Interview With Dana Suchow From Do The Hot Pants!

Okay everyone, I am thrilled and giddy with excitement to share this post with you! I had the privilege to meet with and interview Dana Suchow of “Do The Hotpants” via Skype this past month, and let me just say it was so enlightening and empowering! Dana is a fellow ED warrior, fellow feminist, and advocate for ALL women, and I am 100% confident you will gain some knowledge about body image, self-love and womanhood within this post! Dana now lives in New York City, has a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and has appeared on Good Morning America and The T.D. Jakes Show, and she’s been featured in The Huffington Post, Vogue, Marie Claire, Seventeen Magazine, ABC News, and Yahoo!

Dana Suchow from Do The Hot Pants!

I have participated within the body positive and Eating Disorder Recovery “world” on Instagram for about a year now, and since, I have grown so much appreciation for certain accounts, one of my favorite being @DoTheHotpants!

Do The Hotpants was started by Dana Suchow, a fashion blogger turned speaker, activist and event producer. Dana came to the realization that the fashion industry was fueling her eating disorder, and that the unattainable, unrealistic, and unhealthy beauty standards she was surrounded by were toxic to her wellbeing. Dana touches on the hard and sometimes “sticky” topics within our society, and she does it with so much grace and power! Over the years, she transformed her blog into a safe space for ALL women to talk about the underlying feminist issues that ignite body image issues, Eating Disorders, and various forms of prejudice within the world of women! Dana now also leads workshops, and feminist events that support all self identifying women in need of spaces to talk about tough topics like body image. Dana’s most recent endeavor is her Makeup Removal parties, where she empowers women to learn about why we wear makeup and to ask difficult questions about whether or not our “self love” beauty regimens are truly a manifestation of our misogynistic society.

When I asked Dana about the beginning of her body positivity and feminist “journey” she shared the personal struggles she experienced as a female.

Dana Suchow from Do The Hot Pants!

“I struggled with body image for a long time, not exactly with just my weight and Eating Disorders but with beauty! When I started getting zits I was immediately sent to the dermatologist, and I began living under this microscope. I developed this hyper awareness of my body, my existence, and how people viewed me and interacted with me based on my looks.”

Dana then went on to explain that she started Do The Hotpants as a fashion blog. “I was already deep in  my Eating Disorder when I started Do The Hotpants. I had Bulimia and before a photoshoot for the blog, I wouldn’t eat, and I would exercise… I mean I would run for two days before we would do the photoshoots, and then when I’d edit the photos I was seriously photoshopping them! Covering up all of my acne. I was terrified of being seen! I was terrified to do photoshoots, and I noticed that the pressure and stress of having the fashion blog was exacerbating my Bulimia and my hate for myself. It wasn’t creating any self love and I was constantly comparing my body to thinner and prettier bloggers, because the fashion industry is focused on thinness and youth and clear skin and height. I had privilege, but I didn’t have all these things.”

Dana then discussed that she knew her privilege: her thin privilege, her white privilege, her financial privilege to start a fashion blog in the first place, and the fact that she fits many of society’s beauty standards. But with all of that being said she still struggled with her battles of body image and her Eating Disorder recovery.

“Fashion was triggering me, rather than helping me, so I started to talk about what I was going through with my readers and followers. I started to discuss my insecurities, and I began slowly showing cracks in my hyper polished exterior. People started to really resonate with me and my vulnerability. And after a while, I did this post called Photos I Wish I Didn’t Photoshop, and it went completely viral! That truly catapulted me into body positivity and helped get me out of fashion. It made me focus on what would end up being a much healthier direction for me in the long run.”

Dana Suchow from Do The Hot Pants!

“In the body positive movement, I learned that body positivity and fat activism is a feminist issue. And through my eating disorder recovery, I learned how society hates women and women’s bodies. And once I discovered feminism I learned about all the intersectional layers of hate that different marginalized women experience. Things my white, thin, cis, or able-bodied privilege allowed me to remain blind to for so long. I began seeing violence against women and control of women’s bodies everywhere I looked, and that is why I always say that if you truly want to get over your Eating Disorder you have to understand feminism and fat activism. Self-love will only get you so far, but you have to fight against the miseducation and fear of fat and that our sexist and capitalist society have created. Because you can love yourself, but once you turn on the TV or see an advertisement, all the things you’ve worked so hard on can go out the window in a moment.”

