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 www.largesse.net.
- 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 - Lessons We Can Learn from Reindeer
By Carol Johnson
thinking a lot lately about Rudolph -- no not Valentino
-- the reindeer with the big red nose. If anyone knows
about being teased and discriminated against, it's him.
Here he was with this big red nose, and, as we have been
told, "all of the other reindeer used to laugh and
call him names." They wouldn't even let him play
any "reindeer games!" He probably went around
for a long time thinking, "Why did I have to be
cursed with this big red nose? It just makes me stand
out and look different!"
And I'm told he tried everything to get rid of
it - - color remover, nose liposuction, nose reduction
pills, nose calisthenics. But nothing worked. A couple
times his nose did get smaller, but it always grew back
-- bigger and redder than ever! Researchers dubbed it
the "yo-yo nose syndrome." He always dreamed
of doing great things, but felt he had to wait until he
had a nose of normal size and color. He was at his wit's
end when Santa came and asked for his help guiding the
sleigh. At first, he was dumbfounded. He was so
accustomed to viewing his nose as a limitation and a
disadvantage that he never stopped to think about how to
use it to his advantage. You know the rest of the story.
They couldn't have made the journey without him. He
showed the others that even though he looked a bit
different, that difference could be put to a positive
use. He ended up as "leader of the pack" and
even went down in history. And so can you. But not until
you stop letting your perceived imperfections hold you
back and prevent you from achieving your full potential.
Make a list of the positive things living in a larger
body has taught you:
- Strength of character (it's not easy living in
this thin-obsessed society -- if you're doing it,
you've developed a great deal of inner strength).
- Feelings of physical strength and power.
- Better at fending off and recovering from illness.
- Less prone to some diseases and conditions such as
- Greater sensitivity and tolerance to those who are
different in any way.
- Creativity -- I've seen larger people develop many
creative solutions as they try to fit into a world
designed primarily for thin people.
Continue to make your own list. As for me, I
realized I am here to make a difference and to join
together with other size acceptance advocates in making
this world a better place for ample-bodied people. And
through this process, I have traveled, I have had to
develop speaking and leadership skills, I have met many
wonderful people. I have had to meet and respond to
challenges I never would have encountered as a thin
person, but this has enriched my life in so many ways.
Instead of beginning the new year with yet another
resolution to go on a diet, ask yourself:
- What has living in a larger body taught me?
- How can I use this to my advantage?
Then every time you have a negative body thought,
stop and replace it with a body thank-you, with
something positive your body has taught you, and begin
compiling a "Positives of Being Plus" list.
Self-Esteem Comes In All Sizes!
Why not think of your body as a snowflake?
ever look at a snowflake under a microscope?
Each one is uniquely shaped, and each one is
beautiful. It's the same with each of us. Every
time I see an article advising "how to
camouflage your figure flaws" I want to
scream - because I now realize that I don't have
figure flaws - and neither do you. My figure is
simply shaped differently from yours. Like a
snowflake, I have my own unique shape.
So it is with most things in nature. No two are
alike. We seem to be able to appreciate and
applaud this concept of diversity in everything
but the human body. Why is it that we have no
problem in seeing the beauty in a bouquet of
multi-colored, multi-shaped flowers, but when
people come in different shapes any sizes, we
regard it as a problem in need of correction?
Here's what I'd like you to do. Go out
and buy some of those snowflakes used for
holiday decorating - the kind that sparkle (like
you!). Pick one that you especially like and
attach your name to it. Hang it where you can
see it regularly as a reminder that you are -
like the snowflake - beautiful, sparkly and
CAN Survive The Holidays With Grand Style!
all year working on your self-esteem and
developing your grand style. Now, don't lose it
in the often stress-filled last months of the
year! Here are a few tips to get you, your
self-esteem and your style, through the
holidays. Don't let your dress size get in the
way of your holiday style.
