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42% of 1st-3rd Grade Girls Want to be Thin…

28 Jun

And (to add to that) 81% of ten year olds are afraid of getting fat. Considering I have a fifth grader who just happens to be a girl, that scares me. She has watched me carefully sculpt a healthier routine and way of eating, but how she feels about her weight still sits in the back of my mind with every day that passes. She is tall and lanky, by far way more skinny than I ever was when I was her age (I wore a size 16-18), but knowing the images she is bombarded with on a daily basis has me worried.

Gemini Magazine was started because I hated seeing all of the skinny, perfectly smooth faces and bodies in every magazine on the rack, but I also kept in mind the millions of little girls and boys left to stare at their glossy pages too.  At the check out counter, while we fuss over our wallets and groceries, the children are left to stare at perfect faces and bodies on brightly colored glossy covers. We seldom think about the impact that has, but the masterminds behind have it at the forefront of theirs. is a call-to-action campaign with the mission to empower women and girls to challenge labels (and their limitations) in order to realize their potential and transform our culture for the better.  Their latest endeavor is the Keep It Real Campaign which asks the major publication players to use at least one non-photoshopped image in every issue.

I cannot say that I am not in favor of Photoshop, because that would be lying. What I am not in favor of is the body manipulation that some publications green light. Publishing is a business, yes, but it is also an influencer. We should take that more seriously, and I personally pledge that Gemini Magazine will do just that.

Join in making the larger publications accountable for their photoshopping actions.  Forty-two percent of girls from first through third grade wanting to be thin is forty-two percent too many.

For more information on the (3) day campaign, click here to visit Miss Representation on Facebook.


Coming Soon: National Women’s Health Week

1 May

As women, we know it’s hard to take a week out of your life to do anything–so when we ask you to take a week out of your life for this we are not asking lightly.  We have all heard the stories about women who lost their lives or who had to come back fighting from an illness that could have been prevented. We have seen the news blurbs in the paper or floating on the internet about this health scare and that.  We have all urged our mothers, daughters, aunts, sisters, and friends to get one symptom (or several) checked out just to be on the safe side. Well, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health is taking it one step further and dedicating an entire week to us and our health.

National Women’s Health Week kicks off on Mother’s Day (how appropriate), May 13, 2012 and is celebrated through May 19, 2012.  The focus of the week long celebration is to empower women to make their health numero uno (not second, third, or not at all).

Mark your calendars, set your iPhone or Droid alarms and get ready.  Don’t fret though–we will be sure to remind you to take the week to take care of you. It’s hard, we know, but leaving the dishes in the sink for an extra 15 minutes to take a brisk walk or taking your lunch hour to get a quick check up from the doc will help to keep a preventable illness at bay.

For more information on National Women’s Health Week and so much more and if you are as serious about this (as we know you are), visit and take the Checkup Day Pledge (NWHW Checkup Day, May 14, 2012).

Week 6: Shed It Meal Plan Style

3 Oct

Yup, it’s that time.  It’s time to set up a meal plan and show this weight who’s boss.  It…is…time…for…a…plan!  Grrrrrrr. After I got the hang of the working out thing, I decided it was time to tackle food.  It was a scary thought, but once  a plan was in place has been a walk in the park (most days).

Here are the basics of what should be entering the body:

CARBS—hmmm…they are good for you—the complex ones are, but the simple carbs suck big time.  They are simple so the body doesn’t break them down as they do complex ones and it’s basically blasted into sugar and turned into fat.  Also, incase you were unaware—carbs (complex or not) take 6 hours to turn into fat (I know! Makes everything so clear now right?!) so it’s best to eat them earlier in the day and not at all at night (complex ones from veggies are ok).

FRUITS—we need them, we love them but they do have one slight issue—they are usually filled with sugar, although natural (bananas being the highest) that can make things tricky sometimes.  3-5 servings a day are great, but beware of chugging down the servings via juices.  The nutrients in the fruit is best when it’s in its natural state.  Similar to the carb thing, it’s best not to eat fruit after 2pm.

