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On a Positive Note - Online Newsletter! )
 September 8, 2005 September 2005 
In this Issue
  • From a 10 to a 4: Is This Really Necessary?
  • Self-Esteem On the Run
  • Grand Style
  • Self-Esteem Mini-Series: Final Installment
  • It's Not That Easy
  • Research Round-Up
  • Feeling Discouraged?
  • Healthy Living
  • This 'n That

  • 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.


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    From a 10 to a 4: Is This Really Necessary?

    By Carol Johnson

     Lately I have been noticing -- and lamenting -- the NutriSystem ad featuring Zora Andrich from Joe Millionaire - the one where she goes from a size 10 to a size 4. I have one, I would think obvious, question:
    What was wrong with a size 10?

    An Internet article about Zora's decision read, in part: "Joe Millionaire winner, Zora Andrich, recovers from the embarrassing 'dress' scene by losing 17 pounds in six weeks on NutriSystem. After years of struggling with unwanted weight, the last straw for Zora was when they couldn't zip up her dress on national television. It was in the ball gown scene of the first episode of Joe Millionaire. One contestant commented, 'Poor Zora, she is just a different shape and a different size,' which really impacted Zora." (Question: Why didn't she just make sure she had the correct size before the filming took place?)

    Some comments from an Internet discussion about Zora's weight loss:

  • OK, I may be stating the obvious here but...why did this woman need or want to lose 17 lbs?
  • I agree. I think Zora looked wonderful with a little junk in her trunk.
  • I never thought Zora was overweight!!??!!
  • Where in the heck did they find 17 pounds to get rid of?! Is one of those legs hollow now?

    Young girls get such mixed messages about issues of size and weight. On the one hand, there are things like this. Then in almost the same breath, Entertainment Tonight will do a story titled "How Thin Is Too Thin?" Too thin is going from a size 10 to a size 4! Young girls who wear a 10 now feel that they are fat. The damage that this does to health and self-esteem is sometimes irreparable.

    Ads such as this one just add more fuel to the fire of unrealistic ideals and body hatred. Shame on them!

    Book: Self-Esteem Comes In All Sizes!


    Self-Esteem On the Run
    By Carol Johnson

     Working on your self- esteem may sound like a daunting, time-consuming task, but it doesn't have to be. Research has shown that bits and snippets of exercise here and there add up to make a real difference. It can be the same with self-esteem.

    Here are ten quick ways to start pumping up your self- esteem and they don't take a lot of time:

    1 - Get a new haircut. Does your hairstyle still look like your high school picture? Maybe it's time for a change of style, color or cut. It'll give you a real lift.
    2 - Buy a colorful top in a size that fits you now, and is "tug-free." There is nothing more depressing than to have to keep tugging at ill-fitting clothes. Pay no attention to sizes. A top that fits you comfortably will have you feeling free and rarin' to go.
    3 - Do something for someone else. Nothing lifts a person's spirits like doing something for someone who needs help in some way. Can you help out a senior citizen? A young, single mother who is struggling? Offer to do one chore or errand each week.
    4 - Take the first step in a venture you have been putting off - perhaps putting off because you are waiting to lose weight. Do it now. Your life is happening right now - not in some elusive dream where you picture yourself thin. Sign up for that class. Book that trip. Make that phone call.
    5 - Put on music and dance! Nothing cheers me up more than putting on some dance music and twirling around the house. And makes me feel good about myself because I am treating my body to some movement.
    6 - Get outside of yourself. Expand your horizons beyond your own body and develop one outside interest you pursue each day.
    7 - Have your friends or family sit down for a "what I like about you" fest. You have to pick out one thing you really like about each person there, and then share these observations.
    8 - Do something special for your body - a massage, a facial, some fragrant lotion. Larger people tend to ignore what's below the neck. You're not just a head. Take care of the whole enchilada!
    9 - Start a "good stuff" book and add one thing to it every day. Most people have days that consist of both disappointing and good moments, but we generally focus only on the disappointments. Each day write down one good thing that happened, one good thing that you did, one compliment someone paid you. Then read it over again at the end of each month.
    10 - Smile! A positive attitude is always your best accessory. The attitude you give off is the attitude you will attract from others.


    Grand Style
    By Susan Weber

    Ask Yourself: Are You Wearing The Right Size?

