Communication Rebel Blog

Getting BARE with Susan Hyatt

Susan Hyatt is on the show today and her interview is sure to fire you up, especially if you often find yourself fighting against self-control.

Susan is rebelling against is really the status quo, the patriarchy, and the diet industry. In her new book, Bare, Susan shares her personal story of weight gain, weight loss, diet hell, body drama, and her journey to health, happiness, and liberation—and how she decided to try the most radical thing of all: treating her body like a friend.

Listen in to the full episode for practical ways you can transform your personal life and your business.

Tune into the audio:

Michelle: Hi Susan, welcome to the Rebel Rising Podcast.

Susan: Hi Michelle, thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited.

Michelle: I am so excited to have you, and congratulations on your new book.

Susan: Oh my God, thank you. It has been years in the making, so I'm super excited to get it out into the world.

Michelle: Oh, years in the making, really?

Susan: Really, honestly. Yeah, I have been coaching women on food and body issues for almost 11 years, and I started writing the book about three years ago.

Michelle: Wow.

Susan: It's been a little bit.

Michelle: I just want to highlight something about that before we dive in because I think a lot of people feel like, “Oh, I have to be this overnight success. It's going to take me six seconds to get to six figures, and seven seconds to get to seven figures.”

Really, this shit takes time.

Susan: It absolutely takes time, because I mean I'm constantly telling entrepreneurs, you know for a while you're just clearing your throat.

You're figuring out what is meaningful to you, where your sweet spot is with what you bring to the world, and what people really need.

Over time that evolves and changes, and if you had told me 12 years ago when I started my coaching business that I would be coaching anyone on food and body, I would have laughed hysterically, much less become a published author about it. I just wouldn't have believed you. It's a fascinating ride, and it does take time.

Michelle: Yeah, and it takes longer than you think it will. That's what I'm always telling my clients 'cause they're like, “I feel like I should be further along.” I'm like, “Mm-hmm (negative).”

Susan: Yeah, I know. It's like it takes, you know it takes as long as it takes. Often when we look at someone and we think, “Wow, that just happened so quickly,” or, “It was an overnight success.”

You're not seeing the years of life experience that went into what has transpired.

I don't know, when people do things like write a book in a weekend, I certainly think that you can have meaningful work happen as a result of that.

Michelle: Yeah.

Susan: But really, if you're going to become a published author it takes some time.

Michelle: Oh my goodness, absolutely, and it takes a lot of love.

Susan: It takes a lot of love. It takes a lot of self-love. It's some of the deepest personal development work I think a person can do.

Michelle: Oh, interesting. Well, I think that actually tees us up for our first question.

I want to know what you are rebelling against Susan?

Susan: Oh my gosh. I mean, I was just telling a client earlier that when I was a kid in school, I went to Catholic school and we had the kind of report cards that were like the old thick cardboard-

Michelle: Yes.

Susan: … Like, fold over report cards. Did you have those?

Michelle: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yes, I did, yes.

Susan: On the back, so there was a section for grades, subject grades. Then, there was a conduct session.

Michelle: Yes.

Susan: Where the teacher could write notes. I always had check marks against me in, Susan talks too much, Susan has a disrespect for authority, you know, Susan needs more self-control. What those three things that I was shamed for as a child, are the things that I'm paid a lot of money to do now. I have a healthy disrespect for the status quo, my mouth is what earns my living, and I … Self-control is kind of a joke.

But, what I'm rebelling against is really the status quo, the patriarchy, and the diet industry.

My book, Bare, is really out to disrupt the conversation, and change the conversation around food and body.

Michelle: I love it. I feel like this might be an obvious question, but I want your take.

Why does the diet industry need disrupting?

Susan: Well, it's a structure and a system that's designed to keep women distracted. If you haven't noticed what, how you should be moving your body, and what you should be eating … I'm using air quotes around the word should, is constantly changing.

