Monday, April 14, 2014

Healthy it too much to ask?

I have not written a post in a lonnnng time. Not because I gave up eating right and/or exercising. On the contrary, I have continued a regular exercise schedule and do that whole "eat your greens" thing on a regular basis.

Recently, a Facebook friend suggested I avoid all carbs and sugars for a month, and see if that naturally lowers my cholesterol.

I do feel it would make me healthier. After all, we know sugars and carbohydrates wreak havoc on the body...and I tend to eat a lot of both. But my biggest issue do I curb those nasty cravings I have for them? After a long day of cajoling the kids into doing what I ask and yelling at them to stop fighting, chocolate is my way to feel relaxed. Same with my coffee (with its sweetened, powdered creamer and a half teaspoon of sugar).

How am I to forgo what I love in order to be a healthier, happier me?

So I have decided to attempt this no sugar/no carb thing...but I will need to find ways to deal with the cravings. So I am going to reach out to my Facebook friends and seek their advice. How can I make this work without feeling the deprivation? Stay tuned.

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year, New Resolution to Get Healthy? Keep This in Mind...

Every January I have a tough time finding a parking space at my local YMCA. After ten years of this, I should be used to it, but I still curse under my breath because although I don't mind the lonnnnng walk from my car to the gym (after all, I'm there to get exercise anyway), but I hate being cold and talking a lonnnnng walk. Especially carrying a thirty-pound bag of gym attire and shower paraphernalia.

But I also know that by March, plenty of spaces will be available. That's around the time most people looking to lose weight and get fit give up, thereby leaving me a close spot to park my car.

So my question is...why do people give up so soon?Is it tough to fit the time into an already busy schedule? Do people feel they aren't seeing results? Do they feel bored? All of the above?

Coming up...ways to counter these "excuses." Stay tuned.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Losing Weight Kim-Style

Yes, I took a little blogging hiatus...a little time-out to go through a legalized separation from my husband. Yes, a very stressful time where I went down to 112 pounds, and then stayed steady at 116...and then over the last two months ballooned to 127.4 pounds at my personal weigh-in an hour ago.


I haven't weighed that much in a long time. I like to be 120 at the most. So now I have to figure out why this is happening. I'm still exercising regularly. But...I can only surmise it's eating habits. I have probably fallen into the trap of feeling stressed = devouring comfort foods. For me that means chocolate and Ritz crackers.

First off, it's important for me to recognize that I am, in fact, gaining weight. It had been a while since I weighed myself, but I'd noticed my clothes were fitting tighter. The scale cinched it. I'd put on ten pounds in two months. Second off, I need to forgive myself for this. It's been a very tough several months, and dealing with so many issues between myself and my ex has been detrimental to my health in many ways. Overeating obviously being one.

So what's a girl to do?

I know that 3,000 calories = 1 pound. I want to lose 10 pounds. Therefore, I need to burn an extra 30,000 calories. That's roughly 1,000 calories a day if I want to do it in a month. 500 calories a day if I want to do it in two months.

My goal, then, is to take care of this in 1-2 months time. To help me, I am using an app called My Fitness Pal. I downloaded it to my iPhone. My goal is to add only 1,200 calories (or less) a day to my diet. It's 1 in the afternoon now, and I have already eaten 974 calories. I have worked off 1,080 calories. If I can eat a small snack and then later consume a healthy dinner (with a controlled portion), I should be able to achieve the 1,200 or less total calories, and slowly as I continue this plan, take off the extra weight.

I will keep this site updated on my success.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

10 Ways to Simplify the Dieting Process

A show of hands, please. Who has started off 2013 with the pledge to lose weight?

Yes. Probably everyone reading this post. I've been reading on Facebook about people's plans to shed pounds and the struggles they're already having, and it's only day 5.

I've read other people's advice, heard excuses, and already have read from a few people that they want to give up.

Good ol' Day 5.

Okay, I have my own advice, and if you've been reading my blog you know what changes I advocate already. But here I'm going to list 10 ways to make dieting less tedious. How do I know? Because I'm living proof. People think that because I'm a size 2 that I've always been a light weight. The truth is, I gained a lot of weight with each of my pregnancies. However, I refused to be complacent, mainly because my health was at risk, and I worked hard to get down to a smaller size. Each time.