When I asked Dana about the concept of self-love in relation to these unattainable beauty standards within our society, she touched on her experience as a “junior feminist.” As a side note, Dana recently stopped shaving her legs, and has received mixed reviews via social media from fellow women.

“I get a ton of love, but I’ve also received some flack for not shaving. For instance, when I first stopped shaving I believed that all women shave because of the patriarchy, and you know what, I still question people who say they shave because they like smooth legs. I still question people who say they put on makeup for the gym out of self love. And I’m not talking about make-up as an art form, I’m talking about the daily pressures women feel to be beautiful without looking like we’re trying. If you lived in the woods sequestered from society would you shave your legs, would you wear makeup, would you be working out…? Those are the questions I’m asking.”

Dana Suchow From Do The Hot Pants!

“And I’m the first person to admit that I wear makeup, I take kickboxing classes, I even got my armpits lasered, but I’ve never truly done any of these things for self-love. I can say that I got my nipple hair lasered off for self-love, but when you look at the root causes, it’s about marketing, it’s about porn, it’s about internalized misogyny, it’s about classism and racism and unattainable beauty standards for all women regardless of who she is. But I will say this over and over again, that until we live in a world where a woman without makeup and woman wearing a full face of makeup are both treated the equally, I 100% support women wearing makeup, and I myself will continue to wear it also. Not wearing makeup and not shaving isn’t my message. My message is: Why are you doing it? I want women to question why we do things, that’s all.”

Dana made a beautiful point that feminism and feminist causes are not meant to shame women for falling into beauty standards, instead she is calling women to delve deeper into WHY we are following rules we didn’t make about how to live and function in this society.

“Do what you need to do to feel safe and valued and loved and sexy, because this society has already defined what sexy is. But don’t lie and say that it’s because of self-love when it might isn’t. It’s OK to adhere to something because it’s a societal standard and we want to fit in! Because at the end of the day, not everything has to be for feminism and self love. We can also be playing by shitty rules simply to survive, because we didn’t make the rules but we have to play the game.”

I asked Dana how she practices self-care within a society that tries to define self care and self love as adhering to society’s beauty standards like getting facials or shaving or painting our nails.

Dana Suchow from Do The Hot Pants!

“It is so hard as an influencer to feel bad about my body, especially as a privileged body, but I still get those feelings, and they are valid and very real. But at the same time, I can’t give them too much power! I can’t let these feelings take up all of of my mental space! So a lot of times self care for me means sharing what I’m experiencing with a friend or family member that I feel safe with. Even with an online community if that feels comfortable. Sharing is a great form of self-care, because when we share our struggles and find community, we realize we are not alone, and that allows us to take our power back from those internal voices that tell us we’re unlovable or different. Sharing is a non classist way to practice self-care, because many people can’t afford manicures or facials or new clothes, but there’s always someone who will listen to us.”

“Self-care for me used to be going to the gym to get my stress out and over the years it’s evolved to taking naps, or going out for a cup of coffee with a friend, or sharing on social media! I am not saying that going to the gym can’t be self-care but I do think that is a slippery slope and I don’t believe we need that type of exercise in our lives to love our bodies.”

Dana made it clear that she has knows she has the privilege of being a spokesperson for body positivity and feminist issues, because while she is a disenfranchised women, not all disenfranchisement is equal, and she still has financial privilege, white privilege, thin privilege, and a cis body. But speaking about her experience with Bulimia and as a woman in a sexist world that wants all women to hate their bodies, she has connected with so many women going through the same struggles who felt completely alone before connecting online. Dana also makes sure her messages are always intersectional and that her platform discusses the disenfranchisement of all women.

“We have been trained to think about our bodies, and not our status in the world! I always say we need to focus on our wage gap not our thigh gap!”

And with that, I challenge you to dig a bit deeper today, ask yourself if the things you believe are self-care, are truly self care. Ask yourself WHY you think one body type is more beautiful than another. And today I challenge you to learn about body positivity, fat activism, and feminism, because we need all of you on board to change the world.

Dana Suchow From Do The Hot Pants!

#selfcareitout!

Road Trip Self-Care Kit!

Self-Care On The Road – Road Trip Self-Care Kit!

Keep reading to learn my tips and tricks for maintaining self-care and protecting your Eating Disorder Recovery while on the road! Self-care is so very important, especially while we are traveling! Self-care can be used as a preventative practice in place of unhealthy behaviors, such as restriction, dieting, overexercising, binge eating, purging, etc. We can live a life filled with self-love, self-compassion and body appreciation through the constant practice of self-care!  More on my road trip self-care kit below!

