Monday, May 31, 2010

Candida Part 2

Do you remember Candida? If you don't click Here for a little refresher. Basically it is an over growth of yeast in the body and to get rid of it, one would have to go on a very strict diet. It starts with eating Vegetables, lean meats, and nuts for a couple weeks, then you can add Fruit, then you can add Beans, then you can add brown rice. There were a lot of questions that I wanted to answer. This is basically a gluten free diet. I don't think I could do a gluten free diet forever, but there are some great benefits from eating gluten free. The benefits were fabulous. I lost 15 lbs (which is all I should probably lose) and I lost a little gut. Before I would get really bad migraines. The first week of the cleanse I got the worse migraine I had ever gotten, but then I never got another headache while I was on the cleanse. I also felt better. And for the most part... all the cravings were gone. I just had a lot of energy. BUT... sometimes I just wanted a treat even if I didn't crave it. That was a little hard. So if I were to ever do it again, I think I would allow myself a little something something now and then. Now the main reason I started the cleanse is because I had trouble with infertility. My body wouldn't ovulate. I went to the doctor and they put me on clomid... it would work one week and then the next month it wouldn't work. Then they would up the dosage and we would go through the same cycle. After a while, I just couldn't handle it anymore. I didn't like what the drugs were doing to my body and I didn't want to keep taking more. I felt that it was just covering up my symptoms rather than taking care of them. It was also the easy way out. So searched out some natural help and found out I have Candida. So I went on the cleanse. I was on the cleanse for four months. And during that time I didn't ovulate. So finally I stopped. I thought I would still eat healthy, but we were going to just stop fertility helps and begin the adoption process. Well, the cleanse worked... I guess I did clean out my body and I guess I did ovulate because a month after I stopped the cleanse, I found out I was pregnant. I have been meaning to do this follow up email for quite a while, but I wanted to do it after I felt comfortable telling others I was pregnant. So if you know someone who struggles with infertility, please tell them about this or tell them to go see some kind of naturalist that won't just give drugs to cover up symptoms. As for me now... I am not on the cleanse... far from it. I like food... a lot. I am eating more than I have ever ate, but I know I will do Candida again.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Perhaps you can help me feel peaceful (Warning: long, whiny post)

Truth be told, I'm really not feeling so peaceful at the moment.  Mostly it's because of my body.  I feel like I'm falling apart.  See, I've been having headaches for a little while now (a couple of weeks?) almost daily.  And I'm not the kind of person that even gets headaches weekly... usually.  And on top of that my back and neck and shoulders have been sore.  And I've had some toothaches.  So I figured it's probably time to see the chiropractor.  And the dentist.  Well, I still haven't taken the time to find which dentist I can see on our oh-so-lovely (not) student health plan.  But I did go and see the chiropractor on Thursday.  I really liked him a lot.  He seemed to have a really comprehensive approach on what's going on with my body which won him a lot of points in my book.  I have a hard time believing doctors when they start going on and on about what's wrong with me, but haven't taken time to learn all the facts--that I have mild scoliosis, that my left leg is slightly shorter than my right leg, that I have orthodics, that I have a child, that I'm breastfeeding, etc., etc.  Anyway, basically what the chiropractor said is that I need to do a few things to help my body get back to where it needs to be.

Right now my body is overworked trying to function because things are out of whack.  So in order to get back in whack I need to see the chiropractor a couple of times a week, have some acupuncture done at least once a week (he does that too, which is part of the reason I went to see him), have some deep tissue massages to help break up all the knots in my back, get a good cervical pillow (he suggested one like this, but I think since I sleep on my side a lot I'll probably get one like this) which will help my neck to stay supported while I sleep instead of forcing my neck to go flat, and--ultimately--work on my posture.  He said that the core of my problems are structural, meaning that my spine is becoming... not the shape it's supposed to be.  Which is chiefly due to my slouchy posture and leaning forward to breastfeed and look at the computer.  And, according to the chiropractor, this bad curvature in my neck/spine and my body/nerve endings being overworked is causing a lack of blood flow to my brain, which is causing the daily headaches.

