LargeInCharge.com: What is your name?
My name is
LargeInCharge.com: Where are you from and what is your current Location?
I was born in Watsonville,
California. I moved to a small town in Northern California called
Cottonwood when I was eight yeas old and have lived in the area pretty
much all of my life.
LargeInCharge.com: Can you give us some information about yourself (Age,
Height, Size, Nationality, Marital Status, Children, etc.)?
I am 42 years
old. I am 5 foot 5 inches tall and I weigh about 260 pounds. I wear a
size 24. My nationality is Blackfoot Indian. I am married to my
wonderful husband David. We’ve been together for seven years married for
three. The two of us have been raising my son Daryll. He was 12 when we
met and now has grown into a wonderful young man. I have been a single
mother for most of his life, so he really appreciates having a father in
his life. I love most animals and would probably have a zoo if I didn’t
have to clean up after everything. I love the ocean. I love to travel to
the Northern California or Oregon Coastline as often as possible. I am a
social-bug. I am a little shy at first, but warm up easily. My poor
husband is pretty much a recluse, but is slowly warming up to people as
long as it’s not too many at once. I am a Christian woman who believes
in God and I believe I have been blessed in my life.
LargeInCharge.com: Were you a big child, or did you gain weight later in
school I used to love to run so I stayed thin. In high school I wasn’t
able to run as much so I started to gain the weight. My senior year I
was 160 lbs. My weight went up, as I got older. When I had my son I
reached 220 lbs. Once I had him I was able to get down to 170 lbs by
riding a bike to and from work because I didn’t own a car. Now I am not
very active and stay home a lot, so my weight now ranges between 250
lbs. and 260 lbs.
LargeInCharge.com: (If you were a big child) how did you feel growing up
as a large child?
school I was teased a lot. Showering in P.E. was the hardest of all. I
was uncomfortable showering with the other girls, because I was the
largest girl in my class. I didn’t get picked for sports; people were
pretty much forced to take me. I ate alone in the cafeteria and sat in
the front of the classrooms. I pretty much kept to myself, but I did try
to talk to the new students and befriend them until they found their own
social circle to join. I didn’t believe anyone should be an outcast for
any reason weather it be for his or her weight or if they were new to
LargeInCharge.com: (If you gained weight later in life) what caused you
to gain weight and how did you feel about it?
heavy most of my life, but the reason I gained weight is having jobs
that didn’t require a lot of moving around. When I worked in fast food
and department stores I moved around more and was able to lose the
weight. When I take care of people, there isn’t as much physical work
and I tend to gain weight instead of losing it.
LargeInCharge.com: What made you decide to enter the LargeInCharge model
had a real problem with self-confidence. I could never see myself as
beautiful while being big. I just thought that maybe my story could help
someone else’s self-confidence. Just because you may be big doesn’t mean
you aren’t beautiful.
LargeInCharge.com: Did you find it a hard journey to be accepted by
others at your size?
Oh yes. I
still do. The area I live in doesn’t accept large people. I live in a
country town, and heavy people are considered lazy people. Dating was
tough too. If I put a full-body picture on the dating sites, I didn’t
get any replies.
LargeInCharge.com: Do you find it a hard to accept yourself as a Plus
finally accepted it. Before it was depressing because it’s really hard
to find nice clothes in large sizes. Now we actually have more options
for clothing. Growing up I felt like I was the only plus sized person in
the world. Now, I see that I am not. I
also have a husband and friends who accepts me as I am, that helps a
LargeInCharge.com: Do you find acceptance among your family and friends?
Yes I do. The
people I associate with accept me the way I am and remind me that I am a
beautiful person when I am insecure. I have a lot of supportive people
in my life.
LargeInCharge.com: What would you say inspires you most in life?
I am a caring
person. I love to help others. Most of my adult life I have had care
providing roles. I’ve worked with people with developmental
disabilities, people with Cerebral Palsy, and children with Autism. I
have always been the type of person who would do anything they could to
help another person. I love to have people over for dinner. My family
lovingly calls me a “food-pusher” because I always offer food whenever
people come over. I just love cooking for people.
LargeInCharge.com: What is your primary occupation?
occupation is taking care of my mother. She lives with my family and
myself now because she has had several strokes and the last one she has
left her unable to take care of herself. She has been there for me all
my life and it’s my turn to be there for her.
LargeInCharge.com: How did you get into this line of work?
been the type of person to want to help others. If someone needs help, I
am there for him or her. I’ve even been known to be standing in line at
the grocery store and start helping an elderly person ahead of me put
his/her groceries on the grocery belt. Sometimes I think I am little too
helpful and I worry about offending people, but it’s just the way I am.
LargeInCharge.com: Do you find acceptance in the work force?
In the areas
of work that I have worked in I have been accepted the way that I am.
People look at my willingness to work over my size.
LargeInCharge.com: What changes do you believe should take place for
Large People in the work force?
I think that
we should be treated the same as everyone else. Don’t point us out as
“Large People”, just let us be ourselves…NORMAL.
LargeInCharge.com: What do you think about the fashion industry for big
I think that
it has gotten a lot better. I hated shopping for clothes because there
weren’t any cute clothes for people my size. I remember going shopping
for underclothes once and coming home extremely depressed because I
couldn’t have any of the cute stuff; I could only wear the what I called
the “industrial sized” and ugly, nothing lacy or pretty. Well, nowadays
I’ve learned you can get cute clothes and it’s a lot more fun to shop! I
look forward to buying clothes now.
LargeInCharge.com: What do you wish to see change with the fashion
I think that
there should be both plus sized and regular sized models in the
magazines and advertisements. Most stores have plus sized clothing, why
can’t they advertise the plus size clothes along with the regular sized
clothing? The fashion industry seems to favor the thinner models and
smaller clothing. You shouldn’t have to go to a plus sized magazine to
see plus sized models.
