Melissa Anderson and Mary Maxfield
Melissa Anderson is a scientist by training who tries to use her powers for good, fighting for science literacy and educating undergraduates. A former long-distance runner, Melissa now tries to find some peace, satisfaction, and gratitude in a few miles a few times a week.
Mary Maxfield researches social justice and new media and also tries to use her powers for good. Following a few years trying to keep up with Melissa, Mary has stopped claiming she will only run when someone is chasing her.
Jill “Ji!!” Andrew, PhD(c.) is an award-winning columnist, public speaker, educator-activist & media consultant, Co-founder of the Body Confidence Canada Awards (BCCAs), FatinTheCity.com a plus fatshion lifestyle blog, BITE ME! Toronto Int’l Body Image Film & Arts Festival and the in progress Fat in The City: Monologues of Corpulent Proportions (aka The Fat Monologues). Jill is also currently co-editing the anthology In Our Skin: Our Bodies, Our Stories (Demeter Press). Catch Jill’s TED talk on Fat Shaming & the Thin Epidemic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXEi-mX4HcI. Visit www.BodyConfidenceCanadaAwards.com and http://www.fatinthecity.com/ for more on Jill. Follow Jill on twitter: @JILLSLASTWORD @BCCAwards @FATINTHECITY
Theresa is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal
Trainer, weightlifter, and body-positive activist.
A veteran of decades of weight cycling, Theresa combines her knowledge
of fitness training with a keen understanding of clients who are
struggling with weight-related shame and judgment that may be haunting
them from as far back as early childhood. She enjoys weightlifting,
swimming, hiking, and many other forms of joyful movement, but draws
the line at synchronized dancing of any kind.
Her practice incorporates Health at Every Size® (HAES) principles, and
focuses on helping people of all sizes to improve their health by
getting off the diet roller coaster and incorporating appropriate,
joyful movement into their lives.
A native of Southern Maine, in 2010 Theresa embarked on a five-year
RVing adventure where she and her husband visited 46 of the lower 48
states seeking the best possible place to live. This voyage led them
to return to Maine in fall of 2015. Theresa is currently settling into
her new, non-mobile life and is in the process of establishing a more
stationary personal training practice.
Her writings on fitness, diet culture, and fat activism can be found
on her blog, The Fat Personal Trainer (www.biggirlsworkout.com).
Hi! I’m Lizzie, I love cooking, being outside, camping, writing, volunteering and I once accidentally took a tree on a 5 mile walk (it was for the fire, and wasn’t meant to be such a long walk). I have lived in Edinburgh for the last seven years, with my husband and our hamster Hubble (he hasn’t been with us for 7 years). I work as a pupil support assistant in schools, helping children with additional needs access the curriculum and school life. Over the summer holidays I write reviews of fringe shows, play boardgames and catch up on sleep! We are hoping to be irresponsible and run away to live on a narrowboat next year and explore the canals of Britain.
My sport of choice is archery, though before I went to university I swum and did trampolining. I settled on archery at university because swimming involved early mornings, trampolining involved early mornings and leotards, the kayak club smoked and were ‘cool’, while the archery club was full of friendly geeks. In the intervening decade I have shot for club, county and Scotland, won a little, lost plenty and learnt even more.
Dianne Bondy ERYT 500 – Writer, Motivator, Educator, Yoga Teacher, and A Leading Voice in the Diversity in Yoga, Yoga and Empowerment and Yoga of Inclusion Movement. Creator of the Yoga for All Movement. With over 1000 hours of yoga training in diverse modalities such as yoga therapeutics, restorative yoga, meditation, and Anusara Yoga – Dianne is passionate about including everyone on the mat.She is the founder and Managing Director of Yogasteya online yoga studio that specializes in creating an inclusive safe space for students of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and abilities to practice yoga.Dianne has developed Yoga For All Teacher Trainings which seeks to educate and empower teachers on how to teach to all bodies on the mat. She is one of the founding board members of the Yoga & Body Image Coalition. Connect with Dianne on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Periscope
Megan Briceno started choreographing and teaching dances to the other neighborhood kids at 9 years old. She, for a time, was led astray by self doubt but returned full force to her passion in 2010. After returning, she received her AA degree in Dance from Fullerton College. She is now a senior at Cal State University East Bay with a dual major in Socio-Cultural Anthropology and Dance. On campus she is very active and dances with Dance Ensemble, Interdisciplinary Inclusive Ensemble, and Touring Company. She has taken a wide array of dance classes and had experience in a variety of styles. Megan is also a member of EmFATic Dance and is now choreographing for the company a second time.