I put on over 50 pounds with each pregnancy. After giving birth, I still had 35-40 pounds to lose. Nursing helped, I will admit, but it still took hard work and determination, especially since I didn't go hopping on the treadmill the second I gave birth. I was sore. Uncomfortable. Exhausted. And not ready to do anything but be a round-the-clock baby feeder.

There are other times in my life where I gained weight, too. One such time was when I was taking my son to a special Apple video camp and ended up consuming my lunches while there. I kid you not, in one week I gained eight pounds. From eating what I thought was healthy food but turned out to be an overabundance of calories...about a thousand more a day than I was accustomed to eating! Some of the weight may have been bloat from the salt, too. But when I stepped on that scale, I knew I had to take the dang weight off.

I hate diets.

I know you do, too. I don't believe the advertisements where people are grinning like fools as they chug a green shake or jog (without panting) across a bridge at sunset. Those are fantasies. Dieting sucks. Not eating what you want when you want sucks. But here is how you can make it easier on yourself:

1) DON'T try to modify your diet AND exercise right off the bat. Choose one to focus on. If you choose exercise (which is what I would choose), make sure you talk to your doctor so that he or she can make sure you can start up an exercise routine without a problem. See #2. If you try to do both at once, it can be very overwhelming as your body tries to adjust. You will feel the hunger. Intensely. So exercise the first month, until you get into a pattern, then slowly introduce dietary changes.

2) When exercising (if you haven't been active in a while), start slow and build up. Hop on the elliptical and aim for five minutes. Then grab a 2-pound weight and do arm lifts. Go back on the elliptical for another five minutes. After three rounds in all, call it a day. Make sure you stretch afterward! Over the next few weeks, take longer intervals.

3) Start slow with food as well. People want to make an instant change and throw out all their chips and chocolate (that's what they tell you to do on these TV shows that are all about the health). Do this and you will be miserable. You will find yourself in the middle of the evening mixing a bowl of cookie dough and eating the whole thing in one sitting. I know, because I was there. Instead, add a salad to accompany your hamburger and fries. Make sure the portion size of the burger and fries are smaller. (At a restaurant, cut off part of the burger and halve the fries. Ask the waitress to take these portions away as you start your meal. Or ask her to have the cook give you less fries and a smaller burger. They probably won't adjust the cost, but isn't the cost of your health more important?)

4) When you start an exercise plan, make sure you keep a regular schedule. For example, if you decide you will work out Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6 am, even if you don't feel like getting up, do it anyway. In about six weeks you will adjust so that when you don't exercise, you'll feel like you're missing something important. You will also have more energy. So as you're trying to find your Reebok's in the dark, remind yourself that eventually this will become a habit.

5) Treat exercise like a moment of meditation for the mind. Download your favorite music and work out to it. Think about the good things you are doing for yourself. Look into the future and picture other ways to improve your life. How will you complete these projects? Dare to daydream. It's probably the only time of the day when you won't feel rushed. Consider it "Me Time."

6) When you feel the time is right to begin dietary changes, start by adding soup to your meals. Soup and crackers make a good, hearty lunch. And the liquid will help fool your stomach into feeling full.

7) Stop drinking soda and juice. Drinking your calories is the easiest way to gain weight. Even diet sodas are NO GOOD. They make you want to eat more. Stick to water, coffee, unsweetened hot or iced tea (or tea with a little sugar. I hate sugar substitutes. Sugar itself does not contain a whole lot of calories.)

8) DON'T try to lose a lot of weight all at once. Slow and steady is healthier, and it will stay off longer because you are making lifestyle changes, not rushing into some fad diet that works only in the short term. You are revising your eating and exercising habits. This is not going to be something you will only do until the weight comes off. You will be eating and exercising like this for the rest of your life. So take your time getting to where you feel comfortable. Don't obsess about it. Just do it.

9) Find activities you enjoy. If you like to dance, put on some music and dance after you get home from work. If you like tennis, get out on the courts weekly with a friend. Which brings me to my last bit of advice.

10) Do this with a friend. Or several friends. You can help motivate each other. Help one another steer clear of the foods you should be avoiding. Pat one another on the back with each success. I will admit, I did it alone without a friend. But I went to the YMCA and found myself competing with the person beside me, trying to work harder and faster to keep up with him or her. It worked. And they never even knew I was in competition with them.

