Fit vs. Fiction's Blog

Why I started Fit vs Fiction and why I won’t shut up about it

We live in an image obsessed, fat-phobic, one-size-fits-all, thin is in, skinny jean wearing, thigh gap measuring, binging and purging, body hating society where kids barely out of pre-school are begging their mothers to keep them home from school because they feel like they’re just too fat to fit in!

And NOT..Okay.


We need to fight FOR our kids and not against eachother

I decided to send my Huffington Post article about Childhood obesity to a fairly well-known local fitness team and asked them for their thoughts. I did this, knowing that my article “Childhood obesity is not the problem” is a tad controversial. In my post, I discuss the dangers of anti-obesity campaigns and the fact that I believe we need to focus less on weight and more on health. I was genuinely interested in hearing their thoughts as people who have spent the last 25 years or so, offering health tips to families. They responded by saying, “The author is missing point. I think she is taking the topic and twisting it to write an article.” I wrote back explaining that I am, in fact, the author and that while I understand that there’s a health crisis in this country, focusing solely on weight is completely ignoring all of the other factors that play into our kids overall health and well being.

I was really looking forward to the discussion that I was hoping was going to follow. Afterall, we’re both trying to reach the same goal and I believed in the benefits that could come from extremely dedicated people approaching the same issue from different angles. Sadly, that’s not what happened. Not only did the conversation end, but my entire post had been deleted from their Facebook page.


What this showed me was that some people are so stuck in their own opnions, that they aren’t even willing to consider that there may just be another way to look at things. I wasn’t looking to completely change their outlook, just expand it a little and I was just as open to the possibility of learning something new as well.

Here’s why I find this SO FRUSTRATING: There is hardly a lack of weightloss experts, programs and campaigns out there trying to make us lose weight and yet, obesity is still an issue. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to look at things in a different way. If we keep banging our heads against the same “Skinny means healthy” concrete wall, nothing will ever change.

Do I believe that I have a TON of knowledge to contribute? Yes, I do. But I am also not so arrogant as to believe that I have nothing left to learn.

We all know that childhood obesity is a problem, but here are a few things most people don’t know.

Fact: In Canada, for all the kids who are overweight, there are even more kids who are NOT but THINK that they are.

Fact: Eating disorders aren’t just a teen girl issue anymore. Girls AND boys as young as 5 years old are destroying their bodies in an effort to be skinny

Fact: It can be extremely difficult to find treatment for eating disorders due to lack of resources or finances.

Fact: Some people suffering from eating disorders find it nearly impossible to be taken seriously if they don’t “look the part”. It’s easy to look at someone who weighs as much as 380lbs or as little as 80lbs and recognize that they probably have a problem but someone battling a severe eating disorder can look healthy while slowly dying inside and can be overlooked even by medical professionals.

Fact: Anti-obesity campaigns tell kids they need to be skinny to be healthy by focusing on numbers, but we are more than just numbers and our self-worth should not be measured in pounds.

I understand that obesity is an issue, but I also understand that it is one of several issues that need to be tackled simultaneously if we have any chance of truly raising healthy children. While I understand this, there are way too many people who refuse to see the bigger picture and choose only to look at fat as the enemy. For there to be any chance of us finding solutions to the health crisis we’re facing, and for our kids to stand a chance at the long, quality filled lives they deserve, we need to fight the risks of unhealthy living instead of eachother.

If we let ego get in the way of progress, WE may feel better, but our kids won’t get any healthier.

The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents:Helping Toddlers, Tweens and Teens Thrive

Front20cover20no20spine   This is my book.
The book I wish my own mother had had when I was struggling and she felt so powerless. It states the problems but is full of solutions, games, projects, resources and cheat sheets for when your kids ask you sticky questions… and you need solid answers. The negative messages our kids will hear from the media and society will be loud. The positive messages we give them as their parents need to be even LOUDER!
As of today (Friday, March 15th) You can order your book from (or from my website
These are the tools you need to empower your kids to grow up with the self-confidence and self-esteem they deserve.
Self-worth shouldn’t be measured in pounds! xoxoSee More

Mayor Bloomberg, do you want us to be healthy or just skinny?

