Monday, February 24, 2014

Wide Awake Woman: Heather Sayers Lehman

I am beyond thrilled to introduce to another amazing woman who is living in the Light. Meet Heather Sayers Lehman.

I came across her site Enough About Food and knew I wanted her to be a part of this weekly feature. Then as I dug deeper and chatted with her via Skype, I met with a radiant, authentic, quick witted woman you all will fall in love with. And to add to all of this, she did a Tedx Talk a few years ago that will blow you away! Watch it here.

As a Health & Life Coach, Heather helps individuals with weight loss, improve their nutrition, increase physical activity and manage their stressors. She feels that emotional eating is the culprit of most health problems her clients face. She has observed that people make themselves sick simply by using food to cope with grief and loss, solve their problems and keep them company. Through her work and personal journey, Heather’s mission is to help others lose the food and find emotional solace with more effective coping techniques.

In 2010, Heather Sayers Lehman’s path took an unexpected turn when, after their break-up, her boyfriend locked himself inside her personal training studio and took his own life. Suffering from PTSD and a roller coaster of trauma-induced emotion, Heather sought help through various forms of counseling and therapy, which proved ineffective. She turned to art as a means of expressing herself and working through her grief. Randomly exploring different mediums, she discovered that the silence and focus of creating art abated her anger and stilled her mind. The artistic process gave her the greatest peace she’d experienced since her boyfriend’s death. It was then that Heather decided to create a venue to inspire the artwork of others in stages of grief and loss and to display it. The development of and subsequent presentations of the site have brought Heather closer to being the person she wants to be.

After this experience, Heather learned to relate to other's struggles with great empathy and compassion. Every coping mechanism she had ever used, failed her after this great trauma. She had to forget everything that she once knew and build better coping techniques from the ground up. She has transformed this tragedy into an opportunity to help others cope better to lead happier and healthier lives.

Most importantly, Heather is the lucky mother of two phenomenal boys, Lucas and Maxwell, who inspire her to leave a legacy of truth and happiness.

1. Your Wide Awakening is about moving through adversity and feeling our emotions as they present themselves. We all move through in different ways and in different lengths of time. What has helped you move through adversity during various challenges in your life?

I use humor A LOT: appropriately and inappropriately. I find that inappropriate is much more fun. Growing up, my family always used gallows humor which can make the awful circumstances seem more tolerable. When my uncle was dying of ALS, my cousin told him she was going to the other room to get something for him. Unable to speak anymore, he let out a low moan. We spent 45 minutes using an alphabet chart and his blinking to decipher what he was trying to say. He said “I’ll be right here”. He had been bedridden for months so clearly he wasn’t going anywhere. 45 minutes for a laugh and it was worth every second. He let us know he was still kicking in there and we got to release some happy hormones instead of the non-stop stress hormones.

2. You are a Health and Life Coach mostly helping people heal emotional eating. What would you say are some reasons why we emotionally eat?

Simply stated: “Look how this how person is treating me...This isn’t fair....I need to talk to some ice cream about this.”

3. How do you personally deal with stress on a daily basis?

I handle stress by making terribly average/craft store art but I love doing it. I use a lot of phone apps to create my uncrafty crafts. It’s lazy lady crafts! It’s not even good enough to give as gifts, dangit.

4. You did an amazing TEDx Talk about Hope. Where can we find hope?

I did my talk two years after my ex-boyfriend’s suicide in my personal training studio. I lost him. I lost my studio. I totally lost my marbles. Originally, I hoped for a time machine so I could get a do-over. I just wanted my old life back.
Here are three of the ways that I helped myself:
• Somedays, choosing to lay face up on the couch instead of face down.
• Taking way too many pictures of my dog.
• The distinct realization that I have actually laughed out loud again.

5. What are some of your favorite quotes? Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

6. What moves your soul? What makes your heart skip a beat?
My children’s laughter always makes me melt. We all fancy ourselves a funny bunch so we laugh a lot. They both have a laugh that is so quick and genuine. I just love it! Their happiness means the world to me.

Heather offers free 30 minute overcoming emotional eating consultations as well as live speaking appearances, e-courses, and live seminars. Be sure to check out her websites here and here to learn more about her.

Love and Light,

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