In the end, I lost my extra weight. I continue to eat well and exercise regularly, but I also have a bagel for lunch and I pretty much consume a piece of cheese daily. And I always eat something sweet. Just not a slice of cheesecake or a super-sized candy bar. I might eat half the cheesecake. Savoring it instead of gulping it down. Or four Hershey's kisses with a handful of pretzels. Everything in moderation.

Which takes me to my last piece of advice: Enjoy your food. Eat small snacks in-between meals so you aren't starved by dinnertime and end up overeating. Enjoy the blackened salmon. Take time with your vegetable pizza. Sip your wine.

Eventually, losing weight won't be so hard.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Keeping a Positive Outlook on Life

In my last post, I mentioned Richard Davidson’s how we use the six emotional styles in reacting to life changing events. I discussed resiliency, and explained how we can build our resilience for a happier life.
This time I’d like to discuss outlook, which is number two on Davidson’s list.
You’ve heard the old cliché about some people seeing the glass as half full, others seeing it as half empty. That is our emotional outlook simplified. Some of us see the positive while others dwell on the negative. This is guided by our hormones, our upbringing, even our lifestyle.
A positive outlook is essential to our well-being. Negative people attract more negativity. It’s difficult to be around someone who is constantly bemoaning his situation. Negative people tend to avoid change and refuse help. Many people with a negative outlook on life believe they are powerless and that no matter what they do nothing will make them happy.
Someone with a positive outlook on life accepts change and finds a reason to accept it. They understand that with change comes growth, and that the situation will rectify itself once they can get a handle on it. They feel that the power is either in their own hands, or in the power of a higher being.
I have met both types of people, and it is tough being around a constant pessimist. The pessimist would rather complain then make a drastic change. Perhaps because he is fearful of making a wrong choice. Or maybe she feels no matter what she does, things won’t change (powerlessness). But the change must come from within, especially when a circumstance beyond our control presents itself.
I found a lovely site that explains much more than I can here about negative outlook. Please check out the “Types of Negative Attitude” section, as you will either see yourself or someone you know on this list:
So, how do we change our outlook if we see our world as a cup half empty? According to author Lizette Balsdon in her list of “Ten Steps to a More Positive Life,” we need to stop dwelling in the past, learn to forgive, and stop criticizing others. (
Easier said then done, obviously. When we are hurt by someone else’s actions, that pain stays with us for a long time. Oftentimes until the day we die. Betrayal is a difficult situation to overcome, and anyone who says that they have completely forgiven someone deserves a medal, because that is one of the most difficult things to do. There must be a reason to forgive someone. And that’s where the healing starts.
For example, when I was in the seventh grade, others picked me on so badly that I was physically ill every day, and I had two breakdowns in the middle of school and was sent to the school psychologist for evaluation.
Twenty years later, I forgave the kids who did this to me. Yes, it took that long. I’ll tell you why: because I thought it shaped me as a person in a negative way. Over time I realized that although it was a negative experience for me, it helped me develop a deep empathy for others. It also taught me about social norms and expectations. It deepened my understanding of human psychology. All of which I use when I write my young adult novels.
I found the positive in the negative, and I was able to let go of the anger. I even had a dream where I told my bully, “I forgive you.” It was as if a thousand pounds of self-hatred was pulled from my heart and sent out into the universe. Because it wasn’t the bullies I hated…no. I disliked myself for allowing the situation to happen, even though at the time I felt powerless and confused.
Unhappy people blame others, point fingers, compare themselves to “lucky” people. Happy people look inside themselves for change, learn to understand and accept their limitations, and find ways to better their lives.
A positive outlook is essential to one’s well-being. If you are a naturally pessimistic person, this won’t be easy to achieve. You may need to find a trained therapist who can help you through difficult transitions in your life. If you are unhappy, you need to make a change whether it is in yourself or outside influences. But don’t sulk waiting for something to happen. Take charge of your own life in a positive way. Do it now.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Changing Your Life Situation: How it Helps You Find Good Health and Gain Freedom

