Plus Size Dresses

If you are looking to buy an awesome plus-size dress online check out the Monif C. website. This company specializes in high fashion style for plus-size women.

On her website Monif Clarke says "Who says plus size can't be sexy, luxurious and feminine?"

Her own frustration with the plus size clothing market led her to design her own line of clothing in 2004. Her designs are inspired by her love of the Caribbean, the glamour of New York City nightlife and European style.

The clothes on this website are rather high-end and relatively expensive. But if you can afford to buy one special item, the price may be worth it. The dress shown here costs $235.00. It has kimono-style sleeves and is made of rayon lycra jersey and stretch silk charmeuse. It's available in three sizes 14/16, 18/20 and 22/24.

American Idol's Mandisa Comments on Weight Loss

Mandisa Hundley is the only overweight American Idol contestant remaining in the final twenty selected. Mandisa is likely obese by BMI standards but I don't know how much she weighs. Does anyone have this info?

She says she wants to represent the "Fabulous And Thick" (FAT) sisters. The plus-size singer says the battle with weight loss has been the biggest struggle in her life but she is determined to be victorious.

Mandisa is very religious and the first person she'll thank if she wins will be Jesus because "he saved my life". She is a regular worship leader at Beth Moore's Living Proof Live conferences throughout the U.S.

Here's a brief video of Mandisa on the American Idol TV show.

Mandisa recently showed her compassionate nature during the program. One of the judges, Simon Cowell, had earlier cracked a juvenile comment "Do we have a bigger stage this year?" just after she had walked off the stage, during an earlier portion of the show and before she became one of the 24 finalists.

Mandisa responded when she first had a chance to speak in front of the judges recently;

"What I want to say to you is that, yes, you hurt me and I cried and it was painful, it really was. But I want you to know that I've forgiven you and that you don't need someone to apologize in order to forgive somebody". and "I figure that if Jesus could die so that all of my wrongs could be forgiven, I can certainly extend that same grace to you."

Update March 21st: Mandisa sang a powerful version of "I don't hurt anymore" tonight. Does anyone know where I can get a video clip?

Biggest Loser Fiona Falkiner

Fiona is one of the people participating on the Biggest Loser TV show in Australia. She weighed 101 kilograms (223 pounds) at the beginning of the contest and her goal is to lose 35 kilos (77 pounds) and fit into a size 12 dress. (Her height is 175cm - five feet nine inches.)

Just before starting on Biggest Loser, Fiona was a size 16-18 top and an 18-20 bottom.

Fiona gained most of her excess weight when she was sixteen. She is now 23 and the youngest contestant on this show. She's getting more than her fair share of attention compared to the other 11 contestants and has lost an amazing six kilos (13 pounds) during the first week of the program.

She seems to have natural star appeal and if she can hang in there she could be Australia's next big celebrity.

I'll update this post as more news comes in.

Update: March 28th: After a few weeks of relative stalling, Fiona had a great week. She weighs 86 kilograms in week six of the program. (That's 190 pounds.)

Update: April 19th: Fiona is now one of the last four finalists. At the end of week eight she weighed 87 kilograms.

April 27th Update: The final results are in. Ardo (Adriano Sarnelli), won this year's biggest loser in Australia. He lost 51 kilograms (37% of his body weight) in just four months. He has been obese all his life and still can't believe this rapid transformation when he sees himself in the mirror. This kind of incredibly fast weight loss required working out four hours a day.

What an incredibly beautiful dress. This photo was taken by Fiona Hamilton for the Herald Sun.

Fiona Falkiner lost an amazing 29.5 kilo (65 pounds) in four months. That's 29% of her initial body weight! A huge congrats to Fiona!

Update: October 3rd: Fiona has just been the first contestant eliminated from the Dancing with Stars competition in Australia. She was battling blisters but will be back for the finale. No doubt we'll see her in lots of other TV events in the near future.

Losing 50 Pounds in One Year

One of the more entertaining personal stories of weight loss online is the Hopeful Loser site. She had hoped to lose 90 pounds in one year when she first started her online diary a year ago, and has gone on to actually lose fifty pounds over the first year.

