Suz Carpenter created a virtual nutrition education company called CarpenterOne80 whose mission is to provide affordable and simple programs that can clear up food confusion so that people can win at losing weight. She is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and the CEO and Founder of CarpenterOne80, as well as the creator of Babysit My Plate, The Food Peace University and S.O.S. (Suz on your shoulder). These three different virtual bite-sized nutrition courses were designed to teach you what you need to know to create sustainable results.

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Full Transcript:

Passionistas: Hi, and welcome to the Passionistas Project Podcast. We're Amy and Nancy Harrington. Before we start our interview today, we wanted to tell you about our upcoming event. From Friday, August 21st through Sunday, August 23rd, we'll be hosting the Passionistas Project Women's Equality Virtual Summit. The three-day event will feature live panel discussions, prerecorded presentations, daily workshops. The Passionistas Portraits storyteller event, the LUNAFEST® short film festival, a Virtual Marketplace and a Pay It Forward Portal. The weekend is centered around the theme of women's equality and intersectional feminism from a range of perspectives, including racial equality, LGBTQ+ rights, financial equity, voter suppression, ageism, physical and mental health issues, religious persecution and so much more. And best of all, it's free for the weekend. Go to to register.

And now for today's interview, we're talking with Suz Carpenter an approachable, sincere, fun, loving and passionate leader who loves to see personal improvement and transformation in those she teaches. Through her successful ten-year nutrition career Suz saw a gap in the industry, and a trend in society. Americans are more confused and overwhelmed than ever when it comes to actually losing weight and keeping it off. She created a virtual nutrition education company called CarpenterOne80, whose mission is to provide affordable and simple programs that can clear up food confusion so that people can win at losing weight. Suz is a certified nutritional consultant, the CEO and founder of CarpenterOne80 as well as the creator of BabysitMyPlate, the FoodPeaceUniversity and SOS (Suz On Your Shoulder). These three different virtual bite-size nutrition courses were designed to teach you what you need to know to create sustainable results. So please welcome to the show, Suz Carpenter.

Suz: I'm so glad to be here. Thank you for having me on with you today.

Passionistas: What's the one thing you're most passionate about?

Suz: Without a doubt, food peace. And I'm going to tease that out for you a little bit more. Once upon a time, I was asked this question where somebody said, you know, "you say you would die for your kids, but would you change for them?" And that question kept me up at night and hit me square between the eyes because I didn't have food peace. In fact, I had an eating disorder that I had struggled with since I was a teenager. So that question meant that I was going to need to get help and face what was really my greatest shame. And in walking that out, what I discovered was food peace and it's changed my life. And it's the thing that I'm passionate about spreading to others, because I know it's what people are suffering with.

Passionistas: So how does that translate into what you do for a living?

Suz: I seek to educate people on what foods to eat and why, so that they are not, influenced, but so they understand because from there I can empower somebody to do this on their own, to lose the weight and maintain the weight, and then be inspired to share it with their families and beyond. Because what I've been able to do my whole life and is when I understand science, I can explain it in a way that a first grader can get it. And I did used to teach first grade once upon a time. So when I stumbled into the beginning of my healing, I started to see patterns in nutrition. And I kept thinking, why was I not taught this? When I was in high school? How come these basic things were so covered up and made so confusing that I couldn't find the answers that I was looking for because I was struggling for so many years. So my life's work now is really just to educate on what all of us should have been taught when we were a lot younger, because it's not so complicated, it just needs to be spelled out.

Passionistas: Tell us what CarpenterOne80 is, what inspired you to create it?

Suz: So it came from me getting the help with my eating disorder and tackling that ugly voice in my head and understanding the basics of protein, fat and fiber, every meal to make maintaining or losing weight, no big deal. And the exercise was a part of the healthy living equation, but not necessarily part of the weight loss equation. And so with working with people, I started to notice that we wanted things fast, more like a microwave than an oven. And my clients were struggling with wanting to work and get results, but not having the time or the finances to invest in a one-on-one program. They also felt very, very overwhelmed by all the information available. Like I think about the days when we had to study for our final exams or board tests, and we had all the books on our desk and we were so overwhelmed by all the material that you, you kind of felt that pressure going into the test, that you don't know that you studied the right thing.