I’m an advocate for change. But only if the change will impact one’s life in a positive manner. For example, don’t start drinking five beers a night so you can shove your troubles under a table coaster. You need to find what it is inside of you that’s contributing to your unhappiness and make the changes necessary to let that little stream of happiness we all have within ourselves bubble to the surface. It’s not easy. Sometimes we really have to dig to discover it. And sometimes we don’t even know where to place our shovel.
Today I will focus on a discussion of Richard Davidson’s six emotional styles. According to Davidson, people consult their emotions when making complex decisions. I understand that. When I make a decision as simple as choosing what clothes to put on, I generally let my mood guide me. Occasionally I will think, “I want to be warm. It’s cold outside.” And I will choose my warmest, albeit least attractive, clothing. But if I want to feel good about myself, I will choose something less practical, thus making an emotional decision.
The same goes for food. We can say to ourselves, “A salad without dressing is optimal for my weight loss plan today.” And then the television stops working, a pair of pants gets ruined in the dryer thanks to a renegade chap stick, and a fight ensues with the spouse. The undressed salad is a distant memory. “I need a hot fudge sundae,” is the emotional response. And it leads us to unhealthy fare, if only for its quick pick-me-up.
The six emotional styles according to Davidson are as follows:
1)   Resilience
2)   Outlook
3)   Social Intuition
4)   Self-Awareness
5)   Context
6)   Attention
In the next several weeks I’m going to choose each of these styles and dissect them. How do they interfere with my choices? How do they help me obtain my goals? How can apply this to a healthy lifestyle while I weather upcoming challenges in my life? What about you?
Today, we’ll discuss resiliency.
According to the American Psychological Association, “Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress -- such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. It means "bouncing back" from difficult experiences…Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone.” (
How adept are you at making plans and taking steps toward your goals? Do you lack confidence or motivation? Do you find yourself struggling with indecision? Or are you impulsive and quick to react either in a positive or negative way?
The APA has put together an article that contains “10 Ways to Build Resilience.” ( In a nutshell, they explain the most successful ways to become a more resilient person, including keeping positive about the future and having a clear head during stressful situations. It’s easy to be swept into a tide of fear and doubt, but we need to grasp a lifesaver instead of allowing the waves to tug us down where we can’t breathe.
If you have a problem—especially one that feels insurmountable—you need to find a way to step back and look at it objectively. Let’s say that there are layoffs happening where you work. You need your income and health insurance benefits, obviously. You also know that you are likely to be the next person cut loose. You could wait it out, gnawing on your fingernails until they bleed. You can come home to your family and take your anger and stress out on them. You can guzzle a six-pack and gobble down an entire bag of Doritos. But these things will not quell your stress. In fact, they may add to your problems. It’s time for you to look at the problem from a different perspective. To increase your resiliency.
The APA suggests turning to friends, family, and organizations such as church for support. Talking it through can help alleviate the fear. Accepting that there are some situations out of your control is another positive coping mechanism. Finding a new goal…such as searching for a new job or considering a career change…will help put you back into the driver’s seat. Exercise can help because you are taking care of yourself, which is a mood lifter. I know, I know. All these suggestions sound fantastic, but actually making them happen takes work.
But humans are adaptable. Behavior modification isn’t a work of fiction. They say it takes three weeks to make something a habit. Whether or not that’s true, I do know that after a month of regular exercise I began to no longer put it off. It became part of my daily life, blending into my schedule so seamlessly I now feel I’m missing something if I don’t do it. I’m heading headfirst into a very stressful situation very soon, but I feel I am, for the most part, resilient. I am going to try to look at the challenges ahead in a positive manner. I won’t let fear guide me, because otherwise I will make poor decisions by working out of my emotional state instead of my intellectual state of mind.
What about you? Where do you stand? If you’re more likely to eat seven Big Macs when you’re struggling with adversity than you are to hit the gym, you may want to take a look at how you’re handling problems. And you may want to change that. Starting today.
Where to find Richard Davidson's book:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

How to Succeed at Your First 5K Race

I ran my first EVER 5K this past Saturday. Generally, 5K's are fundraisers, and this was for domestic violence. I paid $25 to run, although people could walk as well. People volunteered their time and companies like the local Subway and Abbott's offered coupons for free products. Tim Horton's gave out free coffee and smoothies. So not only did I monetarily help out a charity, but I received amazing perks as well!

