Media using its power for good: Anchor stands up to her bully on live tv

Hi Double Chinners –

Have you all heard about Jennifer Livingston, the Wisconsin based news anchor who stood up to her bully on live TV? A man sent her an e-mail chiding her for being a bad role model, especially for young girls, for not “paying attention” to her health over the years and choosing to be an obese role model. I encourage you to watch her reply to this man below.

I can’t remember the last time I was so proud of the media for going against the norm and adding some PERSONALITY to the news. The media should use its power for good more often – in this woman’s case, reminding the public that nobody needs to back down in the face of a bully, and that we need to teach our children kindness and compassion. One more note – do you think that male anchors receive notes, e-mails and comments like this about their body size? Sure they do – but not nearly as much as females. Fat shaming needs to end, and in its place we can add in helpful and relevant information about healthy living like activity and diet. Kudos to Jennifer for standing up to her bully and for showing the world that while being female unfortunately means being critiqued on every single fiber of your being, you don’t have to fall victim to the harmful words others so casually throw about.

What do you think of Jennifer’s story? Do you think she’s “advocating for obesity” simply by being an overweight news anchor?

FitBloggin’ Recaps Day Two – Joyful Shimmy, Janet Ober, Hank Hannah and Jack Fit

The Gang's all here! FitBloggin 2012!

Hello everybody! I am home from Baltimore and slowly getting back into the routine. First things first – I’m lucky to be able to travel as much as I do, but MAN, do I miss cooking when I’m on the road! I just made a delicccccious wheat pasta with a charred broccoli and onion sauce, mixed with lean bacon bits and small mozarella pearls. Super tasty, fairly light (if I keep the serving right!) and homemade. Best of all, I managed to scrape that together before going to the grocery store. Whew!

Laura from Joyful Shimmy learned to love her body by getting naked!

Friday night at FitBloggin’, we had an ignite fitness keynote session. What this meant was instead of the usual boring 1 hour keynote, there was 15 speakers, each broken up into 5 minutes with 15 slides. It was fun, fast-paced and kept us entertained – especially with stories like those from Laura, of Joyful Shimmy, a recovered bulimic who learned to love her body through burlesque! I loved Laura because she was actually the first blogger I met while decorating my badge, and she was friendly, approachable and funny – a perfect introduction to my first fitbloggin’ ever.

Image from Click to read her story and buy her book.

There were also really moving stories, like Janet’s. Janet was hit by 5 semi trucks at a time – leaving her leg mangled and nearly destroyed. Despite crippling depression and the serious physical trauma, Janet overcame her struggle and now runs marathons. Her speech was EXACTLY what I wanted to get from FitBloggin’. I’m always the mayor of excuses village, and if Janet can overcome nearly losing her leg, suffering major depression… and then continue to run MARATHONS, I can lose this weight. Excuses are not valid. Janet is a powerful speaker, and her words shook me to the core – not with fear or pressure, but with complete inspiration and validation that if you work hard enough, anything is possible. (Except finding a comfortable bra. I have decided that is impossible.)



Hank was sick of being the fat guy - so he took charge and shed over 100 pounds.

There were also light and humorous presentations, like Hank’s, from the Business of Losing Weight. Hank has lost over 100 pounds, and to illustrate his points, he did each of his slides in paint. Check out this awesome artwork  – a valiant effort, right?! I don’t think I could do that in Paint!




Jack's No Flack Jump the Track Creative Smack Attack

One of the show stealers of the night was definitely (and not surprisingly) Jack Sh*t. Jack Sh*t is well known in the weight loss blogging community for his offbeat and hilarious blogging style. Jack put together a funny and random slide show with things like slides of iced tea, and things that spark his creativity… including Mentos. Towards the end of his presentation, he magically procured a 2-liter bottle of coke from behind the podium, and dumped in two mentos. It was awesome, and was like the Ozzy-Osbourne bat-eating event of FitBloggin’. I raise my hat to you, mr. gettin’ fit.

There were so many other amazing speakers this weekend, but if I keep going, my jet-lagged body will never have time to sleep! Stay tuned tomorrow to find out about my Twitter Community live blog, and also, which fantastic fitbloggin’ folks I met and chatted with.


