Local Food Scene Expanding in Coops


On May 8 and 9 Buy Manitoba launched 17 food products made right here in Manitoba in three Red River Coop Ltd stores for a terrific local extravaganza. Southdale, St. Vital and Grant Park Red River Coops will now carry 17 locally produced food products. Not only is this a great initiative for these Red River Coop locations being new to Winnipeg, but it truly showcases the supportive nature of the Manitoba government and the Buy Manitoba brand to local food producers.

At Fit Communications, we are huge supporters of the local food industry. Our kitchens are filled with some of our Manitoba favorites. The food producers in Manitoba tend to be very passionate foodies, and utilize local, real ingredients in their goods. This week’s blog I wanted to share with you some of our favorite Manitoba-made products that you can now purchase at Red River Coops.

Perfect Pierogies – if you’re in Manitoba, a few things you definitely know are socials, lake country and pierogies. Perfect Pierogies come in five different flavors of deliciousness – Cottage Cheese, Sauerkraut, Potato and Cheddar, Spinach and Feta and their newest addition, Spicy Chili. All made with Manitoba-grown potatoes, cooked with garlic for a delicious taste, and sautéed with only real onions – nothing dried or powdered. The addition of sour cream to the dough creates a soft tender pocket for the filling. With zero trans-fats and no salt added, they are delicious.

Bessie’s Best
– this girl brings more energy and enthusiasm to the local Manitoba food industry than anyone I have ever met. And even better? Her Award-winning Mediterranean dips and sauces. All of her products are hand made, natural, organic and gluten free. And did I mention delicious?! You can always find Bessie at the local farmers markets as well, showcasing her seasonal products. Keep your eye on this girl – her dips and sauces will be a household name one day!

Dairy Fairy – these traditional European cheeses are all made right here in Manitoba from local cow’s milk, and promise a delicious, healthy product. This delectable and diverse cheese is great for baking cookies, breads, crepes and perogies. As an alternative to goat’s cheese or feta, it can be used on top of salads, in a sandwich or sprinkled on pasta. With lots of flavors to choose from, you should definitely have some on your next cheese plate.

Danny’s Whole Hog BBQ and Smokehouse – unless you live under a rock, you definitely know Danny and his thumbs up! Not only is Danny a person who is always giving back to the community, but he puts more passion into his food than imaginable. Always coming up with new products for his customers to try, Danny brings tastiness to everything. Danny’s Pork Turkey and BBQ Sauces are now available at the Red River Coops. Seriously – go get some!

Rawnata – I have been enjoying the wonderful products from Rawnata for over two years, and truly can’t get enough. These raw seed, functional ingredient hemp snackers and flax crackers maximize nutritional content and flavor. These might be my favorite local product…made with love and health in mind, I would strongly encourage everyone to pick up a package and try them soon. They bring a flavor and taste to your mouth like no other.

High Stakes Havoc – Boxing is Back in Winnipeg


Although he may be known better as the “Vernaus” of Vernaus Auto Body, this is only one side to the multi-talented man.   John Vernaus IS the KING of professional boxing promotion in Manitoba. With over 22 years experience and over 100 fights under his promotional belt, Vernaus is no amateur. Vernaus began boxing promotion in 1993. Over the years he has developed multiple connections in Montreal, Las Vegas and throughout North America. Although starting with boxing, he has expanded the fight cards to include Maui Thai kickboxing and MMA (mixed martial arts). In February 2000, John held the first legal MMA fight in Canada. This is an amazing accomplishment given all of the persistence and hard work needed to make it a reality.

John’s most exciting boxing experience came when he was in Las Vegas for the Tyson – Holyfield fight. Tyson was favoured 21:1 and John had the opportunity to sit in at Holyfield’s training facility. He met Holyfield and questioned him on his thoughts about his chances. He was impressed to hear the Holyfield was not worried in the slightest as “God was in [his] corner and that’s all he needed to know”. Holyfield went on to defeat Tyson in a huge upset win. And Vernaus was lucky to be let in on what may have been the reason why Holyfield prevailed – faith.

