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May 15, 2023

Episode 99: Fit and Fabulous: Why Healthy, Active Kids in Come in All Shapes and Sizes with Pam Luk

Episode 99: Fit and Fabulous: Why Healthy, Active Kids in Come in All Shapes and Sizes with Pam Luk

Not all kids are active, fit and have the opportunity to run and play. That’s heartbreaking enough, let alone hearing about children who want to participate in sports but feel left out because they can't find the right activewear in their size. That's where business owner Pam Luk comes in. Listen to this episode to hear DJ and Pam talk about this in depth and why Pam took matters into her own hands and created Ember & Ace, a clothing brand that makes plus size athletic wear for kids. 

Pam Luk is the founder of Ember & Ace, an athletic wear brand for plus size kids. Growing up playing sports, Pam learned firsthand the importance of finding active wear that fits. Not finding it is one of the main reasons kids quit sports. The first, Ember & Ace five-piece collection will be available online in early 2023.

• [9:32] Pam Luk shares how to talk about your body in front of your kids.
• [15:20] Pam states: “We've tried to oversimplify it to calories in calories out, just eat perfectly and move your body and your body is gonna get smaller. And it's just, it's more complex than that.” 
• [25:43] “It's also good from the time they're very young, to help them understand their body is going to be changing for the rest of their life.”
• [30:52] Pam discusses the rise in mental health challenges with kids and reminds adults to be mindful about what they say and how they react to children.

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The first, Ember & Ace five-piece collection  is available for sale online at


DJ Stutz  0:00  
We think you should know that Imperfect Heroes Podcast is a production of Little Hearts Academy USA. 

You're listening to Episode 99 of Imperfect Heroes - Insights Into Parenting, the perfect podcast for imperfect parents looking to find joy in their experience of raising children in an imperfect world. And I'm your host DJ Stutz. And today I have the pleasure of having a conversation with Pam Luk. She's the founder of Ember and Ace which is an athletic wear brand for kids that are plus size. As someone who grew up as a plus sized child, and was passionate about sport, Pam learned firsthand about the importance of finding activewear that fits properly. After all, not finding the right clothes can be one of the biggest reasons kids quit sports. So Pam's mission with Ember and Ace is to provide kids of all shapes and sizes with comfortable stylish and functional action where that allows them to participate in sports and other physical activities with confidence. She understands that keeping kids healthy and active doesn't always mean that they're thin. It's about promoting a healthy lifestyle, and a positive body image regardless of their size. So whether you're a parent looking to empower your child, or a kid that's just looking for cool gear to break a sweat in, Ember and ACE has got you covered. Check out their inaugural five piece collection online and join the movement toward a more inclusive and healthier future for little ones. There's so much to learn. So let's get started.

Back in my day, I was as active as a squirrel on a sugar rush. But growing up in sunny Los Angeles meant that there was always something to do outside, my friends, my siblings, and I would hop on our bikes and pedal our way to adventure splashing and sprinklers and cannon falling in any swimming pool that we could find. I ran track and love cheerleading, and my brothers tackled Little League football and basketball. And let me tell you, my own kids were just as wild as I was, well, actually even more so living in Las Vegas meant that they were swimming before they could walk and jumping on the trampoline like a bunch of jumping beans. My boys played ice hockey, like a pack of penguins on skates, even in Las Vegas, and kick the ball around the soccer field in games that left me hoarse from all the shouting. My girls, on the other hand, had more graceful pursuits, like dancing, gymnastics, and cheerleading. And I could barely keep up with them. But not all kids have the chance to run and play. And it's heartbreaking to hear about children who feel left out because they can't find the right clothes in their size. And that's why Pam Luke is a hero in my book. She knows what it's like to struggle with adult size clothes that just don't fit, right. So she took matters into her own hands, and created plus size athletic wear for kids who deserve to run and play and have just as much fun as anyone else. And that, my friends, is what it means to make a difference. Pam luck is a shining example of how one person can change the world, one plus size jersey at a time. So listen in and see what I mean. 