Lucia’s Weight Loss Success Story – a Memoir of a Former Tubby Tabby

Rest in peace, Bailey - sweet ole girl!

I’ve never been a cat person. I grew up with a steady stream of reliable labradors and golden retrievers (and one random pug/daschund mix), but cats weren’t really a part of my world other than the quiet, shadowy felines that stalked our suburb at dusk. I had nothing against cats, but in a household ruled by dogs, they just weren’t a part of my world. While I’m allergic to everything under the sun, surprisingly I am not allergic to dogs and cats. As an animal lover, this is a very good thing.

Gumbo, the evil baby turtle.

When I moved in with my boyfriend (now husband), I was yearning for a pet. I wanted an animal that I could snuggle and harass, and our brief trial run with red-eared sliders was a snappy, messy failure. We bought these two tiny turtles from downtown LA, and were briefly enchanted with Gilligan and Gumbo, buying them a heating lamp and turtle pellets and all sorts of useless turtle accoutrements. Our weekends were consumed with trying to clean the 50-gallon aquarium, scrubbing algae off of artificial rocks, and as the turtles grew older and hissed more often… I learned that aquatic creatures were just not for me.

Lucia on the first day we got her. Bliss!

I began stalking Craigslist, my heart set on a gray female tabby with stripes and polka dots, with blue eyes and a little pink nose. I don’t know why I wanted a gray tabby, but I just did. In my mind, that was the quintessential “cat” – a perfect starter kitty for a lifelong dog lover like me. I eventually found her in Long Beach for $20, where she had been rescued from a 7-11 dumpster by a kind college student. When we picked her up, she ran out the front door towards us – and we were shocked at her size. She was the size of a fat hamster- absolutely tiny- barely weighing more than a baked potato. I picked her up, smooshed her squishy, soft little face between mine, and fell in love.

Lucia loves the lazy life

As Lucia grew up, her tendency to overeat and wait impatiently between meal times made me realize how alike we were. We both loved the lazy life, lounging around on weekends on the couch, getting our heads scratched, and laying in the sun. We both had squishy, soft tummies – hers more like a hula skirt that gently brushed the floor as she walked. At her yearly vet appointment, Lucia weighed in at 13.4 pounds. The doctor advised that we should “lay off the groceries”, and in my head, I justified my fluffy feline – she was just big-boned, after all. I was embarrassed that my kitty soul mate was also plagued with fatness, but in a way, we were kindred spirits. While she was never obese or in danger because of her weight, she had some extra chunk, enough that occasionally, visitors would remark on our “tubby tabby”. Concerned, we switched the cats to “Maintenance Cat” food, plastered with funny pictures of huge, hefty cats lounging on spilled sacks of grain.

"I'm not fat!"

At our last vet appointment, I asked with concern in my voice if she was overweight. The doctor pulled on her skin, pinching gently at the soft heap of skin on her belly. “No, actually.” he said. “She’s in perfect shape. She’s just a big cat.” Lucia weighed in that day at 12.4 pounds, a whopping one pound loss, which is huge for species that on average, weighs slightly more than a sack of potatoes. Victory was mine! Tubby tabby no more! Our efforts for Lucia’s slim-down had paid off! It was at that moment that I realized that all changes, no matter how small, eventually make a difference. Lucia’s lifestyle hadn’t changed dramatically, but a simple switch to her food helped make her a former flabby-tabby. Lucia’s weight loss helps to inspire me, because while one less order of french fries seems like a very, very small thing in the grand scheme of weight loss, I know that every little bit helps; and if my tubby tabby can lose weight, so can I.

A Fat Cat’s Fate: RIP Meow

Meow was a 39-pound cat forfeited at a shelter when his 87-year-old owner was no longer able to care for him. Meow was originally ridiculed when the media stumbled upon him, as one of his favorite foods was hot dogs and he often got stuck inside of things due to his size. Some of us look at this picture and think, “Aw! How cute!”. That’s fine. But the reality is, Meow died a sad and early death because his lungs failed due to the increased pressure on his vital organs from an overflow of fat.

