Want to feel amazing everyday? It starts with the thoughts in your head. Join in on my convo with Sarah Anne Stewart as we talk mindfulness, meditation, and most importantly, making peace with your body, no matter what it looks like (or society tells you it should look like). Sarah also shares her experience with breast implant illness, and how she learned to love her self and body again after an explant.
As a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner (AADP), Sarah runs a leading mindfulness-based private coaching practice in Los Angeles. Sarah's unique heart-centered approach has helped hundreds of women across the globe make sustainable lifestyle changes and heal their relationship with food and their bodies. Sarah is the founder of the Awesome Inside Out Movement, author of the e-course, Meditate Slim Mastery, an advisor to international wellness brands, and soon to be Hay House author.
Maria Marlowe: [00:00:34] Welcome back to the Happier and Healthier podcast. Today, I’m interviewing a friend and fellow health coach, Sarah Anne Stewart. What I love about Sarah is that she has this unique, heart centered approach to all that she does. On today’s episode, we’re going to focus primarily on the benefits of mindfulness and meditation, as well as how we can add these things into our life in a practical way. We’ll also touch on anxiety and stress and some techniques that we can use to limit those as much as humanly possible. Now, these things are all really important, but I also asked Sarah to share a little bit of her story with breast implant illness. I think this is a topic that’s not talked about enough and could really save people from some serious health problems. So because cosmetic surgery is just becoming more and more common. I think it’s really important that we talk about the possible risks of it. I think as you’ll hear from Sarah later on, that she wasn’t really aware of the full spectrum of risks before she underwent surgery. And so now she’s hoping to spread awareness about it. And I wanted to give her the platform to do so, because I do think it’s so important that we speak about these things, even though they’re sometimes a little uncomfortable to speak about before we get started.
Maria Marlowe: [00:02:03] Check out these brands that make the happier and healthier podcast possible. Are you eating the healthiest diet for your unique body or are your symptoms and ailments trying to tell you that it’s time for a diet upgrade? The diet that helped your coworker lose 10 pounds or your cousin get healthy may not be the healthiest diet for you and your unique body. We each have our own biochemistry and that’s why there’s no such thing as one diet fits all. Take my nutrition quiz at mariamarlowe.com. That’s m a r i a m a r l o w e dot com to find out and get a free three-day meal plan to get you started on the path to healthier eating.
Maria Marlowe: [00:02:56] This episode is brought to you by my alma matter, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I-I-N created the first Health Coach Training Certification program over 25 years ago, and they’re still the preeminent health coach training program. I finished in 2013 and went from working in finance to opening a full time health coaching practice in New York City, helping hundreds and eventually thousands of women take control of their health and feel confident in their body. If you’re obsessed with all things nutrition, health and wellness and love the idea of helping people improve their health, then you have to check out. I bet you’ll learn from the top minds in health and nutrition, including Dr. Walter Willett, who’s a personal favorite. He was the chair of Harvard’s Nutrition Department for 26 years and is the second most cited author in clinical medicine. Dr. Marion Nestle, who is a professor at NYU and author of Food Politics. And Dr. Mark Hyman, who is the leader in functional medicine. He’s also the medical director at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. And so many more brilliant minds like these three. As a grad of the school, I mentor dozens of new health coaches each year so they can create a thriving business as a health coach to become a part of my free mentorship program and get 15 hundred dollars off tuition when you enrol simply ask to add Maria Marlowe as your ambassador referral. Be sure to email me at [email protected] so I can get you set up and feel free to reach out with any questions as well.
Maria Marlowe: [00:04:40] Sarah, welcome to the show.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:04:42] Thank you so much for having me. It’s such an honor to be here and just so, so grateful.
Maria Marlowe: [00:04:46] I just love speaking with other women who have found health and wellness to really improve their life. And you didn’t really come from a super healthy background, right?
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:04:57] Yeah. So I grew up in my childhood. I did. It was really interesting. So I grew up in a really a healthier environment. But then I made a choice when I was 14 to go into the modeling industry. So for 10 years, I was really not in this healthy environment, which really impacted my mind and my subconscious in the way that I chose to relate to food. And so it was really, really interesting. So on one hand, I had this knowledge of growing up with food and nutrition and my parents were really into yoga and meditation. And my dad cured cancer with food. And then on the other hand, you know, based on my social environment, based on the media based and conditioning of the fashion industry, I had this kind of tug of war game, this plateau in my head of that food is healing.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:05:40] And then on the other hand, that food could also be, you know, detrimental and can cost you your life. And so about 10 years into the modeling industry, I was told by a doctor that if I didn’t make a choice, I was going to lose my life. And I had to really, really like in that moment recognize that this relationship with food had gone too far. And that’s when I went back to school for nutrition. And what was interesting was like the more nutrition information I got, the worse my anxiety and the stress around food got. So I realized that there is this missing piece, right? There’s this missing piece that creates a different relationship with food in your body, which really starts with us and self-love and and recognizing like that, it really is what’s happening in our minds, not so much calories and versus calories out. Ross, what’s on your plate which how much you move? There’s another relationship that we need to foster. And for sure.