Welcome, everyone, and thank you for choosing to spend the next little bit of time with Imperfect Heroes podcast and continuing with my string of amazing guests where you have another one today. And Pam Luk is talking about something that is very near and dear to my heart. I am always on the side of kids, right. And I want kids to be healthy, happy, mentally strong and feeling good about who they are. And I grew up. I was really young, but I knew who Twiggy was. And some of our listeners may not know but back in the 60s and when I was really small but I just remember her shoes nothing in it spawned a era I think of anorexia, where you always felt like you had to be very thin. And then as I got older, I was always naturally very small. And I was 95 pounds the day I graduated from high school. And I actually remember thinking I will die if I hit 100 Thinking that would be literally the death of me. Well, I hit it and I didn't die and then I kept going. Yeah, that's very happy for them. Yeah, yeah, five kids and getting old will do that too. But Pam is amazing. And she talks about body image and she's got this great line of clothing that she's designing that will actually fit kids who are a little bigger. But it's athletic wear, right, Pam?

Pam Luk  5:10  
Yeah. So I created a brand called Ember and Ace. And it is athletic wear exclusively for plus size kids.

DJ Stutz  5:17  
I love it. Just because a kid might be plus size doesn't mean they're not healthy, or that they're eating horrible food. We've talked a couple of times now. And I've mentioned that I've had nieces and nephews that were chunky little monkeys, you know, growing up that cute little chubby face that you just want to squish and hug. And they were playing lacrosse, and they were in gymnastics, or they were in doing all other different things being very active. But they were just chunkier little kids. And then as they grew older, and started becoming adults, they kind of grew into their bodies.

Pam Luk  6:00  
Yeah. Yeah, I think it's different for everybody. And I think, you know, obviously, this is actually part of my story. I grew up plus size, I was always a bigger kid. And I sort of stayed bigger in through high school, but I still love sports. I played soccer, starting from elementary school all the way through high school. And I also danced, and even though I was doing all those things, my body still stayed bigger. And I started to struggle to find athletic wear and dancer that fit my body. And so, you know, fast forward 30 years, I was in high school back in the late 80s, early 90s. And it's still a struggle today for parents to find clothing for bigger kids. And it doesn't make any sense to me. Because I know I wanted to play. I wanted to play soccer, I wanted to take dance. But when you start to struggle to find things to fit your body, you really don't have a lot of choices. They don't carry the uniforms in your size. They don't carry shorts, or leotards, what are you supposed to do? Most kids just drop out. So I'm hoping to try and have an impact on letting kids continue to play even the kids in bigger bodies in particular.

DJ Stutz  7:02  
Yeah, well, and one of the things in our previous conversations that you mentioned, was that you were trying to find leotards for dance, and they would give you an adult size that was way too long for your torso.

Pam Luk  7:15  
Right? If you're a kid trying to wear an adult size, you're typically going to find it's too long, for sure. And sometimes the chest measurements are way too big, because they're expecting you to be a fully developed, fully grown woman, which you're not at 13 or 15 years old, and so they're not right. Right. And so you're young, you feel awkward. And it also can be hard for kids to talk to their parents about stuff like this. So a lot of them just say, Well, I don't really want to do it anymore. And part of that is because it's hard to say my shorts don't fit, right. My leotard doesn't fit right. Can you help me? Can you imagine trying to say that at 13? Or 14? Yeah. And it can just be a really hard space to navigate. And sometimes as a parent, you don't catch it. Right? You don't know. And so, you know, I want to make things that fit kids bodies, bigger kids bodies, but kids bodies as they're developing. Yeah. And give them chances to sort of stay in the things that they love the activities that they love with their friends, right? Yeah,

DJ Stutz  8:17  
my daughter had a friend growing up, and she actually wound up being in this friend's wedding. And I mean, they were close. And she's just a bigger girl. But she was an excellent soccer player. She was on the teams when they were little playing and growing up and, and this girl was always the best one on the team and could maneuver the ball and all she was good, chunky little cutie. And here she is 10. Seven, and trying to find shorts that fit her and her parents became good friends of us. And I remember talking to her mom and her mom saying that is so hard because she loves playing soccer. But just like you said, getting the shorts that fit right that don't have the big ol gaps right down at the bottom and you're exposing things you don't want to expose, or the shirts were way too long for and

Pam Luk  9:13  
I remember Yeah, I was a goalkeeper on the soccer team. So I had a different outfit than the standard uniform for everybody. But I had to shop in the men's department to try and find something again that was going to be big enough to fit and I found like a men's extra large but the chest Muslim Richard never quite right because it's cut for men. It's very different for teenage girls. And so I'm constantly doing that thing where you like tuck your arms in, and like try to stretch it out and it was too long. Right? The sleeves are too long. It was probably halfway to my knees but what are you supposed to do and right so you do the best you can and for some kids it just it impacts your ability to play right you're focused on is my shirt coming up on my shorts gonna stay put, as opposed to focusing on what I'm trying to accomplish? Just play the game. And at some point, you sort of make a decision that you just don't want to do that anymore. Right? It's just it's hard, I get why kids decide to not continue to try. Right?

