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
- 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 Weber, www.grandstyle.com.
- Self-esteem and body image advice from Chicago-area therapist
- Plus-size fitness tips. "Non-diet" nutrition advice.
- Latest news from the weight discrimination battle front.
- Answers to your questions on weight management, self- esteem,
body image, and relationships.
- And how you can "live large" in a society that
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 Vowels of Self-Esteem.
Your weight is not a measure of your
self-worth! But how do you disconnect the two in a society that
bombards you daily with messages that thin is in and fat is not
where it's at! Just practice your vowels! The vowels of self-esteem,
Attitude: if your attitude says,
"Hey, I like who I am," others will too! It's like a
boomerang -- the signals you send out are going to bounce back to
Education: Educate yourself about
issues of size and weight so you can separate fact from fiction.
Being big doesn't mean you lack self-control. It means your
physiology simply produced a larger body.
Image: pay attention to your image.
When you know you look your best, you're at your best. You don't
have to wear a 10 to be a 10!
Outside: Look outside of yourself to
what's happening in your family, your community and the world around
you. Don't put your life on hold waiting to attain the perfect body.
Unique: You are a unique, wonderful
person just the way you are. Your weight is a minor part of your
unique blend of talents, attributes, accomplishments and abilities.
So when your self-esteem needs a pick-me-up, just remember to say
Book: Self-Esteem Comes
In All Sizes!
Susan! By Susan Weber
What Length Jacket Should I Wear?
Dear Susan: How do I know what length jacket would
look best on me?
Instead of just trying to find a length that covers your
"lumps and bumps", concentrate on achieving a look
of proportion. Even though a longer jacket can make a
5'8" woman look taller, it can overpower a shorter
woman and make her look even shorter! Here are a few tips to
help you find the right length for you:
1. Evaluate jacket length from the front, not the back. If
your jacket rides up over your rear end the problem is with
the size (it is too small), not the length!
2. Your jacket or your skirt should be about two-thirds of
the length of your overall look. Try long jackets over knee
length skirts and shorter jackets over long skirts.
3. Your jacket hem should not be at the widest part of your
body ... you'll just look wider! Instead, go longer or
4. The longer the jacket, the narrower your pants or skirt
5. Shorter women tend to look overwhelmed in long or full
How Can I Build A Wardrobe Without Spending A Fortune?
Dear Susan: I'm going back to work; but, my closet is
filled with real casual clothes. Can I build a Spring office
wardrobe for under $500?
To build a year-round corporate wardrobe, start with classic
styles using one main color with two or three accent colors.
For example, navy as a main color looks great with red,
white and taupe as accents. Then, when the seasons change,
just add some separates in heavier weight fabrics. Start
with ten basic pieces and you can build your Spring office
wardrobe for less than $500:
1. Single breasted navy blazer that you can wear year round
at work or with your jeans on the weekends. (about $75)
2. Matching navy skirt. To balance your body shape avoid
slim skirts in favor of a-line or softly gathered skirts.
3. Matching navy trousers. Wear with the jacket or with the
shirt or tops. Look for soft pleats in front - side pleats
add width. With a nice waist, let a wonderful belt enhance
your trousers, particularly if you wear a vest or jacket.
4. Khaki trousers or taupe slacks. Look for easy care, no
wrinkle fabrics. (about $35)
5. White shirt. Looks great with your navy skirt or with
your full skirt/pants suit --- and with long vests and
slacks/trousers. (about $25)
6-7. Two solid tops in either taupe, red or white. Perfect
with your pant/skirt suits or with your more casual slacks.
Avoid knit shirts unless they are very good quality and
banded at the neckline. V-necks will lengthen your neckline
and minimize your bust. Elbow length sleeves are cool and
cover up fuller arms. (about $45 or both)
8. A very long (e.g. 36") sweater or vest. (about $35)
9. Low-heeled leather loafers or pumps. (about $50)
10. Earrings. To keep from emphasizing your bustline, avoid
necklaces that fall with 4" above or below your bust.
($15-$50 depending on metal)
Get a great haircut and manicure to finish off your
professional look. You can add to your wardrobe later with
more solid tops (perhaps long sleeves this Fall for colder
weather), skirts or slacks in colors to match your tops,
additional pumps or boots, and a great coat.
