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On a Positive Note - Online Newsletter! )
 July 21, 2004 July 2004 
In this Issue
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

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 magazine article:

  • 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!

Work 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 yourself." 
  • Magazines advise: "How to get "the look, the body, the hairdo, the personality" of your favorite celebrity.

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 "different."

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:

  • Find a personal style that works for you. Quit copying the "styles of the stars" and create your own look.
  • 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 pegs!
Like the commercial said, "Work on what makes you different!"

Ask 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 body.

Staying Cool
Dear Susan: Why do some woman look cool no matter what the temperature?

  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 neck.

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.

Comfortable Feet
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).

Cool Fashions
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 qvc.com

Airline Travel
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 meal.
  - 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.


Self-Esteem Mini-Series
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- Esteem.

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- esteem repair.

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, 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 dependence
  • Suicide.

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: crkalat@aol.com

Yes, 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.

Tufts University Health & Nuitrition Letter

When 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 Department).
  "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)

Pi-Sunyer adds:
  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!"

Healthy Weight Network

On 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.

New Website
   www.nourishingconnections.com has just been launched to support those working towards a healthy and peaceful relationship with food, their bodies and themselves.

  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 subscribe@nourishingconnections.com 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.

Nourishing Connections

New Book

  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 health.

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

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