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 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
- Size esteem advice from Karen Stimson, founder of
the Largesse organization.
- Plus-size fitness tips. "Non-diet"
- Latest news from the weight discrimination battle
- 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!"
Carol Johnson, President
Largely Positive Inc.
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"The Big Picture" by Carol Johnson
Welcome to Largely Positive's first
Before we begin on this important journey together, I
think it is important to set forth the philosophy of
I founded Largely Positive in 1987 after having spent
most of my life dieting and blaming myself because I was
big. In 1987 I read a book that changed my life. That
book was "The Dieter's Dilemma" by William
Bennett,MD, of Harvard University. To quote Dr. Bennett:
Being fat reflects neither weakness of character nor
neurotic conflict; it is a biological fact of life, an
aspect of the human species' inherent variability. It is
not your "fault." What do you mean it's not
my fault? All my life people told me it was. But Dr.
Bennett went through all the research that has been done
on obesity showing that many of the factors involved are
physiological in nature and have nothing to do with how
much willpower you have.
The Largely Positive philosophy:
- Your size is not a measure of your self-worth.
- Self-esteem is not a prize for losing weight. It
your right as a human being.
- Life is to be lived now, not 20 pounds from now.
- Your health is important - "health at any
size." Focus on developing a healthy lifestyle,
not dropping three dress sizes.
- People respond to you based on the attitude you
project. Make it a positive one.
- Do not allow anyone to "size victimize"
you. Make it clear this not acceptable under any
- Demand proper and respectful health care.
- Develop "zero tolerance" for size
- In other words, be "largely positive!"
You should also know that we are not opposed to
weight management - if it is based on scientific
research. Most of what passes for weight management is
not grounded in research, but in false promises and
weight loss mythology. We will tell you as this
newsletter progresses what the experts really say about
weight management and the right way to do it.
Now the challenge to you, the reader, is this: Open your
mind to new information. Questions everything you see or
hear about weight from now on. Insist on knowing
"where that came from." And we will do our
best to keep you informed as accurately and objectively
Positive: Health and Self-Esteem for people of all
shapes and sizes.
Style" by Susan Weber
The Six Lifesavers of Fall
Finally. Summer is over. No more
agonizing over whether:
I should/should not go
I will/will not fit in the vacation
I should/should not be exercise
walking in the heat.
Uncle Joe will/will not make his
annual rude remark about my weight at the family
Hooray, it's Fall! Time for us to follow
Mother Nature's clue and shed our poor self
esteem images and get ready to bundle ourselves
up against the ravages of winter.
This is also the time when I throw open my
closet, give away the clothes I don't (or
can't!) wear, mend and repair where necessary,
wash and box up the summer stuff and bring
forward the cozy stuff for the cooler season.
I have found over the years that I've lost
that compelling urge to run out and buy the
newest, trendiest fall things that the retail
world has to offer. Maybe it's my age or maybe
it's the economy. Or, maybe it's just that I
don't feel the need for hip hugger jeans and a
bare mid-drift peasant top.
But, as I have every year for the past 20 or
so, I still find the need to locate the seven
little lifesavers that I save every year to get
me through the colder months. Here's my list
along with a little info on why I don't want to
be without them - and a tip or two on where to
1. Knee high leather boots --
There is nothing warmer and dryer than a good
pair of boots. The good news for this year is
that retailers are starting to realize that some
of us have VERY curvaceous calfs.
Silhouettes.com, Avenue.com and
LaneBryantCatalog.com carry Regence® and
Cloudwalkers''® boots with proportionately wide
calfs (the calf gets wider as the shoe length
gets longer). Silhouettes.com also carries the
x-wide calf size in their Regence® boot (the
calf of the boot is wide, even though the shoe
size and width are not large.) Cost about
$130-140. Sounds like a lot of money; but, if
you care for them well, they should last you
2. Silk underwear - I'm not talking
about skimpy little silky bras and panties. I'm
talking a 2-piece set - a top and pants with
long sleeves and long legs. They provide
insulation in the cold, wick away any moisture
and yet keep you toasty warm. They are also very
handy under wool sweaters, minimizing any itch
and slowing down the need for sweater hand
washing. My favorite silk undies are from
Junonia.com. They are about $40 a piece; but,
like the boots, they will last for years.
3. Wide width socks - Bottomline:
We curvy ladies have curvy feet. Why hastle with
tight socks? Give your ankles, arches and toes
some room. Wal-Mart, Target and Lane Bryant
stores have a growing assortment of size 10-13
socks for women. The problem: These socks are
longer; but, not necessarily wider. So, I prefer
to wear men's socks. They are longer and wider
than women's, they cost less and are available
in lots of colors and styles (check out the
great holiday socks at Target!). Prices vary.