Maria Marlowe: [00:06:29] Yeah. You know, it’s so funny. I think there’s so much confusion about healthy eating and just health and wellness in general. And the truth is, there are many different diets that work. It’s the mindset that allows you to stick to the diet. That is what ultimately really helps it work. And not just the healthy foods. Exactly. You can’t be beating your body into submission. I think most people look at diet. Rather, you have to be doing it from a place of love where it’s like I’m nourishing my body, I’m taking care of my body and I’m making the best choices.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:07:01] Yeah, it can’t come from deprivation. And when you look at the psychology side of it, you know, when we deprive ourselves of things that other things we want. And so it’s really creating a new mindset of why are you choosing the foods you’re choosing, why are you moving? Why are you taking care of yourself? Like, what is the why behind the reasons which fuels the momentum? Right. It fuels that not everyone, even myself, like I don’t like to wake up every day and go straight to the gym. But there’s a reason why I do it right. There’s a reason why I am there’s a reason why I meditate. There’s a reason why I choose to be mindful. And that’s because I have a reason to be alive. Right. I really have this passion, this vision of things I want to create in my life. And I think when we connect to that and connect to the higher vision of ourselves, we make different choices.
Maria Marlowe: [00:07:43] Right. That’s a great idea. It’s when we step back and look at the bigger picture and look at our life, not just from, you know, I can’t do this right now in the moment or, you know. Hate my body, whatever. But look, look, what do you want to accomplish in your life? And, you know, are you fueling a nourishing your body that’s going to allow you to achieve those goals? So really starting with Y is definitely a great place to start. So I think in this day and age, you know, we hear so much about self-love and health care and all of this stuff. And I feel like people are doing it more often. However, we’re also still bombarded with all these messages of what a woman is supposed to look like. I mean, men, too, but definitely women. I think heard a lot harder.
Maria Marlowe: [00:08:26] And it’s not even just celebrities anymore. And actors and actresses. And it’s on social media, all these people. And, you know, I see people and there’s nothing wrong with people wanting to do this but doing plastic surgery and lip fillers and breast implants and all of that. So I know you have quite a story with breast implants. So I know for you to share a little bit of your story of what made you decide to get them.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:08:51] And this is a really sensitive triggering topic. It’s a messy topic. And I’m really just speaking from my own place of what I have been through. So when I decided to get implants, I was in my early 20s. I was modeling. I was kind of at the end of my career, which is a funny, you know, a funny thing to say. It’s like as you get older in modeling or career, actually concerned and and you could you don’t get better at modeling. So I wanted to continue modeling. And so I thought that if I got implants that would, you know, extend my modeling career a little bit longer. I think there was also a part of me that was really wounded and didn’t know what else I wanted to do with my life. I was scared to step into something else. And so it was kind of this decision that I really made overnight. I called my dad, I sold my car with him to attractors. And two weeks later, you know, I had my implants.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:09:38] And then fast forward 10, you know, around 9 years later, a decade later, I woke up while I was on vacation until him during the middle of the night having severe heart palpitations. And I had no clue what was wrong. My husband, my now husband at the time ended up calling a friend who is a doctor. And he was like, Sara’s too young to have anything serious like this. You know, don’t worry. I just come home and have her checked, so forth. So over two years after that started, I developed all of these mysterious symptoms to the point where I pretty much had to shut down my business. I couldn’t get out of bed. I was really, really sick and just bizarre symptoms like pain in my hands. Pain under my armpits, like brain fog, memory loss, not being able to remember people’s names that I had just met. Like things that you just don’t think are going to happen to you when you’re 30, you know, in your early 30s. So I continued to search for answers going from doctor to doctor, doctor, different functional medicine doctors, different plastic surgeons, wondering if, you know, potentially my implants could be the problem. I had saw a few things online about the breast implant illness, which is is not a medical diagnosis. It’s not a term that is recognized medically yet. But women are getting sick from their implants. In that time, my ego stepped in and was like, it can’t be your implants, it can’t be your implants.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:10:57] But then as I dug deeper and met another doctor who was like, you can keep covering up the problem or you can solve the root cause. And after meeting with her, I ended up finding a really great doctor and getting my getting an excellent surgery. And then within, you know, even just a couple of days, I started feeling better. And it’s been a year now and pretty much all my symptoms have gone away other than a little bit of joint pain from the heavy metals. And so it was just a profound journey for me. And recognizing that symptoms tell us things that test results always can’t tell us, because I had been tested for everything under the sun. I spent, you know, thousands of dollars getting tested and thousands of dollars in treatments and nothing was working. And so I’m fortunate that I had this voice inside of myself, this intuition that I was like, no, I have these symptoms. Like, I’m not crazy. These are real things. And I was able to trust that because I think so often we go to the doctor, we get tested, and then it comes back completely normal. But yet we know the symptoms are still there. And so sometimes that’s emotional, sometimes that’s mental. Sometimes there is manifestation in our body in pain that’s coming from stored repressed emotions, so forth. Other reasons, right, that don’t show up on a regular medical test. But it’s it’s our responsibility to keep looking for the solution.
