Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Leap in Thought

My friend recently made an incredible leap in her thinking about exercise. I hope she continues along this new path. She said to me, "Before my goal was to lose weight and the byproduct of that goal was exercise. Now my goal is to exercise and the biproduct of this goal is increased strength. Losing weight will either happen or not, and it's okay regardless."

Go girl!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Inspiration Poems and Quote about FUN and FREEDOM!

Great lions can find peace in a cage.
But we should only do thatas a last resort.
So those bars I see that restrain your wings,
I guess you won't mind if I pry them open. --Rumi

With passion pray
with passion make love
with passion eat and drink and dance and play
why look like a dead fish
in the ocean of God?--Rumi

Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway. We might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use. --Earl Nightengale

Monday, November 30, 2009

When a Life is at Stake

Recently I was misdiagnosed with a serious disease. Further testing revealed that I am fine and healthy. But between the first test and the second were two serious weeks when I thought I might die early.

I want to say that I'll never look at myself in the mirror without thinking of what I could improve, but I have a feeling that years and years of living may diminish the shock that this moment brought me.

But for now, I'm just happy to be able to eat a wide variety of foods, foods that due to the original diagnosis I could not eat: cheese, wine, chocolate, espresso, bread, butter, ice cream. These are foods that make me happy. They give my life more dimension. They aren't a necessity of course, but they're nice to have.

I am thankful for all parts of me. For having the curves I have. That the body I have is strong. It can lift weights, can lift me, can dance, can make love.

When your life is at stake, the body you have has to be strong. It has be healthy. It doesn't have to be a certain size or number or shape. It just has to be vigorous. That's what we should be striving for. A vigorous mind and a vigorous body. Nothing more, nothing less.

Go Operation Beautiful

I read this article about the strides body diversity is making in the minds of women. It's a start. Now where's my post-its. I'm ready to post a million on the door of every gym!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Passage from A New Earth by Ekhart Tolle

"In the West, it is the physical appearance of the body that contributes greatly to the sense of who you think you are: its strength or weakness, its perceived beauty or ugliness relative to others. For many people, their sense of self-worth is intimately bound up with their physical strength, good looks, fitness, and external appearance. Many feel a diminished sense of self-worth because they perceive their body as ugly or imperfect.

"In some cases, the mental image or concept of 'my body' is a complete distortion of reality. A young woman may think of herself as overweight and therefore starve herself when in fact she is quite thin. She cannot see her body anymore. All she 'sees' is the mental concept of her body, which says 'I am fat' or 'I will become fat'."

p. 49-50

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Personal Training the Trainer

My roommate and I are both interested in being personal trainers so we're going to train each other for the next couple of months. As we were talking about trying to eat healthier to correspond with our healthy exercise routine, she said something that stuck with me. She said, "You have a contract with your body. When you take care of your body, your body takes care of you." It's true. When you give your body good food, your body functions really well--it protects you from illness, you're regular, you're full of energy, you can do the things you want to do, it carries you through life. When you break that contract, it breaks that contract with you, too. When you consistently choose food high in fats, you break that contract. When you don't give your body the veggies and fruits it needs to function at a high level, it doesn't uphold the contract either. You feel tired all the time. You want to sleep instead of run. You want to watch TV. You get more exhausted. Interesting. Just a little thought for today...

Friday, October 30, 2009

All About Giving

Change your life in 29 days with the power of giving. Sounds like a nice idea to me.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Really, really cool Web site

I promised myself I'd write at least once a day and when I saw this site, I got really, really excited. For a while, I've been wondering how one goes about boosting up one's self-esteem. It's one thing to say "Love yourself and your body." I get that part. I just didn't really get the "how" part. I've been on a search for the "how" ever since.

And in this site, I found some ideas. I especially enjoyed the inner parent meditation (mine gives me hugs).

Check it out!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fat-Talk Free Week

One more article, about removing the word "fat" from our conversations with ourselves and others. But here's the interesting thing. When I spoke with Marilyn Wann about fat, she talked about removing any stigma from the word and of being proud to use it.

Here, then, is the opposite approach. Their intentions are good but their approach is incorrect. Just because you don't say that you hate your body doesn't make you stop hating your body. It certainly doesn't make you love it.

It would be better, instead of erasing fat from our vocabulary, that we added the phrase "I love my body, including all my fat" to our own internal dialogue, as well as in conversations with everyone else.

Perhaps if repeated enough times, we will begin to believe.

"I don't like celery. I like sandwiches."

I read a review last month in the San Jose Mercury News about the new TV series Drop Dead Diva.

My favorite part is the quote from the creator of the show:

"The show's creator, Josh Berman, said he wanted the series to make a statement about diet, weight and beauty. 'I don't believe it's about willpower,' Berman said in an interview. 'If it were, then the assumption would be that if we all wanted to be a size zero, we could be a size zero. Everyone has different needs and desires. If someone finds a doughnut to be comforting, who are we to judge them?'"

Go Josh Berman!

Craving Chocolate? Eat Nuts!