Needless to say, I came home on Thursday very concentrated on trying to keep my shoulders back and my head held so that my ears are aligned just over my shoulders.  And I was trying very hard not to pop my own joints since the chiropractor said that when you pop your own joints it usually just puts added pressure on the ones that already have too much pressure on them, rather than releasing pressure in between two joints that are stuck (which is what chiropractors can do since they know what they're doing).  I was trying very hard to focus on these things and try to be better.

Then, on Friday at about 3:00AM I woke up feeling absolutely terrible.  It felt like someone was taking my stomach and trying to wring it out like a wet towel.  Finally around 3:30AM I was in the bathroom violently throwing up for a while.  I feel fairly certain that I got food poisoning from some spread that I had eaten on a roll as a snack on Thursday evening.  Finally around 4:30AM I got back to sleep, feeling absolutely miserable.  Bryan came home from work early to take care of Olivia since I was still feeling so sick I could hardly do anything.  I slept the majority of the day.  We already had a babysitter lined up, so we went out for a really low-key date on Friday night during which I "walked like a 90 year old woman the entire time" (according to Bryan).

I woke up yesterday (Saturday) feeling a lot better, but really sore.  I had thrown up so violently the day before that the whole frame of my upper body felt bruised, especially my ribs.  I skipped lifting weights (just the thought of doing the chest press made me feel exhausted) and we took it easy going to some yard sales, babysitting our friends' kids, watching a movie at home on the couch, and later playing games with friends.

But you had better believe that any efforts to sit up straight and not pop my back have flown completely out the window.  I've been in so much pain the past few days that anything that makes me feel even a little better has been up for grabs.  Which may have already come back to bite me in the bum.  Because I woke up this morning feelings so, so stiff.  My whole back/spine from about my waist up feels extremely stiff and sore.  I am definitely far worse than I was when I went to see the chiropractor on Thursday.  Which means I'm definitely going to need to go again this next week.  Which, I'll admit, stresses me out a little because he seems really good, but, quite frankly, he's too expensive for me to see on a regular basis.  So I had kind of already made up my mind not to go back and to just try and do things on my own as much as I can.  But clearly these problems with my body are beyond me.

Any ideas?  Any advice?

I hope you're all having a nice Sunday.  And even though this probably wasn't the most uplifting post for you to read (if you even made it this far), it does make me feel a little better to get all of my "poor me"'s off my chest.  So, thanks for the vent.  And, please, I would really appreciate any advice.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Kathy Week 22: Fat Talk

Kathy's Week 22 Stats:
Today's Weight: 139
Last Week's Weight: 138
Starting Weight: 151
Total Weight Loss: 12 pounds

Ahem...I went back up a pound.

You know what I have to say about that?

I first found this video as a link from a great article on Shine, the Yahoo health online magazine.

It reminded me about how much I love my body. 
I have so much fun holding a grandchild, or walking 
in the rain, or digging in my garden, or stretching in yoga class, 
or kissing my sweetheart...the list goes on and on. 

I plan to have a great week! How about you? 
Even though we're forecast for mostly drizzly weather here in the 
Portland area, Mark and I will be walking a 10K in West Linn on 
Monday morning. My goals for the event are to 
1) finish and 
2) have a great time walking with my sweetheart. 
Hopefully we won't finish last, but that's not even on my list of goals this time.

What are you doing today or this week to increase your positive feelings about your body?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Lightened Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo: Frugal Food Friday

I love just about any kind of pasta, which of course are known for lots of carbs and especially creamy sauces (like most alfredo) are high in fat...but not this one!

I'm not an expert in Italian food, so I don't know what makes an alfredo "alfredo."  This isn't what I would normally have thought of as alfredo, but it's delicious and I like it better than most alfredos I've had.

Lightened Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo
Taken from Cook It Light: Pasta, Rice, and Beans by Jeanne Jones, Pg. 163

Heat in large skillet (you can reduce this some to make it slightly lower calorie):
1 Tbsp margarine
1 Tbsp oil

Add the following and cook until chicken is no longer pink:
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut up
3 green onions (about ½ cup)
¼ cup shallot (one medium sized one)
3 cloves garlic

Add the following to the skillet:
1 Tbsp cornstarch (add to 2 Tbsp of the milk)
1 cup milk
½ cup (2 ounces) Romano cheese
12 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms (It says 4 cups, but 2 cups works just fine)
1 (16 oz) can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Bring to boil over high head, then reduce to medium and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, 5 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the following and remove from heat.
2 Tbsp dried basil
1 pound cooked fettuccine noodles

Top with grated Parmesan or Roman cheese if desired.