Maria Marlowe: [00:12:10] Yeah. I mean, it’s so powerful. It’s such a powerful reminder that what you said about tests don’t always give us the answer. Sometimes it’s the symptoms that do you know. And I think this is across the board. There’s there’s so many things. I think we’re just so reliant on our doctors to tell us what’s wrong or the blood test and tell us what’s wrong. But it can’t pick up everything. Right. And we really do have to be our own body detective and be our own advocate, because no one else is going to figure out the answer for you. How do you and your doctor is right, I’m sure. How many doctors did you go to and just kind of sent you on your way?
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:12:45] Yeah. And you know, for me, I have no blame towards my doctors because, again, these doctors don’t know about breast implant. And it’s a very new sickness like. Thankfully, now they’re social media where women are sharing this knowledge, and I always say like, look at the forums, look at what other women are sharing, because sometimes the answers in the numbers. Right. You know, there’s tens of thousands of women that are now sick and not just from their implants, from their butt implants, from lip injections, from silicone, from the heavy metals that are in these plastics, from Botox. There’s other things that are making women sick that I knew nothing about. And I’ve been down that road of plastic surgery and so forth. And I had no idea when I made that choice. The repercussions that we’re going to come. And I never advise people not to get implants or not to do plastic surgery, but I always advise people to think about what are the repercussions down the road. And I didn’t know when I got them in and only said, you know, I I had spent like around five or six thousand dollars on getting them in, that it would cost me tens of thousands of dollars on the road or tons and tons of time off work. And, you know, the lack of energy and the ability to enjoy my friends and my family and, you know, certain experiences because of this illness. And so there is repercussions for sure. And I think that as more women speak up, we’re gonna we’re gonna recognize like, is it worth. You know, the costs potentially. And I’m just an advocate for, you know, even if you make a choice, just becoming knowledgeable and aware that like if you start to develop symptoms, that it could be these things. Right?
Maria Marlowe: [00:14:18] Yeah, I know. It’s so important that you’re sharing this because I think like you, most people have no idea that this is even a possibility. Yeah, right. Because it’s not really talked about that often. And that’s why I think when you posted about this a while back, your post went viral because no one’s really talking about it yet.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:14:35] And it what’s so wild to me is I think about the choices that I’ve made and just how much of a disconnect there was in my own mind because of my ego, like I don’t even drink out of plastic water bottles and yet I’m putting plastic in my body. You know, in a state where it’s constantly in, he like water. And there is this chemical reaction taking place. And, you know, the silicone is breaking down, like even though my MRI showed my implants were completely normal. The pathology report showed that my body was actually breaking down the implant and there was a biofilm surrounding it which was suppressing my immune system. So and I think back and I’m like, I went to school for functional Medicine. I went to school for nutrition like I have several certifications in this. And yet, like, the fact that I was so disconnected from myself in this experience just shows where we have to get to, where we continue to look within and say like the answer will be there. Maybe I I’m actually blocking the answer because of my own stories or my own pattern in my own beliefs. And I really believe that’s most of the time. Right.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:15:35] Like, I think that a lot of coaches like you and I, we can see the truth behind, you know, what needs to change in terms of our clients, but only they can make the choice that’s going to say, okay, I’m going to break down the story. I’m going to change my belief systems, I’m going to change my mindset like I’m going to step into a place where I’m actually willing to hear the truth. And it’s hard. It’s really hard.
Maria Marlowe: [00:15:57] Right. And that’s why it’s helpful to have a coach or a friend who is going to be completely honest with you and going to show you things that maybe you don’t want to see. You might know that they’re there, but you’re sort of blocking them out. Yeah. I’m curious now, you know, our body becomes part of our image. Right. And so I’m I’m like wondering how this is affected you or what has changed in terms of, I guess, pre and post surgery.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:16:23] Yes.So it was really interesting because I when I went through like the actual process of the week before getting getting them out and then a couple weeks after I really went through, I wouldn’t it call it like depression. But I was definitely in a space of really low energy and like sadness and pain and really having to forgive myself because I recognized within that experience like that I actually did this to myself. Like, I can’t blame the doctors again. I can’t blame the doctor for not catching it. Like I made the choice to go into that doctor’s office and and get the implants. And so for me, it was this entire forgiveness process, which I think is what most women need to go through when they’re healing their relationship with their bodies, because we’re the ones who have made every choice when it comes to our body, like we choose what we put in. And every day we choose what, you know, if alcohol, you know, cigarettes, wherever it is, it doesn’t matter. Like we’re making those choices good or bad. I’m all about balance, but yet those choices are still ours and we’re the only ones that can hold responsibility for that. So that was something that I really had to recognize was like these were my choices. And I have to go through this forgiveness process. And with my coach, we did a lot of like ceremony and ritual around forgiveness and writing a letter to my body and writing a letter to, you know, my future self and my future self thanking me for this for forgetting these out and really loving my body. And just as I recommend to any woman like I had to sit in front of the mirror and tell myself, I felt like I had to do all those things. And what was so profound was the amount of women that reached out to me that were in deep. Concern about like how other people would perceive me, how my husband would perceive me, how, you know, how as a health coach, if I came out that I had these implants, how other, you know, like all of these things and and it was just mind-blowing to me that so many women were like in deep concern of like, well, how will society see, you know, how your husbands who you know, because they were like, my husband got me my implants for Christmas, I could never get them out.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:18:18] And I realized in that moment, like, how much work we have to do and like how much self-hatred and self-loathing. And, you know, media and all of these things which I talk about all the time are like deeply impacting our state of peace of mind deeply. And it’s so rooted. And we all need as as women together, we need to come together and support each other in making decisions that are based on the individual’s choice. Right.
