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FAT ACCEPTANCE? “HAES” (Health At Every Size)?

2 Jul


TOPICS:  Fat Acceptence and HAES Movements

Today on the Backstage Pass Radio Program, I’ll be co-hosting the show with  good friend of mine.  Author Dagny Kight, of, will be discussing a very topics that will likely ruffle some features.   We originally scheduled the program to talk about two very popular artcle we saw online, invited the authors and (surprise) were ignored.  Here are the  individual articles were were ininitially discussing:

From these articles, we then found ourselves smack dab in the Fat Acceptance and HAES Movements, and decided to feature today’s show on that.

We’ll be discussing The Fat Acceptance Movement and the HAES momvement.  Here’s some info from both:


Founded in 1969, NAAFA is a non-profit civil rights organization dedicated to ending size discrimination in all of its forms. NAAFA’s goal is to help build a society in which people of every size are accepted with dignity and equality in all aspects of life. NAAFA will pursue this goal through advocacypublic education, and support.

—obesity research should be focused on improving the quality of life for fat people instead of weight loss

—the media and educational materials aimed at children should include fat positive role models

—public and private organizations and government agencies involved in recommending public health policy should consult the NAAFA for guidelines in protecting the interests of fat people

Where they appear to want to take choices away by defining these choices as unhealthy

—insurance coverage should not cover weight loss treatment including prescription drugs and surgery

—weight loss surgery should be “discontinued” as based on the usual inaccurate and old statistics

ASDAH’s HAES Principles reject judgments about health and any discourse of individual responsibility

HAES now rejects what is called “healthism,” the defining of what’s considered healthy or unhealthy. Again, HAES’s position is totally subjective and, I think, meaningless. How can we discuss health if we refuse to define it? I remember well a post by Marianne Kirby that argued we can’t judge a person who chooses a candy bar over an apple because we don’t know what informed their choice and we shouldn’t define foods as “healthy” or “unhealthy” as those definitions would extend to the people who choose the food.

Dangy and I woulod LOVE, LOVE, LOVE for you to join in the discussions You can call in at either  347-857-2052 or call into the show directly with Skype.  We welcome and thank you for participating in the discussion.


28 May

Wednesday, July 2nd @ NOON, PST
opens 15 minutes before showtime
Please email me at

Have ideas for talking points, questions, or discussion topics? Please email me or leave them in the comments section below.  Thanks!


I recently read a very interesting article by Marianne Kirby on xoJane called, “I’VE ONLY GOT 1 THING TO SAY TO FOLKS WHO DON’T UNDERSTAND FAT ACCEPTANCE,” which was a response article to Carolyn Hall’s “6 THINGS I DON’T UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE FAT ACCEPTANCE MOVEMENT.”  The article has almost 600 comments – which are incredibly interesting, provocative and informative all at the same time.

As a former morbidly-obese woman (311+ lbs), I am incredibly sensitive to the bias and stigma against overweight people. However, I struggle with the terms and ideaologies that are core to the Fat Acceptance movement.

Today’s discussion will feature a panel of smart, intelligent folks from both sides of the table discussing the ideas and issues.  My aim is to keep the discussion respectful and moderated.  Interested in being on the panel?  Please email me at:


Diva Taunia
Dagny Kight – author of Powerful Hunger
Stay tuned for more panelists!


1 Apr

Yesterday, my latest blog article was posted on the Wellesse blog, and I was inspired to run a little contest so that you could share your story and possibly win some Wellesse Liquid Bariatric Vitamins!

The blog article is about shapewear, and in the comments section, I shared a “funny” story about shapewear – I’m sure we all have them.  All you need to do to be entered into the raffle drawing is either 1) share your funny shapewear story or 2) share your favorite piece of shapewear (brand name and possibly a link if you have one).  That’s it!

Everyone who enters by Friday, April 4th at NOON PST will have a chance to win a full bottle of  Wellesse Multivitamin +, Joint Movement Glucosamine, Digestive Balance Aloe Vera, and some sample sizes of Iron, Calcium, and B12.

To enter, just click on the graphic below and it will take you directly to the article.  Scroll to the bottom and leave your story or shapewear favorite in the comments section.  Wellesse approves each comment, so don’t worry if you don’t see it right away – it will show up later after it’s approved.  Thanks for playing!

“The shape of things to come…”


18 Aug

Do you remember when you finally made the decision to have weight loss surgery?  How excited you were to FINALLY know that you were going to tackle it head-on, but then also get really nervous about how you could possibly pay for it?  Would insurance cover it?  All the worry, all the anxiety about it.

