LargeInCharge Magazine -  Nine Years and Counting!

 Issue#112 - July 2013

Welcome to LargeInCharge Magazine

In this Issue of L.I.C.




Words of Wisdom from the Heart & Mind of Raqui


The Big GB Getting my Life Back after Gastric Bypass  Angie Bee


From the Desk of NAAFA

National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance


FOoDiE in You ~ Lucia Roth


The B.I.G. Beautiful Inspirational Girl  - Ms Suga


Dating Survival for Today's Woman

Kathy Edmondson


The Observer - Jness


Curvy Styles - Amy Lucas


The Skinny on Big Love - Jay Hansen


Thinking Big - David Edmondson


LargeInChargeDating - Dating for the Large People who are going to be in Charge of their Love Lives!


LargeInCharge Friends - The Place for Big People to make Friends and maybe MUCH MORE!


10 Most controversial
Fat Shaming Ads and Signs


10 Most Controversial Fat Shaming Ads and Signs

Internet Source: Oddee.com - LINK


Raqui: Fat Shaming is extremely popular.  Fat people have been blamed for just about everything wrong in this world.  Stripping away the fact that we are human beings with the right to live happily and to seek equality is something that is done regularlly and publicly.  When we ask to be treated as equal people in this world the notion is laughed at.  When we object to being use and shamed publicly it is often said we have no right to say anything because being fat is unhealthy.  The fact that we are human doesnt matter. When I saw this article I had to share it with you all.

We understand the need to get attention in this media-saturated, 24/7 world. However, we're guessing that Ashley Madison didn't need to go this far. In 2011, Ashley Madison, a "married dating service for discreet encounters" (yes, such a thing exists), released an ad that mocks a plus-size model for her look.

The dating site, which seeks to connect married or "attached" individuals for affairs, released an ad stating, "Did your wife SCARE you last night?" with a photo of an overweight woman lounging sexily in lingerie. The logic, we presume, is that with a wife that frighteningly fat, the only solution is to seek sex elsewhere, specifically with married folks on Ashley Madison.

What irks us even more is that after the ad came out, the overweight model in question spoke out against the ads and requested that Ashley Madison not present her photo that way. Model Jacqueline, who runs a BBW ("Big Beautiful Woman") website called JuicyJackie.com, wrote a first-person essay for Jezebel.com, defending her body and condemning Ashley Madison's treatment of it. Not only is it personally offensive, Jacqueline wrote, but it sends the wrong message to viewers, particularly those who are overweight themselves.

What was Ashley Madison's response to Jacqueline's reasonable request? "The best thing that could've happened to this woman is that we used her in our ad. [...] if she can get great publicity from this, all the power to her," the site's CEO said. (Link)


It's big and offensive. It's a bikini-clad, overweight beachgoer painted on a billboard sign in Jacksonville, Florida with the tagline “Save the Whales. Lose the Blubber: Go Vegetarian. PETA.” The animal rights group says that they're only reminding people who are desperate to lose weight that becoming vegetarian will help them shed unwanted pounds.

“Trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. Trying to hide the truth behind a veil of insensitivity is no better, PETA.

PETA wasn't trying to protect endangered marine mammals by saying “Save the Whales. Lose the Blubber” (whales need blubber to thrive after all). Their slogan was a hurtful jar at overweight people. “They're specifically targeting fat, white women,” said Joanna Potter of West Palm Beach, who's seeking legal advice on suing PETA over the advertisement. “I'm a fat, white woman. It's horribly offensive.”

Perhaps what's even more offensive is the inaccuracy of the campaign. Weight loss is about making healthy eating choices, not just switching to a vegetarian diet, and PETA knows this. (Link)


A number of high-profile bloggers have united in opposition to the Strong4Life Campaign, which features photos of obese children in their print and media ads with slogans like ““being fat takes the fun out of being a kid.” The campaign has purchased billboard ads all over the State of Georgia and is also running a number of television commercials in an effort to educate Georgian parents about childhood obesity.

While most are in agreement with the goals of the campaign, many find the methods of the campaign, which uses photos of overweight children paired with negative slogans, to be quite offensive. Leah Segedie of Mamavation has organized a protest of the campaign, with several bloggers writing posts daily and taking part in a twitter event in the evening. (Link)

The last thing we want while walking down the street is to be shamed for our breakfast choices. That's why writer Chloe Angyal was disappointed to see a sign from Oatmeals NY doing just that.

However, after Angyal tweeted the company, telling them that the sign was "fatshamey and gross" and asking if they wanted to be associated with disordered eating, Oatmeals NY responded with an apology. (Link)



Because looks are all that matter. (Link)


As if overcrowded public transportation was not irritating enough, the health club chain Fitness First has converted a bus stop bench into a scale that will display the weight of people sitting on it. This guerilla marketing campaign created by N=5 was seen in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. (Link)


This ad was spotted in San Francisco in 2008, put up by some public health initiative.


The first two lines, of course, are there to show that if the fat woman makes positive health changes and stops “ordering takeout” (you know, as we all do), then she will lose lots of weight. It's the third line where things get more offensive–once she no longer has any “unsightly” lumps (please notice that the shape of the line changes, not just the size) she's “allowed” to buy a skimpy bikini. Isn't that the goal, after all? (Link)


Another one of PETA's misleading ads. According to their ad, being thin, fit, and sexy is the only way to love your body, and the only way to be thin, fit, and sexy is to go vegan. Essentially, what they're saying is that everyone else should be ashamed of their bodies. (Link)


In 2010, this campaign was released by billboard advertising company Interbest Outdoor to recruit potential advertisers. "Your Ad Here" is out and "Give Us Money to Take Down These Disgusting Pictures of Fat People! Hurry! OMG Look at How Hideously FAT They Are! Buy an ad already!" is in.

So what we have here is an advertising ploy that tells people they should hurry up and buy that ad space before the fat guy takes all his clothes off. Not only that, but apparently it won some sort of award, and yes, the space was bought before locals got The Full Monty. (Link 1 | Link 2)


Blu Cigs are a popular electronic vapor cigarette in America and it's evident with Blu's new advertising wave in popular magazines. The Blu Cigs ad below was in Rolling Stone magazine. The slogan said, "No regrets." To drive that message home, they've pictured a slender man enjoying a "cigarette" in bed next to a BBW (Big Beautiful Woman) in a vinyl corset with an eerily believable just-been-sexed-up look on her face. (Link)



Thank you for Reading The LargeInCharge Feature


Cover Model of the Month!
Mississippi beauty

Julie Davis


Want to be a LargeInCharge Cover Model? Download the Application for 2013 - HERE




LargeInCharge.com: What is your name?