In January 2015 Megan founded Shapes & Shades Dance Company. The company is comprised of dancers of various sizes, skin tones, and backgrounds. The focus of her company is to promote body positivity and diversity in dance. She is currently working on building a body of their work. Shapes & Shades also holds dance and body positivity workshops for school aged children.
Recently, Megan began working on a project to connect fat dancers around the world through a resource list with social media links. The hope is to inspire people who don’t think they can dance #AnyW8Can5678
Elizabeth Cappo Gallo
Elizabeth Cappo Gallo believes that every body deserves that peace that yoga practice encourages. In addition to her 200-hour certification, Elizabeth also holds certifications in prenatal and postnatal/ baby-and-me yoga, Curvy Yoga, chair yoga, and yoga for the pelvic floor, expanding the populations with which she can share this practice. Elizabeth is currently working towards her 500- and 1000- hour certifications through master teacher Cora Wen with a focus on yoga therapeutics. In addition to teaching public and private yoga classes, Elizabeth is an accomplished writer, and has contributed to Teachasana.com, the website for yoga teachers. She has also published essays in Curvy Voices, an anthology of body-centered writing and The Creative Art of Yoga and Art.
Patricia (Pattie) Ashton Cornute
Pattie likes to say she is living with Lipedema, not dying from it. Diagnosed in 2007 with Lipedema, a painful fat disorder that affects an estimated 11% of the female population, Pattie was told there wasn’t a cure, and there was nothing she could do for her condition. She was told diet and exercise would not help, as Lipedema fat did not respond to it, and the best things she could do was stay out of the sun and keep her legs elevated as much as possible. For a long time Pattie listened to “nothing you can do”, became depressed, gained weight and lost almost all her mobility.
Fearful for her life, three years ago Pattie stopped listening to “nothing she could do”, and started fighting back. She started training with her husband Bob, a certified CrossFit instructor, who was able to modify the workouts for her, and she went from barely being able to walk down her driveway to get the mail, to walking not one, but two 5Ks that year.
As a way to reach others like her, and to stay motivated in her training, Pattie started a blog and Facebook support group called Lipedema Fitness. The group supports each other in the efforts they make to live with Lipedema, to stay active and be part of their life.
Pattie said the best part is that her training mates don’t see her as living with Lipedema, they see her as an athlete in training, just like them.
Marie Coyle is honored to be a part of this project. She is a writer, social worker, and Zumba instructor who loves dancing, swimming and frequent snacks. She is an advocate for health at every size, and believes that everyone deserves to explore movement at their own pace in a fun, safe space. She lives in Portland, Maine.
Elinor Crosby is a librarian and professional bellydancer who live in Halifax, NS. Besides dance and librarianship, she is passionate about fibre arts, especially dyeing, spinning, and knitting her own fibre, as well as designing and sewing costumes. She has a college diploma in Fine Arts, a BFA from NSCAD University, and an MLIS from Dalhousie University. She was a fat athletic kid, a fat not-so-athletic teen, and in her early 20s discovered bellydance, which has been her favourite fat adult activity for the last 20 years.
As a bellydance teacher, Elinor believes that anyone can dance and that all bodies are beautiful, especially when they are dancing. She loves encouraging people of all shapes, sizes, and abilities to dance and move their bodies in joyful ways, and takes workshops in many styles of dance to further her own knowledge and skills. In October 2014, Elinor received the Fat Chance Belly Dance® General Skills certifications for both Classic and Modern American Tribal Style Belly Dance®, as well as her Teacher Training certificate from Carolena Nericcio-Bohlman and Megha Gavin, and is a FCBD® Sister Studio.