DJ Stutz  10:10  
And then what does that do to their self esteem and how they look at themselves? new intern. I

Pam Luk  10:17  
mean, I think there's a lot that comes up. And I think I'm obviously speaking from my own experience to some regard, but part of it is you feel like you don't belong, right? Nobody wants me here. I don't belong here on this team. And I think what it really does, in addition to taking away that physical activity, which I think is so important for kids, you sort of lose that friend circle that you have that you've been playing on the same team with, for now, maybe three, four years, maybe longer. Yeah. And so all of a sudden, you stopped playing, right, you're not on the team anymore, you drop out of the rec program, whatever it is. And so you've lost that social circle, as well. So I feel like it's not just that you've lost this activity that you love the physical activity, that's important. But it's also going to impact you know, your mental health and the ability to stay connected to your classmates and your friends. And so I think, for me, it's when I stopped dancing, I didn't see those girls as much anymore. And I worry sometimes about how are those kids sort of staying engaged in class and feeling connected to other kids? And for me, there were moments where it was tough. Yeah.

DJ Stutz  11:21  
Yeah. Well, and there's so many elements that come to play in this. So one is perhaps the child's parent. And they're always downplaying their own thing. Oh, I'm fat, oh, one this, they hear their mom, mostly moms, maybe a dad once a while, but mostly moms, we're so hard on ourselves, we say things like, Oh, I can't find anything to wear, and, and we start talking negatively about ourselves. And then our children hear that. And then they associate their size or whatever, to that negative feeling that they're hearing from that parent. So the parent might not be saying, Oh, you're too fat, oh, you're this, but because they say it about themselves. That's what the children associate that with?

Pam Luk  12:10  
Yeah, I think we all have to start doing a better job of being really aware about how we talk about bodies and a lot of time about our own bodies. I think we all know that the media has an impact on kids. But I think the first influences they have when it comes to bodies is hearing things that your your family says particularly like you said how women talk about their own bodies. And I think a lot of us have stories growing up, particularly you came up during that time, lots of diet culture, and and so how are you talking about your own body in front of your kids? And what is the message that they're getting? And I think one of the things that we all can do is just say, Okay, let me pay a little bit more attention to that. And I think the first step is to stop maybe saying those things out loud. But it's also really important that you stop saying them to yourself, even if it's in your own head. Right? I mean, I think we all need to really give ourselves a little bit more grace, because the other thing is bodies are changing all the time. And that's the thing that we all really need to remember, bodies really aren't static, even after you've gotten through your major growth, right? And even as an adult, things are just constantly changing. And so yeah, part of it is, how are you making yourself feel good, what are things that feel good in your body and focusing on those things, and getting a little bit away from what your body is supposed to look like, and the size it's you think it's supposed to be or that the culture says it needs to be and really start thinking about getting in a relationship with your buddy, we're taking care of it. Right? Because this is the one thing you've kind of got your whole life. It's along on that ride with you. And you're in this together. And so how are you taking care of it? And then in turn, how are your kids seeing you take care of it, and care for yourself? Right.

DJ Stutz  13:54  
And that is, I think, really important. And then it's very sad, but it still happens, where there are parents who get on their kids cases about being too big, being too fat, and you need to eat more of this. No, you can't have that ice cream or whatever. And thank heavens, that trend is going down. It's not as prevalent as it used to be. But it's still there sometimes. And sometimes it can be the most benign comment by an adult, right? But a child will hear it and it will devastate them within and so they might not even say anything. Mommy said this or daddy said our grandma or grandpa or aunt and uncle or Big Brother, you know, siblings can be pretty mean to one another do and as much as they can be a joy to one another. But when they get mad, they are lacking the maturity of saying the right thing. And so they will lash out and well you're fat and you're this and you can't wear my shirt, you'll stretch it out. And those kinds of comments really can have an effect on how much Kyle said themselves and understands their own abilities.

