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.
- 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
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.
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
By Carol Johnson
Women of the World
We know that in America and most
Western cultures, many women feel they need to be extremely thin to
be considered attractive. But this isn't true in many other parts of
the world. Our obsession with diets and being thin would seem
strange to many of the world's inhabitants. Let's look at some other
cultures to see how the women feel about their bodies and how their
"ideal" bodies are different from ours.
It's not that women in other cultures aren't concerned with their
appearance and their figures. Women everywhere want to look good.
It's just that "looking good" means different things in
different cultures, and in many cultures a woman's plumpness is a
sign of beauty, good health, prosperity and sexual appeal. In
Nigeria, putting on weight improves a girl's chances of getting a
husband. Nigerian girls are put in special fattening rooms to pile
on the pounds. For a Nigerian woman to be called a "slim
princess" would be an insult.
In some countries, such as Japan, even though girls prefer to be
thin, they don't feel body size is as important as other things in
their life. For example, even though surveys show that Japanese
teenagers are less satisfied with their bodies than American teens,
their self-image and self-esteem are much higher, indicating that
they are basing their self-worth on things other than how thin they
are (from the book Appearance Obsession by Joni E.
Johnston, Psy. D., Health Communications Inc., 1994).
When Indian women were asked to describe the ideal shape for a
woman, many ended up describing their own current shape. Sounds like
many of them think they're fine just the way they are! (from
the book Body Images by Thomas Cash, The Guilford Press, 1990).
Here are some other interesting body image facts about
"women of the world" that appeared in a Marie Claire
- Most Indian men still respond more to full-bodied women than
to skinny women in tight jeans and Indian poetry heaps praise on
the "elephant-gaited woman" - whose rump sways in a
manner similar to this giant creature.
- In the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, a heavy woman is not
called fat but "substantial."
- In Mali, near the Sahara, a fat wife is envied.
- In Fiji, body weight is a measure of beauty and a symbol of
how well your community takes care of you.
- Also in Fiji, a woman's calves are thought to be the sexiest
part of her body. The worst insult you can offer a Fijian woman
is to say she has thin legs.
There do not appear to be any cultures where the women are truly
unconcerned with their appearance. However, you can see that
cultures differ in their standards of beauty, especially when it
comes to body size and shape. And even though being thin is the
"ideal" in many cultures, it does not take on the same
importance in some of these other cultures as it does in ours. One
thing is certain: there is no one "ideal" way for
"women of the world" to look. Diversity wins out!
Book: Self-Esteem Comes
In All Sizes!
on What Makes You Different
By Carol Johnson
I saw a commercial
recently that caught my attention. "Work on what makes
you different," it advised. I thought about this. We're
always "working on" some aspect of ourselves, but
not on what's different. All too often we're working on
making ourselves into something or someone we're not.
Instead of working on what sets us apart from everyone else,
we're trying to be like everyone else.
Although no two individuals are born alike, the pressure
starts at an early age to "fit in, be alike, gravitate
toward "the middle":
- "Why can't you be more like your sister, your
cousin, the girl down the street."
- "Don't do that. You'll call attention to
- Magazines advise: "How to get "the look, the
body, the hairdo, the personality" of your favorite
This is especially true when it comes to our bodies. We
buy into society's dictate that there is but one ideal
shape, and we make ourselves miserable "working
on" chiseling our shape into that one mold -
"clone bods," I call them. I always felt my hips
were misshapen, out of proportion. So I jiggled them, rolled
them, steamed them. But even if they got a little smaller,
they were still the same shape. Nothing I did changed my
basic contours. I have since realized that they were not
meant to look like anyone else's hips. They're different,
mine alone. When the Creator made them, he broke the mold!
The concept of "sameness" is alien to nature,
if you stop to think about it. Nature is filled with a
variety of sizes and shapes, all considered beautiful -
because they're unique. One flower is not "better"
or more beautiful than another. They're simply different
sizes, shapes and colors. What a boring world it would be if
they were all alike.