Makes 8 servings. Each serving contains approximately 388 calories; 43 mg cholesterol; 8 g fat; 582 mg sodium

A few notes for making this cheaper.  Romano cheese is expensive...especially at a regular grocery store.  Once we tried this recipe and decided we liked it, I buy the Romano at Costco in a big block, cut it into single recipe size pieces and freeze it in the freezer until I'm ready to make it the next time.  It's been a while since I compared prices, but last I checked the big block at Costco was about 2-3 times as expensive as from a grocery store, but was 10 times or more larger.

I also didn't know what a shallot was before making this.  It's kind of like an onion crossed with a garlic and is slightly pinkish/purplish and you find it in the produce section.  They're not really expensive since you don't need very much, but not all stores will carry it.  I don't always have it since some of the grocery store here don't carry them and I don't like making a trip to another store just for that.  When I don't have shallots, I just use a little bit of onion instead.

Wal-Mart has a great low cost whole wheat pasta option.  We're still getting used to whole wheat noodles, and if you are too, mixing half white noodles and half whole wheat noodles is a good middle ground (if they have the same cooking times.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Saturday, May 22nd, I participated in my very first biathlon! It was actually a triathlon, however I opted to not do the swim since it was my first time and I wasn't sure what to expect. Lucky for me, they had a division where I could just do the bike and run- and bike and run I did!

*Getting ready to start!*

My husband took a half day on Friday and we drove over to the race site in New Braunfels, about 2 1/2 hours away from Houston. We picked up my packet (and boy was I nervous) and then drove to my sister Amy's house in San Antonio which was about 30 minutes south. My niece Belle (4 yrs old) helped me get ready for the race by giving me a bag with some treats to give me energy and a picture of me biking while she and my hubby were cheering me on. We had a big pasta dinner and played Life before bed.

Nicholas and I woke way too early for a Saturday morning and headed back up to New Braunfels. When we got there I had to get my body marked (go #309!) and check my bike into "transition". Luckily my friend and coworker, April, had decided to do the biathlon with me- I was glad to have someone else there! (Note: there were a few people from my ward there, however I hadn't really trained with them and they were all doing the swim...but nonetheless it was nice to have more than one familiar face there!)

*A look at the river swim...I didn't do this part, but it was a down and back 400 m swim.*

We headed down to the river to hear the pre-race chat, and then headed back up to transition to grab our bikes while they started the swimmers. After the first swimmer came through transition and headed out on their bike, they let all of us biker/runners go.

*Starting out (left) and finishing (right) the biking portion*

The bike ride was rather hilly, which I hadn't trained on, but wasn't too bad. About 1/4 mile in, my bike chain came off...I hopped off and fixed it and on I went again. It ended up being 13.5 miles that we biked through the hill country, over the Guadalupe River, along the riverbank, had a sharp turn-around, and then headed back. There was one hill that I headed down that was giving me so much speed that I was pretty was a very long and very steep hill. After we did our turn-around, I realized that I was going to have to go back up that hill- yikes! I shifted into the easiest gear and pedaled my heart out; I thought to myself "I have to tell those Skinny readers that I made it up the whole way" and I did! After that hill, I knew I was going to make it.

*Heading out on the run with April (left) and crossing the finish with April at my heels (right)*

I had pulled ahead of April during the biking and so I decided to wait for her in transition. I parked my bike and was ready to run, but waited about 5 extra minutes for her to catch up. She hurried and parked her bike, and then we were off.

*At the finish line, with my biggest fan (hubby Nicholas)*

The run was a 3.3 mile loop around this cute little town called Gruene (pronounced "green"). April was having a really hard time running as she isn't a frequent runner like myself and hadn't trained as long. I wanted to just take off, instead of running in place while she walked, etc., but I remembered how much I hate it when I am running with someone and they leave me...even after I beg them to leave me because I am slower than they are. So I stayed with her- and she pleaded with me to go and told me she hated it and that she was never going to do it again and that it was a dumb idea and all those things. :) But we all need a buddy to help us sometimes and I was glad that I could be that buddy for her this time.

