a Positive Note - Online Newsletter!
Welcome to Largely Positive's online newsletter,
"On a Positive Note." The newsletter that
promotes health and self-esteem for people of all shapes
and sizes. The newsletter will regularly feature:
- The latest research on size and weight.
- Opinion column by Carol Johnson, author of the
book Self-Esteem Comes In All Sizes.
- Style tips from plus-size fashion consultant Susan
- Size esteem advice from Karen Stimson, founder of
the Largesse organization.
- Plus-size fitness tips. "Non-diet"
- Latest news from the weight discrimination battle
- Answers to your questions on weight management,
self- esteem, body image, and relationships.
- And how you can "live large" in a
society that "thinks small!"
Thanks again for signing up for the free "On a
Positive Note" newsletter. If you have any
questions or comments, feel free to contact us. Now
"on with the show!"
Carol Johnson, President
Largely Positive Inc.
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The Big Picture
By Carol Johnson
The title "When Food Becomes a Substitute
for Sex" jumped out at me from the pages of a
woman's magazine. In a study of patients undergoing
psychoanalysis, 47.7 percent of those who were large
said they used food to avoid sexual relationships. While
I don't want to deny or minimize problems such as these,
the majority of large women are not in psychoanalysis.
Many are enjoying intimate relationships and robust sex
lives. Once again, we make the mistake of generalizing
the legitimate problems of a minority to the majority.
Researchers at Chicago's Michael Reese
Hospital were actually startled to find that large women
had a stronger sex drive than thin women. They had
started out with the opposite hypothesis: that women
become large and stay that way as a means of insulating
themselves from the give and take of mature sexual
relationships. When psychologist Colleen Rand
scrutinized psychiatric evaluations of both patients
awaiting weight loss surgery and others in
psychoanalysis she concluded, "There are no data
which indicate that the obese individual has
significantly greater or fewer sexual problems than
nonobese individuals." In a more recent study,
Cornell University researchers found that body weight is
not associated with most aspects of marital quality;
indeed larger women were happier with their marriages.
Once again, you must think for yourself. Don't accept
theories which may or may not apply to you. Always say
to yourself, "Am I buying into this because I've
heard it for so long or because it really applies to
me?" There are so many myths associated with larger
women. This appears to be yet another one.
February is a month typically associated with
love and romance. If you are in a relationship, why not
buy yourself some sexy, plus-size lingerie and surprise
your mate? If you're not in a relationship, love
yourself enough to just go out and buy something that
makes you feel like a million bucks!
Self-Esteem Comes In All Sizes!
When I was
writing the chapter on relationships for my
book, "Self-Esteem Comes In All
Sizes," I wanted to show that there are
many men who find large women appealing. I asked
my friend Wendy's boyfriend, Charles, if he
would write about his love for her. I also asked
my friend Kari's husband, Chris. Both were
delighted to have the opportunity, and I thought
that the month of February, containing, as it
does, Valentine's Day, was the perfect
opportunity to share what they wrote with
readers of this newsletter. Charles' note is a
little longer, Chris's a little shorter. Both
tell quite a story.
"What I Love About Wendy"
She makes me laugh. She laughs at
me.She is considerate of my feelings about
things. We trust each other, giving each other
the freedom to be alone, with other friends,
doing whatever we would like to do or have to do
in our individual lives. She is attentive to her
appearance, and wears a perfume that is
absolutely wonderful. It has imprinted itself
onto my memory, and I want more of her.
She is intelligent.
She is interesting to listen to, and I
want to hear about her day, her children, the
things that are bothering or pleasing her, and
her ideas about nearly everything. She listens
to me and my superb ideas about all things! We
listen to each other, giving attention to the
one who needs it the most at the moment, and
truly conversing rather than monopolizing our
talking opportunities. We are like all other
people -- a mixture of strengths and
shortcomings. I see in her strengths that I
admire, have very positive emotional responses
to, and find inspiring to me. Her shortcomings
are minor and don't bother me. This is not a
"love is blind" evaluation, but is
probably the essence of
"compatibility." Our particular
mixture of positives and negatives seem to be
complementary. She can help me when and where I
need it, and I can do the same for her.