Many of us, myself included, were lucky enough to have the surgery covered by insurance.  My life has been entirely changed for the better since that decision five and a half years ago.

I just read about a contest today that Riverside Surgical Weight Loss Center / Sebastian River Medical Center is running:   two winners will win a free weight loss surgery procedure.  Two people can have their lives changed forever!

One of the contestants is someone who’s become quite active in our community.  Her name is Anna Vasquez, and she WAS in second place but has slipped to third place.  WE have the power to help her get her numbers back up.  It takes only a few moments to vote, and you can vote every 24 hours.  How great would it be to work as a community and see her win?

This is Anna.  Look at that smile.  I think she’s cute as a button, and I want her to win. You can help!   Click on her photo and it will take you to the page to vote:


Just “like” the page, then you can immediately vote for her – every 24 hours.  And I KNOW this community can help her win this.  Just a few clicks, and you could change someone’s life.  Go, Anna!  :)


Burlesque Babe – New WLS Patient

13 Aug

This lovely gal, Heather B,  posted on my Facebook Diva Taunia Music page and very sweetly gave me a little shout out. I think she’s just cute as a button and I’d love for folks to give her some support and wls love as she starts on her journey. :)

Ladies Home Journal : Need Lapband Interview

31 May

I get daily media inquiries from various sources and this one came through this morning.  They’re looking for a lapband patient to interview for an article.  Good luck!


Name: Kenneth Miller Ladies’ Home Journal

Category: General


Media Outlet: Ladies’ Home Journal

Deadline: 7:00 PM PST – 3 June



I’m looking for a woman who’s undergone lap-band surgery and is
willing to talk about her experience in detail — the operation
itself, what led up to it, and what life has been like since
then. This article will tell the patient’s story in her own
words, based on an interview which I’ll edit for clarity and
narrative flow.


23 Apr

I know that brussels sprouts get a bad rap, and I think that’s why I avoided them like the plague for most of my adult life.  What I didn’t realize is that they could be DELICIOUS and super-duper easy to make.  I’m going to give you two versions:  one low-calorie and much healthier, and another with, you know, BACON.  :)


  • 8-10 large/robust fresh brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons of good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Splenda or other sugar substitute
  • 1/2 teaspoon each of kosher salt and pepper



  1. Take the brussels sprouts and cut them in half, width-wise
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, salt and pepper
  3. Toss the brussel sprouts until they are well-moistened
  4. Grill the brussel sprouts for about 10 minutes, turning frequently to get even carmelization
  5. Enjoy the hell outta these!


  1. Follow the recipe from above, then set aside grilled brussels sprouts when done
  2. In a pan, crisp up one half package of small diced/cubed pancetta.  You can usually find this pre-packaged in the salami and deli meat section.  Fresh pancetta is best, but in a pinch you can use the packaged.   It will be about 1/4 cup of pancetta total.
  3. Take the pancetta out of the pan to blot from the oil. Toss pancetta into a bowl, and then toss in the sprouts and mix well.  Enjoy the hell outta this even more!  The salty and sweet are a really killer combo!

If you make this, please let me know what you think!  :)


Brussels sprouts are a cultivar of the same species that includes cabbagecollard greensbroccolikale, and kohlrabi; they arecruciferous (they belong to the Brassicaceae family; old name Cruciferae). They contain good amounts of vitamin Avitamin Cfolic acid and dietary fiber. Moreover, they are believed to protect against colon cancer, because they contain sinigrin.[5] Although they contain compounds such as goitrin that can act as goitrogens and interfere with thyroid hormone production, realistic amounts in the diet do not seem to have any effect on the function of the thyroid gland in humans.[6] Brussels sprouts also contain high levels of erucic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid.[7]




7 Apr

WLS Post-Ops—Beginning a Lifetime Exercise Habit: Part 3 of 3
by guest blogger and author Dagny Kight

Ready to start exercising after weight loss surgery? Got clearance from your surgeon? OK, time for a plan. Hold on! Don’t rush out to a gym! For most folks who have WLS, it’s probably been awhile since you got any significant physical activity. Maybe you’ve never really exercised at all. That’s OK. I’ve created a Three-Part Plan for getting started with effective exercise.

1.  Develop a regular habit.

This is the challenge of getting started! Even if you begin with a minute of exercise, doing something every day at the same time each day is the best way to establish that critical habit. Saying they’ll make time during the day is how most people find their plans fall apart. Pick a time of day that works for your schedule and stick with it. I highly recommend going for first thing in the morning! If you don’t already have to get up before dawn, get up a little earlier, have your clothes and equipment laid out from the night before, and kick start your day! Even if you’re only able to do a minimal workout at first, prepare as if you’re putting in a full session. Those details will be integral to establishing the routine.