John has not only been a promoter but has also managed up to 16 fighters. He didn’t just “manage” these fighters – he mentored them and provided top quality training. Through his many contacts, he was able to send fighters to train for a month or two in Montreal or Vegas. Providing these opportunities enabled the fighters to step up to the next level of training and fighting. If they were “A” fighters here in Winnipeg, they may only be “B” or “C” fighters in Montreal. There is always room to grow and improve and that is what John wanted to instil in and provide for them.

Vernaus wasn’t just about making “a buck” off these fighters. He knew that a lot of them needed guidance so he gave them a job, got them busy training and led them on the right track. He also was a big enough person to call it when he knew enough was enough for his fighters. “I never wanted to see any of my kids be “punch drunk” or risk their health just for the sake of fighting.” Says Vernaus.

There have been many fighters over the years to visit Winnipeg to be a part of a King John card. According to Vernaus, they all want to come to Winnipeg because “they know that they will be treated right”, Vernaus says. He wants to ensure that the fights are matched up properly – not only for the fighters but also for the fans. Fans know that they will always be witness to a great show. King John Promotions is currently in talks with TSN to broadcast upcoming fight cards and HBO may want in on the action. A great show doesn’t have to be in Vegas – and Vernaus wants everyone to know that.

Vernaus is passionate about boxing and believes in Winnipeg. He continues to bring fights to Winnipeg because he wants to put Winnipeg on the boxing map. He knows that he has and will continue to get some up and comers coming to Winnipeg on a card. When they make it big, our Winnipeg fans can then say they saw that fighter on his or her way up. John Vernaus’ hope is that he will be able to bring a big name to Winnipeg for the fans.

The last show put on by King John Promotions was in fall of 2013., so the local professional boxing fans are eagerly awaiting another show. The wait is almost over! “High Stakes Havoc” on April 30, 2015 will see yet another fight card at a new venue for King John – Club Regent Casino. Vernaus says the venue is beautiful and considers it second to none. Although the venue only holds 1000 fans, these will be a lucky group. The card is jam packed with 9 fights and will be a fast paced evening. Each fight is sure to provide excitement – some knockouts, some battles that go the distance, some comebacks and even a long-shot victory.

The night will also feature special guests such as local boxing legend, “Golden Boy” Donny Lalonde. Baxter Humby, a Winnipegger nicknamed “The One Arm Bandit” will receive an award for his dedication to Combative Sports in Winnipeg.

High Stakes Havoc will be sure to be a night jam packed with excitement and athleticism. Doors open at 6 pm and fights start at 7 pm. Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster http://www.ticketmaster.ca/king-john-boxing-presents-high-winnipeg-manitoba-04-30-2015/event/11004E6CB13F6B3B. Get your tickets now because they will sell out. This is one night you won’t want to miss!

Additional Fight Card Details:

High Stakes Havoc

Thursday, April 30th, 7pm

Club Regent Casino & Event Centre

Winnipeg, MB


Live Professional Boxing
April 30th, 2015 at the Club Regent Casino & Event Centre

You will see Olivia “The Predator” Gerula vs. Simone Da Silva Duarte of Brazil for the
WIBA World Title.

Heavyweights Jason Douglas of Red Deer vs. Wayne John out of Montreal.

A second Heavy weight tilt featuring Michael “Flash” Walchuk from Calgary vs. Vince Calio fighting out of Toronto.

Winnipeg’s Kyle Oliveira will take on Killer Jackson also making his way from Minnesota. Plus more exciting bouts to be announced.

Media Links:

Winnipeg Free Press Donny Lalonde

Winnipeg Free Press Sports – Donny Lalonde

Winnipeg Free Press – Baxter Humby

Winnipeg Free Press – Event

Global News – Olivia Gerula

Global News – Baxter Humby

Winnipeg Sun – Olivia Gerula

Winnipeg Sun – Baxter Humby

CBC – Olivia Gerula

Shaw TV – Olivia Gerula


My Toba – Results

My Toba – Baxter Humby

My Toba – Team Oliveira




Marketing for Amateur Sports

girls_sportsOne of the reasons we started Fit Communications is because we truly believe in the power of sport. We believe that participating in sport gives back so much more than the actual cost of participating. It provides so many fabulous life skills and skills to develop a holistic self. Leadership, cooperation, dedication, loyalty, confidence, teamwork, determination, time management, goal setting and the list goes on. This is why sports are so great and why we want to help sports spread the word of their great work and fantastic programs.