I am always interested in the body. I found this chart from Natural Solutions magazine. I'm astounded by the fact that I might be lacking magnesium when I crave chocolate. I'm also astounded that the suggestion of what to eat when I want chocolate is raw nuts and seeds. There is absolutely NO substitution for chocolate.

Check it out. Tell me what you think!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Losing My Way

I said I'd be honest in this blog, so here it is. I lost my way. I started thinking all those self-doubts, and they just got bigger than my vision until I could no longer see my way out.

I didn't like the pressure of having to eat like a personal trainer, having to have the body of a personal trainer (and it was pressure I created without anyone's help). I started thinking that if I worked as a personal trainer, my colleagues would think I wasn't really qualified.

I trained my friends twice and absolutely loved it. And then I broke up with my Chilean boyfriend and lost my way.

Now, I'm slowly picking myself up by my bootstraps and starting again. I can do this.

There is this quote on "The Secret" I love. A philosopher says, "When the voice and the vision on the inside is more profound, clear and loud than the opinions on the outside, you have mastered your life."

I don't know how one continues moving forward even when they lose their vision and motivation. I don't know yet how to fortify my vision against opinions from the outside. But if and when I find out, it will be the way I will help my clients get past their own fears. Sometimes we just need at least one supportive person to tell us, "it's okay if you're afraid. It's okay to take baby steps. Just as long as you keep moving."

I like this idea of just moving. And I mean it in all ways--to move ahead with your dreams without fears, to move physically, to keep the soul churning and bubbling with the razzle dazzle of the world, to keep the heart pumping with love for friends, family and lovers.

No wonder Finding Nemo is my favorite movie. "Just keep swimming..." resonates perfectly with me.

So, I will borrow from Finding Nemo and add a little of my own. My new motto will be simple. "Just keep moving."

Friday, August 14, 2009

Self-Esteem Campaign

We need a self-esteem campaign nationally. Here's why I think we need one:

--one person with an eating disorder is one too many--and it's estimated that 7 million women and 1 million men have one

--they have tons of ads on TV for how to hate your body, for example, when did not having a lot of eyelashes require medicine? I learned what things were bad to have from magazines and TV (unwaxed eyebrows, hairy legs, hairy armpits, any yellow cast to your teeth, etc.)

--since TV has taught me this, I demand TV to teach me as well how to be happy with who I am, regardless if I do or do not meet the many requirements of beauty.

--almost every woman friend I have ever met thinks they're too fat, regardless of size

This ain't healthy! Sharing how much we hate our bodies is a discussion I will not take part in anymore. No more body hating.

Let me know if any of you know about a self-esteem campaign. If there isn't, then this blog will be the beginning of one.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

President's Fitness Challenge is My Challenge

Recently, I have discovered that there is a difference between being healthy (what I am) and being fit (what I am not). I discovered this when, amongst my personal training peers, I was incapable of doing a push up on the floor. By the time we were regressing the exercise to where I could complete 15 reps, I was doing push ups on the wall.

Everyone has to start somewhere, right?

The experience kicked my competitive nature into full gear. I wanted to come back to a personal training workshop in two years capable of doing a push up on a stability ball. I'd show them.

So much focus is placed on weight and diet these days. Everyone I know is on a diet trying to lose weight. But very little is placed on fitness, on cardiovascular and muscular endurance. And even though I eat healthy and am normal in my weight, I've landed in the 5th percentile in my ability to complete crunches and push ups.

My resolution: to take the fitness test on December 15 (cuz that sounds like a good day to me). Since they don't list the numbers I need to reach, I've been looking at data for the version for high schoolers. I'm going to try to reach those numbers. If I do, I will be actually in better shape than I ever was in high school:

These are the figures for landing in the 85th percentile as a 17 year old girl:

Push ups: 25
Crunches: 58
shuttle run: 10 seconds
1 mile run: 8:15 minutes
Pull ups: 1 (I'd love to do 4)
And my own additions:
Jump rope: 5 minutes
Handstand: Hold for 3-5 seconds
Single leg squat touchdown: 10 on the left leg with out my wobbly knee

My initial figures:
push ups: 1
crunches: 19
Shuttle: 13.1 seconds
1 mile run: 12:15 minutes
Pull ups: 0
Jump rope 1.5 minutes
Handstand: so far I haven't really gotten up all the way
Single-leg squat touch: 0 without wobbling

Every two weeks I'm going to retake the test. I'm determined to be fit. That's what this blog is about! Being fit, having fun, and enjoying eating.

Wish me luck! Oh, and if you want to try it yourself here's the links:

Presedential Challenge Teens

Presendential Challenge Adults

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I passed!

You are now reading the blog of a certified personal trainer!

Two of my friends have volunteered to be guinea pigs for the next month. I did an assessment on them and wow, personal trainers are privvy to some very private information. I see that you really need to develop rapport with someone first before you ask them how much they weigh or if you can measure their circumference.

These are such sensitive areas for people (and me too) that I actually didn't ask to measure them because I was so afraid to step on their toes. My mom, who wants me to train her too, won't tell me how much she weighs, so how do I expect strangers to do so too?

