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Celebreight Yourself now has a Youtube channel!

You can also find more of my writing at three great websites: Large in Charge magazine, Fierce, Freethinking Fatties, and More of Me to Love. Links are below.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Men, Part 2

We’re going to get a little more serious today, because love is a serious matter. All of us want it. All of us want our assets to be recognized and appreciated, and to have one special person who can’t live without us. Unfortunately, it’s a lot harder for larger women to get that kind of recognition and appreciation. I remember being in high school and seeing all my friends start connecting with guys, getting boyfriends, and having their first sexual experiences. Like any girl, I wanted the same things, but it didn’t happen. I was so lonely and miserable. I kept thinking, Why not me? What was so horrible, so unacceptable, about me? I actually thought I was pretty cute, despite my chubbiness. Deep inside, though, I knew what was really special about me was that I had so much love, so much warmth, and so much passion to give. It was very painful to be deprived of giving it. Can you imagine offering someone a million dollars and then hear them say, “No thanks!” That’s what it felt like to me.

Looking back, suffering from that “love deprivation” actually benefited me, because it forced me to look deep inside and ask myself what kind of man I wanted. He would have to be someone strong, confident, and unafraid. Someone who didn’t care what other people thought of him. Someone who was definitely different than the average guy. Someone who was not afraid to stand out. It took me a hell of a long time to find him, and in the process my heart got broken numerous times. Then I found out something alarming when I did find him: even though he did have those qualities, and loved me for who I was, he still wasn’t perfect. That illusion we all have, of Prince Charming coming along and making everything right, is such a bogus fairy tale. Men are human beings, just like us, and nobody’s perfect. But that’s a bigger topic for another day.

For now, I’d like to help those of you who are still searching for Mr. Right by going through the “types” I listed yesterday, and advising strategies on how to best deal with them. I hope it helps those of you who are looking for love, especially younger BBWs. If I can save any of you from heartbreak and guide you toward satisfying romance, then my suffering will have been worthwhile! So, let’s go through each one and discuss:

1.  The Momma’s Boy. Not the worst of the lot, but definitely has drawbacks. The Momma’s Boy’s main preoccupation in life is his own comfort and convenience. He won’t deliberately mistreat you, but his needs will always come before yours. Oh, and if you and mom get into a disagreement? Guess whose side he’ll take? Not many of us are willing to live with that kind of imbalance for long. Plus, let’s face it, he is very boring. He’s not interested in much outside the sphere of his own existence, which is generally the radius of the television screen. If you can handle a very sedate, quiet existence, with not much excitement, then the Momma’s Boy may be for you. Otherwise, take a pass.

2.  The User/Player. This guy is pretty irresistible, it’s true! He’s your high school fantasy, the guy you always wanted but could never have. Then you meet him one night at a bar and you think, It’s finally happened. The love of my life! BEWARE!!! It’s sad, but he’s only being nice to you so he can get laid. Afterwards, when you give him your phone number and says he’ll call, and doesn’t … and days and weeks and months go by, and you’re STILL whining about him to your girlfriends … you finally see the light. You got played. General rule: Whenever you meet a hot guy in a bar, don’t expect anything serious. If you are confident enough and horny enough to see it for what it is -- a really great sex opportunity -- and simply enjoy that, then this guy may be for you. (Just make sure you protect yourself with birth control and use a condom in case of diseases.) But not many of us can remove our emotions like that. Women are wired to believe that sex and love are synonymous. Men are totally different. To them, sex is sex, love is love, and they’re perplexed when you don’t get the concept. So if you’re looking for love or a serious relationship, forget it. Buy yourself a vibrator and keep looking for Mr. Forever.

3.   The Fence Sitter. This one is dangerous. Have you ever heard of “passive aggressive” behaviour? It’s when someone does evil things in a low-key way in order to avoid repercussions. That’s this guy. He can seriously damage your self esteem. He may not be maliciously trying to hurt you. He’s just completely unconcerned with your feelings. Guys are just as instinctive as we are about attraction. He KNOWS you’re attracted to him, and he LOVES it. He actually feeds off it, and uses that energy boost he gets from you to go after the skinny girl he really wants. He may be really nice, he may be really smart, and he may be really cute. But the bottom line is, he doesn’t want you. So why give so much to the relationship? Stop fantasizing about the moment he “finally” sees your beauty and says, “I’m so stupid! Please forgive me!” It’s not going to happen. Focus on finding a guy who DOES see your beauty, and if you go to a movie with Mr. Fence Sitter and he puts a “friendly” arm around you? Pretend he’s your dad.

