Meet Our
Health Experts

Our health advocates are experts or fellow petites who are passionate about helping short women live their healthiest lives from the inside out.

Here at Petite PWR, everything we do is to help petite women 5’4 and under feel powerful in their shorter frame. We use the science behind the petite body to help you grow stronger and healthier physically, while also celebrating the unique experiences and challenges petite women face.

All of our experts are certified professionals or powerful petite women in their respective fields and bring a wealth of experience to Petite PWR. Our goal is to bring awareness to and validate the unique health needs of petite women in our community.

Meet Our Experts. Meet Our Experts. Meet Our Experts.

Dr. Craig Primack

Physician/Co-founder Scottsdale Weight Loss Center, Past President of Obesity Medicine Association, Diplomate of American Board of Obesity Medicine

“The average woman in my practice has a basal metabolic rate that averages 1200 cal per day. This means that to maintain her current weight, without activity, she cannot eat over 1200 calories per day. Petite women, especially those under 5’2″ or 5’3″, have it harder because their estimated basal metabolic rate is even lower. It is hard to create a diet that is lower than 900-1200 calories day after day, week after week, in order for petite women to be successful in weight loss

There are a lot of important aspects to health and weight management. The most important 3 are:

  • diet/nutrition,
  • activity and exercise and
  • sleep.

I have found if you do all 3 properly, you will lose weight. If you do any 2, you may generally maintain your weight. If you are only doing one of the 3, then you may likely be slowly gaining weight and unfortunately if you are not doing all 3, you are generally gaining weight rapidly.

Everyone should start with general nutrition and exercise to lose weight. If that doesn’t work for you, or if you put on weight that you have already lost, it is time to consider professional help and support. This takes many forms. The important part is finding the system, based in medical science, that works for you.”

Jim Karas

#1 NYT best selling author of The Petite Advantage Diet, Lifestyle Expert & ABC News Contributor

“Weight loss occurs through proper manipulation of the equation, calories in – calories out. When you are a petite, your “calories out” is lower than a taller woman. Therefore, your equation requires a more detailed strategy to facilitate your desired weight loss.

Ironically, thirty-seven years ago my first three clients were petites. They were all eager to devote time, energy and money to succeed at weight loss, but were all frustrated as it wasn’t working. Through trial and error, we kept fine tuning their program which included consuming more lean protein, the right fats and vegetables, and emphasizing strength training over cardio. Ultimately, they achieved not only weight loss, but primarily fat loss and an optimized metabolism and body composition.

Being a “petite” comes with many benefits:

  • Less risk of injury, as longer limbs put more stress on your joints.
  • Longer life expectancy – Yes, smaller women possess less cells and therefore, less risk of cellular mutations.
  • Superior athletic performance in many sports.

I have a “petite,” 5’2” daughter who was a six time All American in gymnastics at the University of Michigan. I’m well aware of the benefits and the struggles of being a “petite” She’s now 26, so I’ve had a lot of experience with what works best to help her achieve her goals.”

Kelleigh Ryan

Canadian Olympian, M.S. Kinesiology, Strength & Conditioning & Fencing Coach, 5’2

“Being short has always been a part of my identity. I remember always being in the first row of class photos and I was always one of the shortest on my soccer teams growing up. I know people always made jokes and comments about it. For the most part, this didn’t bother me because I never actually thought being short was a bad thing. I grew up with a mother who reminded me constantly that “good things come in small packages” and being short was never an insult at home, it was just one part of me. I knew being short was supposed to be a disadvantage in sports but I found that I was able to change directions better than my opponents so as long as I kept my work ethic up, I felt I could still compete with anyone. Besides, knowing that many people believe that being taller is better, it feels even better to beat tall athletes!

Speaking from my experience as an athlete but also from what I have seen as a coach, I strongly believe that playing sports and/or lifting weights can help petites improve their self-confidence and body-image. For me, playing sports helped me avoid negative thoughts about my height – the joy of movement I developed as well as improvements in body awareness increased the confidence in my body and what it can do. Lifting weights is particularly good exercise for petites because this is an area we actually have an advantage because of our shorter levers! Having success in the weight room gave me more confidence in my body as I loved the feeling of confidently moving weights around. This made my appreciation for my body grow as I knew that I was taking care of my muscles, joints, and heart.”


Dr. Justin Tausig

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), Sport & Performance Psychology

“A potential disadvantage for short women is being typecast. People of short stature may be perceived as weaker, more childlike, and generally less capable. You may not be able to alter your stature, but you can certainly improve how YOU view it and how it impacts your life. What matters most is cultivating a good, healthy relationship with yourself, based on your goals and your values.

In western culture, the “ideal” body shape, career, lifestyle, clothing choices, etc. make it difficult to find your own place and your own voice. What makes humans amazing is our diversity and individuality. Trying to achieve someone else’s idea of “perfection” removes the best parts of humanity.”, @drjustintausig

Dr. Kristen Lettenberger

Doctor of Physical Therapy, PT, CSCS, 5’3

“Petite women are efficient! We store and utilize our foods like no one else, but that also means we can’t follow the same rules as our taller counterparts or even men. We need to follow our own path, ditch the long cardio days and lift heavy! The absolute best thing about being short is your leverage with gravity, you’ll be a better powerlifter, olympic weightlifter, your stature is a benefit for these sports.

Seeing women in the clinic, one thing I have noticed with my fellow short gals, is they tend to not feel represented in the gym, or sports, they have been told they are delicate and haven’t been pushed to pursue athletics to the same extent as others.  Just because you might need a box to grab a bar doesn’t mean you don’t belong there, you’re probably stronger than the guy giving you the side eye.”, @kristenlettenbergerdpt

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