LargeInCharge.com: What changes do you think will happen if plus sized
modeling for men and women were to expand?
I think that
plus sized people would be looked at differently. They wouldn’t be
looked at as different. People would be used to seeing them. You don’t
see a lot of plus sized models without looking at plus-sized magazines.
They are mostly thinner. I also think that it will continue to help plus
sized people to be accepted in society.
LargeInCharge.com: Tell us some of the places you buy your clothing
I shop mostly
at Lane Bryant; it’s my favorite place. The people there are very
helpful with finding the right sizes and they are usually my size so I
don’t feel uncomfortable when they help me trying on clothing. I also
shop at Macys, JCPenny and Sears, but usually only online.
LargeInCharge.com: Tell us
one of your secret beauty tips.
I don’t have
any real beauty secrets, but I think that my body wash has a big part of
it. I use body washes with oils in them. My skin stays soft and young
looking because of it. I think your skin is an important part of your
LargeInCharge.com: Give us
some tips on how to have a successful Photo shoot.
What should models be prepared for?
I’ve only had one photo shoot. I was really nervous because of my
self-pride issues, but I was encouraged to relax and just be myself. I
did and I had a wonderful time. So, I would just encourage them to relax
and enjoy the experience.
LargeInCharge.com: Look at Size acceptance five years ago... look at
size acceptance now. What
changes do you see?
department stores are now making larger and more desirable clothing.
I’ve also noticed that there are a lot of online groups that help with
size acceptance nowadays. I am a member of one that helps me to feel
good about myself. They are all good people. It’s also amazing how many
men out there are actually interested in plus-sized women.
LargeInCharge.com: What changes do you think will happen five years from
now with size acceptance?
More and more
of society are becoming overweight, so I really think that size
acceptance is not going to be such a big deal; people won’t be looking
at plus-sized people any different.
LargeInCharge.com: Do you face discrimination in your daily life as a
Plus Sized Person?
comments here and there about my size, but I don’t worry about other
people’s comments either way. I accept the compliments and ignore the
negative comments. I’ve also learned that if I dress nicely, people look
at the clothes and not the size.
LargeInCharge.com: Tell us about your goals as far as modeling and other
I would like
to try a modeling career. In my small town there aren’t many
opportunities, but I know the opportunities are out there. Modeling will
also help me to continue fighting my self-confidence issues as well.
LargeInCharge.com: What have
you accomplished as a Plus Sized Model?
As I said, I
am not exactly a model yet, but the photo shoot I did do made me feel
good about myself and helped my self-confidence.
LargeInCharge.com: Have you
entered or won any Contests, Pageants or Awards?
What was the experience like?
entered any Contests, Pageants, or won any awards yet…hopefully one day
LargeInCharge.com: Can you tell us about an inspirational moment in your
life that made you feel good about your size?
I would say
the photo shoot that my good friend and I did.
I had my hair and make up done. I also wore a gorgeous dress.
When I saw myself in the pictures, I couldn’t believe it was really me!
I actually felt beautiful for the first time in my life!
LargeInCharge.com: Is there a person in your life that keeps you going?
I have a
wonderful friend named Don Eklund. He was the person I was with when I
became depressed about not being able to have cute underclothes. Well,
he decided that I would never feel that way again and has been by my
side ever since. He has helped me learn that I am beautiful. He has
helped me shop and has helped me to feel good about myself. If he
wouldn’t have stepped up and helped me, I wouldn’t even be considering
becoming a Cover Model.
LargeInCharge.com: What advice would you give to other people of size
who want to model?
no matter what size you are, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!! There are lots of
opportunities out there for us nowadays and there are people out there
that appreciate our size. Just love yourself and everyone else will love
LargeInCharge.com: What plus size figure do you most admire?
Queen Latifah. She is a plus sized lady and she is a strong woman. She
can act really well and I doubt she will take any grief from anyone. She
is also very beautiful.
LargeInCharge.com: Describe yourself with one word.
Thanks for reading about
Cover Model of the Month
Raqui the Owner and Founder of LargeInCharge.com, Raqui's "Tell it like it is" style of
writing has brought thousands to her blogs and millions to
LargeInCharge.com. There is so much behind the woman who has
brought this magazine into existence. Being Internationally
known as a wrestler/squasher lead the way to modeling for companies
and being featured in magazines and documentaries from all over the
world. She has made a career out of her size and personality.
Born, Raised in the Bronx NYC. This city girl is taking the world by
For the past 8 years Raqui officially moved into Size Acceptance and Empowerment.
With the creation of LargeInCharge she took what she said to
individuals to a higher level and made it public to the internet
world. She is a woman who doesn't let things get to her. Knock her
down for the moment but she will rise up stronger and better.
Being a speaker on behalf of many subjects and counseling Plus Sized
people online her grace and style has made people love her. Raqui continues to set an example of a powerful woman who will bend
the world to fit her, her way.
Raqui's appearances include, Uk Television, German TV, Japan, Europe,
and the Spanish circuit. Her many magazines appearances have
been world wide. She has hit American Television in 2006 with
Good Morning American and since has appeared on The Cristina Show,
The Maury Show and The Tyra Banks Show.
To view her Online
Raqui's New Blog titled Raqui-ism "Soulfully
Raqui Host's Seminar at 16th Annual Vegas Bash 2012
www.Raqui.com Portfolio Section
Raqui-ism - When Someone you Love Dies
Written By: Raqui
This topic is one I am familiar with.
Having lost my husband eleven years ago, having been
there for others, during their losses.
I understand the pain you feel and how living after the
loss of a loved one’s life is hard… harder than some think.