We respect each other's opinions,
philosophies, politics, desires, and general
likes and dislikes. We do not ever require the
other to change a deeply held feeling about
anything. She does not complain about herself.
She does not complain about much of anything.
Negative things that go on around her may be
observed and commented on, but this is not the
same and whining and complaining. It also does
not preclude her from voicing a dislike for
She is affectionate.
She likes me and shows it. I see it in
her eyes, in a light touch sometimes, in a short
friendly message on my answering machine.
Getting home after a day in the world is
brightened immensely by her friendly voice. She
is sexy and she acts sexy and flirtatious with
me. I find her irresistible. She is kind to me
She is said to be a "large" woman.
I guess I didn't notice.
Now on to Chris...
"For my wife, Kari..."
Love, honor and cherish until death do
us part. Nothing about size, shape, or
cellulite. Eighteen summers have passed since
that promise was made. She creates a bit more
shade. She pleases me as before and we laugh.
What more is there?
Self-Esteem Comes In All Sizes! »
Style -- BIG Jewelry
By Susan Weber
to great lengths to find beautiful jewelry.
Usually I'm forced to. Good looking necklaces,
bracelets, pins and watches are hard to find in
my size. Still, I refuse to give up on wearing
the gorgeous pieces I see in the stores or on my
skinny friends, just because they're not quite
long enough. And, neither should you! Here are a
few simple ways to stretch your jewelry options:
Need to lengthen a bracelet or
necklace? Add a length of gold or silver chain
and tuck the necklace extender under your collar
or scarf. Tips: To keep a bracelet from rotating
on your wrist and showing the extender, just add
a charm where you connected the extender. When
calculating the length of extender chain to buy,
be sure to add in the length of both clasps so
your extender won't be too long. Shopping Ideas:
Look for faux 14K gold or silvertone chain
"by the inch" at shopping mall stores
and kiosks that sell chains. . Miles Kimball
(414-231-4886) offers a package of necklace
extenders in silvertone and goldtone for less
than $5. QVC.com
(888-345- 5788) offers 2" and 3"
necklace extenders in faux and real sterling
silver and 14K gold. Is your favorite watch too
tight? Your jeweler can often add up to 1"
to the length by changing the clasp or adding
links, adding a clasp extender or by ordering a
longer strap or watchband.
Want a loose-fitting 9" bracelet?
Buy an anklet. Or, have your jeweler make two
9" bracelets from an 18" necklace.
Tip: Link-style necklaces are easier to adapt
than herringbones; so, jewelers will usually
charge less to remake a link necklace into a
bracelet than they would charge for remaking a
herringbone necklace. Shopping Idea: Imperial
Gold (a 14K and 18K jewelry retailer who sells
will lengthen their pieces for the "per
inch" price of the original item (e.g., an
8" bracelet purchased from QVC for $80 can
be lengthened by Imperial Gold for $10 an inch
plus a minimal handling charge).
Desperate for one of those chic, long
chain-link necklaces? They make us look so tall
and lean when worn with monochromatic skirts and
tops! Buy two necklaces and join them together
for the length you need. Example: Two 24"
chains linked together produce a long, elegant
48" chain. Stuck with a pendant hanging on
a too-short chain necklace? Replace the
too-short chain with a satin cord or ribbon.
Shopping Idea: You can purchase satin cording
and ribbon by the inch at any fabric or craft
Favorite pin look too tiny on your
ample-sized shoulder? Pin it on your hat! Or,
keep it on your shoulder by looking for two
other pins that are about the same size and wear
all three as a group. Tip: Save time putting on
multiple pins by pinning all pins onto a piece
of backing fabric which you can pin on in one
step. My favorite backing is a mini crocheted
doily (e.g., 2-3" heart or doily) which you
can by at most fabric and craft stores. Don't
let your curvy, bountiful body keep you from
wearing the jewelry you love!
Susan L. Weber
The meeting place for women size 14+.