Image from - click to read the full story.

These are the types of things that remind me why I need to get healthy. It’s not just because of Meow, the fat cat, that I’m reminded what obesity can do to my body and organs. It’s because I had an allergy appointment this week and my blood pressure was high – a reminder that constant, chronic stress and obesity almost double my chances for heart disease. It’s because every now and then I get a dull ache in my right ankle – remnants of Plantar Fascia, a type of heel pain I had when I was 15 pounds heavier. It’s because I’m already severely allergic to environmental pollens, and if I gain more weight, the strain on my sinuses would get even worse. It’s also because I want to be a mother one day, and at my current weight, I’d be high-risk for gestational diabetes. I don’t want this post to be a downer, but Meow was a good wake up call for me this week.

We may laugh about a grossly obese cat or the morbidly obese women in bikinis on birthday cards, but it’s no laughing matter. Even though the tagline of this blog started out as “Because fat is funny and food is fun”, death because of obesity is clearly not funny. I’m not laughing about Meow’s death, and I hope you’re not either, because even though his situation was awkwardly uncomfortable and could prompt a few giggles, he’s gone now because somebody didn’t hold up their end of the pet-caretaker bargain. Had he been fed a suitable diet, he’d be alive and snuggling in somebody’s lap today. And when I think about why I want to lose weight, it’s not about wearing cute turquoise jeans or buying a size large. It’s about feeling the sunshine on my face well into my 70s, baking cookies for my grandchildren, and earning the privilege to become a cranky old lady. So tonight, I thank Meow for a painful but necessary prompt to remind me why I need to lose weight. Weight loss isn’t something I can do when I have “time” or when things calm down. I need to do it now, because I will ALWAYS have excuses, but I may not always have my health.

Rest in peace, Meow.

Weigh more, pay more. What makes you too fat to fly?

Flying, while a miraculous and very useful invention, kind of sucks. It sucks because the cabin of the plane perpetually smells like stale body odor and farts, you always get stuck next to the crying baby, and now they even charge you money to check a bag. Don’t even get me started on the sassy flight attendants, the chalky peanuts or the airlines that charge you for a can of soda! Flying is uncomfortable because the usual rituals of “personal space” that we abide by every day are grossly broken. Whether it’s somebody’s knee pressing against your back, a toddler kicking your seat, or a fat person sitting next to you, it’s not comfortable to fly, no matter what your size. (If you always fly first class, please stop reading here: The cattle call of coach doesn’t apply to you, kthxbai.)

My friend Kenlie, at All The Weigh, is suing Southwest Airlines after being publicly humiliated after being told by gate agents that she’d need two seats to fly. The problem in this is that she flew with them several times before, never needing to purchase a second seat and fitting just fine. Kenlie said in a recent blog post, “The problem I have with Southwest is not that they may want me to purchase two seats. It’s that sometimes they want that, and other times they don’t. I don’t know about you, but I fly a lot. And paying double because a gate agent may or may not have something against overweight people is not realistic…nor should it be necessary.” By the way, did I mention she’s lost over 100 pounds? So I’m pretty sure this isn’t a “fat acceptance” law suit, if that’s what you’re thinking. Oh, and this happened to Kevin Smith, awhile ago too.

I’m obese, but I still fit into an airplane seat. I’ve never needed a seat belt extension, but not a single flight goes by that I don’t scuttle through the aisle, hoping my seatmate isn’t looking up at me and thinking, “Oh great, I’m sitting next to the fat person.” Airplane seats are not generous. At 17″ across, they’re small. I’m not small. The vast majority of Americans are not small. But if I fit in that seat, and the belt buckles, and the arm rest goes down, I’m not paying for an extra seat. I can’t even imagine how Kenlie felt the day that the gate agent publicly denounced her size, rudely. Weight, like illness, dandruff, bad breath, panty lines, break ups and layoffs, should be discussed privately and tactfully. How would you react if a gate agent said to you in front of a line full of people, “Well, look at you. Obviously you need two seats.” ?