1. Not comfortable on the ladder
hanging holiday house lights or decorating your
Christmas tree? Hire a neighborhood high school
kid for an hour and let him or her create your
show of holiday spirit. You'll get your
decorations ... and he or she will make some
holiday dollars. Don't go without the makings of
a special holiday memory just because it is
uncomfortable for you to implement!
2. Have a holiday portrait taken of
yourself to include in your holiday mailings.
You don't have to spend a lot -- look for
discounted sitting fees around the holidays or
get an appointment at Penny's or Sears. (No, you
don't have to sit on a little chair with Elmo or
use the same holiday props and backdrops as the
4 year old kids!) Be sure to wear something you
want to see yourself in for 20+ years - not just
something that makes you look "slim."
(Yes, the camera makes us look heavier; but, if
we're already plus or super sized, what's 10
more pounds?) This is not the time to try a new
hair style or color. Above all, be sure the
portrait reflects your style. Use a formal
photographer for a more formal pose, or ask a
photographer for a more casual outdoor pose.
Have fun with the photo -- wear a hat or take
your favorite pet!
3. Looking forward to holiday
concerts; but, can't deal with the cramped
seating? Consider matinee performances (they are
often not as fully attended, so you more room to
"spread out") and always look for
aisle seating. Still not comfortable? Ask for a
chair to be placed in the handicapped seating
area of the theatre.
4. Make holiday airline traveling
easier. Reserve an aisle seat. Avoid the back
row of the plane (the seats don't recline.) Take
your own airline seat belt extender. Let your
style shine through the holidays.
5. Buy holiday clothes now while the
selection is good. QVC (or watch their cable TV
channel, Lane Bryant (the stores, not the
catalogs) and Target are great sources for
reasonably-priced, plus size, handknit holiday
sweaters and vests.
6. Looking for that perfect red or
black size 32 dress for the office party? Check
out Silhouettes and Making It Big.
7. Red or ivory shirts are great to
"holiday-up" a pair of black slacks or
a black skirt already in your closet. Add a pair
of velveteen skimmer flats from Kmart or
Wal-Mart for less than $10. Can't find the
perfect red or green holiday camisole? Try a
solid color charmeuse tank top from the lingerie
department at Lane Bryant.
8. Found a beautiful holiday pendant
but the chain is too long? Hang it on a velvet
ribbon or cord from the fabric store.
9. Don't be afraid to create memories
that incorporate your unique style. Confetti in
your holiday cards. Bake dog and cat treats
(holiday magazines have the recipes). Give
indulgence balls as hostess or office gifts.
(Just fill craft store mesh ornaments with a
scented tea candle, a few Hershey kisses, a
bubble bath capsule, a tiny sachet pillow, a
pair of dice, a few stickers or a gift
certificate for ice cream or a bagel or a
10. Don't let the after Christmas
sales get the best of your Grand Style -- or
your common sense! Remember, if it didn't look
good on you when it was full price, it's not
going to look any better when it's half
price.It's hard to show your style when you are
11. Avoid the malls. Go once to see
the decorations and to give yourself a
"shot" of holiday spirit. Then, come
home and use catalogs, the internet or
television shopping. Don't forget to try their
"bill to/ship to" option and have your
selections shipped directly to your family and
friends. Some even gift wrap!
12. Having multiple get togethers at
your house? Have them all within a 4-5 day
period and serve the same menu and wear the same
outfit at each. Then, you only have to cook,
shop and clean the house once!
13. Don't diet. Besides the fact that
diets are bad for your health (and you'll gain
the weight all back - - plus more!), this is not
the time to try a new eating routine. As with
the other 11 months of the year, concentrate on
eating healthy. Try snacking on something
healthy before you leave for the holiday party
-- It will make it easier to resist that 5th
piece of fudge. Your dentist may be out the New
Year cavity payment; but, your healthy body with
thank you for it!