4.  The Online Creep. Dating has taken quite a technological turn these days. People are hooking up on the internet left and right. It’s so easy. All you have to do is point and click, and you’re flirting. But the majority of these guys are total flakes, if not outright perverts. Whenever a guy emails you or IMs you and asks you about your body, or for you to send pictures of yourself, make a beeline for the “X” button. This guy is probably a Momma’s Boy sitting at his computer in his underwear, hasn’t showered, hasn’t shaved, and is looking for a little fantasy time in which to pleasure himself – after which, he will probably relax before bed with a little SuperMario or Call of Duty. Even worse, he is actually looking to hook up with you – and about a dozen others. AVOID AVOID AVOID!!!! You might even want to sterilize your keyboard.

5.  The Asshole. I don’t need to say much here, do I? If I do, then you’re a really good candidate for counseling. Please don’t succumb to Mr. Anti-Love. He won’t change, and he doesn’t give a shit about your feelings. If you want to torture yourself, a Fence Sitter would be better than this, as it’s possible to recover from the emotional ravages of a Fence Sitter. This guy might damage you for life. I know his fuck-the-world attitude is strangely attractive, but if that appeals to you, then just have him as a friend. Lord-God, do NOT sleep with him! If you do, then I hate to say it, but you deserve exactly what you get for not looking out for yourself.

6.  The Poser. This guy is another serious menace. The Poser and The Fence Sitter are the two most emotionally damaging types. (The Asshole is such a no-brainer I don’t even consider him damaging – he’s more like a self-inflicted gunshot wound.)  The Poser is especially offensive because he DOES see your beauty, and he loves it. But he’s a COWARD, which is about one of the worst things a man can be, in my opinion. Men are supposed to be strong, right? I’m not talking about physical strength (although that’s very nice), but emotional strength. They’re supposed to know who they are and what they want. This guy knows what he wants, but he’s ashamed of it. He is also passive-aggressive, because he gets what he wants by being deceptive. He tells you he loves you, and he tells his peers he doesn’t. Which is it? It isn’t love, because if he loved you, he wouldn’t betray you like that. AVOID AVOID AVOID!!!!!! I know this guy is tempting because of his sexual enthusiasm for you, which would be great if it was consistent. It isn’t, so move on. You deserve so much better.

7.  The Genuinely Decent Guy. Ah, the GDG. We love him. He is the absolute best. He’s kind to you, he’s sweet, he takes you places and he’s not afraid to be seen with you. He rocks. The only problem is, he’s human. He has faults, just like we do. Sometimes, he’s not always as attentive as you want him to be, because he has his own life going on. And when he commits the slightest transgression, you consider it the ultimate sin. So you punish him with your indifference, which leads to major arguments, possible breakups, and tearful reconciliations. Saddest of all, his love is so reassuring that you start to take it for granted, and test him with ridiculous little dramas. Ladies, cut the guy some slack. He cannot be EVERYTHING you want him to be. Are you perfect? Of course not, nobody is! So why would you expect him to be? If he treats you nice and genuinely loves you, count your lucky stars. This guy is one of a kind. Don’t risk losing him because of your insecurities. If you have needs that aren’t being met, discuss them with him. At least you know he’ll listen.

8.  The Perfect Guy. Goodbye, Prince Charming, we know you don’t exist. You’re just as fake as an airbrushed supermodel. We have been so thoroughly brainwashed by the possibility of your existence. Take a hike!

I hope this has been helpful, ladies. I know it’s hard to find a good guy. But don’t give up. Believe me, he is out there. You just need to find him. It’s like that famous quote about Michelangelo finding the sculpture within the stone. You have to chip away at the stone (the mass of men out there) to find the work of art within (him). Trust your instincts, and don’t compromise.