But when it comes to the human form, we can't seem to
embrace nature's blessing of diversity. Only one flavor is
allowed. Magazines are constantly advising us "how to
camouflage our figure flaws." I finally realized that
none of us has any figure flaws. We simply have different
shapes. How does this qualify as a "flaw?" These
articles usually go on to advise us how to cover up or
minimize parts of our bodies that are out of sync with the
one and only shape decreed acceptable. Often this involves
limiting our choices and anything that would make us
Who are the some of the most memorable people? They're
the ones who stood out, were different in some way. Maybe
even a little odd or unusual. Why would you choose to be a
second-rate imitation of someone else when you can be a
first-rate, one-of-a-kind, "you- nique" you!
Instead of following the crowd, start to work on what
makes you different. Embrace it. Emphasize it. Call
attention to it:
Like the commercial said, "Work on what makes you
- Find a personal style that works for you. Quit copying
the "styles of the stars" and create your own
- Stop comparing yourself to others. Comparing can only
lead to disappointment and disillusionment. Find out
what makes you tick and start the clock running!
- Instead of struggling to be something you're not,
develop the talents and skills you do have. I found out
when I was very young that ballet was not my destiny,
but playing the piano was. What are you good at?
Everyone has things they're good at.
- When it comes to your body, stop trying to make it
into a "clone bod." Of course, take care of
it. Make it strong. Make it healthy. But don't try to
force the proverbial square peg into a round hole.
There's room in the world for all sizes and shapes of
Susan! - Staying Fresh and Cool
By Susan Weber
Summertime means its time to get up and go. This
is no time to let your weight or dress size keep you home!
And, its tough to have "grand style" when you're
hot, uncomfortable and your feet hurt. So, no matter where
you decide to go or how long you plan to stay, here's how to
stay cool, fresh and comfortable in your curvy, rounded
Dear Susan: Why do some woman look cool no matter what
Many start their day with an alcohol-based body
spray. You'll find them in the fragrance section at the drug
store. Tip: Avoid the really fruit-smelling fragrances (like
peach!) unless you want to smell like a fruit basket after
about 4 hours. My favorite: Calgon In The Rain.
These stay-cool women keep their cool all day with a
variety of devices such as:
- a spray mister (looks like an athletic water bottle
with a tiny hose with a mister attachment.)
- a battery-operated mini-fan (my favorite, the Black
& Decker Snake Fan, hangs around your neck or the rear
view mirror in your car. It goes everywhere with me! I found
mine at the local hardware store.)
- gel strips which you can freeze and roll up in a
cotton scarf around your neck (usually sold with the scarves
in a discount store. Or, you can make your own with a strip
of Blue Ice from your cooler or a strip of ice you make
yourself in a zip lock bag.).
All of the above items are usually available at
Target, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Kmart etc. If you, or kids
around you, are going to be exposed to the heat for long
periods of time, consider keeping an emergency cool down kit
close by which includes Wipe & Drys for quick cooling,
frozen wet washcloths that have been put in zipper-type
plastic bags, a bag of salted nuts (to replace the salt lost
through perspiration), a package of breath mints (for a
quick jolt to your blood sugar), a battery-operated mini fan
with extra batteries and two cotton bandannas to tie
together as a head band or to pull your hair up off your
Dear Susan: We're going to be in a hot, humid spot this
summer. Is there any way to avoid heat rashes under my
breasts, under my tummy or where my legs rub together?
The rashes could be from friction or from a yeast
infection. First, get the area clean and dry (if you can't
reach it, use the cool setting on a hair dryer.) Then, keep
the area dry with a spray antifungal sold for athletes foot
or jock itch.
You can further dry up the area by using talc. Avoid
cornstarch-based talc since the redness may be caused by a
yeast infection that often grows in warm moist areas like
under breasts or tummy folds. Cornstarch just tends to feed
the little yeasties.
Under bra wetness can be minimized with cotton bras or
with cotton socks tucked under the bra band.
For thigh rubbing, wear a cotton bike short from Junonia
under your skirts or apply an anti-perspirant directly to
your inner thighs.
Dear Susan: We always seem to do a lot of walking in the
summer at fairs and outdoor events. Any tips on keeping my
feet from killing me?