Maria Marlowe: [00:18:43] Right. So let’s talk about the self-loathing and self-hatred, because that is something I talk about all the time, too. In this society, it feels like we are raised to hate ourselves. We are raised to think that our body is not right. If we’re blond, we want to be brunette. Not if we’re brunette. We want to be blonde. You know, whatever someone else has is what we want. What you have is never right. You have straight hair. You want curly, right? Yeah. So how do we start nipping this in the butt? How do we start turning this around? You mentioned a few practices that you started doing, but really, where does someone start? Because I think sometimes we don’t even realize that a lot of this self-hatred is not even coming from right. Like it’s just coming from the programming, from society. Even, you know, our parents, like maybe our mothers would say, oh, I’m so fat or oh, I’m so this or so that. So first of all, how do we even recognize now we’re in that place?
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:19:37] Hey, now, it’s really an incredible thing that we you know, as a woman, I think we all have to even those who, like, come to me, you know, like they want to just start with nutrition and they want to just start with movement. And I’m like, I would love to start with those things, but they’re not going to make a difference if you don’t do this deeper work. Right. It’s like this is what actually matters. And so from a place of like self-hatred, self-loathing, I always just remind people that what we’re thinking in our minds is basically a collection of all of the stories, all of the media, everything you’ve looked at walking past, you know, the advertisements in the mall, like all your experiences, are basically an accumulation in your mind suppressing your subconscious that are driving your behavior. And if we can start looking at it like that and saying, OK, the stories that are actually occurring in my mind aren’t my actual stories or not my truth. And so what is my truth? Right.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:20:29] And that comes from your heart. That comes from a place of actually being in your body and recognizing, OK, from my heart, you know, the truth and the deepest core of who you are. You know that like your self-worth has nothing to do with like your color of hair, your color of eyes, your skin tone. Like none of that. But yet, you know, we’re all kind of fighting each other to validate those beliefs. And until we start actually connecting to our heart and our truth, which is that your self-worth yourself, love, your self-esteem has nothing to do with it. With all of these stories and they’re not your stories and they’ve been stories projected upon you. I think when we can start to discern that and then starting to recognize that we’re operating from those stories and like what do you actually want to operate from? I have a spiritual belief that we chose our body for the lessons that we’re meant to learn, that where we have the body based on like the partner we want to attract based on like all of the things we want experience in this lifetime. That’s just my personal spiritual belief. And it has helped me move through so much of the pain. And I’m like, there’s a reason why I’m in this body. I have bigger things I need to do than worry about like that extra in my hips or the five plus that came this week. But I also think, you know, for me it was I was in a really serious car accident and I didn’t know if I was going to make it through the night. And I remember thinking, like, at the end of my life, like, I’m not going to give a shit about like like whether my hair has been like, you know, it’s still frizzy or whatever.Like, none of those things matter at all.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:22:04] Like, it matters that, you know, we as women come together and support each other and finding, you know, what feels best in our own bodies and not trying to project or tell someone else how to live.