Most importantly, don’t put your life on hold until you find him. Do what interests you, develop yourself, have fun. Become the person you’ve always wanted to be. What kind of man do you want? Someone self-assured, sexy, kind, and smart, right? Men want the same things in a woman. If you are not afraid to show your true self, he will see it in you and fall head over heels.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Men, Part 1

Ah, men … one of my favourite topics! They are an endless source of discussion and analysis. For us larger women in particular, they are a Rubik’s Cube of questionable motives and puzzling behaviour. This is not to say that there aren’t some truly great guys out there. I’m not man-bashing, and I truly love men, probably way too much for my own good. (Please don't be offended, guys! You know we love you. I'm just having some fun here, but I'm also pointing out some genuine insights.)

I’m not saying I’m the ultimate authority on men, either. However, in my 46 years on this planet, I’ve been around the block a few times, and I think I’m well qualified to share my anthropological insights. I have devised a list of general “archetypes” that those of us of the heterosexual persuasion come across in our search for true love. I suppose this list is just as applicable to all women, not just us full-figured gals. But these are the types of men who I think we are most susceptible to, and who have been the most prevalent in my search for true love. Recommendations will follow in Part 2.

1.  The Momma’s Boy. Pretty self-explanatory. Has a tendency to sit around and watch TV a lot, and expects you to dote on him just like his mother did. He thinks the world of himself, and so does his mom. Not a very sharp dresser; his hygiene can be alarming. Once he has “won” you, his sexual interest wanes and your primary appeal is your housekeeping abilities.

2.  The User/Player.  Definitely the most alluring archetype. Usually extremely sexy and good-looking. Exudes a wild, exciting vibe that is extremely attractive. Sex with him is usually incredible. He can also be surprisingly well-spoken, and says everything you need him to. But don’t be fooled. It’s not about you, it’s all about him, and you are just one of his many conquests. He can be married or have a girlfriend, but more often than not, he’s a perennially single guy who just loves getting it on, with anyone and everyone. He claims to have “standards”, but if  he hasn’t picked anyone up by last call, you can bet he’ll take what he can get.

3.  The Fence Sitter.  Probably the most maddening of all the archetypes, because he constantly has you guessing. Does he want me, or doesn’t he? You can engage in the most intimate conversations with him and share the most meaningful moments together, yet as far as sex goes you might as well be a nun. After months of this puzzlingly unsatisfying interaction, you work up the courage to ask him point blank if he’s interested in you, to which he claims he cares for you, but “doesn’t feel that way about you”. Makes you cry a lot.

4.  The Online Creep.  Just plain nasty. Ranges in age from 20-something to 50+. When you’re on Facebook, sends you instant messages and asks you about your body. Asks for you to send him pictures as well. Conversation gets sexual after hello. Very often, characteristics of the User/Player archetype blended here.

5.  The Asshole.  Abrasive, arrogant, abusive. It's all about him, period. If you don't like it, you know what you can do. When you first meet him, usually masquerades as one of the other archetypes, but occasionally is so toxic doesn't even bother to hide his true self. He knows there is a certain type of woman who is drawn to him anyway and who will put up with his crap no matter what. Ironically, very often he is quite physically attractive, although his personality is completely repulsive. What a waste.

6.  The Poser.  Claims to care about you and has sex with you but will not go public with his feelings for you. Avoids physical contact in public. When put on the spot by friends, denies any intimate relationship. Then expects you to forgive him and have more sex with him.

7.  The Genuinely Decent Guy.  May not be the most attractive or exciting guy you’ll ever meet, but he is sweet, kind, and has a conscience. Usually very intelligent and well-educated. Occasionally exhibits facets of the Momma’s Boy archetype, but thankfully not often enough to cause real problems. You enjoy his company, but there is something missing in your relationship with him that drives you crazy. You enjoy the security and stability of being with him, yet you also crave the excitement of the User/Player archetype, and this often creates a great deal of conflict between you. You break up and get back together frequently.     

8.  The Perfect Guy. Has everything we want: Great looks. Sexy. Smart. Moral. Financially stable. Mentally stable. No addictions. He’ll take care of you and ask nothing in return except for your love. Forget it: HE DOESN’T EXIST.

Please bear in mind that men are human beings just like us and have multi-faceted personalities. They can often exhibit traits from several different archetypes all at once, but generally revert to one of the major types.