Help! My Pantyhose and Tights Don't Fit!
Dear Susan: It seems that if I get pantyhose or tights to
fit my thighs, the panty is so big that I can pull it up to
my ears! Am I buying the wrong size or the wrong brand?
Pantyhose are one of the most difficult items for us curvy
women to select since we are forced to rely on height and
weight charts on a sealed package to make our decision. Here
are a few tips to help:
1. Always read the size chart. Not all brands use the same
combination of height and weight for a specific size. You
may wear a larger or smaller size in a particular brand or
style. Some have more "give" than others ... the
size chart is always the best guide.
2. Follow the size chart exactly. If you don't fit within
the height and weight charts, don't buy the hose. If you are
outside the weight range, your thighs will take up too much
of the length and the crotch might end up mid thigh. Or, you
will have to pull the legs too much in order to get them on
and up, causing the hosiery to weaken and run.
3. Select the style that meets your particular needs. For
busy lifestyles or if your legs are extra slender below your
knees, consider the smoothness and support you get with
higher concentrations of Lycra or Spandex. For fuller
thighs, look for control top pantyhose with higher levels of
4. If you tend to wear out the seams in the crotch and
inside thighs in your pantyhose, consider wearing a pair of
bike shorts over your hose to cut down the friction.
5. Be careful when washing your hose. Handwash or use a
lingerie bag in the washing machine to keep your hosiery
looking their best.
6. Once you find a size and style that works, buy a lot of
pairs in a lot of colors!
Some sources: Berkshire, JustMySize.com, Legacy (QVC.com)
and Lane Bryant stores.
Why Can't I Get Anything I Sew To Fit?
Dear Susan: I love to sew and I really enjoy the
beautiful fabrics that I can't seem to find in my size in
ready-to-wear. But, even though I buy the right size
pattern, the top never seems to fit exactly right. What am I
Even though two plus or super sized women may have identical
bust, waist and hip measurements, their bust shape, back
fullness, shoulder slope and arm width can make their
garments fit very differently. So, start with the right size
pattern based on your "basic" measurements and
then make adjustments for your specific body challenges.
There are really five ways to do this:
1. Purchase a pattern specifically made for larger bodies.
Check out the GrandStyle pattern resources at grandstyle.com/cloth03.htm.
2. Read any of Barbara Deckert's terrific books on plus size
sewing and learn how to make the required changes before you
start cutting. Or, if the ill fitting clothes are already
hanging in your closet, take an alteration course or read an
alteration book such as Gale Grigg Hazen's book Fantastic
Fit For Every Body and then "nip & tuck" where
necessary. Both books are available at grandstyle.com/gsbookse.htm.
3. Have an experienced seamstress test a pattern for you out
of an inexpensive fabric (e.g., muslin). Then, once the test
garment fits great, cut it up and use the pieces as your
4. Purchase a plus size sewing mannequin on which you can
make required changes or make a custom mannequin out of duct
tape. The instructions are at leanna.com/DuctTapeDouble/.
Making a duct tape double is a fun way to spend an evening
with a girlfriend!
5. Purchase a pattern customization software such as
DressShop from livingsoft.com
and develop your own patterns.
THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
By Corinne Kalat, LCPC, CADC, TAS
Corinne (Cory) Kalat, LCPC, CADC, TAS is a
licensed therapist in private practice in the western
suburbs of Chicago. She offers counseling for people of all
shapes and sizes. Her areas of specialty include
self-esteem, body image, women's issues, nicotine addiction,
and helping clients to make positive life changes. In
addition, she offers workshops, seminars and retreats on
various topics and issues. She can be reached at email@example.com
I was delighted to
accept Carol Johnson's invitation to write an article for
this wonderful newsletter! My name is Corinne Kalat (most
people call me Cory) and I am a counselor, therapist and
trainer. I am 48 years of age. Most importantly, however, I
am a big beautiful woman! I feel absolutely wonderful about
who I am physically, emotionally, mentally, socially and
spiritually....but it wasn't always that way... and that's
why the title to this article is "From The Outside
As I lived my life in the perpetual search
for a thinner (translate "more acceptable") body,
I always looked to the outside of myself for validation,
acceptance and affirmation. I was unable, on most days, to
give those positive messages to myself, no matter what I
did, no matter what else I may have accomplished. I had a
big body that was unacceptable to society, to other people
in my life, and most importantly, unacceptable to me.