In 2008 she founded Nova Scotia’s only professional ATS® troupe, UberWench Tribal Belly Dance, and currently teaches ATS, beginner bellydance, choreographies, and zills at Serpentine Studios. You can find her and her troupe performing monthly at Tea & Tassels at World Tea House, and in Serpentine Studios produced shows.
Virginia Dicken is a health educator with a passion for inclusive wellness and reducing iatrogenesis in health promotion efforts (which is just a fancy way of saying she wants to make sure the field of health education doesn’t accidentally cause new health problems). In addition to working as a health educator, Virginia teaches psychology at Ivy Tech Community College, volunteers as a health and safety instructor for the American Red Cross, and is starting work toward a PhD in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences. She is excited by this opportunity to be part of a project bringing together many different voices around the topic of fat fitness.
Adira Elham was a Detroit area dancer for several years before relocating to Florida, the Sun Shine State. She has studied Lebanese Cabaret for over eight years. Studying under Aziza Ammar, whom she playfully calls her belly dance mom, Adira has learned cabaret belly dance in its most pure form. While taking classes and going to conventions like ( B.O.C.A., Wiggles of the West, Las Vegas Intensive, and Detroit Raks to name a few) she has taken classes with international instructors like Rachid, Lotus, and Dr. Sunyatta. As a dancer she is known for her gracefulness and her ability to light up the stage with joy! She believes that all women are beautiful and can experience a fulfilling joy in belly dance, so she was inspired to use her knowledge of teaching to begin bringing that love for dance to her own community. With a Master’s Degree in Education from Eastern Michigan University in Curriculum Design, she began designing classes that would focus on the individual needs of her students.
Laura Elmore is a 52 year old mixed media artist and long distance cyclist who lives in Everett, Washington. She has two grown sons and is still married to her high school sweet heart. She typically rides 3000+ miles a year, training for, and riding multi day tours and century rides.
Shameka Erby is a 35-year old writer from Philadelphia, PA. She has been writing since middle school and has an insane, crazy, love for the written word. Her writing specialty is short fiction, and she published her first book this year, an eBook titled, Accessories to Love: Stories of Women and the Ties That Bind Us. She also writes a personal blog on WordPress.com. Shameka enjoys spending time with family and friends, cheeseburgers, whiskey and hip-hop music.
Kim Garland, MSW is a clinical social worker and visual artist living in the magical land of Burlington, Vermont. Kim’s life has been shaped by her background in theatre, music and the performing arts, as well as social justice and psychology. She loves to explore various ways to get comfy with her authentic self and help others to do the same. As a fat womyn and feminist, Kim is thrilled to be part of this project. She has immense gratitude for the other size acceptance activists who have inspired her to claim space and be proud of her whole self. She hopes that her contribution to this project will add to that ongoing discussion, and help others know that who they are, right now, today, is A-Okay.
Sarah is genderqueer, fat woman who has always loved moving her body in a variety of ways, and in 2014, fell deeply in love with the art of parkour. The goal of parkour is to master one’s own movement and to learn to overcome obstacles in the way that works best for the individual, and Sarah is passionate about moving the dialogue and the visual lexicon around the sport towards a more inclusive model.
When not jumping over things, Sarah writes at her blog, “Single, Fat, and Happy” about why normative values around bodies and relationships are dumb. She lives in Somerville, MA, spends her days fighting sexism in the tech industry, and by night loves dancing, reading, board games, going on adventures, and connecting with other wonderful humans.
Louise Green is a thought leader in creating a world where every “body” can realize their athletic potential, regardless of their size. Green is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, Athlete, Speaker, Writer and the Founder of Body Exchange, a fitness business dedicated to women of size. Green’s work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, UK’s Daily Mail, The Huffington Post and Upworthy. Her upcoming book “Limitless” disturbs the status quo and challenges society to ponder a more inclusive fitness and body-size idealism. In March 2016, Green will grace the stage of TEDx where she will ask audience members to think again on what athletes can look like. As the body-positive revolution continues to fuel, you will find Green at the helm championing every “body” to live their athletic dreams.