4. Bike length Lycra shorts - My
curvy hips usually mean that my pantyhose and
tights end start a fast slip down my hips and
would be around my knees if I didn't tug them up
throughout the day. Solution: Wear a pair of
knee length bike shorts over pantyhose and
tights. Three bonuses: They keep everything from
slipping (even if you wear nylon panties), they
tuck in a tummy and they keep me warm. You can
buy a pair for under $10 at Wal-Mart or Target
and toss them after 6 months when the waistbands
start to pull out. Or, you can "investment
dress" and buy a well-made pair that will
last you for many years from Junonia.com or
5. Warm coat - Large size, stylish
coats are very hard to find. So, we tend to
settle on a utilitarian ugly coat that either
keeps us warm or dry - but not both. Website and
catalog retailers now have a terrific assortment
of beautiful coats. Some of my favorite faux
furs, raincoats, swing coats and car coats are
from the Dennis Basso line available through
QVC.com. LaneBryantCatalog.com and
Silhouettes.com also do a real good job at
larger size fashionable coats. Costs range from
about $75 up. Tip: Don't scrimp here. This is
true investment dressing. Look for a coat that
is multi-purpose (zip in/out liner, button
on/off hood, etc.) to get maximum wear from your
6. Black pants - For all those
years that I only wore black pants because I
thought any other color made me look 5 pounds
heavier, I'm sure it seems odd to my friends
that black pants are on my lifesaver list now
that I have branched out into bright colors and
prints! Why black pants: They seem to be the
perfect starting point for any outfit. When I
don't know how dressy or casual to dress, I
start with black pants + a solid top + plain
flats + two sets of jewelry in my purse (one
casual and one with a little dressy sparkle).
So, needless to say, I have several pairs of
So, open up that closet door. Do a little
end-of-season clearing and get out your Fall
lifesavers. Have a great (any cozy) Fall.
Plus size style, shopping, size acceptance and
Esteem" by Karen Stimson
has kindly invited me to write a regular column
for "On a Positive Note" on the topic
of Size Esteem. I realize the phrase may be
unfamiliar to many readers, so in my inaugural
column I'd like to offer a brief introduction to
the concept, and why I feel it's so important.
But first, I'd like to tell you a little about
myself. I've been a large person since early
childhood. My wonderful mother--a woman of size
herself and a successful business
executive--taught me that people should be
judged by the contributions they make to the
world, not by what they looked like. I was a
happy, healthy, active child, and my weight
wasn't the "big" issue in my early
life that it is for many people my size, thanks
to my supportive family.
Things changed, however, when I went
to college. I got a rude awakening during my
junior year when my application to major in
Secondary Education was turned down after an
interview with the dean of that college at my
university. His reason? Not my grades-I was on
the Dean's List every semester. No, he said I
was "too fat to be a teacher." As a
result of this blatant weight discrimination, I
graduated with a B.A. in English with Honors,
but without the teaching certificate I needed to
land a job as a teacher. I guess it isn't
surprising that I became a size acceptance
activist, once I learned of the movement. After
joining NAAFA (the National Association to
Advance Fat Acceptance) as a charter member in
1970, I was active with that organization
through the decade, serving on its Board of
Directors for several years. In the early
1980's, already a "veteran" of the
size acceptance movement, I founded my own
organization which in 1986 became Largesse, the
Network for Size Esteem. Since then, Largesse
has become an international clearinghouse for
information and resources to empower larger
people and our friends. Our mission is to
encourage personal awareness and social change
which promotes a positive image, health and
equal rights for people of size. In 1995
Largesse went online, to make our resources
available for free to anyone with an internet
connection anywhere in the world. I currently
serve as Co-director of Largesse with my
husband, Richard K. Stimson.
It was Richard, in fact, who
originated the term "size esteem" more
than a decade ago. He defines size esteem as:
the feeling of acceptance, respect for, and
pride in one's body, whatever its size or shape.
In her book Live Large!, Dr. Cheri Erdman
expands on this. She says, "When you
combine size acceptance with self-esteem, you
get SIZE ESTEEM: feeling really, really good
about yourself in your body. You will reach this
'feeling good' place when you have accepted your
body size and shape. Size esteem means being
proud of your body, regardless of its size. Size
esteem means taking care of your body,
regardless of its size. Size esteem means
getting what you earn, regardless of your
size." Another way to think of size esteem
is self- esteem for your body. But why is that
important? Why isn't it enough to just feel good
about yourself as a person? Can't we love
ourselves unconditionally without loving our
bodies as well?