    Finding clothes as a plus size woman has never been easy. Not all stores carry larger sizes. The styles and fabrics tend to be dated. The prices are typically higher than smaller-sized clothes. The result: We curvy ladies have spent all these years trying to find clothes we like and can afford in our size.


    It is getting easier to find clothes in larger sizes. More stores. Catalogs. The Internet. But, now that apparel shopping is no longer one big scavenger hunt, did you ever stop to think that you might be wearing the wrong size? I'm willing to bet you are... whether you know it or not.

    Ladies, we need to stop jamming ourselves into too small sizes and take care of ourselves. Here are a few places to start:

    Bras: It's time to resize! Fact: Over 1/3 of US women are wearing the wrong size bra. Probably almost another 1/3 is wearing the wrong style bra.

    Here a few of the pitfalls we fall into:


  • We just keep buying the same size and style.
  • We know the band is too tight but we can't find a larger band in our store.
  • We think a bra is supposed to be 3" away from our chest between the cups!
  • We have learned to accept falling straps as a fact of life.
  • We started out with the right size or type; but, a 10 pound change in weight, too many bra washings and weakening back elastics have turned these previously structurally-intact marvels into fabric patches with straps.

     Listen up ladies. Get yourself a tape measure. Put on your best-fitting bra. Measure at the fullest point and around the bottom of the bra band under the cups. Important Tip: Bra sizing (bands AND cups) is not consistent between bra manufacturers. Read the sizing instructions for the bra you are considering. Check the measurements they give against your two measurements to get your perfect fit. You might wear a 50DD in one bra and a 52D in another.

    Don't shy away from an underwire bra if you are wearing a C cup or larger. There is no reason for a well- fitting underwire bra to poke you. Check out our bra size calculator and sizing tips.

    What size clothes are you wearing?

    The sign of a garment that fits is not just that you can zipper, or button, and continue to breath! Well-fitting clothes allow 2-3" of ease between your body and the clothes.

    Some women continue to wear the same size until the zipper won't zip. I bet half of you are wearing a coat that's too small and you just think the arms are too short. Or, that you know you need the larger size; but, your favorite stores don't carry a larger size (e.g. stores usually stop at size 26 or 3X.).

    Get out there and enjoy the newly expanding world of larger sizes -- with sizes to 6X or 7X now readily available online. For more conservative styles at lower prices, consider JustMySize.com, Catherines.com, Chadwicks.com, FashionBug.com and JessicaLondon.com. For more up-to-the-minute colors and styles check out Silhouettes.com, Avenue.com and UllaPopkin.com. More expensive, but certainly worth the price are Junonia.com and MakingItBigonline.com.

    Once you figure out your REAL SIZE, you can use eBay to bid on brand name, new clothes, (with the tags still attached!) from the merchants who purchase the overstocks of your favorite online stores and resell them on eBay.

    Don't like your real size? Cut out the tags. Wear what looks and feels good. You deserve it!

    Are your shoes wide enough?

    For years we've been told to wear a longer shoe in order to get a wider shoe or a wider calf. Many of us have never had access to shoes wider than a C width.

    But wider widths are becoming more of a necessity. As we get older or spend more time in sandals, or gain curves, our feet tend to spread out. And don't forget that as your body adds pounds, your legs and feet also add weight. Silhouettes.com, Junonia.com, Avenue.com, MarylandSquare.com and WissottaTrader.com all carry selections of shoes in wider widths and longer lengths. And now you can buy regular with boots with extra wide calves at Silhouettes.com.

    Are your socks/tights/pantyhose/knee high the right size?

    Most hosiery sizing is based on your height and weight. Most of us know how tall we are (or aren't!). But, most of us don't really know how much we weight. Or, we use our "driver's license weight" to determine our pantyhose size.

    Stop punishing yourself with pantyhose, tights and knee highs that side down to your knees as soon as you pull them on. Hosiery is now available in sizes up to 7X. Check out Wal-Mart, Target or online at JustMySize.com, LBCatalog.com (Lane Bryant), Catherines.com and MakingItBigonline.com. Maternity pantyhose are available up to size 7X at BabyBecoming.com.

    And for all of us with feet wider than B and longer than a size 9, please stop buying those size 9-11 socks and wearing those ugly men's socks! JustMySize.com and LBCatalog.com are just a few of many places making heavenly women's socks in size 10-13. Your toes and ankles will finally have room to move with joy.