And then when you walk out of the test, you could feel the information leaking out of your ears. That's how people feel about pursuing a healthy lifestyle. They don't know really what to listen to. It feels very overwhelming. And a lot of times they stop before they ever make traction. Okay. So what started out as me just getting help for myself with no intention of building out CarpenterOne80 suddenly became this mission to pay forward. It's almost like I'm talking to myself, my younger 20 to 37 year old self. So CarpenterOne80 means — Carpenter's my last name, but carpenters build things. 180 is a direction, 180 degree turn, but you have to make one intentional decision for 80 days in a row because it takes about 66 days to make a habit so that we can make a lifestyle no longer a fad diet, but it's going to take time of failing forward and doing it bad perfect.

So that was kind of how I birthed out the idea of the company name. But with working with people, I saw that I absolutely still want the one on one platform so that my heart stays attached to people and I stay relevant and connected and sharp. But I know that there's a lot of people who are more interested in self-learning meaning that's where you insert the video courses and they want to learn from somebody that's not scary. That's a teacher. That's a little bit fun. That's based in science and is like a girlfriend that's approachable. So that's why I'm going to do I teach the video courses. And then the one that I'm the most excited about is the one that I just custom catered to all the concerns that I heard from people. I don't have enough time. I'm overwhelmed. I don't have enough money.

So SOS stands for Susan on your Shoulder. And it's like that angel on your shoulder whispering in your ear because I made them into three and four minute soundbites that come right to somebody's text message. So they don't even have to go find it. It comes right to them. It's every day. And it's teaching people what they need to know in the right sequence to begin to learn and apply and get results and feel better and create a lifestyle. But as they start to get results out of those initial first soundbites, those first couple of weeks of me teaching, then the learning starts to happen where instead of following safe food rules, which we don't want to do instead, because you understand what protein, fat and fiber can do for turning off hungry hormones and balancing cravings and turning your body where it'll burn fat for fuel, rather than store fat, it begins to make so much sense that eating any other way becomes illogical. And you learn how to incorporate in the foods you love rather than take them out. And in doing that, in that consistency, in that repetition learning happens. Because you begin to attach cues or words to things that mean something in a way that you can apply it to make lifelong change. So this is my way of really giving back in an inexpensive way so that people can find, like I said, the food peace that mattered so much to me,

Passionistas: I think people sometimes look at weight loss as just changing their diet. But you also focus on overcoming shame and inferiority and low self-esteem. So why is that important? And what are the keys to helping people change their attitudes about those issues, too?

Suz: So losing weight is really intimate and it's really vulnerable, and anybody can get a food plan offline or have a trainer, who's wonderful, give you a list of foods to eat, and maybe you're going to stick with it for four or five days, but you took out your favorite foods. Most women can stick with something that's a diet and restrictive for about four weeks, men about six weeks. And then we blow it. So how come like how can we do something in a way that we can have real results? So that means we have to do two things. One, we have to figure out how to pull in the foods that matter. But two, we have to address the emotional component because food brings us pleasure. Food makes us feel happy. Food fills in the gaps for people. So we have to get to where the beginning part is practical and boring. Like we're talking, we have to learn about bringing in the groceries and the right foods to put for meals. But really quick, really quick, after that,

You've got to dig into the emotional side of this and understand the difference between emotional eating or emotional hunger and physical hunger. Because we have this as humans, we are wired that we want to feel happy and we want to feel good. And in life, you're guaranteed to struggle. It's not, if it's when. And so we have these things, it's called the feeling spectrum. If you look at your left hand and say, put it on the table and pretend like that table is a hot stove, it is so painful. You can't keep your hand there and you have to pick it up. Now on the right, You put your hand down and that's such joy. It's also not sustainable, like say Christmas morning or endorphins for a run. Now, when we are feeling pain, which is over by the left hand, our body is wired to do things, to move us towards happiness.

