Today, I want to share the story of health coach and hypnotherapist Sarah Donner. Starting out as a model at just 14 years old (all while going through the normal teenage body changes), her whole self-worth was focused on the size of her body. Luckily, transitioning careers allowed her to understand that there was so much more to her than her body. The reason I want to look at Sarah’s story and the work she does now, is because it reminds us of the fact that our bodies really are the least interesting thing about us.
One of the exciting things about Sarah’s journey is her work in hypnotherapy. A far cry from the hypnosis acts you might have seen on TV (the two often get confused), hypnotherapy is a tool that can help us find what lies at the root of our self-worth or food issues. Only then are we free to pursue intuitive eating because unless we can connect with our bodies, we can’t hear the signals intuitive eating requires.
Sadly, many women are in the state of mind where they’re so hyper-focused on being one size, just like Sarah was in her modeling days. But when you have those blinders on, you don’t hear your body’s cues, and you can end up mistreating your body to the point where you may even develop intolerances or disorders.
With all the magazines telling her to do it, Sarah tried the Atkins diet but after eating so many eggs, her body developed an intolerance. She was trying to will her body into shapes and habits that it really didn’t like. Right now, her focus and practice is on helping people reconnect and find that voice within themselves. Our body has ultimate wisdom, and when we get to that point where we work with our body, everything becomes so much easier.
At just 14 years old, Sarah was highly impressionable, and the diet culture she was surrounded by in the modeling industry had a huge impact. She lost all connection to her body because she was so hyper-focused on being the “right” size. She would be measured every time she went to her agency and then someone would tell you to your face if you were too “fat”. Her worth was completely connected to her body and how much money she made with this job.
But even for those of us in bigger bodies who aren’t modeling for a living, it affects us in the same way. Women have this very unfortunate belief that our bodies are so much more important to the world because we tie it to our self-worth.
When Sarah moved to New York at 20 years old, she had an internship at a music startup and was at a tech startup for a short time as well. That’s really when she started to realize that there’s a whole other world out there, where people actually acknowledged her ideas and her thoughts. It opened up her world tremendously and allowed her to really go soul searching on how she wanted to contribute to the world, beyond just being a size six or a size four.
Hypnotherapy as a tool for intuitive eating
The self-conscious mind is responsible for 90% of what we do, what we think, our emotions, and especially our belief system. In hypnosis, we bypass the conscious mind to get directly to the subconscious. And in this state, you have hyperfocus and are more receptive to new suggestions that are more aligned with what you want. Once the chattering mind is quiet, you can start to see what the initial wound is. Where’s the lack of self-worth?
And in this state of just being quiet and reconnecting with yourself, you can see what you are trying to numb with food. What are you trying to distract yourself from? What is the deeper issue here? And then when we get to that place, we can work it out. We can see what is really needed. Is there a lack of love? Is there a lack of community?
A lot of us eat when we’re lonely and when we’re bored. We don’t want to feel bored because we might realize that there’s a lack in another part of our life, whether it’s your career or personal life. So then we develop these habits with food because food is such a delightful distraction, but then it becomes a habit that we don’t know how to get out of.
With hypnotherapy, you can find the way back within and see the wound from a more objective place, so that you can rework to find a better solution. In this state of hypnosis, you have a lot of resources. The voice of diet culture has often been in our heads for so long that it just feels true. We don’t even think to question our relationship with food or the way that we’re using food because it just seems like it’s always been that way and it’s normal.
Hypnosis allows you to bypass all of that thinking level and get to the root of the real issue with your relationship with food. It always ends with people feeling more connected, and more grounded, which is always the best place to make any type of lifestyle change from – not from what some magazine or some other person is saying.
Combining health coaching with hypnotherapy to get results
The health coaching is actually a very small part for Sarah. It started being 50-50, but once she discovered hypnotherapy, people really reconnected with their body and found out what the root of the wound is. That meant they stopped asking for meal plans or what to eat, because they didn’t need that anymore. It’s time people realized how much power and wisdom your own body has and that you truly are the expert on yourself.
Intuitive eating is impossible if you can’t connect with your body and hear the signals that it’s trying to tell you in terms of your hunger and fullness. At the end of a hypnotherapy sessions,
Sarah does some future pacing where the client sees themselves in their best version, feeling aligned, feeling healthy, feeling fit, and feeling strong. When people have spent years hating themselves and
talking negatively, they are so in awe when they see this beautiful side to themselves that was always within.
When you are operating from that place of embodying your future self, you naturally want to take better care of yourself and your body and so you make the decisions that will support that. And the great thing is, your brain doesn’t actually know the difference. It doesn’t know if you’re imagining this or if it’s real, so there’s actual power in spending time imagining how it’s going to feel to be fit, healthy, and vibrant.
So don’t forget: you are so much more than your body. You are so much more than your weight and once you start seeing that it’s just all beauty.
About Sarah Donner:
Founder of Siva Wellness, Sarah grew up in Germany and started her career in fashion, which allowed her to travel the world at a young age. After finishing her degree in New York City, Sarah pivoted into the start-up world and lived between New York and Europe. She had the privilege to work in some terrific tech startups and is the founding member of an AI-backed beauty company called 2250.
Sarah is grateful for her past work experiences but needless to say, living that fast-paced life without the right tools in place left its mark on her and she ended up feeling mentally and physically depleted. She suffered from imposter syndrome and anxiety and was constantly battling all sorts of ailments that traditional medicine could not help her with. That is why she started to look for alternative methods to heal herself, and the journey and results have been remarkable.
After receiving her license as a Holistic Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York and her Hypnotherapy License from the Center of Integrative Hypnosis, she studied Transpersonal Hypnotherapy with Allison Axinn in Tuscany, Italy. Sarah decided to turn her passion into her career and Siva was born. Siva is for everyone that is ready to implement change with a long lasting effect and without any of the side effects.