Jessica finds it uncomfortable to write about herself in the third person. It makes her feel like she’s trapped in a movie with an omnipresent narrator. Jessica believes that she is the human embodiment of a Queen song; kind of. In her spare time she enjoys making flower crowns and believes life would be better if she could look ethereal always. This is her first foray into writing about herself as an active fat person.
Amber Karnes is a ruckus maker, RYT-200 yoga asana teacher, and a lifelong student of her body. In Amber’s classes and workshops, students of all shapes and sizes will find tips, tricks, and modifications to make yoga asana work for their unique body, instead of being squished into poses for the sake of form over function. She emphasizes safe alignment and mindful transitions, and guides each student to honor the body they bring to the mat today, while being empowered to learn about the body’s intelligence and power. She received her certification from Anna Pittman in 2011 and is grateful to her many wonderful teachers.
Amber is a big fan of “yoga in non-yoga places” and often teaches free, accessible classes in her community. She serves on the Yoga and Body Image Coalition Leadership Team and Women’s Power Space Advisory Council. Amber seeks to further the message of inclusivity, consent, agency, body positivity, and accessibility for all on and off the mat. She blogs at bodypositiveyoga.com.
April Lashbrook is a writer, single mother by choice, long-term breast cancer survivor, avid reader, crochet artist, and weightlifter who pays the bills by working as a government environmental attorney in a red state. Reading, writing, and walking just about every day keep her balanced, and lifting weights helps keep her post-menopausal AD/HD manageable. As a child, she’d rather have curled up in a corner with a book than play outside, but when her contrary streak got her to the gym voluntarily for the first time, in her early twenties, she discovered that she loved the way that working out on weight machines made her feel like she could do anything. She blogs sporadically at bbwesquire.wordpress.com.
Brittany Lockard is an assistant professor of art history and creative industries at Wichita State University. She holds a doctorate from the University of Kansas and a master’s from Indiana University. Her research interests include body diversity and identity politics. More specifically, her work examines depictions of large bodies and how those representations resonate with cultural constructions of fatness.
Her most recent publication is entitled, “The Fat Academy: Does Being Big Keep You from Getting Big in Scholarship?” It appears in The Politics of Size: Perspectives from the Fat-Acceptance Movement.
Myles Luber is a student of social work in Southern California, with a background in critical race and gender studies. His long term goal is to work in eating disorder treatment, bringing with him a body-positive view of recovery. As an activist he is invested in disability justice and trans liberation across race, gender, and class. He is a femme transsexual man who loves to pole dance, swim and hike along the coast. As a long-term eating disorder survivor, Myles is grateful to fat-positive communities for helping him learn to love his body and develop a healthy, kind, and holisitic approach to exercise.
Katie Manthey is a body positive activist who moderates the website Dress Profesh, which challenges notions of what it means to look “professional,” working from the premise that all dress codes are inherently racist, cis sexist, sizeist, classist, agesst, etc. She is also an assistant professor of English and director of the Writing Center at Salem College in Winston Salem, NC, where she teaches social justice writing classes and coordinates community engagement through the Writing Center.
Lynn McAfee has been an advocate for fat people for over forty years,. She was a member of the seminal fat pride group, the Fat Underground, in the mid-70s., She has been on the Board of Directors of NAAFA, was a founding member of the Council On Size & Weight Discrimination, an invited guest to NIH meetings, and as a member of an FTC committee she tried, unsuccessfully, to get diet companies to track and disclose their long-term success rates.
Passionate about working in ways that help to catalyze social justice movements, Jeanette is following a calling to live and work in communities across the country to support projects creating meaningful change based in human rights. Author of “Dating While Fat: One Fierce Fat Girl’s Experience,” Politics of Size: Perspectives from the Fat Acceptance Movement, she considers herself a fierce fat feminist social justice activist, writer/artist, and hip hop addict with a penchant for living life boldly. Jeanette has an M.A. in English Literature from Portland State University and an ongoing interest in systems thinking, movement building, gender/identity studies, fat studies/activism, story-telling and education transformation. She’s worked as an office administrator for several public and private universities, currently serves as the Director of Operations for Institute for Democratic Education in America and is engaged in a youth program based in Jackson, MS designed to interrupt the “school to prison pipeline,” through practices based in democratic education, restorative justice, and the development of emotional intelligence.