VEGGIES—again…we need them and we kinda love them.  There isn’t much too awful to say about veggies.  Be careful not to choke too many gas producing veggies or else you are liable to blow. Try to keep a nice balance. Also, be careful not to chug them down too often, unless you combine them in a super smoothie like a Salad in a Glass or mixed with other fruits.  V8 is not the best option for veg drinking–sorry to break it to ya.  Cooking veggies is fine, but the most punch is packed in the veg when it isn’t cooked TOO much. Try steaming or just chomping raw.

DAIRY—some people can, and some people can’t with the dairy.  The most important thing to do is to get between 2-3 servings a day through various types.  Lower fat is best!  Almond milk is a-maz-ing, especially the chocolate ones (my vice). They taste nutty at first but once you get use to it (which doesn’t take long) it’s a good substitute when you want to give the dairy a rest.

MEAT/BEANS—ahhh, protein.  It is the necessary part of life.  Protein comes in many forms, but most of us get what we need from the meat we eat.  The best type of meat to eat is lean meats and meats that aren’t pumped full of drugs.  Legumes are also a fab way to sneak in some protein when meat isn’t on the top of the list. Sneaking proteins in your smoothies are awesome too if you don’t feel like chewing on a side of beef (sometimes you just get sick of eating dead animals, you know?).

DRINKS—drinking water is a major important part in the living healthy thing.  Being dehydrated is common, but putting water in the body balances things out.  So drinking about 10-12 glasses per day is a good way to keep the body on track (especially when you are sweating it out).  Not every drink HAS to be water, but if it isn’t water—make sure it isn’t diet soda (if it can be helped). The chemicals and the effects of diet soda can cause problems in the future (from what I’ve read).  Smoothies, juices, teas and sparkling drinks are wonderful substitutes—just be careful about the added sugars.

Whew! That was a ton of info, I know, but you can do it.  Just be mindful of what you are eating and make sure it is more ‘good’ for you than ‘not-so good’ for you.


EAT & LOGThis week our only focus will be adopting a new way of eating, and logging everything.  No, you don’t have to do it for the rest of your life, but why not give it a try?  There have been a lot of things said about the long line of diets out there on the market, but (for the most part) they all have something in common (the new ones anyway): lower carb intake, lower salt intake, and lower sugar intake.  Up the lean proteins, fruits and veggies and what’s left is the way we were MEANT to eat.


Calories in vs. Calories out is the name of the game pretty much.  My basic calorie plan is for a 1500+ cal day.  Yours may be different.  But the daily meal plan below is a guideline: 

BREAKFAST:  (475) cals; Suggestions: Lean protein, low fat dairy, fruit serving, veg serving, carb. In order to not feel totally hungry later in the day—eating a higher cal breakfast chocked full of protein (and some fiber) will help tremendously. 

MORNING SNACK: (100) cals; Suggestions:  fruit serving, veg serving, carb, lean protein, low fat dairy.  It’s always good to eat a light snack between lunch and breakfast.  It keeps you from going overboard later in the day.

LUNCH:  (425) cals; Suggestions: lean protein, veg serving, fruit serving low fat dairy, carb.  This meal should be able to carry you over to later in the evening when dinner goes down.  This should be the last meal of the day that would include a carb or anything with added sugar. 

AFTERNOON SNACK: (100) cals; Suggestions: fruit serving (if snack is before 2pm), low fat dairy, veg serving, lean protein. Some times an afternoon snack is not necessary, but sometimes it just is.  Listen to the body.

DINNER:  (400) cals; Suggestions: lean protein, veg serving.

*NOTE: Try not to eat fruit after 2pm.  Good for you carbs: whole grain bread, oatmeal, whole wheat and veggie wraps, brown rice, whole grain pasta, sweet potato (to name a few).  Try to stay away from too much red meat.  If at all possible, stick with poultry and fish or just good ol’ veggies.  If you  have red meat, make it as lean as possible.

JHud Opens A Weight Watchers Center

29 Sep

AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

The ex-American Idol contestant turned Oscar winning actress has been the topic of many discussions since her debut as the latest Weight Watchers spokesperson.  For some she has gotten too small and for others she seems to be just right, but no matter what any of us think–one thing is for sure…JHud is making this weight loss thing stick.