So there are certain things that we could do that could give us endorphins, that society frowns on that we don't turn to as much — gambling, stealing, driving, too fast, overshopping drugs, uh, whatever, something in that category, smoking. Now you can also turn to food to make yourself feel better. And society does not frown on that. So it's easy to turn to that with out having a social ramification. So here's what happens. We have some form of pain. It could be somebody died, a relationship stress, financial stress, job stress, uh, could be pace of life. It could be kids running around and fighting could be an email. You don't want to write or a hard conversation. Anything that's causing you pain is over on the left hand, by your left hand. So let's say you start to think, gosh, I really want some Ben and Jerry's or some pretzels really what's happening is you're eating the food for comfort to make that pain go away.

So while you're eating the Ben and Jerry's or the pretzels or whatever, it's as though somebody put a blanket over that pain and numbed it out and made it go away. And that feels really good. But as soon as you're at the bottom of the ice cream or at the end of the chip bag, what happens is the blanket comes off the pain you're left with the problem. And now you have a feeling of blood sugar going up and down, which feels bad. Your belly might hurt, which feels bad. And then if you're looking to lose weight or you're struggling with body image, that's going to add to shame or regret. And that is a bad feeling. So if we can identify that it's normal to want to eat, to make yourself feel better. That is a first step to empowering. The second thing is starting to think, okay, so what am I emotionally hungry for when I'm going for the Ben and Jerry's am I wanting to feel comfort?

Am I wanting to be food? Am I bored? Am I looking to feel like I accomplished something? Am I avoiding an email? Like we need to look at what the trigger is that caused the emotional need to go for the food. And then to recognize this is the one that I love is a lot of times the foods we're going for or what we call comfort foods and the reason we're going for the comfort food. If you think about this, I bet if you're thinking in your head right now, what are your top five favorite comfort foods? One or two of them would probably be things you ate when you were a child. So we're going for foods, probably, they were something we ate in our childhood because that reminds us of a time where we were secure and safe and comfortable. And it makes more sense when you begin to understand the why you're doing something, and then it makes the, how, which is the practical a lot easier.

And the reason I want to address those types of things about why we emotionally eat, why the comfort food is wanting to make people feel better to realize that it's normal. Two, because then you can begin to get a handle on what's going on and begin to potentially reverse the situation you don't want to be in. Because what I can't stand is the idea that when somebody is getting dressed in the morning and their hair's wet, cause they just got out of the shower and you put the skirt on or the pair of pants and you buckle in and you feel that sense of inferiority or the tight pants remind you that you're, you just don't feel like you're enough. And you're talking ugly to yourself. That position of disempowerment is a big mountain to have to climb over in order to start your day off in your powerful, authentic, bold, confident self that needs to show up in this world to do something amazing. So I'm really the unfancy part of somebody's life shoring up the health, helping them to really begin to get the success with the weight, because what I'm really looking to do is get their feet back underneath them so they feel competent and bold and go add value into all areas of their life.

Passionistas: So you said that, you know, everybody has the same excuses of I'm too busy. I don't have time. It's, you know, I'm too broke. So how does what you do help with all of those excuses?

Suz: That's what I tried to navigate with SOS. If somebody says, I don't have time, I'm like you have three or four minutes a day and you can listen to these while you're driving to the gas station. Or I'm broke. Okay. So I started SOS so everybody can try seven days free to see if it's even a fit for them. But in those first seven days, I'm equipping with what you need to really get off to a strong start to make a change. But then it's $15 a month. That's not so bad. People spend that with a drive through at Chick-fil-A. And then with the, you know, like I don't have time or I don't know enough, or I have an event coming up. The biggest obstacles I heard you guys for years were things like I have a trip coming, so I don't want to start now or we have Christmas coming, so I don't want to do that and then have to stop and start.

Where here now, even in this COVID time, we don't have those obstacles yet. It's still difficult to begin to create a lifestyle. So I found that the hurdles really are uncertainty. They are, I've tried things before. And I don't know if this will work for me worse yet. I've tried something. I lost 10 pounds. It was really, really hard. And when I stopped, I gained 12 and I feel so discouraged. I don't know if I can dig in again. And that trust fall into when you don't know what you don't know, you don't know what you know. So teaching somebody, if I get you eating protein, fat and fiber, and you feel full and have weight loss without hunger, and you're not craving foods like crazy, and you're seeing results, it's going to be a lot easier to show up to this meal and show up to these foods and yourself. And you will begin to feel encouraged.