Michelle: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Susan: There's a reason for that, they want to keep you coming back for more, they want to keep you spending money on things so that you feel like your power is purchased through an external thing. And so, whether it's a food plan or a workout plan, I'm really all about a woman taking all that power back and going inside to find the answers around what kind of movement, and what kind of food feels good to her.

Michelle: Oh, I love that. Tell me a little bit about that process of going inward, and figuring that out.

Susan: Well, it's really first deciding that you want to pay closer attention, and make your own decisions. One of the first things I have clients do and the first step of the Bare process is something I call an environmental diet. Which is, what's your diet of things outside of food?

Michelle: Yeah.

Susan: So, what's coming at you through all your senses? Your eyes, your ears, what are you reading, what are you watching, what are you listening to, music, news, peer conversations? That can start to give us some clues as to where the leaks are.

Michelle: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Susan: Another part of that process is helping a woman uncover where she first received the message that her body wasn't okay the way that it was. Was it family of origin, was it culture at large, was it peer conversations? And, really helping heal that, and have boundaries around, and curating your environment.

Michelle: Mm, I love that. I mean, it's a … In some ways, it's such a strong way to start, because you're not asking anyone to change anything. You're just asking them to become aware.

Susan: Right, right. Because I often joke like, okay, when you become a journalist in your own life here, and you're paying attention to what you're watching, and listening to, and all those things. People, women, start to take note like, “Should I divorce this husband? What about these kids? They're on my nerves.” I always joke like, “Hey, we're just looking for clues here. We're not throwing everyone out of the house yet.

We're going to try to figure out what's going on so that you can create boundaries.”

Michelle: Yes. Well, and I know for me when I start thinking about like what's in my environment, I always think about that I consume far too much news to be a healthy human being these days.

Susan: Well, I think you're not alone, and I also think that everyone has a different level of capacity for different things. My degree's actually in political science-

Michelle: Oh.

Susan: … And, a minor in women's studies. My capacity to digest a lot of political commentary is higher than say, my husbands. That being said though, I still think we're bombarded and I, even though my capacity is high, I have pulled back, and taken a lot of apps off my phone, and a lot of news alerts because I have to, especially during a book launch as you know with your own book launching.

Michelle: Yeah.

Susan: You know, there's only a certain amount of energy and attention that can go around, and what is it you want to be focused on. While I can tolerate a lot of news, should I be? It's the same for any woman going through the Bare Process. It's yeah, you're currently on default and tolerating all of this stuff.

But, what do you want in your life?

Michelle: Mm, what do you want in your life. That's such a powerful question 'cause I feel like some women don't know the answer to that.

Susan: Right.

Michelle: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Susan: I mean, I didn't.

Michelle: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Susan: When I first started looking at these things over 12 years ago, I was in the fetal position under my desk at a real estate office like, “Please, someone help me figure this out.” I think that a book actually was what helped me get up off the floor, so I'm hoping that this book helps other women.

Michelle: Yeah. I'm curious, what change do you want to create in the world? We talked about what you're rebelling against.

What do you want to change because of your book?

Susan: Really what I want to change is where girls and women are directing their attention. Instead of using our precious time, and energy and resources to look a certain way according to the male gaze-

Michelle: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Susan: I would love for the world to be different in that girls and women are using all of that energy, and mental gymnastics to solve world problems, to get their talents out into the world.

I just did a book launch event where I asked the women in the audience to write down what their biggest goal was right now, and then to think about the amount of time they spend every day, changing clothes because nothing fits right, and worrying about their calories, macros, steps, all those things. And, what if they took the time they spent obsessing about food and body, and directed that instead towards their goal.

Michelle: Yeah.

Susan: We would have no wage gap, we would have no glass ceiling. And so, that's the world I want to create, where there's equality, gender equality. Social, political, economic equality.

Michelle: Yeah, and it sounds like it starts with unlearning all of the stuff, the messages, the media, like all of it that we take in.