Maria Marlowe: [00:22:17] Yeah, that’s so powerful. And really, I think it’s sometimes we have these wake up calls in our life that show us what is really important. Right. And having that shift in perspective is all perspective. I know you talk a lot about mindfulness meditation, so I want to talk about both of those things. We sort of kind of started getting into the mindfulness. But any tips obviously were catching or aren’t thoughts and making sure that when we’re telling ourselves bad things and putting ourselves down, you have to catch ourselves. But any other tips for how we can be a bit more mindful? And start shifting that conversation in our head.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:22:56] Yeah. So a couple of things that I always like to think about is just as any habit you would break the habit of this aren’t serving you. Your thoughts are also programmed as habits, right. So it’s kind of thinking like, OK, I’ve just been on this loop. And until I interrupt it with something more powerful, it’s going to continue to play on this loop. And so what would feel like a mindset shift or something that you could place into that that you know? And so a lot of the work that I do is around affirmations and just thinking like if I were to actually shift this belief, what would that new belief look like? And so a simple exercise that I use a lot is gratitude in the morning, forgiveness at night. And the reason I think that’s so powerful is like being grateful for your body, being grateful for the choice that you actually have a choice. I think we neglect to think like I even thought about this when I went to Ethiopia and I was like, wow, I actually have a choice in the morning to choose what I’m eating like to choose when I’m drinking, to choose how I’m moving. Like, these are choices that I get to make and what privilege is that? And so being grateful in the morning and then at night, I think one of the challenges I see over and over is like guilt and shame for the day always gets transferred into the next day and because it becomes a cyclical cycle.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:24:09] So if you can end your day with a forgiveness, meditation or forgiveness ceremony, ritual or process, that just allows you to say whatever happened to that during the day, I did the best that I can. I forgive myself. And tomorrow’s a new day. It kind of clears that energy before the next day. And, you know, I’m just to a point where, again, I think if you have a greater purpose, if you have a greater mission, you know, statistics show that if you do charity work and impact work, you’re going to be less likely to think so much about yourself. And so I think it’s just like the greater vision we have for the planet and so forth is really going to get you out of that mindset of what it’s all about me and we’re into. How is my belief today and feeling good in my body and walking around smiling and loving other women going to impact this planet versus it just being about me and myself? And this is coming from someone who was very much in that for a very long time.
Maria Marlowe: [00:25:02] Yeah, yeah. That’s really powerful. And gratitude is extremely powerful. I think it’s one of the best things that we can do. And I always recommend a morning gratitude practice, whether you, you know, are trying to get rid of negative self-talk or not, you know, even when it’s gone, you got to keep it up. Yeah, but the forgiveness practice, that’s something new that I haven’t really come across. And I really, really like that idea because I can see how that can be super powerful because we do hold on to so much. And then if we don’t clear it out, it just keeps snowball snowballing and snowballing.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:25:29] Even if you go to bed, it’s still you’re still carrying that energy into the next day. And so I even feel like there is a practice of, again, being really grateful that you get to make the choice. And then also like standing in your power when you’re in circumstances. So, you know, so often I hear like, oh, well, I’m going to wait to see if my friend is getting a margarita or a martini. I’m going to wait to see if my friends are choosing the bread I’m going to. But like, why are we waiting for everyone else to make the decisions that are impacting us? Like you probably already know what foods make you feel well. When a lot of clients come to me and they’re like, I don’t know. I’ve been on all these diets. I have them all basically close their eyes and I’ll read different foods and then I’ll say, does this food work for you? Does it make you feel good? And it’s so powerful, like it’s such an easy exercise. But they already know like they already know it to be doing, but they’re not trusting their self because of the people they’re around or they’re feeling they’re gonna offend someone or shame someone or the person is not gonna be their friend because like they’re giving up drinking at night. But I’m like, the only thing you have control over is how you feel in your own body. So like, why not just live every single day feeling the best that you can?
Maria Marlowe: [00:26:44] Right. Well, you also bring up a good point. I think a lot of times people don’t have the confidence to stand up and say what they want, where, you know, I personally feel when I see a woman who says what you have asked for, what she wants, knows what she wants. I think it’s so often like it’s very like charismatic, it’s magnetic. And you’re like, wow, yeah, that’s cool. But why is it you think that many women don’t feel this way? Or and more importantly, how can we get to that place of confidence?
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:27:15] Yeah, it’s so interesting. You know, I think a lot of it does come from childhood and comes from watching and seeing why their mothers did so often. I see, you know, while my mom stood in the mirror and told herself she was fat every day, you know, my mom was always on a diet. My mom took us to detox, you know, actual classes or weight loss classes as kids or she controlled what we ate. You know, so much of it is from our childhood and and again, with so much love and compassion, because I even see how my childhood programming definitely impacted my own relationship with food. But again, it’s like operating from a different story. And what story do you want to have with the people that you’re in relationship with? And for me, if I’m making a choice and my friend across the table is making a choice because I made that choice, but it doesn’t make her feel well, I would want to empower her to make a choice that feels good for her. Right. And so it’s so interesting now that I’m in a different community environment.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:28:11] It’s like all my friends are different things. They all have to make different choices. And we all are completely at peace together at dinner. Like it’s there’s no no weirdness or no, you know, but it took us all standing in our power of saying like, this is what I eat. These are my choices and so forth and so and holding the respect for one another. And I think it takes one of us making that choice and also not feeling bad. I mean, a lot of women come to me and they say, oh, my, you know, my sister, my mother in law, my mom did this diet and it worked for them and it didn’t work for me. And I’m always like, great. Like, you know, it doesn’t work for you now. Like, be grateful your body is this beautiful experiment. And, you know, it works for them. And if it doesn’t work for them, it’s OK. Don’t have shame and guilt about it. Just it’s like one more check on your list of identifying what’s good for you and what’s not. And I feel like there’s gratitude in that. So recognizing, OK, gluten doesn’t work for me instead of feeling bad that you can no longer eat pizza. It’s like be excited that you’re like, okay, now I’m going to get cauliflower crust and make different choices. And I you know, it’s like just moving from a place of like, oh, I can’t do this to totally get what my body needs and doesn’t need and I’m going to move into a different space.