Julie Michelle Davis  AKA  “Jules”

LargeInCharge.com: Where are you from and what is your current Location? 

Mississippi, USA

LargeInCharge.com: Can you give us some information about yourself (Age, Height, Size, Nationality, Marital Status, Children, etc.)? 

37, 5’9, size 22/24, American, Married, 1 son & 2 step-sons

LargeInCharge.com: Were you a big child, or did you gain weight later in life?

I have always been plus size

LargeInCharge.com: (If you gained weight later in life) what caused you to gain weight and how did you feel about it? 

I gained more weight later in life after I got pregnant & the weight just didn’t come back off.

LargeInCharge.com: What made you decide to enter the LargeInCharge model search?


The opportunity and also, I love to be involved in plus size advocacy.

LargeInCharge.com: Did you find it a hard journey to be accepted for your size, and do you find acceptance among your family and friends?   

Being plus size is a continual journey and it is hard at times knowing that some of your closest family doesn’t accept the “plus size” world.  However, you have to learn to accept the body that you are in and learn that beauty is not a certain size.

LargeInCharge.com: What would you say inspires you most in life?  


My husband is my inspiration.  He is the most loyal and supportive man no matter the circumstance.

LargeInCharge.com: What is your primary occupation, and how did you get into this line of work?


I own two companies.  The first is Passions by Jules, which our mission is to support husbands and wives in the enjoyment of sexual intimacy in marriage. We are committed to the idea that God created sex as a gift to married couples to promote a special kind of human relationship.  


The second is Avon by Jules making women always look and feel beautiful.  I also run a non-profit organization called Supporting Fathers Rights which provides emotional support for fathers dealing with child custody, child visitation, and any fatherly issues that they need addressed.  I am active in charity work and my last position held was as the Accountant & Media Coordinator for the Make-A-Wish Mississippi Foundation which is a non-profit organization that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

LargeInCharge.com: Do you find acceptance in the work force?  

Interviews and meeting colleagues can be a difficult task when it comes to them judging you from looks.  However, once they learn your personality (if they take the time to & give you that opportunity), you are generally accepted.

LargeInCharge.com: What changes do you believe should take place for Large People in the work force?


I think that everyone should have an open mind and not be so quick to judge someone.  Everyone has their own circumstances.  We are in 2013 and half the world, if not more, is plus size and it should be learned to be accepted.

LargeInCharge.com: What do you think about the fashion industry for big sized clothing?


The plus size industry is actually quite small in the US and is hard to find clothes.  You have some plus size clothes at about 4 retailers, but the price that you have to pay for the clothing is unacceptable.  I would love to open up a plus size clothing store in the future to cater to plus size men and women and to keep them in style at a reasonable price, just like the smaller sizes.

LargeInCharge.com: What do you wish to see change with the fashion industry?  


More clothing options for plus size along with actual models and mannequins displaying the clothing.

LargeInCharge.com: Tell us some of the places you buy your clothing from.  Do you have any beauty tips? 

I generally will buy my clothing from Lane Bryant, CATO, Ashley Stewart or online shops.    The better you look, the better you feel so each day you get up, get dressed and get ready to conquer the world.  Always be true to yourself and who you are.

LargeInCharge.com:  How do you prepare for a Photo shoot?  What should aspiring models be prepared for?


 Knee bends, stretches, water and a positive attitude.  It can get aggravating waiting on the camera to focus or the camera to set.  It gets aggravating that your make-up may run from getting hot and there is always things that may irritate you, but you have to remember what you are doing it for and if it’s something you truly enjoy doing, the aggravation and irritation is just a little bump in the road.  If it’s what you want, go after it.  

LargeInCharge.com: Look at Size acceptance five years ago... look at size acceptance now.  What changes do you see? 

People have been learning to come out of their shell and get comfortable with being plus size.  It’s also accepted more than it was then even though it’s still not widely accepted and sometimes frowned upon.

LargeInCharge.com: Tell us about your goals as far as modeling and other interests.

I am hoping the get to enter the Mrs. Plus America 2013 this year if at all possible.  I always seize each and every opportunity that is presented to me and especially charity work.  I am also hoping to get more fit and healthy while staying plus size.  I want my modeling to keep growing and help reach others that struggle with plus size acceptance and lifestyle.

LargeInCharge.com:  What have you accomplished as a Plus Sized Model?

 I have reached many plus size women through plus size advocacy to learn to accept themselves.  I have also grown more positive as a plus size woman.

LargeInCharge.com:  Have you entered or won any Contests, Pageants or Awards?  What was the experience like? 

I have been the cover model for a couple of magazines. 

LargeInCharge.com: Can you tell us about an inspirational moment in your life that made you feel good about your size.


Each and every day that I get online and go to my fan page, I see that it has grown in number of fans.  I see the positive and inspiring comments and have been blessed not to see any negativity on my page at all.  It is a tremendous accomplishment to have people on your page that accept the plus size industry with open arms and not just there to knock it down.  I thank each and every one of my fans for continuing to be an inspiration to me and other plus size women and men.

LargeInCharge.com: Is there a person in your life that makes you keep going?  

 My husband is my rock!

LargeInCharge.com: What advice would you give to other people of size who want to model?


Reach for your dreams and goals and never give up nor let anyone discourage you from them.

LargeInCharge.com: Which plus size figure do you most admire?


It would be between Queen Latifah and Adele.

LargeInCharge.com: Describe yourself with one word.






Thanks for reading about our

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 and Raised in the Bronx NYC. This city girl is taking the world by storm.


     For almost a decade 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, Sweden 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 portfolio visit www.Raqui.com

Raqui's Blog titled Raqui-ism "Soulfully Speaking! - http://raqui-ism.blogspot.com/

go to www.Raqui.com Portfolio Section

Raqui-ism - Worthy Charities 2013

Written By: Raqui





 This year LargeInCharge has begun its 9th year moving toward our 10th. I challenged myself this year by starting my own little quest toward learning, giving, and expanding my own mind, by donating to a new charity every month.  I hope that you all will enjoy learning about these new charities with me.  


I began to understand that most of us only donate to a charity if we have an emotional connection to the charity itself or someone who is trying to raise money for a cause.   One day when I happen to dismiss a charity that was asking for donations, I realized I dont want to be that person.  I want to give because the cause is worthy and I can.  Not only because of an emotional connection.   So join me in learning about new causes and charities this year.  I will post a new one to my column every month.


CHARITY OF THE MONTH:  TEAM GLEASON - bring awareness about ALS


Finding Out about ALS has been an adventure for me.  I never heard of ALS until a news report made me look up an event that happened recently.

Three Radio DJ’s were fired last month (June 2013) after doing a comedy skit on the air of Steve Gleason (former football star now suffering with the disease ALS) they went on to have one of the DJ’s fake a robotic voice asking for others to kill him, and other such offensive things.

