Weight Loss and Nutrition Myths

  • Diet Myths
  • Meal Myths
  • Physical Activity Myth
  • Food Myths

“Lose 30 pounds in 30 days!”
“Eat as much as you want and still lose weight!”
“Try the thigh buster and lose inches fast!”
And so on, and so on. With so many products and weight-loss theories out there, it is easy to get confused.
The information in this fact sheet will help clear up confusion about weight loss, nutrition, and physical activity. It may also help you make healthy changes in your eating and physical activity habits. If you have questions not answered here, or if you want to lose weight, talk to your health care provider. A registered dietitian, or other qualified health professional can give you advice on how to follow a healthy eating plan, lose weight safely, and keep it off.
Diet Myths
Myth: Fad diets work for permanent weight loss.
Fact: Fad diets are not the best way to lose weight and keep it off. Fad diets often promise quick weight loss or tell you to cut certain foods out of your diet. You may lose weight at first on one of these diets. But diets that strictly limit calories or food choices are hard to follow. Most people quickly get tired of them and regain any lost weight.
Fad diets may be unhealthy because they may not provide all of the nutrients your body needs. Also, losing weight at a very rapid rate (more than 3 pounds a week after the first couple of weeks) may increase your risk for developing gallstones (clusters of solid material in the gallbladder that can be painful). Diets that provide less than 800 calories per day also could result in heart rhythm abnormalities, which can be fatal.
Tip: Research suggests that losing 1/2 to 2 pounds a week by making healthy food choices, eating moderate portions, and building physical activity into your daily life is the best way to lose weight and keep it off. By adopting healthy eating and physical activity habits, you may also lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Myth: High-protein/low-carbohydrate diets are a healthy way to lose weight.
Fact: The long-term health effects of a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet are unknown. But getting most of your daily calories from high-protein foods like meat, eggs, and cheese is not a balanced eating plan. You may be eating too much fat and cholesterol, which may raise heart disease risk. You may be eating too few fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which may lead to constipation due to lack of dietary fiber. Following a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet may also make you feel nauseous, tired, and weak.
Eating fewer than 130 grams of carbohydrate a day can lead to the buildup of ketones (partially broken-down fats) in your blood. A buildup of ketones in your blood (called ketosis) can cause your body to produce high levels of uric acid, which is a risk factor for gout (a painful swelling of the joints) and kidney stones. Ketosis may be especially risky for pregnant women and people with diabetes or kidney disease.
Tip: High-protein/low-carbohydrate diets are often low in calories because food choices are strictly limited, so they may cause short-term weight loss. But a reduced-calorie eating plan that includes recommended amounts of carbohydrate, protein, and fat will also allow you to lose weight. By following a balanced eating plan, you will not have to stop eating whole classes of foods, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables-and miss the key nutrients they contain. You may also find it easier to stick with a diet or eating plan that includes a greater variety of foods.
Myth: Starches are fattening and should be limited when trying to lose weight.
Fact: Many foods high in starch, like bread, rice, pasta, cereals, beans, fruits, and some vegetables (like potatoes and yams) are low in fat and calories. They become high in fat and calories when eaten in large portion sizes or when covered with high-fat toppings like butter, sour cream, or mayonnaise. Foods high in starch (also called complex carbohydrates) are an important source of energy for your body.
Tip: A healthy eating plan is one that:

  • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
  • Is low in saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

For more specific information about food groups and nutrition values, visit www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines.
Myth: Certain foods, like grapefruit, celery, or cabbage soup, can burn fat and make you lose weight.
Fact: No foods can burn fat. Some foods with caffeine may speed up your metabolism (the way your body uses energy, or calories) for a short time, but they do not cause weight loss.
Tip: The best way to lose weight is to cut back on the number of calories you eat and be more physically active.
Myth: Natural or herbal weight-loss products are safe and effective.
Fact: A weight-loss product that claims to be “natural” or “herbal” is not necessarily safe. These products are not usually scientifically tested to prove that they are safe or that they work. For example, herbal products containing ephedra (now banned by the U.S. Government) have caused serious health problems and even death. Newer products that claim to be ephedra-free are not necessarily danger-free, because they may contain ingredients similar to ephedra.
Tip: Talk with your health care provider before using any weight-loss product. Some natural or herbal weight-loss products can be harmful.
Meal Myths

