Wednesday, October 31, 2007


This is one of those holidays that has everything to do with food. Now, before you say they all do, I have never gotten the urge for miniature candy bars on Presidents Day.

And there it is - miniature candy. By its' very name it sounds harmless, heck it starts with "mini".

However, as I spent most of the past two days reminding myself (as I was constantly plied with candy), it's only a miniature if you eat just one. When you pack along three of its friends, it could just as well be a full size candy bar or bigger.

Example: 1 Baby Ruth Miniature (what I decided to have one of on Beggar's Night): 83 calories, 4 grams of fat. Not bad, certainly better than a full size bar: 275 calories and 13 grams of fat. Or, worse yet, that urge to eat three more, because the first one was "just a taste": 332 calories, 16 grams of fat.

So remember, when I say everything in moderation - one miniature is moderation. Instead savor it and don't invite its friends, the party always gets out of control.

Yours in moderation, Kate

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The New Challenge

I recently had a call from Micki at the American Lung Association - Iowa Chapter. She had heard from my friend Leslie that I had lost a lot of weight. I said yes, 105 pounds. She was, as most people are, both impressed and flabbergasted. She also wanted to know my story, so I gave her the basics. That's when she mentioned why she had really called.

She thought I would be a great spokesperson for the 801 Power Climb. It's the annual event where walkers/runners/firefighters ascend all 41 floors of stairs at the 801 Grand building downtown. I had heard of the event, but was intrigued to learn more. She told me that everyone from kids and families to firefighters in full gear did the climb. One guy even did it in just over 4 minutes last year! (I really do have to find out how he did that because, come one, I can't even get the elevator to go that fast sometimes.)

Well, she had me interested. I agreed to pass the information on and maybe Lite 104.1 or even the Des Moines Radio Group would be interested in sponsoring it. (It's now in the capable hands of Chris and Scott in the promotions department to make that decision.)

Meanwhile the Saturday before my 5K I was at the wellness expo that was part of the race weekend and there was the American Lung booth. They had smartly placed themselves in the midst of some of the most fit people in Iowa. I met up with Donna from AL-Iowa there and she was bubbling with excitement that things were going well. That pretty much solidified it for me, the 801 Power Climb is my next goal.

When I said that, my brother Gordon who was my rock during the 5K, said he was in too. Now Casey and Annette are considering it as well. It looks like another family affair. And this time, not just for fitness sake, but for a great cause.

Learn more about how you can make this a goal for you as well by going HERE.

Micki and Donna have even given me a great visual motivator, a calendar of New Zealand firefighters. They are coming to compete against other firefighters from around the world. The calendar is very nice, if you would like to see what I mean, go HERE. Nothing naughty, just a little fun. My favorite is MacGregor. You can buy your own at that site, it's for a good cause - children's cancer.

Anyway, here's to climbing higher in my fitness on Sunday, February 24, 2008!

Yours in fitness, Kate

Monday, October 29, 2007


I have just finished up with Traci.

I hit it hard with cardio, running for 20 minutes before I started with her. Then she had me do 5 minutes on the elliptical - at 6 miles an hour - which was dang hard. Then it was on to the stair stepper for 5. (I am training for a new fitness challenge that I will tell you about tomorrow.)

Now it was time to hit all the major muscle groups. Since I had legs like jelly after the cardio, Traci had me do abs first. She is always coming up with creative new ways to make crunches more challenging. Today it was using bands hooked to the wall for added tension. It was challenging.

In fact, at the end of the workout she was lamenting that perhaps she had been too easy on me. I admitted that everything else was getting easier, but informed her the abs were tough, she was pleased. And that's what I really like about having a personal trainer.

Traci looks at my fitness goals, does the research, tries the exercises and makes a plan for me. Every workout with her is different, I can go weeks without doing the exact same move with her. I will do crunches for example, but it's a different variation and they are constantly rotated, so I never get bored and neither do my muscles.

That's one of the keys to being able to build muscle continuously and make it tough - diversity. If you are doing the same thing over and over again, your muscle gets really good at it and then it requires less calories and effort for your body. So changing up your workout at minimum once every two weeks will keep you from getting bored and your body from becoming complacent.

It's so great to be able to walk into Fitness World West to see Traci and that planning is done for me. But if you are just starting out, you can use moves you learn from just about anywhere. One of my favorite places to cull from is Women's Health magazine. Wherever you get your exercises remember, don't over do it. And adding on muscle is a great way to burn more calories, even when you are just breathing.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Weekend Wrap-up

I had a very busy weekend.