Some people just ignore the feelings and
fill themselves with anything and everything they can, to distract
from facing the pain.
Some of us try to stay strong through the mixed emotions, until we
have small break downs, usually in private away from others.
Then some just break down deeply, and hard, it seems like
recovery would take a miracle, and we sometimes wonder will they
follow their loved one?
First off... there is no wrong way to mourn
the loss of a loved one.
But you must mourn, and face the feelings at sometime, even if we
mourn as we go. We must
also keep living, and that can be hard for some of us to even think
of or realize.
Mourn as we go is a term taught to me by a
good friend. One of my
best friends actually, I called her Dee and she passed away this
past month July 16th 2012.
We started calling each other sisters, everyone else did, it
didn’t matter that we looked nothing a-like or we talked
differently. We both
were big women and instantly people saw us as family.
While we may not have been blood relatives we were Soul
Sisters. We shared so
much about our lives and feelings, we agreed to disagree on a lot of
stuff but we still talked about it, and made our jokes, and crazy
laughed a lot, and told lots of stories, we were both widows, and I
was there for her during her loss.
That brought back many feelings for me, and we were able to
relate well since I understood what she was going through. Neither
one of us thought we would marry again, so we had a little
agreement. We would hang
out and have adventures, be fat, drink and be merry.
Live life as fully as we could and have a good time all the
way. I would make sure
she didn’t turn into the crazy cat lady, and she would make sure I
didn’t turn into the smelly pee lady.
Mourn as you go was something we spoke
about. I was totally
devastated when my husband died, it was a shock.
Dee’s hubby was very sick and his death was one that was
coming, but still we all thought there was going to be more time. In
the end we all knew his suffering came to an end, so it was a bitter
sweet mourning. Thankful
that his suffering ended, but yet sad all the same and that they (as
a couple) didn’t get to have that grow old together feeling.
Many things felt like life cheated the family out of a great
man, husband and father.
But still everyone knew he was better off in the next realm. It was
hard, and mourning as she went, and teaching her children to mourn
as they went, was helpful in many ways.
For some reason... people tend to rush the
mourning process as if losing a loved one is not a full change in
life. You have a whole
part of you missing when you lose that person.
Sometimes there are positive things when someone passes (if
they were sick, hurting others, if they were not at rest, mentally
stressed or strained to the point of disruption) but always the
feeling of loss is negative, and hurtful.
Those mixed feelings are hard to deal with, a lot of people
don’t understand that death is something that sometimes needs to
happen, and you can feel many different ways about the death of a
particular person, yet still have a hole in your heart for them.
Mourn as you go is the art of releasing emotions as they come, even
taking the time to mourn and release in positive ways.
Laughing and smiling sharing stories, crying and leaning on
another (allowing yourself to feel vulnerable and protected),
thinking about the good times, the bad, and the sad, feeling lonely
and hurt, yet still celebrating the time you had with them.
Mourning is not an exact science and there
is no time limit on it either.
Some people tend to believe that after a certain time period
you should be over it already.
They have no idea how to mourn.
First off losing a loved one is a permanent
situation. Once you lose
you cannot get it back, there is no replacement that will heal that
missing part of you. I
personally use this example to explain losing someone you love.
If you lose a hand, arm, leg, your sight, hearing, sense of
smell etc. Life will
never be the same, you keep living but you live differently.
You adapt to the loss of your senses or to the loss of a body
part. You don’t do
things exactly the same anymore but you keep going.
That is what losing someone you love is like, you adapt to
life without them, life will not be the same and you will always
remember life before the loss, you just keep living and adapt.
Every loss will be different and your
feelings and emotions will develop differently.
That doesn’t mean the loss of one person is worse than
another, it is different and you deal with it differently.
But you must deal, and you must mourn, and you must go on.
We shouldn’t be ashamed of mourning; it is part of moving
forward after loss. We
should see it almost as a celebration, to love someone so much that
they affect our lives deeply.
We must see some joy in that pain, because we have to have
been very happy to be so sad.
It is all up to the individual on how you mourn but I have
found mourning as I go to help me in many ways.
Not being ashamed of my emotions and living and mourning in
the moment has brought out my humanity and allowed me to share
myself with others during a hard time in my life.
stopped asking why, I stopped thinking what if, I realized I was
blessed to have such a special friend who became my sister and had
to go on to the other life, the best life after this one.
I will mourn as I go and never forget how much she meant to
me. Why would I want to
With Love Raqui
- Weekly Radio show discussing Plus Sized Issues. Friday's 7-9
pm EST - Call in & Chat in our Chat Room.
Thank you for
Please send thoughts and comments to
Xander brings blend of life experience and culinary twist to his
writing. From cooking on television and live demonstrations, to
writing Xander cook’s like he feels. A former Chicago native
transplanted to Tennessee, His goal has been to experience the
fullness of food heritage. He believes that as a people and society,
can learn a lot from what we eat. Combining a great life lesson and
a easy recipe. They go hand-in-hand to provide a tasty
addition to your day. Xander has to confess that ingredients in a
great meal are like the ingredients in a great life are never far
The Will to act is the Ability to Change
by Xander The Food Dude
Over the last eight (almost nine) months I
have been involved with the care of my mother.
She had four strokes in less than a three months
span. As I look
back at the months as they have seemed to pass in a
heartbeat of time, I finally have reached a point that I
think I can see some of the lessons that have been taught to
be by some celestial force in the universe.
I wanted to take this opportunity to cover the first
few in this article and continue with more in next months.
While I can’t claim that all of these lesson would be
the same for everyone in my situation, I can say with some
level of confidence that all of these lessons are good
lessons with application whether you’re in my situation or
It’s alright to be scared.