Pam Luk  15:04  
Yeah. And I think we all need to start really paying attention and listening to people, a lot of people that the group and bigger bodies that had families that made comments, they still remember them to this day, and sort of this is the challenging piece. weight and body sizes are remarkably complex. And we've tried to oversimplify it to calories in calories out, just eat perfectly and move your body and your body is gonna get smaller. And it's just, it's more complex than that. And so why think, again, focusing on moving your body, but for reasons that have nothing to do with size, right? Moving your body is good for your mental health. And it's good for building physical fitness and improving flexibility, endurance, improving cardiovascular strength, and all of those things can happen, and maybe your body is not going to change size, but you're still enjoying all the benefits of all that. So I feel like, we have to just move away from the number on the scale. And I think we also have to be really mindful of talking about the kind of foods that kids eat, because kids are gonna eat a variety of foods. And I think a lot of times, can't have a cookie. It creates this fixation, it creates don't over focus, and you're also setting yourself up for restrictions and potentially eating challenges that are going to be much more bigger and more complex and difficult to handle. So I love what the intuitive eating folks are doing. So if you're curious about that, I think that's a really great thing to explore and learn about with your kids. And I think, again, focusing on movement and movement that your kids like, I think we also got to be

DJ Stutz  16:39  
it's got to be stuff that they enjoy doing or they won't do it.

Pam Luk  16:42  
Right. And I also feel like it's okay to sort of expand the definition, sort of, of physical activity. I think we have a very narrow soccer, baseball, basketball, dance, tennis, all those things. But there are other things that you can do that are also I think, physically active, like, are you playing outside and running around with your dog? Are you riding your bike with your friends? Yeah, even kids that love things like taking a drum class, if you're taking African drumming or taiko drumming, or something like that, that's very physical. Right? Even if you go out and just play role playing games, like kids that want to go out and dress up and roleplay for fantasy games or whatever, like live action role playing, they're outside, and they're moving their bodies. Great. You know what I mean? So this over focus on you have to play an organized sport. And that's the only thing that sort of counts. I would love to see 15 minute dance party in your living room also counts.

DJ Stutz  17:35  
Yeah, and two, I think sometimes parents will overbook. Their kids overload the family on schedules and so you're not eating dinner together at home, it's just a rush rush thing in the car, instead of that connection that they need to make. And so I just did an episode a little bit ago about overloading kids, and how really, if you're out of the home three nights a week, that's too much. That's too much. And so you need to look at the sports and say, there are other ways to do it. It doesn't have to be that way. My middle daughter, she was Little Miss cheerleader, and she did her dance and you know, all this stuff. And her husband was you know, the soccer king of the world. And, and, but they are not getting their kids into they have a seven year old and a four year old into organized sports until they ask for it. It's not like, Oh, your seventh time for T ball, which is what I did, actually. But I had my oldest daughter and my son, they're both on the T ball team together. And they enjoyed it. And one year I even coach didn't know what on earth I was doing. But you know, it was T ball. And

Pam Luk  18:54  
you showed up before you

DJ Stutz  18:55  
Yeah, well, yeah. But they do things like camping, and hiking, and skiing. They live from their driveway, to the lift lines is 20 minutes, oh gosh, to mount rose, which is one of the toe ski resorts. And so it's just an easy thing for them to be able to go up, do some skiing or whatever. And they're just having fun with that. And then as the kids get older, I said, Well, what are you gonna do what if Sylvan wants to play soccer because he finds out his dad played soccer, because then we'll play soccer. But for now, what's the kids museum and all the climbing things that they've got there and they know every park in Reno, there, they're out there. You make such a great and such an important point in that it doesn't have to be this organized team. It can be if that's where they are. And that's what they love. But it doesn't have to be either there are a lot of options that are