HL has achieved this with regular workouts on her elliptical trainer and by reducing her daily calories consumed.

The before picture shown here was taken in late February 2005. At that point she weighed 209 pounds and had a body mass index (BMI) of 37. (Her height is 5'3".) The after picture was taken about a week ago in February 2006. She now weighs 160 pounds and her goal is to lose 30 more pounds.

HL has a really entertaining writing style. Here's an example; an entry from when she first started her online weight-loss records;

"I was in the maternity store buying clothes (this might be my fault) with my daughter (almost 14 months) and I was chatting it up (as per usual) with the sales clerk when she asked me "When are you due?" I pointed to my daughter and said, "Oh, you're looking at her. Yup, I have no excuse." She apologized profusely as she tried to convince me that she (maybe a size 4) shops there too.

It was a maternity store after all, so maybe that led to the misunderstanding? Unless she just started working there, though, how could that not have happened to her before? Had no other non-pregnant, simply, just heavy person ever shopped there before? How could she not have asked them too and learned her lesson?"

Check out her very funny and inspiring site at Hopeful Loser.

Boot Camp

Billy Blanks has sold over three million boot camp fitness videos. He's got a TV infomercial now promoting his latest DVD; Billy's Boot Camp Elite. This video is quite popular on Amazon's best-selling lists and will likely help motivate a lot of people in their weight-loss fitness goals.

The picture shown here is one of the many before and after photos he uses to promote the DVD.

Billy Blanks is the creator of Tae Bo, a total body fitness system. He has had a lot of famous clients over the years including Paula Abdul, Charlotte Ross, Melissa Reeves, Stephanie La Grossa, Trista and Ryan Sutter, Pamela Anderson, Justine Bateman, Goldie Hawn, Queen Latifah, Magic Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal.

He was born in 1955 as the fourth of fifteen children and took his first martial arts class when he was eleven. He went on to get a seventh-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and was admitted to the Karate Hall of Fame in 1982.

Walking for Weight Loss

Beginning a routine of regular walking is a fabulous way to quickly lose weight, boost your mood and tone your body. Here's Don Cowan's story. He lost 58 pounds in three months due to his intense walking schedule. He didn't even need to bother with a diet. The pounds just slipped off.

His is my personal favorite walking story at Walker's Warehouse. Check out their site for more inspirational stories about walking and weight loss. Cowen's comments were published a couple of years ago;

I lost my job last year and was not having any luck in finding another one. I became depressed I and starting eating a lot around October last year. By Jan. 27th of this year I had gained 68 lbs, I weighed a whopping 288lbs !!!!! I was so disgusted with myself. I started the very next day to walk. I barely was able to get in a mile the first day. I slowly increased my distance everyday challenging myself to go a little further. Now it is 3 months later and I have lost 58 lbs !!!! I am up to 8 miles per day in about 2 hours time. The weight just seemed to be falling off. I am within 10 lbs of my goal, but I never plan to stop walking. Not only are there physical benefits, but the emotional, mental benefits are absolutely amazing. You can bet that I will be a lot more confident at that next job interview. I am 51 years old, so it is never too late to start walking. My neighbors who have seen me out on the roads tell me what an inspiration I have been to them. I urge anyone who wants to lose weight and improve their mental capacity to start walking. They will never regret it. Also, the exercise curbed my appetite so I lost weight without having to think about dieting.

Size Fourteen can be Ideal

Kate Dillon looks beautiful at size 14. She's been quoted as saying "I weigh myself every week to make sure I'm not losing any weight. I love my body."

She was the first full-figured model in a mainstream fashion ad (Gucci's Spring 2000 campaign). That same year, People Magazine voted her as one of the fifty most beautiful people in the world.

She's gotten a lot of recognition as a speaker on issues of body image and self-esteem. She herself is a recovered anorexic. If you are interested in seeing some of her thoughtful answers to people who have asked her questions about eating disorders and weight loss, check out her thoughts at PBS here. But if you're curious as I was to find out how much she weighs, you won't find out. She believes these comparison stats only help to perpetuate eating disorder problems and she will never discuss what her weight is at any time.

Chocolate, Depression and Love

Eating chocolate is generally not a good idea when you are trying to lose weight. But I say, hey. It's Valentine's Day today.