    Are you still wearing a 7˝" watchband on an 8" wrist?

    Your watch band should not feel like a tourniquet! You should be able to stick your finger under your watchband and easily wiggle it around. If you can't, your watchband is too tight and you should replace it with a longer strap.

    Finding a longer leather strap is easy -- just look on the men's side of the watch strap display. Finding a longer expansion is harder. Extend-it.com has really long expansion bands. Or, you can always buy two identical straps and have your jeweler add enough links the extra from strap to achieve the length you need.


    www.grandstyle.com »


    Self-Esteem Mini-Series: Final Installment
    By Corinne Kalat



    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!


    The good news is that self-esteem change be changed. Our self-esteem was shaped and influenced by other people, but we can choose whether or not we want to carry around THEIR messages with us forever. We don't have to let past experiences hold us back.

    For example, if you received negative messages about yourself, you may be experiencing low self-esteem now. You may expect too much from yourself, and this can make low self-esteem even worse. But there is good news - you have choices to make - you can change the way you feel about yourself and you can learn to be more fair, reasonable, gentle, kind and loving toward yourself.


    Raising your self-esteem is a process and it takes time. Be patient with yourself and know that you can do this successfully! Here are some ideas that might help.

    1.Question other people's opinion of you. If someone criticizes you, ask yourself if this information is correct. People may say negative things to you for a variety of reasons and many times those reasons are about THEM and not about YOU.

    2.Listen closely to what you say to YOU about YOU. How many times a day do you criticize yourself? Call yourself names? Say negative things to yourself? Judge yourself unfairly? If you want to eliminate negative self-talk, the first step is to notice it, and then use positive self-talk instead. You may try using affirmations, which are positive statements, such as "I am a wonderful, lovable human being" or "I am strong and competent" or "I am a beautiful person". Write down the affirmations and put them someplace where you will see them often. Then repeat the affirmations to yourself many times a day, until they become a natural part of your messages to yourself.

    3.Notice the positive thing about yourself. What are your strengths? What do people say that you do better than anyone else? What makes you unique? What do you like about yourself? Explore and appreciate our own special talents. It's vital to really NOTICE these wonderful things because it makes a difference in how you feel about yourself. Take the next step and make a list of these strengths. Keep the list handy and view it often to give yourself a boost when you need it.

    4.Identify the things about yourself that you wish to change. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Take an honest look at yourself and identify areas for improvement or change. It is important, too, to identify those things that cannot be changed. Remember that accepting yourself is sometimes the BEST change you can make. Take small, easy and manageable steps, acknowledge EVERY change and success, and be sure to focus on progress, not perfection.

    5.Set yourself up for success. Do things that help you to feel good about yourself. It helps to take the plunge and try new things too. Try a new hobby, make a new friend, or volunteer to help others. Each new positive experience counteracts an old, negative experience. Remember that no one is perfect and that we all make mistakes. Be gentle with yourself and remember that you had the courage to TRY.

    6.Take good care of ALL the parts of yourself. Be sure to take good care of yourself PHYSICALLY with rest, nutrition, movement and exercise; EMOTIONALLY by dealing with your feelings in a healthy way and getting professional help when needed; MENTALLY by monitoring your thoughts and giving yourself positive message every day; SOCIALLY by having contact with positive, uplifting people; SPIRITUALLY by believing and being a part of something greater than yourself, and becoming and remaining positive and creative.


    People can help. Being around people who are positive and affirming will help you to feel good about yourself. Try to avoid people w ho are negative or who put your down.

    Get professional help when you need it. It helps to talk with a trained, professional counselor to discuss your self-esteem challenges, set realistic goals, and meet hose goals by learning new skills. This will help you to set up a plan to build and keep your self-esteem. Learning to feel good about yourself can help you to overcome loneliness, stress and depression. You CAN improve your self esteem. And remember, YOU ARE WORTH THE EFFORT!


    The true test of self-esteem is to have everything go wrong and to still love yourself and know that you are a good, valuable and worthwhile human being. When we treat ourselves in respectful, gentle, nurturing and loving ways - just as we would treat another person - THAT is having and practicing self-esteem.