Let's face it, there are days when the
most self- assured among us feels less than
confident, or when we look in the mirror and
say, "Yuck"! Size esteem, like
self-esteem, is an ongoing process, a goal, a
gift we give ourselves. Our bodies are where we
live. Dr. Thomas Cash, an author and clinical
psychologist, writes, "Obviously if one
dislikes the body one lives in, it is difficult
to be satisfied with the self who lives
there." Feeling comfortable in our own skin
is an essential component of living a happy,
healthy life, both emotionally and physically.
But it doesn't exist in a vacuum. Unfortunately,
body dissatisfaction and body hatred are
pervasive in our culture. It isn't easy to defy
all the messages we are bombarded with daily
saying our bodies are somehow deficient; that we
need to do this or buy that to make them more
acceptable to ourselves or to those we love.
Countless products and services profit from
making us feel bad about our bodies. To
counteract this insistent pressure to try to
remake our bodies, we need both role models and
resources that reinforce the reality of natural,
healthy body diversity and help us view our own
bodies in a positive light. Largely Positive is
a vibrant voice for size esteem. I hope in this
column to introduce some of the other voices in
the chorus which offer us opportunities for
expanding the universe of our ideas about
ourselves and our bodies, and for building size
esteem. I'd love to have your comments on
anything I've written here; you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time--
Karen W. Stimson
the Network for Size Esteem
researchers have identified a physiological
factor that appears to be associated with how
much you weigh. While you may have some
difficulty understanding the following item (I
did), the underlying message is one that we keep
reiterating here at Largely Positive: There are
many complex physiological factors that conspire
to determine how much you weigh and researchers
are still trying to make sense of it all. Here
is yet another piece of the puzzle:
Recent years have witnessed explosive
growth in knowledge of the physiologic factors
regulating appetite and body weight. Satiety
signals are divided into those that influence
the termination of individual meals and those
that relate to the long-term regulation of body
weight, although these systems overlap. The best
understood signal of long-term satiety is leptin,
a hormone produced predominantly in fat, with
circulating levels generally proportional to
energy store in adipose tissue. A deficiency of
leptin leads to severe obesity in both rodents
and humans, and resistance to leptin is common
in obesity but is poorly understood.
Ghrelin is a recently discovered
hormone that adds a new dimension to our
understanding of the interplay between
peripheral tissues and the brain in the
regulation of body weight. Obesity itself is
associated with decreased ghrelin levels, making
it unlikely that overproduction of ghrelin
causes the obesity syndrome.
Rather, such overproduction may be seen as a
failed adaptation to obesity. Weight reduction
brought about by caloric restriction causes the
ghrelin level to increase, suggesting that
ghrelin might contribute to the drive to eat
that makes long-term success with dieting so
Potential targets for drug development
in the field of obesity treatment are now
plentiful, and ghrelin antagonists must now be
included among them. (New England Journal of
Medicine, May 23, 2002).
More evidence that
there is no need to "go for the burn"
or sweat it out in special classes - walking
appears to boost heart health in women as much
as vigorous activity. Women who either walked
briskly or exercised vigorously at least 2.5
hours per week were about 30% less likely to
experience a heart attack or stroke over a
three-year period, compared to sedentary women.
(This according to The New England Journal of
Medicine, September 5, 2002)
This is all well and good. But what if
it's raining, snowing, icy, hot and humid, etc.
etc. etc. A friend swears by her walking tapes
which she pops into the VCR every morning before
she goes to work (I'd be popping them in after
work - we all have different exercise times).
Her favorite: Leslie Sansone walking tapes,
available at www.qvc.com
Finally, it sounds simple enough to say
"just walk," but it's not so simple
for people afflicted with arthritis, back
problems or other conditions that make walking
painful. If this sounds like you, try chair
dancing! You'll be amazed at what a good workout
you can get in a chair. To order a chair dancing
tape, go to www.chairdancing.com
or call 1-800-551-4386.
Up to Us
The first step in
any movement to combat discrimination and
prejudice is to recognize that it is occurring.
Because they assume their size is their fault,
this has been difficult for most larger people.
It is sometimes difficult for larger
people to realize they are being discriminated
against because they blame themselves for their
size and weight - and, frankly, so do many other
people. They feel that "because these fat
people could do something about their weight if
they really wanted to," there is no
discrimination occurring. But as the research on
size and weight continues to evolve, it becomes
clear that our weight is governed by many
complex factors, and it becomes questionable
just how much control we really do have.