I can honestly say that for a while fear
became my journeyman in this effort in caring for my mother.
I had more fears about more than things than there
are stars in the universe.
I feared everything all coming from the feeling of
inadequacy in being a good caregiver to my mother.
I felt bad that I feared everything.
While it may seem to be a generality is saying that I
feared everything, I really did.
Family and friends have been supportive, giving words
of praise, but it did nothing to alleviate my concerns.
It felt and sometimes feels as though everything is
way out of my control.
The solution is this:
acknowledge that it’s true that most things are out
of our control.
This is not a defeatist statement but rather a statement of
fact. I had to
focus on the few things I can control, and take ownership of
those. Most of
these revolve around schedules, content of moments and
simply being prepared.
While we can never be prepared for every possibility,
we can reflect on potential happens and at least have a
alright to be scared, but you can’t let that fear stop you
The Will To Act
This may be more of a Lesson 1.5 because it
ties in so heavily with Lesson 1.
Facing fear and uncertainty with a plan is not
enough. At this
point it is necessary to reach deep within yourself and
resolve that you need to do something.
For me, it was to take a step, to learn more, to dive
into those things that I never thought I could or wanted to
do, and just do it.
A plan, a goal, and objective, without intent,
without the will to act is nothing but wasted energy.
You can have a glorious plan that they world is
sunshine and everyone is happy, healthy, and rich, but life
simply doesn’t work that way.
I have a friend who is a pastor and he puts it this
way. “God gave
us free will for a reason.
It allows us to choose right from wrong, good and
bad, and to take ownership of those decision whatever the
free will we are simply slaves.”
He went on further to explain that less and and less
in society are people willing to make a decision and face
the consequences for the good or bad of those decision.
Step on to deciding what tomorrow is going to look is
having the will to act on circumstances of today.
Take the Help
When I started this journey I was dead set
on providing everything my mother needed.
I was the only one who was going to be responsible
for her care. In
a very short time I learned that I was not enough to meet
the needs of my mother.
The worst part of it was that because I couldn’t meet
all her needs (as a son should) I had overwhelming bought of
Through other providers I have learned that in situations of
care giving, no one is enough.
However, there are people out there who are willing
and able to help, it’s part of their life calling and they
give freely. I
had to learn that it doesn’t make me weak to accept help,
more it the need to focus on making sure my mother’s needs
are met. This is
case where we have to acknowledge that we cannot and are not
the focus, its other people.
Everyone needs help from time to time in their lives,
it nothing to be ashamed of or to feel less about.
Perhaps the next most important part of getting help
is to pay it back when you’re able.
For me, at some point I intend on volunteering at
food kitchens or even the nursing home who took such good
care of my mother.
I’ve also found that taking the perspective of paying
it back helps to alleviate some of my guilt for needing the
The Next Great Moment
I’ve learned that in time of Joy you need to
live in that moment as if it was your last.
In times of strife and pain, you need to work hard to
acknowledge that just around the corner could be the next
The important thing to know is that if you get bogged down
and focus purely on that pain, that’s where you’ll always
stay… in pain.
When my mother got out of the nursing home, I was terrified
of taking care of her (now I’ve worked my way up to simply
being paranoid all the time).
I had her home for two weeks and she went back into
Two days at home, back into the hospital she went.
We hit a major home run, when she made it to three
weeks at home, then she had to go back into the hospital.
Through all of the incidents it seemed like things
were not getting any better and in some cases they got
worse. This last
Sunday morning I was getting my mother out of bed, when it
seemed like her leg moved (this being the leg that had no
motion for the last eight months).
I had many times in the past thought I had seen
motion only to try it again and again to no avail.
This last Sunday morning I tried again.
“Mom, move your leg”.
There was a slight twitching in her upper leg muscle
and then her lower leg muscle.
Bit by bit the leg started to rise.
I almost broke down crying.
I reset the leg.. “Do it again”,
again the leg moved.
Do it again I repeated over and over.
Again and again her leg would move.
I videotaped it.
I was riding on such a high that day.
The next morning I threw back the covers,
straightened out her leg.
Do it again mom.
I would stretch her leg over and over, still no
movement. Today we simply had movement in her toes.
While I would prefer that she had movement in her leg
every day I know that recovery is a very slow process.
But I hang on to the fact that she did move it which
means she will be able to move it again.
I hang on to the videotape to remind myself of a
great moment and I now know that I’m just working to the
next great moment.
Its all there waiting for me and my mother to arrive.
The continuation of this article can be seen in next month’s
issue. For the
following series of recipes, Xander has decided to stick
with classic taste.
This is part of an overall theme of keeping life
of the Month
Waffle Worth the Wait
My mom has really found a joy in breakfast
food since her strokes.
Trying to cook it fresh every morning has proven to be very time
consuming. However, I
learned that with some things like these waffles, the batter can be done
ahead for 1-3 day worth (keeping it in the fridge) and the quality
doesn’t suffer, but saves a lot of time.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 cups warm milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt,
baking powder and sugar; set aside. Preheat waffle iron to desired
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the
milk, butter and vanilla. Pour the milk mixture into the flour
mixture; beat until blended.
Ladle the batter into a preheated waffle iron.
Cook the waffles until golden and crisp. Serve immediately.
Thank you for
Reading Good Food 4U
By Xander the Food Dude
Please send thoughts and comments to
Angie BEE grew-up a standard-sized young woman, educated in
communications, promotions and planning.
She became a wife, mother and ministry support member while
building businesses and her faith.
Through stress, age and a poor diet and while suffering from major
depression and attempted suicide, Angie BEE's weight climbed from
180 pounds to 360 pounds.
She was diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes,
obstructive sleep apnea, an overactive bladder and poor leg
circulation. At the age
of 40 an anxiety attack and the decline in her mental health forced
her to stop work and look at improving her declining health.