Susan: It really, it does start with paying very close attention to what you're allowing in your environment, and taking control of that, and having boundaries around that.

Of course then, once you take back some of your time and energy, you can start to make changes in some of the other areas.

Michelle: Yeah, so tell about us some of the other areas you talk about in the book.

Susan: Well, I do talk about food. But, I talk about food a little differently, that there are no good or bad foods, there are simply foods that are what I call power foods, foods that energize you. That varies according to your system, so sugar is not necessarily off the table for 100% of the population, nor is gluten, nor is meat, nor is kale, right?

Michelle: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Susan: So power foods, foods that power up your unique body, and then pleasure foods. Foods that are designed to be pleasurable to the palate, and one's not better than the other, they just do different things. And so, helping women be attentive when they're eating so that they can figure out, “Okay, I feel really great when I eat chicken and broccoli, and I feel really terrible when I eat Lima beans and potatoes.” Right? A nutritionist would look at food very differently.

But, I'm more about a woman turning towards her body for the answers, rather than an external plan.

Michelle: Yes, because depending on your body, like how you process that food-

Susan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Michelle: … Can vary widely from person to person.

Susan: It really does, and honestly so many eating disorders are rooted in taking some of those plans like Paleo or being vegan, and I'm not knocking veganism, I'm just saying that eating disorders hide behind food plans. I know for myself when I turned 40, I started processing food really differently hormonally than-

Michelle: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Susan: … I did prior to 40, so there were foods that I could eat without a problem up until I became about 40. And so now, for example, alcohol. I can have a glass of champagne, and it's fine. If I have two glasses of champagne, I'm going to have night sweats. Champagne is not off the table, I just say to myself I'm a grown woman. Like okay, if you have that second glass, you're making the decision to have night sweats, yes or no?

There's no shaming myself for it, it's just an educated decision.

There are plenty of people, my son has a lot of inflammation that happens when he eats peanut or egg, right?

Michelle: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Susan: Peanut and egg, they're not bad-

Michelle: No.

Susan: … They're just not right for him.

Michelle: Yeah. Yes, and so finding out what is right for you is really the journey.

Susan: Exactly, exactly. And, I think that what the Bare Process really helps people untangle some of what they've learned about diet culture, about good and bad foods, and turning it more towards like, “Oh, this is a pleasure food and I can have it,” instead of feeling deprived all the time.

Michelle: Right.

Susan: Then, we also talk about movement in a different way as well.

Michelle: Hmm.

Susan: It's not that I don't talk about food and exercise, I just frame it very differently.

Michelle: Yeah. No, and I think with movement it's the same thing. Like, not all exercises are going to work for you and your body. I could not imagine myself doing CrossFit, for instance.

Susan: Right, right. I did do that for 14 months-

Michelle: Wow.

Susan: … And, I was actually just talking about it during a Facebook Live in one of my private groups this morning.

Michelle: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Susan: It's funny that you bring that up, because I have worked out with the same personal trainer now for probably eight years. For about 14 months, I left him and was doing CrossFit instead.

Michelle: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Susan: I came back to him, and what was interesting was that he spent the next year helping repair my body, because what I had done to it while I was engaging in CrossFit. And so, listen. Anybody listening who loves CrossFit, I'm not slamming the sport as a whole. What I'm saying is that I personally had no business doing CrossFit, because my body was not prepared to do that. And so, I was in constant fight or flight doing CrossFit without having CrossFit leaders that necessarily understood. There's no time, you're trying to beat the clock, so there's no form correction, or … I mean, I could go on and on about it.

Michelle: Yeah, wow. Wow.

Susan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Michelle: That reminds me of when I went to college, I was originally a music major in voice. In high school, I had a great vocal teacher. She was amazing. Then, I went off to college and I had a new voice teacher. She was convinced I was like a contralto, like really deep voice.

