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Perfectly Imperfect

This past year has not been without it’s challenges.  I went through a heart-wrenching breakup and my dietary self-discipline was touch and go.  The thing that kept me moving towards a positive goal was finally focusing on myself.  What did I need?  What did I want?  Health, yes.  Happiness, of course.  But overall, I wanted to accept myself as I was: perfectly imperfect.

I admire those who lead a strict disciplined life of impeccable health and physique, but I know that is not in my DNA, and that’s ok.  Recently learning from my physician that my metabolic blood tests were within a healthy range despite my being “obese” makes me want to share that it’s possible to reach that healthy balance without being perceived as perfect.  You can lead a healthy lifestyle without making the right choices all the time.

The Smart Ones© message of wiping the slate clean has been a running theme on my blog and it’s one that resonates strongly with me.     Giving in to unhealthy food choices at events, family gatherings, and any sort of environment you find yourself within reach of food temptations doesn’t make you weak.  It makes you human.  If you are able to say no to the extra slice of cake, that’s great!  But in my experience, deprivation of certain foods can lead me down a slippery slope of gluttony.  I’ve learned to take desserts home if I am full, wrap up half of my plate of excessively portioned restaurant food before I start eating, and most importantly I listen to my stomach.

Occasional food slip ups are part of your journey to wellness, and it may be difficult but not impossible to keep from starting at square one.  Schedules get busy and unhealthy food makes it past our lips.  As much as I wish I had the money for a personal trainer and private chef, that’s just not the case.  Try not to let momentary set backs become permanent by realizing that it’s not the end of the world if you aren’t making the best food choices for a day or even weeks.  It may seem impossible if you are in a viscous unhealthy food cycle, but with a little help and inspiration you can get back on track.

Time is not always on my side.

Time is not always on my side.

 

#100happydays

Those who know me are well aware that I adore social media and try my best to use it’s power for good and not evil.  I’ve been hearing bits and pieces of something called #100happydays from friends, but surprisingly there has been no mention of Chachi.

To complete this self awareness challenge you must sign up, then post a photo via your choice of social media of something that represents “happiness” to you for 100 days straight.  All the while making sure to use #100happydays to organize your images.  This was not created to brag, it was created to inspire. I’m on board with that!

The website shares that people successfully completing the challenge claimed to:

 – Start noticing what makes them happy every day;
 – Be in a better mood every day;
 – Start receiving more compliments from other people;
 – Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
 – Become more optimistic;
 – Fall in love during the challenge.

 

Today I decided to take on the challenge because:

1. I love taking photos

2. I love sharing on social media

3. I love any reason to focus on happiness

I challenge you all to join me on this journey and sign up for your own #100happydays.  Once the challenge is successfully completed you will get a little 100 page book for free of all your images. Don’t skip a day!

Here is my first #100happydays image.  It’s a post card from a former student worker who is now serving in the Peace Corps teaching in a small fishing village in Cambodia.  She wrote to thank me for my letter of recommendation which helped her get accepted into the program.  My heart swelled with pride when I read it.

cambodiapostcard

Please follow me on Instagram if you want to learn what makes me happy every day! I will gladly follow you back!

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!

Just Breathe.

Just a quick post to remind you all to breathe.

In my weekly Yoga classes, we do a little breath control which really showed me how shallow my breaths are on a regular basis.  I love taking a deep controlled breath and feeling that stretch in my ribs and core muscles.  Paying attention to proper breathing benefits not only your body and fitness journey but also your emotional health.  Taking steady and relaxed breaths soothes the soul and enlightens your state of mind.  It is a true form of meditation.  A chaotic breath can denote a chaotic mind.  You can do breath control at work, at home, outside, at the gym.   Just make sure if you feel light headed to take a break!

Take 5 minutes and just breathe.  Take a mini vacation from every day stressors.  Everyone has time for that.

breath

RESOURCES:

What Are the Benefits of Breath Control Yoga

Yoga Breathing Exercises – Pranayama

MP3 Meditation Club: Click Here!

 

The Grocery Store Told Me I’ve Got Badass Muscles.

Last night I quickly popped into the local grocery store to grab a few items in a basket.  I know if I get a cart I will fill it and I was not in need of more than a few things.

That is, until I reached the drink aisle where everything was on sale!  So, I decided to utilize my new guns.

guns

My Badass Muscles

I carried  my basket full of food along with a fridge 12-pack of Diet Dr. Pepper and  a 12 pack case of Diet Peach Snapple Iced Teas.  At first I thought, I need to get a cart to carry all this.  Then I thought, let’s see if I am now strong enough to carry these cases first without assistance.   In the past, there was no way I could handle the weight of these cases along with a basket full of items without dropping everything with rubbery arms.  But last night, man, I carried all those items like He-Man!

heman-o

Thank you grocery store for inspiring me to keep lifting at the gym!

