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Obese & Healthy

Last Friday was my yearly physical and today I got the blood test results.

According to every BMI chart out there, my 5’9″ 231 pound solid self falls on the obese side of the algorithm.

According to my primary doctor’s observational evaluation and “superb” blood test results with “good, if not better, numbers than my previous results,”  I am metabolically healthy.

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I am more than a number.  I am an ongoing work in progress. I’m not saying weight doesn’t have anything to do with your health, it clearly does.  But, it is not everything.

I stand by the belief that not every thin person is healthy, and not every obese person is unhealthy.  There are many factors that play into health, but numbers on a scale and coordinating charts do not define your lifestyle.  You define your lifestyle and the blood tests confirm it.  What you put into your body and how often you move your body is ultimately what makes you “healthy” or “unhealthy” as far as diet.  It’s a pretty simple formula.

There is a little debate about the term “metabolically healthy obese” but more and more people are starting to understand that it’s not all about weight.  “It’s much easier to get a fat person fit than it is to get a fat person thin,” states Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., an exercise and wellness professor at Arizona State University.   My experience focusing on weight alone has led to a lifetime of yo-yo dieting and depression, fueling my hatred for TV Shows like The Biggest Loser.  Since changing my mindset to focus on strength and fitness, I’ve never felt better in this “obese” body and I’ve tried to make it easier for others to accept their own natural healthy size.

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I dreaded these annual physicals in previous years due to my elevated weight, poor eating habits, and fear of needles.  2 years ago and 48 pounds heavier, I knew it was time to change & take control of my health no matter how difficult.  I wanted to feel better in my skin while improving my overall quality of life.  My primary doctor’s tactful bedside manner and compassion for my weight struggles had a large part of helping me get started in making the right food and exercise choices.    Being lambasted by primarily older doctors in the past about my weight would send me spiraling deeper into a depression and avoiding check ups on the regular in fear of “failing”.  With my current physician it’s a team effort and I never feel judged.  That’s the way it should be.

This is why I cannot express enough how finding a support system that you trust, and who builds you up instead of tearing you down, is very important in reaching your health goals.   I tried to do it on my own in the past, but I knew that I needed guidance from someone who I could be completely honest with this time around.  Not only did I find a wonderful Primary doctor, but I found an excellent therapist who I saw regularly over these past years.  I now only call her if I need her and I have not seen her in over 2 months.  It’s nice to know professional resources are there when I need a little extra support, ongoing or temporary, and that they will help guide me back into a positive and encouraging mindset.

I understand not everyone has access to these resources but sometimes we all just need to find that one person in your life (a partner, sibling, parent, child, co-worker, friend, blogger, etc.) who will be there to urge and support you as you transition your existence into something meaningful and long-lasting.  I want to let you all know that it’s OK to ask for help and you are not alone in your struggles to find that healthy balance in your life.

 easybalance

 


		
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Social Events and Food Temptation

I recently attended a wonderful baby shower full of friends and family at a restaurant donned with a brunch buffet of french toast, fresh bagels, and more delicious breakfast items.  Most of all, let’s not forget the huge piece of pudding filled cake and real whipped cream icing for dessert.  Cake is my downfall but I was able to eat only half then make sure to have the remainder taken away so it was not tempting me on the plate.  I realized in keeping with my calorie logging I had already gone over my daily allotted allowance by 3pm and I would not have time to go to the gym that day.  At home that evening, I had a grumbling tummy but I just wanted a light meal.  I chose to eat a Smart Ones® South West Style soup for dinner at only 120 calories. Once again, Smart Ones® meals saves the day in helping balance out my meal choices.

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Whether it’s a baby shower, wedding, or another holiday celebration booking up your calendar, there will always be the temptation of high caloric foods at a party.  Most social engagements include an array of rich food  that you may not normally eat so your eyes may become bigger than your stomach.   I go to a social event with the attitude that “I will choose to eat the right amounts of foods and I will stop eating when I am full.”  This does not always go as planned.  I plan ahead if I know there will be the types of food I tend to to avoid.  Sometimes you get caught up in the party atmosphere and you end up overeating.  If a party has carbs and cake, I am like a kid in a candy store!  That’s why the day before a party I eat clean and exercise as normal, and the day after I plan to do the same.   I don’t starve myself, I don’t beat myself up for overindulging on the day of the event, and I don’t overexercise.  I just do my best to get back on track the next day.

Thoughts on Addiction.

I have a pretty serious addiction.  It may be arguable but it’s actually in the Top 10 Most Common Addictions in America.

I find myself constantly thinking about one of the things that gives me a high, which is food.  Whether I’m happy, sad, complacent, or bored, I’m always thinking about my next “fix”.   Moreover, it’s usually unhealthy sugar or carbo loaded food that I know is poison to my body and will make me feel physically and mentally horrible afterwards.  It may also be an urge to eat any food (healthy or not) and feel that extremely full where it’s almost painful food coma, also known as overeating.  Both of these acts to be followed by shame and disgust.  I also find in trying to control my addiction to food, I tend to fill my “need hole” with a behavioral addiction in the form of exercise or shopping.. The only downfall is that exercise is work, shopping can cost too much money, and eating food is cheap & easy.  I am the type of person that likes cheap & easy!

So why do I still feel this urge to eat such horrible foods when it’s been proven from experience and SCIENCE that eating healthier not only makes you feel better but live longer?  Is it the taboo?  Is it depression?  Or is it addiction?

It’s a constant cycle no matter what your drug of choice.

I recently read a short article about how impulsive personalities are linked to food addiction, stating that while their “study shows that impulsive behavior was not necessarily associated with obesity, impulsive behaviors can lead to food addiction.”  It made me wonder if I have this type of personality or if I have an addictive personality, or if all of them are rolled up into one!  In doing some self analyzing I concluded that I just might have an impulsive personality but I struggle to contain it in accordance with social norms.  I do things that make me feel good, even if it may be defined as “unhealthy”, as long as it does seem to be hurting another person.  I’m not stealing from or attacking people because of my addiction.  This is how I justify my actions.  But in doing this I fail to take into account myself, and how my demise may effect those who love and care about me.  This is something I’ve been trying to figure out in therapy for the past year.  Addicts don’t realize how their decisions effect other people emotionally, because the need of getting that next high is too powerful.  So we see addiction as selfish and stupid.  This is why the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman struck a cord with me as people ridiculed him for overdosing on heroin while he had 3 children and a lucrative career.  I may not have an illegal drug addiction or an alcohol addiction, but food is my drug of choice.  And food is available almost anywhere and at any age so I don’t have to walk into a dark alleyway to buy a loaf of delicious crispy Italian bread for $50.

I strangely identified with this tragedy, which I thought was crazy since I’ve never been around any sort of illegal drug activity in my life.  Then I read that a study suggests “in some people’s brains high calorie foods can elicit cravings and trigger responses similar to those caused by addictive drugs,” and I felt compassion and sadness that his addiction got the best of him.  It must be great that some of those who spoke out angrily against Mr. Hoffman don’t have an addiction, good for you!  But for those of us who constantly have that feeling of needing something we know may kill us or make us unhealthy, whether now or over time, it’s not as simple as “he just didn’t care about anyone but himself.” It is more than that.  Addiction is a complex disease that changes brain chemistry in the user.

Addiction also comes in many forms aside from illegal substances & food, including the internet/technology, caffeine, pornography, sex, prescription drugs, gambling,  smoking, alcohol, video games, hoarding and yes even shopping!  The list does not stop there either.  There is that fine line between having a healthy relationship with these things and having a problem, and personally I feel no one should be judged for how their addiction controls them. Addiction may be difficult for those who don’t understand, I get that, I just hope people can find compassion in themselves for those who may not be as strong or as disciplined as they are.  I’m constantly wrestling with my addictions and though I feel I’m in a much better place than previous years, I will always struggle with unhealthy impulses.

All I can do is try to live better each day, work on being emotionally stronger, and ask for help.

Never be afraid to ask for help.  Please take time to read this compelling article by actor Russel Brand about his own struggle with addiction.  No words can describe the thoughtfulness and rawness of his words.

Zumba is the New Jazzercise.

I finally joined the masses of ladies hoping to shake their hips like Shakira, pop their booties like J Lo, and hip-hop their way to attaining Beyonce’s strong and shapely thighs.  If you have never heard of Zumba, then you’ve been living under a rock.  I may be late to the badass dance party, but this week I’ve taken two Zumba classes at Urge Fitness and I’m sore in places on my body I didn’t even know could get sore.   I learned from 2 different instructors, which was great because I was able to gain different views on the practice of this dance fitness program that combines a plethora of dance styles including hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo and martial arts.  I already prefer one of my instructors over the other, but that’s because the other shakes her belly dancing hips ready to create a tornado and the instructor I enjoyed more focuses on mixing in traditional aerobic moves that I can hack as a beginner.  With lots of energy and dedication, I know that over time I’ll be able to learn plenty of styles of dance from them both.