Susan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Michelle: That's what she was constantly training, and when I went back to my voice teacher that summer she's like, “What happened to your upper range? There's a huge hole-“

Susan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Michelle: … That, that teacher had created. I had lost a huge part of my range.

Susan: Wow.

Michelle: It was just fascinating like how when you don't have … When you're training in a way that doesn't fit your body, or what you're good at, those people who are supposed to be our guides can really do some damage.

Susan: Right, and it's also interesting that when you think about what's great for my son for example, he is 20 years old. He would probably be a great candidate for CrossFit.

Michelle: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Susan: You know, as a 45-year-old woman, there's a level of injury that can happen, and hormonally the cortisol spike that someone receives when they are doing the whole beat the clock thing, not great for me, right?

Michelle: No.

Susan: It's not like, hey CrossFit's terrible.

It's just, I needed to tune in better to what I needed, and make adjustments.

I finally did. I was actually laying on the chiropractor's table, and I was going weekly. I had decided, “You know, if the sport I'm choosing to engage in requires weekly chiropractic adjustments, I don't know that I'm doing myself a service here.”

Michelle: Yeah.

Susan: I'm still lifting weights, I'm still running, I'm spinning, I do all sorts of things that are better suited for me.

Michelle: Yes, yes. That's the key, it has to be suited for you, and not like what people expect you to do.

Susan: Exactly. There's a whole, the whole chapter on movement is asking the question, what feels like love?

Michelle: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Susan: That doesn't mean we're all going to sit around, and eat Bonbons, and take a nap. It means what truly feels good to your body. Our bodies are made to move, and that could walk around the block, it could mean Tai Chi, it could mean kayaking, it could mean so many things. But, it doesn't have to mean boot camp.

Michelle: Yes. I love that question, what feels like love? Because, you can apply that to a host of situations whether it's food or movement, or even how you run your business.

Susan: For sure. I do, I absolutely do. It's like, what feels like love on this book tour? What feels like love on my business plan?

Michelle: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Susan: And honestly, questioning our motivations for a lot of things, and evaluating, using that question as a litmus test can keep us grounded and centered in our values.

Michelle: I am totally going to be using that question going forward.

Susan: Yay.

Michelle: No, 'cause it's just so beautiful. Then, if you're in the moment and you're doing something that doesn't feel great you can ask yourself, “Does this feel like love?”

Susan: Exactly, exactly. You know what? Sometimes it is a nap, and other times it means pulling an all-nighter because you want to be on Good Morning America, you know?

Michelle: Yeah.

Susan: It can mean a variety of things.

Michelle: Oh, so good. I have one final question for you Susan.

Susan: Yay.

Michelle:

If every woman who read your book acted on its message, what would the world be like?

Susan: This is such a great question, and I've been thinking about this. If this book reaches the masses as I hope that it does, and girls and women decide to start eating, moving, dressing and expressing themselves from a place of love for themselves, can you imagine? The world would probably have a female president. The world would, there would be, I am convinced fewer wars. The environment would probably be on its way to reparation.

Michelle: Mm.

Susan: I really think it's, the future is female.

I think if the future is female, we need every ounce of energy and intellect that girls and women have. And so, the world I imagine is women fully expressed in their power, it's a beautiful thing.

Michelle: Oh, I love that world too. A world where women are fully expressed in their power. That's so beautiful and meaningful. Why don't you tell everyone where they can find you, and find the book so that they can read all about it?

Susan: Yay. The book is called Bare, and it has a website. You can find me on Instagram and the same on Facebook. I have a couple of different podcasts. There is a Bare Podcast. If you just go to iTunes or anywhere where you listen to podcasts, and I would love to hear from your audience.

Michelle: Oh my gosh, I encourage all of you to go out and get Susan's book. It is, it's an engaging read, there are some great stories in it, you will see yourself in those stories, and it is highly actionable. Thank you so much Susan, for being on the podcast.

Susan: Thank you for having me, it was delightful.

Michelle: Awesome.

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