Belinda Mitchell lives in Hackettstown, NJ. She is married, currently has three cats, and is pleasantly plump. When she’s not slaving away in customer service, she enjoys reading, cooking, documentary films, writing, and roller derby. Belinda became involved with roller derby in the winter of 2012, after one too many viewings of the movie “Whip It”. She joined the Jerzey Derby Brigade and has been on the fresh meat track ever since. On the track, she is known as Kosher Nostra. During roller derby practice, Belinda enjoys learning how to block and jam, taking great pride in her footwork and her plow stops. She has a deep hatred of transitions (derby-speak for “turning around while skating”) and is terrified of jumping over cones. Since she’s still in training, Belinda keeps herself active in the derby community by training as a non-skating official (NSO, or “flamingo”), and has also dabbled in bout announcing. Thanks to roller derby, she is learning to love her body.
Silena Nikols is a fierce nerdy fat lady living in Athens Greece. She loves making stop-motion animation films and is a fat possitive activist. She is a self declared cat hater despite loving her two adorable kittens to death.
Michelle Oldale is a Person-Centred Psychotherapist, Trainer and Author. Her publication and presentation history includes diverse topics such as British Sign Language and Deaf Culture in the therapeutic relationship, power in relationship when the therapist is Deaf, the Client is Hearing and a Sign Language Interpreter is present, reconnecting with values through development work & CrossFit and Self Care. She is the co-author with Michelle J Cooke of the Sage Publications text ‘Making the Most of Counselling and Psychotherapy Placements’ and is a regular book reviewer for Healthcare Counselling and Psychotherapy Journal. Her writing and research interests are increasingly linked to Size Acceptance and Intersectionality in Exercise.
Michelle’s exercise story is long and chequered and she was delighted to discover the CrossFit Community in 2013 where she finds support and encouragement for her fitness aspirations. On a good day Michelle can identify with and embrace the term athlete.
Joy Bauer Olimpo
Joy Bauer Olimpo has been involved with athletics for most of her life. Although she was always one of the biggest kids in her class, she dedicated herself to training in ballet and gymnastics. She earned a BS in Kinesiology, a Master’s in Sport & Recreation Administration, and coached and worked in college athletics before pursuing further graduate studies in Physical Cultural Studies and Women’s Studies. It was during this time that Joy first truly explored the issues surrounding body size, healthism, and what is considered an “athletic” female body. After being surrounded by small and restricted bodies in dance and gymnastics, Joy relished learning about large, athletic bodies of women excelling in weightlifting, wrestling, and running. She incorporated the Health at Every Size perspective in her research and teaching, encouraging the next generation of kinesiology majors and health professionals to have a broader, more complex understanding of bodies. Joy currently works as an academic advisor for Health Science undergraduates and continues to incorporate body acceptance and celebration of all bodies into her daily work with students.
My name is Katia Page and I have stage 4 Lipedema and lymphedema but I don’t let it stop my from living. I’m Ambassador for The Lipedema Project of New Jersey where I help women who suffer with the disease to find help and to let them know that you can go on. I swim, lift weights, dance, and box. Before I knew why my body would swell and my weight would go up and down no doctors could tell me what was wrong till March of 2014. If it wasn’t for me living active lifestyle this disease would of left me immobile or not being here. I live my life like everyday is the last and enjoy everyday.
Cat Pausé is the lead editor of Queering Fat Embodiment (2014, Ashgate). A Senior Lecturer in Human Development and Fat Studies Researcher at Massey University, her research focuses on the effects of spoiled identities on the health and well-being of fat individuals. She has published in top journals such as Human Development, Feminist Review, HERDSA, and Narrative Inquiries in Bioethics. Cat hosted the ‘Fat Studies: Reflective Intersections’ conference in New Zealand (2012), and is gearing up for ‘Fat Studies: Identity, Agency, and Embodiment’ in 2016. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, BBC, NPR, and Australia Broadcasting Company. Cat’s fat positive radio show, ‘Friend of Marilyn’, just celebrated its’ 150th episode!
