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On a Positive Note - Online Newsletter! )
 May 23, 2005 May 2005 
In this Issue
  • The Big Picture
  • Bias Fuels Disbelief
  • Grand Style
  • Self-Esteem Mini Series
  • An "Amusing" Tale
  • Responding to the Rude Among Us
  • Research Round-Up
  • Twelfth Annual Abundia Retreat Scheduled
  • Getting in Touch With Us

  • Dear Carol,

    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 Weber, www.grandstyle.com.
    • Size esteem advice from Corinne (Cory) Kalat, a licensed counselor in private practice in the western suburbs of Chicago.
    • 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 "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!"

    Positively Yours,

    Carol Johnson, President
    Largely Positive Inc.

    Privacy is important to us; therefore, we will not sell, rent, or give away your name or address to anyone. At any point, you can select the link at the bottom of every email to unsubscribe, or to receive less or more information.

    The Big Picture

    CDC "Downsizes" Its Estimate of Deaths from Obesity
     By Carol Johnson

    On April 20th the New York Times reported:

    • People who are overweight but not obese have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight, federal researchers are reporting today.
    • The researchers - statisticians and epidemiologists from the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - also found that increased risk of death from obesity was seen for the most part in the extremely obese, a group constituting only 8 percent of Americans.
    • And being very thin, even though the thinness was longstanding and unlikely to stem from disease, caused a slight increase in the risk of death, the researchers said.

     Researchers had a full gamut of responses to the unexpected findings. Some saw the report as a long- needed reality check on what they consider the nation's near-hysteria over fat. Others simply did not believe the findings, although it was conceded that the study's methods and data were exemplary and that the authors were experienced and highly regarded scientists.

     The new study comes just 13 months after different researchers from the disease control centers published a paper warning that obesity and overweight were causing an extra 400,000 deaths a year and were poised to overtake smoking as the nation's leading preventable cause of premature death.

     Now that the researchers have done their analysis, one of the study's authors - Dr. David Williamson, of the Centers for Disease Control - said that the message, as he sees it, is that perhaps people should take other factors into consideration when deciding whether to worry about the health risks of their weight. Dr. Williamson, who is overweight, said that "if I had a family history - a father who had a heart attack at 52 or a brother who developed diabetes - I would actively lose weight." But "if my father died at 94 and my mother at 97 and I had no family history of chronic disease," he said, "maybe I wouldn't be as concerned."


    Bias Fuels Disbelief
      Many obesity professionals refused to believe the "downsized" obesity numbers. Why? It may be that there is something about obesity that is so negative and so deeply ingrained into the psyche of our society that it transcends reason and research.

      Even professionals whose careers emphasize research or the clinical management of obesity show very strong weight bias, indicating pervasive and powerful stigma. That this is true was documented in the September 2003 issue of Obesity Research, the journal of the North American Association for the Study of Obesity (NAASO).

     The Implicit Associations Test (IAT) was administered to clinicians and researchers attending the opening session of an international obesity conference (N = 389). The IAT was used to assess overall implicit weight bias (associating "obese people" and "thin people" with "good" vs. "bad") and three ranges of stereotypes: lazy-motivated, smart-stupid, and valuable-worthless. The results indicated that health professionals exhibited a significant pro-thin, anti-fat implicit bias. In addition, the subjects significantly endorsed the implicit stereotypes of lazy, stupid, and worthless.

     I recently had a message from a woman who had visited our website and felt that it was actually doing a disservice to people. Even though I passed along some research articles to her about the physiological underpinnings of obesity and the fallacies surrounding the equation 3,500 calories = one pound, she wrote back and quipped, "You don't need research. It's just simple math." So apparently when it comes to issues of size and weight, research pales in the face of the powerful triumvirate of bias, stigma, and discrimination.

    Weight Bias among Health Professionals Specializing in Obesity »


    Grand Style
    By Susan Weber

      Contrary to popular belief by the under 16 set, tee shirts don't have to be tight, short and see through to be staples in your warm weather wardrobe. In fact, a good tee shirt wardrobe can be a low cost way to add a lot of style and functionality to your casual and career wardrobes! Here's how:

     Buy good quality tee shirts. Hopefully you already steer clear of the 3 for $5 bins with the wild screen prints, teddy bears and floral delights! You should always look for well-made tee shirts in good quality fabrics. Rule of thumb: If you wouldn't buy it as a gift, don't buy it for yourself just because it is on sale. If you are looking for big values on great quality, check out QVC.com for 2- shirt sets in their Denim & Company and Sports Savvy lines.

