092. Connect To & Feel Your Body’s Power with Carol Hanson

The Do a Day Podcast from Bryan Falchuk

As an Image Consultant, Carol has helped hundreds of female entrepreneurs feel and look fabulous every time they get dressed. She empowers women to feel confident about their bodies. Helping them to acknowledge there is no ‘one size fits all’ or ideal body
shape.  Her personal journey of overcoming an eating disorder means she truly understand any woman who says ‘I hate my body’. Now fully recovered, Carol is able to help women recognize they don’t have to look a certain way to be beautiful.
Carol works to inspire women who have a wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear. She helps them discover their sense of style and claim their identity, to feel confident every time they get dressed.   She is also committed to creating awareness and leading by example when it comes to reducing the impact fashion has on the planet. As she shares in the interview, Carol believes we must change our attitudes towards consumption, shop consciously,  ask questions of those who produce our clothes and dispose of our clothes responsibly.
Key Points from the Episode with Carol Hanson:
  • Carol is a style and wardrobe consultant, helping people express their identity with confidence.
  • She is also very conscious and focused on the environmental impact of fashion, and noted how the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, so she tries to raise awareness of sustainable behavior around fashion.
  • After a career in Accounting, Carol got back to her fashion passion by buying a small boutique, which unfortunately did not thrive as a business.
  • In the process, she found her calling around how to help women find and express their identity through what they wear.
  • We talked about how people struggle with what to wear despite having plenty of clothes because they aren’t connected with their identity.
  • This is even more pronounced in industries where people wear uniforms, where the identity is even more tied to what you wear, and when you aren’t in that uniform, how detached you can be from your identity.
  • All of this identity work was really rooted in Carol’s own past around her identity.
  • When she was 17, her battle with anorexia really surfaced.
  • It effected every aspect of her life – the mental, the physical, her relationships.
  • It lasted 23 years, which is roughly twice the average of how long people struggle with it before coming out of it.
  • Part of the reason is because of what ‘help’ meant back in the 1980s and 1990s when she was facing it, which was focused on eating more and being a purely physical thing rather than a mental thing.
  • Today, we realize it’s more about control – feeling out of control in so many aspects of your life, and using the ability to control what you eat as a way to find some control where you otherwise struggle to.
  • Part of why comes from what Carol experienced in her teens.
  • Her father never reached his full potential himself, and pushed Carol quite hard to achieve hers as a way to make up for his experience.
  • It created a pressure for Carol to always be striving for more.
  • Her mother struggled with mental health issues throughout her life, and when Carol was about to turn 14, her mother tried to end her life, saying it was a birthday gift to Carol since not having to deal with her mother would be kinder than staying around.
  • She had no counseling for any of this, and instead came to realize it later in life.
  • Carol got married very young, with her husband being through the bulk of her struggle.
  • Carol became obsessed with exercise, using it to help purge from any of the eating she did do.
  • Her body finally had had enough, and her hamstrings basically gave up on her, and she couldn’t walk.
  • That was the start of the turning point for her to begin the long journey to change.
  • She realized she needed more nutrition, and did start to exercise, but was hell bent on finding a way to keep exercising despite her body telling her to stop.
  • Doctor after doctor couldn’t give her the magic “you should workout a lot” answer she sought.
  • In 1991, as Carol and her husband were thinking about starting a family, she was given news that she could not have children, and had actually gone through menopause in her 20s.
  • Carol’s response was to go harder into her career, and she didn’t stop to think about her husband’s experience on the back of that news.
  • While her husband was there for her throughout, it also created great friction in their relationship. As a result, they ended up separating in 1999, trying to work through their issues, with great ups and downs.
  • They ended up finding a path back together, and are celebrating their 40th year together this year.
  • What she says of their relationship is that the part since their separation is so much better and stronger than before it.
  • Carol’s progress back from anorexia was very gradual, with her slowly realizing she could eat more and wouldn’t just become obese instantly.
  • In 2008, she got a personal trainer to help her learn to build her body beyond just overdoing it on cardio.
  • This has helped her to rebalance her whole view on exercise and her body, and see how to build a nice, toned body.
  • That’s helped her connect with her body, be proud of it, and feel its power.
  • In her work today, she starts by having her clients look at their body and think about the positive – what do they love about their body. No matter how negative you are on your body, there must be something you do like. Start there.
  • Then she works to accentuate what is liked, and minimize attention to what you don’t. In that way, you can start to feel more confident as who you are by seeing what you like most about yourself.
  • We talked about whether Carol would ever get to her goal career of working in fashion if she didn’t have her struggle. She’s not sure she ever would.
  • Carol values her journey despite the difficulty.


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