In a Chicago South Side strip mall (not far from President Obama’s home) JHud stood gushing at her latest accomplishment.  “I never thought I would make it to have my own center,” said Hudson. “I’m so honored to be here and see this day.”  On Tuesday, September 27th, Jennifer Hudson stood alongside Alderman Will Burns, Dave Burwick (President of Weight Watchers North America), and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and cut the ribbon to the Weight Watchers Jennifer Hudson Center.  Weight Watchers has pledged to donate a portion of the funds generated by the center to a foundation Hudson co-founded in honor of her nephew, Julian King.

So here’s the question we ask–a lot has been said about JHud’s 80 pound weight loss (dropping her from a size 16 to a size 6)–what do you think about it?  Is Jennifer promoting a healthy lifestyle, a dieting system, or both? Do you think we focus more on the diet than living a healthy lifestyle?

Comment, tweet us, facebook us or all of the above. We really are interested in what you think.


Week 5: Get Real

26 Sep

The day I threw out the scale, I declared that I just didn’t need it. The number that glared at me from between my feet was too close to 300lbs, therefore it must have been wrong.  Besides, I told myself, digital scales have expiration dates or something. They don’t last forever. (Yea, I know–I called b.s. on that one too once I wised up)  After months of moving and making better food decisions, I knew it was time to face the numbers again.This time when I looked at the numbers, I knew I would  have to came to grips with that being my place.

A lot of the journey through Healthyland is about just being real. No, I didn’t like the numbers I saw. No I didn’t like the measurements I took, but they were mine. I owned them. All of the cake, doughnuts, cookies, soda, pasta, cheese, butter, and fast food I put in my body belonged to me.  In order to get real and keep my tennis shoes on the ground, I had to let my inner healthy chic speak really candidly to my outer big chic (with love of course). She wrote a letter to me, and as crazy as it sounds, it really helped.

Dear Big Chic,

As your friend, I want to say that there are no hard feelings for putting us in this place.  I know it’s rough. I know food is your constant, but what I also know is that it’s time for a change. Your way of doing things just isn’t working and I think it’s time that you let me have the reigns for a bit.  There are some things I need you to know about the journey we are going to take together. Remember–this is out of love (smile).

(1) The scale doesn’t lie. Yes, there is such a thing as water weight, but honey you aren’t carrying 100lbs of water weight. Just sayin’.

(2)You are not Beyonce’s twin. No matter how much working out you do or how much weight you drop it will never happen. You will look like you–just less of you.

(3)Sweat is your friend.  You can’t ever ever ever ever lose it without moving your body. Period. You are not lazy, just a little side tracked is all.

(4)Weight loss does not equal happiness. Just because you lose pounds doesn’t mean you’ll lose the unhappy. Work on the icky stuff first.

(5)No diet soda, fat free, and sugar free are not your friends. They only make you fatter.

(6)Yes, that was your fat ass that you just saw in the mirror and yes, your stomach really is that big. Look at it, jiggle it, laugh at it, and then hug it because it is all a part of you.

(7)You aren’t perfect. Yes, I know you are having a hard time with this one, but it is the truth.

(8)You can’t control everything. Again…I know you may have a hard time with this one, but it is the truth. You tried to control emotions and people by holding them at bay with–you guessed it–food and how has that worked for you so far?  Mmmhm, I thought so.

(9)Friends, family and strangers do not, I repeat do not, want to hear about how they should not eat or drink this or that. Please don’t be one of those people.

(10)Fat, Obese, and Overweight are just words and yes you are all of the above, but that’s ok because it doesn’t make you who you are. Love who you are not the labels others (and you) may put on you.

Where you are weak, I will be strong. We are in this thing together and we can be better, but you are going to have to trust me. Remember #8? Yea, that applies in this situation.

With Love, The Healthy Chic


TALK TO YOURSELF — It sounds super crazy, but do it.  Write a list of things that you know to be true.  Often times we know the truth but we never want to fully admit it. Be honest, be real, and be positive.

BE A VISIONARY — This week, scour magazines, newspapers, and websites for delicious foods that nourish the body along with things and places that instantly de-stress.  After you are all finished, place the vision board in a place you will see it to remind you of how to feed your body, mind and spirit.  NOTE: Your vision board can be created on the computer and printed out if that works best or you can get down and dirty with the glue and scissors—kindergarten style.

Week 4: Move!