Recovery Love and Care is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This post is not sponsored by any of the independent brands, I am just a HUGE FAN of the products and wanted to share them with my amazing readers!

This past weekend Sean, Gio and I drove from Charleston, SC to Washington DC to celebrate my younger sister’s college graduation! What a fabulous weekend it was, filled with family, food and fun! We made it a quick trip because Sean had to work on Monday; therefore we made somewhat of a “guest appearance” in DC.

My best friends just so happen to also be my sisters! #girlgang
My best friends just so happen to also be my sisters! #girlgang
Recovery Hero and Self-Care Buddy!
My Recovery Hero, my love and my self-care buddy!

Even within hectic weekends on the road, it is so very important to implement a safe self-care routine to ensure healthy behaviors and body appreciation! And for anyone within Eating Disorder Recovery, maintaining a self-care routine is that much more crucial, as it ensures a continuous and SAFE recovery!

No Fear iIn Food! A delicious start to the day! Coconut milk latte, a freshly baked butter croissant, and banana.
A delicious start to the day! Coconut milk latte, a freshly baked butter croissant, and banana…. Remember, no fear in food! Some fat, grains, fruits, protein, and sugar…the perfect meal!

With a total of 16 hours in the car, and an intensely scheduled weekend, it was needless to say that we were incredibly exhausted and sleep deprived! I am ALWAYS down for a good party and celebration, especially when it’s with my family…but with that comes transition, and with transition comes stress! Remember both good and bad things can cause stress; any state of change causes discomfort and creates a feeling of an off kiltered world. Stress can cause for emotional triggers and can lead to unhealthy behaviors and/or coping mechanisms. Therefore, it is up to US to take care of ourselves and prevent this transition and change from causing TOO MUCH discomfort. (For more about prevention within recovery click here).

All inclusive Girl-Gang!!
This girl-gang is all inclusive!!

As I have touched on previously within the blog, I am a huge proponent of the “comfort box” as a healthy coping mechanism within Eating Disorder recovery (make sure to check out this post to read more about the comfort box). If you are a newbie to the blog, the comfort box is pretty much a way to train the mind and body to use safe, healthy and alternate forms of coping to work through anxieties surrounding food, body image conception and stress. With that, I have used this notion of the comfort box, and weaved it into my transient life as a busy woman!

I have implemented self-care into my daily life through the use of self-care kits. I carry these “kits” in my purse; keep them in my desk, by my bedside, in my workbag, and even in my car! Below is a picture of my most recent self-care kit for this past week’s road trip!

Road Trip Self-Care Kit!
Road Trip Self-Care Kit!

1. Healthy Is The New Skinny is my bible these days, hence all of the post-it notes! Make sure to check out the book review here!
Healthy Is the New Skinny: Your Guide to Self-Love in a “Picture Perfect” World

2. Sheet masks are my favorite form of luxury self-care. This brand, (Tony Molly) I’m Real Mask, is amazing, and so much fun! The pack consists of 11 individually wrapped sheet masks, with a large variety of ingredients and purposes. One of my favorites is the Pomegranate (pictured) for elasticity, the red wine for pore care, and the broccoli for vitality!  Each mask, in addition to their fun ingredients and names, provide an enormous amount of hydration and nourishment to the skin. The masks always leave me feeling refreshed, revitalized and relaxed! AND they are cheap, at less than $11 per package…thats $1 per pop!
[Tonymoly] I’m Real Mask Sheet Package + Egg Pore Nose Pack with bonus Oil Blotting Paper – Best Korean Beauty Products, Facial Skin Mask. Pore Tightening Blackhead Minimize

3. Body cream is always a must….Juara (@Juaraskincare on Instagram) is a FABULOUS and AFFORDABLE option, I love it because of it’s natural ingredients, such as, avocado, turmeric and ginger! Pictured is a travel size of their Candlenut Body Creme, but the full size comes in a decadent jar for a small price of just under $27! (Reminder that I am not sponsored by these brands, just a huge fan)!

Juara Body Creme, Candlenut, 7.5 Ounce

4. I always need a good podcast on a roadtrip….Boss Girl Creative is my most recent obsession, you MUST check it out!….

5. Coffee, this of course, is within my everyday routine! I prefer to add some protein into my coffee, either soy milk or, even better, coconut milk….yum!