     Use tee shirts for color punch. You may not want to invest $35 on a raspberry-colored blouse. But, it might make more sense to spend $20 on a fashion- forward raspberry v-neck tee to wear with last year's beige pant suit. Chadwicks and LaneBryant.com have a huge selection of tee colors (www.lanebry antcatalog.com)

     Start the Summer with at least two new white tee shirts. Toss out last year's dingy white tee shirt(s) (Yes, even the one with the mustard stain on the back hem!) Why do you need two? Reason: One to wear and one to wash. Remember: It's the #1 law of Summer that anything that stains will immediately fall on your white tee shirt or pants. Spot tips: The new Spray & Wash spot pretreater (two liquids in one bottle) REALLY works. For spot lifting while you are still at the picnic, I still swear by Shout pads.

     Look for the new longer tees. They are wonderfully sleek as they glide down over your hips and look very tailored over pants or skirts. Look for them at Silhouettes.com and Lane Bryant Catalog.

     Try new fabrics. Tee shirts don't have to be cotton or cotton poly. Check out the deeply-colored silk noile tee shirts at Silhouettes.com with your suits or casuals. For really warm climates, try the new perspiration-wicking fabrics (e.g., Tactel and Coolmax) at Junonia.com (GrandStyle Tip: You don't have to be an athlete to wear athletic wear!)

     Short sleeve tees look great on well-shaped arms. But, the rest of us should look for ¾ length sleeves that cover our jiggly stuff and highlight the thinner part of our arms.

     Avoid men's tees. Their low prices and availability in larger sizes make men's tees look like a great fashion find. Problem: Since they are cut like a box with the chest and waist the same width, you end up with a lot of fabric around your waist in order to get enough fabric around your chest. Instead, look to Lane Bryant Catalog, Roamans.com, Junonia.com, Ulla Popken (www.ullapopken.com ) and Making It Big (www.makingit bigonline.com) for tees in sizes to 6X.

    Sleeveless tees are great under long sleeve jackets and sweaters. They are a great wardrobe basic without the extra fabric layers on your arms. V-necks and the new square necks are great to open up your neck area. Avoid tank tops except for very casual wardrobes.


    Self-Esteem Mini Series
      By Corrine Kalat
    [We are re-starting our Self- Esteem Mini-Series. Parts One and Two appear in this issue. Part Three will appear in the next issue]



      What is self- esteem? There are many different definitions of self-esteem, but what they have in common is the concept of ESTEEMING yourself. This means loving yourself, respecting yourself, putting yourself first, and meeting your own needs. Self- esteem means placing yourself in very high regard. This means that you love yourself and that you act lovingly toward yourself as much as possible.

     Here is an interesting way to think about self- esteem. Imagine that you love someone very much, you are always pleased to see and talk with that person, that spending time with this person is very meaningful, and that you think lovingly of the person. This person is the most important person in the world to you, and you will do anything and everything so that they know that they are important to you. Now, put yourself in the role of the beloved person and act exactly the same way towards yourself. This esteeming yourself and this is what we call self-esteem!

     People often talk about levels of self-esteem - high, low or somewhere in the middle. People with high self-esteem feel good about themselves most of the time. On the other hand, people with low self-esteem find it difficult to feel good about themselves most of the time. They may doubt themselves, their abilities and their decisions. Most people are somewhere in the middle. They sometimes feel good about themselves, and sometimes feel unsure of themselves. What we know about self-esteem - high, low or medium - is that it affects everything we do.


    As children, we get messages from parents or caregivers about who we are. We believe these messages because we haven't formed our own opinions yet. If we received positive messages about ourselves, we tend to have higher self-esteem. If we received negative messages about ourselves, we tend to have lower self-esteem. Self-esteem starts with what others think about us, how they treat us and as we accept or reject these messages, our own self-esteem is formed.


    People with high self-esteem believe in themselves. They tend to think of mistakes or problems as a challenge, as a chance to grow, change and learn. People with high self-esteem usually have the following:
    • A positive attitude
    • Good judgment
    • Good problem-solving skills
    • Healthy, close relationships
    • High energy
    • Confidence in new situations
    • Courage to try new things.


    People with low self-esteem don't believe in themselves. Mistakes, problems and challenges can leave them feeling like failures. These feelings can lead to serious problems, such as:
    • A negative attitude
    • Poor judgment
    • Poor problem-solving skills
    • Unhappy and unhealthy relationships
    • Low energy
    • Feeling ineffective and incompetent
    • Feeling nervous or insecure in new situations
    • Depression and anxiety
    • Drug and alcohol abuse and dependency
    • Suicide.


