Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hitting it Hard with a bum shoulder

Went to Fitness World West and hit it hard today. Tons of cardio and lower body. I didn't really do any upper body because my shoulder felt like I had a knife in it.

Talked to trainer Traci and another trainer, Lindsey, about it. I was told to ice it to push the blood out so it wouldn't throb so much. It worked. It still hurts, but at least I can raise my left arm again without it feeling like torture.

Just another benefit to going to a gym with certified trainers - they deal with sports injuries every day.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dance, Dance, Dance

I forgot my workout shoes yesterday. It was blustery and cold and when I headed home to get them, the wind swept up my skirt and reminded me I live in Iowa. So I wimped and headed home.

Lest you think the lack of a gym stopped me from getting physical, you are mistaken. I went home and danced. That's right - I threw on a favorite jazz CD that features bands from the 30's and 40's and move to it.

When the slower songs came on, I hit the mat and did abs and push-ups. Or I did squats, standing lunges and a band for my arms. (I found out I need a new one, because my strength has increased so much since I bought it 8 months ago that it was a bit of a joke.)

But for at least 30 minutes, on and off, just like being at a real dance - I wiggled to the beat. It was a great reminder of just how fun letting go can be and how good for you.

If you are lost when it comes to dancing, there is an event Saturday that might help. It's called "Dance for Your Heart", it's being put on by Iowa Health. It helps kick-off heart month and not only can you learn to dance everything from hip-hop to ballroom, but they have FREE health screenings from diabetes to BMI.

So, if you haven't picked an exercise that fits you yet, maybe dancing is your thing. I think it will be mine more often.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

200 Snacks under 100 Calories

With the snow and meetings today, my job has distracted me. So, I am going to keep this simple. This is a link that was sent to me in an e-mail from Ladies Home Journal. It is what the post name says - Enjoy!

Yours in health, Kate

Monday, January 28, 2008

From the beginning...

Tip - Log your food.

This was something I didn't pick up until a week or two into my journey, it made all the difference. Early on, I had no idea what a portion was, how many calories were in it or what (if anything) my body might be getting out of it nutritionally. Keeping a journal which counted my calories, fat, fiber, protein and basic vitamins for me, let me concentrate on the whole picture instead of carrying a book around.

I kept mine online - for FREE - at The link is to the right here on my blog. It was a great easy choice because then I was also eating a lot of Lean Cuisine - simple portion control.

On the site you go under the tools section and you will be able to set-up a profile, keep track of your weight, BMI and indeed, food.

It really woke me up to how quickly I ate up my calories in a day and allowed me to plan ahead. In fact, they even have an option to plan meals for you based on a specific type of diet or calorie count you are seeking. I did try that briefly, but it was not for me. The low calorie ones did not account for fat and I wanted to be conscious of both. (Even though, I know, a calorie is a calorie.)

So try it, set-up a 'flog' - yea, I coined that - short for 'food log'. It will never catch on... but then again, blog did. ;)

Yours in health, Kate

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday Inspiration - 1/27/08

Good morning!

I am always looking for other people's stories of weight loss and health success to motivate me. Anyone who has lost weight in a healthy manner has my respect and usually inspires me. Friday I ran across this woman's story of having lost 110 pounds. Since I have lost that much, it caught my eye.

Now I have reiterated time and again that everybody's journey is different. However, every unique journey can create some strong motivation and lend itself to great tips. I thought I would share this story and let you cull what you will. Her name is Heather Davis and here is her story.

This will be part of an ongoing series on Sundays. If you have an inspiring story, know someone who does or come across one on the Internet, let me know and we can feature it.

Yours in health, Kate

Just Dessert

I believe in rewards along the way to keep you motivated. I have rewarded myself with things from the first 5 pounds I lost to not gaining any weight this Christmas. I stress to everyone that these rewards should be things - new running shorts, new mp3s, a new magazine, etc.

But tonight, I rewarded myself with dessert.

I have said before, dessert is o.k., in moderation. Never deny yourself anything, or you will end up binging. Instead take a bite or two, savor it and be satisfied. I stand by that.

Tonight though, I ate the whole thing. That's right, I went to Azalea for the first time and we simply went for dessert. I had eaten healthfully throughout the day, watched my calories and then went for it at Azalea.

I enjoyed it too much, because it was too good. But now that moment is over and I won't be putting anything made with nothing but cream, chocolate and sugar in my body again for sometime. It was a fun moment though, to simply be bad.

So go for it once in a while - be bad. Just remember where you are in the morning - on the road to better health.

Yours in health, Kate

Friday, January 25, 2008

Traci's Tips

Trainer Traci had to take a week off from tips for a personal situation. So, instead I will give you the bonus me tip of the week.

With our first warm weekend coming in quite a while, my tip is - get outside. You don't have to do your full workout in the great outdoors, but a brief walk would be great. This will help remind you that spring will come again someday AND get fresh air in your lungs.