Feet expand in hot weather and get larger as the
day goes on. So, to be sure you have the right size summer
shoes and sandals be sure to select new summer shoes in the
afternoon when your feet are the biggest! And be sure that
your shoes are wide enough. Remember: As our hips get wider,
our feet tend to get wider too! (Weird I know, but it
happens) Wide shoes are widely available. For fun summer
shoes and sandals in extra wide widths, check out
Silhouettes.com, LaneBryantCatalog.com, MarylandSquare.com
and avenue.com. Whatever your width, avoid shoes with
plastic inner soles. Tip: For hot burning feet I love to
give myself a foot massage with Dr. Scholl's peppermint foot
lotion (usually available at the grocery or drug store).
Dear Susan: What should I wear to stay cool? I don't look
good in sleeveless tops or shorts.
First, as I say every summer, don't let your lack
of self-esteem push you into wearing clothes that just make
you hotter! If you overdress for summer you will call more
attention to yourself than your short sleeved or sleeveless
dress. If you won't go sleeveless, consider wearing cotton
mesh tops over a sports top or tank top.
Second, everyone can wear shorts. Look for shorts with
longer and wider legs. They are flattering, and they don't
ride up when you walk or when you sit down!
Third, avoid polyester and polyester/cotton blends in
favor of breathable natural fibers like silk t-shirts from
Silhouettes.com, or cotton separates from MakingItBig.com or
up-to-the minute Denim & Company cotton separates at
Dear Susan: I'm taking a plane trip. Any tips for pouring
my size 22 body into that size 10 seat?
The key to airline comfort is pre-planning. Book
on an airline with wider seats (American, Continental,
Midwest Express, Reno Air and US Air). Propeller and
turbo-prop planes tend to have narrower seats than jets.
Check out seatguru.com for seat measurements on airline body
types of all major airlines. On particularly long trips, use
frequent flyer mileage or ask to upgrade to the wider
business class or first class seats. (Tip: You may have a
better chance to get upgraded if you are dressed in business
attire.) Select a mid week or evening flight - they are
usually less crowded so you can pull up the armrest next to
your seat and "spread out" a little!
When selecting an airline seat:
- chose an aisle seat (it has more shoulder room than
a window seat.)
- sit on the 3-seat side if the plane has 3/2
seating, because the center seats are filled last which
would leave an open seat next to you.
- avoid bulkhead and exit aisle seats. They have lots
of leg room; but, the tray tables fold out of the arm rests
so you can't raise the arm rests.
- if you are traveling with someone, ask for a window
and an aisle seat in the same row. If a passenger gets
assigned to the middle seat, just ask him/her if they would
like to switch with one of you. Then you and your traveling
companion can pull up the armrest between.
On the day of your flight:
- check in early before the flight and ask to be
seated next to an empty seat.
- board as soon as possible and immediately pull up
the arm rest to get a few extra inches of space.
- get a pillow to put under your meal tray before you
get strapped into your seat. It's a lot more comfortable
than having your tray table jammed into your tummy when the
passenger in front of you insists on laying back during the
- ask for, or bring your own, seat belt extender
(available from extend-it.com)
- have your emergency cool down kit handy (see above
for contents) Plane air-conditioning doesn't seem to kick in
until you are in the air about 10 minutes.
By Corinne Kalat
Corinne (Cory) Kalat is a licensed
counselor in private practice in the western suburbs of
Chicago. She is now a regular columnist in this newsletter
and with this issue, we begin our three-part series on Self-
This is the first installment in a three-part series
about self-esteem. Part Two will quiz you about your own
self- esteem and Part Three will provide advice on self-
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's an interesting way to think about self-esteem.
Imagine that you love someone very much, you're 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 will 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 is esteeming
yourself - This is 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. People with low
self-esteem find it difficult to feel good about themselves
most of the time. They may doubt themselves, their
abilities, 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.
Where Do We Get Self-Esteem?
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.
How High Self-Esteem Helps Us
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:
- A positive attitude
- Good judgment
- Good problem-solving skills
- Healthy, close relationships
- High energy
- Confidence in new situations
- Courage to try new things.
How Low Self-Esteem Hurts Us
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,
- 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 dependence
Next issue: A Self-Esteem Quiz
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: email@example.com
But Is Weight Loss the Be-All and the End-All?
I want you all to read an excellent article that appeared in
the July issue of Tufts University Health & Nuitrition
Letter (click on the link below).