.... info to live large ... shop ... resources
Esteem -- A Valentine You Can Give Yourself
By Karen Stimson
you planning to celebrate Valentine's Day this
year? If you have a special person in your life,
perhaps you will receive a gift of flowers,
candy, lingerie, or a night out. But whether you
have a sweetheart or not, there's a gift you can
give yourself for Valentine's Day. It doesn't
cost anything, and it's something you will use
every day of your life, something that will make
your life so much richer and happier. And best
of all, it's truly one size fits all! The gift
you can give yourself, at Valentine's Day or any
day of the year, is size esteem--loving your
body just as it is right now.For those without
someone to share this holiday for
lovers--whether you have recently broken up with
someone or are still waiting for the right
person to find you--it might seem like the worst
time to try on body- positive emotions. Being
alone on a day when romance fairly screams at
you isn't conducive to feeling good about
yourself or your body. It's hard to look in the
mirror and see how truly beautiful you really
are when all you can think about is how lonely
you feel. Your self- esteem and size esteem can
really take a beating if you buy into the myth
that without that perfect "other half"
you are worth less.
And with Valentine's Day arriving
shortly after the end of the blitz of
diet-related advertising coming at us from every
direction each January, it can only add to the
cultural propaganda that no matter what shape
our body is in, it's not good enough. But
Valentine's Day is actually a great day to begin
working on size esteem because of its
association with the heart as a central symbol.
While it has become traditionally associated
with love and romance, dictionary.com
lists the following among the most common
definitions for the word "heart":
--The vital center and source of one's being,
emotions, and sensibilities
--The seat of the intellect or imagination
--Courage; resolution; fortitude
--The most important or essential part
The Love Your Body logo heading this
article, which was created by Largesse, the
Network for Size Esteem, incorporates a heart
that reflects these definitions. It's a way to
help us visualize size esteem in our lives, and
Valentine's Day is a great day to start this
process! The heart in the logo is blue, rather
than the traditional red or pink, because blue
represents tranquility, calmness, and clarity.
These are qualities that help us see the truth
that everyBODY is beautiful. The heart is not
"perfect"; it has irregularities and
ragged edges, because none of us sees our body
as perfect. It doesn't quite meet at the bottom
because loving our bodies is a goal we are
always reaching toward and working on. The
rainbow stripes on the heart represent
diversity, because people come in all shapes,
sizes and colors, and every one is beautiful.
The heart reflects the light as our bodies
reflect our pride in who we are and what we can
do. The logo is meant as an affirmation, a way
of reminding ourselves daily of our worth,
beauty and strength, and a way to share this
empowering vision with those we care about.
Largesse offers a range of products bearing this
logo, from t-shirts to clocks, totebags, and
other items for people of all ages. If you'd
like to visit our online store, just click on
the Love Your Body logo above, or go to our
homepage, at www.largesse.net
Whatever you do on Valentine's Day,
please remember that the person you need to love
first is YOU, and that includes loving your
body, warts and all. If you don't think you are
worth loving, no one else will. I'd love to have
your comments on anything I've written here. You
can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time--
Karen W. Stimson, Co-director
Largesse, the Network for Size Esteem
studying adverse reactions to the herb ephedra
said the dietary and bodybuilding supplement is
unsafe and should be restricted, CNN reported
Feb. 4. Even when taken in recommended doses,
there were 1,178 adverse reactions to ephedra
reported to poison-control centers throughout
the U.S. in 2001.
In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) has recorded nearly 100
deaths of people who had taken the herb. As a
result, the Bush administration has called for a
review of ephedra's safety. "It comes down
to a risk-benefit ratio," said Dr. Stephen
Bent of the San Francisco Veterans Affairs
Medical Center, one of the authors of the
report. "The benefits for ephedra are not
at all well-established. It is a minimal benefit
that goes away when you stop using the product.
And the risks are really substantial."
Ephedra is a stimulant that can increase heart
rate and cause blood vessels to constrict. The
study is published on the Annals of Internal
Medicine's website and will be published in the
journal in March.
The Brain's Role in Obesity
regulation involves systems to encourage eating
and systems to suppress it. A small study in the
July 2, 2002, issue of NeuroReport found that
larger and lean people's brains used about the
same amount of glucose. But the larger people's
brains concentrated significantly more glucose
near the parietal somatosensory cortex on both
sides of the brain. These regions receive
sensations from the mouth, lips, and tongue and
play a role in taste perception. The researchers
suggested that larger people may be more
sensitive to taste and other sensory aspects of
food, which could lead them to strongly prefer
the most palatable foods. Brain scans also
revealed that larger people had fewer of one
kind of dopamine receptor, the D2 receptor, in
an area of the brain called the striatum than
lean people did. This result is important
because dopamine is not just any old messenger
chemical. It is a crucial part of the brain's
"reward pathway." When a person eats,
has sex, or does something else pleasurable,
dopamine levels increase and stimulate the
reward system. Because of the deficit of D2
receptors, the reward system is often
understimulated. So people overeat in an attempt
to feel satisfied.