Myth: “I can lose weight while eating whatever I want.”
Fact: To lose weight, you need to use more calories than you eat. It is possible to eat any kind of food you want and lose weight. You need to limit the number of calories you eat every day and/or increase your daily physical activity. Portion control is the key. Try eating smaller amounts of food and choosing foods that are low in calories.
Tip: When trying to lose weight, you can still eat your favorite foods-as long as you pay attention to the total number of calories that you eat.
Myth: Low-fat or fat-free means no calories.
Fact: A low-fat or fat-free food is often lower in calories than the same size portion of the full-fat product. But many processed low-fat or fat-free foods have just as many calories as the full-fat version of the same food-or even more calories. They may contain added sugar, flour, or starch thickeners to improve flavor and texture after fat is removed. These ingredients add calories.
Tip: Read the Nutrition Facts on a food package to find out how many calories are in a serving. Check the serving size too-it may be less than you are used to eating. For more information about reading food labels, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration online at www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/foodlab.html.
Myth: Fast foods are always an unhealthy choice and you should not eat them when dieting.
Fact: Fast foods can be part of a healthy weight-loss program with a little bit of know-how.
Tip: Avoid supersize combo meals, or split one with a friend. Sip on water or fat-free milk instead of soda. Choose salads and grilled foods, like a grilled chicken breast sandwich or small hamburger. Try a “fresco” taco (with salsa instead of cheese or sauce) at taco stands. Fried foods, like french fries and fried chicken, are high in fat and calories, so order them only once in a while, order a small portion, or split an order with a friend. Also, use only small amounts of high-fat, high-calorie toppings, like regular mayonnaise, salad dressings, bacon, and cheese.
Myth: Skipping meals is a good way to lose weight.
Fact: Studies show that people who skip breakfast and eat fewer times during the day tend to be heavier than people who eat a healthy breakfast and eat four or five times a day. This may be because people who skip meals tend to feel hungrier later on, and eat more than they normally would. It may also be that eating many small meals throughout the day helps people control their appetites.
Tip: Eat small meals throughout the day that include a variety of healthy, low-fat, low-calorie foods.
Myth: Eating after 8 p.m. causes weight gain.
Fact: It does not matter what time of day you eat. It is what and how much you eat and how much physical activity you do during the whole day that determines whether you gain, lose, or maintain your weight. No matter when you eat, your body will store extra calories as fat.
Tip: If you want to have a snack before bedtime, think first about how many calories you have eaten that day. And try to avoid snacking in front of the TV at night-it may be easier to overeat when you are distracted by the television.
Physical Activity Myth

Myth: Lifting weights is not good to do if you want to lose weight, because it will make you “bulk up”.
Fact: Lifting weights or doing strengthening activities like push-ups and crunches on a regular basis can actually help you maintain or lose weight. These activities can help you build muscle, and muscle burns more calories than body fat. So if you have more muscle, you burn more calories-even sitting still. Doing strengthening activities 2 or 3 days a week will not “bulk you up.” Only intense strength training, combined with a certain genetic background, can build very large muscles.
Tip: In addition to doing at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (like walking 2 miles in 30 minutes) on most days of the week, try to do strengthening activities 2 to 3 days a week. You can lift weights, use large rubber bands (resistance bands), do push-ups or sit-ups, or do household or garden tasks that make you lift or dig.
Food Myths