14. Set practical objectives for
family gatherings. You can't solve 20 years of
family problems in one dinner conversation. When
Uncle Harry harasses you about your weight, tell
him "Thanks for caring" and then
change the subject.
15. Don't wait until January to get
your stressed out body moving. Start walking.
Put your favorite holiday tunes on the Walkman
and walk ... don't stroll ... walk. Around the
block. Around the mall. Or, walk in place in
front of your TV - but keep moving. Movement is
a great stress reliever.
Looking for my annual holiday gift suggestion
list? Just click here!
of Thin Women
across an article titled "Secrets of Thin
Women." These types of articles always
amuse - and irritate - me because of the
implication that we larger women are clueless
when it comes to weight management strategies.
Here are some of those "secrets" -
followed by my responses! How would you respond?
Secret: "I force myself to eat
My response: I don't force myself, but I
do eat breakfast every morning - usually cereal
with fruit and a glass of juice.
Secret: "I bring my own lunch to
My response: So do I - just about every
Secret: "Most days I eat a salad
at lunch. Then one day a week I splurge at a
fast food restaurant."
My response: The lunch I bring to work is
usually a salad, with some meat or cheese as
protein. And most weeks I don't even splurge one
day a week at a fast food restaurant.
Secret: "The best way to keep
pounds off is to make dinner at home."
My response: My husband and I make dinner
at home almost every night - and I would throw
in a "secret" of my own - we plan
these meals ahead over the weekend, and cook
ahead as much as possible.
Secret: "I allow myself one of
three things - bread, wine or dessert."
My response: I rarely have wine or
dessert with any meal, but I often have bread.
Secret: "I limit myself to about
100 calories of candy sampling each day."
My response: There are days I don't eat
any candy at all, and when I do, I have a
Secret: "I always have some
string cheese on hand for an afternoon
My response: I also have a protein snack
in the afternoon.
Secret: "I eat a little lighter
during the day if I know I'm going out for
My response: Me too!
None of this is news to me - and it probably
isn't to you either. Once again, the assumption
rears its ugly head that larger women are
ignorant slugs who either don't know or don't
care about what they eat. I resent the idea that
I must be taught how to eat right by the svelte
among us. I suggest another article. I would
title it: "We Know Your Secrets!"
Yourself the Gift of Confidence
By Chenese Lewis, Miss Plus America
is the reigning Miss Plus America. With her
title the platform she has chosen to promote is
Positive Body Image. She emphasizes that beauty
comes in all shapes and sizes and discredits
stereotypes by being a confident, beautiful and
intelligent full-figured woman. Chenese is also
a plus size model, actress, and freelances as a
writer. For more information concerning this
dynamic young woman, private interviews, or
public appearances, email firstname.lastname@example.org
and visit the pageants website at www.missplusamerica.com.
I recently watched an episode of
"Extreme Makeover", a new show that
provides "extreme" makeovers by
including everything a regular makeover does
plus plastic surgery. The show claims it can
"change your life and destiny, and make all
your dreams come true". On the particular
episode I watched, a woman got rhinoplasty, fat
injections in the face, lower eye lift, face and
neck lift, pre-hairline brow lift, erbium laser
of the mouth and nasolabial, photofacial, breast
augmentation, liposuction of thighs and
whitening of her teeth. Out of all the episodes
I've watched before, this one stood out because
of a comment the woman made on the show. After
her transformation was complete, she stated that
after she went through all of the surgery, she
realized she wasn't so bad after all, because
all of the people that loved her loved her as
she was before.
After I heard this woman's statement
on the show I yelled to the television "I
could have told you that!!!" The only thing
she was lacking was confidence. Confidence comes
from within; therefore if you rely on your
external appearance to justify who you are, you
will never be truly happy, because you will
always find something wrong.