But I mean, I think we all can identify with, I did something before it was so impossibly hard. I'm scared to try again because I don't know if I have it in me. And that's where you need somebody who is a role model, who is an encourager, who is showing the way, who's making it not seem so scary and restricted, but rather she eats food that looks really good. And she's food has chocolate in it. I think I could get behind this. And so I try to navigate some of the obstacles, but a lot of them have to come back to just fear and uncertainty.

Passionistas: You had me at chocolate.

Suz: I'm like everybody. I go to Starbucks and see the big fancy copies and the scones and chocolates. And I want them like, I very much want them, but I don't want to be constantly battling with having to gain and lose 10 pounds because I understand if I go after the scone and the chocolate, it's like, you have to use compromise and discipline in every area of your life. You have to with business was showing up to an appointment on time. You have to use compromise and discipline with weight loss and weight management in your health. So I can look at a scone and go, it looks so good, but it's actually not one of my top five favorite foods of all time. So maybe I'm gonna pass on this so that I can have what I really want a little bit later. And so that's why I've worked hard to create recipes that are just kind of healthier swaps of foods that we love, like cookies, but they're not quite as expensive to our bodies in terms of calories and, um, slowing weight loss.

Passionistas: And do you provide recipes to people as well?

Suz: I do. I always call them kid approved because I run it all by my family. And, and so, you know, they're, they're just things like I'll, I'll trade out, say regular flour for cooking with almond flour, but I'll add in unflavored fiber because fiber negates carbohydrate and in the absence of net carbs, the body will burn fat for fuel. So in a lot of my recipes, if I can significantly up the fiber count, I lower the net carb amount, which means, Hmm, we're going to actually be losing weight or maintaining weight. And this is not going to be such an expensive dessert. So definitely provide these recipes for people because it's one thing to hear eating a certain way. It's entirely different to know what actually to go get at the grocery store and what to put on your plate. That's practical because we need tactical hands on things that we can do and eat to get the results. Especially in the beginning,

Passionistas: We're Amy and Nancy Harrington. And you're listening to the Passionistas Project Podcast and our interview with Suz Carpenter. To learn more about her business, visit Now here's more of our interview with Suz.

As we're recording this we're right in the middle of the Corona virus. What advice do you have for people who want to get started with this now? But it's hard to keep focus for everyone right now.

Suz: It's true. And first off is don't underestimate getting enough sleep and getting enough water. Those are really important fundamentals that we're in a health crisis. So you do need to take care of yourself. And those are two simple things that have been taken off the plate for a lot of people. So here's what I would love for everybody to do is to start looking to find fiber and incorporate this into breakfast, lunch and bridge snack and dinner. So fiber versus zero calorie, part of a carbohydrate it's found in fruits and vegetables, whole grains legumes. Fiber is something that as Americans, we're not getting enough of in our diet. Now before the industrial revolution, we were probably getting a hundred to 200 grams, but when we started manufacturing food, they started stripping fiber, started going for more simplified carbohydrates. And then what happened is the waistlines got bigger, right? During the industrial revolution, you can see it.

So studies show that if an American who gets about nine to 15 grams of fiber right now, ups their fiber to around 24 grams a day you'll malabsorbe about 90 calories a day. So over the course of a year, that can lead to a 10 pound weight loss by addition, by adding in fiber. So it's the zero calorie part to a carbohydrate. Your body cannot break it down. It cannot digest it, but it is going to burn calories called thermogenesis, trying to break down the fiber. So fiber acts like a broom in a sponge, it'll soak up extra calories that send toxins and usher them into the toilet bowl. It has a lot of bulk. And so since you're drinking your water, your stomach will stretch and that will help you to feel full. But these foods that are high in fiber are very low in calories. So that's why I say you can have weight loss without hunger.