I love working out at Fitness World West but being outside once in a while has great benefits as well. Including a little vitamin D from the sun. Yes, the sun does have benefits, it is the best source for vitamin D. Vitamin D has many benefits including helping you absorb calcium better and possibly fighting cancer. Now, I am not saying lay in the sun for hours. However, just 15 minutes a day can get you much of the vitamin D you need.

Plus, especially this time of year, sun can help boost your mood.

Yours in health, Kate

Laughter works the abs

I did my hour and a half at Fitness World West today. (Including some killer cardio.) Then it was home to shower and get ready to go to a show.

Now, I readily admit I do not get enough sleep, so when I received the invitation to see the preview of "Jerry Springer: The Opera" last night, I hesitated. But Lori has had a hard week and needed a laugh. So, since it was going into Friday, what the heck, I went.

WARNING: If oh, just about anything offends you - do NOT go to this show.

On the other hand, if you want to have a rollicking, outrageous and fascinating trip through the sick little world of Jerry Springer in a sometimes filthy, but always funny show - this is for you. Seriously, if you offend, don't go. But if you want to laugh, sing and just generally have a blast (while hearing some great singing) then get your tickets now - it's selling fast.

It's being produced by Stage West at the Stoner Theatre at the Civic Center. Find out more here.

By the way, not only do you feel a proper laugh in your abs, it does help burn calories. From the results of a European study: "The researchers discovered that laughing increased both heart rate and calorie expenditure by up to 20 per cent – and the longer participants laughed the greater the effects.

Using the results, the scientists then went on to calculate that just 15 minutes of laughter a day will burn 10 to 40 calories, depending on a person’s weight and the intensity of the laughter. That’s enough to shift between 1 and 4lb a year."

So, there you go - laugh your butt off.

Yours in health, Kate

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I need to ask a favor

I found out today that my allotment of personal training sessions at Fitness World West is coming to an end. I will still have a membership at the gym for a couple of months, but I may have to give up my sessions with Traci.

The reason is because the gym doesn't think anyone hears the commercials we are running on Lite 104.1. They don't feel like anyone has come into the gym because of the advertising. So, they are not sure if they want to renew the agreement. I get that.

But I honestly believe people are hearing them and some may even be acting on them, I just don't have a way to prove it. That's where you come in. If you are looking at a gym, please consider Fitness World West.

I'm not just saying that because they are an advertiser. I am saying that because I am a believer that working out there works. I love working out there because it's for people who want to get or stay fit. (It is not a meat market.)

Everyone can feel comfortable working out there whether you are a beginner or an elite athlete. No one stands around and looks at you funny, because they are too busy doing their own thing. Also, if you seek a distraction during your workout, most cardio machines have LCD TVs attached to them with cable.

So, if you have been thinking about joining or changing gyms or you know anyone who has, I would like to encourage you to consider Fitness World West. I am not asking you to just randomly call them, but if this is something you have been considering anyway, it is a really great gym.

Also, I have had great results with my personal trainer Traci, so if you are looking to take your fitness to a new level she can help you out.

If you have questions, let me know. Otherwise if you are interested or perhaps want to try a FREE week, call them at 223-5111.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Checking Under the Hood

I went to the doctor today for a FULL physical. Yep, checked under the hood, kicked the tires, checked the oil.

I didn't think there was anything wrong with me, it's just the thing a girl needs to do once a year. And that's what I want to say - take care of yourself. Men tend to die younger than we do because they aren't as likely to - wonder what that lump is or take that little cough seriously.

Even if you haven't been to the doctor in forever, you know your body and can usually foresee a problem. Narrow the chances that problem will be serious by getting a regular check-up.

Even when I didn't have insurance, I made a point of having a physical. It was particularly important because I was overweight and there are a myriad of issues that can come from that.

If you can't save up like I did at the time, that's o.k. There is assistance available from the state where you live or even, in Polk County, Iowa, the county. If the check you need is reproductive, Planned Parenthood specializes in reproductive health and has assistance available.

You literally can't live without a healthy body. So eat right, exercise and get a check under the hood for good measure.

Yours in health, Kate

Monday, January 21, 2008

From the beginning...

I promised I would make Mondays about what I did to start my weight loss journey, so here you go:

Tip: Start with the right equipment, so you don't end up injured.

When I started this latest (and final) attempt at getting healthy, I had a pair of running shoes that I had bought about a year before. I was convinced that, because I had just been wearing them for everyday use and not working out, that I could make use of them to exercise. I was wrong.

What I didn't take into account was that I weighed 260 pounds and that was more than enough pressure on the soles to break them. With broken soles and crushed arches, no shoe in the world is going to be comfortable to walk in. But that didn't stop me. I tried to go ahead and use them.

I stubbornly held out almost a month. I must have really wanted to lose the weight this time, because my back hurting and shins being sore once would have put me on the "injured" list and I would have quit to "recuperate" and have never gone back.

Instead I woke up to the fact that if I invested in no other piece of equipment to get healthy - I would have to invest in good shoes. So I did. I now change my shoes as often as they wear out, because my back hurting actually makes me even more cranky than it did then. (I miss working out.)