I kept running the whole time, getting April to do little bits of running here and there between her walking spells. When we could see the finish line though, I took off and yelled for her to catch me...she picked it up too!

I could see Isabelle cheering me on at the finish and met my sister Amy and her husband Ben, Isabelle, Olivia (niece), Nick (husband), and April's mom & aunt as soon I as crossed the finish line. I was happy to finish, however it was a bit disappointing for me because I hadn't really pushed my body as hard as I could have. I was happy though that I had finished with April :)

*April and I were glad to be finished! It was a beautiful day for a race...the clouds hid the sun until we were done and there was a little bit of a breeze (you can totally tell because I am not completely drenched with sweat like usual!)*

Afterwards we hung around for a bit, but then headed to grab some lunch at Freddy's (a local burger and custard shop). Nick and I headed home after that and I slept most of the way back to Houston. I was all too happy to shower, and then we had a little rest watching The Office.

All in all, I am pleased with how things went. I wasn't really sore or anything. I am proud that I did the biking, as it was the new part to me. I am very happy that I made it up the hills (and that I decided to spring for real biker shorts that have the pad in the butt...definitely worth the money!) I am disappointed that I didn't push myself as I could have and for sure have the desire to do it again and beat my own time...and even add in the swimming! I should have done the swimming as it was in a river- yes that means a current one way, but it also means that at any point you could stand up if you were near the bank. That will not be the case in a lake!


I was clearly an amateur, however most of the other racers were really friendly and willing to offer advice. Of course there were those people that do the whole thing in like 30 minutes, but there were also plenty of people that told me this was their first race too.

I'm not sure about the art of the transition yet...I didn't change clothes from biking to running (not even shoes since I didn't clip in or anything) so really all I did was drop my bike and helmet and put on my knee band. I was done in about 25 seconds, but hung around after that for April.

If you have any questions about things I forgot to mention, please ask them in the comments section! I am not sure if I will do another biathlon or will graduate straight to a triathlon, but there are definitely more races in my future! :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Katie: Week 22


Well, this is the bad news...

Current weight: 143 pounds
Last week's weight: 141 pounds
Total weight loss: 27 pounds

But this is the good news...

I met all of my goals!  100%!  (Click HERE for a tutorial on how to make your own goals chart.)  And I am very proud of myself for that.  Because it made for a busy Saturday, quite a few days where I went for walks when I didn't feel like it, and a couple of late night crunch sessions.  But it was all totally worth it.

So... if I met all of my goals 100% then why did I gain weight?  Well, let's just say that Satan was not off eating tomatoes.  I made cookie dough.  And chocolate chip muffins.  And... well, let's just stop there.  But here's the thing.  Sometimes I just feel pure guilt eating treats.  But other times, like when I made cookie dough from the recipe I grew up on, it totally made me feel comfy and cozy and happy.  (Especially since the cookies turned out and my cookies never turn out.)  It's so hard to balance nutritional needs with emotional and psychological wants.  Anyway, I'm working on it.  And I really hate to put myself under the rule of a specific treats regulation, but I just might have to do it.  I'm still undecided.  Mostly because if I say "one treat a week!" and then I eat my one treat, but then we go over to a friend's and they offer me treats then I'd like to say yes and be polite (and eat the yummy treat--hello!).  And if I know in advance that we're going to be having dessert somewhere else then I can plan accordingly, but sometimes things just come up in life that you can't plan for.  And I hate feeling like I've failed at my goals even though I would have been okay if I had known in advance.  Anyway, it just doesn't seem fair to my ego.  Any ideas?

As far as my other goals for this week go, they'll be about the same.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Just so you don't spend all week worrying...I made it!

You can look forward to my full recap on my regular Thursday post :)

Kathy Week 21: Team Brad

Rooting for Alex on the biathlon today! Looking forward to photos and a recap of the event!