19 Sep

I workout 6 days a week. I run/walk 2-3 miles per day, and I take part in some sort of kick ass fitness program (for the next 2+ months it is Turbo Fire).  When I made up my mind to do the Peachtree the first thing I knew I had to do was move my body.  I began walking for 30 minutes, 2-3 days per week.  I felt slow and stupid at first, but I had to keep reminding myself that I would eventually be able to walk at a speed higher than 3.5 without passing out.

Believe it or not, being active is the easiest part of being a healthier individual.  For some it may mean walking every day after dinner for 30 minutes, for others it may mean having a love hate relationship with Shaun T (“dig deeper people! dig deeper!”), either way you look at it though getting off the couch and moving is beneficial (and easy).

Now before you jump off the couch and head on in to the gym or take a turn or two on your local track–here’s some much needed advice.

Nike Air Pegasus +27, $72

Shoes–The most important thing you will ever do for your fitness regiment is to buy a good pair of shoes.  For cross training, running, or walking a good pair of shoes will ward off injury.


Enell Sports Bra, $60

Sports Bra–This is the second highest important weapon in your fitness arsenal. Some women can get away with the little spandex contraptions at Target, others (like me) have to twist themselves into a vest of sorts. The Enell is tops on my list of sports bras to own.



Workout Gear–Finally we get to the fashionable part! Some people feel good working out in bleach stained oversized tees (guilty), some feel good wearing the latest fitness fashions.  Whatever your style, go with it, but be mindful of some things.  If you have thick thunder thighs (guilty again), shorts can be annoying. Try capris or a loose basketball short instead–no ride up there.  If you have a lot of junk in yo’ trunk (not guilty) or a lot of uncontrollable jiggle in the gut or legs (guilty) compression bottoms work wonders. Always, always always opt for the moisture wicking fabric–especially in the heat. 

Need some workout inspiration? Too embarrassed or broke (guilty again) to head to the gym? Here are some good places to start from home.

Low Impact–Leslie Sansone, Walk Away The Pounds. I absolutely love love love her! You sweat, but you won’t die from it.




High Impact–Shaun T, Insanity. If you want to die in a pool of sweat after just 45 minutes of movement–this is the one.





Kick Ass–Billy Blanks, Tae Bo. Whenever I get extremely stressed out or angry, I pop in B Blanks and whip some air butt. 




High Energy–Chalean Johnson, TurboFire. A-freakin-mazing. You move from minute one with a combination of dance and kick boxing. 20 minutes will go by and you won’t even know it.




Dance–Alberto “Beto” Perez, Zumba. Do you love dance? Want to move and sweat but have a blast too? Zumba is p-e-r-f-e-c-t! Low Impact, but high fun. It really is a blast.





Strength Training— Jackie Warner, Power Circuit Training. Jackie’s Power Circuit lets you work on each area in 15 min segments or all at once. Great workout for on-the-go movers and shakers.



MOVE IT TO LOSE IT–For the past month you have been moving 3 days for at least 30 min (or I hope you have been), this week we are going to bump it up (you’re ready for that right?) This week move your body for 5 days at a minimum of 30 minutes. 

*REMEMBER–Drink 64 oz of water every day.

Week 3: A Course In Weight Loss

12 Sep

Imagine [the] excess weight as a brick wall you are carrying around.  This wall has been built by your subconscious mind; its purpose is to separate you from other people and from life itself. Your fear has built the wall, and love will tear it down.” Those 3 small sentences changed my life forever and for the next week I walked around in a stupor wondering why I had never thought of my weight that way before.  I spent most of my free time devouring books and magazines on health, running, fitness, and (you guessed it) food.  Somewhere I ran across a green book that would change how I felt about the weight I carried.  A Course In Weight Loss (by Marianne Williamson) saved my life.

You go on a diet. You say to yourself, “Monday is the day! No more fat pants. No more sitting still. No more eating things that aren’t good for me.  Just me, my tennis shoes, and a bowl of salad.”  By Thursday you are hoovering through a bag of chips or a carton of ice cream.  You tell yourself there is no point. “Why bother?”  For the next few days you eat whatever you see and by Sunday you are either throwing your scale away or declaring to do it again.  Perhaps you do it again via a weight loss program or buddy up thinking that this time it will work.  Yea…I’m here to tell you that you’re loony.  It will never ever work.  