So (yes, I have to say it) put your best foot forward and the path on the journey to fitness will be much smoother.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Sunday, January 20, 2008

18 Months and Counting...

I realized mid-post yesterday that Friday was my 18 month anniversary. I have been making healthier food choices and exercising since July 18, 2006. In those 549 days I have lost 110 pounds (I now weigh 150 pounds) and gained knowledge and a new sense of self worth.

Other new things from the past 13,176 hours:

I have learned how to eat healthy.
How to exercise properly.
I know, understand and like myself better.
I have stopped correlating weight and happiness.
I have realized I do not have to change who I am because I have become healthier, I am still me.
I have embraced my calling to help others make lifestyle changes.
I love to exercise.
I love vegetables.
I am capable of making great choices for my health.
This is a forever change and now I can't imagine it any other way.

In the next 790,560 minutes I hope to:

Learn more.
Exercise more.
Hit my goal of a completely athletic body.
Find a way to help my skin tighten up.
Learn more about nutrition.
Continue to help others that want to make changes.
Experiment more with food.
Try new activities outdoors.
Find complete peace regarding the way I abused my body for so many years and forgive myself for it.

Well, here's to the next 47,433,600 seconds, may the be as fun, healthy, fulfilling and happy as the last 78 weeks! I'm headed to the FWW.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The day off

Yesterday I did it. I took a day off.

Not from working out, I met with Trainer Traci and we hit it hard. As usual she was pleased when I scrunched my face and pushed through. Just a note - I like it when she pushes me really hard. But if you are just starting out or have different goals than I do (which of course you do - you're you) then Traci or one of the other trainers at Fitness World West will tailor a workout to YOU.

It was after I was with Traci that my 'day off' began - with food. Everyone says, take a day off now and then or you will go crazy. Up to this point I have been nervous at the concept. I have a bad history with food and was afraid I would run amok and not be able to reboot today. I am pleased to say, I was wrong.

I had my nephew starting at noon yesterday. We went to lunch at Biaggi's and I had mahi mahi and gnocchi. Mid afternoon we shared a cookie and a brownie at Starbuck's. Dinner brought a burger and fries (mine was chicken and low fat fries - some habits are best to keep, even on a day off). Then we wrapped my food detour with THE BEST DESSERT I HAVE HAD IN YEARS.

Smores. Simple, yes, but unbelievably wonderful. It's not because I haven't had them in the last 18 months (yes, it's been 18 months as of yesterday, that will be the subject of tomorrow's post), I have. But those were made with the ingredients we had as kids a regular Hershey's bar, Kraft marshmallows and Honey Maid graham crackers. Don't get me wrong, that's good. But if you are going to indulge, my new way is MUCH better.

I went to the Gateway market where I found extra thick graham crackers, designer milk chocolate that is a little darker than regular and smoother and homemade marshmallows from Beaverdale Confections. They were worth every calorie. One tip - if you are using the microwave, do the chocolate on the graham for about 12 seconds before you put the marshmallow on and microwave for another 5. Because the marshmallow is fresh with no preservatives, it will liquefy if you go any longer - learned that the hard way.

So, was I able to fall back into step today? Yes, because I am no longer that person. I am capable of making reasonable choices and controlling my food, though sometimes I still struggle - I'm human.

Food today - Kashi cereal with skim milk, a clementine, potato/red pepper/chicken soup with a piece of bread, coffee with skim milk and a drizzle of half & half, a banana, some popcorn, almonds, carrots, shrimp stir-fry (homemade with very little oil and TONS of veggies). Yep, back on the horse.

So, what have I learned? A day off doesn't have to derail a lifetime of proper eating. That's good to know if you are just starting out as well, if you 'cheat', it doesn't mean you are doomed, it just means you need to reboot and get back on track.

Yours in health, Kate

Traci's Tips - 1/18/08

Here are Trainer Traci's Tips for the week:

1. Average heart rate for women at rest is 75. Check yours, count the beats for six seconds and multiply that number by 10.
2. new breakfast menu! great way to kick start your day...
rolled oats (1/2 cup), brown sugar (tbsp), almonds, dried cherries, skim milk (1/2 cup)...microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes and enjoy!!

3. Tied down to a desk job?! here are a few exercises to some chair squats--stand up and sit down 10 times this will work your lower body and loosen up the legs..

4. no time to get to the gym...pick up a workout video to do at home try poise fitness core that mid section!

5. Moves of the week: 4 x 15
Hamstring Curls on a Physioball
Planks (hold flat position on elbows and toes)
20 seconds on each

Yours in fitness, Kate

Thursday, January 17, 2008

From the beginning...(Part 4)

I have put off writing this today because I am not sure I have a best answer yet myself. Tip #6 - Look inside.

If you are like me (and you probably are since you are reading this) you go beyond the usual reason to eat - sustenance. Food may have been your warm blanket, a friend, a reward or your comfort. But now it has become something you didn't expect - self abuse.