It was during this time that Angie BEE became inspired by her
younger sister Sonya Bennett during her process towards Gastric
Bypass Surgery. Sonya
launched this column and will return occasionally to contribute to
it, but now that she is three years-post surgery... her life is
focused on something new!
Now, celebrating her first year of a new life since having the
procedure herself, Angie BEE is healthier than she has been in over
a decade. Losing the
first 100 pounds was just the bonus!
She is now diabetes-free.
She has normal blood pressure.
The circulation in her legs is normal.
She sleeps without a c-pap machine and more!
The joy that she feels is documented each day in her
syndicated radio show, a brand new weekly
TV show documentary and each month in this article.
The Big GB stands for The BIG Gastric Bypass and it also
stands for "Getting (my life) Back".
This article reflects how Angie BEE's life has improved... by
the grace of God and as the result of having Gastric Bypass surgery
on Feb 28, 2011. This
is now her life!
Large and Cleared to be in Charge!
with Angie Bee
There are times when you look at yourself and realize how
strong and capable you really are.
I thank GOD that I felt this revelation on a couple of
occasions just during this past week!
I looked at myself and I realized that I was stronger than I
have been in YEARS and I am definitely IN CHARGE! Lemme tell you how
MY week was!!!
I was invited to spend a week in Dayton, Ohio by Reverend
Dawn Martin of Divas by Design Ministries.
The activities that were planned for me included a
book-signing and speaking engagement before a group of women along
with opportunities to present my experiences as a gastric bypass
weight loss patient.
Although my book does not touch on the weight loss (the book was
completed just prior to surgery), there is an understanding that
when people see my book cover photo where I weighed nearly 400
pounds and they look at me now at 180 pounds smaller the topic
arises. When I share with
audiences on how I lost the weight, they are surprised; but when I
share with them how much healthier I am since the surgery, they are
So my story was shared during my book-signing event at the
Women On Assignment event.
Rev. Dawn mentioned to the audience that she didn’t recognize
me when I arrived. She
shared with the audience how I looked SO good since the weight loss
and then I chimed in with the following crowd pleasers:
Since the weight loss, I can testify to: the reversal of
Type II Diabetes,
The elimination of Obstructive Sleep Apnea,
No more overactive bladder,
Not another swollen ankle AND NO MORE HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE!
The audience stood and cheered with applause, and then lined up for
a hug and an autographed copy of the book.
That was how the week began.
Now, let me tell you about Day 2 of this week in Ohio!
Reverend Dawn was an invited guest to the election tour
stop pep rally featuring First Lady Michelle Obama.
She failed to mention to me that I was to be HER special
guest and videographer at this event.
As she and I were escorted through the Secret Service scan
and as the bomb-sniffing dog checked my camera bag and purse, I
started to really smile to myself! I realized that I was not worried
about prolonged standing (the media needed to arrive two hours prior
to the First Lady’s arrival, and we stood the entire event!)
A gentleman handed me my official White House Press Pass and
escorted me to the media platform where the TV news cameras were
already stationed. As I
climbed the stairs to the platform, another smile emerged on my
face. I was climbing a
flight of stairs without huffing and puffing!
I was climbing stairs without that high blood pressure
headache banging my temple and I was climbing the stairs IN CHARGE
of this production!
Rev. Dawn introduced the viewers to our presence at the
event and I shot more still and video footage than I have in over a
year! I shot freehand,
without a tripod and I looked GOOD while I was doing it!
My pink dress was flattering and my hair was banging lol!
At one point before the arrival of the First Lady, someone in
the audience looked up at the platform at me and said “You look too
pretty to be a camera operator.
You should be in FRONT of the camera!”
Yep! I know that
I looked great and I did a great job shooting on that day!
The footage will be seen by viewers of the Jericho Broadcast
When I weighed nearly 400 pounds, I would not have been able
to accept this compliment due to my poor self esteem, but this week
I embraced those words!
By the end of the week, Rev. Dawn was up to her old tricks
again. She told me that
she had concert tickets for us to attend the Cincinnati Music
Festival on Friday and Saturday nights.
The concert lineup included Eric Benet, Jaheim, The O’Jays,
Charlie Wilson, The Temptations and more; I was excited!
The press passes were flashed upon our arrival and I was
escorted to the press area.
I got the BEST photos and videos of these artists on stage!
I was so close to the stage that the sweat from Eddie Levert
hit me on the forehead!
I know that I could not have accomplished the activities
of this week had I still suffered from the symptoms of my past
illnesses. I realize
that I could have DONE everything because I was doing all these
things even before the weight loss; the difference is that before
the weight loss, I would have been running to the bathroom, I would
have needed a chair because of my swollen ankles and I would have
been checking my blood sugar every hour or two.
Now I can shoot for hours and still look fabulous LOL and I
can take a trip for ministry and not be stressed about food or
medicine. I can be in CHARGE of my life and my business while I
continue to lose weight.
I am so happy now I just can’t describe it enough!
See you next month!
Author, Magazine Publisher, Producer, Promoter &
The Host of The Hottest Home Hotspot WORLDWIDE
Syndicated Holy Hip Hop Radio Show
Last Week I wanted to Die!
NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE!
Thanks for reading
The Big GB - My Gastric Bypass Memoirs
Sonya Bennett on Facebook
Founded in 1969, NAAFA is a non-profit
civil rights organization dedicated to improving the quality of life
for fat people. NAAFA works to eliminate discrimination based on
body size and provide fat people with the tools for self-empowerment
through public education, advocacy, and member support.
