The non-diet approach to health & life | Guest Interview with Sarah Harry

It’s November already and what a year it has been so far! Throughout 2015, many lovely people have taken part in interviews to give their thoughts about living a non-diet approach to health & life. (to get the recap, head HERE)

Today’s special guest is Sarah Harry. She is one half of the dynamic duo that is Body Positive Australia. Together with my fellow Dietitian Fiona Sutherland, Sarah spreads the body positive love across the country. I personally love reading interviews or social media posts where Sarah is quoted. She breathes fresh, helpful and kind words but isn’t afraid to call out organisations or the media and “say it how it is” when required :)

sarah harryIntroducing Sarah Harry…

Sarah Harry is an experienced individual and group psychotherapist and registered yoga teacher. She is passionate about helping people find a healthy and happy relationship with food and their bodies and believes that we can all become more comfortable in our own skins and come to show ourselves and our bodies greater self-compassion.

Her clinical areas of interest and specialization are Eating Disorders and Body Image Concerns. Sarah has more than 15 years experience counselling individuals and groups with all kinds of eating and body image issues, she has worked in the public and private sectors and also lectures at universities in these subjects.

Sarah has worked at The Center of Excellence in Eating Disorders (CEED) educating and training health professionals on how to treat eating disorders and co-wrote a manual for health professionals.  She has also been involved in 3 research projects investigating the efficacy of the RIPE group program ( in partnership with Monash University and ACU) Sarah also teaches meditation and mindfulness skills and a body positive style of gentle yoga at Kozen Yoga and on Retreats.

She has been on the board of Eating Disorders Victoria and Vice President of that organisation. Sarah is also a freelance writer and a Community Partner of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition.

Phew! – Impressive credentials….so let’s hear Sarah’s thoughts on health & life…

There are lot’s of folks out there using the term, ‘body positive’. Can you tell us what being ‘body positive’ means to you?

Body Positive to me is the ability to be comfortable in your skin! It doesn’t mean you have to be uber confident, I often also use the word “body neutral” to describe it. It’s a place where you aren’t being critical about your body or anyone elses and your worth as a person isn’t tied to your outward appearance.

 

Was there a defining moment when you knew you wanted to work with people with eating disorders and body image concerns?

There was never one defining moment, it was a series of small moments I think. I worked in the fashion industry and I was also someone who had recovered from an eating disorder. I decided that the best way to help even one person was to go back to University and retrain to be a psychotherapist and work in this field. I never looked back!

 

nurturingWe know you as not only being a Psychotherapist but also as a Yoga Teacher. How does yoga help with being body positive?

I love adding yoga to the body positive mix! It helps so much as a way to really learn how to be in your body (become more embodied) without criticism or judgement.

In yoga you connect, breathe and move the body with a sense of ease which helps you develop those skills off the mat too.

 

We find using a mindfulness approach helps people who have been on the dieting roller coaster. As you know, a big part of mindfulness is loving-kindness.  In this day and age of “busyness” and creating a healthy work life balance, can you tell our SOL friends your favourite way to practice loving-kindness and self-love?

My favorite way to practice loving kindness and self-love is to be really mindful of self-care. I try to make sure that I nourish myself so I can be there for others (I also have 2 small boys). I nourish myself with a mix of things from yoga to naps. I take care of my energy and don’t say “yes” when I need to say “no”.

 

Imagine you were Prime Minister for one day and could enforce ONE change to our health system or society to prevent body image issues. What would that ONE CHANGE be?

What a question! If I had the power to change something in our society that would be easy, I would completely remove the “ideal male/female form” and make diversity part of our cultural norms. All bodies would be seen in the media and thinness would cease to be the only acceptable beauty standard.

 

Can you tell us one thing no one knows about you?

Most people don’t know that my first year of University I studied teaching!

 

sarah harryOK. What things have you got in the pipeline? What exciting things should we look out for?

We are excited to launch 4 retreats next year including a new one for health professionals working in this space!

 

 

 

THANK YOU Sarah :)

Thanks so much to Sarah for agreeing to take part.  If you would like to learn more about Body Positive Australia you can check out their website here.

If you would like to read some of our other (seriously interesting) interviews just click on the links below.

  1. Leah Gilbert, Specialist Fitness Trainer/Endurance Athlete, Australia
  2. Magnus Fridh, Mindfulness App Developer, Sweden
  3. Lauren Fowler, Registered Dietitian, United States
  4. Julie Goodwin, Celebrity Cook, Australia
  5. Fiona Willer, Accredited Practising Dietitian, Australia
  6. Dr Linda Bacon, Nutrition Professor & Researcher, United States
  7. Stephanie Alexander AO, Celebrity Cook, Australia
  8. Sarah McMahon, Clinical Psychologist, Australia
  9. Kerry Beake, Nutritionist & Coach, Australia

 

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