That's right - abuse. Because anyone who is as overweight as I was or is on their way there, is doing damage to their body. There must be a reason why. Something beyond, "I just like food", "I have no willpower", "I'm too lazy" and the list goes on. You have to find that reason, face it and embrace it. Make it your own and rob it of power.

I have looked long and hard inside my heart and mind for the 'one' thing that pushed the emotional button that led to eating. The big umbrella issue - I lost my self-respect.

More specifically, as I let the outside words of family and foe alike seep in, I began to buy into it. They became my own words. As I let more and more of me go, I liked myself less and less. Then any respect I had for me dematerialized like something on Star Trek.

When you don't respect someone, you find it hard to like them. If you do not like them, you find it hard to care about and support them. When you don't like or respect yourself, it's hellishly hard to make an effort to change anything.

And with every poorly planned attempt to 'fix' the weight situation, my self-loathing grew. You see I have trouble with people who say they "can't" do things. Maybe they can't, but more likely they just don't want to try and that makes them seem weak - another trait that makes me very disheartened with them.

So, there it is. While there were a thousand underlying reasons and situations that set things off again and again - lack of self-respect was the ultimate result and my undoing.

I have it back now. With every pound I lost, it grew stronger, because I was growing stronger - physically and mentally. Now, I respect me and best of all I love me. I know that last sounds very 1970's pop psych, but I mean it. And know this, if you don't love, respect and care for yourself, it terribly hard for anyone else to.

Yours in health, Kate

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

From the beginning... (part 4)

I learned straight out of the box there was something I would have to do, but did not want to - you see, controlling your food only gets you half way - I HAD TO EXERCISE.

At the time I had all of the excuses down pat - "I don't have the time", "It hurts", "I don't enjoy it" or "I'm too fat". I soon realized though, if I was serious, I had to make time; if it hurts, you are doing it wrong; if you don't enjoy what you are doing, do something else; yes, too fat - that is the point.

So, I got moving and that's tip #5 - get moving. I started by walking 10 minutes from my home and ten minutes back. But, ANYTHING that makes you break a sweat, gets your heart going and gets your breathing faster is good.

Today, I love to workout. I do it daily and I don't feel complete without it. It makes me happy. (Which by the way is an actual physiological side effect.)

I'm going to be all official now and say:

My blog is just friendly advice. I am telling you what I learned along the way and about my experiences. You need to make sure you are physically able to get moving, so as they say on the commercials - "See your physician before starting any exercise program".

But, my friendly advice is to eat right and exercise and you are two thirds of the way to being a healthier person. Tomorrow - the third part the mental/emotional - this one is going to hurt.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My current weight & My gym

I weighed in today, as I do every Tuesday. I believe I mentioned last week I did so after two days of the stomach flu - I 'magically' lost 4 pounds. Well, I am a realist and I knew I would gain back once my body was in balance. I was just hoping to keep two pounds net loss - I did!

I am very happy. I now weigh 149. It is the first time I have been under 150 since junior year of high school. I feel awesome - mentally and physically.

Which brings me to my second subject - my gym. I go to Fitness World West. I see Trainer Traci. And I love it. I am actually headed there in just a few minutes.

If you are looking to make a change, I highly suggest you see the team at Fitness World West. I am working on finishing my weight loss journey, packing on muscle and going into lifetime maintenance. But if you are just starting, this is the place for you as well. Traci even has a Women's Weight Loss class for group personal training.

I couldn't say enough good things about Traci and FWW if I tried, so I will pass on the coupon instead. Below you will find the coupon for a one week FREE trial. If you use it, make sure you mentioned that I gave it to you. FYI - I do not get paid pass out coupons. But I want them to know I am out here supporting them, because they are back there supporting me.

And, if you do join the gym, let me know - we can bump into each other on the treadmills. ;)

Yours in fitness, Kate

From the beginning...(Part 3)

A side note from yesterday's entry... A couple of people e-mailed me and said - "O.k. smarty pants, I am a busy person and I am not going to carry around measuring cups and a scale - how do I really do this?" Touche.

I started as the queen of the frozen diet meal, the low-fat cereal/granola bar and cup of fat free milk and yogurt to go. I then added in baggies of vegetables and pieces of fruit. If it had the words "to go" or "individually packaged" on it, it was in my bag at some point.

This did two things: I learned portion control AND I learned to read labels like a pro. The later is important because though it's packaged for one, it may not be healthy for one. Example: a microwaveable soup cup - the calories and fat may be really high, be careful when you choose.

That brings us to Tip #4 - Learn to read for your health.

The overall health of anything that claims to be "healthy" and is pre-packaged, is relative. You could end up with half the calories and fat, but you may also end up with half the portion. (And all the sodium - for taste; or sugar - for fat -- yes, those are just two of the food industries dirty little secrets.)

This is why you need to learn to read the ingredients and the nutritional information both. By the nutrition label it may seem o.k., but if the first ingredient is high fructose corn syrup, it's not. The links to the right lead you to a couple of government sites that can help you decipher what you are eating.

