Gold with Jeanette Schneider Episode 55: Raising Body Confident Kids with Dana Suchow

Dana Suchow is passionate about the importance of raising body confident children. Bullied for her skin issues and cystic acne, she struggled with body shame and unworthiness at a young age. As a result, Dana grew up hating her body and later developed an eating disorder as she was trying to portray an image of “perfection” as a fashion blogger living in New York City. When Dana started opening up about her struggles, she found a deeper connection with her followers who were also dealing with the same issues.

Since overcoming Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder and exercise compulsion, Dana Suchow has become an expert in the field of body image and eating disorder prevention. Offering a nonclinical and holistic approach, Dana gives parents, teachers and caregivers the tools to prevent eating disorders and raise body confident kids! Dana is an international speaker, and for years she has worked with audiences of 10 to auditoriums of over 1,000. Dana is a frequent Summit Panelist and Keynote Speaker, and has given 15 minute talks to 3 hour workshops. Dana also works with children of all school levels, from Elementary School to College, appearing in person or by video.

In 2012 Dana founded DoTheHotpants.com as a fashion blog, but once she realized fashion’s unattainable beauty standards were fueling her eating disorder, Dana made the powerful decision to leave the industry and focus on eating disorder prevention and activism. In 2014 Dana founded #MyBodyStory, an ongoing storytelling series created to uplift girl’s and women’s voices that so often go unheard. In 2016 Dana co-founded The Ripple, a nonprofit nationwide activist collective focused on helping women make waves in their communities. In 2018, Dana was awarded the Girl Up #GirlHero Award by This Is Us star and activist Chrissy Metz.

Dana lives in New York City and holds a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. You can find her on Good Morning America, The Oprah Winfrey Network, Vogue, Huffington Post, Yahoo, ELLE, Seventeen Magazine and more!

Today Dana and I dig deep into the world of body image. We talk about how to raise body confident children in today’s society, and the importance of learning about diet culture, the companies that try to profit off of our insecurities, and the need to heal the relationship with our own bodies.

I loved this conversation with Dana so much. Her passion for changing the conversation around body image is truly inspiring. We have so much influence over those around us in what we say and do, especially our children. Let’s be conscious of speaking and modeling body positivity and confidence everyday.

You can find Dana on her website at www.danasuchow.com

IG @danasuchow

Facebook @DanaSuchow

Twitter @DanaSuchow

Today Gold is brought to you by LIV Media and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

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Until next time – in the words of my grandma, “Love each other every day.”

In your ears, filling your heart.

Xo,

J

Letters From Readers: Alyse Ellman

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Every few days or so I receive an alert that I have mail in the Lore and Little inbox. I always open it, curious. The Love Letters project is still relatively new, so when it turns out to be an unsolicited letter I immediately get that, he likes me, he really likes me, kind of feeling. A few weeks ago it was from Alyse. We met in Maui at a mutual friend’s wedding and while Facebook friends, haven’t talked since. Her note made my day:

Because we are Facebook friends, I have the wonderful opportunity of reading your posts and it prompted me to write the letter you will find below. I wasn’t planning on sharing it, I wrote it for me, but there’s something about sending it to you that makes me feel like it may travel back in time and get to my younger self, sort of in a way you would want your Christmas letter to actually get to the North Pole.

I’m all about trying to make magic happen, so whether this letter travels back in time or makes a woman nod her head in agreement, we owe it to ourselves to share. I told Alyse that I truly appreciate her acknowledgment of both our relationships with men and our own bodies. I don’t know that we’re always willing to tackle those head on and we don’t talk about them enough, yet every woman thinks about both.

Thank you, Alyse, for your love letter. I hope it inspires more women to share.

***

Dear Younger Alyse,

First, and most importantly, you make it out alive and not only with a heart beat, but with a beating heart that is full of love and happiness. You should know this immediately. I share this important message with you because I know you don’t think this will happen. You avoid a plan almost certain you won’t live long enough to see it through. You are lucky in that the universe seems to provide for you by putting opportunities within your reach in mysterious and exciting ways. Your job, my younger self, is to listen, be open, and act.

Depending on your current age reading this letter, you will tempt fate and take risks that you should not. You are probably thinking that you will not live to see 30, but you will, at least 43, with no signs of stopping. Please don’t abuse your body and your mind. Both will be so important to you when we get older, and since we’ve already established you have a long life ahead of you, keep those things sacred.

Listen to mom. When you get older, you will actually have a healthy and supportive relationship with her. She will be your rock in many ways that you cannot imagine. Stop testing boundaries long enough to appreciate her. You’ll thank yourself later.

Also, you are not fat. You will struggle to appreciate your body, your curves, your big boobs. You are beautiful and you will be told this again and again. Please believe it every time you hear it.

Be wary of men. This is your weak area. Attention, excitement, acceptance – all things you crave, and lets face it, we always have. You will enter relationships and they will tear you down and you will have to build yourself back up several times. Its ok, its how we learn. But, please, for our sake, protect your fragile heart.

Last, and I know this will come as a shock to you, but your strongest and most meaningful relationships are with women. You will meet and become long-lasting friends with some of the most amazing women who are creative, intuitive, passionate, caring, and you love them dearly. They are your support system and you could not survive without them. Covet these relationships.

Younger Alyse, you have so much to look forward to in life. I can’t wait for you to see that for yourself.

Regards,

(Not So) Older Alyse

soho house

My name is Alyse Ellman and I am originally from New York. I’ve lived in Boston, NYC, Las Vegas, and now Chicago. I most recently left Wynn Las Vegas after twelve years and now work for United Airlines in Chicago. Change is constant in my life and I’ve come to accept that, which is where some of my advice to my younger self comes from. I am single and travel frequently both personally and professionally. I have wonderful friends and a terrific supportive family. I am a lucky girl.