Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Exercise Stimulus

The economy is a mess, anyone who argues this is an oil executive. So, they are sending out 'economic stimulus' checks. Ah, $600, I don't agree with the concept, but I will take it none-the-less.

Now, I am disgusted by the very idea of using it for everyday expenses - especially gas. I will not be putting a single penny into the oil company coffers with this 'windfall'. I instead have vowed that I will spend my money local and if at all possible not on anything from China.

Then it hit me, there is another way to save gas, the environment AND better my thighs - a bike. I have wanted one for a long time and this is the perfect storm, I have money coming AND I am actually in shape to use one.

That got me to thinking, everyone should use their tax rebate for health purposes. Anything from a bike to the new yoga outfit you have been eyeing to new running shoes. Believe me, if you are fit, you save money. Whether it's medications, clothes (plus sizes are much more expensive) or food (you naturally eat less), it's to your benefit to be fit.

So, stimulate your health journey and spend a few dollars on you.

Yours in health, Kate

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Running Shoes and Concrete Floors

Just a note - the best running shoes in the world will not offset concrete floors at the end of a 13 hour day. Naturally, I am one of the few fools who knows this. On Saturday I helped manage a convention at Valley High School, so I didn't get to workout.

But that's weirdly o.k. because from the moment I walked in the door at 8 a.m. to the moment I walked out the door at 9 p.m., I was moving. My job at conventions is always three fold - a. put out fires, b. organize chaos, c. delegate and direct. Oh wait, make that four fold - d. do it my damn self when c doesn't work.

If you think I am complaining, oddly, I am not. I actually enjoy days like Saturday, it's an adrenaline rush to continually have to keep a line on a million swirling parts. And when everyone walks away under their own power, tired, but on their own, you have been successful.

But at the end of that 13 hours I was wiped. My every joint hurt from walking and/or running in too small a space on too hard a floor. I have no idea how I organized these things when I weighed 260 pounds. I did though. It's amazing how passion can so easily override good sense. ;)

On Sunday I was still too exhausted and sore to get to the gym, so I took another day off. That meant three days out of the gym. I felt guilty, still do.

Oh well, I went back yesterday and hit it hard. Today I have already done walking club once at noon. I am going to walk home now and do some strength stuff and then take a run. Then I will come back to see if anyone is going to do walking club at 5:30. And so, I am back on track, with my running shoes on concrete streets.

Your in fitness, Kate

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sunday Inspiration (On Monday)

I'm sorry I didn't post over the weekend. I was FAR too busy. Too busy to even workout. Saturday my crazy schedule involved walking and running constantly, but Sunday was recovery. I am going back to the gym in a few minutes. But first I want to post this.

I just met Lorie Webb in the lobby of my office. She has lost 120 pounds! She was so inspirational to a friend that the friend nominated her to be a story on the Today show. She was and even got to fly to New York to be on Today.

She has a great story that speaks to the diversity of ways you can lose weight. I know I am forever preaching this, but there is no "one program fits all" answer. Everyone has their food and exercise keys.

It was nice to meet her and very inspiring.

Yours in health, Kate

Friday, April 25, 2008

It's Friday

I have not had the best week - mentally, physically, food wise, emotionally - I feel like I am drowning in my own personal vat of pudding. So, rather than bore you with anything negative, I will leave you with this great quote to start the weekend on a nice note:

"Positive or negative energy is exchanged like a fair trade, the more you give, the more you receive."
-Master Jin Kwon, South Korean Martial Arts Master

This man has several very relevant, very zen quotes. I feel a little more peaceful after reading some of them. Now, that's the way to start a weekend.

Yours in (mental) health, Kate

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Exercise as Therapy

I had my friend Chandler along for walking club at noon. It was nice that someone was with me because my tummy was bothering me and I knew it would pass with a little workout and good conversation. It worked.

That brought me to two ways that exercise works as therapy:

1. The physical - I find that if I get moving, a lot of the time whatever ails me slips away as my lungs breathe deeper and I start to sweat. This isn't always the case, but often.