Myth: Nuts are fattening and you should not eat them if you want to lose weight.
Fact: In small amounts, nuts can be part of a healthy weight-loss program. Nuts are high in calories and fat. However, most nuts contain healthy fats that do not clog arteries. Nuts are also good sources of protein, dietary fiber, and minerals including magnesium and copper.
Tip: Enjoy small portions of nuts. One-half ounce of mixed nuts has about 270 calories.
Myth: Eating red meat is bad for your health and makes it harder to lose weight.
Fact: Eating lean meat in small amounts can be part of a healthy weight-loss plan. Red meat, pork, chicken, and fish contain some cholesterol and saturated fat (the least healthy kind of fat). They also contain healthy nutrients like protein, iron, and zinc.
Tip: Choose cuts of meat that are lower in fat and trim all visible fat. Lower fat meats include pork tenderloin and beef round steak, tenderloin, sirloin tip, flank steak, and extra lean ground beef. Also, pay attention to portion size. Three ounces of meat or poultry is the size of a deck of cards.
Myth: Dairy products are fattening and unhealthy.
Fact: Low-fat and fat-free milk, yogurt, and cheese are just as nutritious as whole milk dairy products, but they are lower in fat and calories. Dairy products have many nutrients your body needs. They offer protein to build muscles and help organs work properly, and calcium to strengthen bones. Most milks and some yogurts are fortified with vitamin D to help your body use calcium.
Tip: The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming 3 cups per day of fat-free/low-fat milk or equivalent milk products. For more information on these guidelines, visit www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines.
If you cannot digest lactose (the sugar found in dairy products), choose low-lactose or lactose-free dairy products, or other foods and beverages that offer calcium and vitamin D (listed below).

  • Calcium: soy-based beverage or tofu made with calcium sulfate; canned salmon; dark leafy greens like collards or kale
  • Vitamin D: soy-based beverage or cereal (getting some sunlight on your skin also gives you a small amount of vitamin D)


Active at Any Size

WOULD you like to be more physically active, but are not sure if you can do it?
Good news – if you are a very large person, you can be physically active – and you can have fun and feel good doing it.
THERE may be special challenges for very large people who are physically active. You may not be able to bend or move in the same way that other people can. It may be hard to find clothes and equipment for exercising. You may feel self-conscious being physically active around other people.
Facing these challenges is hard-but it can be done! The information in this booklet may help you start being more active and healthier-no matter what your size!

  • Why should I be active?
  • How do I get started?
  • How do I continue to be active?
  • What physical activities can a very large person do?
  • Safety Tips
  • Resources
  • Activity Journal

Why should I be active?
BEING physically active may help you live longer and protect you from:

  • type 2 diabetes
  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • high blood pressure
  • If you have any of these health problems, being physically active may help improve your symptoms.

Being physically active can be a lot of fun!
REGULAR physical activity helps you feel better because it:

  • Lowers your stress and boosts your mood.
  • Increases your strength, movement, balance, and flexibility.
  • Helps control blood pressure and blood sugar.
  • Helps build healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
  • Helps your heart and lungs work better.
  • Improves your self-esteem.
  • Boosts energy during the day and may aid in sleep at night.

How do I get started?
TO start being more active, try these tips:

  • Think about your barriers to being active. Then try to come up with creative ways to solve them. The following examples may help you overcome barriers.

  • Start slowly.Your body needs time to get used to your new activity.
  • Warm up. Warm-ups get your body ready for action. Shrug your shoulders, tap your toes, swing your arms, or march in place. You should spend a few minutes warming up for any physical activity-even walking. Walk slowly for the first few minutes.
  • Cool down.Slow down little by little. If you have been walking fast, walk slowly or stretch for a few minutes to cool down. Cooling down may protect your heart, relax your muscles, and keep you from getting hurt.