2.  Connect with your body.

A lot of us who live many years at a high weight become disconnected from our physical presence. Becoming aware of your body and connecting with how it responds can be a powerful component of your overall transformation. A heart rate strap will not only give you a quantifiable means of learning how your body is functioning, it will guide you to gauge the intensity of your workouts.

If exercising has previously felt like a chore or worse, an ordeal, simply exhausting yourself or feeling reminded of your physical limitations, connecting with the beating of your heart and the rhythm of your breathing will allow you to put the focus on improving your fitness. Using a heart rate strap lets you see improvement by the numbers. You’ll feel the changes and you’ll be able to track quantifiable proof it’s happening and that’s so exciting!

Connecting with your body will begin to influence how you feel about your physical self. It gets really difficult to hate your body when you experience improvements and feel your ability expanding!

3.  Challenge yourself.

You achieve results when you continually push your limits. Whether you start with thirty seconds or thirty minutes of physical activity, tracking your heart rate will guide you to identify how to challenge yourself. Working with a heart rate strap, you’ll be able to see how quickly your heartbeat pops up with exertion and then recovers to a normal pace. You can make note of your heart rate when you reach the point that your body and breathing are telling you to stop. As time goes by, you’ll feel your breathing become deep and rhythmic and you’ll see proof in the numbers, confirming that you are achieving an improvement in your cardiovascular efficiency!

Get Moving!

So how should you begin an exercise regimen? Any way you can! For my clients who have not exercised in a long time or for those who wish to keep it simple and develop a sense of physical confidence, I start them with a High Step. This is an inexpensive piece of equipment with a small footprint. Place it anywhere in your home where you want to step and adjust the height. Then just step! Step forward, step backward, go side to side, add a little jump, modify your speed to do intervals, add a riser—The High Step lets you mix it up while getting your heart pumpin’! You could even place it next to something sturdy to hold for balance if you need to, at first.

A High Step and a heart rate strap represent a minimal investment to start building a regular exercise habit aimed at conditioning your heart.  Once you’ve developed a sense of physical confidence and feel connected to how your body is changing, I hope you’ll want to be adventurous! Get out of the house to walk, get a bicycle, play a sport, jump in a pool, or give a gym membership a try if you think you’ll make the time to go consistently. I highly recommend that you choose a locally-owned independent gym where the trainers are less likely to be pushed to sell class packages. Be sure to ask about any trainer’s certification. NASM is the top certification required by the best gyms; ACE is popular among trainers who lead exercise classes. If you’re interested in trying kettlebells, get the proper instruction from a trainer certified by RKC or IKFF.

Powerful Hunger by Dagny Kight

Powerful Hunger by Dagny Kight

Visit the Equipment & Tools page at to find well-priced heart rate straps and the High Step.

BOOK BONUS for Diva Taunia Friends & Fans! Download an excerpt from the book, Powerful Hunger, to get detailed information about baselining your heart rate to begin an exercise regimen.



11 Feb

For the past few days, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend on Facebook:  women complaining about their bodies and why they hate them(selves).  Believe me, I’m not exempt:  I do it too.  But when does it stop for us?  It’s hate-talk, just directed at ourselves.

The other day, I read a beautiful article titled, “So You’re Feeling Too Fat To Be Photographed?” on the blog My Friend Theresa Photography.  She writes:

In our warped minds pictures become frozen mirrors that we can stare at as we pick apart our features over and over again.”

Theresa had been in a serious car accident and realized that had the accident been fatal, her family would have had no photographs to remember her by.  She posted a beautiful family portrait that she took and summed up exactly what WE don’t see when we look at our own photos:


©My Friend Theresa Photography

Do you know what my mom sees when she looks at this picture? Her beautiful family all together.
Do you know what my husband sees? The family he gained the moment he met me (and how much he looks like my dad…)
Do you know what my dad sees? The happy family he has worked for every day of his life.
Do you know what my brother sees? That he got away with wearing shorts… :)

This really struck me, and was incredibly poignant.  Life is not about vanity.  Life is about living.  For those of us who have had weight loss surgery, we *should* know how incredibly lucky we are to have had a second chance at health and are most likely living a life that we never lived before.  Enjoying every day with our spouses, kids, friends, loved ones.  Being able to breathe, to walk, to dance, to MOVE.  Still?  We obsess about the number on the scale and the way we look.  There’s always something to hate:  right now, find everything to love.