Friday night I went out to celebrate Halloween for work. I dressed in a costume I created, as autumn. I took a nice brown party dress and put silk fall colored leaves on it and then had a crown of berries and fall foliage woven into my hair. People actually 'got it'. I took a couple of pictures, I will add them as soon as I upload them.

I had to go out for work to search for cavemen to give away tickets to the one-man show, "Defending the Caveman" coming to the Temple for Performing Arts. I found a couple, they were surprised to just randomly win tickets, so that was fun.

I came away with a couple of observations after our outing though. 1. All of those costumes that I thought, "That is so cute, but my body is not ready yet; maybe next year..." LOL. Uh, no. I saw women running around in them and frankly, some of them would have been wearing more if they are just gone out in panties and a bra. I may someday be that comfortable with my body, but I will never be that shameless. By the way, a note to those ladies - if you are dressed as a naughty nurse with your frilly panties sticking out of the back of your dress - do NOT be shocked when men fain illness and beg for your care mercilessly.

Saturday - I started my day at the Farmer's Market. It was very chilly, but then, the last one of the year always is. I did end up with a pastry, but I only ate half of it. I realized all of that sugar and fat just isn't what I need to put in my body. I prefer to 'spend' 300 calories on something else. But the half I had was very yummy. It was a vanilla/almond pastry from Strudel Haus. I highly recommend it as a splurge for you next summer.

I went to the gym after the appearance. I missed out on pilates, so I ran and did some weights instead. Then I went to lunch with my family. I introduced them to Wok in Motion at West Glen Town Center. They got a first hand lesson in healthier food choices when eating out. They even tried one of my favorites, steamed edamame straight from the pods. Protein, fiber, potassium and more, all in little pods.

Sunday - I tried a new class at Fitness World West. It is a core ball workout. You do almost your entire workout with the ball. From abs to hamstring to balance, you include the ball. It was very interesting. It is not, realistically for beginners. But if you have been working out for a while and have trained your abs over the past couple of months, this would be an interesting step up.

After the workout I went to my mom's for Sunday dinner. She made a Cooking Light version of paella. She even hunted down vegan chorizo to cut fat and calories. It was really good, she did a great job.

Well, I am going to go eat dinner now - talapia, broccoli, corn and other veggies.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Traci's Tips

This will normally be posted on Friday's, but we are just getting things up and running. So here is the first installment of a weekly feature called "Traci's Tips".

Traci is of course, my trainer at Fitness World West and she rocks! Listen up and enjoy!

1. Add some heavy weight training after a cardio workout to spike your metabolic rate for an hour after exercising. This will burn an additional 25% of calories you just burned!

2.Try working out in the morning! Great way to get your metabolism started for the day!

3. Exercises of the Week: Walking Lunges
Do 4 sets of 20 of those within your workout and feel the results!

4. Instead of just turning up the resistance on the Elliptical, try speeding up! It's going to burn just as bad and give you a great cardio burn as well!!

5. Cut back on fatty foods and eat more lean protein. This is going to help you build and tone your body's muscles.

Thanks Traci!

There you go, just a couple of ideas to add to your growing wealth of knowledge as you get more fit. Or as I did 15 months ago, start your journey.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Friday, October 26, 2007

On my way to meet up with Traci

I only have a second because I am headed out the door to see trainer Traci. But I thought I would give you a preview of what to expect on the blog this weekend:

Traci's Tips - The beginning of a weekly series that will usually appear on Friday from my fabulous trainer.

Halloween - A look at my first haunted holiday in 20 years where I feel I can wear a costume without humiliating myself.

The last farmer's market of the season - did I eat my one and only pastry for the season? How do I survive now without a weekly stock-up on veggies from the streets of Des Moines?

Yours in fitness, Kate

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What do you eat?

That is the second question people ask me when I say I have lost 105 pounds. And they say it with an incredulous tone that infers I must be eating nothing but celery and carrots. People truly believe the only way you can lose a substantial amount of weight is to deprive yourself.

I will tell you that is wrong. I wouldn't be 40% lighter if it were true, because I am bad at disallowing my favorite things. In fact, it's why I failed so many times in the past.

Instead what I have learned is what a portion really looks like.

One of the top reasons Americans are obese is because we have no idea what a portion is. This picture is an example of how portions have changed, note that this is a "salad" and they are healthy right?
See those calories? That doesn't even begin to address the fat in that "healthy" favorite. Take the two quizzes about portion control - here.

I have debated how we came to a world where what we allot ourselves to eat in one sitting has become so out of control. There are a number of reasons I believe, but this isn't about socio-economic reasons for obesity, I am talking about what to eat. :)

I control my food, I no longer let it control me. I am aware of the calories and fat I put in my body. I do my level best to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. I will not put anything in my body with trans fats or an outrageous amount of saturated fat. Beyond that, almost anything is fair game - if I am reasonable and responsible.