It's why when people say they feel tired or have gout or are diagnosed with arthritis, the first thing they are told is to get moving. Doctors are super fast to prescribe walking. That's because almost everyone can do it, it's low impact, it's free and frankly it is WAY easy. Any form of exercise will have a similar affect.

2. The mental - Half way through a 30 minute walk today with Chandler we both found ourselves letting go of chit-chat and having a real talk. We vented about office politics and what it's like to be in a building that communicates as a building, but not always with each other. It felt great.

That's when I reiterated something I had forgotten, because I really haven't worked out with anyone since last fall - once the endorphins start flowing, so does the talk. It's cathartic, it's a release and it moves the stress out of the picture. Or at the very least, helps put it in perspective.

I've said before when I am working out on my own, about 15 minutes into the sweat and the crap falls away. Guy problems, work problems, they come out of my pores and I am one with the music. Since I release endorphins in the workout, when the issues come back to my mind after, I feel better and think clearer, so it's easier to deal.

So, forget taking to the couch for therapeutic rest or discussion. Hit the streets and get the physical and mental dealt with all in one shot.

Your in mental and physical health, Kate

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Some Spring in my Step

My day started at 3 a.m. yesterday, as usual. The twist was as I sat down to eat my cereal thunder rolled in bringing driving rain and sending my poor girl-cat, Charlie, under the bed. Even my boy cats hunkered close to the floor. That's when I figured it would be another day stuck inside the gym.

Don't get me wrong, I love my gym, but I love to be outdoors too.

Well, just before noon the clouds parted and it warmed up. So, when no one showed up for walking club, I hit the streets running. It was beautiful and perfect and I loved it. That is despite being downtown and sucking car fumes here and there.

Today is another glorious day and I will run outside again. I actually workout harder when I get to do it outside. I have no idea why, but yesterday I ran two mile in under 18 minutes - for me, that is WAY fast. Maybe it's simply the fresh air. Breathe in and enjoy.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Tortoise and the Hare

This is a picture of the title characters in one of the greatest fables of all time. If you do not know the story, (shame on your kindergarten teacher) I will give you the cliff notes:

After much taunting Tortoise, an animal known for being slow, give into Hare's insistence that they run a race. Hare being historically fast, as he is a rabbit, figures he has it in the bag. He kicks back, doesn't train, doesn't sleep and by race day, he's dragging a bit. But he is hyped up and lets Tortoise know he is going down in flames.

The starting flag is thrown and they are off. Hare shoots off into the distance and once he can no longer see Tortoise, he slows down. He's feeling a bit tired, so he decides there is no way Tortoise will catch up. He lays down under a tree for a quick nap and then he will finish the race in plenty of time.

While Hare sleeps, Tortoise keeps his slow and regular speed he set from the beginning and quietly passes the resting rabbit. Hare wakes with a start realizing he'd better finish in plenty of time to humiliate Tortoise fully.

He runs for the finish line only to find Tortoise crossing before he can get there. The moral of the story, so beautifully illustrated by author Aesop? Slow and steady wins the race. (But then you knew that.)

I am reminding you of this tale for several reasons:

- I found a copy of an old Duffy cartoon from the Des Moines Register featuring my old friend Preston Daniels as the tortoise and his opponent in 1997, Jim Cownie, as the hare. It still makes me snicker to this day.

- A friend said she 'only' lost two pounds last week. I reminded her that's exactly how much you want to lose. If the weight comes off slowly, you are more likely to keep it off.

- It's a good reminder for me that I did not get fat overnight, I did not lose the weight overnight and maintenance is not just overnight. I got fat steadily, one pint of ice cream at a time. I lost weight steadily, one to two pounds a week. There is no "overnight" maintenance - this is a lifestyle, a journey and it's for the rest of my life. It's a race I hope will go for a VERY long time, so I need to pace myself anyway.

The greatest thing about this story is that it can literally pertain to anything in your life. You should always have a plan and then prepare to be patient, because even the best laid plans can end up being a tortoise. It's your fortitude and belief in yourself, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, that will earn you the win.

Yours in health, Kate

Monday, April 21, 2008

From the beginning...

Tip - Read as voraciously as you once ate.

I consume pieces of health and fitness factoids like I used to consume Oreos - endlessly and with gusto. The bonus - these nuggets of knowledge help control my hips, not add to them.

I make it a point to learn something new every day. Preferably a couple of things, one for fitness, one for health and one for food. I also increase my general life knowledge through news events, history books or the web.

Learning something every day will not only help your body become stronger, it will keep your mind as taut as your butt too. Which, by the way, is also a side effect of exercise:

"Exercise increases levels of brain chemicals that encourage the growth of nerve cells. This may explain why aerobic activity enhances memory skills, and why moderately strenuous physical activity is strongly associated with successful brain aging." - from AARP magazine

Yours in (mental) health, Kate

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday Inspiration - 4/20/08

I have never featured a man in Sunday's feature before and I realized that is pretty sexist. Every man in my family has struggled with weight at some point, many still today. Plus, I ran into a man the other day who reads this blog frequently (Hello, Alan!).

So here's a story I found on an interesting new site that catalogues weight loss stories. The story itself originally appeared in Men's Health Magazine, the big brother publication to my favorite workout zine, Women's Health.

Here is Andy's story and it is further proof that there isn't one plan for everyone and yet EVERYONE can lose weight.

Yours in health, Kate

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Finding a new weight loss strategy

Today I begin looking at my food habits, again. I think that, as important as calories and fat are, when I am eating and what I am eating, may have an effect at whether it stays to become fat. I think it is time to once again mix-it-up.

The times of day I struggle the most are in the morning and right at dinner time. With my wacky schedule - up at 2:45 a.m. to work at 4 a.m. and in bed by 8 p.m. at the latest - deciding when to eat has been hard.

In the morning, even with eating a high-fiber, high-protein cereal, I feel ravenous by 6 a.m. Of course, by that time I have been up for over three hours. For most people that might not be a problem, but I have been able to speed up my metabolism via gaining muscle.

That said, it should not be an excuse to eat from 6 a.m. until 9 a.m. continuously. I tend to eat my banana, then a hand full of trail mix, then anything else that isn't nailed down in the break room. I had also picked up a crap habit of using non-dairy, fatty, sugary creamers in my coffee. (I removed that on Thursday and yes, I know better.)

From 9-11 I drink my Starbucks. It's actually one of my more sensible choices. I drink a Venti (large) 1/2 caf, Americano with sugar-free syrup, some Splenda, a 1/4 cup of non-fat milk and a drizzle of half & half. I know it sounds very high-maintenance, but as long as I am paying for coffee, I will get what I want. Nursing that over two hours or more, helps curb my appetite and keeps my hands busy. I now know, I eat when I am bored too.

About 11 I start in on carrots, then at noon some form of protein, followed by a piece of fruit. I try to be out of the office by 1 or so, that way I don't find some kind of junk in the break room to eat. I far too often do for someone who preaches against it.

Once I have worked out, my body needs a snack. I may not be hungry, but if I have just worked my muscles hard, I need to feed them for their recovery. I try to stick to about 100 calories of protein and a piece of fruit.

Then I walk into the apartment, I put my stuff away and begin staring at the kitchen.

I have no idea why.

For the first part of this journey I was able to lock away my demons and make the kitchen my friend again. I was purely eating for utility. I knew my body needed something on board for quick access energy and that's how I kept it. I made it dig deeper for energy when I exercised and that is how I burned off so much fat.

When I am fixing my dinner I begin grazing - a handful of nuts here, a couple of tortilla chips there, then I eat tons of veggies (anything consumed in the kitchen is "free", right?).

Finally I have a sensible dinner. Only problem is, thinking about it now, I have been wandering on my portion control too, mainly at dinner. Then I 'have to have a little something sweet'. Wow, there are seven self-defeating words if I have ever seen them.

In total, a day like above would be 1800-2000 calories. Unless I throw in some extra sugary goodness for some reason, something that has been happening far too often.

So, there you go, complete {ugly} honesty. Now, what to do about it?

My plan:

-Take one meal or snack at a time.
-Plan ahead and do not wander off path from plan.
-Less processed sugar, it has NO dietary value.
-Get back to every meal being extremely veggie heavy.
-Peruse eating plans created by experts that are specifically designed to accomplish what I want. [I have a copy of the "Abs Diet" sitting at home collecting dust, time to at least read it.]
-Follow the good examples other people are setting and remember, I taught some of them to eat that way.
-Talk down that evil wench, Luci. She's not the one who gains fat when I overeat - I am!
-Measure everything again. Eye-balling portions is not helping control calories.
-Don't eat the same thing all of the time, maybe my body is simply used to burning what I have been giving it. I need to reintroduce food challenges.
-Keep working out and keep it diverse. It's the only reason I am looking at 5 pounds having crept back on instead of 25.
-Remember how I got here. I think it is time to go back to old journal and blog entries to find inspiration. Before I landed in the hospital last year, I felt bullet proof when it came to food.
-If none of this works, be ready to pay a professional nutritionist to assist me.

Well, there you go. All of that definitely falls under 'too much information' for you. But I needed to put a plan in writing to deal with this situation and this seemed the best place.

Wish me luck.

Yours in health, Kate

Friday, April 18, 2008

I have gained 5 pounds

Two weeks of eating what 'normal' people eat and/or binging on sugar have taken their toll. I weighed in for the first time in two weeks and the scale read 155. That is not o.k.

Yesterday I wore a skirt I haven't worn in a couple of months and commented that it was snug. "Must have worked when I tried to shrink it." Well, while I do that with most of my clothes, because for a while I was shrinking out of everything, that may only have been partially true.

I am disgusted and downtrodden. I am a bad example.

That's what people hold me up as, an example. Right now I feel like I only embody failure.

I am fully aware it is just 5 pounds, not the full 110 pounds. That doesn't make it any easier to type. Especially in light of the fact that as of three weeks ago I had 6 pounds of fat left to lose. Now I am going to guess it's more like 11.

I have to get my eating under control. I have to figure out what that means again. I have to go back to a belief in myself. A belief that I am more important than the food.

The pathetic part is, I know the tips, the words of encouragement, the end-all-be-all way to eat. So, I should be able to get right back on the horse. Problem is, I think I made him too fat too.

Yours in (not-so-much) health, Kate

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Where did the week go?

I just looked at the blog, I haven't posted since Monday. I had every intention, but it just didn't happen, so here's a recap:

Monday - Worked out hard - did an impromptu cross-training session. Fast walk, weights & abs, bike, weights & abs, crossrobics (reclined star-stepper), weights & abs, stairs, weights & abs, run, weights & abs, elliptical, weights & abs. Yep, got kind of crazy and my glutes taunted me for it both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tuesday - The first day of Walking Club at my office. I am the ring leader. Last year it was just me and two or three guys on a regular basis. But people kept saying, "If only you were doing it during the day". So this year I am having outings on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Noon and 5:30 p.m. There should be fewer excuses. Tuesday at Noon, just Joe joined me. At 5:30 Chandler was going to join me, but I got stuck in traffic in Urbandale/West Des Moines, so I didn't make it back. It's raining today, so no walking with the Club. I am hoping for a better turn-out on Tuesday, we will see.

Wednesday - A forced day off. Lori's best-friend Jodee's mom died late last week. Yesterday was her funeral. It was awful. She was feisty, funny, athletic and full-of-life until diabetes began to rob her of so much of her health and abilities.

Today - Back to the gym. In fact, I need to eat something, edit something and then head to the gym in about an hour. So, I better stop posting and get it in gear. I don't want to let today get away from me as well.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Funny Article About Running

Read Here.

It's tongue in cheek, sort of. ;) I've seen these people and you know you have too. In fact, long before I read this article and the descriptions, I vowed never to look spastic running. I try my best to look 'athletic' instead, like I actually know what the hell I am doing. Hey, the key phrase there is TRY.

Here's me trying in the 5K last October. What do you think?

Yours in fitness, Kate

Monday, April 14, 2008

From the beginning...

Today's tip- For god's sake, call someone!

I spent the weekend mindlessly amping up my sugar intake. A cookie here, a cupcake there, a cookie there and there and you get the point. At the end of the weekend I realized I was suffering a bit of depression.

While I try to keep an eye out for signs, I am not always successful until I am a couple of days in and a pattern has emerged. This weekend the weather, combined with a general belief that I must be repulsive to men, created the perfect sugared storm.

It was at the laundry mat yesterday that I was reminded of a good trick, whether depressed or not, to combat mindless eating - call someone. When you are craving the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie, pick-up the receiver and phone a friend. If the first friend isn't available, just keep dialing. By the time you finally have a conversation, even if it is of no substance, you will likely have forgotten about or at least lost the craving for whatever demon you wanted to face down.

I did it when I realized I was going to be in the laundry mat longer than I expected. (Everyone was washing their undies yesterday.) I called six people and left messages before stumbling across an out-of-state friend. He's handsome and intellectual and by the end of the conversation I was thinking about many things, but none of them were food.

He even helped dissuade me from the belief that I am revolting, he assured me it was quite the opposite. He also reinforced my mother's belief that perhaps I scare men a bit. Not like jump out in front of them, but apparently my strength scares them. (Wimps.)

So, the next time you are looking at caving to a craving, grab the phone and use your mouth for something other than a garbage disposal. And if you chat up the right person, you may get a bonus ego boost!

Yours in (mental) health, Kate

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday Inspiration 4/13/08

This woman's story is great. It's exactly how it happens for most people who make a permanent, safe and healthy lifestyle change. It's from one of my favorite sources, Women's Health Magazine.

You can tell she feels great. She looks amazing too.

I look good and feel great too, but I am not there yet. I have some reshaping to do. And I have to stop fighting with food. I need to get to a healthier place with sugar. Like it at the processing plant and me right here. ;)

Yours in health, Kate

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A little braggin' - About my family

Family notes of the day that make me feel so lucky:

- I have noted before that my sister-in-law Annette is awesome. Today she was awesome in the race I was supposed to run - the AIDS Run/Walk. She finished in 34:05! That's despite the miserable and yes - snowy! conditions at race time. Congratulations Net!

- My nephew is brilliant. I know, I have said this before (and will again and again). But yesterday we were able to hang out for the afternoon and then go to a movie. We went to Barnes & Noble and had a treat and read books. He read half, I read half. Then we went to see "Nim's Island" - it was so much fun! About five minutes into the movie Caelen recognized that the island had a volcano on it. He leans over and says, "Auntie, is that a volcano?" "Yep." "It's going to erupt." "I don't know baby, I haven't seen the movie." "No, Auntie it is, you'll see." LOL. He hadn't read the book yet, or seen the film. But he had already deduced that if they were making a point of having a volcano, at some point it would blow. You see - brilliant!

Side review: I highly recommend the movie. It is a great adventure for kids and there were only three kind of scary parts. My 4.5 year old nephew weathered them just fine. The part that bothered him most is when the dad disappeared at sea. But the film's (and book's) theme of "Be the hero of your own story", really resonated with me. Abigail Breslin is wonderful, quite the actress already. Jodie Foster is so funny, I love when she does comedy, "Maverick" is one of my favorite westerns because of her. And Gerard Butler is dead sexy! It doesn't matter whether he is the adventurer or the amazing dad trying to return to his daughter, he is so handsome and fun. It's just a bonus that he can act!

- My mom and step-dad. Parents can drive you crazy, they're family, it's there job. But mine have been very supportive during this whole journey of mine so far. Today they were supportive of my job and came to see me at a remote at the Boomer Expo. Then they took me to lunch at Lucca. I am very lucky.

There you go, it's blatant, I am proud and I love them (and all of the others) very much and that's one of those good for my mental health kind of things.

Yours in (mental) health, Kate

Thursday, April 10, 2008

BMI My Butt

5' 4" + 150 pounds = 25.7 = "Overweight". Well, yes and NO.

Those are my stats according to the lovely tool - here.

The site also answers what BMI (Body Mass Index) is:

"The BMI is a measure of your weight relative to your height and waist circumference measures abdominal fat. Combining these with information about your additional risk factors yields your risk for developing obesity-associated diseases."

Here are how they breakdown:
Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5-24.9 - Where you want to be.
Overweight = 25-29.9 - My current rating claims this.
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
Another one they do not show (and where I started) - Morbidly Obese = BMI of 40 or greater.