The judge has spoken, the ruling’s been made and our right to drink super sized, sugar loaded beverages remains in tact.

I’ll be honest with you and say that I’m feeling somewhat conflicted by the decision. I know that the main argument against the ban was from people who just don’t want the government telling them what to do. Nobody likes to be told what they can and cannot eat or drink and people tend to get a little annoyed when they feel like their being treated like children, or fools, or foolish children. That said, who the hell needs to be drinking soda from a cup big enough to swim in, anyway? If you’re still thirsty after drinking enough liquid to bathe in, you’ve got some bigger issues that need to be addressed. I have no problem with Mayor Bloomberg wanting to limit the size of sugary drinks being sold, what I do have a problem with is that, once again, he is completely missing the mark on doing the HEALTHY thing.

An article by The Canadian Press states, ” The rule prohibits selling non-diet soda and some other sugary beverages in
containers bigger than 16 ounces.”


Aye, there’s the rub.

WHY is drinking copious amounts of sugar-laden drinks unhealthy but consuming the same amount of chemical filled crap just fine? WHY are we protecting people from the evils of sugar while promoting, accepting and even encouraging the consumption of chemicals that come with risks related to health issues like depression, severe migraines, inflammatory bowel disease and Cancer?

Oh wait a minute, I know, because they have less calories! Calories are bad because they make you fat and fat is bad, because it can lead to health issues. Can you see my concern here? Why is that certain health risks are acceptable as long as they don’t affect our size? Why are we, once again, putting our weight ahead of our health?

He’s the really crazy part, some research has suggested that artificial sweeteners can lead to, say it isn’t so, OBESITY!

I have no problem with the government wanting to help us get healthier, but I do have an issue with it just wanting to make us skinnier.

I work with kids as young as 7 and 8 years old who have already started counting calories for fear of getting fat and that’s just not okay! If we want to raise healthy children we need to teach them that eating well makes them FEEL good, instead of promoting the dangerous messages that eating less makes them look skinny.

Time to stop trying to lose weight and start focusing on gaining HEALTH!


Why I had to write the Body Image Survival Guide for Parents:

Why did I write this book?

I always thought that if I ever wrote a book about my life, the title would be, “Who knew?”.

It seems fitting because whenever I look at old pictures of myself from when I was just a little kid, before the traumas came fast and hard, I look at the little girl in the pictures and think, “You have NO IDEA what life is about to throw at you. Get ready, it’s gonna get rough for awhile”.

Life has definitely sucker punched me in the gut on more than a few occasions and thrown a crapload of challenges my way that proved extremely hard to overcome. I’ve lived a lot, lost a lot and learned a lot. Along the way, there was one thing that was there for me through it all. My eating disorder.

Yup, when life got too hard and the pain too intense, I turned away from what was hurting me and turned to my disorder for help. At the time, it made sense. When I was 17 years old, my brother Billy died and a huge part of me died right along with him. The pain of his loss was too much to bear and my life seemed completely out of my control so I turned to the one thing I thought I could control. My body. I started starving myself in an effort to feel like I was in control of SOMETHING or else I was sure I’d go completely insane.

It was easier to deal with the pain of an empty stomach than the sadness I felt walking into his empty room.

My disorder was the diversion I thought I needed. I thought it was helping. I didn’t know it would end up robbing me of my friendships, my health and my dreams. It kept me from making new friends and made it hard to keep old ones. It encouraged me to drop out of school and give up my ambitions. It told me I was nothing without it and I believed it.

I know what it’s like to think that everything you are and everything you could ever be depends on what you LOOK like but to feel like you’ll never look good enough. I know what it’s like to feel like you could never be smart, or funny or interesting enough to matter so you sure as hell better be pretty enough, but to never feel that you are. I know what it’s like to hate who you are so much that being the “girl with the eating disorder” becomes your entire identity and even though it hurts so much, you don’t want to give it up for fear you’ll just disappear.

I know what it’s like to battle with body image. I know what it’s like to watch my mother see me in pain and feel completely powerless about how to help me. I know that this is an issue that is confusing and complicated and incredibly hard to understand.

I also know what it’s like to recover.

My body image issues may have taken me to hell and back, but the important part is that I came back.

