Sarah Harris opens up about her relationship with her body, being a mum and making her mental health a priority
STUDIO 10 CO-HOST SARAH HARRIS TALKS TO PAUL EWART ABOUT BEING PROUD OF HER BODY, THE MAGIC OF MOTHERHOOD, AND HER ‘BRAINS-OVER-BUM’ EXERCISE REGIMEN
‘I feel like I’m “on” so much of the week because of being on TV that by the end of the week I’m spent’
Dressed down, makeup free, and struggling after a sleepless night courtesy of her teething toddler, Studio 10 co-host Sarah Harris is in low-maintenance mum-mode. Balancing a highly demanding gig in the notoriously cut-throat world of morning TV, all the while raising two young boys under the age of three, it’s understandable that the popular personality has little time for BS. When Good Health & Wellbeing catches up with the funny straight-talker, she candidly chats about the newfound love for her body’s “bumps and lumps” and the “epiphany” that’s changed her life.
“When you’re working a full-time job, raising kids and trying to be a good wife, there’s not a lot of time spent on nourishing the soul!” laughs the 37-year-old. “I feel like I’m ‘on’ so much of the week because of being on TV – talking, interviewing, and so on – that by the end of the week I’m spent. So, my weekend therapy is just not talking and vegging out.
“I think ‘me-time’ is so important, and I don’t mean going for massages or facials, because that’s bloody expensive and not realistic. I’m so much happier out of makeup, bra off, and at home on the couch. That’s nourishing the soul for me!”
A regular on Ten’s morning show since it launched in 2013 – in addition to regular spots on The Sunday Project, and hosting Ten’s Shark Tank – her weekdays begin with a 5am wake-up call
before heading into the studio to prep for the daily three-and-a-half-hour show.
“By the time I come off, I feel like
I’ve done a bit of a marathon!” she says. “I try to schedule the gym straight afterwards, as I find it gives me the energy to cope with the afternoon shift of taking care of the boys. But these days I feel like exercise is more for my brain than my bum; it’s about getting mental strength and clarity.”
Admitting that she’s previously struggled with an “uneasy” relationship with her body, obsessively calorie counting in her 20s and relying on cigarettes for sustenance, these days the presenter has a whole new take on body image.
“I look back to that time – I was as thin as a whippet, but probably wasn’t all that healthy and all that strong,” says the Sydney-based star. “Back then I had a completely different relationship with food. I used to look at the scales and get a sense of my self-worth from the numbers they showed.
“I think once you get older – especially after kids – you start to look at your body in a completely different way. My body isn’t just for wearing clothes; it has grown and birthed two strong and healthy boys, and that’s so much more important.”
This shift in the way she views her body – from clotheshorse to “life-giving” instrument – has been a liberating perspective change.
“I’m going on holiday soon and ordinarily I might have worried about how I looked in my cossie, but now
I’m just excited about getting onto the beach and playing and swimming with my boys,” she says, smiling. “It’s a much healthier frame of mind. Similarly with my diet – through the week I’ll eat pretty healthily and then on the weekend I might pig out a bit and order Uber
Eats on a Friday night, or grab a burger and chips. I’m not militant with my eating. I subscribe to the 80-20 rule – 80 percent of the time I eat pretty well.”
Mind over matter
As with her body – curves and all – the journalist has a healthy attitude to maintaining mental equilibrium and makes sure to book a regular session with her psychiatrist.
“I think it’s really important,” she says.
“I call it my ‘checkup from the neck up.’ You need that touchstone, someone to talk things out with so you can maintain a good perspective on life. I pop along for my 45-minute chat, we deconstruct the world, I pay my money and leave feeling so much lighter. I find it amazing that women are happy to spend $400 on a cut and colour, but they won’t go to a therapist to talk out their feelings and work out the kinks in their brains. It’s such an amazing investment.”
The other big boon to her mental wellbeing has been becoming a parent to sons Paul, who is about to turn three, and 11-month-old Harry. Though admitting that she delayed motherhood for years because of her career, she has no regrets about becoming a mum later in life.
“I’m glad I did it this way,” says the Logie-nominated journalist. “I worked super hard through my 20s and 30s to be able to take the time off to have kids. Now I’m in this incredibly fortunate position where I can juggle both. I can have a job that I love, but then come home to my beautiful little boys and play mum afterwards.
“My husband and I were just saying the other day that we reckon having kids has been the making of us. Not just as a couple, but also as people. We’re both so much more grateful for the little things in life. I’m so much more present and
‘I think once you get older you start to look at your body in a different way’
‘We reckon having kids has been the making of us’
in the moment now that I have kids and can see the world through their eyes. I think having children puts the focus back on what’s important: raising well-adjusted, happy children. All the other stuff – the house you live in, the car you drive, the job you do – doesn’t really matter. At the end of the day, these are little people you’re shaping into human beings. If they can be good people, then I feel like my work is done.”
The husband she talks about is IT specialist Tom, a man she credits as her backbone for balancing work and kids.
“He’s a total legend,” says Sarah.
“We work as a tag-team with the boys. It’s a real partnership – it has to be if you’re both working. Sometimes I’ll do the lion’s share, other times if I’m travelling for work, then he will.
“It’s interesting as you kind of fall in love with your partner even more – I see him being such an amazing dad and it adds a whole extra layer to him. Saying that, it’s not all sunshine and roses, let me tell you! We have squabbles just like every couple does.”
Just as parenting has added an extra dimension to her relationship with her husband, becoming a mum also delivered a stark realisation to the bubbly blonde that she hadn’t really considered before.
“Having kids really makes you aware of your own mortality,” she says. “When you’re young, you think you’re bulletproof – you party all night, work hard all day, and just generally burn the candle at both ends. I feel like one minute I was 28 and now I’m fast approaching 40. You think, ‘Where did those 10 years ago?’ Time just flies and you realise how precious it is.
“I can’t believe that Paul is going to be three at the end of the year. I find myself thinking about him going off to uni and just wishing I could stop time. It has made me so appreciative of every moment. It’s quite an epiphany.”
Thanks to this important realisation, Sarah has relaxed into a simpler way of looking at life: taking the path of least resistance and settling into the knowledge that what will be, will be.
Trust the journey
“Getting to this point hasn’t been easy,” she concedes. “I’ve had heaps of knock-backs and challenges along the way, but I’ve learned to just trust the universe. In my early 20s I was desperate to get an overseas posting but, looking back now, if I did move to LA or wherever, I would have missed out on meeting my husband and I doubt I’d be able to juggle being a mum.
I often wonder about these Sliding Doors moments. It’s like the Rolling Stones song says: ‘You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need.’
“I know it may sound a bit hippydippy and simplified, but that’s how I feel. I’m all for goals and for having an idea of where you want to end up, but I think you have to go with the flow, to trust that things happen for a reason. It’s actually a lovely way to live your life.”
‘If they can be good people then my work is done’