The other part of fiber, it's just a super unsexy nutrient, but the health benefits are, what's so amazing. It'll reduce risk for blood pressure, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, l reduce the risk for estrogen dominance or colon cancer helps to reduce inflammation in the body leading to a healthier GI track. The health benefits are, what's so amazing, and this is stuff we're buying from the grocery store. And the side effect of getting healthy is actually that you're going to have weight loss and weight loss without hunger. So if your listeners can right away, you know, through this COVID time, especially, but moving forward the first week shoot for 24 grams, you're going to feel full. You'll be more regular. And then the next week, I would say, try to shoot up to 35 grams that way we're above what the recommended daily allowance is, but we're definitely getting to take advantage of feeling nice and full while I'm revving our metabolism and getting healthier.

Passionistas: This is also kind of an emotional time with the shutdown. So are there any tips that you have specifically for people and kind of just their mental state right now?

Suz: First off, we can not be continuing to think that we have to take out our favorite foods in order to maintain or lose weight. Because we're looking to create a pattern of eating that you can do right now that you can do when you're 70. And if, if, if that's not the case, we haven't found the right pattern of eating. So when I'm working with people, one of the exercises we do is figuring out their top five favorite foods. And this is a little harder than you think to really dial in what are my top five favorite? So that doesn't mean Italian. It means, um, very specific type of Italian. Is it chicken piccata or is it Fettuccine Alfredo. Get really specific about what your top five favorite foods are and write them down. This, this is the activity is doing that because then what happens is during this time, if you come across your top five favorite food, all right, we're in there. That's something that you're going to go for.

But if you're in front of a food that you don't necessarily love, like, say for me, I don't love Oreos. I'll buy them for the family, but I won't touch them because I don't love them. So if you're around something like, say Oreos, I'm not going to splurge on something like that. That is a total waste. However, I love chocolate chips. And if those are around, I'd be more likely to splurge on that. But now let me frame splurge. Instead of the old way, which was eat it all until it's gone, which that's what I used to do in my eating disorder days. Instead I have a thoughtful indulgence and that is having three bites. And I get it. I get hearing right now, even the person that said three bites, I don't want to listen to this anymore. I really understand it because that right there requires you to show up and use compromise and discipline.

But if you can, if you can just try to lean into this idea, the first bite's the one that tastes the best, that's the one where it explodes in your mouth and you get endorphin rush. The second best bite is the last one. It's that one that lingers. And then the only difference is, do you have one bite in the middle or do you have a thousand, which is gluttony? Do you have one bite that lets you have a thoughtful indulgence where you feel empowered and you enjoyed it and you still feel in control or do you have 200 and you ate the whole thing and you wake up with regret and shame and sore belly and feeling bad about yourself. So have it, especially if it's a top five, but begin to practice having three bites and a thoughtful indulgence.

But I promise you're going to do it bad. You're going to goof up and have 20 bites. It's normal. This is practice. That's why it's CarpenterOne80. 80 days to make a new habit. You've going to have to fail forward iand do it bad perfect. And just keep showing up. And if you have your favorite food and you stick to and you don't stick to three bites, you blow it. You just think to yourself, okay, I'm going to do this bad perfect. I'm going to fail forward and think about when you were a kid and you're in line at school. And if you fell out of line, you just got back in line and that's all we're going to do because we're just beginning to make new habits that are better, that will serve you and your intentions.

If you are basically filling your plate with protein, fat and fiber, and that's the foundation, because like I said, that's going to turn off eight hungry hormones so that when you get in front of your favorite food, if you've already set that solid foundation, you're much more likely to approach it in control, but it's not until you set that foundation that you can really feel the truth of what I'm saying. Right now it's more like I can anticipate you're trying to put yourself in that place, but it's nowhere you've been before. So it's difficult to understand, not having to exercise so much willpower. Eventually it'll get a lot easier, but I also want to honor people and that it's work. Like it does work, but it is working. It does require you being awake and showing them to your life and pursuing the best version of yourself and being willing to have to be disciplined, to just wait to not have the blueberry cake, to have the chocolate cake and a couple of days, because you'd rather have. I absolutely agree, understand that feeling of, but I want everything, but that gets us in trouble. 70% of Americans are overweight. We cannot get away with eating, whatever we want whenever we want. That's a lie. So if we can start to instead hear these messages of, I just have to use compromise and discipline. I can have what I really, really want, but it doesn't mean I can have everything. It just, it looks like there are so many people that can eat whatever they want without ever gaining weight. I mean, my thighs are not made of Teflon. I have to, I have to take my own advice.