    Here's a self-esteem quiz for you. Please answer YES or NO to the following questions to asses your own level of self-esteem.
    1. Are you easily hurt by criticism?
    2. Are you very shy or overly aggressive?
    3. Do you try to hide your feelings from others?
    4. Do you fear close relationships?
    5. Do you try to blame your mistakes on others?
    6. Do you find excuses for refusing to change?
    7. Do you avoid new experiences?
    8. Do you continually wish you could change your physical appearance?
    9. Are you too modest about personal success?
    10. Are you glad when others fail?
    If you answered YES to most of these questions, you may want to look at ways to improve and build your self-esteem.

    Here is another set of questions about self-esteem. Please answer YES or NO to the following questions to asses your own level of self-esteem.
    1. Do you accept constructive criticism?
    2. Are you at ease when meeting new people?
    3. Are you honest and open about your feelings?
    4. Do you value your closest relationships?
    5. Can you laugh at and learn from your mistakes?
    6. Do you notice and accept changes in yourself as they occur?
    7. Do you look for and tackle new challenges?
    8. Are you confident about your physical appearance?
    9. Do you give yourself credit when credit is due?
    10. Are you happy for others when they succeed?
    If you answered YES to most of these questions, you probably have a healthy opinion of yourself and a healthy level of self-esteem. Remember, if you are dissatisfied with your level of self-esteem, you can take positive steps to improve it!


    [Coming in the next issue: Can self-esteem be changed? How do I raise my self- esteem? Getting help]

    Corinne (Cory) Kalat, LCPC, CADC, TAS is a big beautiful woman, counselor and therapist. She is licensed, certified in addictions and tobacco addiction, and her services are covered by client's health insurance. Her office is located in Hinsdale, Illinois, near the Oak Brook Shopping Center. Her office and conference room are designed with comfortable furniture to accommodate clients and guests of all shapes and sizes. Her clinical specialties include self- esteem, body image, women's issues, nicotine addiction, grief and loss, and helping clients to make positive life changes. In addition, she offers workshops, seminars and retreats on various topics and issues. Her contact information is: Suite 100, 907 North Elm Street, Hinsdale, Illinois, 60521, 630/263-8888, email: crkalat@aol.com


    An "Amusing" Tale

    [This is an email I received recently from one of our readers. It illustrates perfectly the need for us to push our fears aside and take risks. It makes life so much more fun, as you will see in the following story]

    Hi, Carol:

      I thought of you last week when I was on vacation with my family. Something I have been afraid of as an overweight person is rides at amusement parks. Will I fit, can I be properly secured so I don't get hurt, you know all those questions that run through our minds. Well, now that I am trying to live in the "here and now" and enjoy life I decided what the heck, I'm going to try one of those roller coaster rides at Disney.

    We ended up trying Splash Mountain which was a lot of fun then it was on to Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain and the ride that my daughter described as "needing a diaper change after riding it" called the Rock and Roller Coaster. It was so much fun - I WAS SO MUCH FUN! I can't tell you when the last time was that I have been so carefree, daring and had so much giddy fun, but it was awesome. So, once again, I realize I am grateful that you wrote that book. Which reminds me - another new passion - spin classes at the YMCA. YES, I can keep up, in this body - MY body! Yippee!!


    Self-esteem Comes in All Sizes... »


    Responding to the Rude Among Us


    [Here is another email I received]

     In one of your upcoming newsletters would you consider talking about how to handle jerks you run into who think they have a right to comment on our weight? This always takes me by surprise when it happens and unfortunately it doesn't always turn out as well as I would hope. I always feel bad about myself because I strike back and usually end up dragging myself lower than the person who started it; then I feel disappointed in myself for not being more savvy about the whole deal.

      Carol's Response: Why do people make cruel remarks to other people? I once heard someone say: "By looking down at someone else, it made me feel more important." Keep that in mind. People who make unkind remarks are very insecure and make themselves feel more secure by putting others down. If you weren't so busy being angry at them, you could feel sorry for them (but go ahead and be angry too -- it's healthy!).

    There are any number of ways to respond, and it depends on the situation. NAAFA (National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance) president Sally Smith tells of the time she overheard a table of men joking about her size as she moved through a buffet line. Her strategy? When she had exited the line, she went over and sat with the men! Familiarity often defuses ridicule.