You can read more about it HERE and/or watch the Video HERE


I couldn’t believe what I heard but then I am not surprised with the way people are, and what extent they will go in bad taste and entertainment.


Even after all that was said and done Steve Gleason accepted the apology that was given by these insensitive former DJ’s – Read More HERE

I was very impressed with Steve what character this man has and what an amazing organization he and his team created for those suffering from ALS trying to live out there final days in peace and with some pride. I had to learn more about ALS, Team Gleason and Steve himself. I hope you take some time learn with me and donate to this worthy cause.



Understanding ALS – taken from the Team Gleason website CLICK HERE for the site


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease and outside the US as Motor Neuron Disease (MND) or Charcot’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that attacks motor neurons in the brain (upper motor neurons) and spinal cord (lower motor neurons) and affects muscle function.

The motor neurons control the movement of various voluntary muscles including the diaphragm. Associated with the loss of the ability of motor neurons to function in ALS, the various muscles cells waste away (atrophy), resulting in increased muscle weakness. Ultimately, accumulated loss of motor neurons makes it impossible for voluntary control of normal muscle function.

Symptoms of ALS can include twitching and cramping of muscles (called fasciculation), stiffness in muscles (spasticity), increasing loss of motor control in hands and arms and legs, weakness and fatigue, slurred or thick speech and difficulty breathing or swallowing.

In most cases, ALS patients do not typically experience significantly impaired sensory neural functioning, intellectual reasoning, vision or hearing. Eye and bladder muscles, along with sexual function and drive, are not normally affected.

ALS is diagnosed using a variety of tests and examinations, including laboratory tests, muscle and nerve biopsy, spinal tap, X-rays, MRI’s and electrodiagnostic evaluation of axon function.

Currently there is only a single therapy approved for treating ALS progression – the drug Rilutek (riluzole) with the accepted, modest benefit estimated to be a three month extension in patient survival.


About Steve Gleason

Steve Gleason, born March 19, 1977 in Spokane, Washington, was a Safety/Special Teams player in the National Football League. He played college football at Washington State. As a free agent in 2008, Steve retired from the NFL after eight seasons with the New Orleans Saints.

He attended Gonzaga Preparatory School, where he earned consecutive Greater Spokane League (GSL) Defensive MVP awards and was inducted into the Gonzaga Prep Hall of Fame. While attending Washington State, he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.

Steve was signed by the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2000. He was released by the team after the preseason and was signed to the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad in November.

On September 25, 2006, Steve was responsible for one of the most dramatic moments in Saints history, when he blocked a punt in the first quarter against the Atlanta Falcons, which was recovered in the Falcons’ end zone for a touchdown. It was the first score in the Saints’ first home game in nearly 21 months, during which time Hurricane Katrina had devastated the city.

That year, he won the “Special Teams Player of the Year” award for the Saints.

Steve formed the One Sweet World Foundation, a charitable foundation that focuses on literacy and environmentalism. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Steve’s foundation led a group of foundations and institutions in launching “Backpacks for Hope”, an initiative to provide relief to young hurricane victims in the form of backpacks and school supplies. More than 7,000 backpacks and other assistance was donated from across the country. He spent much of his career visiting patients at the New Orleans Children’s Hospital.

Steve, known for his long locks hanging out of this helmet, regularly donated his hair to “Locks for Love”, which provides hair for wigs for children with cancer.

After retiring from football, Steve attended Tulane University to receive his Master of Business Administration degree. In January 2011, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Steve is married to native New Orleanian Michel Varisco. In October 2011, they had their first child, Rivers. In an effort to capture the essence of himself and his life, Steve is currently building a video journal library for Rivers.

Today, Steve and his foundation are deeply committed to helping people with ALS live productive, inspired lives by providing access to life-affirming events and assistive technology until a cure is found.

The Gleason Initiative Foundation Mission

• Help provide individuals with neuromuscular diseases or injuries with leading edge technology, equipment and services.
• Create a global conversation about ALS to ultimately find solutions and an end to the disease.
• Raise public awareness toward ALS by providing and documenting extraordinary life adventures for individuals with muscular diseases or injuries.


Donate Now

You can easily donate to Team Gleason and learn more about their mission and activities by going to this link - http://www.teamgleason.org/donate/


LargeInCharge Radio - Weekly Radio show discussing Plus Sized Issues.  Friday's 9-11 pm EST - Call in & Chat in our Chat Room.


Thank you for Reading Raqui-ism

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!


It's Time For My NAP!

with Angie Bee

Oh my goodness!  June was such a wonderful month!  I have officially lost 187 pounds since having gastric bypass surgery in February, 2011 and each day is a blessing for me!  Now I have discovered that I am losing inches along with continuing to lose 2-3 pounds per month. As a busy summer is now upon us, I can really say that I am getting my life back; that is, a better life than I think I ever had! I am so splendid to share some of my exciting activities with each of you!


I started out the month traveling to Ocala, Florida to do a live radio remote with Orlando-based Joy Gospel Radio at an outdoor church concert event.  I debuted my new Afro on that night which was WONDERFUL as the humidity in Florida that evening was KICKIN'!  (lol)  I conducted red-carpet interviews with recording artists and business owners and I nibbled on items from the catered veggie platter.  During the concert I danced and joked with attendees while I enjoyed the yummy meatballs that filled me up quickly!  There was once a time in my life when live, public events caused me stress and anxiety which resulted in my overeating.  I remember one event where I actually packed two (2) bags of Skittles, a one-pound bag of Fritos and a bag of M&Ms in my briefcase which were ALL eaten during the course of a two-hour event (smh).


Next we traveled to Lakeland Florida where I served as MC for The TOUR Concert appearance at an outdoor family celebration.  The TOUR is a Holy Hip Hop concert featuring ministers and Christian rappers in concert and I introduce each performer to the audience before they begin.  The TOUR began two years ago and each concert has been stressful for me since I began serving as the MC.  "What do I wear?" "Do I have enough to eat?" These thoughts have always ran through my mind as I prepared to serve the audience during past concerts.  Not this time!  The family was thrilled by the artists and their songs and when my fiancé serenaded me in song at the end.  There were applause and smiles from everyone!  I was certainly "In Charge" at that event and actually relaxed and had a GREAT TIME with the kids and the face-painting as I ran around taking pictures of the entire celebration.