Chocolate can play havoc with your blood sugar levels if you overindulge. As with any other foods that contain sugar, eating too much chocolate can create fragile nerves and cause a low, sunken feeling.

But unlike a lot of other foods that contain sugar, chocolate has a couple of positive attributes. It contains the chemical theobromine. Theobromine helps to release endorphins in your brain and thus lifts your spirits if you are feeling down. These endorphins are the same chemicals that get activated when you are falling in love. The darker and purer the chocolate, the better it is for you.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was one of my favorite books. One of the points that stuck out for me was how Charlie had to savor just one small piece of chocolate each day. Somehow I could see how it tasted so much better and was such a bigger treat when rationed this way. But for me personally, I usually only buy chocolate about once a month. I get these chunks of dark chocolate with almonds, and I usually end up eating them over a period of a few days. I'm sure it's all cyclical and moon-phase related. It always seems to be good natural medicine at the time.

Food Addiction: Breaking the Habit

If you think about food compulsively or are often overeating you may have a food addiction. One natural way to break these habitual patterns is to get to the underlying issue that is causing this behaviour. Meditation can be very helpful in this regard and has been shown to be an effective treatment for all kinds of addictions.

Pema Chodron is an author of an audio CD about this topic. Her CD is the one pictured here: Getting Unstuck

She is a Zen Buddhist abbott who's written many excellent books about meditation and how it can help transform your world for the better. On this CD she discusses how we reinforce our addictions and habits by giving in to them repeatedly and she suggest ways for learning to just be with our feelings of uneasiness.

This CD has got some very good reviews from people at Amazon. As one example, here's Jeffrey Gimble's opinion:

"Pema Chodron offers some sound, beautiful ideas on how to cope with not only addictive behavior, but basically anything in life that you just plain don't like. Her lovely, grounded voice is a pleasure to listen to, she's damned funny, and I've found myself listening to the ideas on this CD over and over as I make my way through the often hostile streets of Manhattan. It's like a primer in how to stay clear and calm and grounded in life, no matter how lousy (or terrific) your circumstances may be."

New Cellulite Treatment : VelaSmooth

Apparently over eighty five percent of adult women have cellulite somewhere on their body. You don't need to be fat to have cellulite. It is largely hereditary.

VelaSmooth is being touted as a revolutionary new way to get rid of your cellulite. It was developed by an Israeli-based company called Syneron and became available about half a year ago. Velasmooth is a non-surgical procedure. It uses radio frequency and infrared light to reduce cellulite. Some clinics even claim it will help you re-contour your body and that you can lose up to four inches in your hips, thighs, stomach, buttocks or love handles.

Although losing weight will not likely help you with reducing your cellulite, some medical people have suggested that a diet high in lecithin (eggs, soy, cauliflower, peanut butter), omega 3 fatty acids (flaxseed, salmon and walnuts) and antioxidants (berries, pomegranates, citrus fruits) can help significantly reduce cellulite.

Update: Here's an article that throws some doubt on the effectiveness of VelaSmooth and Thermage.

The above fine art print is 'Blonde in Red Bathing Suit', author unknown.

Heidi Klum And Extreme Dieting

Heidi Klum is one of the worlds leading supermodels. She's got quite an entrepreneurial streak as well and is currently hosting a very popular fashion reality TV show; "Germany's Next Top Model". This show has come under attack for promoting extreme thinness in young women. Apparently one of the candidates on the program was told she was too fat even though she only weighed 52 kilograms. But the network running the program believes the criticism is overblown and stated that "Heidi Klum says several times during the show that models must eat sensibly."

So how much does Heidi Klum herself weigh? According to Wikipedia, she weighs 119 pounds (54 kg) and her height is 5 feet and nine and a half inches (177 cm). I think these stats are from her teenage modeling years. I saw another interview dated 1999 where she said she weighed 127 pounds. Who knows what she weighs now in 2006? She still looks super thin, and I would guess she now weighs somewhere in the 130's range.

