Today we’re catching up with Sas Petherick, life coach extraordinaire and a graduate of our very first 5K Course way back in Spring 2011. We talked running, meditation for dummies, her brand new e-course, plus weight loss as a side effect of a much bigger journey…
1. You were one of our very first 5K Course peeps… what prompted you to take the plunge? Was running something you’d considered before?
In 2008 I was living in Wellington in New Zealand and I trained for a 7km Round the Bays run. I downloaded a running programme and found that within a few months I could run! That felt amazeballs and I had never felt so strong and fit before. Soon after the race I met my husband, and then it was Winter… a year later I was back in the UK for another Winter, I’d stopped all exercise, was eating unconsciously and had gained almost 20 kilos.
When I found U&R it felt like it was made just for me! A community of awesome ladies wanting to get stronger. I love that you and Julia have such a real life, down to earth approach – it was really fun supporting each other. I still proudly run in my ‘Outrunning the Zombies’ t-shirt.
2. Two years on from your 5K adventure, what role does exercise play in your life now?
Well I never loved running, it was the effects of running that hooked me – the endorphin rush and less wobbly bits. And so I am an intermittent runner now.
Moving my body has become so important to me. Even just a half hour walk at lunchtime makes such a difference to me. I have dusted off the 30 Day Shred dvd recently as we have had this never-ending bloody winter! But I am excited to get running outside now that the weather is improving.
My body is the thing that holds all of my emotion and my intuition, even my creativity comes from a feeling that starts somewhere in my body. So moving helps me ‘get into’ my body.
3. Over the past few years we’ve witnessed you going through some extraordinary changes in the way you see yourself and your body. You’ve lost 65 pounds, but the weight loss almost appears to be an amazing side effect of a life changing journey. Can you tell us about that?
You are so right and I am so glad that comes across in my words. The weight loss has come weirdly easily because of the changes I have made in my brain. I have dieted my whole life – food and weight have been lurking in the forefront of my brain everyday. Its been exhausting!
Four years ago I decided that I wanted to find out why I couldn’t lose the weight and just be happy. I knew that diets were unsustainable and I didn’t love exercise – so if I was going to do this I had to somehow work out what was going on in my head.
I read Women Food & God, and then everything else by Geneen Roth, and Martha Beck, Eckhart Tolle, Jill Bolte Taylor, Brene Brown and Byron Katie and I found they were all talking about the same things – our thoughts create our feelings and we act depending on how we feel, so we really have to choosing our thoughts carefully. It’s a daily (sometimes moment to moment) practice. And its not a waffly, hippy dippy thing – its based in neuroscience and it freakin’ works. I have learnt that I can choose what I want in every aspect of my life!
4. You’re also carving out a flourishing new career as a life coach. What drew you to coaching? How did you get brave to make the leap from your previous corporate roles?
I always thought life coaching was those cheesy Tony Robbins infomercials! You know when he makes them walk across a fire pit? It always looked like a LOT of hard work to me. Also: painful. (Note from Shauna: having firewalked with Julia, I can report it’s not painful, but quite bonkers!)
I did a fundamentals coaching course with the Coaches Training Institute, a couple of years ago, I think as a work thing. It was an amazing weekend and coaching felt so familiar to me. I had a lot of fun. The timing wasn’t really right for me to go any further with it, but I was intrigued at how powerful it could be. Through reading and learning and experimenting, I tried out a lot of coaching techniques without any formal skills. It was a massive part of changing my relationship with my body.
Then last year I got a call out of the blue from CTI. They had some spots open for their full coaching course and wondered if I was interested? And I had such a visceral response – my whole body just fizzed at the thought of it! It was a HELL YES! kind of feeling. While I was at CTI I started looking for what would come next and had a similar response to the Martha Beck training I am now enrolled in.
Coaching is such a fabulous alchemy of science and magic – its roots are in psychology and neurophysiology which appeals to the geek in me. But I also love the simple exchange of energy that happens when one human shows up for themselves and says ‘I need some help’ – as a Coach I am just there to say ‘What do you need? I’ve got a massive box of tools!’. There is a lot of love there.
5. What prompted you to create your new emBODYment e-course? What do you want your students to get out of the six weeks?
I am so excited to share what I know. emBODYment is for any woman who wants Body Peace – that sense of being at home in your own body.
The tools and practices in emBODYment are designed to help you deepen your connection with just how freakin’ awesome you are! We explore the big dreams you have for yourself, you’ll learn how to make peace with your body story, how to choose your thoughts, how to tune into your body’s wisdom, feel your feelings, create more joy in your life and live on purpose.
I think there is something so powerful about communities so we have a private website with a forum, where we can all share our experiences. And everyone will get a gorgeous coaching journal packed full of exercises and ideas the explore the themes for each week.
Using these tools, I have been able to lose 65 pounds. But bigger than this, I found the courage to be properly, deeply vulnerable with my love, and I am creating a life that fulfils me more than I ever thought possible. I feel more ‘me’ than I ever have. There are amazeballs days when I feel completely in the flow, and days when I fall off my path, but I trust my body: I have so much more joy in my life and I am no longer afraid of any feelings.
I’ve run countless workshops and training courses over the last 20 years in my day job, and I’ve been writing online for five years. Combining this with my own journey to body peace and my coach training – emBODYment feels like the perfect combo deal!
6. Your course features meditation, something we talk about at Up & Running but something I personally struggle to give a proper go! Any tips for those with the attention span of a flea?
Ha! I totally get that feeling. And I was resistant to meditation for so long because I thought it was going to be so much harder than it actually is. You know how our thoughts magically expand to fill any space? It can take a little concentration to quieten our minds because distraction is so familiar and comfortable to us.
I found that guided meditations were much easier to be still for, as you can just follow the guides voice. Being alone with yourself is such a gift and I really think its the secret sauce on our journey to Body Peace.
Mediation allows you to directly contact that part of yourself that is about nothing except the experience of just being. You don’t need a special cushion and you don’t need to pack in your job and move to India. I think its here that the magic happens!
7. Finally, imagine you’re having an “off” day in terms of body love mojo… what’s one sure-fire thing to turn your mindset around?
Music is such a massive part of my life and for down days there is nothing like a bit of 80s cock rock – a good power ballad cures most things! And sometimes I just need a good ugly-snot cry so its me and Adele alone in the car together, belting out one of her sad sad songs…
Thank you supercoach Sas for your time and wisdom. Enrolment for emBODYment opens today!