Zumba is not only a huge calorie burner if you put your all into it, but it is the ultimate in modern Jazzercise!  Seriously, it is like Jazzercise on crack, cocaine, caffeine, speed, and anything else that makes your body convulse like it never has before to music that makes you move before you can even think.  Zumba may not require a leotard or overly enthusiastic voiced instruction (Zumba instructors use hand movements to instruct you on their next move), but both practices do encourage moving those hips, smiling, and overall having a good time.

SO, here are 10 things I learned during my experience being a new Zumba student for a week as well as advice from friends who regularly practice this style workout:

1. Stand where you can see the instructor!

  • I took this advice from my friends and I’m glad I did because I was planning on staying way in the back.  At my first class I stood in the front row next to the instructor and now I stand directly behind her to get a better view of the moves. When I mess up it’s much easier to pick up and keep moving!

2. Focus on the feet first, then add hand and arm movements.

  • The more often you attend Zumba classes, the more you will pick up on the added arm and hand flair.  As not to get overwhelmed at first, just focus on the foot moves then if you’re up to it, add your jazz hands!

3. You are not going to perform the moves as flawlessly as your instructor.

  • Zumba Instructors are trained professionals, they may make mistakes, but their dance talent can be daunting.  If you are just starting out you need to remember your limitations while still trying to have fun!  I pushed my ability in the second class before realizing I have never belly danced a day in my life and I needed to CHILL OUT BEFORE I PULL A HIP MUSCLE.  I have also yet to get to the having fun part because I’m intent in learning the dance moves with a serious furrow on my face.  Zumba is srs bzns in my world…for now.

4. If you have ever played Just Dance on your video game console at home, then you already have a head start.

  • I am a Just Dance veteran, and Zumba class is pretty much a 3D version of this Wii Fitness game.  In fact, they have a multitude of  Zumba fitness games for the Wii now if you want to start off (or continue) in the privacy of your home.

5. There will probably be plenty of other people in the class who are beginners.

  • This will hopefully allow you the courage to take a step and attend your first Zumba class.  You are not alone in your trepidation.

6. You will sweat like crazy and want to drink as much as a gallon of water during and after the workout.

  • Bring a towel, wear a sweat band or bandana, and have your water bottle handy.

7. If you are lost with the steps, just do your own thing!

  • My Salsa moves pretty much turned into an Irish jig at some point, but as long as you keep moving to the music you are doing it right!

8. If you are large chested, double bra it!

  • Latin dance moves like to shake their shoulders and there is a lot of jumping with the hip-hop repertoire, so ultimately this will lead to excessive shaking of the tatas. Trust me, strap those puppies down with 2 sports bras.

9. Stretch and rest after your class.

  • Dancing for an hour is nothing to scoff at.  If you feel you need to stretch more after class then do it!  I love stretching and I believe it’s a huge part of any workout.  Resting your muscles is also important, especially if you’re just starting.  I’m hoping I soon won’t have to crawl into bed like this:

10. If you are self conscious, avoid the mirrors & don’t compare yourself to others!

  • I started my first class avoiding the mirrors to build my confidence up and I’m glad I did.  I focused on the moves of my instructor, and if my eye went to the mirror I would bring it back to her.  Now, I don’t really care how I look because everyone in the class is there to have a good time and not judge you, therefore you should not judge yourself.  You should applaud yourself for moving your body and enjoying your time bustin’ a move.  Now, Everybody dance!

Holiday Look Book – Cuteness!!

Well today is our holiday part at work and I look adorable.  Thank you ModCloth for your wide array of vintage inspired clothing that run into Plus Sizes!  Also, if you sign up for ModCloth through the above link, you get $15 towards your first purchase! (I also get a $15 credit to buy more retro cute clothing!)

Please forgive the pre-makeup photo!

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What I am wearing:

I’ll Have the Usual skirt – size 1x $34.99

You Bow Me Well top – size 2x (NLA) – I was worried about button pull with my chest, so I sized up.  It is quite loose on me but tucked in it looks ok.