How much models weigh 'stats' are provided to the modeling agencies by models, and the agencies in turn provide the stats to their clients, but I'm sure models typically advertise themselves as weighing a few pounds less than they actually do. And the modeling agencies wouldn't object to this and aren't about to do public weigh-ins. As long as the models look really great, they don't check to see if they are underestimating their true weight.

Update June 20th 2006: Heidi Klum is pregnant again. US Weekly reports she is expecting her third child. She has a baby boy only 9 months old and a two year-old daughter.

Janet Jackson Weight Loss Watch

Janet Jackson is in the process of losing weight and getting fit again. She weighed only 118 pounds at the start of her brother's trial last year. But according to Michelle Caruso of the New York Daily News she weighed 160 pounds recently. Since then, she's already dropped some weight and currently weighs about 145 pounds. Her height is five feet four inches.

Janet Jackson will be releasing a new record this spring. And she will probably be thin again in time for the release. She is working again with her longtime personal trainer Tony Martinez and has been spotted jogging and power-walking on Los Angeles beaches.

Update March 17th: There are reports out this week that Janet Jackson is back in fabulous shape. And that Eminem has hired her personal fitness trainer at a rate of $17,000 per month.

Update Late May 2006: Janet Jackson has lost 60 pounds and now weighs 120 pounds. See about how she had prepared meals three times a day during her whole weight loss period.

Update September 23rd: Janet Jackson will be on the Oprah Show this Monday. Here she'll talk about the details of how she lost sixty pounds in four months.

Sweet Eye Candy

Flowers make for the most beautiful eye candy. Just putting one simple flower in a small vase on my computer desk seems to help me snack less and feel better.

Valentine's Day is coming up. If your sweetie is trying to lose weight, forego the Godiva chocolates and choose a simple flower bouquet instead. Better yet, if you are trying to lose weight, consider making your next impulse purchase a floral eye candy rather than a chocolate bar or bag of chips at the checkout counter.

Kilogram to Pound Conversion

I have a fancy bathroom scale that my husband got from his brother in Germany. Problem is it shows my weight in kilograms. Kilo's mean nothing to me, when I'm tracking my weight loss, I always think in pounds.

See the handy kilogram to pound calculator in the sidebar at the bottom of this page. You can enter in what you weigh in kilo's and it will convert it to pounds. Or vice versa, enter your pounds and it will instantly show your weight in kilos.

One kilogram is equal to 2.2045 pounds. To keep it simple when converting, I just remember it's a 1.0 to 2.2 ratio.

Update: There's another really quick way to convert what you weigh in pounds or kilograms with Google Search. If you weigh 200 pounds and want to know what this is in kilograms, just type in "200 pounds in kilograms" in Google search and the answer will pop up at the top of the page. Conversely, if you weigh 90 kilograms and want to know what that is in pounds, just type in "90 kilos to pounds". I found this neat trick at Pasta Queen's wonderful site.

So today I weigh 73.2 kilograms and that's 161 pounds. I don't know about others, but it seems my weight can fluctuate almost two punds on any given day depending on what time of the day I weigh myself. Not sure if this is a good sign. But it's why I always weigh myself first thing in the morning only, and usually only once a week.

If you are looking for a good quality digital bathroom scale, a very highly ranked and popular one right now is the Tanita BC533 Glass Innerscan Body Composition Monitor.

Here is one reader's review at Amazon:

For many years I used a digital scale that gave me a different readout each time I used it. I like to weigh daily but found that stepping up and down on the scale several times to get an average weight was frustrating. I thought that was the norm with scales until I started reading scale reviews and discovered that many people found the Tanita line to be accurate.

If they weighed several times in a row they got a consistent readout. They did not have to take an average as I did with my Health-O-Meter. As a treat to myself, for losing 10 pounds, I decided to purchase a Tanita and after doing some research opted for the Tanita BC533.

The Tanita BC533 is a state of the art scale that measures your weight (to two-tenths of a pound), body fat, visceral fat, bone mass, metabolic age and muscle mass. It is very simple to operate. You input your height, weight, average physical activity level and age. The Tanita will remember this information for up to four people so you only have to do it once, unless your information changes. (There is also a guest mode if a visitor wants to try it.) Once you have programmed the scale you toe tap your number, step on the platform and you will see your weight and body fat measurement. (Note - If you wear socks the body fat measurement will not work.) Then you can toe tap other buttons of your choice. A little figure gives you a visual cue as to what the buttons are. For example for muscle mass the figure is holding weights. For bone mass there is a tiny skeleton inside the figure. You decide which body composition features you wish to check.

