Brave. Honest. Accepting. Fierce. Just a few words that come to mind when we think of Pia Schiavo-Campo of Mixed Fat Chick. We had the pleasure of connecting with her a couple of years ago at the Body Love Conference and we just about fell in love with her and everything she has to say. We are so happy to introduce her to you!
Pia’s mission is to empower women of all sizes, regardless of age, race or ability, to celebrate their bodies and set themselves free from the bondage of society’s narrow definitions of beauty and worth.
She uses humor and her experiences as a model and a former diet junky to inspire and motivate women to see themselves differently.
Pia’s blog tackles issues around body image, feminism and navigating the world as a fat woman of color in the 21st century. She has written for Daily Venus Diva Magazine and is also a contributing writer for Volup2 Magazine, and gives workshops and seminars around the country. Ms. Schiavo-Campo has a background in social justice and believes that creating lasting change in the world begins with examining and reframing our own limited beliefs and behaviors. Learn more about her on her website: www.mixedfatchick.com
I’m at my heaviest now, but also have the highest self-esteem I’ve ever had. That’s not something I ever thought was possible.
- What led you to Health at Every Size® and Intuitive Eating?
I first heard the term used by Ragan Chastain a couple of years ago. It resonated with me deeply because I didn’t know it was a thing. The idea that weight had nothing do with health was a novel idea for me. For so many years I used exercise as a means to lose weight. It was never about doing it to feel good. And now that I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, it’s a lot harder to exercise. But I do yoga at a size-friendly studio and am amazed at what my body can do at its current size. I’m 5-8” and weigh 235 pounds. I also did 12-step for many years, which helped me to better understand my complicated relationship with food. This is such a process, but what I absolutely don’t do anymore, is categorize foods into bad ones versus good ones. That can really mess with your head.
- What has surprised you the most as you have learned to accept yourself?
I’m always astounded by my level of growth over the last four years. I’m at my heaviest now, but also have the highest self-esteem I’ve ever had. That’s not something I ever thought was possible. And I’m also so amazed by the love and vulnerability of my readers. They get me, and I get them. We are on this journey together. I couldn’t do it without them.
- What are three aspects you feel are the most important to remember when moving toward radical self-acceptance?
1. Have a support system in place. Surrounding yourself with others on the journey to self-acceptance allows you to see things from a different perspective while getting the love and nurturing we all need in this crazy world.
2. It’s not a race. Self-acceptance is an individual journey that has no end point. We are constantly learning and evolving. Our bodies will change as we age, or have children, or deal with illness. I think the goal is to remember we are not competing with anyone else. Compare and despair is dangerous habit.
3. Relapses are inevitable. Getting back into old thought patterns happens to most of us. In a moment of self-doubt, we can begin to tell ourselves that we aren’t enough. When that happens, we have to remember that it’s temporary, and that all the work we’ve done hasn’t disappeared. We just need to tap into it again, and use our support system to get back on track.
- What is your favorite part of your body? How do you celebrate it?
This is a tough one for me. I don’t think I have a favorite part. I’m at the point where I’m trying to focus less on beauty, and more on the strength of my body. I try to maintain a sense of gratitude for being able to wake up each morning and get out of bed with relative ease. Realizing that not everyone has this luxury makes me appreciate the amazingness of what my body does for me each day. Celebrating these victories helps to put things in perspective for me. In a society that is obsessed with perfect bodies, I’m learning to focus on what my body can do, versus what it looks like when I’m doing it.
- What is your favorite food and how do you like to enjoy it?
I LOVE ice cream. But I’m allergic to dairy, so instead I eat soy or coconut milk ice cream. I often enjoy it right out of the carton!
- What inspires and renews your dedication to your process when you need it the most?
Making time to rest has been a wonderful discovery for me. I often feel frenzied in my busy life, and make myself believe that if I don’t write a blog post or attend body-positive event, that I’m failing as an activist and a writer. But lately I’ve been putting a lot of TO DO’s on the back burner so I can rest and re-evaluate what’s really important to me. As someone with a chronic illness, slowing down is key to my health. It’s in those quiet moments that I’m actually able to reflect on what is and isn’t working in my life. And then I can come back to the table with a clear mind and an open heart.
- Radical self-acceptance means…
I struggle with the prefix “radical.” It sometimes feels like if there are days or weeks when I’m not in acceptance that I’ve somehow failed. And that kind of pressure puts me in a space of perfectionism – which has never served me. I learned this from one of my readers, who eloquently explained that she felt left out of the body-positive movement because she wasn’t ready to rock a fatkini and didn’t feel awesome about herself all the time. To her it felt like exclusionary, and that’s not what I want my audience to feel – ever. I often forget the power of words.
- What books, music or websites inspire you right now?
I’m currently into books and Pinterest pages that are about simplifying my life. As a self-described shopaholic, my home feels cluttered and it makes keeping it clean a real pain in the arse. Not to mention it’s a burden on my pocketbook. I recently did a huge cleanout in my closet and pared down my overstuffed closet to just 25 items of clothing. It’s been liberating to walk in and see exactly what I have. And it also forces me to be more creative in putting together outfits. I love fashion, but realize that cultivating a style based on form and function is so much more rewarding.
- Favorite quote or poem?
This one has been a favorite for at least a decade:
“Do not fear death. But rather the inadequate life.”
“The ever wonderful Pia Schiavo-Campo of @MixedFatChick shares her #BodyTrust Insights … @BeNourished”
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