Next was a speaking engagement in Orlando where I brought a message of LOVE to all in attendance.  This was a five-year celebration of the Women Tearing Down Walls event so I shared the testimony of my poor health and weight issues prior to the weight loss surgery. I cracked jokes and told stories of love and control and rejoicing because that is what is on my heart right now!  At the end of my presentation at the podium I was even able to stand quiet a bit longer to pray with individuals as I was instructed to do.  There was a time when the poor circulation in my diabetic legs would not let me stand at a podium to speak.  I gave my trial sermon in 2010 sitting in a chair at the podium!  Since the weight loss the circulation in my legs has improved and that overactive bladder that had me running to urinate every five minutes is gone now!  I can even cough or sneeze now without leaking!  


Last month as I was watching the news, I learned that the American Medical Association (AMA) has officially declared obesity as a disease.  Hmmmm.... 


I know that I lived with several diseases while I was morbidly obese.  I lived with Type II Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, yadda, yadda, yadda.  The Major Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder symptoms still plague me on occasion.  No, I was not depressed because I was fat, I was depressed because Depression is a hereditary disease that I live with and the weight didn't help.  Now, since the other diseases have been resolved and my eating is at bay, I have more control over the depression and anxiety each and every day.  I never considered that obesity in itself could be a disease, but I do know that I am in better control of my obesity.


Coming up next month is the Moms-N-Ministry Weekend Retreat that includes workshops, music and fellowship among attendees.  Come join us!  You will see for yourself that I still have my curves,  I still have the "disease" of obesity while wearing a size 14 dress and I still have a smile on my face as I get my life back after gastric bypass surgery!  



Angie BEE


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!




Thanks for reading

The Big GB - Getting My Life back after Gastric Bypass

with Angie Bee

     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


Weight Based Wellness Programs Don't Work!

from: NAAFA.org by Darliene Howell

In early May of this year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) invited members of the public to submit written comments on any issues or matters discussed at their hearing on Wellness Programs. "Employers may want to take this opportunity to tell the EEOC why they believe these programs are important to the efficient operation of their businesses," advised an alert by law firm Jackson Lewis LLP.


Through efforts initiated by NAAFA member Darliene Howell, NAAFA members, as well as other organizations and members of our community, rose to the occasion and submitted written comments regarding the lack of effectiveness of wellness programs that focus on weight loss as a measure of success.  You may read the final document submitted by the community wide efforts at:  http://tinyurl.com/nyn4xkp.  The NAAFA board of Directors sent the following letter to the EEOC:


To:  Commissionmeetingcomments@eeoc.gov

 From: NAAFA




Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the meeting of May 8, 2013 - Wellness Programs Under Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Laws.


NAAFA, a civil rights organization working for equality at every size, objects to some of the wellness programs currently being instituted by employers.  Our objection is not with employers offering wellness programs; it is with those whose wellness programs include punitive measures or differential rewards based on health status factors, including a person's cholesterol, blood pressure, weight or body mass index.  Body size or weight is not a proxy for health or wellness.  These programs are discriminatory practices.


Because weight loss efforts (from dietary restriction to surgical intervention) carry significant health risks and may be complicated by medication or other conditions, the decision to attempt weight loss is a private one that should only be made in consultation with one's personal physician. Wellness programs should never require the use of BMI or other measures of weight as a  required metric for that reason; to the extent that a measurement of weight is used, alternate measures that are independent of weight must also be used to avoid disproportionately discriminating against fat people with disabilities by what will be a de facto requirement that they disclose personal and confidential medical information or, alternatively, attempt medical interventions that are dangerous for them compared to their thin counterparts. 


A 2002 study, Evaluating a ‘non-diet’ wellness intervention for improvement of metabolic fitness, psychological well-being and eating and activity behaviors, whose objective was “to evaluate the effects of a 'health-centered' non-diet wellness program, and to compare this program to a traditional 'weight loss-centered' diet program;” concluded:


“Over a 1 y[ear] period, a diet approach results in weight loss for those who complete the intervention, while a non-diet approach does not. However, a non-diet approach can produce similar improvements in metabolic fitness, psychology and eating behavior, while at the same time effectively minimizing the attrition common in diet programs.” [Emphasis added]


Studies indicate that dieting results in one third to two thirds of dieters regaining more weight than they lost on their diets (aka yo-yo dieting) [Mann, 2007 and Pietilainen, 2012]; yo-yo dieting has a negative effect on the immune function [Hutchison, 2004]


The 2013 study, Wellness Incentives In The Workplace: Cost Savings Through Cost Shifting To Unhealthy Workers [Horwitz, et al, 2013], states “Recognizing the risk that unhealthy employees might be punished rather than helped by such programs, the [Afforable Care] act also forbids health-based discrimination.” Additionally, it finds: “Although there may be other valid reasons, beyond lowering costs, to institute workplace wellness programs, we found little evidence that such programs can easily save costs through health improvement without being discriminatory. Our evidence suggests that savings to employers may come from cost shifting, with the most vulnerable employees—those from lower socioeconomic strata with the most health risks—probably bearing greater costs that in effect subsidize their healthier colleagues.”

[Emphasis added]


For supersize individuals at the highest end of the weight spectrum who are disabled by their weight, protections under the ADA are now clear via both in court decisions and EEOC guidance. To avoid blatant discrimination, all Wellness Programs must have a mechanism to accommodate such individuals so that they have the same ability to earn discounts and avoid penalties as their thin peers. A Wellness Program that allows (or requires) a person to walk a daily mile to earn a bonus (or avoid a penalty) would clearly violate the rights of a person with a disability who could not walk, and this remains true even if the disabled individual might be able to walk in the future if they engage in Herculean efforts. So, too, the requirement that a supersize person who is disabled by their weight achieve a "normal"/target BMI to earn a bonus (or avoid a penalty) would violate his/her rights, even if he/she might be able to do so via Herculean efforts.


NAAFA supports the evidence-based principles of Health At Every Size (HAES). These principles are aligned with our mission. Instead of focusing on weight as a measurement of health, the HAES approach removes weight from the equation and replaces it with a focus on overall well-being, which includes the full range of body shapes and sizes. For information on HAES principles, go to http://www.naafaonline.com/dev2/education/haes.html.


As representatives of one of the major stakeholders involved, NAAFA members and the NAAFA Board of Directors support a thorough examination of the rules guiding employer wellness programs to ensure that they are not promoting discriminatory hiring and employment practices.



We appreciate the willingness of the EEOC to listen to the concerns of the public and NAAFA is offering its assistance in referring experts who may be of service to you in finding health-based alternative wellness programs.



The NAAFA Board of Directors



[1] Low Calorie Dieting Increases Cortisol [Tomiyama, et al, 2010]

[2] Medicare's Search for Effective Obesity Treatments - Diets Are Not the Answer [Mann, et al, 2007]

[3] Yo-Yo Dieting May Have a Long-Term Negative Effect on Immune Function, According to Fred Hutchinson Study [McTiernan, et al, 2004]

[4] Micronutrient deficiencies after bariatric surgery [Shankar, et al, 2010]

[5] Long-term Outcomes of Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding [Himpens, et al, 2011]

[6] Increased Risk of Colorectal Cancer After Obesity Surgery [Derogar, et al, 2013]

[7] Drugs that cause weight gain [Fernstrom, 1995]



Founded in 1969, NAAFA is a non-profit human 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.




