“It’s hard growing up in a culture that cherishes food when you’re trying to hold yourself to an ultra-skinny ideal,” shares Barbara Trujillo-Gomez, the acclaimed author of “…Barbara por Atras” – A Latin Woman’s Guide to Fitness. It is something the popular fitness expert knows almost too well. Growing up in New Jersey, in a strong Cuban-American community, Barbara found herself in the classic tug of war that thousands of women face on a daily basis: how to balance life, family, work, food and everything else... without the guilt.
Considering that at the time Barbara was working a very high-powered corporate sales and marketing job at Jaguar Land Rover North America, it is fair to say that she was spending nearly every free moment at the gym, counting calories and taking measurements. If it sounds like a familiar story, it is because the vast majority of American woman, from any culture, are unhappy with their appearance. According the U.S. Body Image Task Force, the percentage of normal-weight women who wish to be thinner is an astounding 70%. Even more shocking is the 23% of underweight women who also wish to be thinner. Undoubtedly, it is precisely this kind of unrealistic body image that contributes to the nearly 5 million Americans subjecting themselves to cosmetic surgery in the form of liposuction, body contouring, and bariatric weight loss surgery every year.
Indeed, even with her sassy attitude and trademark confidence, Trujillo-Gomez admits that she very well could have ended up as one of these statistics. “No matter how hard I worked, my name was still the butt – literally – of an old Cuban joke about ‘una Santa por Alante y una Barbara por Atras’ which simply means a girl can have it all together from the front, but that curvy Latin backside is always there. When your name is in the joke, believe me, you hear it a lot. I took it as evidence that I wasn’t working hard enough.” Thankfully, a more reasonable perspective prevailed and Barbara realized she could love her curves, and herself, by appreciating the many ways she was fit, healthy and fabulous. That realization was the foundation of her innovative approach to fitness and the basis for the “… Barbara por Atras” book. Within months of its publishing everyone from the New York Times to world-leading Spanish-speaking television network Univision were clamoring for Barbara to share more about full mind-body-spirit fitness powered by self acceptance. Yet, the author says there is still much to do. “My greatest hope,” she shares, “is that women everywhere can say they are proud to be Barbara por alante, atras, y siempre por adentro ...
Barbara Trujillo-Gomez is the founder of B & B Fit. LLC, her self-led brand dedicated to realistic fitness and healthy body image for women of all cultures.