This is obviously a controversial issue, and I see many sides to it. On one hand, sure, why should somebody have to sit next to somebody much larger, if their personal space they paid for is being encroached on? Nobody wants to be pressed up against someone else’s roll of fat. On the other hand, if toddlers and infants fly free, yet can kick seats, drool, scream and jabber on their parent’s laps, isn’t that encroaching in my space? I want to eat my dusty peanuts in peace, damnit. How about the guy whose 6’5 and whose legs press up against my seat? Better yet, how about that asshole we’ve all sat behind who ALWAYS leans his chair all the way back within the first five minutes of take off? And oh, don’t forget about the classic in-flight drunk. He’s five vodka tonics in and we’ve all heard about his ex-girlfriend and that one time in Cabo before the “fasten seatbelt” sign is turned off.

Here’s my opinion, and yes, it’s biased because I’m fat. If obese people are required to purchase larger seats or double seats because they clearly do not safely fit, that’s fine, fair and logical. But along with that, let’s make a standard of purchase for other “special” types of passengers as well. I want babies and kids in a sound and smell proof chamber. I want people who don’t believe in deodorant in the back, with the air vents on full blast. I want the drunks anywhere but the emergency exit aisle, preferably next to the emo kids with headphones on, and they can pay a little more for those extra four inches of leg room. And while we’re at it, I expect a $3 refund from the airline if my inflight magazine’s crossword puzzle has already been played. Because you know, that’s part of what I paid for, and if they get to charge me for a glass of water, I get to charge them for having to count the dandruff flakes on the head of the person in front of me. This is all unreasonable, obviously, so it points to the bigger problem. The communication. It is unfair, unjust and unconstitutional to not establish the guidelines of “persons of size” and what or what not constitutes your ability to fit in one seat. If we need to have one of those gate side “You must be this big to ride on this ride…” signs, so be it. Just make it more discreet than a “Well look at you. Obviously you need two seats.”

What are your thoughts on this issue? As more and more Americans become “too fat to fly”, this issue will emerge much more frequently in the media – and it’s sure to get heated. What do you think? Should fat people always have to pay for two seats? Should there be a better, universal standard of measurement? Here’s a deal for you. Next time I fly, I’ll make a little more room in my seat by wearing Spanx. In exchange, you wear deodorant. It’s that simple.

Reality Check

Today, I got a reality check. When I weighed in at the gym three weeks ago, I wasn’t happy about what I saw. Today, I REALLY got a reality check at my first Weight Watchers meeting at work. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I gotta keep it real, because that’s my promise to you, reader. That’s what blog is for. I’ve gained about 9 pounds back out of the 12 I’ve recently lost. Ugh. It sucks. But I can’t sit here and whine and pretend that I don’t know why it happened. It happened because I celebrated the end of my semester with delicious things like Bailey’s Irish Cream, and because I ate gooey brie cheese on top of triscuits at midnight while playing Monopoly. It happened because I took a break from the treadmill in favor of my couch, and because I got so wrapped up in buying gifts and taking finals and traveling and sleeping and this and that, that I forgot about the real goal.

What’s the silver lining? The silver lining is that it’s never too late to start over – and today, I started over. I am committing to you, to this blog, and most importantly, to myself, that next week I will have lost some weight. It doesn’t matter if it’s half of a pound or four, but next week, the scale will be ticking downwards. It has to be. There’s no better time than now – while I have the support of my co-workers as we all battle the bulge together, and while I have the clean slate of a fresh new year

. I’m going to be tracking my points on my iPhone, and working out at least three times a week. I’ll use my little sticker calendar plan to chart my work outs, and I’ll drink more water. I’ll try to avoid snacks as a remedy for stress, and more than ever, I’ll use this blog as an outlet. I have to do this, because I realized with some remorse the other day, that every year, my resolution is the same. To lose weight. Next year, I don’t want the same resolution. I want to do this now, while I’m young and sparky. Several of my more “mature” friends have warned me that it’s a million times better to shed the weight now, so I gotta do it. I must. I can. I will.

What was the last reality check you had about something you’ve been avoiding, ignoring or had just plain forgotten about?