    If self-esteem is an issue for you, remember to:

    1. Be proud that you are unique.
    2. Develop your own special style.
    3. View mistakes as learning experiences.
    4. Think positively.
    5. Take pride in what you do well.
    6. Do the best you can at whatever you do.
    7. Believe in yourself.


    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


    It's Not That Easy

      On April 20, 2005 the New York Times reported that according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC): "People who are overweight but not obese have a lower risk of death than those of normal weight." One of the researchers concluded that "perhaps people should take other factors into consideration when deciding whether to worry about the health risks of their weight." However, he went on to say: "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, maybe I wouldn't be as concerned."

      Lynda Finn wrote to Largely Positive to take issue with that statement. Here's what she said: "Two people in that article spoke about weight loss as if it was easy. If weight loss was easy and if we knew we could keep it off, the multi-millions of people who are currently fatter than they would like to be would lose weight. It's just not that simple, as you know. When quotes like this appear, without qualification, it makes people feel bad, they think 'Gosh, if these clever people could lose weight, maybe I'm not trying hard enough.' I know this happens (and you probably do too) because I work with overweight women. So I feel it needs to be stated that for very many people, the majority in fact, significant and permanent weight loss is not possible."   "I agree with Lynda." Why should permament weight loss be any easier for those with a health condition that may warrant at least some weight reduction. It may, in fact, be harder for these individuals to lose weight. Paradoxically, weight gain can also be a side effect of some of the drugs used to treat conditions that result from obesity itself. Among these drugs are insulin and glyburide, treatments for diabetes, which is common among people with weight disorders.

    Several prescription drugs can cause weight gain as a side effect by increasing appetite or decreasing metabolism. Such drugs include corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone (used for a variety of conditions to reduce inflammation); ethinylestradiol (a form of estrogen used in some oral contraceptives); anticonvulsants such as valproic acid; certain anticancer medications; and drugs such as olanzapine, haloperidol, lithium, and clozapine, which are used to treat psychiatric conditions. Several antidepressants may cause patients to put on weight, including tricyclic antidepressants (such as imipramine or desipramine), monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) -- such as paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa), sertraline (Zoloft), fluvoxamine (Luvox), and fluoxetine (Prozac).

    Lynda Finn is the author of 'Largely Happy' (David Bateman Ltd: 2000) and 'Healthy Kids, Happy Kids' (Random House: 2004) Contact her at largelyhappy@hotmail.com


    Research Round-Up
    An Update on Leptin

     A decade ago this summer, the world found out about the appetite-controlling hormone leptin, and suddenly a cure for obesity seemed within reach. Ten years later, though, obesity remains as vexing as ever - and there's nothing remotely resembling a silver bullet. Leptin, a hormone secreted by fat cells to shut off hunger, has turned out to be far more complex than initially thought. But a steady stream of insights over the years have illuminated leptin's complicated role within the body, and have made leptin therapy for weight management once again a distinct possibility. Researchers now predict clinical trials on new leptin- related drugs will commence within two or three years.

    The leptin story began in the pages of the July 28, 1995, issue of the journal Science. Rockefeller University's Jeffrey M. Friedman, who had a year earlier discovered the genetic roots of appetite control, published evidence that a hormone - he dubbed it leptin from the Greek root leptos meaning "thin" - was the body's mechanism for signaling satiety. Essentially, fat cells secrete leptin, which travels through the bloodstream to the brain's hypothalamus, the control center for hunger, thirst, sex drive and other primal functions. When the body has stored enough fat, the hypothalamus is inundated with leptin, prompting it to stifle appetite and make us feel full.

    "Needless to say, after the discovery there was a barrage of interest in many companies," said Alex DePaoli, director of global development at the Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based drug company Amgen, which paid $20 million to license leptin from Rockefeller University. Amgen quickly began human studies dosing people with weight disorders with leptin. Expectations were high. But the results were a severe disappointment.

    However, as researchers have made progress in understanding the hormone, targets for potentially new leptin therapies have emerged. The key, as it turns out, may be coaxing the brain to listen to leptin. Researchers had noticed that many people with weight disorders had leptin in abundance, yet their appetites did not seem to respond. It has now become conventional wisdom in the research community that these people are simply not sensitive enough to leptin - somewhere along the molecular journey from fat cells to brain there has been a breakdown, and the hypothalamus does not know that the body has enough food to function. We're about two or three years away from human tests," said Beth Israel's Jeffrey Flier, a lead researcher in the field. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2005)


    Feeling Discouraged?
     There is always a sense of disappointment when a promising weight management treatment fizzles out. A lot of "magic bullets" have come and gone over the last ten years. The latest to sputter, as described in the above article, is leptin, although it seems clear that leptin research may simply need to take a new path.