Knowing the biology gives larger people
a better idea of exactly what they are battling.
Also, society constantly sends the message that
larger people lack self-control and discipline,
which can lead them to believe they can't do
anything about their weight because they are
personally flawed. Placing part of the blame on
biology can free people of guilt and
was discovered in 1999 by researchers studying
the body's production of growth hormone.
Recently, a flurry of research has focused
attention on another aspect of ghrelin-it
appears to be at least partially responsible for
promoting hunger at mealtimes and for the
long-term regulation of body weight. It may help
explain the development of obesity, as well as
the difficulty of achieving long term weight
loss by dieting. Scientists have long been
studying the biochemical processes controlling
the feelings of hunger and of satiety (or
"fullness"). Researchers have also
discovered that ghrelin levels in the blood rise
just before meals and fall rapidly after meals,
at least in lean individuals. Some evidence
suggests that the pattern of ghrelin levels in
larger individuals may differ -showing, for
example, less of a falloff after eating, perhaps
thereby fostering continued feelings of hunger.
Also, ghrelin levels have been observed to rise
during periods of food restriction. Such
findings suggest that high levels of ghrelin
before meals make us want to eat at mealtimes
and that increased production of ghrelin during
starvation is the body's way of encouraging us
to eat. In addition to increasing food intake,
administering ghrelin seems to decrease the
metabolic rate and the breakdown of fat, thereby
promoting weight gain through various
mechanisms. The intriguing findings made on
ghrelin so far have fueled speculation that
treatment may someday be developed to counteract
At Any Size -- No One Starts From Zero
Shape up America!
Americans getting fatter! Obesity is an
"epidemic!" People are eating poorly -
not getting enough exercise! Health-wise, we
seem to be on a national guilt trip. Is anyone
doing anything right? Of course we are, because
some conditions, such as cardiovascular disease,
are showing a drop. But we get no praise for
what we do right - only condemnation for what we
No one starts from zero. Everyone
makes good choices daily. Instead of focusing on
the not-so-good choices, why can't we take what
we're already doing that's sound health-wise and
build on it? I encounter many large people who
don't seem to be aware that they do anything
positive, or that there is anything positive
about them. There's little motivation when
someone gets to this point. But if I feel
generally good about myself, I want to treat my
body well. A foundation of self-esteem is solid,
while a foundation of self-esteem is solid,
while a foundation of self-loathing will crumble
Today I did these things:
- Ate high-fiber cereal, a banana, and
orange juice for breakfast.
- Ate a bunch of raw vegetables and some
fruit with my sandwich at lunch.
- Had a "balanced dinner"
with all the food groups.
- Snacked on V-8 juice.
- Went to my water aerobics class.
But I've also done these things over the past
- Ate a few candy bars.
- Dined out on Mexican cuisine.
- Enjoyed an ice cream cone.
Perhaps it might have been better not
to have done the latter three things, but then
again, maybe not. Had I denied myself, I might
have ended up eventually eating an entire pound
of candy or a gallon of ice cream. There's
nothing wrong with eating for pleasure and
occasionally using food to comfort and soothe.
It's a problem only when it becomes your only
coping mechanism. You are already making many
good choices-when you choose to drink skim milk,
when you choose to buy fruit and vegetables,
when you order a low fat item from the menu,
when you walk Fido around the block, when you
take the stairs. It is also important to
remember that your value as a person does not
depend on the sum total of your healthy
behaviors. If you think of yourself as a pie,
your physical status is but a small piece of the
pie. The other pieces encompass your inner
qualities, your talents and accomplishments,
your relationships with others, your
contributions to your friends, family and
In light of this:
- Evaluate your eating habits over a week's
time. Use a yellow highlighter to spotlight
the good choices you have made. Note where
you could have made a better choice, and
write in what that might be. Try again next
week. And don't think you'll make all your
healthier choices in one week's time. But
even if you make one "better
choice", you've added another positive.