Whether your sport is gymnastics or speed skating, table tennis or diving, marketing is essential for growth and development of your sport or club. However it is not as simple as just knowing this. It is important to build this into your budget just as you would for coaching or facilities.

Unfortunately many amateur sports either don’t build marketing into their annual budget or if they do, don’t have a strategic plan on how to best utilize their funds or reach their target audiences.

Marketing is more than just paid advertisements. It is more than just flyers and or placing an ad in the local community paper. Marketing is utilizing a variety of mediums to not only build awareness of your sport and brand but also to increase membership.

Many sports and clubs are run by volunteer boards or staff that may not necessarily have a marketing background. Therefore it is difficult for these people to make the best decisions regarding what to spend marketing money on and where or when. In addition, they may not realize that there are a vast number of non-traditional forms of marketing that could not only be more effective but are also a better way to reach their target customer.

It is so important to have a strategy behind your marketing plan. You need to be armed to the best of your ability because we all know that there is a lot of competition out there. There are approximately 75 different sports or leisure activities that parents and kids/youth can choose from. Within each of those 75 are usually multiple clubs that offer similar services. So why choose yours? This is where we can help!

For all of the reasons above, we know that amateur sports and clubs need our help. We have so many ideas, experience and expertise on how to get your message of greatness to the masses. And such, increase enrollment or whatever your goal is!

If you are an amateur sport club or group and need help in this area, give us a call. We’re super nice!

Fit Communications

Alli & Andrea


Baxter Humby – a Story of Inspiration


If you are looking for added inspiration to your day, your sport and your overall life, Baxter Humby is the man to help you. “The One Arm Bandit” Baxter Humby will receive an award for his dedication to Combative Sports in Winnipeg at the Professional Boxing Event, High Stakes Havoc on April 30, 2015.

Baxter Humby, two-time World Kickboxing Champion known as “The One Armed Bandit” lost his right arm from the elbow down at birth in Winnipeg after becoming entangled with the umbilical cord. He is the only man in the world to win world titles with just one arm.

Baxter is the current IMTC (International Muay Thai Council) World Super Welterweight Champion. He holds a number of title belts including WMC Intercontinental Super Welterweight Champion (2011, featured on ESPN Sportscenter top 10 Highlights with his first round knockout),WBC Super Welterweight National Champion (2010), IKKC USA Kickboxing Champion, IMTC World Middleweight Champion and IKBA International Kickboxing Champion.

In 2012, Humby was nominated for an ESPY Award for Best Male Athlete with a Disability, after he knocked-out Dominic Zedov in the first round, by a kick to the solar-plexes, sending Zedov clear across the ring.

His interest in sports led him to take up running at age 11 and martial arts at 17. He ran for the Canadian National Track Team in Barcelona in 1992 and in Berlin in 1994.

Baxter won the Canadian Super Welterweight Kickboxing Championship in 1996, and in 1997, moved to California to pursue a professional kickboxing career. He currently trains with Muay Thai World Champion trainers, Master Tom Khamvongsa and David Huey, at the Muay Thai Academy in North Hollywood, California.

Baxter has been working as a stunt man in Hollywood since 1997 and has appeared in numerous movies including A Million Ways to Die in the West and Spiderman 3.

On April 30 during the High Stakes Havoc Professional Boxing event, Baxter Humby will be in attendance at the event and honored for his tremendous dedication to Combative Sports. Proud of his Aboriginal heritage, Baxter has shown his community that everything is possible. Truly an inspiration to everyone, this man brings sport to a new level.

Additional Fight Card Details:

High Stakes Havoc

Thursday, April 30th, 7pm

Club Regent Casino & Event Centre

Live Professional Boxing
April 30th, 2015 at the Club Regent Casino & Event Centre

You will see Olivia “The Predator” Gerula vs. Simone Da Silva Duarte of Brazil for the
WIBA World Title.