Coming up next: Men, Part 2 – in which I submit my recommendations for each archetype.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Present Moment

How much time have you spent either thinking about the past, or planning for the future? Most of us spend our lives immersed in one or the other, some of us flip back and forth … but how many of us actually live IN the present moment?

I have to admit, living in the present moment is a concept that was totally alien to me until I read Eckhart Tolle’s amazing book, “The Power of Now”. Either I spent so much time ruminating about the past – wondering WHAT I could have done to make a situation turn out the way I wanted, wondering WHY it didn’t work out the way I wanted, and remembering how awful it felt WHEN it didn’t work out the way I wanted. Or, I would focus on the future. I would think things like: When I lose weight, my life will be the way I want it to be. Or, When I meet the right guy, I will finally be happy and get the love I want. I would spend my time fixated on how to make those things happen, always chasing the finish line, usually before I even crossed it.

Living in the past or the future is impossible, because neither is a reality. The past is already gone. Whatever happened there is done and cannot be changed. The future is just as unreal, because it hasn’t arrived yet. Doesn’t it make sense to live in the present, when you actually have awareness and control over your life? (Control in the sense that you have control over your PERCEPTION of the moment. We can't always control WHAT happens to us, but we have total control over how we RESPOND to what happens to us.)

It is definitely an acquired skill, living in the present. Usually, we convince ourselves that the present isn’t where we want to be. We’re not satisfied with the way things are. We want to lose weight, be with the right partner, have the right job, live in our perfect dream house. But if we would just take the time to quiet our minds, and breathe, and appreciate … our perspective changes. You can only live fully when you live in the present. You start to realize that every moment in your life has led you to where you are RIGHT NOW.  As one of my favourite teachers, Dr. David Viscott once said, You are the sum total of everything that has happened in your life, up to this moment. Appreciate it. Breathe it in. Don’t push it out the door to hurry it along. LIVE it.

When you start divvying up your attention to the past or the future, you are literally “not there”. You cannot give your full attention to possible graces and opportunities in your life until you can fully recognize them. And you cannot fully recognize them unless you are fully present, in the present moment.

One of my favourite ways to experience the present moment is to go walking in my favourite park. Weather permitting, I go walking there every day, and when I’m there, amid all the nature and solitude, I try to feel and notice everything. The birds, the squirrels, and the flowers aren’t preoccupied with the past or the future. Animals are blessed without a subconscious mind to cloud or muddy their awareness. They just LIVE, not stressed or saddened by the past, or fearful or hopeful of the future.

Take some time to practice appreciating as many moments as you can. The more you practice, the easier it gets. When you’re alone, quiet your mind, and pay attention to what your senses are telling you. When your mind starts poking in and distracting you, pulling you away, try to pull it back and steady it.

It’s really important to live in the present. As Erica Jong said, “The moment now is all we ever have.” In the course of a life, there are what seem to be an infinite number of moments. Each moment leads to the next. Live each one as fully as you can.   

Friday, January 21, 2011

Multiple Choice!

Welcome to Celebreight Yourself’s first multiple choice quiz! Below are a few scenarios that most full-figured women are familiar with. Please enjoy, take your time, and pick the letter that corresponds to the option you'd most likely choose. There are no rights or wrongs, just different choices. Answers and recommendations are at the bottom.

1. You are walking down the street in the middle of the day. You notice a group of laughing, huddled teenagers coming toward you. As they approach you, the “leader” or boldest of them says, “Hey, fat bitch! Lose some weight!” Your response:

a) You stand there frozen in horror momentarily, then quickly move on, hearing their laughter behind you. You do your best to ignore the anger and hurt rising in your body. This incident bothers you for the rest of the day, and prevents you from concentrating on more important matters.
b) You glare at the ringleader, brutally jab your middle finger upward, and hiss, “Fuck off, asshole!”
c) You smile calmly, shake your head in pity, and say, “I may be fat, but at least I’m not ignorant. Move along!”