In the article, Heather Bell, MPH, RD, a nutrition
therapist at the Tufts-New England Medical Center, laments
that: "We frequently focus on weight to the exclusion
of everything else. Particularly in this culture, there is a
temptation to over-focus on weight. And that means that even
clients who lose enough weight to become healthier but still
weigh more than what they consider ideal are likely to feel
frustrated, likely to feel disappointed, likely to feel like
they've failed, which means they may then give up on all
those health- enhancing behaviors because they didn't
accomplish what they were 'supposed' to." To get around
that, Ms. Bell says she works to "reframe success"
for her patients by asking people to focus less on weight in
a culture that relentlessly puts weight front and center-and
more on health and healthy attitudes about food.
Click on the link below and enjoy a very refreshing
perspective. Her outlook and approach upend a lot of
commonly held beliefs about weight management.
University Health & Nuitrition Letter »
Good Carbs Go Bad
The latest diet craze to sweep the nation is the "good
carbs vs. bad carbs" theory, based on something called
the glycemic index, a scale to measure the rapidity and
degree with which a fixed quantity of food increases your
blood sugar. Supposedly, foods that raise your blood sugar
quickly are to be avoided because they will impede weight
loss. Books such as the South Beach Diet, The Zone, and Good
Carbs, Bad Carbs are based on this theory. The authors of
these books are receiving hefty royalty checks, but can
readers expect to be less hefty by following the advice they
present? Obesity experts say "don't count on it." (from
Nutriton Action Healthletter, Jan/Feb 2004).
Thomas Wolever of the University of Toronto, one
of the researchers who helped devise the glycemic index,
says "The glycemic index is no magic bullet for
dieters. I've yet to see evidence that a low-GI diet aids
weight loss. Wolever's research uses a low-GI diet to lower
the risk of heart disease and control diabetes.
Say other researchers:
· "It's amazing how few good studies have
looked at how different carbohydrates affect weight loss: (Walter
Willett, Harvard School of Public Health, chair, Nutrition
· "People think that a food has a definitive
glycemic index, but it depends on how the food is processed,
stored, ripened, cut, and cooked" (Xavier
Pi-Sunyer, obesity expert, Columbia University)
· Bread is typically high-GI, whether whole wheat or
white, because it's made with finely ground flour.
· Pasta is low -GI, whether whole wheat or white,
but there are variations - and thin linguine has a higher GI
than thick linguine."
· Rice ranges from high-GI (instant white) to low-GI
(Uncle Ben's converted white), with brown and long-grain
rice in the middle.
· Sugars range from high-GI (glucose) to low-GI
(fructose). Table sugar (sucrose) is in the middle.
A recent review of the evidence reached this conclusion:
"The ideal human intervention study on low- GI vs.
high-GI diets has not been conducted" (Obesity Reviews
3:245, 2002). Where does this leave us? Probably back to
good ole' "moderation and exercise!"
Weight Network »
Your Mark, One Set, Go!
By Lawrence Wayne
This article is reprinted with
permission from Fitness Companion, Personal Fitness
Newsletter. Published six times a year by Fitness Companion
Personal Fitness Consulting, 980 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago,
IL 60611. 312-214-3523 Mr. Wayne is certified by the
National Academy of Sports Medicine and the American College
of Sports Medicine. E-mail questions you may have to:FitnessCompanion@aol.com
. In the subject heading please use Largely Positive.
How often have you used the
excuse that you don't have time to weight train? You may
believe that spending hours at the local gym is the only way
to get results. Yet for beginners, performing just one set
of resistance-training exercises two to three times a week
can lead to major improvements in muscular strength. If
strength training is already a part of your fitness program,
scaling down to one set of exercises can help break up the
monotony or help you re-focus if you have reached a plateau.
Research has shown that whether you perform one or three
sets of resistance exercises will not make much difference
in improving muscular strength. A study published in the
journal Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise
compared two groups of adults who performed either one or
three sets of weight training exercises three times a week.
After 13 weeks, both groups had greatly improved their
muscular strength, muscular endurance and body composition.
But researchers found no significant difference in strength
gains between the two groups.