One of my most valuable secrets that I
can pass on to someone about confidence is to
look your best, because when you look your best
you feel your best. The thing that gets people
confused is thinking that looking your best is a
certain size or shape. I do not have to lose 30
pounds or get the fat sucked out of my thighs to
look my best. Someone else may think so, but I
don't, and I don't live my life to please other
people. My definition of looking your best is by
being body conscious and being comfortable in
the skin that you are in. Being body conscious
means to not be in denial about your shape,
accentuate the positive, and camouflage the
negative. People of all sizes have to do that.
You must also be comfortable in the skin you are
in and remember that beauty comes from within.
How horrible would it be to transform yourself
into something that you are not and the person
you are trying to impress isn't impressed???
What one person considers beautiful, the next
person might not, the only opinion that should
matter is your own.
The most attractive feature anyone can
have, regardless of their shape or size, is
confidence. A confident person is someone that
accepts who they are and aren't afraid to be
themselves. Confidence can make you more
attractive and appealing than anything else
could ever do. No one is perfect and no ones
body is perfect. I think obsessing over it is a
waste of time. So take my advice and do some
really "extreme" love yourself just
the way you are!!
at Every Size
What Me - Exercise?
exercising out of fear, anger or to self
medicate, you may get the job done; however,
over the long haul, you'll find it hard to
maintain. Research shows a correlation between
the depth of what motivates someone to exercise
and how consistent their exercise will be. As
you ask yourself why you exercise, challenge the
reasons you come up with. Those who are active
and exercise for strong and deeply convicted
reasons, such as self-improvement, health,
relaxation and enjoyment very often succeed.
Exercise Excuses: The Big Four
1. "I'm much too busy":
You're really not. All it takes is 30 minutes --
and exercise experts now say you can break it
into three 10-minute stints. Write exercise
appointments in your calendar and treat each one
as you would an important meeting. If your
excuse is that exercise gets in the way of your
social life, combine the two: rather than
meeting friends at a bar, take an exercise class
2. "I'm too intimidated":
Consult an exercise physiologist or personal
trainer for ideas. Find an exercise phobic
friend and brave the gym together. Get over the
feeling everyone is looking at you -- they're
too busy doing their own thing. And even if they
are, so what?
3. "I never see any
results": This is one of the major problems
with how exercise has been promoted. Often
weight loss is the only goal, and if you aren't
losing any -- or as much as you think you should
-- you give up. You need to formulate other
goals -- and have more than one. Has your blood
pressure improved? Cholesterol gone down? Do you
have more energy? Can you climb a flight of
stairs and not be out of breath? You are much
better off charting your progress using a
variety of health-related goals, rather than the
singular goal of weight loss.
4. "I can't find anything I
like": This is because we define exercise
too narrowly -- usually as working out in a gym,
doing calisthenics or jumping up and down in an
aerobics class. But this is only the tip of the
iceberg. We need to quit talking about exercise,
and talk about movement. Anything you do to move
your body is good for it. So now you've expanded
your definition of exercise to include
everything you do that doesn't involve sitting
in a chair (and even that's not altogether true,
because there's a form of exercise called
"chair dancing"). Chair dancing
actually provides a balanced aerobic, toning and
stretching workout while comfortably seated on a
chair. If you have physical limitations that
make it difficult to exercise in a standing
position, why not consider chair dancing? For
more information, call 1- 800-551-4FUN or write
to Chair Dancing International, 2670 Del Mar
Heights Rd., Suite 183, Del Mar, CA 92014.
a Wonderful Life!
pages of almost any magazine this time of year
and you'll find an article on coping with
holiday stress. Larger women often have the
added stress of attending holiday festivities
and family gatherings with people who heard us
pledge last year that we would shed four dress
sizes by this holiday season. Then there's the
stress of accompanying our spouses to company
parties, or seeing friends and relatives we
haven't seen in years. It becomes more and more
tempting just to avoid it all and stay home, but
don't watch the holidays from the sidelines! We
simply must get rid of the mindset that keeps us
hidden away until a new body emerges. The body
you have will do just fine.