Okay, let me first say that I know people who really prepare for this sort of thing. They run almost daily. They time their speed. They get fitted for special sneakers. This is not me. I did none of that. I would've run every other day if I didn't have that stupid heel pain that makes it impossible to walk for the next couple days thereafter. (I am seeing a podiatrist soon, so I will have more great advice for runners after my appointment, once I know what I'm doing wrong.)

So, in other words, my lungs were not conditioned to the point I would've liked them to be. I'm going to assume many of you reading this are in the same boat. What I have to tell you will be invaluable. First of all, make your you exercise a good couple months (at least) prior to the race. You will want to build up your endurance, even if you aren't a runner. I cannot stress this enough: do weight training. Prepare your legs for a long run. 5K equals 3.1 miles. Driving 3.1 miles in a car is a blip in time. It doesn't seem very far. I'm here to tell you that 3.1 miles is no blip. It's more of a (bleep).

Okay. Second of all, even brisk walking will help condition your lungs, but the best conditioning is interval training. Run as fast as you can as far as you can. Stop, gasp, and walk. When your breath has regulated, run as fast as you can again. Continue until you are a blob on your lawn, hoping for rain. You have now begun to condition your lungs for running. You should work on this gradually, of course, and consult your physician to make sure you're a good candidate for this type of training. It can be hard on the heart.

If you can slowly train yourself to run three miles (and for me, it's four), you will be able to handle a 5K, no problem. If you're looking for first place, though, don't be 5 foot 3, racing against women who are 6 feet tall and have the legs of a gazelle. I speak from personal experience, here. But if you are short and still want to do well, here is practical advice from someone who used to be clueless until her very first race.

1) Wear comfortable clothes. Sweat + tight clothes and underwear = uncomfortable chafing. Don't let this be you! Placing Band-Aids in places the sun don't shine is not a great way to end a race.

2) Do not start off going too fast. I had started the race toward the back, and ended up passing 90% of the people right off the bat thinking, "Ha! Suckers." A mile later I was thinking, "I'm the worst sucker of all. I'm a Dum-Dum!" (Disclaimer: Dum Dum is a trademark name.)

3) If you want to win, don't stop for water. But if you're mouth tastes like dried spit, grab a water, suck it down, throw the cup to the pavement. Yes, they told me I could drop the cup. I had hesitated, wondering what to do, which took, like, an extra ten seconds off my time. And seconds are important in a race, gosh darn it! Next time, I'll know better.

4) Look for the signs that tell you where you are mile-wise in the race. They can help you slow or speed your pacing. Me? I was just hoping to keep going without collapsing. When I saw the sign for 2 miles I was like, really? That's all? I turned to the man walking beside me (this tells you how much I'd slowed down by then) and I gasped, "There's no end in sight!"

5) The man beside me was walking AND running his way to the finish line. Not a bad plan, especially if you've conditioned your lungs to deal with fast sprints. Consider this option. He finished the race right after I did, and I ran the whole freaking way!

6) When you see the finish sign, decide (quickly) whether or not you can charge at it without passing out. I did this, and cut a few seconds off my time, plus got the dang race over with just that much quicker.

7) Do NOT stop moving after you've run. Walk it out for at LEAST five minutes to slow your heart rate gradually. Then STRETCH, or you will be sorry the next day.

I had a great time, despite the fact I didn't pace myself and was winded way too soon. But I managed to push myself, something I'm used to doing, and guess what? I ran the entire thing in 26:28. I came in at 21st place, and as the 7th female, despite my short stature. (Gazelle-leg woman came in at 20:00, beating out even the teen boys! I was quite impressed.) My friend (and neighbor), Kari, beat her old time, coming in at 27:58, the 10th female. She did great, too. (I'm always happy to give kudos to hard-working runners.)

So if you're considering a 5K, my advice in a nutshell: train ahead of time with weights and with practice runs. Wear comfy clothes that don't bind. Find a good pace and stick with it...don't start off too fast. If you need water, grab, drink, toss. Don't stop. Charge the finish line. Stretch afterward. Oh, and my best piece of advice? Use the bathroom before you race. After the race, I heard a few horror stories about marathon racers and how they sometimes mess their pants, if you know what I mean.

And number one? Have fun! It goes fast, despite being more a (bleep) than a blip.