I know you will find, as I did, once you really know what is in things - you are a bit disgusted and less likely to eat them.

Yours in health, Kate

Monday, January 14, 2008

From the beginning...(Part 2)

I am going to do these 'starting out' posts all week this week and then starting next week they will become a Monday feature. That way, if you are like me, you will have a little nudge to help you back into your work week.

Today - the word diet, why diets DON'T work and how to not have 'just one more'.

Diet - If you look up the word in the dictionary (and I did) you will find a plethora of meanings. The one that is proper simply means - what you eat. The one that has become most accepted - what you eat for a limited time to fit into that rockin' dress. Also known as DIET or Did I Eat That?

With DIET you find a way to fit grapefruit in every meal or starve yourself with 1000 calories a day or learn to love changing your pants (see Alli) or, ah heck, Google DIET, you'll get the gist. We have all been down this road, a friend says it works for them or "doesn't X celebrity look great? She used _______." We want it, we crave it - THE ONE THAT WORKS - THE DIET. The way we have dome to look at the word DIET is that it means temporary, someday we can go back to the 3 martini lunch and the 15 Oreo dessert.

Shockingly, I am about to burst your bubble - no one eating plan works for everyone and no change in eating habits will take off weight permanently without lifelong effort and (don't kill the messenger) exercise.

So Tip #2 is - go back to the real meaning of diet - what you eat and then enhance it with the qualifier 'and how much of it you consume'.

There is nothing evil about the average overweight person's natural diet. In fact, they will tell you they eat chicken and vegetables and rarely eat potato chips... well, yea, maybe a few cookies, but they have cut down on pop, mostly diet now and juice... and, in fact they didn't have a beer Saturday night at the bar, they just ate a few pretzels, all right a bowl, but aren't they fat free?

Most people know what they should eat or more to the point, shouldn't eat. The mass number of people out there who claim to be blatantly ignorant when it comes to food groups are, I'll say it, liars. ANYONE who has ever gone to grade school knows the food groups. What people honestly don't know anymore is HOW MUCH to eat. We have lost our barrings on what a portion is and/or looks like.

Before I started this, I was in the later group. Yep, I knew what to eat, in fact I frequently tell people - overweight people know better than anyone. (That's because we have been at this a while and have read all the books.) How much of it to eat? I wasn't so good at that. I had a very skewed idea of what a portion of pasta was or what 3 ounces of meat looked like.

I'm an American darn it, we do things big. At least that's what we have been fed by the restaurant industry. FYI- The average sit down 'fast food' meal - chicken Alfredo for example - is at least 3! servings. I can't number the times I finished the whole "serving" at a restaurant and wondered why I felt sick, it was "just one portion". For a Chicago Bear lineman? (Maybe, but for me, not so much. Of course I ended up bigger than some linemen, so I don't suppose that's a coincidence.)

So - after all that ranting - know what you are putting in your body and measure it to get it there. I still measure some calorie laden items like cereal and pasta, I am simply bad at eye balling them. But with vegetables (except beans) I have given that up - I'm not sure you can eat too many vegetables.

And that goes to my next tip - #3 - how to not have one more - walk away. Unless you are gorging yourself at the veggie tray (sans dip), leave the space you are facing your demon in. You don't lose anything by walking away from food. It doesn't think you are weak, it doesn't lose respect for you, IT doesn't feel anything, but you will if you stay too long - you'll feel discouraged, unhappy and like you have failed. Those feelings can lead you back down the path of, "well, I blew it, guess this latest attempt is over".

What if you can't just walk away? Give the offending food to someone else; put it somewhere very public so people will see you eating it, it may possibly deter you; don't bring it in the house/to work in the first place; throw it away.

That last one is all important - be prepared to pitch it in the garbage. And if you think you will be tempted to fish it back out - because nearly half of the overweight people I know have done that - take it out of its package and make sure it lands on something gross in the can. If that doesn't work - bag up the garbage and take it out. I dare you to be the schmuck digging for the Twinkies in your nightie on the front steps. (No, the neighbors would never talk about that.)

I have never been tempted to do that last one, but I have at least three friends that have considered it and one acquaintance who did it. She had to seek counseling, because when you begin dumpster diving your food fix and you aren't living on the street, you have much bigger issues than a simple blog could ever help you with.

Yours in health, Kate

Sunday, January 13, 2008

From the beginning... (part 1)

July 18, 2006 I decided to make a lifestyle change. I was going to eat right, exercise and lose weight. Brilliant, a plan - now what?

Like many other people I had struggled for 20 years with my weight. Every six months to a year I would come up with a brilliant plan. I would grab a fresh notebook and pencil and plot it out. My favorite things was to go week by week and note the two pounds I expected to lose and count down to the svelte new me. Not once did it happen. I would get a week in or 6 weeks in and something would happen and I would give up.

This time, honestly, I didn't vow that I wouldn't screw it up again. I simply told myself if I did (and I did a number of times and sometimes still do), I wouldn't stop, I would restart.