Pam Luk  20:03  
I think there. Yeah. And I think every kid is different. Every family is different. But I think you can sort of broaden it to be family time together, outside counts, right? That they still count. And I would say go play some mini golf together, whatever you can do, right? Even scavenger hunts, we've gone on scavenger hunts, because I will be honest, I'm not like super woodsy, outdoorsy. And we live near a city. So let's do a scavenger hunt. And that can be there's a whole list of landmarks or things that you're looking for. So you're walking through a variety neighborhoods, so you can get really creative I also with young kids, you can just put a bunch of fun and silly things in a jar. And I saw this with kids after school program at my daughter's school. If the kids had a lot of extra energy, they just pull something out of the jar, and they're like, Okay, you're going to jump up and down for two minutes go, or you're going to do 20 Jumping jacks, some kids do need to burn energy. And for those kids, maybe you do more, but find what works for you in the kids that you have in your family. And there's a lot of different ways that can look.

DJ Stutz  21:01  
I actually did that in my kindergarten class. My kids, I mean, it'd be like, okay, Susie come you pick out of the jar, and they get all excited about what's going to be there are we'd have activities connected to like, walk like a brontosaurus

Unknown Speaker  21:18  
fly like a pterodactyl. You know, whatever it

DJ Stutz  21:22  
was that we were studying, we'd get some activities that went with that. And you could do this at home. There's nothing stopping you from doing this at home. But you can buy giant dice things? Or yeah, yeah, that I mean, my there were probably two or three inches on each pool and Lakeshore learning, not just for teachers, but then it's a bit expensive, I'll tell you that. And then I would like us, you know, you can get those sticky notes. But they have sticky all over the note, not just at the top. And so I would put that on each side. And then I'd have an activity that was connected to our learning theme at that time. And so then before they would go from circle time to the table, someone would get to roll the dice. And then that told them how they were going to move as they went to their table to do whatever work they had there. But you could do that, even with cleaning up your bedroom, roll the die. So you're going to clean it up like a puppy dog. Well, what does that mean? Are you going to put their clothes in your mouth and get them in the dirty clothes and but making it fun. That also gets them engaged in whatever the family is doing? Right? Oh, we're going to eat dinner today, like

Unknown Speaker  22:35  
Tyrannosaurus Rex.

DJ Stutz  22:37  
And maybe they'll eat a little more than they would have otherwise, or whatever. So there's just so many fun, fun, fun things that you can do.

Pam Luk  22:47  
And I will say that this is the best thing about living in the age of the internet is you don't have to start from scratch, somebody's already figured it out and probably has been willing to share, you just need to get on the Google for a minute. And you can come up with four or five. And it doesn't have to be a ton of things, right? Put four or five things in your drawer of fun things you can do to have movement time, or outside time or wherever it is. And I think it would be great, but I get too far, my

DJ Stutz  23:09  
friends seriously. I have said this many, many times, but nothing's gonna work every time with every kid.

Pam Luk  23:20  
Yeah, and what you're saying also then applies like to picking out activities to put in the jar, what are you think would be for fun activities that we can do that we can write down that we could do together? And so they're picking, again, letting them lead? Be involved? And sort of, you're gonna be surprised, I think by sort of what you see and what they come up with, it's gonna be interesting. You know,

DJ Stutz  23:46  
but if that's and they're willing to do it, I mean, then then we'll see if we like it. And then if we do like it, we can put it in the rest of it, you know. And so now they're able to be part of that and making those decisions. And I think that TV shows and things like that are getting better at having kids of all different sizes. And that goes along with racial backgrounds and all of that, but that that they're getting better at including kids who are not exactly in that. So you just want to make sure, I think that you're there to help them feel comfortable with who they are today.

Pam Luk  24:25  
Yeah. And I do think you're absolutely right, because I think it there's so much more to you as a person than what your body size and shape are. And I think it's really important to make sure that kids are hopefully understanding that. And I do think at the same time, there's going to be moments where it's tough, and it's okay to have those tough days because I think I do want to make sure that adults know, you're going to have tough days to even if you've come a long way with sort of accepting your body and being more comfortable with who you are and how you move through this world. You're still going to have good day These are bad days, and so is your kid. Yeah. And part of it is just like how do you navigate those tough days and sort of, you know, it's just like the weather storms come, but they don't stick around forever. So it's trying to find these other things that help build confidence in who you are and in your body and learning to navigate the days with it are tough. And that's I think, true for all things with kids, right? There's always going to be these tough moments, maybe you don't get the part you wanted in the play, or whatever the case, you didn't get invited to a birthday party, or you didn't make Varsity or whatever it's going to be, you know what I mean, I think it's learning to navigate, sort of those ups and downs, and just knowing that you're human, and you have good days and bad days, and everyone does.

