About the Author

Linda Fondren is one of 11 children born into poverty to a single mother in the “poorest and fattest” state in America. Her past, with all its blemishes and complications, helped pave the way for the path she eventually found with Shape Up Sisters! She is 58 years old, a mother, grandmother and loving wife of 29 years. She and her husband, Jim, reside in Vicksburg and are active in real estate development.


"The battle of the bulge is a fierce one. To win it, you need a supersized motivator like...Linda Fondren. Linda is a force, a sculptor, reshaping lives in Vicksburg, Mississippi. When Mississippi was named the most obese state, she got out her chisel and she went to work. She carved, "Shape Up Vicksburg" and challenged the city to lose 17,000 pounds."

"She engraved healthy choices on restaurant menus and school lunches. She molded exercise classes for women and started a walking club with T-shirts that read, 'Walking is Cheap. Life is Precious.' That's what our sculptor, Linda, carved. All over her city. Life is precious, and so is she." — L.L. Cool J


Her Movement

In 2009, Linda initiated Shape Up Vicksburg, a campaign to help residents of Vicksburg, Mississippi, lose weight after Mississippi was deemed the "fattest state in the nation" for the sixth consecutive year. Shape Up Vicksburg is a non-profit organization that provides tools and resources to members of the community who want to change their lives but lack the financial means to do so.

Shape Up Vicksburg has already resulted in the collective weight loss of more than 15,000 pounds among participants. For her efforts, Linda was chosen for a Top Ten CNN Hero of the Year Award for 2010. She, along with distinguished leaders, such as First Lady Michelle Obama, as one of The Grio's 100 History Makers in the Making for her fight against obesity. She was also named 2011 Woman of the Year for the City of Vicksburg.

Shape Up Sisters: The Book

Shape Up Sisters is a get-healthy prescription for regular people with jobs, budgets and real-life challenges. Linda offers tacticts to incorporate exercise into daily activities, delicious recipes and menus for eating healthfully on a budget and motivation for a major attitude shift.

Linda combines her empowering personal story with uplifting tales of women who have changed their lives by following her simple strategies.