This is gonna be a bit squinchier than I thought.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Uncovering the Ugly Truth

I promised that I wouldn't hide behind my ego in this blog. I would be humble in my discovery of what it means to be a FunFitFoodie. So here goes...

I am currently dating a wonderful, skinny Chilean. Our bodies are a fantastic metaphor for how we interact with the world too--completely opposite. My body is soft, feminine, very womanly. His body is linear, angles, straight. Our bodies are opposite. How we deal with the world is too.

I am super sensitive. I cry at Finding Nemo. I don't watch scary movies. I have cried at work. Because I'm so sensitive, I've learned to be diplomatic with everyone, always. I don't want to hurt other people's feelings because I know how it hurts me.

Then there's my boyfriend. Straight and to the point. Honest without sugarcoating. He says things without thinking. How I ended up with this man, I have no idea.

Then add to this powderkeg our cultural differences. Latin American and South American cultures recognize the elephant in the room, which is refreshing and offensive. A fat person has a nickname Guaton, Gordo, Gordito. A skinny person is Flaco, Flaquito. A black person is Negro or Negra. My nickname is Gringa. So my honest boyfriend lives in a culture where people call it like they see it. There's no politically correct anything.

So, we were lying in bed together, my leg thrown across his torso and he grabs my leg with so much love and says "Que grandes jamones tienes!" Loosely translated as "what great hams you have." Or....he might have said "Que jamones grandes tienes!" Which would be "what big hams you have!" The position of the grande is super important but, all I heard was the grande and the jamon and both reminded me of what I would rather forget: that I have thick, womanly thighs, and I hate them. But because he said it with such love and adoration, I chalked it up to culture and forgot about it.

But some things aren't really forgotten, just merely stored up. So when the next day as we were joking around, he says to me, "We're going to work on your body, shape your legs a bit more, make them look even sexier," I just lost it. If he had said anything other body part, I might have let it go. But it was like unleashing a monster.

I know it was just one of those joking moments. He had no idea he had touched on something super sensitive, something secret, that I admit to no one.

This thigh-hatred goes so deep, it's a little ridiculous. But I can remember the horror of developing thick thighs. The horror of seeing my brother date women with skinny legs and fearing that no one would want me. The exhaustion of having to work expecially hard to win the approval of my ex-boyfriend: working out, eating or not eating, wearing my hair the way he liked it, trying to be sexy for him.

I wanted things to be drastically different with my new boyfriend. So, I consciously began to create a world of acceptance, working on my relationship the way I'm also working on all aspects of my life. I'm trying to walk a more accepting path.

I told my new boyfriend I loved his body, which I do. Even when he mentioned he wanted muscles, I would say that if he wanted muscles fine but that he was great as he was. I wouldn't tell him if I liked him with facial hair or not because I didn't want him to feel he had to look a certain way for me to love him. I have been treating him as I want to be treated. And he has responded. He's told me he loves my legs, my stomach, my breasts, my ass. He's told me wants me to return from the U.S. exactly as I am now.

But I ignored these lovely, ubiquitous compliments. Instead, when he said he wanted to "work on my legs" I told him he hurt my feelings and proceeded to cry (which is what happens when I'm super angry. I actually think this is improvement over how I used to be. I used to never say a word and hang on to the hurt forever. At least I said something, however inefficiently and emotionally it was said.)

His caring apology only made me cry harder. I felt sorry for the man. This man loved me, and though I value my mind, I still can't find my way to valuing my body. I hated that I had revealed to him what I wanted to keep from him of all people: that even though I have a BMI of frickin' 22 for godsakes, even though I workout every day and love dance, a part of me still thinks I'm fat. It's this part that has prevented me from getting a personal training certificate years' earlier. It's what has prevented me from properly marketing and giving my fitness book any credit. It's this part that makes my future precarious. Because I know what I want to be (a personal trainer, help others with body acceptance and living joyfully), but I will have to face my deepest and worse fears and put away forever the most hurtful critiques that I give myself.

I'm not sure how to do this but this argument with my boyfriend has made me realize more than anything that I must do something.

I wonder if you can perform an exorcism on bad body-self-esteem?

But it ends here. If I have to physically hold my legs and kiss them, I will. If I have to kick ass every time someone comments on my body, fine. But I'm going to wear a bathing suit this summer with pride (not the false kind). And I'm going to wear it now. Not after months of working out like a fool. Nope. I'm going to accept my legs. And anyone who doesn't like them or wants to "shape them" can shove it.

I'm going to love my body gosh darnit, even if it kills me!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


So, I just read through the cardiorespiratory training chapter in my personal fitness book and I realized that you're not actually supposed to workout at 85-90% of your maximum heart rate for more than 30-60 seconds! So yay, I'm not totally lazy!

Here's the things I'm totally boggled by:
1. After you workout, your body's metabolism is elevated, like a car's engine that stays warm even after the car is shut off. I finally understand why fitness experts have suggested morning workouts. Then your "engine" is burning more energy from the start of the day. The problem I have with that is that a lot of people aren't morning people and just won't get out of bed. I for one love mornings but I have yet to make it to the gym consistently in the morning.

