Why did you decide to write Barbara Por Atras?
Health and fitness has been a lifelong passion for me. As I went through adolescence my body started developing. I wasn’t as thin as I used to be and began to notice the piropos, hence the title of the book Barbara Por Atras. I would hear the men shouting out as I walked down the street, Santa por alante, Barbara por atras. There was this connection with my name, and that started this desire for me to have that skinny body that we see in models and actresses. A lot of us tend to idolize this body type. I tried to achieve that but eventually realized it was never going to be mine. Finally I accepted that yes I have curves, soy Latina, it’s my culture, and it’s much more important to focus on the Barbara who I am inside than on my physical assets.
There are so many conflicting stories out there as far as what really constitutes a healthy diet! Can you help us separate the hype from the facts?
I think that eating in moderation is the real key. It’s not going to lead you to binging one day or going crazy and giving up. There are things that we like in life, and life is crazy and stressful as it is. If were going to deprive ourselves of the things we love, were going to fail in one aspect or another. I love my arroz con frijoles, I love my tortillas, I love certain meals that I’m not going to say no to because a diet guru out there is telling me I can’t. Portion control is the bottom line. Moderation, it’s something that has worked for me for so many years and ultimately it can work for you too.
There have been other Latin diet books to come out in the last year but mostly written by men. How do you think this book is different in its perspective?
The book has a little bit of everything; my story, self-acceptance, superando a nuestra raza. We should appreciate who we are and elevate our culture, but being healthy is really the most important fact that I stress. Latinos were 1.9 times more likely to get diabetes than whites and non-Hispanics. That’s an incredible number. We’re thirty million plus in this country so we really need to focus on getting and staying healthy! The book has a nutritional guide and I incorporate all of the research I have done for so many years. It even has a great 25 minute work out, for which I enlisted the assistance of a very good friend of mine Blanca Rodriguez. I also added a little touch of my favorite Latin recipes that have modified to be healthier.
What’s a good way to start moving towards your goals?
You really need to take a good hard look at what it is your doing right now. Start keeping a log of what you eat and your physical activity. It doesn’t matter if you don’t hit the gym you can always find time for activity. You could do little things in your office, you can walk, and you can alter things that you do every day. But you need to look at yourself first and set a plan. Whole grains are fantastic, start minimizing the white starch, if you eat butter change it to Smart Balance. Just those little touches, you’ll see how they make a huge difference in the long run.