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Lightness of Body and Mind


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Table of Contents

I – Making the Choice
1: Lightness
2: Thirst
3: Day and Night
4: Dig the Ride
II – Making It Happen
5: Help Your Brain Help You
6: Strength Outside In
7: Dodging the Yo-Yo
8: The Tortoise Totally Wins
9: Do Something
III – Making It Last
10: Mindfulness and Mindlessness
11: Starting Where You Are
12: Wide Open
Afterword – Don’t Go It Alone

About the Author

Sarah Hays Coomer is a self-proclaimed “diet abolitionist.” She is a Certified Personal Trainer with the National Strength and Conditioning Association; a member of the American College of Sports Medicine; and a certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant and Pre/Postnatal Fitness Specialist with the American Fitness Professionals Association. She is a contributor to the Nashville Scene and writes a column for The East Nashvillian called “Simple Pleasures.” She kind of likes to exercise, kind of not. You can find her at www.strengthoutsidein.com, on Twitter @strengthoutside, or Instagram @strengthoutsidein.


Coomer, a personal trainer and health coach, takes a novel approach to weight loss that rejects calorie counting, dieting, and strenuous workouts. In this inspiring and compassionate book, she shares her own struggles with weight and body image, as well as her realization that deprivation and treating the body as the enemy rarely work. Coomer asserts that the more effective approach is to replace poor eating habits with small, positive changes. Instead of restricting foods, she argues, one should supplement them with healthy choices; rather than working out in a gym, find a pastime that you love, and then stick to it relentlessly. Coomer shares illustrative stories from her clients, noting that those who emphasized enjoyment of life fared better than those who followed restrictive diet or exercise plans, which often were eventually abandoned. Slow, constant weight loss, she contends, is the more effective route; in a chapter called 'The Tortoise Totally Wins,' she demonstrates how 'slow and steady' wins the weight-loss race. Readers seeking quick fixes and recipes won’t find them here. Though Coomer does include some familiar, practical tips (e.g., pack a lunch rather than eating out; reduce portion sizes), she mostly digs deeper, focusing on transformation and long-term well-being.
*Publishers Weekly*

Coomer, a certified personal trainer and nutrition and wellness consultant, uses both traditional and non-traditional methods for rethinking weight management while nourishing a healthy mind and spirit. The author incorporates personal accounts and an almost ‘best friend’ approach to consider weight management and behavior change, using gentle mindfulness and self-compassion. The productive ways that are offered to break the cycle of self-destructive thought and behavior give an insightful perspective to the long-standing and familiar battle between constructive reason and desired gratification. At the end of each chapter, a helpful ‘toolbox’ is presented; this offers useful suggestions and step-by-step ways to focus on a change of mind rather than efforts to change the body. This book reads like a friend’s life journey, offering relatable challenges with great advice. As opposed to the endless clinical self-help books on the market, the reviewer found this book an absolute pleasure to read. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates; general readers.

With the just-released book, Lightness of Body and Mind: A Radical Approach to Weight and Wellness, personal trainer, nutrition consultant, and author Sarah Hays Coomer has leapt into the center lane and declared: Enough is enough! People are listening — perhaps because she’s not shouting. Instead, she’s inviting anyone who will listen into a new conversation, which she’ll initiate by seizing any opportunity to illustrate how pleasure and health merge in real yet profound ways. With Lightness, Coomer has crafted — from years of personal experience and clients’ stories, and with a refreshing cocktail of common sense, humor, and irreverent cool — a radical resource for personal wellness....  Coomer’s storytelling is imbued with empathy and compassion, no doubt due to her own self-described history of depression and food addiction. She combines a fearless memoir with unpredictable stories of real clients. In many ways, the book is a love song to those men and women and an expression of gratitude for all they’ve taught her.
*The East Nashvillian*

Lightness of Body and Mind: A Radical Approach to Weight and Wellness comes from a personal trainer who maintains that real body sculpting and weight management can only come through doing activities that are loved, rather than through rigorous exercises that are followed by deprivation and limitations. The real path to lasting weight loss and wellness lies in identifying personal activities and eating habits that tie into what is desirable and enjoyable, and Coomer's blend of memoir and discussion of this process offers important keys to better lifestyle choices based not so much on a program as an attitude towards life. Chapters go beyond discussions of theory, providing specific tools readers can use to get a handle on their own unique perceptions and inclinations. This approach crafts a wide-ranging discussion with opportunities to reach all kinds of audiences. 
*Donovan's Bookshelf*

Reading Lightness of Body and Mind was revelatory for me. Sarah Hays Coomer will heal many broken spirits and burdened bodies with this book. The approach to healthy living and weight loss is practical, holistic, and accessible to anyone. More like a guide to a life well-lived rather than a diet book, Lightness of Body and Mind inspired me to embrace forward motion and endless possibility.
*Emily Saliers, Indigo Girls*

From the very first chapter, I started thinking about food differently. As Sarah was splitting herself wide open to reveal raw thoughts about her body and her ability to shape it, I was seeing myself in every word. The concept that we will love ourselves if we just lose 10 pounds, have better abs, or fit into our skinny jeans is flawed. Sarah shows us that the true answer is to treat our bodies with love and nourishment right now so that we can transform into the strongest, healthiest versions of ourselves possible.
*Abigail S. Caudle, MD, MS, FACS, breast cancer surgeon*

Having very few issues with food and weight, I still found myself copying passages from Lightness of Body and Mind into my notes. It connects on a life level. Sarah’s insight is startling, and her approach is gentle but effective. She turns the entire pursuit of wellness upside down to make it not only manageable, but genuinely enjoyable.
*Nikki Reed, actor/producer, Sleepy Hollow, Twilight, Thirteen; Ambassador for Thrive Market*

An essential handbook on how to access your best life. Through keen awareness, practical tools, and soul connection, Sarah lifts us all to not only a healthier body but a truly uplifted heart as well.
*Melanie Salvatore-August, author, Kitchen Yoga: Simple Home Practices to Transform Mind Body and Life; creator, Fierce Kindness*

Funny, engaging, and full of important insights and science, Lightness of Body and Mind can help people who struggle with body-related negativity learn how to be more kind, positive, and proactive in their approach to well-being and weight.
*Michelle Segar, PhD, author of award-winning No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness*

One of the most powerful, insightful, relatable, and inspiring books I've ever read. Lightness of Body and Mind is for anyone who has ever struggled with impulsivity - whether manifest as food addiction, workaholism, depression, perpetual bad relationships, or chronic pain. With ferocious honesty about her own struggles and triumphs and those of her clients, Sarah Hays Coomer teaches us how to summon our own tour-de-force to initiate and maintain change.
*Tracy Jackson, MD, FIPP, Vanderbilt University, Director of Multidisciplinary Pain Medicine Fellowship, Director of Resident Education in Chronic Pain*

Listening is one of my greatest challenges and passions. Coomer's Lightness of Body and Mind prizes listening to my own body and intuition, rather than unattainable cultural standards of beauty or proscribed, rigid diets. Her method feels right on time, true to myself, and a huge relief.
*Ann Imig, Founder of ListenToYourMotherShow.com, Editor LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER: What She Said Then, What We're Saying Now*

Lightness of Body and Mind is a breeze. Shot through with anecdotes and pop-culture references to keep the mood buoyant, it tackles big, thorny issues like food addiction and body image and sheds fresh, new light on how to manifest change.
*Andrew Leahey, journalist and musician*

Finally someone is speaking my language! Health and weight loss shouldn't feel like punishment. Sarah helps us see how destructive guilt is, and that if we want to lighten up physically we have to do it mentally too
*Katie Cook, CMT Host*

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