DJ Stutz  25:43  
And I think it's also good from the time they're very young, to help them understand your body is going to be changing for the rest of your life. And so you're going to go through growing spurts, and that's going to change your body. And you've got puberty, yep, there goes by helping them realize that you know, puberty hits, your body is going to do some changes as you go into your 20s, your body's going to do some changes, little girls, if you have babies, big changes and a metabolism that was working really well, when you were five, six, and maybe even 1718 may not work so well. 10 years down the road. And so it's okay, your body is going to be making all of these changes all through life. And trust me, when your grandma your body changing.

Pam Luk  26:40  
Been there done that? Yes, it does. Yeah, it does.

DJ Stutz  26:44  
And so I think if we prepare our kids, even from a really young age, to understand that bodies change all the time. And that's okay, that's just part of being a human being.

Pam Luk  26:58  
Yeah. And then just those things will start to feel less dramatic, right, you'll be like, okay, my body's gotten a little bigger. And that's how it is. And maybe it's gonna get to your point, when you get to the other side of puberty, it's going to change. And you may think if any of us go back and look at pictures of ourselves at around 1415, you can see what your face looks like for those early years of puberty. So yeah, yeah, I think I think that's super key to sort of an end not only for kids, but I think a lot of adults need to hear that as well.

DJ Stutz  27:24  
Yeah, for sure. Yeah.

Pam Luk  27:27  
Yeah. And my other hope is, by keeping kids in bigger bodies engaged with sports, I think you also just start to shift this sort of narrative and perspective around what people think people and bigger bodies can do. I mean, I think you're gonna see, this kid's going to all the same basketball practices as me this kid's going in playing the same games as me. And they're showing up and they're working hard. And oh, by the way, their body hasn't really gotten all that much smaller. And oh, by the way, they're still very good at what they do. And so having these kids out there and engaged with other kids, I think is also just going to change sort of some of the misconceptions people have about kids and people in bigger bodies for sure.

DJ Stutz  28:06  
Yeah. You know, we were talking just before we started recording, and there's something that's occurred recently, that I think is a huge step backwards. And that is with the American Pediatric Association, or whatever it's

Pam Luk  28:20  
called the American Academy of Pediatrics. I,

DJ Stutz  28:23  
there you go, yeah, whatever it is, pediatric people. And, and now they're talking about gastric bypass for kids. And when I first heard about that, the hair on the back of my neck just stood right up at it, it made me angry. So now we're going to tell them, Oh, you're not the right size. So now we're going to do surgery, that's going to affect you and your ability to process food in your body for the rest of your life, by the way, because you're a kid and you don't fit into whatever standard that they've come up with, that they want to have out there. And that just scares the living daylights out of me.

Pam Luk  29:09  
Yeah, I do think they missed the mark. And I think there's a lot of people that are starting to really write some really important pieces. But I also think, you know, a lot of people have an immediate reaction where they're like, but these kids are unhealthy. And we need to do something. And it's getting to be excessive. And I am asking folks to just sort of take a pause. And I think what I really want folks to think about is going back to what I said before, weight is complex, and body size is complex, and an over focus on one metric of weight and particularly something tied to the BMI which is tremendously problematic isn't a solution. And I think we can all agree that kids having more physical activity and body movement is important. And I think we're all behind it. And I think we all support healthy foods for kids and I think you know, but without restriction And so there's a lot of factors that go into that, we need to talk about socio economic impact of the kinds of foods we're able to afford and eat, we need to talk about the fact that there's been a study done around Park sizes and in lower income neighborhoods, and people have colored neighborhoods, the parks are smaller and more crowded. So in terms of access to open space and places for your kids to play, there's disparity. You know, when you talk about kids getting bigger, particularly over the last two years of a global pandemic? Yeah, schools shut down. Yeah. And athletic programs shut down, and rec programs shut down. And kids are screaming,

DJ Stutz  30:41  
this, I thought was just ridiculous, because we've got kids that are a little bigger than normal. But look, what they've all gone through the past two, three years, it's ridiculous.

