Shannon Svingen-Jones started FabUplus magazine for plus size women by plus size women

By Julie Mazziotta
Updated December 08, 2020 02:13 PM
Credit: FabUplus Magazine

At 5’3″ and 245 lbs., Shannon Svingen-Jones is extremely active, running 20 kilometers a week, finishing triathlons and eating healthy. But she couldn’t find a fitness magazine on the newsstands that she could actually relate to.

“I just got tired of reading headlines in magazines that said – do this exercise to lose 10 lbs., do squats so you have a tight bod, and just to do all these things to try to lose the weight or change your body size,” she tells PEOPLE. “There are so many other benefits to exercise than just losing the weight.”

Thinking that she couldn’t be the only person feeling this way, the Vancouver-based Svingen-Jones, 47, reached out to friends in a body positive Facebook group for a little market research.

“I found out there are thousands of women out there like me who workout, who are plus size, who aren’t eating kale to lose weight – they eat it because it’s beneficial to nutrition,” she explains. “I thought maybe it’s time we changed the conversation.”

So Svingen-Jones decided to start her own magazine, FabUplus, aimed at women size 16 and up and “weight-neutral.” It started as a website in December, but her Facebook group all said that they wanted a real, physical print magazine they could buy on a newsstand.

“Basically they said, ‘Do you have any idea how powerful it would be to stand at the checkout line and for the first time in my life see someone that looks like me?’ ” Svingen-Jones says.

The magazine is filled with body positive features, starting with the cover girl, Whitney Way Thore, all the way to the recipes and exercises.

“When we feature recipes about kale, or stories about drinking water, it’s not about losing weight. It’s just neutral. It’s not if you drink 10 waters you’re going to lose 10 lbs. that week.”

Svingen-Jones has loved the response so far, and the magazine is selling out at Barnes & Nobles across the U.S. and flying off newsstands.

“The readers have an emotional connection to this magazine that I didn’t expect,” she says. “They finally feel represented and feel emotionally connected to the magazine.”

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Svingen-Jones is a one-woman show right now, but she hopes to eventually hire an employee and grow the magazine from a quarterly publication as it finds more fans.

“I hope that it lets plus size women know that they’re valued regardless of their size,” she says, “and that they can have their best life in the body they have now, not 10 lbs. from now, not 50 lbs. from now.”