Maria Marlowe: [00:29:22] Yeah, that’s really so important to withhold judgment and not think of things as good as that. Good or bad. They just aren’t. And whatever situation you find yourself in, you deal with it. Yeah. That’s all. Yeah. Move on. Yeah. And just when you were speaking about the competence piece, something that I just remembered, I read an interview with Blake Lively and she was talking about. I think the interviewer said something like, I don’t know, you look so great on and confident on the red carpet. Something along those lines. And she’s like, actually, I you know, I hate the red carpet. I really don’t feel very confident. But when I go on there, I just pretend I’m J.Lo. You know, whenever you are needing that little confidence and you don’t feel it’s in you, you know, pretending to be all, they pretend you’re J.Lo. You know, think of someone and just become play that role and you will eventually find that you do it long enough. It becomes. Yeah. Becomes you. Yeah.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:30:16] And I always say we think self-love is a roller coaster. Right. We think it goes up and down based on our own experiences or cop self-confidence or so forth. But that actually is always consistent with and us. It’s just how we’re choosing to relate to our environment. And so you can always access it. It’s just like getting in that mindset, right. And like turning when you stick up and dancing and playing into that and just reminding yourself that you have everything you need inside of yourself. But you’re making the choice based on a story or an environment to not access that part of you.
Maria Marlowe: [00:30:45] Yeah, totally. Let’s talk a little bit about meditation. I know you’re a big proponent of it. So what role does meditation play in your life and how did you come to start meditating?
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:30:58] Yeah. So when I got really sick with eating disorders, I started studying a bunch of different nutrition like schools and certifications and so forth. And what I recognized was that my anxiety around food was getting worse and my relationship with food was getting worse. And even though I was coaching people about food while I was walking past a mirror, I would get anxiety when I had my picture taken or so forth. So I realized again that there was this disconnect that was happening right where my physical body was better and the doctors had cleared me that I was better, but my mental side wasn’t better. My emotional side.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:31:30] And you know, all of the things that we deem better again this tax year, like are like, oh, you’re better. But I actually didn’t feel better. So I met with Chandresh has he runs a company called Break the Norms. He was kind of the first person that really was the component who really saying to me, like, you have to unlearn the way you were taught to suffer, like you have been suffering for 10 years. It’s programmed in your mind. It’s playing on this auto loop. And until you actually go back and un-peel those layers of belief systems, like you’re going to continue to operate from this story. And I was like, okay, so give me the answer. What is it like? Tell me what it is like. I’ll pick whatever, you know, just like. And he is like, you have it inside of you. Like, I actually can’t do it. And he took me on this journey through his series of different types of meditation, but mostly mantra meditation, where you basically get a mantra that your guru gives you and you practice this mantra twice a day.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:32:26] And through working with him and really peeling back these layers, I started to recognize why we don’t have that anxiety and more. I don’t have these fears anymore. This isn’t part of who I am. And so I recognize through the meditation and mindfulness techniques that something powerful was really happening and I started up handing out these principles to my own clients? And my first client was a bikini model who I started working with in meditation and mindfulness and just breath work. And she had been bingeing for years and through meditation within six months. She hasn’t binged ever since. And so it was like and now we’re very good friends and now she coaches as well. And she was one of the first people that I was like, wow, there’s something to this my body connection, right. There’s something to the fact that she’s been living with us for some years. I’ve been living with this for so many years. And this is actually making a change. And and now we see the science behind meditation. So we know that it rewires parts of your brain for compassion and self-love and addiction and and even sleep and, you know, all these things that really support us. So a lot of women who think, OK, well, to lose weight, you have to burn calories. And I’m like, no, to lose weight. You actually just need to sit in, like be still with your mind. And so my practice really evolved over the years from working with women with just nutrition for weight loss or healthy living to really this mind body connection where it’s like all these different parts of your brain rewire that then indirectly impact your choices, because when you aren’t lonely at night, you know you’re not. Can you go to the fridge like all of those things that basically meditation does.