When I moved to California, Jake told me that we are not allowed to have a scale in the house.  I panicked.  My entire life had been ruled by the numbers that I would see on there.  When I started losing weight, those numbers validated everything for me.  They showed me progress, they kept me on track, they kept me accountable…at least that’s what I told myself.  The scale was just a new form of obsession since I was not able to eat my obsessions any more.  And five years later, I was still ruled by it, and my fiance’ had the good sense to put a stop to those shenanigans right away.

Let me tell you what has changed in five years and what truly matters: it’s not the fluctuating number on the scale.  It’s not the oft-changing size of my clothing or extra pounds that have snuck back on.  It’s not how trendy or stylish  my clothing is.  It is my life, the one that I am living.

Since I’ve lost weight, I’ve done things that I’ve never dreamed possible.  I danced.  Not only did I dance, but I produced and choreographed a 50+ cast and crew burlesque and cabaret group.  I’ve flown multiple times without needing a seat belt extender or being worried that I wouldn’t fit.  I’ve run.  I’ve walked.  I’ve ridden a bike.  I’ve run around with my nieces and nephews without getting winded.  I’ve loved, I’ve lived, and I’m alive.  I’m alive, and for the most part, healthy.  My body moves.  And right now, with no scale and no knowledge of what my actual weight is, I’m the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been.

My body may not be perfect, but it’s doing things that five years ago were not even possible for me. I have friends who have limited mobility, who are confined to a wheelchair, and would give anything to be able to have their body do what mine can.  How completely and utterly selfish and self-centered of me to not appreciate that, and to not look in the mirror and see how very lucky I am.

I’m begging you – us – to stop obsessing about the scale.  Stop obsessing about the number on the label.  Stop obsessing about the 5-10 lbs you may have put on.  Look in the mirror RIGHT NOW and see how beautiful you are.  How lucky you are to be able to breathe, move, and LIVE. And see yourself the way the people in your life do:  amazing, special, and loved.

You are more than any number to them, I promise you that.


25 Jan

I write a lot of reviews here on my blog, on my Yelp Page, and on my YouTube Page.  When I like a product or service, I generally post about it right away, but it’s rare that I  write more than one review.  The Lash Company is the exception to that rule.  Their customer service and business model is so stellar, that I am writing about them twice.


I am a customer-service stickler.  I get really disappointed by a lot of businesses that don’t place enough value and emphasis on customer service.  To me, it’s truly the backbone of the company’s success, and I’m always amazed at how many companies lack even the most basic elements of good customer service.  The Lash Company & Skin Care Boutique doesn’t  just provide good customer service, they offer STELLAR customer service, and other small (and large) businesses should take note.

My experience with them started with a phone call, answered by Jeremy, who was very friendly and polite, and we even connected in conversation after finding out we’re both East Coast transplants to California.  He had to check on a time for me, but called me back promptly to offer me times and also followed up our conversation with an email confirmation for my appointment (which I LOVED because I’m incredibly forgetful and that reminded me to put it in my calendar).  I was booked for an electrology appointment with Rosie.

When I walked in, I fell in love with the decor – pinks, leopard prints – totally my type of place.  The gals there were super friendly, despite obviously being very busy with their customers.   Rosie came out, introduced herself, and then brought me to the back room and took lots of notes to make sure she knew about my medical history, my concerns, my previous experiences, and my future “wants.”

She immediately put me at ease with great conversation, and she worked really efficiently with minimal pain (which is to be expected, at least a little bit).  I was really pleased with the end result, and the price is very comparable with my east coast treatments ($60/hr).    I just found her to be so personable and professional, I’d highly recommend her to anyone looking for an electrologist.

That appointment was yesterday.  Today in the mail, I received this little note card:

thank you

It was a lovely hand-written note from Rosie thanking me for coming in.  Prompt and incredibly thoughtful, this is the way that customer service *should* be.   I am so impressed with the way they regarded me as a customer, and it’s obvious from their other Yelp reviews that others agree.

Other businesses would do well to follow their lead here:  they showed me that they valued my business, and in return, they’ve got it.  I’ll definitely be returning there regularly, and as shown by my TWO reviews now, I’ll definitely be spreading the word about how great I think they are.

These were small, easy to do things that make a HUGE difference in retaining customers.  In a fast-paced world where customer service is so often neglected, The Lash Company & Skin Care Boutique really stand out as top-notch.  They’ll be getting tons of repeat business from me, and hopefully others!

The Lash Company & Skin Care Boutique
205 N. Glendora Ave
Glendora, CA 91741
(626) 260-3786

Electrology:  Rosie


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