Kathy's Week 21 Stats:
Today's Weight: 138
Last Week's Weight: 139
Starting Weight: 151
Total Weight Loss: 13 pounds

Woo hoo! Down one more pound. How did I do with my goals this week?

I was awful about recording my food in a food diary. I am making way too many excuses. I'll try again this week.

I am continuing to visualize my stomach the size of my fist. That seems to help a lot with portion control, and with not wanting that second helping after all.

I did a little bit of running, but not much. I was really sore for most of the week, from the Dog Mountain hike last Saturday. On Thursday I did go to the track, where I went around 4 times. Walked the straights and jogged the curves. I'm just not very fast, so I'll keep trying.

Team Brad!

This morning I participated in a short (about 1.5 miles) walk with the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation. My husband Mark and I both participated, along with our daughter Julia and her husband Mike and daughter Maddy. We registered with Team Brad, to honor Brad Ventura, a former student who succumbed to sarcoma (soft-tissue cancer) last June. Team Brad took away awards today for biggest team (80+) and most fundraising.
Julia, Mike, me, Mark
(Maddy is in the stroller)

Brad's team was huge because so many people loved him...because he loved them, too! My husband Mark first got to know Brad his freshman year, in the high school play, Peter Pan. Mark was working backstage as a "flyer" and Brad was cast as John Darling, Wendy's younger brother who wants to be a pirate. Mark operated the cables to make Brad fly. We got to know Brad better as he and Katie were friends through high school.
Lots of people there were wearing the red "Team Brad" t-shirts.

Brad's cancer diagnosis came during when he was a student at Oregon State University. He continued his studies as his medical treatments allowed, but the sarcoma was aggressive, and he passed away in June 2009, just a little over a year after his initial diagnosis.
Brad's family

Today's walk wasn't all that long, and it wasn't competitive, but it was a wonderful reminder of the importance of living our lives with joy. The day was gray and overcast, but it was a beautiful walk along the Willamette River in celebration of life.

Here's a fun video from Brad's website, created by his family. After the thoughts from several of his nurses, there are some great videos of Brad dancing, no matter what the situation.

I know what he would say to each of us today: Dance! 
Have a great week, dear Skinny readers, and remember to dance!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Experiments in Sprouting: Frugal Food Friday

I've heard a lot of things about sprouting the last few years and keep meaning to try it.  The nutritional content goes up a lot when you sprout things and they taste really good.  So I finally tried it! 

So far I've just tried sprouting wheat, but I think I'm going to try sprouting beans and rice next.  This is what they looked like after just a couple of days.
So we added a few to salad and they gave it a nice added texture.
This is what they looked like aftr about 4 days, so we added a few more to our salad.
I don't really know enough about sprouting yet to give much advice, but you can see Dorothy's post about sprouting rice here.  I've just been using a plastic container, but next time I'm going to use her glass jar/rubber band set up.

Next time I make it to Yakima, I'm going to buy some other things for sprouting like alfalfa and radish seeds, so stay tuned for some more sprouting posts in the future.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Are you one of the 28% of Americans that (supposedly) floss daily?

Flossing is oh so important- not only to the health of your teeth, but to your overall health as well. Many diseases start in the mouth as the mouth is the gateway to the body. It is the only part of the body that is involved in food ingestion, digestion, breathing, speaking...and is the only soft tissue of the internal body that is constantly exposed to the outside world.

Your gums are loaded with bacteria- some good and some bad. Flossing each and every day will keep the good bacteria while getting rid of the bad bacteria. If your teeth are not flossed, even if they are brushed, bacteria can cause serious problems.

Not flossing can result in inflammatory disease throughout your body- studies have found links between not flossing and cardivascular disease (bacteria enters the bloodstream through infected gums and can cause heart disease, clogged arteries, stroke, and more), respiratory disease (bacteria in mouth can travel and settle in the lungs when you breathe), and even premature births (women with severe bacteria and inflammation in their mouth are more likely to give birth prematurely).

I know it can be hard to start, but after hearing a friend that was a dentist say that if you could only do one thing- brush or floss- he would tell people to floss, my husband and I decided to go for it. It has been over a year now and we hardly miss a has just become part of our routine to go to bed!