Appreciate yourself!
If you cannot do an activity, do not be hard on yourself. Feel good about what you can do. Be proud of pushing yourself up out of a chair or walking a short distance.
Pat yourself on the back for trying even if you cannot do it the first time. It may be easier the next time!
How do I continue to be active?
TO maintain your active lifestyle, try these suggestions:

  • Set goals.Set short-term and long-term goals. A short-term goal may be to walk 5 to 10 minutes, 5 days a week. It may not seem like a lot, but any activity is better than none. A long-term goal should be to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week. You can accumulate your physical activity in shorter segments of 10 minutes or more. An example of a long-term goal is to walk briskly on 5 days of the week by the end of 6 months.
  • Set rewards.Whether your goal was to be active for 15 minutes a day, to walk farther than you did last week, or simply to stay positive, you deserve recognition for your efforts. Some ideas for rewards include a new CD to motivate you, new walking shoes, or a new outfit.
  • Get support.Get a family member or friend to be physically active with you. It may be more fun, and your buddy can cheer you on and help you stick with it.
  • Track progress. Keep a journal of your physical activity. You may not feel like you are making progress but when you look back at where you started, you may be pleasantly surprised! You can make copies of the blank journal at the end of this booklet to keep track of your efforts.

  • Build up to it.Any physical activity is better than none, so start where you can and gradually increase the amount. The Government recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week. Do not worry if that sounds like a lot! It does not have to be done all at once. Try breaking this into three 10-minute slots. A few minutes of activity here and there can really add up.
  • Have fun! Try different activities to find the ones you really enjoy.

What physical activities can a very large person do?
MOSTvery large people can do some or all of the physical activities in this booklet. You do not need special skills or a lot of equipment. You can do:

  • Weight-bearing activities,like walking, climbing stairs, and golfing, which involve lifting or pushing your own body weight.
  • Nonweight-bearing activities,like swimming and water workouts, which put less stress on your joints because you do not have to lift or push your own weight. If your feet or joints hurt when you stand, nonweight-bearing activities may be best for you.
  • Lifestyle activities,like gardening or washing the car, which are great ways to get moving. Lifestyle activities do not have to be planned out ahead of time.

Remember that physical activity does not have to be hard or boring to be good for you. Anything that gets you moving around-even for only a few minutes a day-is a healthy start to getting more fit.
Walking (Weight Bearing)
The walking that you do during the day (like doing chores around the house or in the yard) can help you become more fit. But regular, steady walking that makes you breathe heavier can help you to be healthier. It will give your heart and lungs-as well as your leg muscles-a good workout.
Do I need to see my health care provider before I start being physically active?
WOULD you like to be more physically active, but are not sure if you can do it?
Good news-if you are a very large person, you can be physically active-and you can have fun and feel good doing it.
THERE may be special challenges for very large people who are physically active. You may not be able to bend or move in the same way that other people can. It may be hard to find clothes and equipment for exercising. You may feel self-conscious being physically active around other people.
Facing these challenges is hard-but it can be done! The information in this booklet may help you start being more active and healthier-no matter what your size!
Tips for Walking

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes with a lot of support. If you walk frequently, you may need to buy new shoes often. You may wish to speak with a podiatrist about when you need to purchase new walking shoes.
  • Wear garments that prevent inner-thigh chafing, such as tights or spandex shorts.
  • Make walking fun.Walk with a friend or pet. Walk in places you enjoy, like a park or shopping mall.

To learn more, read the brochure Walking…A Step in the Right Direction from the Weight-control Information Network (WIN). (This publication is available in English and Spanish.)
Dancing (Weight Bearing or Nonweight Bearing)
Dancing may help:

  • your muscles.
  • Improve your flexibility.
  • Make your heart stronger.
  • Make your lungs work better.