      It's true that the nastiest comments are often made by strangers. What do you do? Do you respond? Ignore it? And if you do respond, do you do it coolly, angrily, wittily? Sometimes there's no chance to respond, as in the case of a drive-by insult. You have to let these go. Say to yourself:
    ·These are obviously very ignorant people.
    ·These are strangers. I will never see them again.
    Why should I care what they say?
    ·I know who I am. They don't.
    ·I have many friends and relatives who care about me.
    These are the people that count in my life. Rude strangers aren't worth a second thought.

      Personally, I don't think it's helpful to become hostile or use profanity in responding to ignorant remarks. It reduces you to the level of those doing the name-calling and makes it more difficult for you to take control of the situation. Sometimes put-downs come not in the form of words but in the form of stares and whispers. One of our members walks right up to people who are staring and says, "Pardon me, but do I know you? I noticed you were looking at me. Please refresh my memory as to where we met." She enjoys watching them squirm to come up with an answer. Columnist Abigail Van Buren has a standard reply for people who ask intrusive personal questions: "I'll forgive you for asking, if you'll forgive me for not answering."

    The bottom line is that it's not really about who you are - it's about who they are.


    Research Round-Up
      Yo-Yo Diets Threaten Immunity: If you want to preserve your immune function, don't diet unless you're sure you can keep the weight off. "Losing 10 pounds or more only to regain it all may lower your resistance to germs," says Cornelia M. Ulrich, PhD, a researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Ulrich's research suggests that the more often your weight goes up and down, the less active potent infection fighters called natural killer (NK) cellos become. NK cells identify and destroy harmful germs be halting the replicaiton of cells in the body the germs have infected (Environmental Nutrition, April 2005) .

      Weight Stabilization Is the Name of the Game: "As a nation, we really need to get focused on weight stabilization as a goal," says Dr. Donald Lloyd- Jones, lead researcher on a 15-year study of 2,500 people. The findings revealed that it didn't matter whether the adults were thin, average or overweight at the start or end of the study. What made the biggest difference was how much weight they'd gained over a 15-year period. Of those who gained weight, nearly 20% developed metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that indicate an increased risk for stroke, heart disease and diabetes. Of those who maintained a stable weight, less than 4% developed metabolic syndrome (Fitness Companion, Jan/Feb 2005) .

      Weekend Workouts Better Than None at All: If you think you can't find time to exercise, here's one less excuse: Even just exercising on the weekend is better than no exercise at all. A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the first to focus on weekend-only athletes, found lower mortality rates than in people who are entirely sedentary (Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, January 2005).

      Pills Reduce Only the Size of Your Wallet: Now that ephedra has finally been banned, you can expect to see lots of alternative weight-loss products on the market-all untested and unproven, such as Leptoprin and Cortislim. Don't be too hasty to fork over the cash for them. The Federal Trade Commission has charged a Utah group with making false and unsubstantiated claims for Leptoprin. Leptoprin has been heavily advertised through short-form Infomercials. The complaint challenges as false claims that clinical testing proves that Leptoprin causes weight loss of more than 20 pounds, including as much as 50, 60, or 147 pounds, in significantly overweight users; and that clinical testing proves that Leptoprin causes loss of substantial, excess fat in significantly overweight users.The Federal Trade Commission has also charged marketers of CortiSlim wiith claiming, falsely and without substantiation, that the product can cause weight loss and reduce the risk of, or prevent, serious health conditions. The main sales pitch for CortiSlim is that it will control cortisol levels in the body. It's claimed that high levels of stress cause obesity, and that this hormone, which your body releases in response to stress, makes you store excess fat. Scientists have indeed been looking into the role of cortisol in obesity, but at this point it is still theoretical. In any case, there's no evidence that CortiSlim will reduce cortisol, or that lowering cortisol causes weight loss.


    Twelfth Annual Abundia Retreat Scheduled
    The Twelfth Annual Abundia Retreat for larger women will be held June 3, 4 and 5, 2005 (with an option to come on June 2nd) at Lasalle Manor in Plano, Illinois. The cost of $350 includes lodging, meals and all workshops. The weekend will feature:


    • Personal growth workshops on topics such as body
    • image, self-acceptance, creativity, and stress management.
    • Movement class.
    • 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 is mandatory. For more information, or to register, contact Barbara Spaulding at 847-705-9256 or barbspaulding @hotmail.com


    Getting in Touch With Us

    Carol Johnson
    P.O. Box 170223
    Milwaukee, WI 53217-8021

    contact us at largelypositive.com

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