If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get

Sarah Philipp

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
Hi! I’m Sarah Philipp, and I am a holistic nutrition and wellness coach.  I help women let go of emotional eating and diet culture, while finding the foods, habits and movement that allow them to reach their wellness goals and thrive.

My love affairs (besides nutritious food, of course) consist of travelling, gardening, my dog Mona, my cat Woodrow, history documentaries and tostadas. I’ve also recently taken up birding, so if you ever want to talk birds, you know where to find me.

Did you always know what you wanted to do as a career?
Not at all! I changed my major a few times in college, starting with psychology and landed on advertising.  Then, after a few years working in sales and marketing, I went back to school for nutrition. I think maybe there’s still another career shift in me someday.

Were you scared to start the process?
I was terrified. I decided to go back to school in the middle of the Great Recession, and starting a business in holistic wellness can be really challenging. Not everyone is able or willing to spend money out of pocket on their health. My mom encouraged me to go for it. One of many things I have learned from my mom is there is no such thing as a wasted education. Even if I had never started Abundelicious and gone back into marketing, my mom would have still supported the decision to continue learning and growing.

What is one thing no one really knows about you?
Most people that know me personally know that I struggle with panic and anxiety disorder but it’s not something I talk a lot about publicly. There are days when the anxiety makes it hard to leave the house and put myself out there in the world. Everyday is different, but learning what triggers the anxiety and taking charge of it with better nutrition, more sleep, supplements, etc has helped me a lot. Managing it will be a life long commitment, but hopefully not a lifelong struggle.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
My grandfather told me once that honesty and integrity are the best business strategies out there. He was very successful with both business and people.

What would you say to 16 year old you?
Try not to care so much what other people think. I think André De Shields says it best “There is no one like you. There has never been anyone like you. There shall never be anyone like you. Therefore, know thyself; be thyself,”

Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
I think when people saw how much creating Abundelicious meant to me and how much I believed and still do believe in my vision, they knew I was serious and believed I could do it.  I think the person that has doubted me most at times has been myself. I believe in my vision, but there are a hundred things everyday that make me second guess whether or not it’s all going to work out.  Or, I think it would just be so much easier to get “a real job” and work for a company with regular paychecks and benefits. Owning my own business definitely has not been the easiest thing on my anxiety, but every day I choose to keep going.

What message do you think every woman should hear?
If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Waiting for someone to offer you an opportunity, or hiding because you aren’t sure you’re ready will get you no where. I used to be so afraid that if I went after an opportunity, people might say I am not qualified or that I’m full of myself to ask. It is ok to feel proud of yourself and tell people you are talented and do good work.

Have you always had confidence in yourself?
Overall, do I believe in, like, and trust myself? Absolutely. There are plenty of times, though, when I compare myself to other people, what they have and what they have achieved (at least the version I see on social media).  When I get into this place of compare and despair, I go after something that scares me a little. A corporate account or developing a retreat that is more than I’ve taken on in the past. I remind myself that I’m a bad b*tch and capable of whatever I set my mind to.  I also have a lot to be grateful for, and reminding myself of that helps too.

What do you love most about yourself?
My resilience.  I get stressed and discouraged, but I’m never down for long.

Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
I lost my father at a relatively young age, and that was hard as hell. Grief didn’t affect me like I thought it would. I assumed grief felt like what you see in movies.  Someone not getting out of bed for weeks, curtains drawn, lots of crying, etc. and then they just start getting better and life gets back to normal.

For me, I shut down. I didn’t think about it, talk about it, feel it, and I worked as often as I possibly could. If I was working, I wasn’t thinking about how incredibly heart broken I was.

Well, this worked until it didn’t.  

I’m striving now to not hide behind work, and go through the feelings and grief rather than try to go around them. The funny thing is when I allow myself to go through the emotions, they are never as debilitating as I fear they’ll be, and I come out of it feeling so strong and proud of myself. Feelings I don’t get when I try to avoid or numb.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Stressing doesn’t solve anything. If I lose a client or no one signs up for a retreat, freaking out and stressing over it won’t change anything. It just makes everything worse. I’m not saying I’ve mastered this, but I’m trying to let things roll off my back a bit more, and trust that everything will work out.

What motivates you most?
I know it sounds cheesy, but there is honestly no high like when a client has a breakthrough.  When a client of mine feels empowered with something that used to leave them feeling powerless and defeated (like with emotional eating or weight loss), that is the absolute best feeling for me and I want to help more and more people get there.  I just talked to a client today who, for the first time, felt like she was able to enjoy a few cookies on Christmas without eating the whole plate. She was able to enjoy the cookies more because of this mindfulness. The cookies didn’t take charge of her, she took charge of the cookies.  The relationship we have with food should be fun, empowering and nurturing not full of anxiety, conflict, and shame.

How do you manage your work-life balance?
Yikes.  This is a tough one. Boundaries. Even though I work remotely and am my own boss, I try to keep a 9-5 schedule as best I can. Working at coffee shops help me keep work out of the house or at least out of my bedroom.

What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
I try to have silence for a little bit. I walk my dog, journal, or just laying in bed reflect. It helps me feel grounded and centered. This is a calmer place from which I do better work and have more clarity on where I want to go and how to move forward.

Do you have a mentor? If so, what did they teach you?
I’ve had many and most probably didn’t realize the impact they had on me.  Kathleen and Linda at Slow Pokes Local Foods in Grafton, WI had a huge impact on me especially as I started my business. They are Renaissance women (or is that just “women”) who stick together. They will build the greenhouse, grow the kale, make an incredible kale frittata, then run the business that sells the frittata. There is nothing these women can’t do.

I hope to start coaching with Brigitte Bruyez soon to get help prioritizing self care and exploring what the next chapter of Abundelicious might look like. Stay tuned 🙂

What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
I love pizza and cheesy popcorn, and I really dislike green vegetable juice.

Who is your biggest role model? Why?
Oooh that’s a tough one.  There are so many people that come to mind. Mary Ellen Pleasant and Katherine the Great are two people I find very inspiring. These are two women born into totally different circumstances and parts of the world; however, they both refused to allow society (and men) to limit their visions and potential. The world was, in many ways, working against them yet they never quit and they overcame. In the end, what they accomplished was not just considered great “for a girl”, but great for any human. Whenever I doubt myself, I think “these two achieved such incredible things despite all they were up against. I can do this!!”

Where do you find inspiration?
Taking walks outside, listening to podcasts, or watching documentaries about people who I find inspiring. I also love going to the cycling classes at Synergy in Wicker Park. The instructors always say just the right thing to make me feel motivated.

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sarah philipp

Sarah is the founder and owner of Abundelicious a wellness company that offers one-on-one nutrition and wellness consulting, retreats, and corporate wellness. She specializes in emotional eating, digestive disorders and finding mental wellness through nutrition. She works with clients in Chicago, Milwaukee, and remotely.

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