Maria Marlowe: [00:34:00] Right. Yeah. I mean, I feel like we keep hearing of new studies about the benefits of meditation and everyone’s talking about it from, you know, the Deepak Chopra to just like the guy or like meditation is pretty mainstream at this point. But I still find that most people find it hard to meditate or just to get started. And I think once people actually do it and they feel like, OK, I’m meditating and they start to feel less anxiety or see see some benefits, then fine where they’re going with it. But I think it’s that initial getting into it. So we know it’s good for us, but it’s a little hard to get there.Yeah. So I’m sure you got this pushback from your client. Like, how do we get over that little hum? Yeah.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:34:45] So I think it’s important to recognize what’s not working. You know, like the whole dieting in it. Calories in and out is causing more anxiety, more irritability, lower self-esteem, stress, exhaustion, all of the things that we don’t want. Right. And so if we look at like what have we been doing over and over that hasn’t worked, why not try something new? Right. And why not try something new for at least a couple weeks or a month? And I think it’s just about really committing to the process. And the reason I think people resist at the most and I go through this with my clients, the number one reason, I think is because when you meditate or you journal journaling as well, you actually have to confront your thoughts. You have to confront what is there. You have to confront the truth of like, why am I going to the fridge? Like, why do I have an elliptical in my house and stacks of vitamins? And I’m not using these things like why do I go to the farmer’s market on Sunday but then don’t cook the entire week? Like what are the stories behind the actions that are keeping you unhealthy?
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:35:40] And so that’s the scary place to be. But if you can get through and recognize, okay, I’m actually going to identify the behavior change, then you’re going to realize that like everything you want is on the other side of that fear. And that’s what I believe. Meditation and journaling, does, especially journaling in the morning like right when you wake up. I think it’s so powerful. There’s a practice called morning pages that just allows you to free flow writing everything that comes to mind when your subconscious mind is activated. And it’s really, really powerful to recognize that the number one reason people are being held back is themselves. You know, there’s more nutrition information than ever before. There’s more health information before. There’s more podcasts, right. Than ever before. Why are we doing these things? We’re not doing them because of a story. And so that’s you know, so that’s kind of my my push back. It’s like, well, everything else hasn’t worked. So why not try something new?
Maria Marlowe: [00:36:36] Right. And I think also having a guide to teach you. Yeah. Again, that’s really helpful. And I think guided meditations. Yeah. Just listening to them. You can find them on YouTube and you can find them all over the Internet for free. Starting there again, even trying to maybe go a little bit deeper and then actually studying with someone that can guide you to do it without even a guided meditation.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:36:57] Yeah. I mean there’s dozens of different types of meditation. You know, there’s now science showing that different types of meditation rewire different parts of the brain. And again, I think this is all new, right. We’re learning kind of what parts of the brain are impacting our empathy and our self-love and our compassion and our ability to make decisions. And I think as that research starts to come out even more and become more mainstream than it already is, we’re gonna really see these benefits. And what’s so profound is the consumer health analysis study showed that like people who meditated even for a year had significant decrease in their health care costs. And after five years, it was 28 percent less, which is huge. Like if you’re committing to like five years, can you imagine decreasing your health care costs like 28 percent? It’s like it’s amazing. And yet there’s so resistance to it. So, yeah.
Maria Marlowe: [00:37:47] Yeah. And having someone to keep you accountable, that’s always good to you. You can get someone to do it with you or just get. To hold you accountable. Yeah. That really helps.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:37:56] Yeah. And just also recognizing like different teachers have different beliefs about this. But I with my clients, I’m like, even if it’s like five minutes and your Uber, you know, or ten minutes in here, Uber on the way home or like even if you can just squeeze it in and start to recognize the benefits of regulating your nervous system and getting out of fight or flight and being able to make decisions from a place of groundedness and clarity, it just starts to impact everything. And then you’ll be you’ll have that momentum, to keep going.
Maria Marlowe: [00:38:24] So what do you think is a good period of time? Like what if we challenge our Ludhiana like seven days, 30 days, 21 days? What do you think is a good amount of time for them to really get in the groove? Yeah. You see a difference. Yeah.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:38:38] I would say committing to at least 10 minutes, twice a day for like a month would be would be ideal, you know, like a significant change. Different teachers would say like some some teacher would definitely say twenty eight minutes or less a day. But I would say even starting with 10, that’s where I started. I was in so much fear when I started this. Like I remember it was literally like two minutes watching the kid in five minutes and ten minutes. And, you know, it was like, I have to be with myself for ten minutes. Like, that’s terrifying. And I want to be with myself. And especially if you’re an extrovert and you really you know, we like distraction, right? We like to see our phone over and over again all day long. We like to have things moving around us because we don’t want to actually confront what is in front of us. But if we’re not confronting it, then that’s what’s impacting the decisions to basically kind of live robotically. Right. Like live in the space of just grab go vs. conscious decision making.
Maria Marlowe: [00:39:29] Right. So you mentioned journaling, mindfulness meditation. Are there any other practices that you incorporate into your life that help with just reducing anxiety and reducing stress and kind of keeping you in tune with your intuition?