2. You’re in a bar with your girlfriends. Your friends are all on the dance floor with a few guys they met. You’re alone at the table with the lone remaining guy. He’s smiling at you, but not saying much. Finally he says, “You know, you’d be really hot if you lost some weight.” Your response:

a) You die a little inside, lower your eyes, and mumble, “Yeah, I know. I’ve tried losing weight my whole life. But it just hasn’t worked.” He starts telling you about his own workout regimen, and you listen politely, thinking: Get me out of here.
b) Your mouth drops open in disbelief and you look him straight in the eyes. “Is that so? Well, I’ll bet you’d have a big dick if you met a genie.”
c) You smile calmly, shake your head in pity, and say, “Honey, I’m hotter than hell. Too bad you’ll never experience it.”

3. You’re about to take your lunch break at work. A few of the girls are milling around, discussing their options. One of them, a stick-thin girl named April, says, “I’m only having salad for the next six months! I gained two pounds this year, I’m such a fat bitch!”

a)  You suddenly remember an important task and tell the girls to go to lunch without you, you’ll catch up with them later. You skip lunch that day ... and the next, and the next.
b)  You roll your eyes and say, “April, you know you can easily barf those two pounds up in one go. The last stall on the right has your nameplate on it!”
c)  You smile calmly, shake your head in pity, and say, “April, I feel so sorry for you. Have you ever thought about getting help for your self-image problem? There are a lot of great therapists out there.”

4. You’ve just walked into your mother/father/sister/brother’s house, wearing a new outfit that you really love. You’ve also recently just lost 10 pounds, and are feeling very proud of yourself. Your mother/father/brother/sister sees you and asks, “Is that new?” You say yes, and ask her how she/he likes it. She/he says, “You’d look so much better if you lost weight. Aren’t you worried about your health?” Your reponse:

a)  You lower your eyes, feeling tears in them, and say, “Just forget about it. Leave me alone.” You can’t wait to leave and wonder why you ever visit, because the same thing always happens.
b)  You feel a rage rising inside you, and remember the countless times she/he has made similar comments in the past, always making you feel terrible. You tell her/him, “You are such a nasty bitch! I don’t know why I ever come to see you! Get the hell out of my life!”
c)  You smile calmly, shake your head in pity, and say, “What’s for lunch?” (You realize that with some people, particularly family members who are inescapably in your life, that you can’t win no matter what you say. So you just change the subject and do your best to be polite until you can get out of there.)


If you chose mostly a) answers:
PLEASE COME TO MY WORKSHOP! You feel guilty and ashamed about being overweight, and you have a very negative self-image. You need to learn how to see that there are things about you that are attractive, and to appreciate other things about yourself as well. In my workshop, we do confidence-building exercises and lots of other fun, insightful exercises that will teach you how to develop this skill. Your confidence will soar and you’ll be happier overall.

If you chose mostly b) answers:
PLEASE COME TO MY WORKSHOP! You are rightfully angry at the way you have been treated by others, but anger is a volatile emotion that can easily turn bad. It needs to be channeled in a positive way in order to benefit from its power. If you can turn the anger into a powerful sense of self, and truly celebrate who you are, there is no stopping you. In my workshop, we do anger-releasing exercises and learn strategies on how to “re-shape” anger into a healthy sense of self-respect and self-love.

If you chose mostly c) answers:
CONGRATULATIONS! Even though you’re already fabulous, wonderful, and truly love yourself, I still want to meet you! We need more women like you out there to inspire others!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Self Loathing Will Never Make You Thin

For the past month or two, I’ve been promoting my workshop in various places. Recently, I got an email from a man about an ad I had posted. The subject line read, pleasantly enough, “Please read this” and even had a smiley face beside it. So I was a little taken aback when I actually read it (even though I've heard similar sentiments before).

Without identifying him, I will quote some of what he wrote to me:

I'm a 33 year old male and I weigh 300 pounds. My Doctor says I need to lose 100 pounds in order to be Healthy and not be in any sort of health risk . I am Fat because, I am lazy and I don`t practice good eating habits. As a Fat and Overweight person myself, I am telling you that being Fat and Overweight is nothing to be proud of. When a man or woman is Fat, it is not the responsibility of society to respect them and feel sorry for them. Respect is something that is earned, especially through Hard Work. Nor should a fat person feel sorry for themselves, or even worse, Proud for being Fat.”