Reasonable means I eat one cookie, one good size bite of a decadent dessert, half a cheesy sandwich, you get the idea - moderation.

Responsible means I know what is going into my body, why I am putting it there and how it's going to end up. What - going back to the make-up of the food, ingredients, calories, fat. Why - Am I stressing? Angry? Lonely? Craving? Or actually hungry? How - Is my body going to use what I am putting in it for good or evil. Good - I build muscle, fight disease, meet my daily calories that are needed to both survive and exercise. Bad - Junk metabolizes quickly and poorly, too much and it becomes fat. Too much of anything becomes fat actually, because if your body gets too many calories, they have to go somewhere; hence my hips.

You'll note I didn't just give you a "diet" to follow, because diets fail. Instead I gave you the idea of some guidelines. I say idea because everyone is different in what they need for their own body. I will say though that no one has ever failed to lose weight who watched their calorie intake and exercised.

To be honest, you can take in too few calories and put your body into starvation mode and actually gain weight. So, check with a professional to set your initial calorie guidelines. You see, I have professionals helping me now, but I started this on my own - after I checked with my doctor.

On the right of the page you will find links to several sites to support your journey. One is a link to the USDA to help you find the calories and nutritional make-up of almost any food, even a number of fast foods. (Prepare to be scared.)

That's it for now, questions are now and always welcome. Back to my carrots. (Don't worry, I want to eat them, no body is forcing me.;) )

Yours in wellness, Kate

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A picture is worth a thousand words - part 2

I have just passed the 15 month anniversary of my lifestyle change. I am healthier than I ever believed I could be. I eat right, I run, I have more life in me, it's wonderful.

In the beginning (July 18, 2006) there was 260 pounds of me on a 5' 4" frame. Now there is 155 pounds on that same frame, pretty amazing. And I can tell you right now, I am never going back.

Instead I am going to lose a few more pounds, tighten things up and pack on muscle. That's why I am at Fitness World West . After losing so much weight, I needed that next thing. For me that is becoming more lean and athletic, but it's different for everyone.

However, that's one of the things that made trainer Traci and I click so well from the beginning. She asked my goals and I said I didn't care how much I ended up weighing, (within reason) I just wanted to be athletic. She assured me I had the right attitude and we moved forward with this in mind.

It's working, I am getting leaner. You can see my 'guns' (biceps and triceps) growing. My thighs have definition and my waist is leaner, just to name a few of the areas improved. That's in just 2.5 months!

Though you have to count me out for 12 days during that time due to strep throat. One bout took me out for 10 days and landed me in the hospital, so pay attention to your bodies people!

So I thought I would show you some pictures of what I looked like at the beginning of training with Traci at Fitness World West. This will give you an idea of where I started what I consider my final push to fitness. These pics are from August 13, 2007.

I will have more pics along the way. But if you look back at the one "before" I was able to find and look at these, you can see how far I have come.

I still have a ways to go, but with Traci and FWW, I will get where I want to be for the rest of my life.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Day After

It is the day after my personal triumph in the 5K at the IMT Des Moines Marathon. You would think I would be sore, but I feel great. I thank Traci and my time training at Fitness World West for that.

So, feeling good (and after a stressful day) I head to FWW. I hit the treadmill to warm up with a run before I meet with Traci. I put in a 20 minute run/walk and am surprised how great if feels, I thought there would be some remnant of pounding on the pavement, but it feels fine.

Traci grabs me and we head into the private training room. She proceeds to have me work every major muscle group. We put in a lot of time on upper body and core.

I love working out with Traci because she pushes me to places I would never even attempt on my own, let alone actually do. Today it was modified "crunch like" sit-ups with a medicine ball. That would be hard enough, but once I get up into a sitting position I throw her the medicine ball and then go down. Then it's back up to catch the ball. Um, hard. I had to stop a couple of times and admittedly whined a bit through the first set of 20. But by the second set I had a rhythm and it was easier.

Afterward I always feel great. Today is no exception, I put in a kick-butt workout on the heels of a kick-butt race performance. I feel a bit like I rock right now, I think I will enjoy this day after.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A MAJOR Milestone

Last May I was talking to my sister-in-law to be and I mentioned that I was thinking of doing a 5K somewhere along the line. I wanted it to be one of my fitness goals. She instantly said I should do the one that was part of the Des Moines Marathon. She would be doing the half-marathon and we could make it a family event. When she said it wasn't until October, I thought that was a reasonable amount of time to train. So I went straight home and signed up online.

