#IAmEnough©: Sharing my Path to Self-Acceptance on Good Morning America

GMA2This past Tuesday I was incredibly blessed to have been interviewed alongside my sister on America’s favorite morning show. Good Morning America  produced a great segment in which I shared my journey toward self-acceptance, and how it contrasts with my sister’s path. We both found self-love in very different ways. Hers was a diet and fitness journey. The strict diets never made me feel good, so I abandoned them years ago. My journey has been about embracing my large body and recognizing the beauty and strength I have no matter my size. I’m happy to know that there are many different paths to freedom and living your truth.

On Tuesday morning, at 8:45am, I stood in Times Square in polka dot yoga pants and a clingy “Ohmazing” tank from Lineage Wear (thank you so much Katie!) – my thunder thighs, voluptuous arms, and visible belly outline on display for the world to see. And I felt so damn good! (P.S. I’m at my heaviest weight ever, and have never felt more free.) I was claiming my space unapologetically as a fat, brown, afro-wearing woman. Describing it in words simply doesn’t do it justice. Let’s just say it was a #BlackGirlMagic moment!

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As I stood soaking up the energy of NYC (a.k.a. the center of the universe) surrounded by soaring skyscrapers, blinking billboards and a curious crowd, I took a few moments to let the reality of the experience set in. Here I am, 40 years old, finally living my dreams, and in a visibly fat body. Yes, it is possible!

You guys know I come from a history of self-hate and insecurity. So, to be feeling amazing in my skin with the world watching was truly one of the best experiences of my life. I hope it has helped to set others free – that has been my goal all along.

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For nearly six years I’ve been writing about my tumultuous journey toward accepting my body and realizing how amazing it is. I’ve come to understand that my body tells the story of so many women and men who inhabit large bodies but have felt unseen and unworthy. I know now that my voice is my gift. And the Universe needs all of us to lean into who we really are.  Were it not for my years of dieting and self-loathing, I would not be who I am today. And who I am today is a strong, smart, confident, mixed fat chick, with a talent for inspiring others. I am joyful! And as far as I’ve come, I still have so much more to learn and experience. So bring it, Universe!

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Before the live segment in Times Square we did a Facebook Live event where we talked to  panel of women on what body positivity meant us. Among the panelists were fellow body positive activists Alysse D’Alessandro and Essie Golden, who represented beautifully on the show. Y’all are awesome! I also met other wonderful women, including Dana Suchow who is a body-posi tiger!

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I have so many people to thank, beginning with my sister Mara Schiavocampo, whose idea it was to pitch the segment to GMA. I also want to give a big shout out to producers Danielle and Alison – thank you for allowing me to show the world who I am and how body positivity has transformed my life. You are both class acts! And I can’t forget hair and makeup mavens Juanita and Lisa, who hooked me up and with whom I had a wonderful connection.

Until next time, remember #iamenough ©.

xo

So, Obesity Is a Disease Now, huh? WTF?

The American Medical Association has now deemed obesity a disease.  How profoundly ignorant, well timed and devious of them!  I call bullshit.  And so do a lot of other people.  And they’re not even fat.  Hell, even the New York Times is confused:  To some extent, the question of whether obesity is a disease or not is a semantic one, since there is not even a universally agreed upon definition of what constitutes a disease. And the A.M.A.’s decision has no legal authority.” (Anthony Pollack)


It seems me that  the medical community has now empowered itself to shame fat people even further.  They claim it will reduce the stigma attached to obesity.  But will it really?  It sounds good on the outside, but it also completely ignores the fact that people who are not obese have plenty of health related problems like diabetes, high blood pressure and lead sedentary lives.  There is much focus on the BMI (Body Mass Index) which measures and individual’s body fat based on their weight and height.  I find the BMI a poor measure of one’s overall health.  I am considered obese based on the index, yet I have normal blood pressure, low cholesterol and am in good health, save for a vitamin D deficiency.  The public health council that advises the AMA agrees with me:


“The council said that obesity should not be considered a disease mainly because the measure usually used to define obesity, the body mass index, is simplistic and flawed.
Some people with a B.M.I. above the level that usually defines obesity are perfectly healthy while others below it can have dangerous levels of body fat and metabolic problems associated with obesity.”

Well, halle-fuckin-lujah!  


Oh, look. Fat people DO exercise!

Opponents of the declaration say that this is just one more way the drug companies can profit from patients who are desperate to be thin–not because of health reasons–but the overwhelming desire to quench their thirst for vanity in a beauty centered society.  It sounds pretty manipulative to me.  So, I’m not buying it.  

According to Merriam & Webster, a disease is defined as “something that impairs normal functioning of the body.”  Let’s see…So, I went out dancing until 4 am on Saturday and I was fully functional, I assure you.  Ask the the 15 plus size women I was dancing with for four hours.  They were functioning at a very high level.  In fact, I think we out-danced everyone that night, even people who seemed to fall within the healthy limits of the BMI.



In summary, the AMA’s declaration that obesity is a disease is really crap.  I’m just sayin’.  Do I deny that some obese people are unwell? Certainly not.  But if we’re going to be fair, then let’s make sure we also dissect the health of all people, rather than targeting a specific group based on a measure that is inaccurate and outdated. 

In the meantime, I choose to chuck my scale and swear off BMI charts forever. And so should you.  

Ciao for Niao,
Pia