This one paragraph both saddened and angered me. I’m not angry at this man for stating his opinion, but I am angry at his whole-hearted acceptance of the fat hatred around him. A lot of fat people are like this: they believe that simply because they are fat, they deserve to be treated badly. Perhaps they feel that the constant shame and ridicule that’s heaped upon them will motivate them to finally lose the weight that’s hampered their lives. I certainly can’t say that I’ve been immune to hating myself. It’s all around us, constantly, EVERY SINGLE DAY. It takes an enormous amount of strength and self-discipline to re-train your mind into believing that despite your weight, you are still a worthy, decent, deserving human being. This is what saddens me.

It’s so much easier to give in to the majority, even if the majority is wrong. That basic human need we all have, to be loved and accepted by others, is so overpowering that some people will embrace a group that hates them in order to gain acceptance from, or to avoid being criticized by, that group. (The irony, of course, is that they will never be accepted by that group anyway.) Here’s another quote from his email that illustrates this tendency, and that horrified me:

“I think I speak for Majority of society when I say that Being Fat and Overweight is Ugly, Unhealthy and is Not a disability.”

First of all, not everyone thinks that fat is ugly. There are many people who can see beauty in fat bodies. Not everyone finds them repulsive. Secondly, excessive overweight is unhealthy. I am not delusional, as some fat radicals are, and deny every health risk associated with being overweight. However, I don’t believe the health risks are anywhere near as dire as the medical community and so-called experts make them out to be. Most importantly, the health risks do not trump any fat person’s basic right to be treated with respect. When it comes down to it, it is a person’s individual choice how to live their life, and if they choose to ignore possible health risks, that is their decision. As far as fat being a disability, I believe it is. I think emotional eating is the number one reason most fat people are fat. Most fat people don’t overeat because they’re hungry: they overeat because it’s the only way they know how to get relief from disturbing emotions. When someone has been using food to cope with negative emotions their whole life, it’s no different than reaching for a bottle of alcohol or a needle full of drugs. Alcoholism and drug addiction are both considered diseases, and I consider binge eating and emotional eating to be addictions.

As far as the "majority" goes, I couldn’t hesitate to point out the most horrifying and obvious fact: Just because the majority says something is right and good, doesn’t make it so. Hitler and the Nazi party were the majority in Germany at one time. They gassed millions of people simply because of their religion. Sometimes the majority is downright EVIL. I believe the way that fat people are treated in this society, except for a few enlightened souls here and there, is downright evil.

If you’re fat, and you think hating yourself is a good way to live your life, I urge you to think again. You can’t possibly benefit yourself in any way if you despise yourself for the way you look. Please realize I’m not advocating being delusional! If there are things you dislike about your body and want to change, then say to yourself, Okay, I’m not too fond of this particular body part. But that doesn’t mean that I’m unhappy with every single thing about myself! Acknowledge what’s positive, and this will give you the motivation to change the negative. Loving yourself gives you the "fuel" you need to accomplish your goals.

Try to realize that you are MORE than your body … that you, as a human being, are a multi-faceted person.  You have a mind, you have an imagination, you have talents and abilities. Try to start loving yourself by acknowledging those positive things, and try and make peace with your body. This doesn’t mean giving yourself carte blanche to eat whatever you want, whenever you want. It means, try to be more conscious of what you eat, WHY you eat, and how it is going to affect your body long-term. Whenever you’re contemplating or actually holding that “questionable” piece of food in your hand, ask yourself: Is this good for me? If not, why do I feel compelled to eat this? If you know it’s coming from an emotional need, try to stop and think it through. What are the emotions driving you to eat this unhealthy thing? Is it safety, comfort, or relaxation you need? Is there another way you can satisfy those needs?

This is a lifelong, difficult process. It’s not easy to change a lifetime of poor eating habits. Becoming more conscious of your inner life, of the “real” you, is crucial to addressing your weight. You HAVE to love yourself. It is absolutely necessary. You cannot do yourself any good if you hate yourself.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A&E's New Show "Heavy" Doesn't Take Fat People Lightly

Over the past month or so, I’ve been seeing commercials and promo spots for a new show called “Heavy” on the A&E network. Right off the bat, I knew it was something I had to see – firstly, because I’m a fat person, and secondly, because I could sense a serious tone to the show. It was fairly evident that it wouldn’t be a salacious, exploitative show like “The Biggest Loser”, which pits fat people against each other in a competition to see who is going to lose the most weight, and motivates them with perks like vacations and other choice “rewards”.