Also, have you seen this fun gadget for carrying your bags into your home in one trip?!!

onetripgripOne-Trip-Grip-NG-HW058-

This may just have to become a part of my permanent grocery collection.  Reviews are mixed, saying they are not as sturdy as advertised, but I’d give them a try just to try and save my fingers from losing circulation!

Shopping and strengthening = getting things done!

real_men_do_it_in_one_trip-214709

Trigger Ain’t Just the Name of A Horse.

trigger

Roy Rogers & Trigger
“the greatest horse ever to appear in motion pictures.”

This past week has been an emotional roller coaster full of change, not necessarily bad, but different with lot’s of “unknowns”. That can be a self-destructive ED  (Eating Disorder) trigger of mine. Fear of the unknown. I’ve only recently been trying to live in the present.  I have my good days and my bad. I tend to eat my feelings instead of dealing with them, and right now I’m not even sure what my feelings are so I’ve regressed to bad food and ED habits to numb my anxiety.  To offset these horrible food decisions, I’ve been trying to balance out the high calorie intake with high calorie burns at the gym.  Although I’m enjoying being back at the gym, the reason why I go now is not my norm, so I’ve been feeling very stressed and unhappy and not very healthy at all.   This is a vicious cycle that I do not want to live for the rest of my life.  All I need to do to feel happy again is gain control of my decisions. I sometimes think I’m not in as much control as I really am over my decisions. I need to reset my mind and expectations of myself. Easier said than done, but not impossible.  I am also trying to focus on meditation to calm my mind and I’ve had some struggles, but I have hope the benefits will outweigh the struggle.

I’ve made little food decisions that I am going to deem small victories. Late at night when I feel the urge to binge or munch, I’ve been filling myself with fruits and veggies and smoothies!  Small changes can lead to big changes, so I hope, and I am going against every grain of my “all or nothing” persona to try and not lose hope and give up completely.  I am trying to learn from past mistakes and not dwell on them. I’ve been carb and fat overloading throughout these past few days, and since I’m not planning to run a Marathon anytime soon, that has to change. I know going to the gym can increase your appetite, but this is more than that. I’m not hungry and I’m eating. That is just habit.

Eating to excess is more than just loving food, in fact I tend to vilify food which is not a healthy mindset. It’s much more complex and something I’ve been working on understanding. I am well aware that I am full, painfully so, yet I still want that apple with peanut butter. Saying “stop” seems harder than just giving in to the craving. Tips like “waiting 20 minutes” is lost on me when I’m in this mindset of NOW NOW NOW. When I’m alone, it’s the worst. Distractions and hobbies and companionship are key for me to continue on a healthy path.  Boredom and loneliness are more triggers of mine that need to, and will, be dealt with very soon.

I am starting to realize I do better, make better decisions, as part of a team.  For example, my friend and co-worker wants to go to the buffet style cafeteria on campus for lunch today. At first my reaction was NOOOOOOO, oh the humanity!!! But then after telling her my recent struggles, owning them, I realized I will be OK with her there. She knows me. She knows my struggles with food, and though she graciously offered to go somewhere else, I told her that having her there will keep me accountable. It is a true test of my will power, which I know is a flaw of mine in every sense of the word. I am not a hermit living in a dietary controlled house, so I will be given these tests for the rest of my life. If you know your flaws, then you can work with them. If you befriend your monsters, then you become a lot braver than you think. Would I love to be magically “fixed” and never struggle with food again, of course! Reality says different. I need to recognize my triggers, change my reactions, and just do better.

This past week was full of poor food decisions. This next week won’t be.

be happy

1,000 Views & Countless Thank Yous!

CC image by Danielle Perez

CC image by Danielle Perez

I am humbled by the realization today that this blog has received over 1,000 total views since it’s inception on February 4th, just shy of 2 weeks ago.  I am somewhat new to blogging, and I am positive there are plenty of carefully thought out, researched, and fascinating blogs that get more to 1,000 views per day.  That gives me a beautiful goal to work towards, build an audience, and I am ready and excited to take on that challenge.  I am inspired every day with new blog topic ideas and have begun to really enjoy the research part as well as the personal experience of my approach to wellness.  The research is coming, promise. : )

I initially started this blog to yammer on about my life struggles with living a healthy lifestyle and food choices, with the hope that at least one person reads it and takes something positive away from my experiences.  I also use this blog as a therapeutic journal and will never claim to be an expert in weight loss and health, I can only share what I know or what I want to know.  Currently, I see no end to the information, ideas, and insight I can bring to the blogging community.  That being said, when I pay attention to the statistics and meet new blogger friends through likes and followings, it makes me feel like I am evolving into a lovely member of the blogging community.  I am becoming part of something larger than myself.  A community that I’ve had false starts in previous years because I was unable to find my voice. 2013 is the year I found my voice, and my confidence.  I am proud and privileged to be here.  I am here because of you and your support and encouragement and every day I strive to become a better version of myself while at the same time accepting who I am today.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

-KE

do better

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