Pam Luk  30:52  
And so we've got, you know, an increase in mental health challenges. And then with these guidelines, I think it's got the potential to do more harm than good, it's going to do more damage. So I feel like I want people to really be really thoughtful about how they're reacting. And particularly, I think one of the things that I want people to really think about is we seem to have lost our ability to show compassion, and particularly the kinds of comments that people are making about kids, the people that make comments about fat people, or people in bigger bodies, we've sort of just lost our compassion. And I think particularly when you're talking about children, take a moment and think about what it is that you're saying, even if it's not directed to a child, if it's about a child, I think you need to take a moment, really, and remember that this is a kid. Yeah. And the kinds of comments that you're making, and the kinds of things that you're saying are appropriate for kids, I think I'd like us all to just take a breath, and maybe be a little bit more aware of the kinds of words that we use, particularly when it comes to kids.

DJ Stutz  31:53  
Yeah, because maybe that child might not be around. But another child who is not dealing with weight issues may hear, and then that turns their attitude about Oh, someone so isn't good, because they're fat, or I don't want that person on my team. Because they're not going to be able to play because they're too big. It's interesting that in all my years of teaching, some years, I've had my act well, probably more most years, I've had kids who like they were fine. If you could catch a ball, you're my friend, I don't care what color I don't care what gender I don't care how tall or how short you are, you know what I mean? If you catch a ball, you're my friend, especially with the boys, right? But then I've had other years where there's something going on, someone comes in main girl syndrome is a real thing, people, I'm telling you now, and it's there in kindergarten. And I've seen it, I've watched it, and I've worked with other teachers to make sure that that isn't something that goes on in our classrooms. But if you get the right child in there, and that is little Molly, social organizer, and everyone thinks she's the cool one, and then she starts talking negatively about another child and their weight, other kids will jump on that bandwagon. And it's a hard thing to manage. It's a lot of classroom meetings with the class and talking about things. And so we really want to be careful on the attitudes that we're putting out there. Because whether you think they're listening or not, I'm telling you now, they're listening. And so whether they are a child with a bigger size, or a child that is not but now is going to have an attitude of that I can remember being a kid and being afraid of fat people. I mean, I was afraid of them as a little kid and but yeah, get again, you know, you're looking at growing up in LA with all the models in the studio people that came to our church, and they all looked so perfect and good and nice. And they were good people I'm not saying they weren't. But I just remember thinking that was scary to me for whatever reason.

Pam Luk  34:14  
Well, and I think you'll find they're starting to do research around weight stigma and anti fat bias and the age at which it actually starts and kids as young as three Yeah, will identify the fat character as the main character and I think a lot of that comes from thinking about how people in bigger bodies have been portrayed in books and television. cartooning, I read right I read an interesting stat I have to find that a computer AI program can tell whether or not a Disney female character is good or bad you know good or evil or a princess or not a princess just based on their waist hip ratio. Wow yeah you look at all the evils right the Ursula is the see witches of the world and yeah, as a kid. I want all the bigger bodied characters are mean and villains and scary. being loud and all those things, then you're already starting to form these ideas about bodies. And the data is showing as young as three. Yeah. Dabo.

DJ Stutz  35:11  
And so it's something to really pay attention to. And then to make sure that companies like you, what you're doing is just awesome for kids who can fit into things and feel pretty and feel athletic, and feel strong about themselves. I just think that that kind of work is just so important. And I love that it's athletic wear.

Pam Luk  35:38  
Yeah. And that was a conscious choice, by the way to start with clothing that kids can move in. Because I think the idea around who gets to use the term athletic wear and who gets to be athletic is something that I really want to challenge. Yeah, because I think I've seen so many adult athletes, and even if you just want to, I'm not saying we're gonna all go out and be professional athletes, that is not what we're talking about. But there are ton of adults that still love to play in the rec league, they play softball, or they play basketball. And you know, if that's available to you, as an adult, it should still be available to you as a kid. Because when you cut these kids off from that, than they don't get to do the things they love. And so it was a really important choice that I made to focus on athletic wear, because everybody needs to be moving their bodies. And if you want kids moving their bodies, you have to make one that fits. That's it.