I am happy to say that my instincts were right. “Heavy” does take fat people seriously, and it portrays them with dignity and sensitivity. Each episode features two people who are severely overweight and desperately want to lose it – not for perks like spa vacations, but for their health and well-being. The first episode featured Tom, a sweet, kind 638-pound man, and Jodi, a 376-pound wife and mother of two.

Their sincere desperation was poignant for the simple fact that their weight had progressed to a life and death matter. Jodi had suffered a “mini stroke”, and Tom’s weight was obviously dangerous. They were both sent to a health spa for 30 days, where they received daily support and encouragement from personal trainers. (I was pleased to see how decently and respectfully they were treated by the trainers; they didn’t resort to degrading or demeaning tactics.) Tom could barely walk to the gym; Jodi strained and cried through most of her exercises. But neither of them gave up. By the end of the show, Tom had lost over 150 pounds and Jodi had lost 75. Although their results were triumphant, it was also clear that their journey was not over; that they both still had a lot of work to do, and emotional issues to address that had been problems for decades.

It made my heart glad to see a show that dealt with fat people not only as human beings, but as heroes. I’m sure there will be a certain portion of the audience who will consider it merely a freak show and tune in to gawk and laugh at the people featured, and I have to admit, even for me, a large woman myself, it is difficult not to gape and gawk at the sight of fat rolls that extend halfway to the floor. Most of us are not overweight to that extent, although we’ve all increasingly become aware of a certain segment of fat people who are that size, and live their lives as shut-ins. They have just lived with their problem longer, and felt more powerless to deal with it, perhaps, than we have. However, I’m sure the vast majority of people out there will be more amazed and admiring of the people who are so determined and motivated to change their lives that they will risk exposing themselves like that in order to get help.

Fat people are not mindless, brainless food factories. Those of us with lifelong weight issues know that it is far more complex than just the physical food/in exercise/out equation. Many of us are dealing with emotional factors and habits that we learned way, way back in our lives and became an ingrained part of our psyches. Losing weight is just not as simple as most people (particularly thin ones) make it out to be. We all know that we would be better off if our bodies were smaller and lighter; however, knowing something intellectually is far different than putting it into practice. “Heavy” shows the reality of this constant battle, and shows it with a sensitivity and respect that I found extremely inspiring.

This is compelling, moving TV. I will definitely be tuned in every week. Check it out if you haven’t already.  

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

FREE Sample of My Workshop

Happy New Year, ladies! It's that time of year again, when everyone is busy making, or has already made, their resolutions. High on that list, more often that not at the very top, is a resolution to lose weight or go on yet another diet. I have a radical suggestion: How about we resolve to love ourselves exactly as we are? This doesn't mean neglecting our physical health or giving ourselves carte blanche to live an unhealthy lifestyle. It means honouring and respecting yourself NO MATTER WHAT YOUR SIZE, and realizing that the number on the scale is not the sole reflection of who you are.

I am pleased to inform you that my workshop is ready to go, and I am inviting a limited number of people to join me for free at my first event.

The workshop takes place in Toronto on February 1st, 2011, from 12:00-3:00 pm. A workbook is included.

What we will be doing:

Part 1 is an overview of the society we live in and the challenges we face as large women. Through an interesting and fun visual presentation, we will examine the world we live in, the images we see on a daily basis, the role media plays in our lives, and discover ways to transcend the negative messages and replace them with positive ones.  

Part 2 deals with emotional eating and the role it plays in most of our lives. Through journaling and other exercises, we will discover the roots of our lifelong connection to food, and find ways to satisfy our emotional needs other than eating.

Part 3 is the REALLY fun part, which I call the "Positive Turnaround". We will learn how to implement several different techniques, such as meditation, in order to change negative patterns, learn healthy coping skills, and set ourselves on the road to the life of our dreams.

This workshop could very well change your life. Please don't postpone your joy any longer. Live the life of your dreams and let your beauty shine.

Please RSVP as soon as possible, as space is limited. Can't wait to meet you there!