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Inspiring Conversations with Sarah Hays Coomer of Sarah Hays Coomer Health and Wellness Coaching

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Hays Coomer. 

Hi Sarah, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
I’m a Mayo Clinic & National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach, author, and speaker. I help creative, independently-minded people change their stickiest “bad” habits and reduce chronic stress. 

When I was younger, I was all about the arts: music, theater, songwriting. Flexibility and freedom were my top priorities when I graduated from college, so I worked every kind of odd job. I was a cocktail waitress, office temp, human resource coordinator, street mime, fruit wholesaler, and magazine columnist among other things. I struggled with terrible body image and depression, and over time, I discovered that trying to control my “bad” habits around food and exercise was doing much more damage than good. 

I started hiking to ease the depression and discovered that what I truly wanted wasn’t to conquer my body but, rather, to make peace with it. I went back to evening classes at UCLA to study nutrition, exercise physiology, and philosophy. I became a personal trainer with the National Strength and Conditioning Association to work with people who were struggling with their bodies in various ways—chronic pain, eating disorders, obesity, pregnancy, injuries, and other challenges.

I began writing for small publications about what wellness could be if we approached it differently: with kindness and trust for what our bodies are telling us instead of manipulation and control. It blew my mind how backwards my thinking had been about diet and exercise in the past. I got my first book deal in 2016 and have published three books since then. Now, I write a biweekly advice column for Forbes called Hey, Health Coach, and I teach groups and individuals concrete methods for habit change and stress reduction, rooted in behavioral science. I don’t believe habit change has to be painful. In fact, that’s the quickest way to fail. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
There’s no such thing as a smooth road. I’ve worked with thousands of people over the last 19 years, and there isn’t a single one who had a smooth path the whole way. But people are incredibly resourceful. I’m always amazed by the ways they find to move through their struggles. It’s nice to know none of us are alone! 

Being self-employed hasn’t always been easy, especially when it comes to logistics like health insurance and managing all the parts of a business, but it has given me the freedom I crave. As a writer, the hardest part has been trying to figure out how to translate what I’ve learned into stories people can use to move through their own struggles. Becoming an effective writer takes a lot of time, and I’m always learning. These days I’m sorting out the balance between writing and coaching time. I love them both, so I’m trying to walk the walk—to make sure I’m setting aside enough time for myself and my family as the business grows. 

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I work with high-achieving, stressed-out professionals who don’t like submitting to other people’s rules about what they should or shouldn’t do about their health. They’ve tried a million different ways to conquer “bad” habits (or build healthy ones), but they can’t ever seem to follow through. I help them understand why habit change has been so hard in the past, which routines are worth changing, which aren’t, and what behavior science tells us about how to make new routines a whole lot easier. The end result is relief from stress and physical discomfort. They often lose a lot of guilt and frustration along the way too. 

I coach one-on-one with a select number of private clients and teach workshops in group settings at businesses, non-profits, and schools. My most recent book, The Habit Trip: A Fill-in-the-Blank Journey to a Life on Purpose, is a whimsical storybook where the reader is the expert and lead character in their own story. It has a dog, a dragon, a mean old spider gremlin, and an orb for transportation. It’s not for everybody. If you don’t like playful stories or answering questions about what you’re good at and what you love, you’ll hate it—but there are a bunch of facts and figures in there, too, for science-minded folks. 

Working with my clients has taught me that you can’t get a body or a life you love by doing things you hate. I just don’t believe that healing has to be a miserable exercise in deprivation. It should be a relief. 

So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
People should feel free to connect with me at my website: I love doing workshops, keynotes, freelance writing, and private coaching. And I love hearing people’s stories too! So please don’t hesitate to reach out to tell me about yourself. You can sign up for my newsletter that goes out every other week if you like. 

Also, if you’ve got an anonymous health coaching question, send it to me at You might get your question answered in Forbes. Don’t forget to use a pseudonym! 

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Stacie Huckeba
Olga Shmaidenko
Rebecca Sanford

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