When you are obese you make side glances at the 'skinny' girl eating her salad in the food court. Even though you know it's not true, you think she is probably perfect. Maybe she has a filthy apartment and a mouth like a trucker, but right now, she is perfect. She can eat lettuce and carrots with lite dressing while there is a perfectly good burger and fries within reach. You think, "If she's that good now, she probably doesn't eat cake at birthday parties either. Skinny bitch."

The truth: if she's doing it right, she can eat anything she wants - in moderation. And if she has a moment where she isn't so moderate, she doesn't fall into a bag of Oreos and write off all healthy food choices because she 'failed'. Instead, she is better at the next meal or snack and maybe she does 10 extra minutes of cardio to assuage her guilt. The next day, she starts anew and doesn't live with lingering feeling over a moment of indiscretion - she moves on.

That's where we overweight folks falter. We expect, from the first carrot stick, to stay in the zone all of the time. We will always measure our cereal; we will always avoid the candy dish at the office; we will always eat only the leanest cuts of meat; we will always eat 5 or more servings of vegetables a day. No. The only thing we will always do? Be human.

Nothing, especially people, changes overnight. So expecting that you will just wake up one day loving celery more than chocolate or pilates more than being in your p.j.s watching "How I met Your Mother", is a prescription for failure.

So, I'll tell you right now - pick your poison. Mine is chocolate.

And now I am giving you TIP #1 if you are starting from the beginning: Once you have set your calorie level to goal for each day - set 50-100 calories aside to be 'bad'. Yep, I am encouraging you to have a daily cheat.

Across the world now nutritionists are very jittery and don't even know why.

Why? Because we want 'it'. Everyone has that thing that vexes them as they head into a change of eating habits. (the word diet is incorrect and I will cover that tomorrow) So plan for it. Call it a daily reward, call it your stress buster, call it Myrtle, but don't fear it, embrace it.

This is the beginning of taking your power back. Right now, the food has power over you. You want it more than you need it and that has put your body off balance. You are going to have to eat what you need now and not simply inhale everything you want. If you are asking that much of your mind (and yes, this is intensely psychological), you have to have something to maintain control. The promise of your treat at 4 p.m. or right before bed, is that thing.

Believe me, early on, I made it through a lot of Lean Cuisines and salads during the day with a simple reminder to myself that there was a dark chocolate goody at the end of my day.

Tomorrow, I will cover why diets don't work and why this tip isn't a license to 'have just one more'.

Yours in health, Kate

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Two Hours

Busy day today. Had a meeting. Went to the gym. Continued at the gym. Continued at the gym.

All right, completely lost track of time and looked up to find - I had been working out for TWO hours.

People have accused me of being addicted or just plain sick in the head. I am not, but when I get in the groove, I can let things get away from me a little. Today pretty much topped all of those others times though.

But it brings up a point I was making to an acquaintance today at that meeting. He was being very kind about how good I look and said, he wishes he could do it. And then he patted his belly and laughed.

I explained, anyone can do it. No really, if my formerly unmotivated, unhealthy, unwilling and morbidly obese butt can do it, anyone can. You just need a plan and a reason to stick with it.

I will reiterate. I did not start this journey with two hour sweat fests at the gym. I started with ten minutes of walking, out and back. My pace was about 2.5 miles and hour. Everything begins with the little things. That can be true for you as well.

This next week, I will do a series of entries on what my little things were. Maybe, if you are just beginning, you will find something you can use.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Traci's Tips - 1/11/08

1. Increasing the intensity of your workout can help you burn more calories after the workout without the added time! So increase your intensity 2-3 times a week!

2. Check your heart rate regularly while exercising to make sure you are working at a good rate to burn those calories more efficently.

3. Get into a regular routine of getting out of bed a little bit earlier to do some extra exercises to kick start your metabolism for the day!

4. You get to eat more, when you start exercising! When mixed with healthy foods and a good workout routine, you will actually need to take in more calories instead of cutting out calories and you will still see a weight loss!

5. Exercises of the week: 3 sets of 15
Overhead Dumbbell Press
Sumo Squats with Dumbbell

Friday, January 11, 2008

New Year's Resolutions (Better late than, well nevermind..)

Be it resolved, I Kate Garner will attempt the following personal feats in 2008:

Continue my healthy lifestyle: Eat right. Exercise. Sounds basic, but a continuing resolution is important. I have lost weight before (not this much) and gained it back and it brought friends. While I have no intention of EVER going back, putting it in writing makes me accountable.

Tone and lean my body: Find the final excess fat on my body and "terminate" it. Add on lean muscle. Sculpt my butt and thighs. Solidify the athletic build I have wanted since long before I ever started this.

Find a way through the excess skin: I do not have nearly the problem that people who have gastric bypass surgery have. They lose their weight so fast, the skin can't keep up at all. Mine has to quite an extent, because I lost my weight naturally and a pound or two a week. But or should I say butt, my behind has sags, as do my belly, thighs and hips. The biggest problem is my belly. I would be two pants sizes smaller, if the extra skin wasn't there. I am doing research, but if anyone knows a magical cream to shrink it, let me know.

