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There are calories in the air!

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Ok, let me just say it. I have body image issues.

You know how kids have lanky bodies where their legs and arms have almost the same circumference? Well that wasn’t me. My mother says I started that way, but the child I remember was too tall, too brown and too fat. Yes, fat. And it wasn’t fun. It was clothes from the husky section at Sears and elastic waistbands. It was “what are you?” because I was neither black or white. It was not the best. Then around 6th grade I grew into my weight and although I still wasn’t thin, I wasn’t an obvious oval anymore. By the time I reached high school the need not to feed was strong.  I lost the weight, and entered the fashion world where smokes and soup were all one needed to sustain themselves.

I was not anorexic, I was not bulimic, but I was aware of every forkful that entered my body. Painfully aware. Keep a running tab aware. Apps for entrees aware.  My family called me Olive Oil and some wondered if I was ill (we’re Latinos remember? being thin is a sin). I looked fabulous.

Into my 30’s I was 5’9″, size 6. I worked out at least three times a week and ate a high protein diet.  I felt great, I looked great.

Fast forward to  now.  I’m 42, overweight, with no time, or willpower to workout. A penchant for chocolate and a deep… disgust towards my body.  People often tell me, “you look great for someone who has two kids” and I sincerely appreciate the compliment, but this is what I call a compliment with an asterisk., like… “you breathe really well for someone with a nose” .  So my goal this year?  To get rid of the asterisk.

Where to start? What to do?  For first time on my life, I started to count calories and oh my God, there are calories in the air!  Ok, not really, but practically. Two things became painfully clear:

1. No wonder I’m  overweight!

2. It’s a miracle I’m not heavier!

It’s really been an eye opener. A wake up call. A really hard look at what I’m eating and what I should be eating instead.  Every bite I take while cooking, every bocadito from my kids’ plates…it has all added up over the years, and now, it’s time for it to go.  Instead of cafe con leche, I’m drinking cafe cubano.  This saves me approximately 145 calories, which on its own isn’t a lot, but if you drink several of these everyday… imagine… 3 cafe con leches in a week’s time is… 3,045 calories!!  Viste? Did you see how easily that adds up?!  So the counting (not fun) begins.

Will I ever get back into that size 6?  Quien sabe.  The important thing is that I remain healthy, which means that I lose some weight, through conscious food choices and that I start exercising.  So as I sometimes tweet it’s time to get #FitOrBustCarajo !!

 

That’s me and my Dad.  Don’t let his uniform fool you!  He stopped doing business at a bank once because he was judged by his uniform.  That’s my father. 

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I’m not Mexican

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I say this not to exclude anyone, but to educate.

I am a Latina.  Born in the US, raised in the south.  The question back then was a simple “what are you” because apparently it was not self evident that I was a person, and the fact that I was neither white nor black was a little confusing.

I did not have the pleasure of meeting a Mexican until I was almost 20, which is also around the time that I first had “Mexican” food (tacos & such).

Since then I have had the honor and pleasure of working with countless numbers of Mexicans, have enjoyed vampiritos, learned a thing our two about the Mayan ancestry, have visited many destinations in Mexico, enjoyed some of the vast delicacies available throughout the different regions, and even met my husband (who’s not Mexican either) in Mexico.

My point? Businesses, if you want to speak to my pocketbook, dimelo en Cubano!  Just because you translated it and dropped a lime in it, does not make me your audience. 

I am not acclimated, I am an American. I am not bicultural, I am a Latina. I stand with my fellow Latin@s on issues of immigration and racism.  I do not watch Univision or Telemundo because it doesn’t speak to me, but wish there were more programming like HBO’s Epitaphios because it was great!

I tell you this because the trillion dollar market segment that you are salivating for is not a one size fits all.   Take a moment to learn that in Chicago for example, latino’s in Pilsen are predominately Mexican,  while you can find mostly Boriquas (Puerto Rican for the uninitiated) near Humboldt Park. There’s even a Colombian community, but it seems most of the Cubans got smart and relocated to better climate. 😉

The conversation amongst marketers is that the future is in personalization… how, if you continue to lump us together?

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