    Many conditions, including obesity, are still puzzles with missing pieces, puzzles that may remain incomplete during our lifetime. The same was true for people who lived 100 years ago. Yet they carried on, and we must do the same. We can live our lives to the fullest even while much remains to be learned.

    Instead of lamenting the lost promises of magic bullets, we must be thankful each and every day for what we do have. We must be thankful to our bodies for what they allow us to do. And we must never put our dreams on hold while we wait for the perfect body. Most dreams don't need a perfect body. They can be accomplished in the body you have.

    The day will come, somewhere out into the future, when scientists will unravel the complicated puzzle of obesity and perhaps find that magic bullet. But we have lives to live now. So instead of using your energy to fuel discouragement - a fuel waster - redirect it to the energy efficient opportunities and possibilities that are just waiting for you to ignite them!


    Healthy Living
    The Magic of Blueberries

    Blueberries are indeed becoming somewhat of a "magical food."


     Blueberries are rich in a number of compounds that today's researchers believe have medicinal properties. They are abundant in the antioxidant phytonutrient called anthocyanin, the pigment that gives the blueberry its rich, dark hue. According to a recent study from the US Dept. of Agriculture, blueberries ranked among the highest in antioxidant capacity of 100 different foods tested.

    Research from the Rutgers Blueberry and Cranberry Research Center has found that, as with cranberries, blueberries can help ward off urinary tract infections by preventing infection-causing bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract. The center's research has also found that certain compounds in blueberries help make blood platelets less sticky, lowering the risk of blood clots and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. There is also evidence that berries enhance the way brain cells communicate with one another. When buying fresh blueberries, choose those that are firm, uniform in size and indigo blue with a silver, powdery look called the "bloom." Avoid mushy, shriveled or moldy berries. Blueberries are best eaten right away, but will keep up to five days if refrigerated. To freeze fresh berries, do not wash them before freezing. Take them right from the container and place onto a cookie sheet or pan in a single layer, then put in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer to a plastic bag, seal tight, and keep frozen. Don't refreeze them; they get mushy. (Environmental Nutrition, June and August 2005)


    About 1/4 to 1/2 cup of part skim ricotta topped with blueberries as a breakfast treat.


    This 'n That
    From one of our readers:

    Hi Carol! My name is Kristie Agee. I'm a singer/songwriter and I live in Nashville, TN. I am releasing my debut CD in October. It's going to be entitled "Big Fat Mamas Are Back In Style". You can find our more about me and listen to the title track of my CD at www.kristieagee.com. Dream BIG! Live LARGE! Love yourself COMPLETELY! www.kristieagee.com

    Looking for plus size T-shirts. www.choiceshirts. com has adult T-shirts up to 6X. There are 124 Halloween designs alone and if you order 4 or more, shipping is free.

      If you haven't already, check out the "Love Your Peaches" collection for BBWs. Here's what owner Janelle Lowe has to say about her company:
    My motto is "no boundaries." I started this company in 1996, because, frankly, I couldn't find any clothes in the marketplace that spoke to me, the confident plus size woman. I know it sounds corny, but Peaches is so much more than just a company to me. It's my response to the world that told me that I was too fat, that I had to wear black, that I couldn't go sleeveless, that I couldn't wear a bikini, that I didn't look good. Well, my friends, for me those barriers are coming down, and I hope they do for you too, because it's a wonderful thing to be free.
      I'm often asked what the name "Love Your Peaches" means. Those of you who are over 30 may remember this, it came from a line of an old Steve Miller song, "really love your peaches, wanna shake your tree." Great song. More than that, however, I chose the name because it speaks to self-esteem. As women, we really do need to "love our peaches". We need to smile when we think of ourselves, to believe that we are as juicy and luscious and desirable as a perfectly ripe peach. We've wasted way too much time being unhappy with our bodies. Isn't it about time we started living with joy? Go to: www.loveyourpeaches.com

    Check out the "Love Your Body" wristband project, as well as batik fashions, at: www.love-your-body.org

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