Heavyweights Jason Douglas of Red Deer vs. Wayne John out of Montreal.

A second Heavy weight tilt featuring Michael “Flash” Walchuk from Calgary vs. Vince Calio fighting out of Toronto.

Winnipeg’s Kyle Oliveira will take on Killer Jackson also making his way from Minnesota. Plus more exciting bouts to be announced.




At Fit Communications we LOVE local! Products, food, beverages, services and more!

There are so many benefits to shopping local. The list of benefits is long but includes helping the environment, retaining our community’s distinctiveness, and increasing employment. In addition, local businesses are proportionately more generous in their support of local charities, schools and community events. Supporting local shops means a positive financial impact on our community. Finally, local businesses survive by their reputation and repeat business, which means you receive better customer care and service.

As a locally owned business ourselves, we identify with the passion local businesses have for their products, services and crafts. It is with great pride that we are helping to spread the word about Winnipeg’s 2nd Annual beer, wine and foodie event! The 2nd Annual LoveLocalMB Food and Beverage Event will be held on April 30, 2015 from 5 – 10pm at the Canad Inns Destination Centre Club Regent Casino Hotel. This terrific initiative began in 2014 and had over 500 attendees to the event to sample, taste, purchase and celebrate food in Manitoba.

LoveLocalMB was created by Peter Fehr (Gourmet Inspirations) and Bessie Hatzitrifanos (Bessie’s Best Foods), local Winnipeg food entrepreneurs. They both create local, gourmet, handcrafted food products. This event will celebrate and promote over 30 Manitoba food and beverage artisans. For a full list of event vendors, see www.lovelocalmb.com

Guests will enjoy a fun and relaxing evening filled with live music, tons of food sampling, socializing and a free glass of wine with ticket purchase.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.LoveLocalMB.com for $15, or at the door for $20.

A portion of the proceeds from this event will go towards supporting Food Matters Manitoba’s Kids Cooking Club. This great initiative offers free, healthy foods cooking classes to children and youth across Winnipeg’s North End. For more information about Food Matters Manitoba, please click here – www.foodmattersmanitoba.ca

Connect with LoveLocalMB on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/826086287484579/

Be sure you get your ticket now so you can support local for all the amazing reasons listed above. If not for these, then at least to spoil your senses!

Media Links:

Metro News

CTV News

Global News – Morning Show

Global News


Olivia “The Predator” Gerula is Ready to Rumble


Olivia “The Predator” Gerula will be facing Simone Da Silva Duarte of Brazil for the WIBA World Boxing Title on April 30th, 2015 at Club Regent Casino & Event Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This 35-year-old fighter will be bringing a ton of experience and packing some powerful punches. She is at the top of her game and determined to win this (currently) vacant title.

Standing 5’3”, Olivia trains out of Winnipeg’s Elite Boxing MMA under the coaching of Kent Brown and Dejan Paunovic. Her 15-14-2 record has given her the opportunity to fight around the globe. The April 30th fight will be an action packed event that will bring the return of professional boxing to Manitoba as a sport to be reckoned with.

At 15, Gerula was a competitive gymnast and soccer player. After much convincing, her mom allowed for her to try a new sport in kickboxing. From day one, she was addicted to the sport. Training in martial arts, kickboxing and Muay Thai. Olivia made her professional debut in 1997 and has been moving full steam ahead ever since.
As a professional female athlete, Olivia often finds herself seen as a role model to young girls. As girls are up to six times more likely to drop out of sports by the age of 14 than are boys, she feels it is up to her and other high performance athletes to play an active role in paving the way for the next generation of athletes.

“I respect the fact that I am seen as a role model, it’s a standard I try to live up to. If I can motivate young girls or guys getting into the sport to stick with it, then it’s worth the effort,” says Gerula.

Less than six weeks out from her April 30th fight, Gerula’s training regime is in full force. Diet and nutrition are a big part of the process, as she needs to drop approximately 10 pounds for the April 30th bout. With a minimum of three hours training each day, Gerula actually gains weight in the beginning stages to ensure she doesn’t drop too much weight for the bout.

