I’m Sarah Bryan.
I use the pronouns she/her.
I am a thirty-something, eating disorder survivor, body positive advocate, writer and coach.
I help womxn* develop healthier relationships with their bodies so that they can feel confident, worthy and free from society’s beauty and body standards.
(*This includes women, womxn, those identifying as women and non-binary babes)
I work with clients who are looking to make peace with their body and find freedom. I use a non-diet approach in my work, and instead, focus on reframing their mindset and beliefs about themselves and their bodies. I truly believe that weight loss and dieting cannot cure body image issues and that the most effective way to heal your relationship with your body is by reprogramming your thought patterns.
I am fiercely passionate about the Health At Every Size® (HAES) philosophy and incorporate this approach in all of my work.
Coaching // Body Freedom Coaching Series (3 months or 6 months)
Group Coaching // Summer Body Freedom
Online Courses & Workbooks // The Body Freedom Project
I am a certified Life Coach via the Beautiful You Life Coaching Academy.
In addition to my coaching work, I work alongside SANE Australia as a Peer Ambassador, sharing my story of lived experience with complex mental illness. I am passionate about raising awareness, encouraging early help-seeking and sharing my message of recovery and hope. It is important to me that I use my own experiences with mental illness to inspire other people and continue to advocate for better mental health services.
I am also an Empowered Voices Community speaker with the Butterfly Foundation where I share my story of lived experience with binge eating disorder, negative body image and weight stigma to advocate for positive change in the sector of eating disorders.
Sharing my story is incredibly important to me as binge eating disorder is one of the most common eating disorders yet is the one that is less commonly recognised in the medical world and reported by the media.
This chapter of my life begins in the early 2000’s – the decade of low-rise denim, The O.C., questionable hair cuts (I had multiple!) and Myspace.
I had never given much thought about my body until I was in high school. Puberty wasn’t unkind to me, but it brought with it some fairly noticeable changes to my body. My hips grew wider, my boobs started to develop and my butt and thighs got a bit bigger.
Like many other teenage girls, I was a little self-conscious of these changes but it wasn’t until the bullying started and then the entire relationship with my body changed. My appearance, specifically, my changing-body, became ammunition for my bullies, who used insults like ‘fat’ and the oh-so original, ‘Thunder Thighs’ complete with their own rendition of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck (ripper of a song, BTW!).
The bullying, along with society’s expectations of the ideal female body played a huge role in the way I felt about myself (to put it quite bluntly, it f*cked me up!). From then onwards, I truly believed that my worthiness was tied to my weight and I constantly felt the pressure to look a certain way (ahem, thin). I became acquainted with my inner mean girl who was constantly telling me I was never good enough, that I was my weight, my appearance and the size on my clothing tags.
I started finding ways that I could change it. Countless fad diets, pills, shakes and obsessive gym regimes. I began to restrict certain foods and even skip meals. I counted calories. Exercising became strictly for weight loss, rather than for the pleasure and joy of moving my body. For many years after, I would continue to engage in disordered eating habits and chronic dieting. It was a vicious cycle and only continued to negatively affect my body image and impact my mental health.
As a teen, I was diagnosed with various mental illnesses, including anxiety and depression. I also used food as a way for me to cope with my feelings, emotions and past trauma. This continued for several years until I was diagnosed with binge eating disorder a decade later.
Receiving a diagnosis meant it was finally time to deal with my body image struggles head on. With the help of regular therapy, support and self-care strategies, I was able to manage my symptoms and begin this new chapter of Body Freedom.
Reflecting back on this time is hard for me. To go back and see how much time and energy (and money!) I wasted on trying to achieve the “perfect” body for external validation is heartbreaking. I lost many of my years, amazing opportunities and the opportunity to create new and fun memories to the fog of negative body image and my eating disorder.
The moment that I realised it isn’t my body that needs changing – instead it’s unlearning everything I have ever been taught about what constitutes as a ‘good’ body and reframing my mindset, sprinkled with loads of kindness and compassion to myself.
I know that I am not alone in the way I have felt about my body. You don’t have to have had diagnosis/ symptoms of an eating disorder to have experienced negative body image. It affects so many of us.
I welcome clients of all body shapes and sizes, backgrounds, cultures, faiths, gender identities and abilities. I value and celebrate diversity and I aim to make Kindful Body & Mind an inclusive and safe place for every BODY. I believe in kindness, compassion and freedom from societal beliefs about bodies and beauty.
Even though I have faced multiple adversities during my life as well as bias and stigma in relation to my body, I acknowledge my privilege as a white, educated, heterosexual, able-bodied human.
I am forever learning how to be a greater ally, how to make my space more inclusive and how I can be a better person. I acknowledge that, like everyone else, I am a fallible human. I am not perfect because perfection does not exist. I will make mistakes and I will do my best to learn from them.
I also want to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are the traditional custodians of the lands in which I live, learn and work. I pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging.
+ I live in the outer South-Eastern suburbs of Melbourne (Australia) with my fiancé and our menagerie of rescue pets, Simba, Huey and Joe (cats), Tofu and Chia (rabbits). Each and every one of them makes my life so much brighter and fulfilled.
+ In addition to my body image/mental health advocacy work, I am incredibly passionate about animal welfare. I studied and trained as a vet nurse and worked in the veterinary industry for 5 years. It’s not unusual to find our house overrun by foster kittens, although we have taken a backseat recently as we (*cough* my fiancé), has a slight habit of falling in love with them and then they stay with us forever. I have a special interest in playing Mama to unweaned babies, which sees me up at all hours of the night for bottle feeds.
+ I love reading and I love books. My Mum has recently reminded me of the time little Sarah was off school for some reason and she cried because she was devastated she wouldn’t be able to get a new book for her reader. Oh how times changed once I hit high school! My favourite books are fiction, memoirs and YA. Some of my favourite authors and writers (in no particular order) include: Mhairi McFarlane, Elizabeth Gilbert, Zoya Patel, Jane Harper, Bri Lee, Roxane Gay, Rosie Waterland, Lindy West, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Benjamin Law and so many more!
+ I am a huge fan of 80’s music and also pretty decent at music trivia. Disclaimer: Maybe best not to ask me anything from the last 5 years #gettingold
I didn’t get to where I am today without the influence, brilliance and courage of some fabulous people. Many of them are completely unaware of my existence but I would like to appreciate and acknowledge the incredible impact that they have had on my life and my work.
Jes Baker, Virgie Tovar, Connie Sobczak, Linda Bacon, Ragen Chastain, Lindy West, Roxane Gay, Clementine Ford, Sonya Renee Taylor, Carly Findlay, Lizzo, Hannah Gadsby, Julie Parker, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch.