Archive | February, 2012

Just Eat Already: How Eating Regularly and Picking the Right Food Combinations Aid In Weight Loss and Fitness

27 Feb
The Farmer’s Market! A great place to stock up on tasty fruits and vegtables.

I’ve been everywhere in relation to food over the course of my life. I’ve eaten too much, I’ve eaten too little. I’ve eaten without regard and been completely mindful. It’s come down to this. If you don’t eat food, it will eat you! Food and health is all about balance and feeding your body the right foods at the right time is paramount.  If you do this, you will naturally begin to crave these foods and you will be better able to maintain weight. So, here’s what that means to me.

1) You need to eat. I cannot even tell you how many people I know who skip meals. I know, you get busy, you travel, you’re in meetings, I hear it all. You just have to decide you are going to be prepared, pack food if you need to, and take 5 minutes to eat. Wake up, eat breakfast within 30 minutes, and eat every few hours. Let your hunger dictate some of that. Do not allow yourself to get too hungry! As soon as that happens you will find yourself in a bind because you will eat the closest thing you can get your hands on.

2) You need to think very carefully about what you are eating. Your ability to combine the right foods at the right time is important. I used to believe as long as I was eating something healthy I was doing well. Not true! Steel cuts oats are great, for example. Should you have just that for breakfast in the morning? No. Consider these combinations as better options.

A serving of steel-cut oats, 3 egg whites, a few slices of avocado

A serving of steel cut oats, one serving of nonfat Greek yogurt, a small handful of natural almonds

A serving of steel cuts oats, 1 scoop of protein powder, flax seed and one serving of berries

3) You need to hydrate yourself. Thirst often masks itself as hunger. Drink water throughout the day. The side effects of hydration are numerous and sometimes we don’t even realize that we are dehydrated. What helps? Invest in a water bottle or cup with a lid and straw.  Keep that with you and fill it up regularly. Every time you find yourself in a place that serves or offer you water take it.

4) Include vegetables. With your snacks include a vegetable. Carrots are easily able to be packed and add a crunch to your diet. Snap peas are tasty. Adding things like bell peppers and mushrooms to your breakfast isn’t that hard. You can also throw spinach in smoothies and sometimes not even notice it’s there. Veggies help you fill up and offer a wide variety of nutrients.

Focusing daily on eating regularly and combining the right foods will help curb your cravings and prevent you from eating foods you will later regret.  Please feel free to share combinations of foods that work for you.  I’m always looking for new ideas to incorporate in my diet!

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Am I Really a Runner, or Simply a Person Trying to Figure Out Who I Am?

21 Feb

The Long Road Ahead

Why do I connect so deeply with running, I thought to myself the other day.  Sometimes I question, am I really a runner, or simply a person that has to run in order to maintain some sanity in my life.  Through broken hearts, shattered dreams, challenging moment of self-doubt, and triumphant achievements I’ve ran.  I find myself running faster and faster as I process thoughts of what I want and who I am.

Running has often been counseling for me, as it forces me to be honest with myself.  The minute I start running my head floods with the thoughts and feelings, and as hard as I try to put them aside I get lost in my ideas.  I’m tempted at times to stop right in the middle of a run and start writing, or call a friend and share my ideas, or start working on a project.   Sometimes I consider forgoing my run because facing my deepest fears, those that often surface as a result of running, is so scary.  My emotions are most evident right in the middle of a run, I can’t hide anything, and the expression on my face tells exactly how I feel at that very given moment.  At times it feels like stepping in a tunnel of darkness, panic sets in and I come face to face with my fears, but I keep moving forward, keep pushing, and eventually I see the light.

Finding something you’re passionate about, whether it’s running, another sport, or an entirely different hobby, allows for this.  I’ve heard other people share similar stories about their practice in the discipline of yoga.  I’ve heard writers who have had this experience, and artists who create masterpieces because they release so much of their energy in the process of developing their work.

A person’s soul has many layers.  It has secrets and dreams and expectations and joys.  For me running brings each of those layers to the surface and forces me to be honest with myself.  I emerge with greater clarity as a result.  So while its great exercise, it so much more than that for me.  It’s likely what gives me the ability to navigate life effectively.  “How did you become such a good runner Kim”, I’m often asked.  I’ve thought on the technical skills I’ve developed over the years but at the end of the day it’s this.  My running abilities are solely a reflection of my commitment to understanding myself.  I’ve added mile after mile, I’ve become faster as a result, and the only real explanation of how, is simply because it takes me that long to figure out life.