I know that with the right tools and information, parents don’t have to feel powerless. There is so much we can do as parents to instil the right messages from the time our kids are babies that can help them grow up with the confidence they deserve. Kids younger and younger are feeling pressured to be who they THINK society expects them to be instead of appreciating who they already are. They need our help.

I wrote the book I wish my own mother had had when I was struggling. I want parents to feel EMPOWERED. I give practical, solid answers to sticky questions and suggest games and projects that build healthy body image and self-esteem. I’ve included positive internet resources and body image pledges and include tons of stories from real people sharing real experiences.

My goal is to teach people that the “Best” bodies are HEALTHY ones and that SELF-WORTH IS NOT MEASURED IN POUNDS!


Sugar-free, Fat-free, chocolate flavored NOT pudding!

And there is nothing cake-like about rice cakes.

Diet companies might be able to package their fat free, sugar free, carbohydrate free “treats” to look good, but nothing can be done about the taste. The sad thing is that we accept it! We convince ourselves that they are just as good as the real thing and then wonder why we’re still hungry after eating them. “How can I still be craving chocolate?” you wonder, as you swallow the last piece of the “ChocNOfat BAR” you bought at the health food store. Our bodies are smarter than we think, when we crave certain things, we can’t simply trick our taste buds into thinking we’re satisfying those cravings by eating something that’s the same color, shape or texture. What usually ends up happening is we wind up eating “around” the foods we really want. For example, you might really want a few chocolate chip cookies, but to avoid the calories and inevitable guilt that will follow, you choose instead to have something else. Maybe you choose a couple of rice cakes, but when they don’t quite do the trick, you decide to have something sweet, so you grab an apple, but when that doesn’t work, you try something a bit more substantial and grab a few slices of bread with some low fat cheese. Still not satisfied, you end up giving in to your original craving and have a few of the cookies you wanted in the first place. Only now, you’ve had the cookies PLUS, rice cakes, an apple and bread with cheese. Had you just eaten what you wanted in the first place, you would have been satisfied and gotten on with your life! Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Now that you’ve eaten the forbidden fruit, or in this case, cookies, you are overwhelmed with guilt and feel like you’ve just blown your diet and will usually react in one of 2 ways. Either you vow never to eat cookies again and start following an unrealistically strict diet to repent for your food sins, which, in time, you will find impossible to maintain. Or, you’ll skip the diet and, feeling completely discouraged over your own perceived lack of willpower, give up on healthy eating altogether, and punish yourself by gorging on anything and everything with complete abandon while your self-esteem sinks to a new low. All this can be avoided, however, if we learn how to be patient with ourselves and realize that food is not the enemy.

Eating food doesn’t make us overweight; OVEReating food can. The simple fact is that it takes more than a slice of cake, or a few cookies or a small serving of fries to lead us into a life of obesity. A lot more. I don’t believe that we need to or should ban these foods from our lives, in fact, we need to learn how to live with them if we want a chance at living a life free of the diet and body image angst that plagues so many of us.

After years of being told that we don’t know how to eat, we’ve actually started to believe it. This makes us completely vulnerable and therefore prime targets for any and all new diet plans or products that come our way. When did we lose faith in ourselves and start putting all our trust in complete strangers, who care more about healthy incomes than healthy consumers?

I realize that there is a problem with obesity in our culture, but it’s certainly NOT from a lack of diet products available; quite the opposite actually. When we’re told to avoid fat and sugar, we immediately start stocking up on all the fat-free, sugar-free products we can get our hands on. There is a diet version of almost everything these days. Each of them promising to taste just as good as the original. What they don’t say, is that the fat free items are loaded with extra sugar and the sugar free ones are made with extra fat. It’s their way of replacing some of the lost flavor. I’m not suggesting that we should always choose the most decadent option available, but there is almost always a happy medium. Life is too short to live without flavor. Don’t settle for bland and dry over moist and delicious. While we shouldn’t make decadence the main component of our diets, we shouldn’t completely avoid it either.