Career Fairest Heel – size 10 (NLA) – size 6.5 is available as of today!

Dainty Delight Headband in Black –  $16.99

Spanx Tight-End Tights$28.00

What my cat is wearing:

ALEXANDER WANG GREY BOILED MOHAIR AND WOOL KNITTED WAISTCOAT –  $2,236 (Nimmi has expensive taste)

5 Seconds of Fame

(This entry was written on November 25, 2013 but was not public until now because of promotional protocol.)

There is nothing small on me:  I am a tall curvy broad with a big heart and an even bigger mouth.  Luckily, the internet will have a chance to see it all, along with 9 other fabulous ladies of all ages and backgrounds, in an online commercial for SmartOnes® frozen meals released in January 2014.

It seems signing up  to receive coupons via e-mail for SmartOnes® led me to this pretty awesome opportunity.  As practical as I try to be in day to day life, I do believe things happen for a reason and this opportunity was meant to cross my path.  I got this e-mail from Weight Watchers SmartOnes® in November that stated:

We’re reaching out to a small group of loyal Smart Ones® fans to ask for your help with a fun project. We’re shooting a video in your local area to announce an exciting new Smart Ones® initiative and we’d like you to be a part of it! You’ll have the opportunity to share your thoughts about Smart Ones® and connect with other fans.

If you’re interested in joining us, just email xxxxxxxx@eatyourbest.com and we’ll send you more details.

Thanks in advance and hope you can make it!

Weight Watchers® Smart Ones® Brand Team

I have never been a member of Weight Watchers though I have adopted some of their philosophy and I think it’s a great program.  But I do sign up for multiple coupon deals online and this was a message I almost deleted until I actually read it and thought, why not find out more information?  (Props to their branding company for capturing my attention and not getting me to delete an e-mail that didn’t have coupons in it.)

After contacting the company I learned that they are looking for fans to share their thoughts about food, SmartOnes® in particular, as well as their food triggers/struggles on camera for possible use for a SmartOnes® online promotion.  Basically, everything I talk and fight with on a daily basis on and off this blog!  I had a phone interview with the lovely Shannon who helped cast this commercial and is a Senior Account Executive for Digital Marketing at Ferrara & Company.   Yes, this commercial will be featured on the SmartOnes® website only, although I feel more people are forced to watch online ads since they can fast forward through them on TV so it may actually be seen more often!

I texted this to Shannon the week before the shoot haha

Practicing my promo skillz.

On the phone, Shannon told me more about the new SmartOnes® promotion and I told her probably TOO much about myself, including sending her the link to a certain Happy & Healthy Kate blog post that seemed quite fitting for this subject.  We talked about my background, my constant battle with food, struggles with portion control, my weight loss, my weight gain, then weight loss again!  I felt very confident I would not have to lie in this commercial because my freezer is actually always stocked with SmartOnes® for two reasons:  1. They have a variety of vegetarian options that are damn delicious! 2. They almost always have coupons.  After a nice conversation she said I’d be perfect and she’d be in touch with more details on times and location.

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They were not kidding that this was being filmed in “my area”.  It was filmed at Studio Park  in Hamilton, located 4 miles from my house in Ewing, NJ.  In addition to being a part of this project, I discovered an industrial studio & open art space right in my own back yard.  I love that!  It was a pretty great experience from beginning to end.  The video shoot was on 11/23 from 9am-1pm, though I was done on camera around noon and hung out to eat and cause a ruckus.  The day including a legit makeup artist who kept coming to my rescue with paper towels when I was “glowing” a bit too much on camera, a delicious breakfast and lunch (yay craft services!), and an American Express gift card given to each participant for our time.  It also came with hours of smiles and laughter.  I honestly would have done it for free.  Don’t tell them that though.

My cohort & co-star Jenna loves pickles.

My cohort & co-star Jenna loves pickles.

The commercial is part of their new “wipe the slate clean” initiative.  SmartOnes® wants to focus on how we are all human (love that), that we may not always make the best food choices as we give in excess to our temptations, but not to let the guilt cause us to quit any future attempt to eat better.  We of course talked about how SmartOnes® can help get you back on this healthy track and how you always have the next meal to choose a healthier choice.  It’s very in tune with my own philosophy that tomorrow is a new day and a small or even large detour should not cause you to stop, but it may just take longer to get to your destination.  SmartOnes® actually does help me get back on track if I stray from my healthy eating habits, all the while saving money and reminding me what a healthy portion control looks like. Portion size is always an issue for me, my eyes are always bigger than my stomach.