My journey to self-acceptance and self-love
started about 8 years ago. I had been married for almost 10
years to Wally. In October of 1996, Wally died very
suddenly. As I completed my grieving process, I started to
encounter size- acceptance information and messages. I
started to explore that possibility that perhaps
"they" were wrong and maybe I was ok just the way
I am! What a concept!
I realized that my belief system also
involved the judging of others based on their size. And
because I got my own validation from outside of me as well,
I knew I needed to start there - on the outside. I started
paying more attention to my thoughts and feelings and how I
judged others the same way that I judged myself harshly and
based on body shape and size. I started to notice the
diversity and beauty in people of all sizes, shapes, color
and interests. Once I was able to see their beauty, I was
able to start to see my own.
My self-confidence started to grow, slowly
but surely. Previously, accepting and loving myself and my
large body was a concept that was just too foreign to me.
But I "tried it on", much like one would try on a
pair of shoes or a jacket and experimented with this new way
of thinking. Sometimes I would act more confidently for an
hour or two...or on a certain occasion...or for a certain
event. Practice, practice, practice!
After a while, it became easier and easier
to give myself positive messages, interrupt the negative
messages, and believe that I am a good, valuable and
worthwhile person regardless of the shape or size of my
body. I started to listen to myself, my own inner wisdom,
and to honor my thoughts, ideas and needs.
I noticed that when I treated myself well,
others treated me the same way. When I'd slip back into my
old thinking that "I'm not ok", I noticed that
others treated me likewise. This was very empowering
information it allowed me to decide not only how I wanted to
treat myself but how I wanted others to treat me. I realized
that the messages I was giving to myself were filtering out
to other folks and the messages were about how I wanted to
It was a new way of living for me! After
all, I had spent my whole life feeling that I was
unacceptable and undeserving. To change the way I live my
life was new, different, exciting and frightening. Over 40
years of doing things one way is more than just time it
seemed like an investment. To let go and give up all those
ways of being, doing and thinking seemed pretty scary at
times. But it was also liberating! It seemed like a whole
new world opened up for me.
I decided to really experiment and attend a
NAAFA weekend that was filled with workshops, seminars,
activities, dances, swimming. I was petrified! I decided to
throw caution to the wind. I packed my bags with clothes and
other items for the weekend my suitcase was full and could
only hold one more thing a positive attitude! There was
absolutely no room in there for negativity! I met so many
wonderful people that weekend and still keep in touch with
several of them. I learned so much about the size-acceptance
movement that weekend. Most importantly, I learned a lot
about myself and I was certain that I did not want to go
back to my old way of living life judging myself,
criticizing myself, disliking myself. I was willing to let
go, really let go, of my old ways and start living my life
-- RIGHT NOW!
Today, I accept all of me and take good care
of myself - physically, emotionally, mentally, socially and
spiritually. I embrace myself and love myself regardless of
mistakes I might make or faults I might have. Perfection is
unrealistic. I strive to make positive changes in my life
while also knowing that I am ok, especially physically, just
the way I am.
Taking care of my physical needs is really
important to me and to the messages I send to myself. For
example, I started to get massages on a regular basis from a
massage therapist. Before scheduling my appointment, I spoke
with her by phone. I wanted to discuss the fact that I am a
big, beautiful woman, whether she was experienced working
with larger folks, and if she was comfortable working with
those of us with abundant bodies. It felt great to be so
accepting of myself enough to discuss this issue openly. We
had a great chat over the phone and she is now my regular
Also, I recently took an exam for the
counseling work that I do. As I arrived at the test site
that day, I noticed that the room was set up with those
chairs that have the desktop attached - not exactly
comfortable for an abundant woman! I walked right up, head
held high, smile on my face, and asked for what I needed --
I told the registration person that I was a big, beautiful
woman and needed a big beautiful place to sit for the exam.