Be me: The last six months I have had several people imply I have changed. They don't mean my weight, they mean my fundamental personality. I have discussed this with several of my close friends, especially the person who sees me most - Lori. While I have become more confident in the way I look, I have not had some great persona make-over. In fact, as Lori pointed out - if there had been a major change for the negative, she'd be the first to notice and she'd let me know I should knock it off. In a post sometime this week, I will explain why we believe this is the case. In the mean time, I vow to be my same sassy, sometimes pain in the butt (though I try to do it with humor), upbeat and fun self.

Spend more time with Caelen: My 4 year old nephew is the light of my life. For three years of his life, he was the center of mine. Since August a lot has changed. He has a new step-mom, goes to pre-school and daycare full-time and I have a job outside of my home. All of that added up to it being all too easy for me to ignore my true love. No more, my sweetie and I will be going on many dates this year. Yesterday it was the Playhouse and ice cream (o.k., gelato at Stam's). Next week, it's a sleepover. Until he goes to kindergarten this fall, I am going to do my best to make this a weekly thing. Though I will be reasonable, he's quite in demand. ;)

Be more involved: My mom will be disheartened by that resolution. She was just telling me the other day that I do too much. I don't feel like I do enough or give enough. This year I will pick two charities to concentrate on and then give my remaining time as available and needed. It's just as important to feed my soul as my body.

Read more and learn more: I do not take time to sit down with books anymore. That is sad for my mental health. While I know I learn something new everyday, I am the news director, I do not get much of a chance to go behind the headline or follow a subject past a feature. This year I will do my best to correct that.

Get better at my job: I sometimes come off as a know-it-all and have a 'been there, done that' attitude. While I certainly need to work on that for interpersonal reasons, I need to reduce use of that egocentric crap at work as well. Beyond that, I need to work on my time management and writing skills.

Find excuses to be outdoors, preferably involving fitness: Lori and I have threatened to take up hiking, bike bikes and I want inline skates. I vow that one of those things WILL happen. Other possible follow through options include ice skating with Caelen and snowboarding with Annette - I like both ideas.

Travel more in Iowa and get to know my state: I can tell you our major towns and cities and probably how to get there. I may even be able to make a couple of recommendations for when you arrive. But the in between, nope, don't know much. So this year I want to take mini weekend outings and remedy that.

Use real note cards and fewer e-cards: I love getting "good" mail, I know others do too. Besides, we need to keep our hard working friends in the postal services employed.

Dang. Just looked back over that. I am going to be a busy bunny. :) Just like I like it.

Yours in health, Kate

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Stomach Flu Sucks

I apologize, Sunday was busy, so I didn't blog. Silly me, I thought, "well, I will catch up on Monday."

Monday was spent being quite ill. And no, I won't describe it, because I was raised some semblance of decorum. I went to work anyway. I left halfway through my shift, thank goodness it's a morning show and Maxwell took pity on me.

Tuesday morning - I have kept a light dinner down for 9 hours, should be good to go. Not so much. Trundled myself to work none-the-less, did news, came home to finish wishing I was dead.

Wednesday morning - still queasy and tired, but substantially better. Go to work vowing to leave by noon. Spend day catching tail after two days ill, must get websites updated. Done. But no energy for gym. Trainer Traci and I agree - Fitness World West, no place for me.

Go to Campbell's and get probiotics and sea salt soak. Take pill, soak in tub, eat dinner, crash like big cat. (No dogs allowed according to my furry compatriots, maybe some day.)

Today, better. Still a little less energy than I might like. Full day of work, busted butt at gym harder than I probably should have. Well, it was my first chance in 4! days and when the sweat started to run, I pictured the toxins leaving my body, so I pushed harder.

Now, finally, 10 days into the new year, I sit here ready to talk to you about my resolutions. However, I have just realized I am at the bottom of a rant about fighting a cootie (and not the good kind that come from boys) and this would be a lousy place to announce my 2008 intentions.

And here is the most ridiculous part - at this point, you probably don't care. Ha-Ha! We've waited too long to care Kate, you've lost us. Either way, I will be posting them tomorrow. As well as Trainer Traci's tips - so gird yourself - 2! post on Friday.

Yours in (renewed) health, Kate

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Caucus Hangover - Day 2

It was 40 hours before I finally went to bed. I did sleep 8 hours last night, but I am still feeling it today. There are so many stories from that 40 hour period and the days leading up to it, but I won't bore you. (If you really want to know, post a comment and I will share.)

What you are really here for and so am I is fitness and health. Despite near total exhaustion yesterday, I had a great workout and I am going to finish this and go do another one this morning. The only day I missed was Thursday, I ended up waiting for President Bill Clinton to call, almost all day. Good thing for Hillary's campaign that he was the leader of the free world or I would probably have said, "No, I have a treadmill waiting for me."