Becoming a healthier person and really controlling how you use food is all about why you hide yourself from the world.  So no matter how much money you spend or how much weight you think you can lose, you will always be carrying that “brick wall”.  I began to no longer feel comfortable with what I was carrying and I really, truly faced what it was.  That’s when the change began.

So many times I have shoved food in my mouth because I was sad, lonely, happy, upset or bored.  So many times I ate because I was feeling things I couldn’t even identify. I now had a better understanding of why I had tried and failed so many times, and I vowed to tear down that stupid wall once and for all.  With the help of true understanding (on my part), the book, the lessons, and the small prayers at the end of each lesson (life…changing), I changed day by day.  Today I am able to identify why I am craving a  box of Dunkin’ Donuts.  Today I am able to really deal with what is happening instead of covering it up with food.

The weight you are seeking to let go of was added to your [mind] before it was added to your body.  Your body is merely a screen onto which is projected the nature of your thoughts. When the weight is gone from your [mind], it will be gone from your physical experience.”  Yea, girl. Let that sink all the way in.


DEAL WITH ITTake a step back and just deal with the weight on your mind. It will be harsh, there’s no doubt about that.  Below are a few words Marianne used in the book for the reader to identify each “brick”. This week, take a long look at each word and ask yourself if it represents a thought, emotion, or character flaw.  Write down the details and sit with it.  Close your eyes and picture your wall with each brick identified by the words that follow.  Reach your hands out, touch each brick and watch the wall crumble before your eyes.

Shame, Anger, Fear, Unforgiveness, Judgment, Disdain, Excess Responsibility, Pressure, Exhaustion, Burden, Stress, Heartbreak, Injustice, Protection, Pride, Selfishness, Jealousy, Greed, Laziness, Separation, Dishonesty, Arrogance, Inferiority, Embarrassment, Self-abnegation.

REMEMBERDrink your H2O, 64 oz and move your body 30 minutes, 3 days this week.

Week 2: Gooooaaaallll!

5 Sep

(Ok, I’ll give it to you–that title is pretty corny, but I was really trying) A few weeks ago, I shared my personal steps to weight loss with you.  This week I would like to discuss the first step.  So, to recap for those who don’t regularly read my ramblings, I will summarize the journey.

I realized I was fat months prior to making a goal when I got on the scale and it read 293.  I threw the scale away claiming it was old…and wrong.  A few months later, I began to feel sick, sluggish, headachey, and a touch dizzy.  I soon found myself seated in the doctor’s office with a bp cuff on my arm.  Ultimately the doc gave me a perscription for a water pill (which would change to bp medication if the water pill didn’t work–eeek. I hate meds) and broached the subject of doing  lap band surgery.  The lap band surgery suggestion was a punch in my 53inch gut (actually, it was the insurance company saying they wouldn’t pay for it that hurt the most).

With bp issues, diabetes, cholesterol, and heart troubles floating around in my family history, I decided to make a change…but how?  Losing weight had never really worked–well, stuck–before and I didn’t really have the patience to deal with the constant cake vs. no cake tug of war again (cake always wins…no matter what). “Screw the scale! Screw the rabbit food! Screw the never ending ‘I can’t have’!” I said thrusting my chubby fist in the air–I would make a goal instead.

My goal was to run the Peachtree. Your goal may be different.  At the time I made the goal, running a 10k (6.2 miles) felt almost like a superhuman aspiration.  I had 38 weeks to pull off an impossible (or seemingly impossible) goal.  Needless to say, the goal wasn’t impossible and yours won’t be either.  In order to really change your life, you have to peel back the layers.  Making a goal for yourself, no matter how silly it may seem, is just one way to begin peeling the layers back.


DREAM BIGDiets suck.  The focus of your efforts should not be on the weight you need to lose (and which plan you should try next).  The focus should be on an ‘impossible’ goal.  This week, I want you to think big (no pun intended) and reach really, really high. Share your goals. I would love to hear them.  This might seem like a lame first step, but I promise you it will push you to do amazing things.

REMEMBER — Drink at least 64 oz of water per day and get moving for 30 minutes, 3 days this week. We will worry about food a little later. 