This Column is dedicated to the tremendous
work NAAFA has been doing for over four decades. LargeInCharge
wishes to support NAAFA in spreading the word of its work, and give
the public more information into issues we as plus sized people
should be aware of. The fight for equality for people of all
sizes is one we support.
This Column will include News Releases and
Calls to Action from NAAFA Directors.
This Column has been Approved by NAAFA.org
NAAFA 2012 Scholar Takes on The Biggest Loser!
NAAFA is pleased to announce that Natalie Ingraham, MPH
has been selected as the 2012 NAAFA HAESsm Scholarship
recipient. Natalie is a graduate student at University of California
San Francisco (UCSF) pursuing her doctorate in Sociology. Her
proposed research project is to conduct a critical content analysis
of the television show, The Biggest Loser. The results will be compared against HAES
principles in order to create and recommend possible policy changes
with regards to body size and health.
To learn more about the HAES principles visit NAAFA’s website
"We commend Natalie for taking on
The Biggest Loser, as we
are very concerned about the impact it has on public policy, public
opinion and its participants,” stated Lisa Tealer, NAAFA Board
Member and Director of Programs.
Dr. Shari Dworkin, Associate Professor, Vice Chair and
Director of Doctoral Studies in Medical Sociology at UCSF’s
Department of Social and Behavior Sciences wrote in her letter of
recommendation that, "Natalie has done very well in all research
related tasks that she engages with and she shows a dedication and
commitment to research that is refreshing and most welcome.”
Ingraham will receive a $1,000 scholarship from NAAFA to
continue her graduate studies and research. She will be recognized
at the NAAFA convention on Saturday, August 4, 2012 during NAAFA’s
Annual Dinner held at the Westin San Francisco Airport Hotel in
Millbrae, California. On Monday, August 6th at the NAAFA HAES
Summit, Natalie will participate as a session panelist and present a
poster of her research.
If you are interested in joining Natalie and other HAES
practitioners at the NAAFA HAES summit, please register early as
space is limited. Find more information at:
Thanks for reading
From the Desk of NAAFA
Lucia Roth, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Graduated with a B. A.
degree in Communication from Southeastern Louisiana University and is
considering going back for her Masters degree. Lucia a people person and
is always willing to help out a friend in need. She enjoys music,
movies, poetry, and good book on a rainy day. Lucia has several mottos
This is one: Knowledge talks, wisdom listens.
wanted to re- introduce myself, since I just joined Large In Charge
magazine last year. My name is Lulu, and I am a fashion writer for
largeincharge.com I am a fashion junkie:) I look forward to finding
wonderful fashion find and product of the month for you. I also look
forward to chatting with you all an reading some good fashion comments!
Please let me know if you have a favorite. Web_girl1999@yahoo.com
Picks of the Month
Product of the Month
SWAK: Sealed With A Kiss
Fashion Find Type: All Fashion Styles
Sale Price: Sale - prices varies
Sealed With A Kiss is having a wonderful end of the
summer Sale There’s something for everyone. Don’t Let this
sale pass you buy… sizes 14-36.
Product of the Month
Name of Product:
Kiss Nail Dress
Type of Product:
Fashion strips for
your finger nails
Where Product can be found:
Description: Kiss Nail Dress is fashion for
your nails… on in minutes, off in seconds without remover.
Lasts up to 10 days
Ultimate nail fashion for tips and toes
Fits all nails
Includes: 28 strips in
14 sizes, design booklet and file
Pat is a forty something woman living in
Southern Ontario, Canada. She has a varied past and has worked teaching
literacy and English as a second language to adults, as an environmental
science technician and in the health and safety field. Currently she
works in marketing.
Pat fiercely believes in human rights for all and has volunteered for
organizations that raise funds and develop and implement programs to
help impoverished people and educate women in third world countries.
Although relatively new to the size acceptance movement, Pat believes
with all her heart that people of size deserve equal treatment and
In her spare time she likes to read fiction, go to bashes and spend time
with Pat Llewellyn
As part of my recovery I've been strongly
encouraged to be more physically active. The idea is to give me
a physical release for the pent up emotions. This has been a
challenge for me. Not only because I'm depressed and lacking
energy & desire, but because I have auto-immune diseases & my
I was encouraged to start walking @ a brisk
pace, but I find this boring & hard on my body. I started
wracking my brain for things that I like to do & would be easier
on my joints. Then it hit me.
I love the water. I went to the local YMCA &
got a trial membership & tried water aerobics. Turns out I
really like it. Getting motivated to go out is hard, but I found
something I like which is half the battle.
I have a long way to go, but you have to
celebrate the victories.
Ms Suga is a plus size woman hailing from Sunny South Florida. She
is a 24 year old recent recipient of a Bachelor in Arts degree in
Communication Studies. Being plus size for the majority of her life
she has overcome many obstacles to finally come to the point where
she is fully content with herself and her life. This self love has
also allowed Ms Suga the privilege of sharing her love with those
around her. She is very passionate about life and loves to help
Ms Suga likes to see herself as the one everyone can go
to for positive, inspirational and truthful words of advice and/or
support. She is the Beautiful Inspirational Girl that is blessed,
intellectual, trustworthy, caring and hardworking.
Ms Suga has had a passion for writing since she was a
little girl when she used to think of short stories about what her
life would be like as she got older. This is Ms Suga’s first
opportunity for her thoughts to be public for the world to see.
Excited about this column Ms Suga is also very optimistic of her
future in writing and promoting self love and acceptance in the plus
with Ms Suga
Greetings loves!! I must say that these past
few weeks have been a trying and emotional time for Ms. Suga but you
know what i don't regret any of it. I have learned and am continuing
to learn new things about myself each and every day.