The study also revealed that it took participants only 25
minutes to complete the one-set resistance training program,
compared with an hour for the adults to finish three sets of
exercises. That finding is significant, the researchers
concluded, because programs lasting an hour per session have
been associated with higher drop- out rates. A well-rounded
training program should include one set of eight to 10
exercises using all of the major muscle groups (such as
arms, legs and chest). For each exercise, complete 10 to 12
repetitions. Beginners and healthy adults who have not been
in the weight room for a long time should see gains in
muscle strength after just 12 weeks of training.
has just been launched to support those working towards a
healthy and peaceful relationship with food, their bodies
According to its founders, Karen Kratina and Amy
Tuttle: "It's a place to go for disordered eating
recovery and nondiet information, resources and tools.
You'll find articles, the latest research on dieting,
'obesity,' etc. (the news you never hear about!) and much
more. Download tools such as the Hunger/Satiety Food Journal
or Hunger/Satiety Scale to help you with attuned eating.
Visit us often--we will be adding new articles, handouts,
resources and tools regularly. Sign up for Stay Attuned, our
free E-zine. This encouraging (and short) E-zine will
provide motivation, tips and techniques for living a life of
attuned eating, joyful movement and self-acceptance.
Subscribe at the site, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
and put "Subscribe" in the subject line. (Your
email address will remain private.)"
Karin Katrina is a Registered Dietitian who is also a
Licensed Dietitian/ Nutritionist with advanced degrees in
exercise physiology, gender studies and cognitive
anthropology.Karin has lectured internationally and is well
published, having written books, book chapters and articles.
She has a privatr practice in Gainesville, FL.
Amy Tuttle is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed
Clinical Social Worker who is in private practice with 3
offices in convenient locations in the Philadelphia area.
She has been treating adolescents and adults, both women and
men, with eating and weight struggles, including eating
disorders for the past 15 years. Prior to starting her
private practice 8 years ago, Amy worked at the Renfrew
Center, a mental health facility specializing in the
treatment of women with eating disorders.
The Spirit and Science of Holistic Health:
More than Broccoli, Jogging, and Bottled Water - More Than
Yoga, Herbs, and Meditation, is the title of a new book by
Jonathan Robison PhD, MS and Karen Carrier M.Ed.
We propose that the
major health crises in the United States are not about heart
disease, cancer, osteoporosis, or obesity. Instead they are
about violence, prejudice, social isolation, and runaway
materialism. Unfortunately, traditional health promotion
continues to "attack" our problems by declaring
war on disease, obsessing about epidemiologically based risk
factors and frightening people about what they eat, how much
they weigh, and what they like to do or not do. These
approaches rarely help and often create an atmosphere of
anxiety and confusion. Say the authors:
This book is an invitation to health professionals
to rethink our current understanding of health, illness, and
the process of healing. It covers topics that are rarely
addressed in health promotion including the history of the
human species, the Scientific Revolution, quantum physics,
and the latest mind/body/spirit research. While it may seem
as if this information is only marginally related to health,
we believe it provides a critical foundation for the truly
holistic approach to health promotion we describe in detail
in this book. We believe that nurses,
dietitians, physicians, exercise professionals, alternative
medicine practitioners, social workers, psychologists,
personal trainers, coaches, teachers, clergy, and others
will all find this book relevant and helpful. In short, it
is appropriate for anyone who is working to help people
improve their social, emotional, spiritual, and physical
quality of life...anyone whose occupation involves promoting
the health of others. And because promoting the health of
others is inextricably tied to promoting the health of self,
this book is also appropriate for those people,
professionals and laypersons alike, who are searching for a
different way of understanding and creating their own
Jonathan Robison holds a doctorate in
health education/exercise physiology and a master of science
in human nutrition from Michigan State University where he
is adjunct assistant professor. Karen Carrier has a master's
degree in Exercise Science from the University of Houston
and spent 15 years working in the area of organizational
health promotion. She was part of the original design and
ongoing development of Conoco Inc.'s employee wellness
program; one of the first holistic corporate programs
anywhere in the country.
The book can best (and most inexpensively) be obtained by
calling authorhouse at - 888.280.7715 - or by going to their
website at www.authorhouse.com
forget to forward "On a Positive Note" Newsletter on to
your friends, family, and associates.
© 2004 Largely Positive Inc, All rights reserved. Largely
Positive® and "The Positive Approach
To Weight Management"®
are registered trademark of Largely Positive Inc, All rights