Eileen Rosensteel is a bodacious Bohemian committed to embodying sacredness. Her portfolio includes a show about circus fat ladies, dancing in a non-normative body and writing about what it’s like being a fat woman in today’s society. Connect with her on facebook!
Rachel Dhanya Smith
Rachel Dhanya Smith and her body are now friends, which has been a lifetime in the making. She is a lover of all things yoga. When she is not on the mat, she works as a body positive psychotherapist, meditation teacher, and yoga teacher specializing in helping people transform their relationships with food, their bodies, and themselves. She believes that all bodies are good bodies, including yours. You can learn more about her work at www.imaginativecounseling.com.
Charlie Shipley is a singer/songwriter, fat yogi, runner, tennis and bowling enthusiast, hospitality professional, and aspiring rabble-rouser living in Chapin, SC. His writing has appeared at the feminist film site Bitch Flicks, and his current internet homes are wellgayed.com and facebook.com/charlieshipley.
Bethany Snyder spends her days writing training for adult learners as an instructional designer, and her nights writing both fiction (her short stories have appeared in half a dozen literary anthologies from California to Boston) and a blog, Big Fit Deal, which is dedicated to making health and wellness a way of life for everybody – and every body.
Bethany began her fitness journey in 2007, and has since walked twelve half marathons. She proudly volunteers as a coach for a yearly half-marathon training program that also serves as a fundraiser for a non-profit cancer support organization; over the past eight years, the program has helped over 150 people from all levels of fitness cross the finish line. A former certified personal trainer, Bethany finds joy in helping others find their way to fitness.
Born and raised in Penn Yan, located in the heart of the Finger Lakes in Western New York, Bethany received her bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from Bradford College in Haverhill, Massachusetts. In addition to writing, she is also a voice-over artist, an amateur photographer, a cookie connoisseur, a pop-culture junkie, and a Maine enthusiast. She currently lives and writes in Rochester, New York.
Nyaunu Stevens has had a relationship with exercise very reminiscent of that of Ross and Rachel from Friends; sometimes they are hot and heavy for each other but at other times they need their space. When things are good she enjoys water aerobics, biking, belly dancing, yoga, Pilates, kayaking, canoeing, and strength training. She will do regular aerobic exercises via classes and DVDs but that generally brings on a break-up filled with tears, cursing, and throwing things.
Nyaunu is a social justice activist and sometimes professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies. Her scholarship is in the areas of Race, Class, Gender, and the Body with a concentration in Fat Studies. She believes that scholarship, like activism, should always be intersectional, taking into account the multiple ways in which people can inhabit their bodies and the social world.
Leslie is a born and raised East Coaster who has recently been transplanted by the winds of fortune to the Pacific Northwest, where she is adjusting, enjoying, and not missing any of the Northeast winter weather. She likes to participate in all kinds of creative endeavor, her favorites being experimenting in the kitchen, and feeding everyone she can lure within reach with tasty foods, social dancing including Lindy Hop, Blues, and Fusion, and Djing the music that goes with the dancing she loves. She wrote her first poem when she was in the second grade, and has been writing on and off ever since, finding solace and expression in words.
Melissa C. Thompson
Melissa C. Thompson is an artist, a scholar, and a co-founder of the multi-disciplinary arts project The Sacred Heart Archive. Her personal performance aesthetic is inspired by embarrassing matters of the heart, the remembrance of trivial events, and depictions of physical endurance and vulnerability. She has performed and conducted devised physical theatre workshops both nationally and internationally, working with a diverse group of artists from Richard Gough of the Center for Performance Research to Tim Miller of the “NEA Four”. Her original piece The Key Said Run and the Door Said Fly, created and performed with Julia Hinderlie, has been featured at many spaces across the United States, including the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art and Highways Performance Space. Thompson received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she focused on the dynamics of female fat in contemporary performance art. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Arizona.