Exercising Regularly with no Results? Consider this…..

16 Feb
Jaime Michelle participating in a triathlon, a great way to ensure you vary your exercise routine.

Many people tell me they exercise regularly but fail to get results.  There are a number of reasons for that, but here are my top three!  When I forget these three things I inevitably feel my body not responding the way I want it to!  Keep these in mind as you plan you daily activities:

Stagnant routine: Your body is excellent at adapting.  That means that the more you do a certain exercise the better the body becomes at it and the less it has to work.  The best thing you can do is to change up your exercise routine on a regular basis.  This is why runners, for example, don’t just train doing long runs.  They do interval training, tempo training, they incorporate other activities such as Pilates and weight lifting allowing them to cross train.  Make sure you keep your body guessing.

Lack of intensity: Any exercise is good.  I’ll get that out of the way up front.  However, mindful exercise is best.  When you hit the gym and jump on the elliptical are you reading a magazine?  If so you are likely not working to your full capacity.  Plan to fully dedicate 30 minutes to an hour when you begin your workout.  Focus without interruption.  That means not a lot of chatting, no reading, checking email on your phone, or making to-do lists!  Engage your muscles, think about your breathing and focus on working to your maximum capacity!

Over training: I get it, you’re excited and you want to get your entire weeks work out complete in one day.  It doesn’t work like that.  Exercise is similar sleep; it needs to be consistent and regular.  If you don’t work out for five days don’t expect to put in 2.5 hours at the gym and make-up for lost time.  You’ll fatigue your body and then the following days you won’t work to your capacity.  Aim to exercise on a regular basis, taking the occasional day off to allow the body to recover.

Focusing on these things will help you get results.  If you are stuck, find someone who is very fit and ask them what they do.  It doesn’t have to be a trainer and exercise professional (although these individuals have a wealth of knowledge).  It might be your neighbor, a friend, a family member.  Pay attention to how other fit people approach exercise.  In many cases you’ll learn some hints that might help.

The Real Story: Raising Kids One Day at a Time

9 Feb
Jack looking cleaner than usual

It’s 6:30 a.m. and I have already launched into a fight with my seven-year old. We all have days we wake up on the wrong side of the bed but my youngest seems to have more than others. To add to it he’s not a morning person, so the dreadful wake-up routine ensues. This morning it starts with the clothes as he wants to wear an orange plaid shirt with blue and green sweat pants and two different socks. I invision  all the cute girls in his class that show up in the perfect matching outfit to school with hair brushed, headbands, and  shiny shoes. Failure, I think. What am I doing wrong? The battle isn’t worth pursuing though so I let it go hoping that people won’t look at him and think, “Wow, his parents certainly are not on the ball”.

He sits at the kitchen table with me arguing about breakfast options. My offerings: oatmeal, cereal with fruit, toast with peanut butter or yogurt with granola.  His choice, a Z bar with rootbeer.  Why did I keep the rootbeer from the party we had the weekend before, I wonder.  Now I’m never going to hear the end of this.  As I try to explain the importance of nutrition I make a mental note that part of my morning should probably be spent looking up blogs about eating and kids. I desperately need tricks to manage Jack’s eating patterns. I feel like I’ve read a million articles, apparently I haven’t hit on the right one.

My youngest is persistent and decides that he will not take his medication this morning. Every day I try to multi-task while I care for my kids but the reality is I’d best be served by just stopping everything and solely focusing on them. I know many of you have been there. You have aspirations of getting a lot done while caring for children but the reality is if you check even one thing off your list, it’s impressive.

I start daydreaming and am reminded of the days when my boys were very young.  My husband would arrive home at the end of the day and see me on the couch exhausted. “What did you do today?” he’d ask. “Uhhhh, the dishes”, I’d respond. I figured that was actually a pretty big accomplishment back then. I still wonder if the women I see with 2 and 3 very young children, all dressed up, lunching, clean house, in-shape, and smiling are really doing it all themselves.  If they are I clearly need advice, as my children are now nearing seven and ten and I still can’t seem to manage every one of those aspects all at the same time. Some days I’m dressed up but the house is a mess. Other days I’m out in sweats and a hat, but I’m caught up on work. I meet friends for lunch but I forewarn them I’m coming from hot yoga so it’s really their choice if they want to sit at the same table as me. My shower will have to wait till the evening.

