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On a Positive Note - Online Newsletter! )
 November 11, 2002 November 2002 
In this Issue
Dear Reader,

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 Karen Stimson, founder of the Largesse organization.
  • 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

Welcome to Largely Positive's first online newsletter!

Before we begin on this important journey together, I think it is important to set forth the philosophy of Largely Positive.

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 circumstances.
  • Demand proper and respectful health care.
  • Develop "zero tolerance" for size discrimination.
  • 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 as possible.

Largely Positive: Health and Self-Esteem for people of all shapes and sizes.

"Grand Style" by Susan Weber
The Six Lifesavers of Fall  

Finally. Summer is over. No more agonizing over whether:

   I should/should not go sleeveless.
   I will/will not fit in the vacation airline seat.
   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 reunion.

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 find them:

 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 5-10 years. 

 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 Catherines.com. 

 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 coat. 

 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 black pants!!  

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.

grandstyle.com: Plus size style, shopping, size acceptance and resources »

"Size Esteem" by Karen Stimson

 Carol Johnson 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 largesse@eskimo.com. Until next time--

Abundantly, 

Karen W. Stimson
Largesse, the Network for Size Esteem

Research Round-Up
   Once again, 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 rare.

  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).

"Just Walk"
   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.

It's 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 "lazy."

 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.

Contact us today! »

Health 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 succeeded!

 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 only 5%.

  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 classes. (reutershealth.com)

 And one of our readers would agree with the above article, as she expresses in the following letter...

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...

Diane

Change Your Life!
The 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 me!"...Sarah

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

Best "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

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