Along with a Barrage of diet products telling us what to eat, are countless weight loss companies telling us HOW to eat. We are so tired of feeling like we’re fighting an uphill battle with our bodies and trying to figure out how and what to eat every single day, that we’re relieved when some diet company offers to do our thinking for us. Some of them will sell us books detailing what foods to eat, others will make their own, prepackaged foods available at most grocery stores, and some, will go as far as to offer home delivery so you never have to shop, cook or think for yourself ever again. BUT AT WHAT COST? Needless to say, these options are very expensive, but worse than that, they make us completely dependent on them. Suddenly, we can’t take a bite or a sip of anything that hasn’t been pre-approved by whichever diet company we’ve sold our souls to! That can’t possibly seem like a good idea long term. When does it end?

I understand the desperation to lose weight, but most people want to lose weight because they feel that their extra weight is keeping them from enjoying life to the fullest, but how does being a slave to a diet plan improve their quality of life? Where’s the freedom in that? We need to learn how to live WITH food, not fear and avoid it. We are all so much more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. It’s time to reclaim that power. We have to stop paying other people to do what we should be doing for ourselves. The only things getting leaner are our wallets! Instead, we need to take the foods we enjoy off our “naughty lists” and learn how to incorporate them into our daily lives. It’s time to go back to REAL food. Throw out all the fat free, sugar free, carbohydrate free, flavor free products that are filling your pantries and refrigerators and start enjoying your food again. Listen to your body, respect your body and most of all, start working WITH your body instead of fighting AGAINST it.



Ho Ho Hold the diet talk so I can enjoy my dinner, please!

“Avoid holiday weight gain”
“How to not get FAT during the holidays”
“Avoid dreaded holiday weight gain”

Yup, as quickly as the holiday decorations go up, so do our fears about how much weight we’re going to gain during the festivities. It’s really not surprising considering how much fat talk goes on at this time. While so many magazines adorn their covers with pictures of yummy, holiday food and recipes, there are even more that fill their pages with expert advice on how to get rid of the calories and fat grams we’ve ingested if we indulge in any.

We need to enjoy more and worry less.

Yes, people do tend to eat more during the holidays, but the last thing you want to do after that happens is throw yourself onto a restrictive diet. Believe it or not, the best thing to do is to just return to your normal eating habits. Our bodies know where they like to be and if we treat them with kindness and respect by being physically active and nourishing them in a healthy, BALANCED way, they will return to a weight that is comfortable for us.

Panicking about the “damage” we’ve done will only increase anxiety and increased anxiety can lead to, you guess it, WEIGHT GAIN!

SO PLEASE try to enjoy the people you’re with, the blessings you have and the food you’re eating because life is too short to spend it chained to a scale.

Body Image and Eating Disorder issues are really no big deal

I’m frustrated.

Fact: There are still so many people who believe that body issues are really no big deal and that eating disorders only affect a few, troubled, teenage girls and aren’t anything that most parents have to be concerned.

Fact: These people are WRONG.

Sadly, we’re getting to a point where no age is too young or too old to be struggling with body image issues and yet they are still so misunderstood. I’m not sure why it is that we diminish body image and eating disorder issues but I have a theory:

Hating our bodies has become NORMAL and even expected. It’s a heck of a lot more likely that you’ll hear a woman bemoan her belly for being flabby than praise it for being healthy. It’s become perfectly acceptable to insult our own bodies and we seem to be taking full advantage of it. Glamour magazine once challenged their readers to write down everytime they had a negative thought about their bodies throughout the day. The results showed that 97% of women admitted to having at least one,”I hate my body moment” in a day. On average, women had 13 negative body thoughts throughout the day!

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a woman a few years ago when I was starting my Fit sv Fiction body image workshops at schools. I was talking about my fear and frustration around the number of kids struggling with how they look. I remember being floored when the woman said, ” What’s the problem? My daughter’s 5 and she always rubs her belly and says she’s fat. We ALL do it. It’s no big deal.”


It is a very big deal.

What a lot of people don’t understand is that hating our bodies can become so ingrained who we are that it starts to control every thought we have and every action we take. Feeling that our physical appearance is somehow inadequate can keep us from living our lives the way we should be. The really scary part is that until we get help and can stop abusing ourselves the way we do, our feelings of self-hate will just get deeper and grow stronger.

I am working my butt off  to help people start appreciating themselves for who they are instead of judging who they think they’re not and in the process am hearing from so many men and women who are battling against their own negative thinking and want desperately to be free from it once and for all.