“I usually weigh between 135 – 145 because that is where I am happiest; life is a lot sweeter with a little ice cream in it,” says Gerula. “When I start to cut weight it gets me mentally prepared to battle while keeping me focused on the end goal.”
When fight day arrives Olivia will be focused and determined, allowing her to be as strong as she can be, as quick as she can be and as mean as she can be against her opponent.

As a personal trainer, a high level of physical activity is a lifestyle for her. When not training for a specific fight, she works out seven days a week, but not always boxing. She enjoys running, yoga, and weight lifting all in an effort to showcasing a true athlete in the ring.

With over 30 boxing fights under her belt, Gerula’s nerves are in control and an excitement is built with each day closer to her fight. She compares getting ready for a fight to baking cupcakes. “All the time and hard work that you put into the gym training and sparring is the batter – the cake if you will. The frosting with a cherry on top is the fight.”

As part of her training regime to get ready for a fight, Olivia gets in over 100 rounds of sparring in the six-week camp with various types of sparring partners, mostly men of all sizes and weight categories. On fight day she faces one girl the same weight as her for ten rounds. When she trains, she has a new opponent every 2-3 rounds that is fresh, and usually quite a bit bigger than her 5’3” frame. She finds training is much harder than the actual fight. Nerves don’t come into play for Gerula as she has already decided what the outcome is going to be.

“The thought is that you have done everything you can up until that point and the rest is there for the taking,” Olivia says.

It is all about thinking positive – she is already celebrating in her mind. Her birthday is the day following the fight and she sees this as her birthday present – holding the belt over her head. She sees no other outcome and trains herself so that she can be the best she can be.

Olivia is currently ranked first in Canada and eighth overall in the world in professional boxing. At one time holding the WBC Super-featherweight Title, Olivia feels women’s boxing doesn’t get the respect men’s boxing does, but nor does it get the same hype. She is hoping to give it a strong boost on the April 30th High Stakes Havoc boxing card presented by King John Boxing. Crowds should expect an exciting night that will showcase the incredible talent – both female and male – that boxing in Manitoba has to offer.

Olivia’s goal in the sport of boxing has been clear since day one – she wants to leave a lasting impression on the sport of women’s professional boxing. From her fights around the globe to right here in Winnipeg, she has been making her mark and hopes April 30th will be another opportunity to do just that.

Additional Fight Card Details:

High Stakes Havoc
Thursday, April 30th, 7pm
Club Regent Casino & Event Centre
Winnipeg, MB

Live Professional Boxing
April 30th, 2015 at the Club Regent Casino & Event Centre

You will see Olivia “The Predator” Gerula vs. Simone Da Silva Duarte of Brazil for the
WIBA World Title.

Heavyweights Jason Douglas of Red Deer vs. Wayne John out of Montreal.

A second Heavy weight tilt featuring Michael “Flash” Walchuk from Calgary vs. Vince Calio fighting out of Toronto.

Winnipeg’s Kyle Oliveira will take on Killer Jackson also making his way from Minnesota. Plus more exciting bouts to be announced.

Fit Communication’s Runner Roundup


Fit Communications is proud to begin an inaugural “Runner Roundup” in the month of March. We are collecting gently used runners and athletic footwear for girls and women.

You may have noticed if you follow us on Twitter or from reading our weekly blogs, we are passionate about health and fitness and are committed to spreading the word of health every day. We are especially motivated to get girls and women of all ages active in order to lead healthy and happy lives. We don’t want a lack of footwear to be an obstacle to making this happen.

We have joined forces with Snap Fitness on this initiative. Snap Fitness has just announced its commitment to giving back to the community following reaching 300,000 Facebook likes.  Specifically, Snap Fitness will act as the collection/drop off locations for the footwear donations. Locations for donation include Osborne Village (206 Osborne Street), St. Boniface (249 St. Mary’s Rd.) and Selkirk (379 Main Street, Selkirk).