The moments you remember

I’m trying to remember every day that these days will pass. People tell me I’m going to miss this someday. I’ll want these moments back. So, every once in a while I just stop and stare. It might be a moment that I hear their laugh, that I see them pick an instrument and begin to play for the sheer joy of it, maybe it’s seeing them help each other out when they think I am not looking. Those are the moments that I hold on to. I remind myself that taking care of me is equally as important as taking care of them. The only chance I have at being a good mom is balancing that. My husband will walk through the door at the end of the day and I’ll be standing two feet away. “Nice seeing you, I’m going now”. Albeit, this isn’t exactly how I envisioned it. My younger years will filled with images of the perfect children, who never talked backed, who showed up at school perfectly put together with healthy meals that they choose and were not forced to eat. I imagined myself cooking in a beautiful well-decorated home, laundry done, wreath on the door, the smell of fresh-baked cookies when you enter. Hello Stepford wives!  Honestly, what was I thinking? The real vision of me, flying out the door, two different shoes, trying desperately to balance a new career with raising a family. On good days my house is clean, I wear the perfect outfit on occasion, but it’s never usually on a day when I run into someone I know. I sprint into Target for groceries, no make-up, coming from the gym and typically see at least 5 people I know. My youngest has mismatched socks at school, my oldest has told me three days in a row he needs new underwear as he has grown so much he can barely breathe in the ones he has.

The guilty mom syndrome is brutal. I can’t imagine anyone who has had kids hasn’t experienced this. It’s an on-going challenge of taking care of yourself and taking care of others. Parenting is a constant reminder for me of the ways in which I feel selfish. Despite my ability to encourage others to prioritize their needs and recognize that there shouldn’t be guilt associated with it, I still experience guilt myself. I suspect I always will.

Somehow amid the chaos we all manage to get through the day. I lean heavily on the people I know who have raised kids and always ask for advice. The best thing they have said, “Just do what you need to do to get through the day”. We all have unique experiences as parents; however, I think many of us imagined it a bit differently in our head when we were younger. My ten year old told me the other day he wanted to go live with another family, that no one here loved him. This right after we spent the day mini-golfing with he and his friend, taking them to yogurt, and going to Toy R Us so that he could buy a new DS game. Really?

I must do my best to remember my children, although they are not babies, are still little. Raising kids is not supposed to be easy. I get that now. The reward in it is the devotion you put in over the years. It becomes your ability to love without boundaries, to accept what who they are and work within that to raise them to be amazing people.

Who do you most connect with Kim? I’m asked that sometimes. I guess the answer for me now-a-days. Leave your perfection at the door and we will get along just fine.

The Road to Becomming a Talent: Diaries of a Model-in-Training

6 Feb

A week in the talent industry and a busy one at that.  I think I’ve finally turned a corner and am gaining confidence in my abilities to actually say I can do some of this stuff.  It helps when you start landing paid jobs.  I’ve decided that being able to say “I’m capable and this” is a critical piece of actually achieving success.  It’s ohhh so difficult though, particularly in this industry.  However, f you don’t think you can do it, why should anyone else?

My friend Shannon behind the scenes at our fitness modeling shoot in Sedona, AZ

The Recap: Audition 1 – This one is for a mini-commercial.  Super excited about this because I feel like I am in my element.  I’m asked to read from a teleprompter and demonstrate a push-up.  I’m all geared up in fitness wear for this and I arrive 25 minutes early.  One thing I didn’t anticipate about auditioning, you are always afraid you are going to be late, so you show up incredibly early as a result to make sure you can find the location.  As my friend says though, first impressions are everything.  Better to be an hour early than 5 minutes late.  I agree.  I’m waiting for the audition and in walks a gal I know.  She’s very beautiful, highly skilled, and someone I consider to be well-known known in the industry.  My mind thinks, “well, so much for this audition”.  I have to remind myself though that you never really know what they are looking for.  It’s about fitting a part, whatever the casting director has in their head, so I pull it together and head-in.  I do the audition and think it goes well.  Unfortunately I have no idea what they thought and likely wont unless I am selected.  The waiting game begins.