The summer is almost over and it's time for
children and some adults to be going back to school. Its been a
minute since I've had to sit in a classroom but trust me i do
remember those days quiet well. The first day of school I was always
nervous; worried about the classes and teachers and even if my
friends were still going to be my friends
this term. I also remember thinking about the last day of school
(talk about jumping the gun) and how much different we would be
after a whole other school year, Kinda profound for a kid right? Nah
I've been here before .
By the time i got to college I realized that
every class is a challenge in itself but in the ending result is
something no one can take from you. You come away knowing more than
you did when you went in and that education is a beautiful thing. I
read somewhere that challenges aren't so bad if you look at them as
stepping stones and stumbling blocks.
Even If you aren't starting school I'm sure
there is something going on in your life that equals a fresh start.
That new weight loss program you started fits the bill. It may be
difficult to make life changes but just remember the goal is to fit
into those old jeans or to look slimmer in those wedding pictures.
So eat that salad, do those crunches and drink that water you may
not like it now but a better you is in the making.
That heartbreak you are currently going
through (trust Ms. Suga knows all about broken hearts) know that
something better is on the horizon. That man or woman who you think
left you actually released you. For me I had to realize that in
order to be the person I wanted and needed to be I had to let go of
that man who wasn't ready for the same things I was. Also remember
if you think something is wrong then it probably is something wrong.
A lot of us (myself included) think that we can change people and
that isn't the case. A fresh start might be just what you need to
get you to your happiness.
I am encouraging you today to start fresh
and look at things through a new set of eyes you will see your
destiny clearer than ever before. You might not always have a map of
the final destination but at least you can know if you are headed in
the right direction.
Gabriela Falarz lives in Toronto, Canada.
She has been up and down the scale for most of her life (mostly up),
and is proud to say that she loves herself no matter what her size,
although it has definitely been an evolution.
She blogs about size acceptance in her blog,
Celebreight Yourself (www.celebreightyourself.blogspot.com).
Gabriela discovered Large in Charge Radio about a year ago
and has been hooked ever since. She is thrilled to be writing for
Large in Charge and to be part of an organization that helps all
large people realize how beautiful, special, and amazing they are.
with Gabriela Falarz
One thing I have noticed about being a
member of Facebook ... you meet all kinds.
Another thing I've noticed is that young
guys (mostly 20-somethings) seem to be fascinated with larger women.
I can't tell you how many times I've been
online doing my own thing, checking statuses and email, or just
goofing off and wasting time, when I hear that "blup" sound of a
chat popping up at the bottom of my screen. Inevitably, it's some
young guy I've never met who I friended at some time. He'll start
off with something like "Hey, how ya doin" and gravitate to comments
like "You are so so pretty" or "You are so gorgeous, I love your
pictures" and I am honestly quite dumbfounded.
Where were these guys when I was IN my 20s?
They were nowhere to be found. Yet now, here I am, a 40-something
MILF (apparently) [for those of you who don't know, MILF means
Mother I'd Love to F*#k], married with child, and I can't get rid of
them. Well, I can, I guess ... I can block them. But they are mostly
harmless (although one creepy guy tried to get me to send him a
picture of my feet, lol) ... just lonely, shy, awkward guys who
probably don't know how to approach women any other way than through
the computer. And I have to admit it's quite ego-boosting and
flattering to hear these guys tell me how beautiful they think I am
(even though I'm usually twice their age and the online affairs they
keep trying to entice me into simply aren't going to happen other
than in their dreams). Whenever I tell them my age, though, it
doesn't faze them one bit. "I love older women. I've always had a
thing for them." Hmmmm.
Something about their outspoken admiration
and appreciation screams "Mommy complex" to me, but I can't deny
it's fun. Hey, my time as a sex object has been long overdue.
These guys who chat me keep telling me they
love women with curves. I don't know if they realize I'm a hell of a
lot more than that meek adjective "curvy" ... I'm one big curve that
just keeps on going ... and I wonder exactly what they mean by that.
Do they simply mean they like a little jiggle? Or do they truly
appreciate a fat woman's rolls and dips and curves?
I don't know, but according to my husband,
the whole MILF trend shows no sign of slowing down. Some of the most
popular adult videos feature MILFs, I'm told, not to mention the
vast array of BBW videos.
Diet companies, the fat-hating segment of
society, and the medical establishment have done their best to try
and make us feel like we're unattractive, unwanted, and sexless, but
let me tell you ... a whole legion of guys out there obviously
didn't get the memo ... and if you're a larger woman who's a member
of Facebook or any other social network, you've doubtless received
no shortage of men who want to chat you.
Of course, there are just as many of these
guys who are simply players or outright psychos, and you need to be
careful who you talk to ... but I don't see anything wrong with a
little harmless flirtation. The only problem is ... I waste way too
much time on Facebook!
Kathy is originally from a small town in Michigan but has lived in
San Diego County since she's been 18 years old. Kathy
graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelors in
Finance in 1999.
She has a real estate broker’s license and works as a mortgage
Kathy also owns BBW Club Catalina in San Diego which has monthly
night club parties and other fun events on a frequent basis.
Kathy has been an avid supporter of NAAFA, Vegas BBW Bash and
San Diego BBW Bash and believes in size acceptance and health at
Kathy is a firm believer that people need to have a full life by
going to the movies, dinner, bowling, dancing and anything that will
make them a happier person and not wait till they are at the perfect
size to start living their life to the fullest.
Kathy is in her mid-40's and her children are grown and living
productively on their own.
In her spare time she likes trying new restaurants, dancing,
modeling, bowling and spending time with family and friends.
Dating in an interracial relationship...he's dating you
but will he marry you?
with Kathy Hernandez
Interracial dating has become more and more
accepted in the past 40 to 50 years especially considering that in
1967 it was still illegal to marry someone of a different race.