At the end of March, Fit Communications will donate the runners to local women’s shelters and groups in need.  Snap Fitness is generously providing free enrollment and free one month memberships to go along with each pair of shoes donated to the women’s groups/shelters.

So if you happen to have a pair (or two or three) of runners you’re no longer using, but are still in good shape, please donate them to our Runner Roundup.   It could make someone’s day and help to start a lifetime of fitness or move towards getting healthy!

Media Links:

Global News

Shaw Go Winnipeg

Winnipeg Free Press

Chris D

My Toba

The Carillon




Alzheimer’s or “Forgetfulness”?



Alzheimer’s may be one of the hardest diseases to deal with as a family member. It is a disease that attacks the brain and can change the person you know and love into someone that doesn’t even know you. This must be emotionally draining for family and caregivers of the people with the disease.

So what is Alzheimer’s? It is the most common form of dementia (60-80% of cases) that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

In Canada, women make up 72% of Alzheimer’s patients.

Alzheimer’s has no cure. However, there are treatments available and support for caregivers. Although Alzheimer’s treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of dementia symptoms and improve quality of life.

I know many people my age are dealing with parents and some level of forgetfulness. The obvious concern is that this may be the beginning of Alzheimer’s. However, almost 40% of people over the age of 65 experience some form of memory loss. When there is no “underlying medical condition causing this memory loss, it is known as “age-associated memory impairment,” which is considered a part of the normal aging process.”

But how do you know what is normal aging “forgetfulness” and what is dementia? The Alzheimer Society of Canada http://www.alzheimer.ca/ has a list for you to help determine if behaviors are “normal” or if they are a reason for you or your loved one to seek medical advice.

Normal Aging  Dementia
· Not being able to remember details of a conversation or event that took place a year ago · Not being able to recall details of recent events or conversations
· Not being able to remember the name of an acquaintance · Not recognizing or knowing the names of family members
· Forgetting things and events occasionally ·Forgetting things or events more frequently
· Occasionally have difficulty finding words · Frequent pauses and substitutions when finding words
 · You are worried about your memory but your relatives are not · Your relatives are worried about your memory, but you are not aware of any problems


If you are worried about yourself or a loved one, the best advice is to ask your health professional. If you would like more information about support in your area, tips for coping with normal age-related memory difficulties and ongoing research, please visit www.alzheimer.ca.

Christmas is the Season of Giving

GivingChristmas is the season of giving. I am very proud of what our local Winnipeg community does to help those less fortunate around the holidays: toy drives, coats for kids, homeless shelter turkey dinners, and the list goes on. All of these charitable groups, organizations and shelters are so worthy of support. The only thing that upsets me about this is that Christmas, and the holiday season, is only one month of the year. However, most people less fortunate need help all year round.

I have been thinking, what if we each gave 50% of what we give at Christmas to these associations throughout the year. For example, if you give $100 at Christmas to a charity of this nature, why not plan to donate $10 each month after Christmas? The need is still there long after the trees are put away or recycled. If you budget for a maximum amount of $120 per year total, why not spread it out over the year – monthly. Not only would this allow the groups to receive ongoing funding, but it will also be easier for you to budget. As most groups can directly withdraw from your bank account, it would be “pain-free” rather than a wallop at Christmas time when you are already spending a bundle.

If you are currently not donating to any charity now, but have the means, why not? Start now. Not sure where to give or how? Here are a list of local organizations that I am sure would love to hear from you in January. Please continue or start to give – either to these organizations or any other close to your heart. It will help us build a strong, caring and vibrant community.