Anyone who still thinks this is just a teen girl issue would be surprised to hear about the people who contacted me JUST LAST WEEK about their body image battles: A mom worried about her 6 year old son’s fear of being fat, a 14 year old girl who says none of the girls in her school eat breakfast or lunch, a new mom in her 30s stressed over the changes to her body, a 57 year old woman dealing with menapausal weight gain and the mother of three girls who actually said, ” My daughters are fat! I wouldn’t mind them catching a little of that Anorexia.”

Oh Lord.

We need to start showing ourselves the same love, kindness and respect we show our closest friends and STOP berating ourselves for our perceived imperfections. We need to STOP making it okay to put ourselves down in front of other people and when we’re alone. It is NOT okay.

We also need to understand that this negative behavior won’t stop until we acknowledge the fact that body image and eating disorders are, indeed, a BIG DEAL and need to be taken seriously.

Step 1: Stop judging yourself

Step 2: Stop judging others

Step 3: Stop allowing friends and family to put themselves down in front of you. Be clear that it’s not the kind of talk you want to be a part of.

Step 4: If you notice that someone you care about is engaging in negative talk or behavior around their bodies, don’t ignore it. Step in. Find out what’s driving the behavior and when neccessary search out resources where they can get the support and help they may need.

My eating disorder hijacked my life from my teens through my thirties and every dream it crushed, every relationship it destroyed, every time it put my health and life at risk was, most certainly, a very big deal.

Self-Worth shouldn’t be measured in pounds.

Treat or Treat..afraid to eat? Don’t be!

Halloween is almost here, which means that kids have started getting excited about the bounty of candy they’ll be getting and their parents are getting anxious about the very same thing. I don’t think I’d be shocking anyone by calling our society weight obsessed and fat-phobic. It’s the truth. We are. There has been so much focus being put on the issue of obesity recently that we have become terrified of every calorie or fat gram we consume and are unfortunately, passing this fear on to our kids.

It’s unneccessary.

When I was growing up, Halloween was simply a fun opportunity to dress up in silly costumes, hang out with your friends and get candy from neighbors. I remember when local news programs would talk about the trendiest costumes and the neighborhoods with the scariest haunted houses. But now I’ve seen things change in a way I am not thrilled about. It seems that there are things that have become much more terrifying than witches and werewolves and these things are called…brace yourself…..CALORIES!


Gone are the days when we can unwrap and enjoy a piece of caramel or licorice without immediately calculating how many calories they contain. I watched a news segment last night that was all about the amount of calories in “Fun size” treats. Here’s the thing, I have no problem with adults understanding what goes into the foods they and their kids are eating. Actually, I think it’s important that we know what we’re putting in our bodies. What I DON’T want, however, is for us to hit our kids over the head with this information.

Kids are being inundated with messages about “Good” and “Bad” foods and these messages are not teaching them how to eat properly, but instead are creating an irrational fear around food in general. Contrary to all of the recent anti-obesity campaigns that use fear and shame to get kids to eat better, there is another way. The problem with focusing on fat and calories is that we make it an issue of WEIGHT instead of HEALTH. When people think of calories, they automatically think of weight and we want our kids to eat in a healthy way so they can be HEALTHY, not skinny.

Some Halloween candy tips:

1. DON’T point out how many calories are in the treats they bring home. Instead, decide (together) beforehand how many treats they’ll be allowed to have each day and explain that if they eat more, they’ll FEEL icky….besides, the candy will last longer.

2. DO show them that even candy is okay to eat IF it’s part of an overall healthy, balanced lifestyle ( including regular physical activity). Demonstrate that by providing healthier options throughout the day so they understand how the sugary/salty snacks should play a much smaller role in their diet than the healthier stuff.

3. DON’T put a deadline on candy consumption.

Some parents let their kids go nuts for one or two days and then toss the rest of it in the garbage (or hide it in their own closets..but I don’t judge). Bad Idea.

The last thing we want to do is encougaing any kind of binge eating. Again, it’s all about balance. Letting your child eat a few gummy bears or chocolate covered raisins is far less dangerous than being OVERLY restrictive and creating a kind of “forbidden fruit” situation where ALL they can think about is finding a way to get to it. I’ve heard stories of kids actually hiding candy in flashlights and pillowcases so they wouldn’t have to give it up. Now that’s scary.