You can dance in a health club, in a nightclub, or at home. To dance at home, just move your body to some lively music!
Dancing on your feet is a weight-bearing activity. Dancing while seated lets you move your arms and legs to music while taking the weight off your feet. This may be a good choice if you cannot stand on your feet for a long time.
See the list of additional resources at the end of this booklet for seated workout videos.
Where to Work Out
You can do many activities in your home. But there are other fun places to be active, including health clubs, recreation centers, or outdoors. It may be hard to be physically active around other people. Keep in mind that you have just as much right to be healthy and active as anyone else.
Weight Training (Weight Bearing or Nonweight Bearing)
Weight training builds strong muscles and bones. Getting stronger may also help prepare you for other kinds of physical activity. You can weight train at home or at a fitness center.
You do not need benches or bars to begin weight training at home. You can use a pair of hand weights or even two soup cans.
Make sure you know the correct posture and that your movements are slow and controlled.
If you decide to buy a home gym, check its weight rating (the number of pounds it can support) to make sure it is safe for your size. If you want to join a fitness center where you can use weights, shop around for one where you feel at ease.
To learn more about weight training, see the list of additional resources at the end of this booklet.
Weight Training Rule of Thumb
If you cannot lift a weight six times in a row, the weight you are lifting is too heavy. If you can easily lift a weight 15 times in a row, your weight is too light.
Bicycling (Nonweight Bearing)
You can bicycle indoors on a stationary bike, or outdoors on a road bike. Biking does not stress any one part of the body-your weight is spread among your arms, back, and hips.
You may want to use a recumbent bike. On this type of bike, you sit low to the ground with your legs reaching forward to the pedals. This may feel better than sitting upright. The seat on a recumbent bike is also wider than the seat on an upright bike.
For biking outdoors, you may want to try a mountain bike. These bikes have wider tires and are heavy.
You can also buy a larger seat to put on your bike.
Make sure the bike you buy has a weight rating at least as high as your own weight.
To learn more about bicycling, see the list of additional resources at the end of this booklet.
Stretching (Weight Bearing or Nonweight Bearing)
Stretching may help you:

  • Be more flexible.
  • Feel more relaxed.
  • Improve posture.
  • Keep your muscles from getting tight after doing other physical activities.

You do not have to set aside a special time or place to stretch. At home or at work, stand up, push your arms toward the ceiling, and stretch. Stretch slowly and only enough to feel tightness-not until you feel pain. Hold the stretch, without bouncing, for about 30 seconds. Do not stretch cold muscles.
Yoga and tai chi are two types of stretching. They help you breathe deeply, relax, and get rid of stress.
Your local fitness center may offer yoga, tai chi, or other stretching classes. You may want to start with “gentle” classes, like those aimed at seniors.
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Fitness Center

  • Can the treadmills or benches support people who are large?
  • Does the fitness staff know how to work with people of larger sizes?
  • Can I take time to see how I like the center before I sign up?
  • Is the aim to have fun and get healthy-not to lose weight?
  • What are the hours, and what time of day is it crowded?
  • See the list of additional resources at the end of this booklet to learn more about these physical activities for large people.

Lifestyle Activities
Lifestyle physical activities do not have to be planned. You can make small changes to make your day more physically active and improve your health. For example:

  • Take 2- to 3-minute walking breaks at work a few times a day.
  • Put away the TV remote control get up to change the channel.
  • March in place during TV commercials.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Stand or walk, rather than sit, while talking on the phone.
  • Play with your familyi kids, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, etc.
  • Walk to your coworker office rather than use the phone or email.

Even a shopping trip can be exercise: it is a chance to walk and carry your bags. In addition, doing chores like lawn mowing, leaf raking, gardening, and housework can count as activity.
Safety Tips
Tips for Safe Physical Activity
Slow down if you feel out of breath. You should be able to talk during your activity, without gasping for breath.
Drink water when you are thirsty to replace the water you lose by sweating.
Wear Suitable Clothes

  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting tops so you can move easily.
  • Wear clothes made of fabrics that absorb sweat and remove it from your skin.
  • Never wear rubber or plastic suits. Plastic suits could hold the sweat on your skin and make your body overheat.
  • Women should wear a good support bra.
  • Wear supportive athletic shoes for weight-bearing activities.
  • Wear a knit hat to keep you warm when you are physically active outdoors in cold weather. Wear a tightly woven, wide-brimmed hat in hot weather to help keep you cool and protect you from the sun.
  • Wear sunscreen when you are physically active outdoors.
  • Wear garments that prevent inner-thigh chafing, such as tights or spandex shorts.