You see, I wasn't a runner. By May I was a fast walker, but running was something for the "skinny" girls. I still had plenty of weight on (183) and my knees still tweaked when I hit more than 3.5 miles an hour walking. Despite that, I had faith that I could do this.

My brother Gordon said he would do it with me and then my brother Casey agreed to do the half-marathon with Annette. So it was truly a family affair.

I trained slowly but surely and going into Sunday I knew I could finish and I expected it to be in about 42 minutes or almost 14 minute miles. (Trainer Traci had full faith in me being faster.) I thought I would be at that pace because I had been training inside only for the past couple of months. When you add in wind and pavement, you tend to slow down.

So, it's race day and it's chilly. (Since I have lost weight, I am always cold.) I line up and realize I have forgotten my watch. Gordon says he will punch his when we cross the line to keep our time.

The gun fired and we were off.

The first mile, even being an uphill grade, goes by smoothly. My time spent increasing the incline on the treadmill at Fitness World West has paid off.

Another half mile in, BAM. Every muscle in my body is cold, achy and sore. I want to stop, but my brother is behind me somewhere and I know it and everyone is watching. I keep chugging another quarter mile and then finally cave to walk. Gordon catches up and says I am doing great. I think I moan something like 'yea, right' and start running again.

A quarter of the way through the third mile my jogging legs feel wobbly and I slow to a hard walk. Again Gordon catches me and says I am faster than I think. A bit inspired, I run.

Just before the end of the third mile my breathing is off and I am panting, so I slow down. Besides, I figure maybe Gordon will catch me again for that last push. He does as we head onto 3rd Street for the last .2 miles. He says, "Let's finish strong," and starts sprinting toward the finish line. Somewhere deep in me the competitor, who once knocked girls down on the softball field, kicks in and I run too.

I finished in 36:19.

That's almost 6 minutes faster than I thought I could be. That's a pace of 11:43 per mile. That is a long way from where I was in May. That is a major milestone and I am proud.

Yours in fitness, Kate
(Is that sign-off better?)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A picture is worth a thousand words - part 1

I didn't get to workout today. It makes me a little crazy. But I will be back at it tomorrow with both my cardio and Traci.

My pitfall today - I needed something to wear for my photo shoot tomorrow. That's right, the Des Moines Radio Group air talents are having a professional photographer come in to take our pictures. This will be the first time I have had a pro-pic taken in 19 years, the last was my senior pictures for high school. The winter after those my weight ballooned and I began avoiding cameras like, yes, the plague.

So, now I am facing down a major mental menace tomorrow and I had nothing to wear. I know that sounds odd, but due to my eating and exercise, I keep shrinking out of everything. In fact, today as I was hunting, I found I have moved down another pant size. I am not whining, I am aware that everyone wishes that had such problems. However, shopping ate up my workout time.

I am taking three options to the photo shoot, hopefully something will work for the photographer.

NOW... the thing everyone asks me for, a "before" picture. Honestly, I have looked everywhere and this is the best I can offer. It is a chest up shot from May of 2006 that I used for a headshot as I attempted to land a walk-on role in the movie "The Final Season". I remember thinking at the time that I looked pretty good. I realize now I was deluding myself, I was morbidly obese and miserable.

Again, this is from May, I actually put on about 12-15 pounds after this was taken. I didn't start my journey to health until July 18, 2006.

Yours in health, Kate
(I still don't like that sign-off)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Introducing Traci

Today is one of my three days a week to train with trainer Traci. I love these days. I do some cardio and then let her put me through my paces. She pushes me hard, harder than I would push myself, but that's what I need. However, she never does it without a sense of humor.

We hit all the major muscles today from shoulders through calves. Plus of course, core. Your core is your midsection - from just under your chest to about your pubic bone. She helps me build my core every time we meet. A strong core can help with a number of things including burning more calories and in my case, helping my lower back not hurt as much. That's because now there are muscles on the front of my torso doing some actual work.

By the way, here is a picture of Traci, so when I am telling my stories, you'll know who I am talking about.

Soon I will post a before picture of me. The only one I can find is from the chest up. I am working on a full body shot. I do have full body pics from before I started training with Traci and those are coming soon as well.

Yours in health, Kate

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


If you have made it from the Lite 104.1 page to this blog you are curious and I applaud you.

At this blog you will be able to follow my progress and pitfalls along the path to health. Featured in this blog will be Fitness World West and my trainer Traci.

The reason I decided to do a blog is because people want proof of whether products or services work. (I know I do.) This is my chance to show and tell you how it is working for me. I hope to inspire and even on occassion amuse you as I continue my journey toward a fit and healthy body.

Yours in health, Kate
(I may have to work on that sign-off.)