6. A cute hat to shade my face while driving in the sun is a must! You can find more like these at The Charleston Weekender.

7. Essential Oils are a HUGE part of my daily self-care routine, I prefer lavender to help me sleep and relax, and peppermint to energize and start the day off on a fresh note! Make sure to check out my past post on essential oils.
3-Pack Variety of NOW Essential Oils: Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Lavender

~Self-care is so very important, in that we must listen to our bodies and treat ourselves with respect and love like we do others!~

We must hydrate and nourish our bodies, minds, and souls, and with some extra self-care we can do that! I encourage you to create your own self-care kits, it is a HUGE STEP towards self-compassion and self-love!! #SelfCareitOut my friends!

This little guy made everything that much better this weekend! #recoverypuppy!
This little guy made everything that much better this weekend! #recoverypuppy!

“Have You Tried That Cleanse?!”…..#OverIt

“Oh are you doing the cleanse!?”

“Have you tried the Whole 30?”

“You eat carbs!?”

“Do you do clean eating?!”

These are all questions I have been asked in the past week. No, I am not ever offended by these questions, as I believe that people are usually doing their best to exist in this world, and trying to connect on a deeper level. Yet these questions are incredibly problematic, why you ask? Because the diet culture is rampant and oh so wrong! Yes, a cleanse is a diet! Yes, the term “eating clean” is a diet culture term. Yes, restriction of ANY food group is all due to the diet-crazed culture that we live in! Also please keep in mind I am not shamming anyone who has chosen the diet life, if anything I am bringing to light the reality in which we live!

These concepts, such as, cleansing the body, eating “whole” and “clean” foods, and restricting ESSENTIAL food groups such as carbs and gluten, are incredibly destructive  to the human mind! Words have so much power, and these terms and concepts put labels on our daily nourishment, it claims one food as BAD and another food as GOOD, it says that what we are doing is either “clean” or “dirty!”

(Pancakes are not and “indulgence” and donuts are not “dirty”….they are energy, they are FOOD!)

It is so important for us to educate ourselves and be aware of these words, questions and concepts that are being thrown at us on a daily basis! Such black and white terms cause us to feel self-hatred and self-resentment for purely nourishing our body, and this causes for a fear in food! And as you know I am all about #NoFearInFood

The weight loss industry is a BILLION dollar industry…I wonder why we haven’t cracked the code yet? If ANY diet or cleanse EVER worked it would be a ONE-dollar industry.

Diets do not work; they are incredibly problematic for our youth and detrimental to our emotional and mental well-being! They cause for us to lessen our self-worth, they create a culture that breeds self-loathing and no room for compassion.

As you can tell, I am incredibly passionate about this topic, and I will be touching on it a lot more, as it is the season for diets…(sigh)!

In the mean time, if you are for ANY reason want to start a cleanse or go on a diet check out this easy and DELICIOUS meal that is a natural anti-inflammatory and has those “cleansing” qualities. Keep in mind that when I use the word “cleansing” I use it very lightly, hence the quotations! The body naturally cleanses itself, you do not ever NEED a cleanse, especially if you are going to substitute the cleanse for a meal. Therefore if you feel the desire to “cleanse” take these tips instead! Avoid those fad diets!

This meal has a great balance of fat, grain, vegetable, and goodness! So skip the diet or cleanse and go with this stuff!

(This is a typical lunch for me, a balanced meal with not restriction.)

-A toasted bagel (whatever kind you fancy!)

-An avocado (how ever much you like!)

-A good sprinkle of turmeric and fresh cracked black pepper (powder turmeric mixed with black pepper is a natural anti-inflammatory, liquid turmeric is also a natural anti-inflammatory, so it’s really preference!)

-Topped with sliced cucumber and butter lettuce or spinach (yummy and crunchy vegetables)

-Always topped with olive oil and some garlic salt! Yummy and nutritious!

Stay tuned for more and don’t forget to self-care it out!

Healthy Is The New Skinny Book Review

Healthy Is The New Skinny – A Five Star Book Review!

Healthy Is the New Skinny started out as a blog, website, and forum for women of all shapes, sizes, ages, and demographics, who were in need of a new message that challenged the common conception that women need to be small in order to achieve success and happiness. The blog, turned into a brand, Instagram movement, clothing line, and now book! Katie H. Willcox provides a fresh perspective into the world of size shaming, consumer America, and the finding happiness within our lives dependent of our shape, or weight!