Thanks for reading

From the Desk of NAAFA




Some of you make know me as web girl/Lulu from Fashion Find. Well… I’ve move on to another one of my favorite’s pastime which is cooking. To get you all up to date on what’s going on. I’m currently pursuing a graduate degree at Ashford University I have a B.A. degree in Organizational Communication from Southeastern Louisiana University.


I am most passionate about cooking. I believe with cooking you can always grow… I fried my first egg when I was 2 and baked my first cake at 5. Cooking is an easy and dynamic experience if you have a passion for a good tasting meal.


Motto: Cook with your heart not with your head.


If you have a favorite dish you would like to share please forward with recipe and photo to




Happiness Kitchen
with Lucia Roth


Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the National Day of the United States.  Wikipedia 2013

So what’s the one dish that is easy and will have all your friends and families sucking their fingers as you celebrate our nation independence with a table full of wonderful and mouthwatering chow. I have just the recipe! “Grilled Peach BBQ Chicken Wings” Yummy.



Grilled Peach BBQ Chicken Wings



          2 cups KC Masterpiece®

          2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided

          2 peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped

          Salt and pepper

          24 chicken wings, separated at the joint and tips    discarded

          1 cup peach jam, such as Smuckers

          1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

          2 tablespoons hot sauce, such as Frank’s Red-hot, or to taste

          Scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced, for topping


•In a food processor, combine the barbecue sauce and half of the garlic. Add the peaches and process until finely chopped; season with about 1-1/2 teaspoons salt and about 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Reserve 1/2 cup for basting.


• In a reseal-able plastic bag, toss together the chicken wings and remaining peach barbecue sauce; refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

• Meanwhile, combine the peach jam, vinegar, remaining garlic, hot sauce and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes; let cool.

• Drain and discard marinade. Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack. Grill chicken wings, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 12-16 minutes, turning occasionally.

• Brush with sauce. Grill or broil, uncovered, 8-10 minutes longer, or until juices run clear. Basting and turning several times. Top with scallions and serve with peach jam dipping sauce. Yield: 4 servings.

Note:  You can always double your recipe to hide some for yourself…. Wink!

Wine: Medium-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied white wine such as Riesling or Gewürtztraminer

Bon Appetite!



     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 others.

     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 size community.


"Whatsoever a man thinketh in his heart therefore he is."

with Ms Suga


Greetings again my wonderful LIC readers! I hope my words find you all in good spirits and if not… I hope you keep fighting the good fight. So over the past year I have been traveling on something of an emotional journey. Along this journey I am learning to change my process' in this life to progress. I have been enjoying the good times to the fullest and figuring out how to make the bad times seem a little easier to deal with. This is my own personal journey and No I am not just sharing for the sake of sharing.


According to those who know me closely I've always been a positive person, always trying to find the silver lining and the good in all things of this world. But every year I get older & life placed its knee on my neck that positivity dies out little by little. I began to notice the change in myself and one day I started thinking "Who am I? What is my purpose in life?" So I started writing in a journal trying to figure out the answers to my questions. (Hint hint: if you are as scatterbrained as yours truly I highly recommend journaling your thoughts  ;-))


I once read a scripture that said something like "whatsoever a man thinketh in his heart therefore he is" (ok don't quote me I'm far from being a biblical scholar I just remember it's in Proverbs somewhere but you get the point right?). The message behind this passage always stuck with me because I felt it was referring to someone having evil motives and actions regardless of the representative they present to the world. For instance that person who presents themselves to us as friends and/or potential lovers but they really are scam artists (I know a lot of people using this representative, you'd think they would try something different) Or that community figure who is campaigning for utopia but is a closet druggie/pervert/liar/manipulator/thief. Those are just examples but you get where I'm going right?. In actuality we all have a representative that we put forth so that people don't get to close. It is a natural instinct that we as humans produce so we aren't vulnerable to the evils of our world. Some representatives are so far-fetched the person may have a hard time believing their own lies while others are just a condensed, watered down version of their true selves.


After thinking and writing and some more thinking and writing I ended up back at this scripture and I realized... I present Ms Suga to the world month after month but the woman inside me is simply R.A. I am my thoughts, dreams and desires. I am a Christian woman, I am a procrastinator (Raqui can definitely attest to that), I am a hopeless romantic, I am loyal and hot headed, I love potatoes and taking pictures, I love spending money (usually money I don't have) and books and long drives down country roads. I love to learn new things, and I have a love/hate relationship with the Elliptical machine. Notice I said "I am" and "I love". Those terms are repeated because they are followed by my truths, they are a part of the woman you all know (and love) as Ms Suga. Now don't get me wrong there are some negative sides to me that we won't dwell on but they too are a part of me. Whatsoever this woman thinketh in her heart, so shall she be. 


Ok so I know I took the long country road to my point but hey that's what I do. Anyway. My life journey has led me around my mind and back so that I could learn more about myself. There are so many people in this world living in their representatives that it's almost sad. My inspiration this time around is simple: BE YOURSELF! We live in a world of reality television and social media takeovers where everyone is so busy trying to be "turnt up" that they don't know who they are. It's clear that this generation is passing on a legacy of tattoos and piercings, Molly's, IDGAF attitudes, unnecessary killings and self-destruction. We as human beings at some point have to stand up and show that person we are in our hearts. There are too many people dying every day for us to continue to live behind the representative. This journey has showed me that the representative doesn't have to rule your life, as in everything else in this world there can be a balance of the two. 


So ask yourself, what do you think about you? Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Is the person you think you are the person you present to the world? Do you want your representative and your true self to be more in line with each other? If not that's fine, the journey isn't for everyone. But if you do want to be yourself...start now. Wear your hair how you want to wear it. Dress up or down whichever you like. Say what you mean and do what you say and see if you don't sleep better at night. Now if you’re true self is a murderous pervert with scam artist tendencies please DON'T BE YOURSELF! Seek help and turn the scamming into saving. Help someone you know needs it, helping others will help you help yourself. 


Well it's time for me to get off my soap box and I hope you are inspired to BE YOURSELF or to help someone be themselves because at the end of the day the truth will always be "whatsoever a man thinketh in his heart therefore he is." 


Peace, Love and Hair Grease! 

~Ms. Suga~





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 banker.  


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 every size.  


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.