DJ Stutz  36:23  
Yes, yeah. Yeah, I am. So there. And so if any of our listeners want to hear more about your clothing line, and to get more information on that, where would they go,

Pam Luk  36:38  
the best thing to do is to head over to Ember and, you can sign up for the newsletter. And that's where we're going to be announcing when we have inventory ready for new product launches, all that good stuff. And then you can also there's a link to follow us on Instagram. That's my main social media account. Okay. And again, I'll be sharing things that are coming up, I'll be looking for folks to talk about what are we going to do next? Like what do you need to see what's important for you and for your family. So I would say that's the best thing to do. subscribe to the newsletter, and give us a follow on Instagram.

DJ Stutz  37:07  
Now, tell me how we are spelling and Bearnaise.

Pam Luk  37:10  
It's Ember, E, M, B, E are the word and Ace, AC E. And that's actually a play on the word embrace when I was coming up with a name for the company, yeah, the idea that you have to embrace yourself and where you are in the body that you've got, and also have the idea of sort of embracing these kids. Yeah, so that's where it came from.

DJ Stutz  37:31  
I love it, that is so awesome. And it doesn't even necessarily have to be your child. Think about birthday parties that you're going to or Christmas gifts for nieces and nephews or whatever, that there's so many opportunities to help a child feel right in there and a part of things. And so I love that. So Pam, before we go, I always ask my guests the same question. And so I'm going to ask that of you now. And it is how would you describe a successful parent?

Pam Luk  38:05  
I'm gonna say the first thing that came to my mind, and that's parent, the kid that you have, you have to parent the kid you have not maybe the kid that you wanted. Not maybe you I mean, that's a whole nother topic is parenting yourself and some of the things that you maybe you needed to sort out from when you were little but true. Who is your kid? And what do they love? And I think the more that we can all sort of really embrace the kid that we have, and show up for that kid, I think is really where a lot of it starts.

DJ Stutz  38:35  
Yeah, I totally agree with you. Yeah, you are so right on, parent, that kid you have such good advice.

Pam Luk  38:43  
Trying to live it myself to be do.

It's true. It's true. I know. It can be hard, but anything worthwhile

DJ Stutz  38:53  
is hard. Truth. We do hard things. That's our mantra. Yes, ma'am. All right, well take it easy. I'm so glad you chose to spend this time with us. And please keep going on what you're doing and, and keep me up to date on how things are moving along. And, you know, I'd love to spread the word more about this great work that you've got going on. It's wonderful. Thanks so much. I appreciate that. 

All right, we'll talk to you later. Now, be sure to check the show notes where I have the link to check out her inaugural line of athletic wear for kids. And then hit the Follow button to make sure you're getting in on the amazing episodes that we have each week. And if you like what you heard on today's podcast, be sure to rate and review and tell a friend. let other people know about us. And if you do this, I am going to have a special gift for you. I'm going to send you a digital copy of my new book living in kindness, the journey, the journal and the workbook. This is going to help guide you through five different areas of kindness and make those a part of your life and your family traditions on the website of the podcast, Just click on reviews at the top, and then you're going to click on leave a review. And it's that easy. 

Are you making plans for this summer? Believe it or not, it's about that time. And I'm here to help you. So I have my Guide to a Strategic Summer that is available now, again, for free, all this free stuff. Here, I help you think about and create goals for yourself and your kids, along with some milepost that you can check along the way to see that you're making progress. And I also have a calendar for June, July and August with a theme for every day to help you out just in case you're struggling with coming up with some ideas. And I know that you're jumping up and down, excited to find out how do I get this amazing resource while you just go to the website, Or just click on the show notes. And there's a direct link there. So get going. 

And it's hard to believe but next week is my 100th episode. And what a journey it has been. I am going to be looking back at some of the amazing responses that I've gotten from my guests to the question, How would you describe a successful parent? So it's going to be fun looking back on those amazing answers and it might inspire you and remind you have some of the things that you've heard. So join me next week for an amazing episode and a huge milestone for me. And until next time, let's find joy in parenting.

Transcribed by

Pamela LukProfile Photo

Pamela Luk


Pam Luk is the founder of Ember & Ace, an athletic wear brand for plus size kids. Growing up playing sports, Pam learned firsthand the importance of finding active wear that fits. Not finding it is one of the main reasons kids quit sports. The first, Ember & Ace five-piece collection will be available online in early 2023.