Jess Suchan’s mom was practicing holistic health long before it was cool. As a hormone health educator, she believed in the power of food as medicine and kept candy out of the house, except on their special “Friday sweet day.” Breakfast consisted of healthy pancakes, and antibiotics were replaced with homemade tinctures. In other words, Jess was healthy, like really, really healthy—until her senior year of high school.
For the majority of her high school career, Jess was active. A member of both the swim and volleyball teams, she never thought about exercise or weight; as an athlete, sports took care of that for her. During her senior year, however, she decided to ditch the pool and the gym and quit both teams. She started making daily trips to the Starbucks around the corner from her school for lunch, and over the next few years, poor food choices combined with lack of exercise led to 30-40 extra pounds, fast.
In order to combat the weight, Jess entered into what would become a ten-year journey of diet fads, or as she calls it “yo-yo dieting.”
“I slowly entered an unhealthy cycle of restrictive eating during the week, obsessively counting calories, and on the weekends, I ate whatever I wanted and would work out two hours the next day to ‘undo’ the calories I had consumed the day before. I worked out to punish myself, not because I enjoyed it. Whatever crazy diet I heard about, I did it.”
After college she got a job as a weight loss consultant ironically enough, and as part of the job, she had to participate in their specific brand of weight loss diet, so the cycle continued in a professional setting as well. Luckily for Jess, life had other plans for her.; she just had to get almost 6,000 miles away for those plans to happen.
“It wasn’t until I left my job and moved abroad with my boyfriend (now husband) on an adventure to teach English in South Korea that my life began to change. I began eating more plants, found workouts that I enjoyed, and allowed myself to have a bite of dessert and a few glasses of wine when I wanted to!
I began to loosen up and enjoy life, and even though I still had ups and downs, I was finally learning how to be my best me.”
When they came back to the States and eventually resettled in LA, Jess got a job in marketing, and unhealthy habits reared up again. Her new profession came with new stress, and she ate most of her meals in front of her computer, where she sat for seven hours straight, stacking up screen time that lead to debilitating migraines and drug prescriptions. One day she decided it was time to reevaluate her life and her routine.
“After months of research, multiple failed doctor prescriptions, and lots of trial and error, I finally cured myself. I reduced my stress levels with a holistic approach and swapped yo-yo diets for whole foods. I knew I wanted to use what I had learned to help others, so I signed up for the Institute of Integrative Nutrition’s Holistic Health Coach Certification program and later became a board-certified holistic health coach.”
Immediately Jess knew she had found her calling, so she started building her client list on the side while also working full time so that she could make the jump when she was ready. She also was working in a restaurant and doing freelance social media work to earn extra income.
As her client list grew, she seized the opportunity to partner with the person who had jumpstarted her health all those years before: her mom. Jess’s partnership with her mom’s independent hormonal health consulting company led to referral after referral, solidifying her resolve and belief that she really could run her own health business full time.
“I said to myself, ‘If I’m going to really do this, I have to trust myself. I have to know that this is the only way. I have to put my time fully into my business, not into all of my side hustles.’ It wasn’t easy. Finances were tight. But as soon as I did that, as soon as I focused solely on my business and let everything else go, all of my calls started converting to clients. I was holding myself up.”
Today Jess is the founder of Body Bliss by Jess, a holistic health coaching business in Los Angeles that focuses on creating healthy balance on and off the scale.
“LA is the best place for wellness. It’s always ahead of the curve, it’s overflowing with healthy grocery stores, there are always wellness events going on, and there are endless opportunities for collaboration. If you are open to collaboration, you won’t fail. You won’t get ahead if you solely have a competitive mindset.
I have realized that my story is actually my gift, and hopefully the thing that allows other women to feel empowered to start on their journey to positive change and self-love, knowing they’re not alone and that they will always have support.”
And Body Bliss by Jess has drawn quite the following already. Her day-to-day consists of two to four client calls or in-person meetings, and she also spends time daily planning for upcoming events, conducting online group sessions for women all over the country, speaking on podcasts, participating in wellness women’s groups, and facilitating her Sexy Sugar Cleanse, a 20-day e-book and Facebook group program where she teaches participants how to identify, remove, and replace the harmful sugars in their lives.
“There is a way to live a life of balance, without restrictions. People are broken by diets. They make you feel like you’re not good enough. We must look beyond the plate. If we just talk about the food on the plate, it becomes another diet. The food on your plate is representative of things going on in your life—we have to look at everything else in your life in order to create change on your plate.”
Years ago Jess took a look at her life, at the things both on and off her plate, and decided to make a change. She took a chance on the knowledge she gained through her experiences, and ultimately she take a chance on herself, all so she could help others. Now her journey inward has led to a business dedicated to transforming the lives of those around her.
“The most important investment you can make is in yourself, in your health. When you do this, it’s make a huge impact on those around you. In a way investing in yourself is also investing in the people you love around you.”
Jess in Ten:
- Age: 33
- London: Where she was born and raised until she was ten years old.
- 3 Years: The amount of time it’s been since she left restriction and yo-yo dieting behind.
- Portland, OR: Where she spent her high school and college years
- Weirdest Diet She Ever Tried: “I once did a diet where all I ate for an entire day was bananas and milk.”
- Electronic Ab Belt: Yes, she tried that too. It also does not work.
- Caffeine: She doesn’t drink it.
- When she’s not making the world a healthier place, you can find her: On a “mini-trip” with her husband, at the local Farmer’s Market, riding her cruiser bike to the beach, or bargain hunting.
- Dream Career: My current job. Second would be travel blogger.
- New Year’s Plans: Join Jess in January for her New Year course: 4 Weeks to Balance & Bliss. Click here to learn more and sign up!