They were very accommodating. (Once again, I noticed that
because I felt ok about myself and about asking to get my
needs met, other's responded to me in a way that was helpful
Sometimes I feel like I want to sing
(although I sing in the key of "off" -- that's not
a criticism of myself -- just reality -- trust me on this
one!!) out loud..." there's no stoppin' me now, now
that I've found my way..." I have since remarried a
wonderful man named Steve, accomplished some important
professional goals (obtained my Ph.D., became licensed as a
counselor, certified in addictions and certified in nicotine
addiction). I focus on what I can do (and remind myself that
everyone, regardless of their size, has limitations) and
tell myself every day that I deserve to live a good life
that is filled with happiness, peace, pleasure, hope and
love...and that I am the person responsible for giving
myself this life that I want to live.
The way that I live my life is my choice. I
spent too many years on the outside looking in -- seeing
others having fun, feeling good about themselves,
accomplishing their goals, and getting what they want out of
life. I needed to look outward to accept others and that led
me to accepting myself. Today, I look inward for validation,
acceptance and the positive messages I want and need. I have
more energy because of these choices and I am no longer
"weighed down" by my own negative attitude. This
way of living gives me freedom and empowers me to live
fully, joyfully and abundantly. I invite you to do the
Are the Causes of Obesity?
By Barbara Corkey, PhD
Barbara Corkey is president of NAASO
(North American Association for the Study of Obesity). She
wrote this column for their most recent newsletter. Once
again, it illustrates the fact that we don't know all that
we think we know. Obesity is a complex phenomenon that is
still being dissected.
In my last
message I urged a call to action to mobilize resources
against the obesity epidemic. Understanding the causes of
obesity is critical to solving this problem. We do not know
the causes! Though you may hear answers from many, if you
demand the evidence it is just not there.
And, until we learn the answer we must consider
all possibilities, dig a little deeper, find things that
have changed but have not been evaluated as possible links
to obesity. These include anything that may have changed
since the onset of the epidemic. The steep incidence curve
that began after 1980 in children is of particular interest
owing to the consequent morbidities. What changes occurred
around that time that could play a role? Decreased activity
and increased food density and portion size have received
recognition as possible causes. And there may be other
environmental changes including food additives and food
We use an increasing number of food additives and
colors in our increasingly colorful food supply. Although
the FDA has stringent requirements for all food additives
including food coloring, their testing does not include
assessing the effect of these substances on the development
of obesity. Perhaps it should and could be easily
incorporated in the testing program.
In view of the enormity of the problem of obesity,
the enormity of the failure to understand and reverse this
problem and the billions of dollars already being spent to
ineffectively treat obesity in the US, it is critical to
underscore what we do not know. The failure to understand
this disease must be acknowledged so that going forward
there is open-mindedness to find the answers.
To find out more about NAASO and its actvities,
click on the link below.
Web Site »
PYY May Hold Some Answers
[Here is yet more evidence that the
ultimate unraveling of obesity will probably come through
An infusion of a
peptide from a naturally occurring gut hormone reduces
caloric intake in obese individuals for at least 24 hours,
according to a study reported recently in the New England
Journal of Medicine.
Researchers in the United Kingdom enrolled in the
study 12 obese individuals and 12 lean individuals. In
separate treatment sessions the individuals received
infusions of the peptide YY3-36 (PYY) or a placebo.
Participants were offered a buffet lunch 2 hours after each
infusion. During the lunch, compared with caloric intake
after the placebo infusion, caloric intake after the peptide
infusion was reduced by a significant 30% and 31% in larger
and lean participants, respectively.
In addition, cumulative 24-hour caloric intake was
significantly lower in both groups after the peptide
infusion than after the placebo infusion.The PPY infusion
was associated with a reduction in circulating levels of
ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite. Before
infusions, fasting levels of endogenous PYY were a
significant 40% lower in larger individuals than in lean
A deficiency of PYY may play a role in the
pathogenesis of obesity, and this peptide may therefore be
useful for treating obesity, the researchers conclude.