Week 1: The Plan

29 Aug

Welcome to The Plan. Clever name eh? Now, before you begin there are some pretty nifty rules to abide by.  If you don’t want the Healthy Lifestyle Goons to give you a pair of specialty made cement shoes (sorry…currently listening to the Sopranos on the tv), you better take note of them.



1) I AM NOT ON A DIET. Nope, you most certainly are not. This, my friend, is not a diet. It is a way of living your life. Life has it’s rollercoaster moments and your weight does as well. The problem with dieting is that when the word is uttered our brains go into “Can’t Have” mode and eventually we end up doing a swan dive into a double chocolate cake (ok…weak moment…yum!). Never say this is a diet. Just say “I’m loving my body right” and changing your life in the process.

2) I WILL GET SWEATY. Oh yea! Who doesn’t love sweat? Eh? Yes, it does look a whole lot sexier dripping down a hard body’s six pack vs. your–um–well….but in order to get to the hard body, sweat is manditory. EVERY WEEK WILL CONSIST OF 3 DAYS OF VIGOROUS ACTIVITY FOR 30 MIN. There is no bending the rules on this one. In order for your inner organs to be healthy, they need some of your good ol’ fashioned sweat. Doing more than that is optional (go ‘head girl! get it innnnnn), but be sure not to kill yourself, mmmnokay?

3) I WILL NOT EAT PAST 7:30. (If your schedule permits) Some people don’t have this luxury, but if you do make sure you don’t break this rule. Nothing else, except water or herbal tea (if you feel like you’re absolutely dying of hunger) should cross your lips past 7:30. This rule may be bent ONE (1) day per week, but if it’s not necessary don’t do it.

4) MY TOILET WILL BE MY NEW BFF. Know what that means? That’s right–we’re talking good ol’ H2O goin’ in and comin’ out. At least 64 oz of water should be entering the body daily. Some places will count diet sodas or tea or coffee as part of water consumption, but that doesn’t fly here. Crystal clear water is all we’re counting…well 64 oz of it anyway.

5) I WILL DATE MY SCALE ONCE A WEEK…IF YOU CAN HANDLE THAT. Once a week, not 12 times a day (guilty), is all that’s needed for the scale.  Sometimes the numbers on the scale lie–ok not really…well kinda– but the tape measure is the best way to peek at progress.


The Plan consists of those (5) little rules above. You should be doing that anyway–in life I mean.  Each week there will be a small challenge. There will NEVER be more than one challenge in the week. Change is about small steps. The changes we make only look big to those on the outside looking in, but WE know how many steps it took to get there.

Chelsea Settles

27 Aug

I don’t watch MTV much. I am not a huge fan of pregnant 16 year olds, horny 20-somethings being forced to live in a swanky apartment, or overly tanned Italians from NJ. Since they haven’t really shown a video since 1985, I tend to channel surf right past MTV, but when a friend emailed me the trailer (click here)  for the new ‘reality’ show, Chelsea Settles, I was intrigued–enough to set the DVR for October 11, 11:00pm.

For those of you (like me) who didn’t know about the show, it appears to be about the very public journey of a small town girl who just happens to be enamoured with fashion, tries to get a job in the industry, and weighs 324 lbs.  In the trailer, you can see she is a tad bit uncomfortable with saying those numbers out loud (324) for the whole world to hear, but bravely she takes on the journey.  The trailer also shows a few idiots hissing mean comments at her like “You’re fat, bitch” (Quick note to you asshats: it’s obvious she knows she is overweight–she didn’t need you to tell her.  Don’t worry though, I’m sure someone will return the favor when you have somehow squeezed your wide behind (a few years from now) into jeans that belong in the Jr’s department while your unsightly, gelatinous, stretch marked bulge spills from up under your too small, stained baby tee.  Just sayin’).

From what I see, Chelsea seems sweet and determined to walk her journey.  Moving to LA to pursue a career in fashion couldn’t have possibly been easy, but she did it. Perhaps (even before we really get to know her) we can all take away a little something from this 23 year old go getter.  Stepping out on faith to pursue something worth while is what makes life worth living–especially when you embrace growth along the way.  Kudos to MTV for showing the journey.  Maybe it will inspire others do get out there and actually do something instead of making excuses as to why they can’t.  I do have one complaint, though.  Eleven o’clock is kinda late–it’s waaaay past my bed time.  Do you think we could move that up a bit?  Just askin’.