I’m a huge supporter of those who cook fresh and organic cuisine and make the time and effort to lead such a healthy and natural life.  I would love to have that drive in me, but for me a delicious low calorie frozen meal is my go to when I don’t have time or the inspiration to make my own fresh food.  Maybe one day that will change when I have a family of my own or just decide I need to start eating more organically.  Fresh food always tastes better, but let me tell you, these meals are great to grab on the go for a penny pinching vegetarian like myself.

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They filmed us in groups and individually.  I’ve worked in production and post-production from 2000-2005 and doing this commercial made me miss the entertainment game. Although, it was strange to be on the other side of things instead of behind the scenes.  I never liked being in front of the camera and for the most part I like having control over what images get released of my face and body.  I decided that during this “35th Year of Katy” I’m following opportunities that may lead me out of my comfort zone.  Part of that journey includes accepting my physical self and inspiring others to do the same, as well as spread the word that they are not alone in their struggles with self esteem and discipline.  I think participating in this SmartOnes® initiative aided in all of those goals!

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Here are some fun facts I learned during my debut on camera:

1. Apparently there is a gel for eyebrows.  After complimenting me on my eyebrows the makeup artist brushed gel on them to keep them neat.  I am pretty sure I’m going to do this daily now since I have a crazy Scorsese cowlick on my right brow.

2. People truly do think I’m still in my 20s and it’s awesome.  A couple of team members seemed surprised when I told them I was 35.  I respond as I always do:  It’s because I don’t have kids to age me.

3. I am not the only one who sweats when they are nervous. It was ironically refreshing to talk to my “co-stars” about how much they were sweating in their pits.

4. I suck at being fed lines to repeat, but I can ramble on forever about my own thoughts.  I also find I can write my thoughts much more clearer than speak them.  This is officially evident on tape.  They pretty much had to tell me to shorten my answers every time and I had to yell cut and redo my lines multiple times.

5. Stepping out of your comfort zone can get you a new friend.  I met my future co-star of our spin off, The Jenna & Katy Show, when she walked in an hour late traveling from the Bronx to be a part of this opportunity.  I knew I’d love her when I said her name reminded me of a porn star, and she said that’s how she tells people to remember it.  We had instant chemistry that the producers picked up on and filmed us just being awesome together in our own little corner until we got yelled at for being too loud while they interviewed the rest of the participants.

With Jenna during our corner shoot.

With Jenna during our corner shoot.

6. It has been officially confirmed by professionals that I have a big personality.  Who knew my weirdness was something that they wanted to capture on tape?!  I just hope I wasn’t too awkward on camera and some genuine entertaining Katy moments can be salvaged.  It’s nerve wracking to be “yourself” with 4 cameras on you at once while being told to say the same thing 4-5 times, I have mad respect for my actor friends.  I’m assuming my future career as a talk show host may take some getting used to.  I did request cue cards and threaten to walk off the shoot when they didn’t have my favorite SmartOnes meal for me to endorse (omg, delicious Sesame Noodles with Vegetables).  I naturally needed to practice hissy fits for my future fame!

7. SmartOnes®  and the Ferrara & Company Marketing associates & their hired crew are wonderful to work with.  They are warm and welcoming and made me feel much more at ease on camera than I thought I would be.  Shannon recruited the ladies and she was extremely helpful, informative, and fun.  Suzanne interviewed us all and she was encouraging and reassuring.  The crew was friendly, approachable, and helpful as well.  Working with these great people made the experience that much more enjoyable!

Just a few cameras in yo' face.

Suzanne prompting us with her questions.

All in all this was a hilarious and unusual experience for me and regardless of how I think I look on camera, I’m going to share the final commercial with everyone I know.  I believe the message of moving past your guilt of overreating to start fresh is inspirational and I’m excited that I got to be a part of it.

Thus begins my 5 seconds of fame.

UPDATE 2/7/14.

*drumroll please* – The video from EatYourBest.com Clean Slate Project featuring my and Jenna’s adorable face and where you will come to learn about my peanut butter addiction!

Yoga for starters

I love this infographic, great information for yoga beginners!

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