"The administration of exogenous PYY or stimulation of
the release of endogenous PYY may be an attractive
therapeutic option for obesity," they write.
of Food Intake in Obese Subjects by Peptide YY »
As the societal
hysteria over obesity continues to mount, some plus-size
experts are having a problem with how it gets reported. Here
are two points of view:
From Kelly Bliss, plus-size fitness expert:
"Notice that the scientific research does NOT
say that Obesity kills (the media says that). Rather science
says 'A poor diet and physical inactivity caused 400,000
deaths in 2000.' The media has changed 'poor diet and
physical inactivity' to 'obesity.' That is awful because it
makes people focus on body size instead of lifestyle
choices. According to this way of thinking, a THIN person
could eat crappy food and sit on their butt all day, and
they would not have to worry about morbidity or early
mortality. This is such a disservice to thin people.
Likewise, according to this incorrect way of thinking, a FAT
person who walks 5 miles a day and eats healthy might as
well give up - because they will be dead soon anyway. This
is such a disservice to fat people. I wish people would
focus on WHAT PEOPLE EAT and HOW MUCH THEY EXERCISE instead
of focusing on body size." [Find out
more about Kelly Bliss at www.kellybliss.com
From Paul Ernsberger, PhD, Dept. of Nutrition, Case
Western Reserve School of Medicine:
"I don't really have a problem with ads that
encourage more physical activity. I don't really have a
problem with the JAMA article the '400,000 deaths' [due to
obesity] hysteria is based on -- the article talks
explicitly about getting more physically active and eating
"The problem is Tommy Thompson's press
release on the JAMA article, which thoroughly confuses
'obesity' with 'inactive lifestyle and unhealthy eating.'
What are the hidden messages? I see these:
1. Inactivity and poor diet are only a problem because they
cause weight gain.
2. Only obese people need to do anything about activity and
diet. Thin people can do whatever they like.
3. The only reason to increase activity or eat healthier is
to lose weight. If your exercise program and diet choices
aren't making you thin, there's no reason to keep following
them. You may as well do whatever you like.
These are real messages that people are getting
from the anti-fat media blitz and from these ad campaigns.
The net result is that more and more 'overweight' or obese
Americans will give up on efforts to improve health
altogether in a rising tide of fatalism." [Find
out more about Paul Ernsberger, PhD at www.cwru.edu]
Warnings About Obesity Rely »
Kids Need Cool Clothes
Clothing Designed With Your Plus Size Child In Mind!
Click on Girls Plus Size Clothes and Husky Boys Clothes.
Try: www.gap.com Gap.com
has girls and boys plus sizes.
Some tips for helping larger children with their
1. Don't let the child hide out in oversized T-shirts and
baggy pants -- it isn't cool or flattering, just sloppy.
Instead go for leg-flattering styles like flares or bootcut.
2. Do let the child wear styles and colors that he or she
likes, but use some common sense. A plump girl donning
Britney-type midriff-baring tops may be exposing herself to
mean-spirited teasing. Instead, let the child choose a
tight-fitting tank (just like her peers wear) but layer it
with an unbuttoned sleeveless shirt.
3. Some big kids tend to look older than their biological
age (and some of the plus size clothing makes it even
worse), so pay extra attention to keeping age- appropriate
haircuts, accessories, shoes, etc.
4. Items that aren't size-specific (accessories, shoes,
jewelry, backpacks, handbags) are the best way for
overweight kids to feel exactly like their peers. Go
5. Neatness counts with all kids, but for larger kids who
tend to gravitate toward sloppy oversized T-shirts and
jeans, details definitely count: clothing should be ironed,
free of stains or tears. Shoes should be spick and span and
Annual Abundia Retreat
The Eleventh Annual Abundia
Retreat will be held June 11, 12 and 13,
2004 at Lasalle Manor in Plano, Illinois. The cost of $325
includes lodging, meals and all workshops. The weekend will
Personal growth workshops on topics such as body image,
self-acceptance, creativity, and stress management.
Massage (extra fee).
Entertainment by local celebrities.
Abundia retreat attendees will be the only guests on site
and all activities are available to the group, including
swimming pool, volleyball, canoes, tennis and peaceful
trails. All activities and workshops are optional. Nothing
For more information, or to register, contact Barbara
Spaulding at 847-705-9256 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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© 2004 Largely Positive Inc, All rights reserved. Largely
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