Stop your activity right away if you:

  • Have pain, tightness, or pressure in your chest or neck, shoulder, or arm.
  • Feel dizzy or sick.
  • Break out in a cold sweat.
  • Have muscle cramps.
  • Are extremely short of breath.
  • Feel pain in your joints, feet, ankles, or legs. You could hurt yourself if you ignore the pain.

Ask your health care provider what to do if you have any of these symptoms.
Drink water when you are thirsty.
Water helps every cell and organ in your body work. It cushions your joints, helps keep you regular, keeps your body cool, and prevents dehydration when you are sweating.
Healthy, fit bodies come in all sizes.
Whatever your size or shape, get physically active now and keep moving for a healthier life!
Additional Resources
Inclusion of resources is for information only and does not imply endorsement by the Government.
Fitness-related Publications
Active Living Every Day: 20 Weeks to Lifelong Vitality
Steven N. Blair, Andrea L. Dunn, Bess H. Marcus, Ruth Ann Carpenter, and Peter Jaret. Human Kinetics, 2001. This book offers a step-by-step plan for getting and staying active. The information, suggested activities, and self-help tools in each chapter were successfully tested with people who followed the plan and learned to make activity a part of their daily lives. The 20 chapters correspond to the 20 weeks of the program, but readers are encouraged to go at their own pace. Available from www.humankinetics.com or your local or online bookstore.
Don’t Weight: Eat Healthy and Get Moving NOW!
Kelly Bliss. Infinity Publishing, 2002. This book provides motivation and information for healthy eating and plus-size fitness. It also teaches problem-solving techniques. It offers information that can help the large person plan and achieve a fitness program that can be sustained for a lifetime. Available from KellyBliss.com, P.O. Box 572, Lansdowne, PA 19050; 1-877-KellyBliss; www.kellybliss.com; or your local or online bookstore.
Easy Does It Yoga
Alice Christensen, American Yoga Association. Fireside, 1999. This book presents a program of exercises, breathing, meditation, philosophy, and nutrition for older adults and those with physical limitations. Simple chair exercises and more challenging standing and floor exercises are described. Available from the American Yoga Association, P.O. Box 19986, Sarasota, FL 34276; (941) 927-4977; www.americanyogaassociation.org; or your local or online bookstore.
Great Shape: The First Fitness Guide for Large Women
Pat Lyons and Debby Burgard. iUniverse, 2000. This book urges women to be physically active for fun, fitness, and positive body image instead of for weight loss. The authors describe a healthy lifestyle program including walking, swimming, dancing, martial arts, bicycling, and more. Available from www.iuniverse.com or your local or online bookstore.
Just the Weigh You Are: How to Be Fit and Healthy Whatever Your Size
Steven Jonas and Linda Konner. Houghton Mifflin Co., Ltd., 1998. This book presents a plan for total fitness and healthy living no matter what your size. Chapters focus on accepting oneself, improving nutrition without dieting, managing stress, and doing moderate physical activity. Available from your local or online bookstore.
Real Fitness for Real Women: A Unique Workout Program for the Plus-Size Woman
Rochelle Rice. Warner Books, 2001. This book describes a 6-week introductory fitness program that includes warm-ups, aerobics, strength training and stretching techniques, and meditation. Photos of plus-size women demonstrate the exercises. The book also addresses getting motivated, creating support, evaluating current abilities, and increasing self-acceptance. Available from www.rochellerice.com or your local or online bookstore.
Water Exercise
Martha D. White. Human Kinetics, 1995. This book presents water exercises for fitness and muscle tone as well as exercises for injuries, postsurgical rehabilitation, and other special needs. Available from Human Kinetics, P.O. Box 5076, Champaign, IL 61825; 1-800-747-4457; www.humankinetics.com; or your local or online bookstore.
Other Publications
Plus Size Yellow Pages
Over 3,000 online resources for fitness clothes up to 6X, casual wear up to 10X, bikes, bike seats, kayaks, sports bras, supportive tights/leggings, supportive fitness shoes, and much more.
Size Wise: A Catalog of More Than 1,000 Resources for Living With Confidence and Comfort at Any Size