- Do the same with movement - and remember
every movement counts, whether you're doing
errands, vacuuming the carpet, or going up
and down stairs.
- Start by adding on to what you already do.
Can you park further away - walk to do some
of your errands? (I realized I could walk to
the drugstore). Can you put on music and
dance while you're dusting? Keep adding
until you've got about 20 minutes of
vigorous activity three to five times a
week. Start viewing yourself as more than a
number on a scale. In addition to health
choices, keep a small spiral notebook with
you for a week and note the positive things
you do: the favors and kindnesses,
accomplishments at home and work. Don't
forget the things that are less tangible,
such as being trustworthy, tolerant, and
As I said in the beginning, no one
starts from zero. So quit scolding yourself for
your "transgressions." Instead,
congratulate yourself on your successes and add
at Any Size Web Ring
Surgeon General: Fat Is Preventable
I am disappointed
with our Surgeon General. Recently he called
obesity "an epidemic" and "a
health catastrophe" that already has killed
millions. Excessively fat people, he said, are
walking time bombs who often end up with
life-threatening maladies such as hypertension,
heart disease and type 2 diabetes. He then said
that obesity "is almost entirely
preventable through proper diet and
That statement is simply not true.
There is no doubt that supersized portions and
sedentary lifestyles have played a part in
recent increases in obesity. But there is much
more to it than that. Researchers will tell you
that there is no such thing as "simple
obesity." It is a very complex condition,
not yet totally understood. When I was only six
months old, the doctor told my mother I was
overweight. She became even more careful in my
feeding, yet I proceeded to develop as a chubby
toddler, a chubby child, a chubby teen. Every
precaution was taken with me. Clearly, something
was going on other than food.
We now know that there are variety of
physiological and biochemical interactions that
contribute to a person's weight. We also know
that there are different "types" of
obesity with different contributing factors. It
is disturbing to think that our Surgeon General
does not know about this, or if he does,
I plan to email the Surgeon General to
voice my concerns with his stance. If you would
like to do the same, go to the website www.surgeongeneral.gov
and click on "contact us." If you
would rather take pen to paper, the address is:
The Surgeon General, Office of the Surgeon
General, 5600 Fishers Lane, Room 18-66,
Rockville, MD 20857.
Let's send a
Valentine and a note of thanks this month to
something we never think to thank: our bodies!
We're so hard on our bodies. They're never firm
enough, lean enough, shapely enough,
But did you ever stop to think that
your body has done a pretty good job of helping
you to appreciate and negotiate the world around
So instead of sending hate mail to
your hips or lashing out at your thighs, why not
say: "Thanks legs for getting me
around." "Thanks arms for allowing me
to hug my loved ones." "Thanks eyes
for letting me see the beauty of nature."
"Thanks ears for being a pathway for the
sounds of a symphony." and even
"Thanks derriere for providing a pretty
Victory for Larger Women
acceptance friend of mine, Cheri Erdman, Ed.D.,
(watch for her new book to be announced in this
newsletter!) emailed me to tell me about this
film. She said: "I haven't seen this film
yet but a friend who saw it called me to tell me
about it and says it's wonderful. She found a
copy to rent at Hollywood Video."
SECRET SOCIETY tells the story of Daisy, twenty
years old and plump as a dumpling, and her
adoring (and unemployed) husband Ken. Struggling
financially, Daisy finds a job in a canning
factory where she notices that her boss Marlene,
radiant and heavy-set, grants special privileges
to a group of equally chubby female factory
workers. Soon Daisy learns that the
women are part of a "secret society"
of sumo wrestlers who are gaining strength and
self-confidence by learning how to love -- and
use -- their large bodies. When Ken discovers
his wife has joined the group, Daisy must choose
between the life she has always known and the
possibility of achieving something
Here are a couple reviews:
"A charmingly eccentric and offbeat
comedy!" - Variety
"Wildly imaginative with plenty of
humor!" - Box Office Magazine
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© 2003 Largely Positive Inc, All rights reserved.
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