I have been teasing you with the resolution thing for a few days. As I move into 2008 either time has muddled my thinking or lack of sleep has. (I had to change my expired system password yesterday and within an hour I had forgotten the new word, I had to have Bruce from IT reset it; that's tired.) So, I am thinking that thinking at the gym and clarifying things again might help my ideas be more cohesive again.

With that, I will once again let you down. However, I PROMISE, tomorrow is THE day. A preview of what I remember though: continue eating right and working out - but take it to the next level; read more and learn more; spend more time with my nephew; find excuses to be outdoors, preferably involving fitness; travel more in Iowa and get to know my state; use real note cards and fewer e-cards, I love getting "good" mail, I know others do too.

That's it for now. The gym really does await me. I hope you get a chance to get physical today too.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Friday, January 4, 2008

Traci's Tips - 1/4/08 & Caucus Hangover

I am exhausted. I have had one hour of sleep in the last 38 hours. I am going home to eat and go to bed. I promise you a real post about me and how I fared during the caucuses tomorrow. In the meantime, something truly useful, Trainer Traci's weekly Tips:

1. Make some goals, make them realistic and measurable.
2. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables throughout the day to keep you full and metabolism working.
3. No time to get into the gym, get yourself doing 3 sets of 10 reps of different exercises at home.
4. Make a lifestyle change this year and get yourself into healthier eating and exercising habits.
5. Exercises of the week: 3 x 15 added to your regular routine
Tricep Bench/chair Dips
Side step squats

All right, vision is getting blurry... (but I did workout earlier)

Yours in fitness, Kate

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Caucus Crunch

Just a note before I head out to meet with trainer Traci: The Iowa Caucuses are tomorrow. Until they are over, I will have my intrepid reporter hat on. Because of that, no post tomorrow and my sharing of resolutions will probably happen on Saturday.

In the mean time, if you are in Iowa, go to your caucus (find locations - democrats - republicans) and be a part of the process. And go to the gym! If I have time, so do you. ;)

Yours in health, Kate

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Day

I have been so busy today that I haven't been able to blog. I have resolutions I want to share, but they will have to wait, because I am going to bed.

One that I am already following: Keep my healthy lifestyle on track - I worked out at Fitness World West (thank you for being open!) and I ate the right way.

By the way, everyone else worked out at the gym today as well. I hope everyone takes it easy and slides back into (or for the first time) their workouts. Over doing it will kill any urge you might have to follow through long term.

Yours in fitness, Kate

2007 - The retrospective

The good and bad, warts and all. WARNING: This will be VERY random.

The year started with my weight at 213, I am now at 151. I'm not sure exactly what size that made me, probably a 22. Now I am a 12, working my way to a ten. That's 62 pounds and 6+ sizes gone. These are the things I lost in 2007 I do not want back. In fact, they are the things I will never allow to come back. I am resolved.

My mom had cancer, then emergency gall bladder surgery. She has come through amazingly and I am grateful.

I picked up better eating habits. I now workout often and with much pleasure.

My step-father was diagnosed as diabetic. But he is learning better habits and is now working out. So, there is a silver lining.

I spent the first 8 months of the year caring for Caelen full-time and working at the radio group part-time. As he got older we stopped fighting each other so much. We are so much alike we know what buttons to push. But I think we both got more mature as the year progressed. In August he went to pre-school full-time and I went to work full-time. While there were stressful days involved in trying to keep a busy and brilliant (then) 3 year old occupied, I wouldn't trade a single moment. I miss him and our time, daily.

I fell for a guy. Something I never saw coming. It was one sided, as usual. It's a habit I just can't seem to break.

I took on this full-time gig of being news director for the Des Moines Radio Group and co-host of the KIOA morning show. Amazingly after nearly 5 years of working in this building, I still like everyone and enjoy coming to work. I didn't really expect to love radio again, but this place made that happen.

The man who hired me and mentored me here has left. Far and away the best boss I have ever had. He was patient and blunt and diplomatic and a friend. I miss going his office and venting or just to hear a war story from his early days in the business. Jim, I miss you.

I kept my general manager, thank god. I also got a great new boss. Tim is not what you expect if you go with the wrapper. He's funny and warm and really cares. I look forward to his guidance in the new year.

I ran my first 5K and in a time I wasn't expecting - 36:19. I am not the biggest fan of running, but it helped me cut a lot of fat AND gave me a great sense of accomplishment.

I lost one of my best friends ever - Trixie. She was a big, sweet, ball of drooling love and I will miss her always.

I put my writing and photography on hold. I miss both. I believe I am probably cheating myself. I am getting lost in being busy.

I haven't been out of the state in nearly 2 years. Um, damn, that's tough to realize.

Everyone I run into tells me how good I look. Some people don't even recognize me. It feels great. And it feels ridiculous. And sad.

I have collar bones again. Yea, I know, they have always been there - but now I can find them without a map!

I know there are many things I am missing, but this is from memory.

I am happy. I have had fun this year. I have tried new things. I have met new people. It has been a good year.

Yours in health, Kate