For me, the afternoon is the perfect workout time. In my opinion, you should workout and be active at the time of day that's best for you, not the time fitness experts say is great. Workout at midnight if that's what works for you.

2. You also reach higher fitness levels if you split your cardio workout in two equal amounts of time (for example, cardio, weight lifting, cardio). Weird huh! I'm going to do more research to find out why that is because well, it's just fascinating to me why cardio split up would make your body work more than altogether. Perhaps the rest in between allows for recovery so that the second time you can work just as hard, if not harder than the first? I'll let you know what I find out.

3. That the human body is so efficient. Your body will adapt to whatever work you do and try to do it with the least amount of energy as possible. So if you do the same routine, you eventually plateau and stop improving your fitness level because your body has adapted to the routine. Isn't that amazing! Our bodies are incredible! They rock!

On a side note, in spite of all these revelations and wanting to be super fit, I swear to you the first thought that went through my head today was "Juan Valdez chocolate manjar cake." How's that for a balanced life!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Three Minute Step Test Queen!

I can't actually believe it but I excelled at the three-minute step test, a test that assesses your heart's capacity to pump blood through your body while you exercise. You do roughly 72 steps on an 18 inch platform for three minutes, rest for a minute and then take your recovery pulse.

The results were astounding. I'm actually super fit! I know this is just weirdest thing to say for someone who has been going to the gym consistently almost every day since March, but still, the only other time I've noticed a difference in my fitness level is when I was able to climb this monster hill in Algarrobo really easily (after having huffed and puffed up the same hill two months earlier). I still have the same legs I consider too fat (but am trying to embrace just the same). I still have the little pancita. I still have an ass. But there I was counting away and dude, my heart is fit! I calculated that I needed to be working out way more than I am.

Low and behold, I landed in the Very Good fitness level and calculated that my heart could withstand me working at even 90% of my max heart rate (holy crap!).

I then vowed I would go to the gym and workout at this new higher rate and really give my body what it needed. However, I ended up eating a chocolate croissant too close to my workout time and felt super duper sick (when am I going to learn that I need to not eat at least three hours before a workout?). Then the next day, I tried again, but no matter how often I started at pushing myself on the bike, I would get distracted by my thoughts and ended up in my comfort zone, at around 140 bpm--74% of my max heart rate.

This has gotten me thinking. How does the average Joe or Jane motivate themselves to the proper level of fitness? If I'm at the super high rate, and I can't seem to motivate myself to work at those upper levels, what happens to someone who's super out of shape and shouldn't be operating at more than 40% of their max heart rate? How daunting, especially since, if you don't have a high level of fitness, it's probably because there's something about moving and exercising that you don't like. What a vicious circle.

I would really love to dedicate my life to helping people adopt healthy habits and find some way to love eating healthily and also love moving. I'd love to find ways to help people be more motivated with me but also without me. I guess the trick is to discover what will motivate me first.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I miss trampolining more than any activity. So far, the Chileans have not caught on to trampolines, although I did see one in a park in Santiago. Unfortunately, I think it was for tiny kids and not for me.

If you live in San Jose or Sacramento, I recommend trying Sky High Sports. It's a trampoline warehouse for kids and adults. The adults can attend an hour of air-robics--an hour of aerobics on the trampoline.

My friends and I would drive an hour from Livermore after work to attend--it was THAT much fun.

If you can't find a trampoline center, try a personal trampoline. According to Fay Roberts, trampoline coach, "the trampoline is the second fastest calorie burner and an ULTIMATE complete body workout," but more than that silly weight loss message, it's just a lot of fun, which is really more important to FunFitFoodies!

So if you're bored with walking and want something that feels a lot like flying, step on a trampoline.

Oh yeah, and make sure to read about safety on the trampoline. This one's for kids, but it would work for you too.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hip Hop and Baile Entrentenido--for the Masses

I love, love, love hip hop! Unlike modern which can be obscure at times, hip hop is for the masses, created by the masses. Even more impressive are the number of men dancing hip hop...straight men even! One of the greatest joys in the workshop for me was watching the men dance. It was hot!

Of all the types of dances I would recommend to a person with any type of body, it would be hip hop. It's fun. It's not terribly taxing either. We only had one routine in all three days that required any kind of floor work and it was only for a moment. With the right attitude, you can pull off anything in hip hop. Plus, they use really frickin' great, shake-your-booty music. You can't help but move to it! If hip hop doesn't do it for you, ty any of the ethnic dances like belly dance, hawaiian/tahitian/Rapa Nui, or Afro Peruano, Afro Columbiano, African. They emphasize and celebrate the best attributes of women. Having big hips, a large ass, and big breasts is great.

I love dance. I do. I can't imagine what I would do if I were obese and loved dance. I would hope that I would go to dance class anyway. But I do understand how difficult it would be to have a large body in a classroom full of skinny girls. And perhaps it's just as difficult to have a skinny body in a room full of fat people. For me, I have always been on the "fat" end of dancers in my dance class. To ignore that stupid voice saying, "You're too fat, too ugly, too blah blah blah" is incredibly difficult.