Here are just a few findings from the
research on weight discrimination:Larger people
are less likely to be accepted into college,
they make less money, and are less likely to be
hired. Jokes about overweight individuals are
still fair game for sure laughs by comedians.
And even the medical community is not exempt
when it comes to weight discrimination. As early
as l969, it was found that more than half of
physicians described their obese patients as
weak- willed, ugly, or awkward. In a more recent
study, 63% of family physicians attributed
obesity to a lack of willpower, and more than a
third described their obese patients as
Through this newsletter, I hope we can
convince you to start taking action when you
believe weight discrimination is occurring.
Write a letter. Call and complain. Don't retreat
from prejudiced comments. Challenge people. Ask
where they are getting their facts and
information (they usually don't know).
Discrimination is always based on ignorance, and
weight discrimination is no different. Please
join me in a campaign to enlighten and educate.
Discrimination of any kind is a blight on
society, and we all benefit from its demise.
us today! »
At Any Size
One sure way to
kill your exercise program is to tie it to
weight loss. When several weeks go by and you
don't lose any weight - or as much as you think
you should - you'll probably get frustrated and
give up. I decided long ago that my goal was not
weight loss - it was to feel better and be
healthier. This has enabled me to stick with my
program for years rather than weeks. If you come
out energized and feeling better, you've
Larger women are more likely to improve
their health when they exercise to feel better,
not to lose weight, study findings show.
"You can get fit without losing
weight," according to Cindy Byfield, a
dietitian with Colorado State University in Fort
Collins. In a study of 56 plus-size, sedentary
women, Byfield and her colleagues found that an
exercise program that focused on fitness instead
of weight loss improved the women's
cardiovascular performance by 13%. In contrast,
women who followed a "traditional"
exercise plan saw their performance increase by
In the study, the women were randomly
assigned to one of two groups. The experimental
group followed a 6-month program designed to
improve body image and get the women involved in
any kind of activity that would get them moving
for 30 minutes on most days of the week. Women
in the traditional exercise group were given
either a 6-month gym membership or an exercise
plan, along with instruction on how to start
exercising. In an interview with Reuters Health,
Byfield said the key to the program's success
was its focus on activity of all kinds. "We
did not focus on weight loss. It wasn't
encouraged or discouraged," she said.
Instead, she said, the women were supposed to
try various activities on their own or in groups
-- from walking and biking to belly-dancing
And one of our readers would agree with
the above article, as she expresses in the
Dear Carol A. Johnson,
I want to thank you for writing the
book "Self- Esteem Comes in all
Sizes." I found out so many things about
being a large woman. It really made me want to
take care of my health without always wanting to
lose weight rapidly. As a large woman I feel
better about myself. Thank you...
Magic Bullet Weight Loss Clinic changed my life!
How many times have you seen those
ads, only to try it and find out that it didn't
change your life at all - it shortchanged you,
in terms of money, time and false promises.
If you really want to change your
life, read "Self-Esteem Comes In All
Sizes" by Carol Johnson and get the real
story about your size and weight - a story no
one has probably ever told you. Did you know
that food may play a small part in determining
your weight? Did you know that dieting can make
you fatter? Did you know that the concept of
willpower is fatally flawed?
We have received literally hundreds of
letters with comments similar to these:
Hi. I just read your book
"Self-Esteem Comes In All Sizes" for
the fourth time. It's been life- changing for
I read with enthusiasm your book
"Self-Esteem Comes In All Sizes." It
changed my life!...Cindy
Your book is changing my life. For 50 years I
have struggled to be thin. Time to turn over a
new leaf! Thank you!...Sheila
Quit buying into the diet industry's mythology.
Educate yourself and take charge of your body
once and for all. For an autographed copy of
"Self-Esteem Comes In All Sizes," just
visit our website, www.largelypositive.com
Or to order directly from the publisher, Gurze
Books, go to www.gurze.com
"Fast Food Picks"
The respected newsletter Environmental Nutrition
has picked the "best fast foods."
Among the winners:
- Arby's Light Roast Turkey Deluxe Sandwich
- Burger King Chicken Whopper Jr.
- Hardee's Hamburger
- McDonald's Chicken Fajita
- Subway Veggie Delight
- Taco Bell Soft Chicken Taco
- Wendy's Mandarin Orange Chicken Salad
- Pizza Hut Veggie Lovers, The Edge
forget to forward "On a Positive Note"
Newsletter on to your friends, family, and associates.
© 2002 Largely Positive Inc, All rights reserved. Largely Positive® and "The Positive Approach
To Weight Management"® are registered trademark of Largely Positive Inc, All rights reserved.