I love teaching plus size women how to lead an active lifestyle by finding the JOY in movement. This is in full alignment with the HAES (R) principle  of ‘promoting individually appropriate, enjoyable, life-enhancing physical activity, rather than exercise that is focused on a goal of weight loss.’  This is my passion, my life’s work, and the work I bring my heart to each day. Being a voice against size discrimination comes from my years as a professional dancer. I never felt thin enough, good enough or just enough. My life’s work stems from this place of wanting EVERY woman to feel that her relationship with movement can thrive regardless of the size of her body. Since I began training plus size clients in the living room of my NYC apartment in 1995– my vision has never changed.

I was fortunate to have an amazing group of women come together to start me on my journey. What I loved most was creating a safe environment in which these women could rediscover the fun of being active.  I came to believe all women deserve the right to a movement program that works for their bodies NOW.  And no one should be discriminated against when it comes to a movement program.

My first steps into size acceptance were with NAAFA.  I served on NAAFA’s Board of Directors back in 1999 – a non-profit civil rights organization dedicated to ending size discrimination in all of its forms.  For me, fitness and movement were included.  And since I was new to this world, I had to come to learn that ‘reverse discrimination’ was something to hit head on.  I was (rightfully so) initially challenged by the members of NAAFA about my size.  But once I could prove that I knew how to move the larger body, I quickly became a ‘thin ally.’  Working with women like Kelly Bliss, Sandy Schaffer and Melissa Taylor, all certified fitness instructors of size, we were able to continue to bring many movement sessions to the NAAFA conventions.

In 2004 I started speaking at IDEA conventions on Size Sensitivity to teach trainers how to work with the larger body.

I became a member of ASDAH and BEDA – two powerful organizations that embrace Health At Every Size (R).  And I just returned from speaking at the ACE Symposium in Orlando – speaking about the same subjects nearly 1o years later. On some level, there was a shift in the trainers.  I didn’t see as many 20 something year old trainers, and there was more compassion and a willingness to look at the fuller body with open eyes instead of disdain. But we still have so far to go in the fitness industry when they set out to ‘end obesity by 2035.’  This goal is absolutely ridiculous on so many levels.  First and foremost is the idea that we would eliminate an entire group of people who may not fit the ‘norm.’  Second is that fitness industry is still using the same language about fighting obesity instead of creating an invitational language.  And third, on my list of my many, is the idea that health professionals and fitness trainers are NOT addressing the high rate of size discrimination within our industry.  And this is the disgrace that has not changed in my years in the Size Acceptance community.

Health professionals cannot afford to make physical or emotional mistakes when it comes to working with a plus size body. I stand strongly against weight discrimination. We know nothing about the person standing before us and it’s absolutely criminal to judge her before she has even said hello.

My beliefs, at their deepest root, may come from the orange unitard solo I had in the jazz dance company in San Francisco.  “Lose the weight or lose the part.”  So I stopped eating for 3 days and danced my solo – only to be back in my full-blown bulimia following the curtain call.  Or perhaps my beliefs are rooted in my early days with the amazing women who first entered my space to learn how to move their bodies safely with grace and ease.  But this combination has galvanized a place in my heart to stand up and speak out against the last of the prejudices – weight discrimination.

You are absolutely enough– right now– in this moment.  You are a valuable human being, a divine spirit, a child of God, a unique energy in the universe.  You have the right to a movement program that works for your body – right now – exactly as it is. {and this is why I’m writing this blog post.. to celebrate this truth. To celebrate the plus size body in action. To celebrate you.}


In honor of the 30th Anniversary of “Shadow on a Tightrope” I dedicate this pieceto those in the Size Acceptance Movement who guided my way.   To Frances White, former NAAFA Board Member, who shared many stories with me about the Fat Underground and the amazing work of the women before me.  To MaryAnn Bodolay, Pat Lyons, Deb Burguard, Lynn McAfee and Bill Fabrey who welcomed me into this world while teaching me about the dignity and respect of the history of those before me.  And blessings to NAAFA Past President, Leslie, who took me under her wing and welcomed me into her home.  I am grateful to be part of this amazing community.