Main Street Project, Inc. – 204.982.8260 – www.mainstreetproject.ca

Ndinawe provides emergency shelter and counseling services for runaway youth – 204.586.2588

Native Women’s Transition Centre is a community-based, 21 bed facility providing support and services to Aboriginal women and children. Program and service philosophy is to strengthen and support Native women who have experienced victimization to become self-sufficient. – 204.989.8240

Ikwe-Widdjiitiwin is a crisis shelter that provides safe accommodation, supportive counselling and advocacy to abused Aboriginal women and their children. Other services include a non-residential program and 24 hour provincial crisis line counselling. – 204.987.2780

Agape Table Inc. serves the needs of the hungry in the inner city of Winnipeg – 204.786.2370 www.agapetable.ca

Powerhouse Winnipeg is a non-profit community organization that provides emergency and support services to street involved youth aged 16-29. A drop-in center which provides peer support, referrals, advocacy, a free store (clothing, blankets, shoes etc…), outreach, Internet, laundry facilities, food, an on- site Public Health Nurse and telephone access for job and housing searches. – 204.953.1310

Siloam Mission is a faith-based agency that serves 500 – 900 poor and homeless a day, at no cost or preconditions through its: meal program, food bank, clothing bank, counseling, emergency shelter, agency referrals, employment-training programs, health centre, income tax preparations, a 12 step recovery program, addictions meetings & groups, access to phone, postal mail service, a book program, optional spiritual services, haircuts, etc…
- 204.956.4344

Fat Shaming


I recently read an article suggested to me on ElephantJournal.com about ‘Fat Shaming’. I thought it would be great to go to my ‘Facebook community’ to see what there thoughts were regarding the story. I posted the following statement:

I recently read an article that talked about a woman who was 350 lbs on social assistance, and she said the reason she was obese was because she couldn’t afford to be healthy (i.e. buy nutritious food, gym membership, lacked the knowledge, etc). I’m really curious what my ‘Facebook circle’ has to say about this topic. What are YOUR thoughts?

This resulted in perhaps my post popular posting to date, full of feedback, commentary, suggestions and the like. Many posted they felt this person was ‘lazy’ or ‘it is free to go for a walk’ or perhaps suggestions on how to ‘feed a family healthy on a dime’ (which by the way I blogged about a few months ago for cost savings tips here).

Discussions ensued about socio-economic background and health correlations, home economics and nutritional education in schools. Suggestions for change such as providing free gym memberships to those on social assistance as that would not only help them be healthier, but also lower costs related to hospitalization while allowing them to experience positive and healthy social interaction and lower stress levels.

Suggestions of finding a ‘health buddy’ or mentor to help find your ‘healthy path’, teaching the entire family unit about a healthy lifestyle, overall cultural shifts, psychology and modeling all came into the conversation. It was a thought provoking conversation that has sparked interest and allowed for conversation and opinions to be shared. But I think we are missing a huge piece of the puzzle.

Each situation is as unique as the individual involved. Before we judge the person and her decisions, let’s take a walk in her shoes. She is a single mother of three, on social assistance. We do not know if she has any mental illness, perhaps depression or an eating disorder. When you look in her cupboards that is one thing – but look out her front door. Does she have a car to drive to Safeway to pick up fresh food three times a week? Does the social assistance budget for food, which is $20 per week per adult in the home, allow for fresh food each week? Could YOU live off $20 for food a week and eat healthy?

Is she in a violent neighborhood where ‘just going for a jog’ or walking to the store is even an option? Look at Winnipeg’s North End or Core area! If you live in these regions are you able to do this each day? Is that even your realistic priority as a mother of three on social assistance? God only knows the struggles she is faced with. What about the Northern communities of Manitoba? Where a litre of milk is $12 and a can of coke is $1. Are you telling me that if you were faced with the choice of $12 or $1 and you were on a limited income you would always opt for skim? It is simply not an option.

Moreover, not everyone simply ‘knows how to be healthy’. The average physician takes ONE course on nutrition in his/her entire education. Your doctor is not an expert. If I could tell you how many times I have educated, financially well-off people talk to me about nutrition and have NO clue about what is really good or bad for them, it shocks me every single week. Level of education, the neighborhood you grew up in, and financial status don’t mean squat about your knowledge of nutrition and/or exercise. Be it a parent, coach, yourself, a mentor – someone sparks that interest in you to learn, and you will.

In the words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has”.

So my challenge to you all is this. Be the change that you feel can make a difference. Be someone’s ‘health buddy’. Share knowledge. Help make communities safer and healthier in any way that you can. And let us know how that goes. Let us know how that feels. We are always here to support your healthy lifestyle and story!