Judy Sullivan. Avon, 1997. This book describes resources that offer products or services for large people. It discusses where consumers can buy items like swimsuits, bicycle seats, and walking shoes. It also has information on exercise classes and sports instruction for large people throughout the United States, Britain, and Canada. Available from www.sizewise.com or your local bookstore.
BIG MOVES: Yoga for Chair and Bed
Mara Nesbitt. This video is designed for people who have difficulty getting down to or up from the floor. Led by a plus-size instructor, it includes stretches done standing, sitting, and lying on a bed, plus a guided meditation. Available from Mirage Video Productions, P.O. Box 19141, Portland, OR 97280; or www.miragevideos.com.
Chair Dancing
Jodi Stolove. This no-impact video series is designed to improve muscle tone, flexibility, ardiovascular endurance without putting stress on your knees, back, hips, or feet. Available from Chair Dancing International, Inc., 2658 Del Mar Heights Road, Del Mar, CA 92014; 1-800-551-4386; or www.chairdancing.com.
Tai Chi Chuan
Dawn Fleetwood. This 50-minute instructional video features slow, gentle movements and breathing exercises that involve all of the muscles and organs in the body. Available from Orchid Leaf Productions, P.O. Box 72, Flint, MI 48501; (810) 235-9864.
Yoga for Round Bodies, Volumes 1 and 2
Linda DeMarco and Genia Pauli Haddon. These videos offer a fitness system based on Kripalu yoga to promote strength, flexibility, stress relief, and cardiovascular health. Round-bodied instructors tailor classic yoga postures to large people at both beginner and intermediate levels in each video. Available from Plus Publications, P.O. Box 265-W, Scotland, CT 06264; 1-800-436-9642; or www.amazon.com.
Organizations and Programs
The YMCA and YWCA offer physical fitness and health awareness programs in many locations throughout the United States. Contact YMCA of the U.S.A., 101 North Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606; (312) 977-0031; or www.ymca.net. Contact YWCA of the U.S.A., 1015 18th Street, NW, Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20036; 1-800-679-1209; or www.ywca.org.
Council on Size and Weight Discrimination, Inc.
The Council on Size and Weight Discrimination, Inc. (CSWD) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve health care and access to services for large people through educational programs, media monitoring, and medical conference attendance. Contact CSWD at P.O. Box 305, Mount Marion, NY 12456; (845) 679-1209; www.cswd.org.
National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance
The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to end discrimination based on body size and to improve the quality of life for large people. It offers a variety of publications and videos on size acceptance, self-esteem, and health and fitness. Contact NAAFA at: P.O. Box 188620, Sacramento, CA 95818; (916) 558-6880; or www.naafa.org.
Body Positive®
This site addresses issues ranging from self-esteem to fitness to finding respectful health care providers. It includes resources and links to related sites. www.bodypositive.com.
Healthy Living with Bliss™
This site includes information on walking, swimming, aerobics, stretching, and other fitness activities for large and very large people. A resource section includes fitness wear, books, exercise equipment, classes, and information on where to buy fitness videos for large people. There is an online workbook, e-newsletter, and a chat with plus-size personal fitness trainer Kelly Bliss. www.kellybliss.com.
Just Move
Just Move is a personalized, Internet-based fitness program of the American Heart Association. It features an online activity diary for monitoring your progress, frequently asked questions, health information, and many fitness links and resources. www.justmove.org.
Mayo Clinic Fitness Center
This website contains many different offers a set of articles that are all about walking for fitness and includes a shoe-buying guide and a pedometer guide. It also contains slide shows for strength training and stretching exercises. www.mayoclinic.com/health/fitness/SM99999.
Keeping an activity journal is a useful tool to help you stay motivated, stay on track, and reach your goals. It may be helpful to set a short-term goal, a long-term goal, and rewards for meeting those goals.