Sparke and shine! This is not the time to
avoid buying clothes until you lose weight. Buy
something smashing in a bright, festive color.
Just make sure it fits you comfortably right
now. If it's too tight, it won't be flattering
and you'll be tugging at at all night. And
remember that a positive, upbeat attitude is
your best accessory. Stride confidently into the
party, with a smile on your face, knowing you
look terrific, and you can't lose.
Don't EVER apologize for your weight or call
people's attention to it. Apologies are used to
right a wrong, and you haven't done anything
wrong. Don't discuss your weight - or anyone
else's. Weight is a boring topic. Talk about the
interesting things you've been doing this past
year. Ask others what they've been doing.
Get into the holiday spirit and take the
focus off yourself and your weight by attending
a holiday concert, a play, the local adaptation
of the Nutcracker - or throw your own party and
make it a reflection of your own style and
personality. Finally, turn thoughts of your
weight into thoughts of others. If you really
stop and think about it, the size of your body
is unimportant compared to the needs of people
less fortunate. Take needed items to a homeless
shelter. Adopt a family. Visit an isolated older
person and take him or her a care package. Don't
let the holiday season pass you by. Get right in
there and be a part of it!
NOTE: Research Round-Up
will return in the next issue. We wanted to make
this holiday edition
of On a Positive Note as festive as possible!
tool is now available to help you in your quest
for body peace and acceptance.
Live Large! is a powerful collection
of affirmations, ideas and actions to help women
love their bodies, regardless of their size or
shape. For all women, and especially those who
struggle with weight or poor body image, it is
an appealing, easy-to-use guide to "living
the life you want in the body you have."
Organized in a one-page-at-a-time
format, readers can absorb and practice each of
these 140 messages, such as "I am grateful
for every day I live peacefully in my body"
and "I know what is important for me to do,
and I do it." Purchase at www.gurze.com
- makes a great holiday gift for just about any
woman, as we all struggle with these issues, no
matter what our size or shape!
About the Author:
Cheri Erdman, Ed.D. is a leader in the
size-acceptance field and author of Nothing to
Lose: A Guide to Sane Living in a Larger Body.
Dr. Erdman has led retreats and workshops on
body image for over twenty years and has been
interviewed by NPR, Ricki Lake, the Chicago
Tribune, and People Magazine.
New Year: Your Largely Positive Calendar for
month has its birthstone. But did you know there
are also Largely Positive "stones?"
And the good new is that you can have them all!
Here is our Largely Positive calendar for the
coming year, complete with a gem for each month:
January: Is for Jewel. Each of us is a
unique jewel, and your smile is the sparkle and
shine. Do it as often as possible.
February: Is for Friends. Choose those
who affirm and accept you. They too are jewels.
March: Is for Mahvelous because,
dahling, you look "mahvelous" with
your luscious curves and sexy strut. There are
many adoring eyes focused on you - let your eyes
April: Is for Appreciation. Appreciate
your body for the things it does for you - at
any size: arms to hug, eyes to see, ears to
hear, lips to kiss.
May: Is for Masterful. Everyone has
something they do well. Discover your talents
and master them.
June: Joie de Vivre. Webster's defines
the phrase as "keen or buoyant enjoyment of
life." Do it! Don't let anything,
especially your weight, hold you back.
July: Is for Just Fine: You're just
fine the way you are and don't ever let anyone
tell you differently.
August: Is for Amuse. Let life amuse
you. Don't take it or yourself too seriously.
September: Is for all the "Selfs":
Self- confidence, self-esteem and self-respect.
These are not prizes for weight loss. They are
your rights - at any size.
October: Is for Opportunities. They're
all around you. Don't shut them out. You don't
need to be thin to live your life to the max!
November: Is for Now. Now is when you
live your life - not in the past, not in the
future. Now is all that we have.
December: Is for Dazzle: Dazzle them
this holiday season with the beauty that
radiates from a "largely positive"
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