needed to make a change and free myself of this mindset. I decided that the answer –the way I would save myself– was to revisit the lifesaving techniques I had previously learned, in hopes they would now help me recover.

Somehow, I found the courage to remove myself from my current environment completely, swapping the New York City party scene for international travels and enlightening educational programs, seminars, and workshops. I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, as well as Cornell’s Plant-Based Nutrition Program, and studied through the Gerson Institute and the Anne Wigmore Program.

I became a certified holistic health coach and took on paying clients, preaching the benefits of whole foods and aiding others in fixing their poor eating habits. And yet, with another year and a half of knowledge.

I still hated what I saw in the mirror… Every time I walked past a mirror, into a fitting room, or in front of a camera, I would experience anxiety. Some days I still felt too skinny, some days too fat.

I even continued to portion out my kale salads so I wouldn’t eat “too much,” and I never skipped a yoga class out of the crippling fear that one missed downward dog would cause the weight to pile onto my hips. I ducked out of important events because I thought everything in my closet made me look bloated.

Most overwhelming, however, was the embarrassment I felt sitting across from my personal coaching clients, explaining the benefits of green juice but, all the while, panicking about their sugar content.

My nutrition degrees had taught me how to eat well and heal my body. But my mistake was thinking these courses would improve the disorder that had taken place in my mind.

It was hard for me to fully understand why I wasn’t free. I delved back into my coursework and traced my family’s history up and down, looking for what I had missed or where I had gone wrong. Over and over I went, calculating environmental factors, rethinking diet plans, reworking protocols. Over and over until I thought I had exhausted all data points, until I felt I had no option left but to accept that I was going to have this mindset for the rest of my life. But, in that place of acceptance, the light finally came on.

And then, one day I was miraculously reintroduced to something my parents used to teach me – meditation. My parents worked hard to integrate it into my everyday life along with energy and breath work. While the other kids at school played video games, I’d met with healers to learn about Chakras. Of course, once I reached my late teens, I was too cool for any of that “hippy” stuff and pushed it aside for the trends and expectations my peers followed.

But then I realized I needed to make amends with the flower child I had abandoned and get back to the basics.

I started with simple meditation, and a consistent yoga practice focused on reconnecting my mind with my body rather than shedding pounds. I further added in breathwork and energy work, all the while looking for a particular program that would use these techniques to help me repair my relationship with my body. Unlike the plethora of fad diets and weight loss pills on the market, there was not a lot out there to support the internal work, so I began creating a regimen of my own.

I integrated personal mantras with meditations geared to help repair my subconscious beliefs about my self-image along with mental exercises to help create a new relationship with food. I practiced day in and day out, and slowly began to feel the self-love returning. I found I was caring about myself again and taking care of my entire being. I felt the grip of anxiety and depression begin to release while I began to live again. And, finally, after over a chaotic decade of self-deception and self-hate, I found myself reclaiming my freedom, my mind, and my life.

I came out of the experience stronger, happier, and more confident than I had ever been before. What’s more, I emerged with the knowledge that healing your turbulent relationship with food CANNOT be cured with another diet, even if it is one of leafy greens, quinoa, and fresh-pressed juices. The more you fear food and your body, the more you will retreat and hide.

As I began sharing my teachings with other women who were suffering from eating disorders and yo-yo dieting, I was able to connect the dots to create my own personalized method for losing weight and healing one’s relationship with food. I soon realized their success with this body of knowledge wasn’t a coincidence or just a string of luck. And as their families and friends noticed their results, I began to receive emails and messages from people, all around the world, reaching out for my help.

Over the past couple of years, I began to feel a deeper calling – to help people on a larger scale… to overcome these issues affecting them that can’t be “fixed” with another diet.

I wanted to figure out a way to provide –to anyone who needed it– the opportunity to shift their beliefs, regain their power, and reclaim their body, mind, and freedom. So, I have been pouring everything I know into my work, which is designed to help you find your powerful inner confidence concerning your body, using the same powerful mental reprogramming techniques.

I knew this was something special… and that is how the Holistically Slim Movement was born. The Holistically Slim Movement focuses primarily on teaching the concept that wellness is a lifestyle – one that is a complete balance physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Today, it has become my life’s work to help you discover how powerful an uncluttered mind can be. Because I strongly believe when you can break yourself free of the boundaries and false beliefs imposed on you by others, what you can accomplish is unlimited.

2016 Craig and Sarah
2016 Craig and Sarah

The Big Take-Away

If you take away just one thing from my story, please take this. Your turbulent relationship with food and your body cannot be fixed with another diet.

Take a moment now to think about what you are most fearful of when it comes to your weight and health. Is it gaining weight? Being around other people who are more slender than you? Not having self-confidence in social settings? Being naked? Experiencing emotional triggers and breakdowns when you eat? Experiencing anger triggered by depriving yourself of food and social experiences? Becoming sick if you don’t lose the weight? Or maybe it is losing the weight and finally being free?

Close your eyes for a moment and carefully analyze each fear individually. Acknowledge the fear and allow yourself the opportunity to address the cause of it. You will be surprised at how much you most likely overestimate each fear. Most fears are not as severe as they might feel. Now ask yourself, “Am I ready to overcome my fear?”

If the answer is YES, then moving forward, when you find yourself feeling frustrated with your body, or feeling down about what you see when you look in the mirror, remember my story.

Opening up to the deepest form of love for your body can only come from within.

Remember that you are not alone. Remember that breaking free from depression or anxiety, finding your steady, powerful inner confidence, and opening up to the deepest form of love for your body can only come from within.

You don’t need another book, diet plan or pill to tell you what’s healthy. Your body already knows what’s good for it. Your job is simply to listen to what your body is saying.

To lose weight, to permanently keep it off, to heal the relationship with your body, and to live healthy, happy, anxiety-free, there is one thing you must do. You must reprogram your subconscious mind. It is the only way.

You can do it. You just need to quiet your mind and find a place of self-love.

This is a truth I now hold every single moment of my existence. I have integrated this practice into my life and used it with my personal coaching clients, helping hundreds of women reclaim their sense of self and love of their bodies. It is my hope that you too can find this truth and allow it to transform your life as well.

Sarah Anne's Personal Story
All My Love, Sarah Anne Stewart
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