When you’re EX remains friends with your close Friends!

 with Kathy Edmondson

When you are dating someone, you will eventually introduce them to your close friends, and we all end up hanging out and becoming friends.   Having your boyfriend hang out with your friends, is a great way to spend time with friends, and your boyfriend at the same time.   Everyone wants their friends to get along with, and like their boyfriends, because than everyone has a great time together.  


What happens when you break up with your boyfriend, and he continues to be friends with your friends though?   I think it depends on why you broke up with someone, and if the guy was cheating, lying or doing awful things to you, during your relationship.   When there is a mutual break up then having your ex still be friends with friends you introduced him to isn't as bad, because it isn't surrounded by hurt and feelings betrayal.  


I know a lot of people expect their friends to stop any kind of contact with your ex after you have broken up, because they were your friends first.  The hardest situation for your friends is when they have also been close with your ex for a long time, because your friends were hanging out with you and your ex a lot over the years you were together.   I've had times when two friends of mine started dating and when they broke up, I was expected to choose one of them as my friend and no longer be friends with the other one.  


I think a valid fear of many people is that those in the relationship fight and may get back together. So when a break up happens and you pick one friend over the other, it is never forgotten by the person who wasn't picked. I think a good rule of thumb to use is if your friend is ok with you being friends with their ex, then go ahead and continue being friends.   If your friend is going to be hurt, uncomfortable and this causes issues in your friendship then it's probably best to not be close friends with the ex.  


If you choose to continue a friendship with you’re the ex, then it's a good idea not to give your friend updates about their ex.  Most of us don't want to hear about our ex, otherwise we would still be friends with them ourselves.   I think a lot of us have a small group of friends that we go to parties with, movies, bowling and to have your close circle of friends invite your ex to keep hanging out with you can be very uncomfortable.  Every situation is going to be different regarding this subject and you will have to decide what is best for you and your friend. 




Celebrating almost two 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 size/BBW Art.




with Jness

One thing I have learned in forty something odd years of living is that life is richly and abundantly saturated with challenges that seem to be tailor made for the purpose of testing character and moral integrity. With that being said, I am sure that many of you might agree with that theory. Then if that is the true purpose of life’s mountains and valleys, we have to strive for that bitter sweet spot of righteous unwavering character. This is the very virtue that greatness is gleaned from. As complicated as an individual’s life can be, my careful review has lead me to believe that there are two ways to walk through life, with your head up or with your head down.

When you choose one of these methods of walking through life several things happen. The first thing that either posture can affect is how you feel about yourself. Walking with your head down makes your outlook one of defeat. For example a track runner would have a difficult time gaging a rapidly approaching hurdle with their head down.

When attempting to clear obstacles, it is better to keep your head up, because it makes a statement of confidence to every onlooker and challenger. Hence the second thing that is affected by your posture, the way you are perceived by others. Keep your head up. In reality every runner can’t win the race but, how it was run, and how you finish makes you a winner and a force to be reckoned with.

This month’s new illustration features a fashionable curvy beauty, and diva in the making. This piece is called CONFIDENCE. It makes reference to, how a person feels, how they want to be received, and most importantly who they are. Dress your best, be your best, show you’re very best, and don’t yield to every invitation that comes your way to distract you. You are far too valuable for that, Big, with much more to offer, beautiful in so many ways and ready for the world. You are poised for the challenge and confident of what the outcome will be.


LargeInCharge Hope that you enjoyed this article. 

Our writer and artistic contributor JNess will be taking a vacation

so please enjoy his previous artwork and writing in

our other 2013 LargeInCharge Magazine Issues.

Check out Jness in our Back-Issues





Hello there all my fashion loving friends. My name is Amy Lucas and in this column I hope to bring you some new outfits that will make you feel great and be Large and In Charge. My whole life has not been devoted to fashion as my background is in teaching Spanish, Math, and Science. I also have a master’s degree in Central Office Administration.


With that said, I have been wearing plus sizes for as long as I can remember so I do know the struggles we all face to find cute clothes. I come from a smaller town in Michigan, which means I have an even harder time finding plus size clothing in my area since the choices are so limited; as well as, the sizes and styles each store carries. 


Out of necessity, I started looking online instead of just settling for the places here and have found that other women could use the help too. I run a fashion group on Facebook called BBW Fashion where I post something fabulous each day hoping to help all those to find what they want in their size.


In my career, I've helped plus size students and their parents to find fashion in their sizes that would help them with their self-esteem and make them feel good about themselves. I have also dabbled in fashion before this modeling for three different stores, winning a cover model spot in July of 2012 in Large in Charge magazine, and I was Ms. LBC 2008 for Linda's Big Connections in Chicago. I look forward to showing you what is available in plus size fashion and help you to look even more beautiful and chic.



Versitile Looks
with Amy Lucas

Convertible and reversible items are becoming a hit from convertible dresses to Miche® bags there are many options out there. One great thing about buying these items is that you can get many looks for just one price. You can also choose how to wear these pieces to highlight the curves you want accentuated. Whether you want a sexy convertible dress or to add some fun with reversible accessories the possibilities are endless.



Joan Rivers 4 in 1 Vest with Belt, sizes xs-3x, $29.74, www.qvc.com


This vest converts into four different looks. It also comes in four different colors.

Eternity Wrap Cardigan, sizes 1/2x-5/6x, $39.99, www.swakdesigns.com


This cardigan converts into several styles and comes in three colors.

DG2 Convertible Denim Jacket with Peplum by Diane Gilman, sizes xs-3x, $79.90, www.hsn.com


You can double your options by removing the peplum to create a shorter jacket.
This is also available in seven colors.

Pants with Convertible Length from Woman Within, sizes 12w-34w, $29.99, www.womanwithin.com


These pants convert to Capri pants simply by rolling up the bottom and buttoning the tab.

Capri Style Pants in Convertible Lengths from Woman Within, sizes 12w-34w, $27.99, www.womanwithin.com


These Capri length pants easily turn into Bermuda shorts by rolling up the bottom & buttoning the flap.


IMAN Global Chic “Summer Crush” Convertible Couture Jumpsuit, sizes xs-3x, $79.95, www.hsn.com


This jumpsuit converts to five different jumpsuits and is available in four colors/patterns.

Maxi Convertible Dress, sizes 1-3x and 4-6x, price varies per color, www.swakdesigns.com


This dress converts into thirteen different dresses and a skirt.
It also comes in many different colors and combinations.

Queen Collection Foldover Maxi Skirt, sizes xs- 3x, $59.95, www.hsn.com


This maxi dress can also be worn as a skirt. It comes in blue or yellow floral.

Convertible Short Dress Tunic Skirt, sizes 2-26, $75,



This dress converts into five different dresses and two skirts.
It also comes in eleven colors and is made to order.