That my BMI says I am overweight has been bugging me for a while. Then I found a spot on this site that says:

"{The calculator) may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build."

And there it is. I knew that, but I wanted it in writing and the National Institutes of Health have been kind enough to do just that.

You see this simple calculator takes only weight and height into account. Not the endless hours I have spent in the gym proudly packing on muscle. My recent fat measurement tells a much truer story. My body fat is 21.3%. Very healthy, in fact, athletic, which is where I have wanted to be along.

So, the point of my post is: One number does not tell the whole story. You have to bring together many numbers to be clearer on where your health really sits. Do your research and you will know what your real plan should be.

Yours in health, Kate

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Go with your gut

Women have 'intuition', men 'go with their guts'. Women should be more like men. But wait, women are like men - intuition = guts. The problem, we often do not listen to the truths that our sensational abilities bring us.

1. Being Literal - Listen to your gut, when it comes to your gut -
Far too often we do not listen to what our bodies tell us about what we need from food. No, not the one that goes, "This has been a hell of a day, we need dark chocolate flour-less torte".

I mean, if you feel sluggish, take on some complex carbs in the form of fruits and veggies or whole grains. If you are feeling weak, take in more calcium, protein or iron. And above all know when enough is enough.

Your body itself is actually a lot less demanding than you think when it comes to food. We just let our mind override our gut and take that third piece of pizza anyway. This is a great article from Women's Health Magazine that talks about the reasons and a few ideas on listening to your gut - when it comes to food.

2. Being Instinctual - Listen to your gut, when it comes to romance -
A month ago I knew that Berger (Ron Livingston on "Sex in the City") was right, "He's just not that into you." But I went ahead and let things not move forward and took a coffee or phone call when I could get it.

Finally, after weeks of dancing around the subject it came up today. He mentioned e-mailing me later in the week. I said I didn't think he was really interested in dating me because he was "dealing with a ghost from his past". He acknowledged that was the case, but he still wanted to talk to me. I half-heartedly gave him an o.k. But the truth is, I was saving face.

I did it again. I didn't follow my gut. My gut told me early, 'this guy is emotionally unavailable'. Instead, I wasted two months attempting to move forward with a guy that had no intention of doing so. Again, I have chosen an unavailable man. This time he doesn't have a girlfriend, just a 'ghost'. Ah, yes improvement.

I am way too out of practice. I have spent 20 years wrapped in a cocoon of fat. And while I have attempted a relationship a couple of times during that period, mostly they were great exercises in masochism.

I have to find a way through this. There must be a decent man out there that wants to have fun. No, scratch that, there is a decent man who wants to have fun. Maybe he isn't in Iowa though, I don't know. But from now on, I really have to follow my own advice and Go with my Gut, it talks to me for a reason.

Yours in health, Kate

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Before and After Pictures

While I believe my body will always be in a state of change. The bulk of the weight loss is done. I am down to taking off the last few pounds of fat, piling on some muscle and lamenting the leftover skin.

Some days, like everyone, I struggle to eat right or be truly motivated for my cardio. Usually on those days I am also deflated by the fact that - though I have been busting my butt (literally) for the past almost 21 months - I still do not look like a model.

Now common sense girl knows better. I will never look like a model, my body simply isn't made to be that willowy, lightly muscled waif thing. 9.9 out of every 10 days, I am glad. Hell, I like my breasts and my curves. It's taken me a long time to come to respect them and now that I do, I don't want to give them up. It's just every once in a while I get down on myself and think I have not come far enough.

That's why I am glad, when I was looking for inspiration on Sunday, I bumped across Jessica's blog. On there is a software tool that allows you to put in your before and after weight and get computer generated pictures. It even allows you to adjust hair, skin, nose size and more so it better resembles you.

Since I don't really have actual before and after pics, much to everyone's disdain (including mine) this is a nice alternative. Besides, you wouldn't have caught me dead in a swimsuit when I actually weighed 260 pounds!

So here you go - me at 260 in July 2006 and me now at 150 in 2008.

You can do yours at Prevention Magazine.

From now on, when I think I need to be more perfect, I will look at this post as a reminder of how far I have come and give respect where it is due.