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:39:45] Yeah. So the writing of letter to your body, I think is really a beautiful thing to do at least once a year. And that’s basically just like thinking your body for all the things it’s done for you over the past year. I think it’s really profound because again, we are we’re constantly thinking of our mind and our body separate. But they’re actually, you know, a unit, a beautiful unit. And when we actually have that conversation, it changes the relationship and it changes our decisions, some other exercises that I do. I think it’s important to create a sacred space in your home that is very much just for you to go. And when you do have that anxiety about food or your body or whatever it is, it’s like going into the sacred space that holds an energy or a vibration that allows you to just be in a different experience and just recognizing that that space is yours. And so I think that that’s really important. Yeah, those are those are two of my favorites. Another thing that I love to do is asking myself in the moment of a decision in my acting from a place of self love or I’m acting from a place of self-sabotage. And I think right now we’re living in a very confusing time in terms of social media, where there’s a lot of beliefs around, well, I love myself, so I’m just gonna behave in a certain way or I’m not going to move or I’m not going to work out or I’m going to eat unhealthy food or so forth. And again like I’ve no judgment, everyone can make their own decisions. But I think when we tap in internally and actually recognize that sometimes we’re making decisions from a place us that’s sabotage, that isn’t actually self-love, we can discern between those two and say oh sometimes I say I love myself, I’m going to sleep in today and I’m like, no, that’s actually sabotage. I need to get up and move and, you know, get some air and so forth.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:41:25] And so that’s been really helpful, too, because I think that’s very confusing right now for a lot of people where we’re kind of stuck in this belief system of why I love myself. So I’ll do whatever whatever I want, but then we don’t feel well and we’re confused, right?
Maria Marlowe: [00:41:40] Well, that’s where self reflection is. It just really comes in and it’s so important. I think it’s something that we typically try to run away from as fast as you can. Yeah, we’ll have a million other things to do except sit even for a five or ten minutes and just think about, OK, how did the day go, what, you know, choices that I make and, you know, how did they affect me? What do I want to do better tomorrow and all of that stuff. And it could make such a huge difference in our lives. Yet we don’t want to do it yet. So if you can leave our listeners with just one tip or piece of advice on how to live a happier and healthier life. What would that be?
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:42:18] So I’ve been recently working on this book and I did hours and hours of research on body positivity and self-love and self worth and self esteem and everyday. And I was interviewing women all over the world and it kept coming back to the same answer of connection and women wanting sisterhood and love between one another. And like when I really spoke to women who had healed themselves of, you know, eating disorders and, you know, endless like bingeing up as in what you know, what all these different experiences writing the relationship with food, I continued to come back in here like I had one person there for me or one woman who loved me unconditionally. And I had a tribe of women around me, and I think healing the divide between us is so important right now and I see this where we like it, like there’s a body positive post and it’s so beautiful. And then like underneath all the women are fighting each other about their belief systems in this world, you know, and it’s kind of this like who’s right and who’s wrong? And like, I think it’s just really important that we all just step into a place of just loving each other and and sisterhood, because that’s what’s actually going to heal the divide and letting people be in whatever choices they make, whether that’s vegan or paleo or Keto or whatever it is, it’s like it’s like I see them all fighting each other, but they’re fighting each other because they want to be part of a community. You know, they want to be part of something. They want you know, they want a label and like to be part of a tribe. But what if we were all just part of a tribe? And so that’s something I noticed over and over again while I was writing this book.
Maria Marlowe: [00:43:45] Yeah, that’s really well. And I think that’s a piece that’s often left out of wellness. We’re happy to talk about meditation and food and exercise, but not really friendship. Yeah, that doesn’t come up very often and it really is an integral piece. And even in the Blue Zones, which is that was a book that was talked about the different. I think there’s six or seven different cities around the world where people routinely live past 100. And yeah, they all have very healthy diet and they they move. But one of the biggest similarities amongst them all is that they have very close relationships with friends and with family. And that’s a huge, huge part of their health and wellness.Yeah, yeah, I love that. And you mentioned your book. What do we have to look forward to?
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:44:30] Yes, I have a book coming out with HayHaz has next year about this topic, about really how do we step away from social media? How do we step away from the media? How do we step away from social conditioning and just really connect back to ourselves? And how do we make decisions? How do we become an advocate for our own well-being or own health? How do we communicate with our doctors, our parents, our friends or family so that we can live our healthiest life while still empowering others? Because I have a strong belief that if you’re living a life that’s like empowered and you really love your body and love. You know, being alive and being awake and joyful every day, like other people are going to gravitate towards that and you’re going to inspire with them without having to even, you know, tell them what you’re doing or so forth, and then they’re going to find that in themselves.
Maria Marlowe: [00:45:10] All right. Well, we’re looking forward to that. Yeah. In the meantime, if people want to connect with you, what are the best places?
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:45:21] Yeah. So Instagram’s perfect It’s @sarahannestewart if you DM me I always write people back. I have a free program, so just message me there and I’m happy to send it over.
Maria Marlowe: [00:50:14] Awesome. Well, thank you so much for sharing your insights today. Yeah.
Sarah Anne Stewart: [00:45:38] Thank you so much for having me. Just so honored to be here.