This law was no longer in effect after winning the Loving vs
Commonwealth of Virginia when a white man married a black woman.
I can't imagine being told I can't marry someone because we
weren't of the same race and 1967 was the year that I was born so it
really wasn't that long ago when it was illegal to fall in love with
someone of a different skin color.
There are a lot more interracial couples
dating today as we can see them out on a daily basis but how many of
these interracial couples who are dating actually get married and
live happily ever after?
I have personally seen many black men date all other races but when
it comes to marriage they have openly said that they do not want
mixed children and didn't feel their families would be happy if they
married a woman who wasn't black.
This particular male black friend of mine who said that he
didn't want mixed children and that was the reason why he wouldn't
marry my friend who was Hispanic made me laugh because how many
black men do you know in the United States that aren't mixed with
some other nationality??
Also I pointed out to him that he was one of the lighter skinned
black men that I know so
how did he think he wasn't mixed already with another race and he
just said he wanted a black woman as a wife but he was ok with
dating women of other races.
I have another friend who also said he will
date women of all races but he felt most comfortable in marrying
black women which he had done twice already.
I used to think before having conversations with these two
male friends of mine that the Caucasian of the relationship would
feel more pressure from marrying someone of color but it seems to me
that it is about the same on each side because of peer pressure and
pressure from close family relatives to marry within our own race.
I wonder if interracial couples weren't given such a hard
time from friends and relatives about dating someone of a different
race if more of these couples would have gotten married?
Think about what the pressure was like to even date someone
of a different color 30 or 40 years ago compared to it being a lot
more accepted today.
When I was a child I was told if I married
someone that was black that I would be disinherited... can you
believe that? When
I was in my early 20's I used to babysit my friends son when he was
5 or 6 years old because there was a few hours between the time she
had to go to work and her mother got off from work.
One particular day I decided to take Marco
to the mall to buy him a toy which I did frequently as I didn't have
any children yet so I loved spending time with him.
Marco was mixed with black and Puerto Rican and yes he was
the cutest little boy but when we were at the mall this day there
were a couple of older white women sitting on the mall bench as we
were walking by which I didn't notice them right away but Marco did
because he grabbed my hand and said
"come on mommy let's go home"
and all I could think is why did he call me mommy?
It turns out these older white women were commenting on me
having a black child so he decided to irritate them even more by
holding my hand and calling me mommy.
I heard one of the older white women say "what is the world
coming to?" and looked
at both of us with disgust.
I just smiled at them both and said hello how are you?
Marco was 5 or 6
years old and could feel the stigma and pressure of being associated
with a white woman just because these older white women thought we
were mother and son.
According to the census bureau marriages
between a black and white person represent less than one percent of
total marriages but Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans marry
outside their ethnic group on an average of 30 to 40 percent of the
currently engaged to a man who is black and we have discussed how
his family and friends would react to our getting married.
I know my sisters just want me to be happy and don't care
what the color of David's skin is but I also know that some of my
other relatives will be very
unhappy to find out that I'm marrying a black man.
David told me that his sister is married to a white man and
his family doesn't seem to have a problem with their marriage at
I'm not as naive to think that everyone will
be happy for us but I am so glad that the year isn't before 1967
where I wouldn't have the option to marry the love of my life just
because his skin color differs from mine.
Celebrating almost 2 decades as a Graphic Designer/Published
Illustrator, Jean Nerestant Jr (Jness) got his start as a graphic
artist in 1994, Still working as a graphic designer by day/ Jness
devotes time to his hip hop Culture, comic book art and Plus
How You View Yourself?
In the midst of my travels and conversations I have drawn
one conclusion about people of size and all people in general. The
philosophy is very simple, What you tell yourself about yourself
ultimately becomes your reality. Whether it’s a good thing or a bad
thing. If you reinforce it daily, it becomes a part of your
That is the reason I have made the choice to do the type
of art that I do, I believe it causes people to see themselves
differently. If they look at the plus size images I create and
identify with the image, my thought process is that the positive and
empowering aspects in the image will also become a part of how they
view themselves. When I get feedback from the people who view my
work, it’s very exciting to hear that the goals of my mission are
The human spirit is in turmoil because all to often you
have people feeling, believing and thinking they are less than they
are. The other demographic consists of people who make it their
common practice to make people feel that way. I remember when I was
a child the Nuns in Catholic school always drilled this expression
into our heads. “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say
anything at all.” I know it sounds like a very elementary concept,
but there is such a valuable ethic there. If we took the time to
pour positive things into each other - attitudes would change, as
well as the quality of individual character. The world is so full of
what I call “Surface dwellers” people who are satisfied with what is
at the top of the water. “What you see is what you get” I consider
myself among those who aren’t satisfied with the first glance. We
want to go deeper look beneath the surface and discover the real
fiber. People are
content with making assumptions about others, and catering to
stereotypes. A little bit of communication would quickly reveal that
individuals are not easily placed into cookie cutter molds. Just
because a person is full figured doesn’t means they are weak. It
doesn’t means they don’t have feelings, or that they are placed here
to be victims of verbal abuse and jokes.
I am careful when developing the concepts are expressed in
my artwork. I don’t
every want my work associated with any negative images. The media is
full of enough images that cause people to feel like there is an
existing standard that they will never fit into. How we look can no
longer be a stumbling block for how far we can get in life. Sure we
can do things to change the way we look, but we should always be
mindful that those things do not define who we are. We define who we
are. In the morning before facing the challenges of the day we
should speak words of affirmation. Speak the positive words that
become the blueprint for the directions our footsteps will take.
These are the footsteps that will lead us to success, spiritual, and
mental health. Don’t worry about how others view you. What’s
important is how you view yourself.
Return to Back Issues of
Return to the Front