Yours in (mental) health, Kate

Monday, April 7, 2008

From the beginning...

Monday's tip: Read everything, take only what you need.

Everyone always asks how I know so much about weight loss and exercise. Like every obese person I have voraciously read everything on the subject I can get my hands on. Some of it has stood the test of time and is useful. Some of it was total crap and I knew it when I read it or I learned from trying to put it into action.

To this day, I do just exactly that, I read. I also listen and then I act. If something sounds suspicious, I look into it further. These days I never try anything that I think lacks common sense. (When I was 25 however...)

I make a point of learning something new every day about the world. I also make a point of learning something new everyday about health and nutrition. It has helped lead me down a road of empowerment and well-being that, before, I had only imagined myself on.

Yours in health, Kate

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sunday Inspiration - 4/6/08

It's Sunday and as usual, I have been busier than I probably should be. (Something about this being a day of rest...)

Yesterday I ran the route for the AIDS Run/Walk. I wanted to try it to see if I would survive well enough next week to make an appearance an hour later at Hy-Vee Hall. I did. In fact, I ran it in 34 minutes flat! The 34 is impressive for three reasons: 1. Last fall on an almost completely flat course I ran 36:19; 2. I have run 5Ks on the treadmill recently at 34:40 and 34:20, and I only threw in a few inclines; 3. The time is astounding because there were hills! Not little inclines on the treadmill, honest to God Iowa mountains!

Now, before anyone calls me on that, of course I am exaggerating on the 'mountains'. But damn, there was one hill I didn't even attempt to run, I simply walked it. Overall, it was an amazing challenge. I am glad I did it. And barring rain or snow, I'll do it again next weekend.

The other thing about Sunday around here is inspiration...

I went looking for inspiration and I have found it for you. Her name is Jessica and she has lost 140 pounds over the past 6 years. She has done it the right way - eating right and exercising. She is as adamant against 'magic pills' and surgery as I am. She agrees that it is a lifestyle change that makes for permanent weight loss and nothing else.

Here you can check out Jessica's Blog.

On Tuesday I will show you my version of computer generated 'before' and 'after' pics inspired by the ones on her page. While I do not believe I am done with my body yet, the pics really woke me up AND made me happy with where I am.

Yours in health, Kate

Saturday, April 5, 2008

So Proud of My Boy

Yes, I said my boy. My brother Casey hates that. But, Caelen is the closest I will ever have to a son, so I claim him when I can. Besides, I'm not confused, I know my uterus was not directly involved.

However, I also know that for three years we were almost constant companions and I was able to cultivate a relationship I do not ever want to give up. He is now and always will be - my best guy. No man will ever hold sway over my heart like he does and I like it that way.

That said, Caelen is a source of constant pride for me. From the fact that he is simply whip-smart to his beyond his years reading ability to his sense of humor. Now his dad and step-mom Annette have him doing a great physical activity that also teaches discipline and he's awesome at it. (My blog, my brag.)

He really enjoys taekwondo and it's fantastic to teach kids that moving and doing are much cooler than sitting around. (Unless there is a book in your hand.)

Here's a pic of Caelen with his new uniform he earned from his parents for being good in class and earning... drum roll... his first degree yellow belt! Yep, that's what you see there, yellow!

I am so pumped. Now I just need to get my butt to one of his classes to watch him as he works toward another notch on that belt.

In the mean time I will do what I always do, love him and let him know how proud I am of him. Because, despite criticism, I do NOT believe you can do that too much for any child.

Yours in health, Kate

Friday, April 4, 2008

Sometimes "oops" just isn't enough

This picture is to represent what stupid looks like. See it's me and today I am feeling uber-stupid.

They came to me at work last week and said, "Hey, can you help us out and do a remote at the Boomer Expo on April 12th?" I said, "Sure." I knew the date sounded familiar, but I let it go.

Then it hit me - that's the day of the AIDS Run/Walk! O.k., I think. I don't have to be at the remote until 10:45. The race begins at 9, I can be done, showered and at Hy-Vee Hall by 10:45.