Man, I would love to teach a dance class for bodies of all sizes. Here, they have something called Baile Entretenido which I would love to teach. It's a mix of samba, salsa, merengue, hip hop, swing and jazz. But it's simple because it's the same routines almost every time. The instructor encourages you to simply move during class and don't worry about catching the steps. It's the only class I've ever been too where sometimes the energy is so high that after a routine everyone claps and laughs. Plus its just about having fun. No one's screaming at you or pulling their hair out because you're doing the steps wrong. That's the kind of thing I like!

If you know a type of dance that's for any body size, leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Belly Love

I'm obsessed with my belly. It is not a good obsession. I'm definitely not holding my belly and telling it how much I love it. No, instead I'm assessing its girth in the mirror everyday and scrutinizing my profile in the mirror, and even my distorted reflection in the shop windows. I know I'm being ridiculous because having a little belly is no big deal. I also know it's ridiculous because I wholeheartedly believe in body diversity and in living a healthy lifestyle without dieting or trying to reduce my body.

In order to rid myself of my negative belly image, I went to belliesarebeautiful and checked out other people's bellies. To be honest, at first I was super grossed out. Probably because I'm afraid of my own belly. Bellies are frightening to someone who has tried to maintain a high level of fitness her whole life. To love one's belly, one must embrace the fat parts of one's body and say, yep, these are super cool too.

Bellies by definition are the exact oppposite of what our beauty standard is all about. They're jiggly, they're floppy, they're rolly poly. They're fat. In fact, the belly can be sexy, our society says...but only if it's not there. If it's only a belly button (for women) or defined by the muscles beneath (for men), then you've got the sexy belly (non-existent belly that is).

I know that I'm a stupid product of my society. After all, how often do we hear how great the belly is? As I was looking for good messages on the Internet, I found this article by Judith Stone. I loved this paragraph:

  • I think it would be nice if hating the way you look weren't so good for the economy. We all know that advertising is designed to make us feel dissatisfied with ourselves so that we'll buy more stuff (like the weightloss products on which Americans spend $30 billion a year). We know, too, that women in ads, knockouts to start with, are artificially perfected beyond human emulation. We know, but we forget. I think it would be nice if the next time you took a look at one of these ads and asked yourself What's she got that I haven't got? you answered yourself: an airbrush.

One good belly message I could recall was from Pulp Fiction when Butch is talking to Fabian, his girlfriend, and she tells him how much she wishes she could have a little pot belly. I remember the scene because I was surprised that someone would want a belly, even if that person was a fictional character in a movie. I just never thought that it might be something desirable.

The only other awesome message I can think of is from the belly dancing community which embraces women with bellies. If you have a belly, fantastic! Wrap a scarf with bangles on it and shimmy away. Again, I remember being surprised when I saw a belly dancer perform and her body was natural, curvaceous and beautiful--but totally different than what beauty standards say is beautiful.

Of course, both of these messages don't really embrace true body diversity--they allow for a more curvaceous woman, but in the end, they don't really embrace the idea of a fat person being as beautiful or desirable as a thin person.

What's also interesting is that I've found when dating men, that they all seem to like the softness of a woman and have had no trouble embracing my belly and my thighs and my hips. If only I could enjoy and love my womanly body as much as men seem to.

I know I haven't advertised this blog site yet so I'm not expecting replies yet, but what do you think, invisible readers? Do you have belly love? What do you to embrace the soft parts of you?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Manjar Crepe in Mendoza

On the last day of my trip to Mendoza, my last meal before I headed back to Chile, I ordered a manjar-filled crepe.

Luckily for me it was the most wonderful tasting desert that was only shadowed by the layer cake at Juan Valdez (and just slightly).

The crepes were decorated on top with melted dark-brown sugar. It didn't look super appealing because the sugar reminded me of black caviar. But what it lacked in presentation, it made up for in taste. While the crepe and the manjar were soft and gooey, the sugar on top added another, crunchier texture which, well, made it a lot of fun to eat.

My only hope is that I can find something similar in Chile.

Check it out:
Doesn't it look like two slabs of cajun chicken? Yeah, not the most appealing looking but trust me, quite a treat!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Delectable-est Cake in Santiago

I am in love. Nevermind that I'm in love with a 4-layer chocolate manjar cake. Love is love, and you can't deny your feels when they happen. If you ever come across a Juan Valdez coffeeshop while strolling along Avenida Providencia near Pedro de Valdivia in Santiago, you should step inside for a moment to fall in love.

For almost $4, you get this:

Pair this cake with a latte and you've got yourself the perfect combination for a tryst.

The cake begins with a thick layer of fudge icing that covers all three sides, including the point of the triangle (I find this the best touch). Then follows all those layers: cake, icing, cake, manjar, cake, icing, cake.

I recommend you eat it so that each time you cut off a slice to eat, you angle your fork so that you get every layer. The combination is like a eating a piece of fudge, a brownie and a scoop of manjar all at the same time. It is the only cake I've ever eaten where I didn't want a side of ice cream too. A shining star all on its own.