Eternity Convertible Dress, sizes 1-3x and 4-6x, price varies per color, www.swakdesigns.com


This dress converts into thirteen dresses and a skirt.
It also comes in many different colors and combinations.

10-Way Dress, size 1-3x, www.ashleystewart.com


This dress converts to ten different dresses and comes in shirred and non-shirred fabric.  
There are currently only three colors/patterns available.

“Marilyn” Ruched Convertible Dress, $138, www.monifc.com


This dress is only available in two colors right now; however, new colors and sizes will be coming this fall along with other convertible styles. This dress can be styled twenty- two different ways!

Carol Wior 2-in-1 Front to Back Scallop Lace Cami, sizes s-2x, comes in black or white, $26, www.qvc.com


This cami simply reverses to create a v-neck or a straight neck design.

Serenada® Convertible Bra by Catherine’s, available in sizes 38C-50DDD, comes in two colors, $42, www.catherines.com


This bra converts into a halter, strapless, or crisscross style.


Solid & animal print reversible plunge bra by Cacique, sizes 36C – 44DDD, $40.50, www.lanebryant.com


This bra reverses to create a different look. Lane Bryant has several other bras that also reverse to create a new look at their site.

Solexpressions Women’s Convertible Heel Starter Set, comes in sizes 6-11, $129.99, www.amazon.com

These heels convert into short black boots or grey tall boots simply by sliding a shoe slip over it. 

Mohop Moped Mid Thong, comes in regular and wide widths, $144, www.mohop.com


This thong-style sandal comes in three wood colors, and a choice of three ribbon sets to change your look. There are other ribbons available to purchase as well.

Kimmie-Special with Chain Gang, by Convertibles, sizes 6-10, $171.99



These metallic gold gladiator sandals come with nine colored chain tops to change the look of the shoe.
Black and Brown Reversible Belt, sizes 0-5x,  $19.50, www.torrid.com  
Black and White Reversible Belt, sizes 0-5x, $19.50, www.torrid.com  

Plus Size Black Cotton Peplum Belt by A Conversation Piece, available in sizes up to a 26 and does larger sizes as a custom order, $35, http://www.etsy.com/shop/aconversationpiece


You can add this belt to anything to create that peplum look that is so trendy right now.

Renee’s Convertible Chain Belt/Necklace by Sure Couture, available in missy or plus size, comes in silver or gold, $19.97, www.qvc.com


This chain belt also becomes a necklace.

AKKAD “Thrilling Beauty” Convertible Necklace and Bracelet Set, available in Black Diamond Color or Tanzanite Color, $99.95, www.hsn.com


This piece has four closures so you can create different necklace lengths and/or create a bracelet.

Juicy Couture Black & Gold Convertible Chain Link Necklace/ Bracelet with Ribbon, $78, sold by Tiffany’s Designer Deals, www.amazon.com


This necklace becomes a bracelet simply by wrapping it around your wrist.

Gorjana Bloom Reversible Disc Bracelet in Beach Glass, $36, www.zappos.com


Simply flip over the bracelet to change the color of the charm to match your outfit.

Leather Cuff Reversible Bracelet by OLIOTTO, $ 35, http://www.etsy.com/shop/OLIOTTO


These bracelets can work with many outfits just by reversing them.
14k Yellow Gold Reversible Earrings from the Amazon Curated Collection, $29
for the Cubic Zirconia and $24 for the White Cultured Pearl, www.amazon.com

.75ct Blue and White Diamond Sterling Silver Reversible Tassel Earrings, $329.90, www.hsn.com


These earrings are reversible to create a similar look but with a different color.

2 in 1 High Gloss Black Top Double Handle Bucket Office Tote Satchel Handbag Purse + Crocodile Print Crossbody Convertible Shoulder Bag, $42.50, part of the MG Collection and  sold by MyGift, www.amazon.com


The inside pouch of the black bag comes out to create another bag. The handles are also interchangeable creating even more options.

Miche® Prima Base Bag with shells, $39.95 for the black base bag, www.michebag.com


This base bag changes its look when you add on different shells to change the outside of the bag. The shells shown are Melanie, Pat, and Tereasa.

IMAN Global Chic Sexy Straw Hat with Set of 3 Elegant Scarves, $39.95, www.hsn.com


This hat converts into three different looks by changing the scarves that embellish the hat.

Jay Hansen and Heidi Davis are size-acceptance advocates from Oklahoma and co-own Oklahoma's only social size-acceptance group, Oklahoma BBW, BHM, and their Admirers. Heidi was born in 1969 and has been a large woman her whole life, just as Jay has been an admirer of such plus-sized women all of his.


Heidi graduated High School in 1987, which is the same year Jay was born. The two met online in 2005 and quickly developed a friendship. In 2009, Jay graduated the University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor’s in English Education, and the following year he and Heidi started dating and quickly fell deeply in love.


Heidi is experienced, blunt, pragmatic, down-to-earth, and strong in every sense of the word, while Jay is intellectual, articulate, ideological, contemplative, and gentle. Heidi is eighteen years Jay's senior and nearly three times his weight, while Jay is 140 pounds soaking wet with a brick in his pocket. He's a king amongst nerds and all things geeky; she's a tattooed, rough-and-tumble, hard rocker to her core. Together, they are a beautiful personification of the old adage opposites attract.


"The Skinny on Big Love with Jay Hansen" was started in 2013 with Jay as the primary writer and Heidi as his muse and endless source of ideas and inspiration. Together, the two hope to provide people with a new frame of mind on love and relationships, promote open-mindedness and acceptance, ask intriguing questions, foster conversations, and prove to the world that titles such as weight and age, amongst countless others, should never stand in the way of one's pursuit of happiness.

On the Road Again
with Jay Hansen

It's safe to say that we're smack in the middle of the summer vacation season now, as is evident by the sunburns I almost certainly have by time this is published. Summer is a busy travel time for everyone, but especially for those of us in the size community since so many of the largest events in the nation all happen during or around summer. I'm very excited for the Well Rounded event later this month in Las Vegas that both Heidi and I will be attending. It will be my first national size-community event, not to mention my first time in Las Vegas (heck, my first time further west than Guymon, Oklahoma). Our Vegas trip is officially less than a month away at this point, so being the obsessive planners and organizers we both are, Heidi and I have started going over our final "check list," of things to remember for the plus-sized road traveler. Heidi has been attending size conventions for years and has a wealth of tips that we both hope can help make everyone's vacation less of a hassle and more enjoyable.