Do explain that our bodies need lots of exercise and good nutrition in order for them to work well and FEEL good. The better we treat our bodies, the more energy we’ll have and the stronger we’ll be. Again, no mention of weight is neccessary. We want our kids to eat well because they want to FEEL good, not because they’re worried about LOOKING bad.

DON’T worry so much. Your kids will be ok. Even if they have a little more candy than usual for next couple of weeks. Besides, there are scarier things to be concerned about when it comes to Halloween. (Have you seen the limited number of costume choices for girls these days that don’t have the word “Sexy” in front of them? But that’s another issue…).

Just think…in a few weeks, the treats will be gone and you’ll have survived another food driven holiday….just in time for Christmas. :o)

Happy Halloween!

Does the OMA want us to be HEALTHY or just skinny?

According to a recent article published in The Globe and Mail, the Ontario Medical Association says junk food should be treated the same way as tobacco, slapped with higher taxes and packaged with graphic warning labels.

Why is it that FEAR and SHAME have become the most popular ways of attacking the obesity crisis we’re facing?’s a secret: It doesn’t work.

The OMA wants to start putting graphic images of diseased body parts on “Junk Food”. I suppose their plan is that when people reach for a slice of pizza or can of Coke, they’ll see these nasty images, realize that these foods are unhealthy and grab a fresh salad and tall glass of water instead.

There are a lot of reasons why I think this idea is assinine.

As a body image advocate and author, I can tell you that the last thing we want to do is create fear and anxiety over food. Food isn’t something to be feared, but appreciated, respected and enjoyed. I  fully admit that we are a society that overindulges when it comes to what we put in our mouths, but negativity just breeds more negativity and is counterproductive in fighting the war against obesity. Have we completely given up on education? Instead of focusing on the evils of “Bad” food, why not teach people how to appreciate the healthier ones? Consulting Dietician and Author, Rosie Schwartz speaks more about this here:

I’m going to talk about something the OMA seems to be completely forgetting about and what their primary focus should be: Our Health.

I would love to ask the doctors behind this plan if they are going to be issuing the same types of labels for all of the “Diet” products lining our shelves that are so loaded with artificial ingredients and chemicals, they’re better suited for a chemistry lab than grocery store. These days, almost every food you can think of comes in a “lite” or diet version with words like FAT-FREE and SUGAR-FREE plastered on their packaging, fooling consumers into thinking that purchasing them means making healthier choices. Are there going to be graphic labels for these products as well? I’m thinking there will not.

So what exactly is their message? It sounds like they’re telling us that high calorie,high fat “junk food” food will expand our waistlines and make us an economic drain on society, but the ones containing less fat and sugar are just fine; even though they are proving to be more and more dangerous to our overall health.

Obesity can lead to illnesses like Diabetes, but do they realize the same can be said for artificial sweeteners? We are so terrified of gaining weight that we are falling into the diet food trap and putting our health at risk everyday by making what seem like healthy substitutions, not realizing that the “lighter” foods can be equally detrimental to our quality of life:

I find it INFURIATING when I vist a school with my Fit vs Fiction Body Image workshops and see that in an effort to improve the health of their students they’ve removed the pop from their vending machines. While that sounds like a great idea, that effort is lost when they choose to replace it with DIET pop!

HOW is the diet stuff any healthier than the full sugar ones??

I am a huge believer in balance and moderation when it comes to how we eat. Scaring people away from certain foods won’t teach them how to eat, it just teaches them how not to.  I think we’re going about this the wrong way.

I’ve had enough of the ad campaigns that focus on everything we’re doing wrong instead of encouraging us to do better.

Yes, obesity is a serious issue but using fear as a way of getting people to do change is pointless. Eating disorders are becoming more and more rampant among girls and boys as young as 5 years old and anyone who doesn’t think our society’s fat-phobia has a lot to do with that is deluding themselves.

If the OMA wants us to be healthier they need to remove their tunnel vision and start looking beyond the scale for what that really means.

Self-worth should not be measured in pounds.

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