Food Psych #88: Why "the Perfect Body" Won't Make You Happy with Sarah Vance

Sarah Vance - Body Image Coach

Body image coach and registered nurse Sarah Vance shares how competitive bodybuilding triggered a disordered relationship with food and fitness, why getting praise for her looks and "healthy lifestyle" only led to unhappiness and pain, how she finally made peace with food and her body, why she now takes a Health at Every Size approach in her nursing practice, why body positivity is really a social justice movement, and lots more!

Sarah is a body image coach, host of the Reclaiming You Podcast, and founder of the Breaking Boundaries program. Through her writing, speaking, or personalized one on one coaching - she helps women all over the world ditch the diet mentality, body-hate, perfection, and self doubt while helping them cultivate a positive body image, self-love, and confidence to show up in the world as their most authentic self while knowing that who they are is enough. Find her online at, and grab your free taste of freedom HERE.


We Discuss:

  • Sarah’s relationship with food growing up, including her experience as the child of two parents that were involved in bodybuilding competitions

  • The impact of body shaming and fat-phobia in our culture, and how those kinds of ideas can quickly permeate our homes and impact our relationship to our bodies at a young age

  • Sarah’s experience as a nurse, including the ways the medical model contributed to her fat-phobic and anti-Health at Every Size education

  • Sarah’s downward spiral into obsessive exercise and a disordered relationship with food and her body

  • Perfectionistic tendencies and the double-edged sword of praise and weight loss

  • The difficulty of letting go of the “healthy” identity when we finally find healing and recover from obsessive relationships with food

  • Sarah’s rock bottom in the “wellness” industry and her transition into a more self-care oriented health approach

  • The ways in which Sarah’s experience as a nurse made her confront her own mortality and consider the ways in which she was impacting the world with her work

  • How Sarah reconnected to her personal fulfillment, pleasure, and core values when she finally gave up dieting

  • How the way we relate to food, either disordered or intuitive, can spill over into other areas of our lives

  • The value in sitting with thoughts rather than acting on them

  • The idea of taking up space and expanding comfort zones

  • How healing your relationship with food and your body can open up the door for gentle, enjoyable movement

  • The way in which our relationship to food is often not about food at all, but about our individual fears

  • Body size, fat phobia, and diet culture as a social justice issue

  • The importance of empathy in the social justice conversation

  • Putting our own recovery first before helping others

  • The shame that we often carry with our stories, the courage required to share, and the relief and support we feel when we finally release it

  • How important it is to stand in our truth and authenticity, especially in the world of cultivated social media

  • The holistic transformation we see when we let go of the diet mentality and societal standards and embrace intuitive eating


Resources Mentioned

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