The recap: Audition 2 – Phoenix Fashion Week.  I get a note that they are doing an open casting call for print models.  Okay, this sounds interesting.  I don’t know if I am what they are looking for on this one.  I’m definitely the person they would like to appeal to, but unsure as to whether I’m the type of person they would use to market their organization.  What this translates to – I’m maybe a little too old for this!? ! Here’s the important thing I take from this though, you just never know who you will run into at these things.  I remind myself to be open to it.  It never hurts to show-up. I love style and spend a portion of my career doing this, even if I am not “model” material for them, what better way to meet people in the fashion industry?  I arrive and the line is full off different faces.  I’m feeling a little better about this.  One thing I have going for me, I’m on-time (as I mentioned early), I wearing a cute outfit (It is Phoenix Fashion Week after all) and I am organized (portfolio in hand, updated resume, etc.).  Pretty sure this carries at least a little weight in their eyes.  Although I am clearly not a “traditional” runway model I’m asked to demonstrate it.  This get comical.  I smile, if you know me well then you know that’s what I do.  I watch as they have someone show the group a runway walking.  The organizer explain to me that I should appear like clothes on a hanger walking down the runway.  I’m trying to get a visual in my head.  Okay, I can do this.  Not sure why, I’m clearly not 5’8″ and thus am deemed “unqualified for the job” (an entire new topic I’ll dive into someday). but that’s okay.  I try very hard to be serious on this walk.  So tempted to flash my smile but figure that might rock the boat a bit too
Lunch break during our fitness shoot, chicken in hand!

much and I want to be respectful, so I do my best runway walk.  I do get to observe a number of lovely individuals, learn a few tricks of the traded, and decide this was not as bad as I thought it might be.  I pat myself on the back, way to put yourself out there and risk potentially looking like a complete fool! Ohh, and a young girl, whose nervous sits next to me during this.  She asks my advice.  I look at her thinking that she definitely has the look for this.  I give my best advice, try to encourage her to not be scared, she clearly has potential.  She gets up to the runway and rocks it.  I feel really good about this.  So maybe this amounts to nothing in terms of a job for me, but maybe in a small way I help the person sitting next to me with her confidence.  That makes me happy.

The re-cap: Fitness Modeling Job – This one is the most fun because I’ve already been hired.  I arrive in Sedona with two girlfriends also working this job.  We’ve packed nearly everything we own in the way of fitness despite being told they will have some wardrobe for us.  The stylist on set seems thrilled with this as it provides a lot of options to choose from.  One thing I’ve learned about the modeling industry, ALWAYS come over prepared.  You never really know what’s going to come up on set so now I arrive with make-up, clothing, hair products, extra outfits, etc.  This has actually proved very helpful at times.  Today’s shoot has me smiling a lot, running bleachers, stretching, and playing soccer.  It’s really all me because these are things I actually do.  I think about what would happen  though if he had called me out requesting certain skills and I showed up and didn’t have them.  It’s tempting to want to land a job and embellish your skills, but I commit to never doing that.  I don’t want to find myself on set where I’m asked to do something I clearly cannot.  Running, that I can do!  The day is perfect, the weather amazing, the track pristine.  I remind myself, this is why I’m pursuing this.  It’s awesome is it to be paid for something you thoroughly enjoy doing.  The phrase rings in my ears, when you find something you love so much you could do it everyday with no pay and be happy,   then you’ve found your true passion.  I’m inspired to keep putting myself in sometimes semi-uncomfortable situations to pursue my goals.  What’s the worse that can happen right?  The worst is nothing, maybe you hear we don’t want you.  You’re not smart enough, you’re not pretty enough, you’re not skilled enough.  Okay, I suppose I can deal with that.  What’s the best case scenario.  They say yes, we want you.  And the job turns into the perfect day.

Good luck in your endeavours, whether they be modeling or otherwise.  Just keep telling yourself you can do it.  Consider some of the most successful people and imagine how many times they were told no.  Put yourself in situations where you are out of your element, reach just a bit farther than you think you are capable of, because you never know where that might take you.