You may for example want to check your bone mass once a month, or then again you may want to check it weekly. It's up to you. It's as simple as pressing the corresponding button, and takes only seconds.

Tanita includes a guide with the scale that explains exactly how the scale works. The scale is a bioimpedence device. A low level current (which you don't feel) passes through your body and the impedance or resistance level is used to calculate body composition. The booklet explains healthy ranges of body fat and also explains what body water percentage, visceral fat, etc. mean.

Some Crazy Fad Diets: The Great Masticator

There's been quite a few fad diets proposed over the years. One of the stranger ones was devised by Horace Fletcher. Fletcher was denied health insurance because he was overweight back in 1898. He weighed 205 pounds and went on to lose 45 pounds with his method of chewing each bite 32 times and then spitting out what remained.

He claimed the nutrients would be absorbed by the body and you would still get to enjoy the flavor of the food and lose weight.

There is actually some truth to this assertion. Many people don't chew their food properly and this can lead to digestion problems as well as overeating.

Fletcher was a well known art dealer in San Francisco at the time, but he also became a famous author as a result of this fad diet he had devised. He had quite a few notable followers for a time including Henry James and John D. Rockerfeller.

Even John Harvey Kellogg (the founder of the cornflake) was a devout follower of Fletcher's diet. He wrote a 'chew chew' song to inspire people to keep chewing.

(It's interesting that Kellogg sales did not start growing exponentially until John Harvey's brother added sugar to the ingredients.)

Well, that's one crazy diet fad story for your enjoyment on this beautiful Sunday.

See more examples of fad diets in previous generations at an article written by Buck Wolf for ABC News.

Buying Fat-Blocking Diet Pills Gets Easier

It looks like the FDA is about to approve a new over-the-counter diet pill. "Alli" is likely to appear on your drugstore shelves within a few months. This pill contains orlistat, and blocks about a quarter of the fat that you eat on any given day.

This diet pill will probably cost about $12 to $15 a week. It contains half the orlistat of Xenical.

According to Dr. John Abramson of Harvard Medical School this drug decreases fat absorption meaning that if you eat too much fat, it will end up in your stool and will likely make your stools oily and possibly give you diarrhea. The drug has been shown to help with an average weight loss of six pounds over six months. But once people stop taking it, unless they've changed their diet or exercise patterns, they will likely put the weight back on.

Right now people need a doctor's prescription to buy Xenical; the leading fat-blocking diet pill. If Alli can be bought without a prescription over the counter, the drug company GlaxoKlineSmith is expected to make huge profits. We can probably expect to see some massive new advertising for this pill over the next few months.

Weight Loss according to the Stars

Is there an ideal time to start a diet for quick weight loss? What does astrology have to say about weight-loss timing?

Here's a partial summary of what astrologers have to say:

Jupiter is associated with weight gain or 'enlargement' and abundance. Whatever it touches in your chart, expect that to be 'fattened up' in some respect. This is why people who have Jupiter on their Ascendant, or people who have Sagittarius rising are expected to have more problems with weight-loss than the average person.

Saturn on the other hand, is the planet that can bring 'reduction' or 'lack' in some aspect of your life. If it is conjunct someone's Ascendant, they are more likely to be naturally thin and wiry rather than portly. These people will rarely need to lose weight.

So when would be the best time to try to lose weight? When Jupiter is in your first house this would be the least successful time in general to try to diet. When Saturn is there on the other hand, you may find yourself losing weight without even trying.

Starting a weight-loss program in the last three days before the New Moon is also a recipe for failure. In fact most projects that are started in the last two or three days of the moon cycle will be facing an uphill battle.

Some planets seem to speed up people's metabolisms (not to mention their life events). Uranus in particular, can really rev up your body chemistry. If it begins a transit to your key planets you can expect to be vibrating around more than usual. This can be conducive to weight loss :-)