As a growing blog, and brand focused on body positivity, self-love, self-care and Eating Disorder Recovery, as well as, a developing Clinical Mental Health Counselor, I can proudly say that Healthy Is the New Skinny is a book worth reading! It is a safe and helpful read for ALL individuals, in that Katie has created a strong piece of work that is clearly based on research and awareness towards true self-love within a “picture perfect world”. We live in a world filled with filters, hash tags, likes, Photoshop, and fabrication, therefore books like Healthy Is the New Skinny are necessary and crucial within our journey towards a world filled with honesty, self love, self care, and health!

Healthy Is The New Skinny brings self-awareness towards media manipulation, the true working life of models, Photoshop, redefining beauty, creating a healthful life, choosing self-love, and spreading the love. This entire book is truly dense with information that does not come easily to the average American, in that we have been programed to think in a certain way, towards ourselves, towards others, as well as, towards consumer America.

We are living within a picture perfect world, basing our happiness off of what we believe is ideal, what we believe is true and real, when in reality happiness is dependent of these unattainable ideals. Katie touches on the words of Freud, in that the subconscious and conscious minds are what fuel our ideals and concepts of worth and beauty. We have conditioned ourselves to store certain images, messages, and concepts into our subconscious mind, therefore we must bring consciousness to what we are retrieving and absorbing and condition our thoughts and behaviors towards true self-love and self worth.

Self-love does not come from losing weight, gaining weight, Instagram likes, or food, instead it comes from a state of consciousness towards what we truly need, not what we desire. Once we tune into our conscious mind we start to become self-aware, and with self-awareness comes self-love. It is our thoughts, actions and behaviors that fuel our self-love, and with self-love comes true happiness and health!

Healthy is The New Skinny is a book that I would recommend to my professional colleagues, my academic peers, my fellow women, and all individuals living within Eating Disorder Recovery!

This is not a book that you read one time and put on display, this is a book that will endure wear and tear, it is a book that you will keep on your nightstand and reach for every night. This is a book that you will re-read over and over again, a book that you will recommend to others, share and appreciate on a day-to-day basis! Thank you to the HNS team, and Katie Willcox for producing a beautiful message, because in truth, Healthy IS the New Skinny! Go order a book now on Amazon or Barnes and Noble!

Recovery Love and Care

Self Love, Short and Sweet

 

Here is my professional and personal take on self-love, I’ll make this short and sweet!

Self love is a new concept to many, in that it is not something that we were taught about in school, it is not something that was drilled into our minds much like math, science, and geography, instead it is a concept that is incredibly foreign to us. Why is this? Why is such an important and crucial concept so new to us within our adult years? I don’t quite have the answer to this, because the lack of self-love has fostered a world of negativity, hatred, illness, and self-loathing.

In a world filled with selfies, hash tags and filters, it can be easy to view self love as selfishness, narcissism, and fabrication…. and yes, this does exist, but this is not self love. Self-love is appreciating the person that you are, accepting yourself for your flaws, loving yourself for the good and the bad, loving the black and white while also embracing the grey! Self love is loving yourself, for yourself, not for someone else’s gratification, not doing it for likes on Instagram and Facebook, not doing it for followers, or social acceptance, instead doing it for YOU!

Because we haven’t been taught how to practice self-love, it may come as an overwhelming and intimidating task, therefore, practice patience, and give yourself time; you will eventually learn to love yourself! Therefore, the next time you take a selfie, do it for self love not selfishness, do it for self-appreciation, not to prove something to others! Below are a few ways to begin your practice of self love, and let me tell you….it is worth it, I promise!

Write yourself a daily love note

Journal words of love to your self-hatred

Smile when you wake up in the morning

Give yourself a hug

Wear something that makes you FEEL good

Do something that makes you FEEL good

Read a book

Cook a meal

Spend time with a loved one

Go for a walk

Wake up to watch the sunrise

Take a selfie for self-love

Light a candle and listen to your favorite song

Watch your favorite movie

Take a picture for self-love NOT selfishness or self-loathing

Take away negative self talk, such as, should, shouldn’t, good, bad, fat and ugly

Self-love is something that we ALL need, it is a non negotiable. Therefore, whether you are working your way through eating disorder recovery, trying to find body positivity, struggling with self-loathing and self-hating language and behavior, or just need a bit more self-love in your life, take a moment today, tomorrow, and the day after that to begin your practice of self-love! Be the model of your own life!