Then yesterday I was editing my interview with Rhea from the AIDS Project of Central Iowa and I hear her say, "...and the race begins at 10 a.m.". Uh, what? Rewind. " 10 a.m." Crap, that's what I thought I heard.

Nope, definitely can't run 3.1 miles, shower and be at Hy-Vee Hall by 10:45 a.m. Double crap!

So, I have concocted a plan and cleared it with Rhea. I am running the race at 9 a.m. She says the route markers will be up, but no barricades and my timing chip won't work. I let her know I would run on the sidewalks if necessary and I am not worried about professional timing. I'll just use my handy-dandy Timex. The timing is for me, not to compete, because believe me - I am no competition for anyone, especially on hills.

She said that would be fine, thank God. I have been training, though not on hills as much as I should, so I really want to do this. Plus, I have a couple of people that are doing it because of me, so I don't want to let them down. Now, I have to tell them my 'plan'. (And they don't even know there's a problem. Hi, Annette. {sheepish grin})

Of course the moral of the story is... look at your damn schedule, so you don't have to look stupid - see picture above if you have questions.

By the way, if you want to be a last minute entrant in the AIDS Run/Walk follow that link.

Yours in unbridled insanity, um, er, health, Kate

P.S. - That picture is from my brother Gordon's b-day party, so the man arm you see is him, not some hot romantic interest. (Double damn.)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Doing the Splits

No, this is not a post on pulling my groin. If only I were limber enough to do that amazing Shawn Johnson move. Alas, this is a post about putting your back behind 'making time'.

The number one excuse used for skipping exercise is that people "don't have enough time". Well, I am here to call you out. The truth is, if you are at an unhealthy weight or have a penchant for pizza, you have to MAKE time. My point, if you are overweight or eat junk, your body needs help staying healthy and viable. Exercise is the easiest way to have that happen. (We'll address the word 'easy' on another post.)

I will give you two examples of 'making time' to be healthy.

Mine - Yesterday I had to make an appearance for work. Then I was going to have an hour of dead time and follow that up with a trip to the doctor. I realized I was not going to be able to put in my full workout. (Because it would have me being too active too late in the day and I need my rest. Sleep is very important, more on that in yet another post.)

I couldn't do it all before the appointment either. So, I split it up. I did my cardio between the appearance and the doctor. After the doctor I went back for my weights. I got it all in, without pulling a groin muscle.

My guy friend - He has no time before work, because of kids. He has no time after work, you guessed it, because of kids. That leaves the work day and that's exactly what he does - he works out during business hours.

Sometimes it's stairs twice a day during those magic 15 minutes breaks that draw far too many to the junk food machines. Sometimes he uses those as time for abs or weights he keeps in his office. He just shuts the door and goes at it. On those days, he uses his lunch hour to run or heads to the gym down the street for their 30 minute express cardio class, meant for people like him.

Then he and his wife share duties on Saturday and Sunday. Each gets to take two hours one of those days to do something physical, while the other watches the kids.

Now, don't get the wrong impression, he eats. He's a big guy, 6' 3", he has to eat. He just keeps easy, eat at your desk between calls, foods in his office. He still manages to easily take his (fit man only) 2500 calories a day.

So, you see, you do have time. It's just a matter of whether you are willing to make you a priority in your own life. I guarantee you, if you don't, your body will force you. Illness is bread in inactivity.

Yours in fitness, Kate

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Lunch with an old friend

I met up with my friend Brendan today. He is one of my all time favorite people. He's one of my guy friends who is happily married, intelligent as hell and of course sexy. I don't specifically want him, but if I could clone him, (or my friend Ben) I would do it in a heart beat.

Brendan always energizes me. We have amazing discussions about life and politics. Today we had one about health, food and fitness. Brendan is very versed in what you should and shouldn't put in your body and why. He's raising his kids to be that way as well, which I really respect.

He and I haven't really talked since I lost the weight. So he was curious, as everyone always is, about how I did it. I told him - slowly making changes that are a lifestyle and forever. I will not go back and no one can make me. (But me.) And I just won't.

Brendan was great and supportive and impressed. I was flattered, appreciative and loved my lunch more than usual. Old friends are the best friends. (Especially for your ego.)

Yours in (mental) health, Kate