Heidi, myself, and our mutual friend Lori (also a woman of size) will all be driving together to Las Vegas. Whenever you're traveling, especially by car, go with a travel buddy. There is nothing more comforting than traveling with a friend who is either similarly plus-sized or size friendly. Doing so will give you someone to help take care of you and allow you to do the same for them. Be sure to have all of your traveling companion's emergency contact information, and be aware of any special medical needs or allergies they may have. Compassion breeds more compassion, and bringing a friend to what would have already been an enjoyable vacation makes it an awesome one.


We will be driving as opposed to flying. We live in Oklahoma, which is pretty centralized for the entire country. For us, the major deciding factors were that it's just cheaper to drive and exponentially more comfortable. There's no worry about purchasing two seats, no having to navigate large airports, no standing in long lines for extended periods, no one feeling up our belly rolls (or for me, my twig-ribs), and most of all there's no judgment from airline employees and the all-too-often discriminatory policies regarding plus-sized people. We get to make our own schedule and do things our own way, which is a very liberating feeling, albeit a heavy burden of responsibility. For flight-specific tips, I encourage everyone check out NAAFA's pamphlet on travel tips for people of size, which you can view by clicking here. 


Thankfully for us, Lori's grandmother has a very size-accommodating vehicle that she allows us to drive to Vegas. Its seats are wide and there's plenty of room between the steering wheel and the driver's stomach, while at the same time offering tremendous luggage space in the back. Even then, though, Heidi and Lori will often bring pillows for both their seats and up against their sides so their hips, legs, and knees aren't being dug into by door attachments like handles and cup holders. If you have the resources and wish to drive, Heidi recommends looking into renting a luxury or travel car that suits your needs. A little bit of extra room goes a long way on long drives.


Speaking of comfort, don't forget to stop and stretch frequently. I'm a very slender person and even my legs get restless and tingly after too long in the car, but for larger people it's even more important to prevent cutting off circulation to the extremities. These periodic stops can also provide a regular opportunity to switch drivers when traveling in a group.  Stops are even more important, though, when you start to get tired. Never drive tired; don't be afraid to pull over and take a nap.


I say "don't be afraid" because it can often be an intimidating thought to stop in the middle of no where and let yourself fall unconscious. This is by far the most important reason to not travel alone; there's safety in numbers, be it safety from just not getting lost in a big hotel or safety from creeper-predators. Heidi strongly recommends bringing protection on long trips, especially for women, and especially for larger women. Small weapons such as mace, tasers, or Heidi's protection of choice, knives, can easily be stored in a purse, a compartment in a car, or, as in Heidi's case, even cleavage or a bra. No matter what your choice though, sometimes the best defense is to just be intimidating and assertive. It's uncomfortable to think about for some, but it's better to be safe than sorry.


Always call your hotel ahead of time to make sure your physical needs can be properly accommodated. When I say that most people think of handicapped rooms and access ramps, which are important to check, but many people may overlook the smaller things. Do you have medication that requires refrigeration? Call ahead to find where you can keep it, because most non-handicapped rooms (and even some handicapped ones) don't have their own refrigerators in which to store things. Some hotels do offer special accommodations for those that need it such as a special storage area for refrigerated medications or letting you bring your own mini-fridge. Heidi is opting to do the latter, and made sure to purchase a mini-fridge with a car adapter to properly store her medication even on the long car ride.


Ultimately, as cliché as it may sound, just make sure to have fun. If you're getting over stressed and need a time-out from the planning or travel don't be afraid to stop and relax. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Even if the travel part of your vacation is a major pain in the ass, just remember how small a part of the vacation it is. When you get to your destination, take a deep, cleansing breath of relief, put the road behind you, and enjoy your well-earned time off.


As for me, when I get to Vegas, I'll have the... pleasure... of looking after two very rowdy, drunk, super-sized women who are so silly and outgoing they've never dared to both get drunk at the same time out of fear of what they might do without sober eyes keeping watch. I get to be those sober eyes. Wish me luck.


I was born in San Diego, California on August 30, 1972.

Grew up in San Jose, San Francisco, and San Diego California. I Graduated from San Diego State University in 1996 with a Bachelors Degree in Journalism (Radio-TV News) and a Bachelors Degree in Political Science.

I interned with U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein from 1995-1996.

I interned with CBS News during the 1996 Republican National Convention.

Currently I'm a Licensed Sales Representative with Pacific Shores Real Estate, Inc. in Solana Beach, California

I'm Co-Owner of Club Catalina BBW Night Club in San Diego, CA.

And a newlywed, married to Kathy Edmondson as of December 31, 2012.

I am the father of one daughter - Safiyah Edmondson (8) and stepfather to two young men, Alexander Hernandez (22) and John Rhakman Macklin (21).

I enjoy bowling, basketball, tennis, football. I play 12 musical instruments. I also design a web page for a real estate company.

Getting Past the Stereotypes

with David Edmondson


“Oh my God, he looks like he is about to fall over. Sir, can I help you with that? Do you need a chair? Can I get you some water? How on earth is he able to finish a 12 km race, being that size? This is usually the language you hear skinny people give to those who are of bigger size. I know this because this was how I spoke when seeing a person of size trying to finish the Bay to Breakers race in San Francisco. Now, I find myself on the receiving end of that talk.

 But rather than go through self examination or ask myself how did I get to this point, I find it more productive to ask, how do I get others to back off and deal with the new me? The phrase often used is “You can get busy living or you can get busy dying”. That rings true when dealing with stereotypes. But the first person that has to get over that stereotype is YOU.  You have to be comfortable in your own skin or no one else will.

 Sadly, it is like dealing with children. When someone is feeling bad about themselves, they usually look for a target to take out their frustrations and insecurities on. If you are fragile or timid, they will usually look to pick on you and your size every time.  This means that you must grow some thick skin and grow it rather quickly, because people never seem to tire from picking on a person.

 Some of the stereotypes are hard to defeat because we believe them ourselves. How many times have you gone to a barbeque, where there is an eating contest and people naturally look to you to enter, because of your size? Or better yet, they want you to block during a football game, because they believe no one will attack them if you are around and the probability of you running out for a pass is unlikely, because no one sees you as having endurance? It is up to us as individuals to push the envelope and test ourselves. After all, no one is going to know what you are capable of, if you are afraid to show them. So go out there and sprint for that ball, you may end up surprising yourself and others around you as to what your capabilities are.

 Rather than concentrate on what you cannot do, celebrate what you can do. No, the probability of me running a marathon at this point in my life is not going to happen. Even great athletes retire at some point. Trying to get me to party 8-12 hours has in all likelihood gone with my youth. However, I’m able to move heavier objects that were once past my limits. I can physically move more things around the house for longer periods of time than a slimmer person would be able to endure.  Once you are able to embrace yourself, others will embrace you as well and all of the sympathy talk will soon disappear. This is what we all strive for in the first place, to be treated like a regular person.




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