The wonderful maker of this cake is Avenue Du Bois located in Santiago, an exclusive French pasteleria. I just say, thank you, thank you, thank you for Avenue Du Bois!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fighting for Weight Diversity: An Interview with Fat!So? Author Marilyn Wann

Recently I had a chance to talk with Marilyn Wann, author of Fat!So? and fat activist. For more than 15 years, Marilyn has been an active voice and participant within the fat pride community. After being denied health insurance coverage based solely on her weight, she started the zine version of Fat!So? which eventually she made into a book. She now gives weight diversity talks on college campuses.

FFF: You’ve been described as a fat activist. What does it mean to be a fat activist?
MW: Fat activists are people of all sizes resisting others who are saying, “You’re fat and bad; you’re thin and good.”

Part of the work in this community is choosing to reclaim the word ‘fat’. Traditionally, people use it as a very negative thing. Fat activists don’t view weight diversity as a negative. It’s something we can celebrate.

FFF: What kind of work have you done as a fat activist?
MW: Activism doesn’t have to daunting. All of us, people of all sizes, when we encounter negative attitudes toward fatness, we can find a way to disagree with it and resist that system—and we can have fun while we’re doing that.

FFF: Can you give me some examples of fun fat activism?
MW: I’ve taken dance classes with Big Moves (, a dance studio that welcomes dancers of all sizes. I also danced with the Phat Fly Girls, the hip hop troupe with Big Moves.

I ended up in a synchronized swimming group called the Padded Lilies for awhile, too. Forty years ago, San Francisco started a weekly swim for fat people. People weren’t swimming because they feared being judged in a swimsuit. Now it’s more than a swim. It’s a community space called Making Waves.

One day, after our swim, my friends and I were doing fake synchronized swimming moves. Amusingly enough, the high school pool where we swam had a very active synchronized swimming program. The coach saw us and asked if we wanted to perform. We learned this high-camp routine. The music was a medley of Broadway show tunes. We ended up appearing on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

I also organized a group of fat people of all sizes to respond to the popularization of weight-loss surgery. To me it’s really just stomach amputation. At the Walk from Obesity, a walkathon celebrating those who have gone through the surgery, we dressed up as cheerleaders, called ourselves the Bod Squad, and cheered on the sidelines for body diversity.

FFF: What is your philosophy on losing weight?
MW: If you come at fitness and good nutrition as a form of punishment for a bad body, it just won’t last. Humans can only willingly do a form of punishment for about five or six weeks.

Eating less and exercising more are wonderful behaviors. But attaching those behaviors to a “poison pill” doesn’t work.

The alternatives is a paradigm shift developed by a community of psychologists, nutritionists, physical fitness experts and epidemiologists called Health at Every Size. This community of people have rejected the weight-based model for health and switched to a new model. The basic concept is to celebrate weight diversity and love your body. Take good care of it. Respond to internal hunger. Recognize satiety, and reject the idea of good and bad food. Fitness becomes joyful, never a reason for weight loss. Instead of punishment, it becomes pleasurable. It goes with human nature. People will continue their health enhancing behaviors because it’s enjoyable.

A friend of mine, Linda Bacon, conducted a small but significant study comparing a weight-loss model with a health-at-every-size model. After two years, the health-at-every-size group were continuing their health enhancing behavior. The weight-loss group had a 40% dropout rate. Of the people who stayed in the program, none of them maintained the behavior and so that group received none of the health benefits that the health-at-every-size group received. The only thing the weight-loss group gained was lower self-esteem.

FFF: Can you tell me a little about what you were trying to accomplish with your book?
MW: I don’t think I’m going to end all of weight prejudice. But I hope I can help others expand their livable space by refusing to go along with the way things are and by imagining how things could be different. We shouldn’t have to jump through a weight-based hoop to feel a sense of self-worth. If you can’t be at home in your own body, where else can you go?

FFF: How do you feel about contemporary beauty standards?
MW: We need to grow up in our opinion about what is beautiful. If we can only see one kind of beauty, we’re like children with a limited palette.

Someone once asked me if I was really happy with the Dove’s Real Beauty ad campaign. First of all, I don’t like the notion of real versus high-status. Second, the images of women (and no men) were only slightly larger than usual. Clearly, there was still a weight limit for the definition of beauty. And Dove was selling firming lotion. You can’t celebrate my fat ass and try to limit it at the same time. It was drawing the line slightly further out, but it was still oppressive.

Another example of our limited palette came from when I was invited to speak about the movie Shallow Hal on TV. I decided it would be worth the pain of watching others enjoying what was hurtful and diminishing to me. I watched couple after couple come in to the movie theater. Everyone was average weight or smaller. Everyone enjoyed feeling superior to people like me, and in that moment I really hated humanity. They should be able to see beauty in all sizes.

FFF: What do you do to resist negative messages about body image?
MW: I still have moments and look in the mirror and dislike something about myself. I try to remember, for example, if an outfit isn’t working, it’s not my body’s fault, it’s the fabric’s fault. The fabric is inappropriate if it isn’t making me feel fabulous.