Passionistas: What's the biggest risk you ever took and how did it pay off?

Suz: Biggest risk I ever took? To me, it feels selfish to say this, but it was admitting that I had the eating disorder and, and this is why I wrote that secret is such a big shame. I was so ashamed of it that I thought if I spoke it out loud, that I was going to lose all the relationships that I loved, I thought I was going to be an impostor or not authentic. So I was terrified. And I remember the first time I said it out loud, I felt like my bones were going to fall out of my body. I remember the heat coming up, my neck. I still remember my hair sweating. I was so scared, but I was met with love and compassion. And I have been met with that with everybody that I've shared my story with to find out I'm not so alone. So it was such a shame that it was so terrifying and risky for me to say it out loud. But the outcome has me here talking to you and has me been in this space for 10 years where I get to change lives one at a time.

Passionistas: Do you mind if I ask why you finally were able to make that decision to share your story?

Suz: Well, it was definitely the question that I was asked. It was when they said, you know, "You would die for your kids, but would you change for them?" Because what I realized is I was the ugliest voice in my head and I had this fractured relationship with food where I'd starve myself all day and then I would binge, and then I would exercise as an eraser. And then I got into abusing laxatives. And that question made me recognize that my girls were probably going to do the same thing that I did if I didn't get help for me. And I couldn't see in the idea of them talking to themselves that way in the mirror or them struggling with food like I had. So that made me stir the feelings up that I was going to have to do something, but I still wasn't quite ready because I was giving life 110%.

And I believe that's what a lot of people are doing. I was doing everything that I knew to do, and I was looking for answers and I'm still falling short. So it was very difficult for me to believe that talking with someone else, a dietician and a counselor and a therapist that I could ever really release this eating disorder, because I didn't know that there was a different way that I could eat and live. So I had to be brave and accept that I was going to have to be willing to walk it out and continue to just keep trying. And I didn't know if I would succeed or not. And that was what was so terrifying. So for me, what I had to do as I need steps, like I need to know how somebody actually did it. I had to talk to myself first.

Then I had to journal and practice journaling and putting words behind it in a book rather than to a person. And then the first person I told was actually my counselor, not my husband. I was paying somebody. So I didn't have as close of a relationship, but I was still so scared. And it was her that helped me reframe and expect what my husband would say and what others would say. And you know, of course my husband is just, was terribly, just terribly upset that I kept the secret and this burden and was hurting. And he was, she had helped or been able to help

Passionistas: What's the first thing you do in the morning. And what's the last thing you do at night?

Suz: First thing I do in the morning is I turn on a couple of lights to set the tone. And I sit down with my journal, with my copy and I write out 10 things that I am ridiculously grateful for. And a lot of times I start with batteries and light bulbs just to remind me of the blessings we have. And then I write out my 10 goals and some of them are goals to accomplish in the near future. Others are long-term. For instance, I'm an extraordinary wife and I am close with all of my children. Those are long-term goals that I always keep my eye on. And then I write down 10 mantras that, and that's kind of like putting my brain on for the day. Every single morning I wake up and I almost forget every single one of those parts of my morning routine. And it gets me ready for the day. And then the last thing that I do before I go to bed is I review those 10 goals again, of what I want to be and what I want to accomplish. And then that way kind of think that during the nighttime, while I'm sleeping, my brain is looking for ways to solve those problems.

Passionistas: Is there a lesson you've learned on your journey so far that really sticks with you?

Suz: Yes. My lesson would be, it was a statement, decide what it is that you need most in this world and go do that. And that statement's very empowering to me. And the lesson within that statement is there's room for you. You have a voice. There is somebody that needs your message. Be brave and show up. But there is a space for you.

Passionistas: Thanks for listening to the Passionistas Project Podcast and our interview with Suz Carpenter. To learn more about her business, visit Please visit to learn more about our podcast, our subscription box filled with products made by women-owned businesses and female artisans and our upcoming Passionistas Project Women's Equality Virtual Summit. And be sure to subscribe to The Passionistas Project Podcast, so you don't miss any of our upcoming inspiring guests.

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