Huffington Post was the first blog I read. Laura Cococcia was one of the first readers of my blog to start posting comments. This week Laura, editor and publisher of The Journal of Cultural Conversation, interviewed me for Huffington Post.
A lovely full circle. Here’s the interview as it ran yesterday on the site. It describes my book at the end. I think that’s what it’s about…!?
Recently, Sarah and I caught up about her views on health and wellness means, what she’s learned and a few of her own expert tips on healthy living.
Laura Cococcia: You’ve had a successful media career — from working as the editor of Cosmopolitan to hosting your own TV show — and you’re also a coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (INN). What prompted you to pursue this latest part of your career?
Sarah Wilson: A few years ago I got quite unwell — adrenal collapse followed by an autoimmune disease. At the time I was editor of Cosmopolitan magazine. I was forced to stop and get well. As in, truly well.
It was a wake-up call. So, I did the smartest thing I think I’ve ever done — I decided to turn my journey to get well into a career. I started my blog and started writing a column for an Australian national Sunday newspaper magazine about how to make life better. Each week I experiment with a different theory or approach — everything from e-mail detoxing to quitting sugar to adopting advice given to me by the Dalai Lama. Interestingly, he told me to not bother trying to stop the mind, to get out and live instead.
Since then, my career has been “layering along.” One thing leads to another. I’ve hosted a cooking show, which led to a nutrition makeover show. I added the INN layer last year. Slowly, it’s all steered me to my own wellness and inspired quite a number of others to make the same turn.
LC: The words “health and wellness” are used often — what do they mean to you?
SW: Today, wellness is certainly a very broad concept — encompassing all aspects of our lives. It used to be just one compartment. Now we seek wellness in our work and our friendships, as well as physically and psychically. I’ve come to learn the hard way that wellness and health are not things to be imposed from without, via rules and other people’s ideas and structures. I’ve learned it’s a far more gentle process that’s not about making abrupt changes, but about kindly easing things to where they sit most sweetly. And, yes, it’s a process. There’s no final “well” endpoint; it’s about ebbing and flowing with the natural balance of life and of ourselves. So, in my view, health and wellness is about really knowing yourself.
LC: Speaking generally, what would be your top three tips for someone looking to live a more healthy lifestyle?
SW: My initial thoughts:
- “Crowding out”: we humans are not great at quitting or restricting our behaviors. As a result, we do badly with diets. The best way to ease into better eating is to focus on eating more of the good stuff — green veggies, whole grains — which naturally leads to “crowding out” the processed food. It’s a concept that’s about doing instead of denying — and it works.
- Learn to meditate. It provides the software for all kinds of change. The change just happens once you start meditating daily.
- Move every day. It doesn’t really matter what kind of movement you do (walk, swim, yoga). It’s the every day part that matters.
LC: You have a book due out soon — can you give us a sneak peek into what it will cover?
SW: It follows my journey to healing and to wellness, the kind of wellness I mention above. It will track over 150 different techniques I’ve tried, plus the kooky stuff I learned growing up on a subsistence living farm, editing magazines, living with a porn star, mountain biking around the world and so on. But, at the same time, it tracks what I call ‘The Yearning’ – our desire to know what life is meant to be about.