It’s an ongoing practice for me of noticing weight prejudicial systems and then finding a way to divest. The challenge is in noticing the weight prejudicial stuff. Noticing, divesting and letting other people know. It’s very painful to confront prejudice. Nobody started it, but we can end it.

A huge thanks to Marilyn for speaking with FunFitFoodie about this. For more information, you can read Marliyn’s book Fat!So? or check out her Web site.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Learn about Chilean Street Sweets

Being that this blog is about food as much as it is about fun and fitness, I thought I'd send you a link to an article I read in Revolver Magazine, an English online magazine in Santiago. This made my mouth water and immediately want sweets and it's not even 9am yet.

Chilean Sweets


Monday, May 4, 2009

Songs for the Curvaceous Woman

Let's celebrate some curves!

Big Girl (You are Beautiful) By Mika

Fat Bottom Girls By Queen

My Humps By Black Eyed Peas (sorry I couldn't find the original video, just the song)

Jump Rope for Fun

I really love reading about activities (and then actually trying them). Did you know there's a national jump roping team that teaches classes and workshops on how to jump rope and do tricks? I'm buying a jump rope this week!

Be sure watch the video on this page'll buying a jump rope too...

Seattle Times Article

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Perfect FunFitFoodie Day

I had the perfect funfitfoodie day yesterday. How does one exactly have a funfitfoodie day? Easy—accomplish all three elements of the funfitfoodie life (good fun, fun fitness, delicious food), and you’ve got yourself the perfect funfitfoodie day.

1. Fun Fitness: I’ve been experimenting recently with an idea for exercising to make it more fun. Yesterday was my trial run. I was spinning on the bike and laughing out loud, which made this other girl on a bike nearby laugh out loud, too. I’m pretty sure she was laughing at me. Any way you slice it, I’ve made a new friend at the gym and great headway in my fun exercise project.

2. Just Plain Good Fun: I decided that I had been in my “hermit” mood for far too long (I think it lasted about a week and a half.) Usually when I’m lonely, I’m too afraid to call anyone for fear I might cry if they can’t hang out with me. It’s like that scene from Gran Torino when Clint’s feeling lonely. He calls his son, and they all don’t want to answer the phone. Finally, the son does. Clint talks to his son for maybe 15 seconds. Then the son says, “Hey Dad, I’m kinda busy right now…” We know how sad it is because the son is just doing bills.

Anyway, I try to avoid feeling like that whenever possible.

So, I’m trying to invite my friends out to lunch or ice cream or a show prior to when I feel lonely. Last night, Loreto and I went to the ballet. For just $5 per ticket, you can sit in the Galeria, and since I’m a gringa, we got there early enough to get THE BEST seats. We could see almost all of the stage without leaning over the balcony rail. Plus, I like being up so high. You can see the tops of everyone’s head in the orchestra.

My Review of the Ballet:
The ballet, called La Bayadera (which is an old word for The Dancer) lacked fire. It had such potential based on the story. The story goes like this (I think): boy meets girl in a forest. Boy must marry other girl. Other girl kills forest girl. Dead forest girl's ghost gets revenge.

See, so much potential!

But it failed in its choreography. It looked like an opening night: too many baubles, too many falls out of turns, too many disconnects between the music and the dancers or even between sections. In fact, Loreto and I still don’t know why this one section involving a Hindu god was even in the show. I decided maybe it was some kind of deus ex machina thing.

When the choreographer used a prop like a long silk scarf, he failed to use it to its potential, like the last unused match in the box. The couple would merely hold the scarf up high. Once, they twirled in together. Boring.

Again, during a large chorus section, he had the 30 dancers file in a snaking line with the same phrase repeated over and over again. And the phrase was wrong—a step that required the girls to balance like gravity didn’t exist. There were too many opportunities for the girls to fail. They did.

To make it even worse, (I cringe at this) after many of the dance sections, they came up to the front and bowed even though the show wasn’t over. It confused the audience. We didn’t know when to clap anymore. And I didn’t think their performance merited clapping in the middle.

The only redeeming points were the costumes and the set. Maybe I'm just not a ballet-type of girl. Give me some crazy modern dance with a shopping bag and a nightgown any day.

My Thoughts On Skinny Ballerinas
Anyway, because of this boring show, I thought a lot about body image. These women were skinny! You could see their ribs sticking out even from the fourth floor balcony.

I admit, I was jealous. I wanted to look that thin and be that graceful.

I kept having to remind myself that some girls develop anorexia from taking ballet. In fact, just off the top of my head, I can name two friends of mine who were anorexic for a while because of ballet.

I had to remember that some girls up there on that stage were beautiful, but sick.

That’s the problem with ballet, really. Audience-members like me, especially at a professional level, expect ballet dancers to be out-of-this-world. Ballerinas are made taller than they really are by being en pointe. They are trained to be more flexible than anyone else. They are expected to be skinnier.

Little girls who want to be grow up to be ballerinas starve themselves.

3. Delicious Food: Speaking of starving, after the gym and the show, I was soooo hungry. So, after the show, we met up with Loreto’s step son, Matias, and her man, Osvaldo, at Boulevard Lavaud. It is THE coolest restaurant I’ve been to in a while. It’s located downtown. It is an old French barbershop and salon, founded in 1868, that has been preserved and is now a restaurant. The place is filled with antiques. I would definitely have taken my parents there had I known about it. After Caprese and rice, I ordered culant du chocolat. It is a cake with fudge filling in the middle. I died and went to heaven!

I came home happy, stuffed to the gills, and went to bed at 1am, when I finally I came down from my sugar high.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gym Rat

So I worked out yesterday as I always do in the afternoons. I usually workout for an hour and a half to two hours—hour on the bike, lift weights general muscles, and then abs.

Yesterday was different. I was a personal trainer in training. I was different. I was a girl who would have courage to be her size and be a trainer too. When I told Jaime, the personal trainer I know there, he smiled but I could see surprise in his eyes. Perhaps it was my own sensitivity but I swear I saw the thought “you?” pass by his eyes. I think the personal training industry is as snobby as the fashion industry. Either you’re in or you’re out.

I have a feeling I’m out.

To gather more information for my belly article, I asked Jaime what his workout was. This is what I’m talking about. PTs are not normal! He’s training for a windsurfing competition so I guess I understand, but he runs for an hour, bikes for an hour and then teaches a spinning class in the evening. He does this five days a week. 15 workout hours per week.

Then I asked Raul PT#2 what his workout was. Raul has no body fat. He’s the most dedicated dude there and a professor in physical education. He’s the one stare at all the time. The guy is built. I wish I liked the soft, pudgy guy (well, actually, I like them too) but I’m certainly not immune to a physically pristine man.

I decided I would tell him about being a personal trainer and was blindsided by his answer. “You’re missing a lot of exercises—you need exercises for the waist down.” I still don't know whether he understood that I wanted to become a personal trainer, not get personal training. But maybe the reaction would have been the same either way.

I didn’t know what to say. I thought about it for a moment and decided in some way he was right…and I was terribly offended. I just said, “Si” and slinked away.

I sulked as I worked my pectoral muscles. I was pissed off and coming up with incredible comebacks I would never mutter:

“Oh yeah, skinny man…”

“These hips are made for kicking your ass…”

“Kiss my unexercised ass…”

“Oh yeah, skinny man…”

Note to self: never, ever be a debater

I suddenly understood how difficult being the calm in the fitness storm is going to be. This is a big choice to accept my body as is. To not strive for perfection goes against my very A-type personality.

It also made me realize how important it is to be sensitive about a client’s weight. They may be coming to me to lose weight and get fit, but they still won’t want to hear that they’re missing a lot of exercises from the waist down. It’s just another way of saying you’re still fat there.

I whispered to myself as I did my ab exercises. “I must have courage.”

What I meant was I need to be brave in the face of the gym rats. To not sell people some size that they can only maintain by working out three hours a day. To encourage them to go out and enjoy the world.

I can. I will.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Humble Beginnings

Here I am, at the beginning of my journey to become an expert on fitness and health and happy living...and man am I overwhelmed!

I wanted to write an article on the belly (my current obsession). I went to and looked at a lot of bellies. I considered posting my own.

I read that the larger we get as a general population, the thinner our models get.

And during eras when women gained rights (voting, reproductive control, economic control), the popular women's dress deemphasized women's ability to reproduce--chao child-bearing hips! chao breasts! Weird, huh.

My article on the belly is a mess! And I'm getting hungry.

Before I stumble out of my writing cave (aka my bedroom) and reach for the tomotoes and goat cheese (my two new favorite foods!), I've got a couple of things I wanted to work out with you, my imaginary and (hopefully eventually) real readers.

My head is spinning. More than ever, I understand that I want to do this job really well, not for me, but for all of you, for every woman who has ever felt too fat. I have lived with enough women to know that we all feel too fat, except for the few who feel too thin. No one I have ever met has been happy and satisfied with their bodies. There's something wrong with our society when every woman is unhappy in it.

I'd like to be part of a solution to fix what's wrong.

This blog is for every woman who has ever thrown a critical glance at her reflection in the window. For every woman suffering from an eating disorder. For the women facing criticism from others every day for not being thin enough.

As I begin to present ideas to you in this blog, I'm going to promise a few things. If I break these promises, please remind me:
  • I will not lose myself to the hype of losing weight--no "how to be a size __" on this blog--just real info about good food and fun exercises (yes, there is such a thing)
  • I will take complicated information from a variety of sources and make it easy to understand
  • I will listen to you
  • I will make this blog interesting and fun and humorous (except for today's serious mission statement)
  • I will be honest about my own struggles with my weight and body image
  • I will never, ever bash thin people because they're in the same boat--we're all told by someone or something that we're just not good enough
Maybe together, we can quit the ideal, hug our bellies and bust out the good food and good living!

From the first of many FunFitFoodies