So suck it up and try it out this week; the benefits may not be as visible as some other exercises, but your health will improve nonetheless!

Challenge: Try to floss at least 5 times this upcoming week!

Tri/Biathlon update: It is this weekend! Wish me luck on Saturday and stay tuned for pictures! :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


In the past week or two I feel like I've transitioned from cute pregnant to just massive...and it's a bit exhausting to think that I'll keep growing for six or seven (+) more weeks. My weight gain has been normal--nothing too crazy, but I am getting a bit chubbier everywhere and I know that it's not going to disappear when little baby is born.

I'm hoping that healthy eating and lots of walking will eventually get me back to normal, but I've also been reading about the benefits of apple cider vinegar in one of my classes and I'm looking forward to experimenting with it. Apparently, ACV works wonders with gout, diabetes, warts, reflux, and is great for weight loss (oh, and a really good shiny hair rinse).

Nobody really knows how the magic happens, but it's thought that the "nutrients, enzymes, and organic acids in apple cider vinegar cause weight reduction by acting as an appetite suppressant, by increasing your body's metabolic rate, by reducing water retention, and by helping you maintain a feeling of well being." (source)

It's important that the vinegar you use contains "the mother" (cloudy stuff at the bottom of the bottle)--most health food stores carry the Bragg brand or another good one. This shows that it's unfiltered an unpasteurized and that all of the enzymes are still alive.

It's generally recommended to take 1-2 teaspoons of ACV in a glass of water before each meal, with or without a teaspoon or two of raw honey to make it more palatable. You can also add it to fruit or vegetable juice.

It seems like such an easy little thing...what is there to lose (I'm refraining from the corny joke here)? And if it doesn't work, I can always pour it on my hair, use it as a facial toner, wash my faucets with it, etc etc.

It'll be a few months until I try it, but please do go out and buy a bottle and report your experience. I am so curious.

PS: One of the great things about ACV is that it's totally natural and completely full of goodness. It wouldn't be harmful for me to take now, but I don't really want to be messing with my natural appetite at a time like this... anyway, yeah--try it!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Katie: Week 21

It's picture time!

Current weight: 141 pounds
Last week's weight: 142 pounds
Total weight loss: 29 pounds

Pictures: Week 21

Week 11:
Week 1:

Well, I thought since so many of you wanted to see me in my skinny jeans I'd take pictures in those this week.  And the shirt I'm wearing is a Curves shirt my mom sent to me.  (Thanks Mom!)  Let's just say I usually make a conscious effort to suck in when I wear this shirt, which is good for my abs.  But the shirt is super comfortable and fits me great everywhere else.  I'm especially excited for the day when I can wear it with no tummy!  Also, yes, it really has been that long since I took pictures.  Sorry!  I will try to be better about that.  (And, yes, I am fully aware that in my second picture from today I totally look like Randall from Monster's Inc.)

As for my goals...

Having a goals chart that I can physically write things down on and see all the time has been great.  (Click HERE for a tutorial on how to make your own.)  Obviously I didn't meet all of my goals 100%, but I do feel like I'm making progress and this gives me a solid idea of some things I need to work on.  And, I would just like to add that I had every intention of going running last night (and had already planned to go with a friend)... right up until the maintenance guys came to take care of some mold in our bathtub/shower and left with the instructions to "not use the shower until morning."  Yeah, so, running definitely wasn't going to happen without being able to take a shower afterward.  And my very nice downstairs neighbor did offer the use of her shower, but I just wasn't feeling so committed anymore.  Anyway, hopefully the rain we're having right now will clear up so I can go running later today.

How are all of you doing with your weight loss/fitness goals?  Anything you're trying to overcome?  Any tips you want to share?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Runner's Forum

Do you wish you knew more about running? Do you have this itching desire to try something truly challenging for your mind and body--like running a marathon? Do you have questions about training, racing, or running in general?
     This is the perfect place to ask your questions. Two weeks ago I opened up to questions and two brave souls asked away. Here is the first of what will hopefully be many Runner's Forums here on The Skinny. Please leave your questions in the comments section and be assured that you are doing a huge favor for all the other people who have the same question but are too afraid to ask it.

Q: Kathy asked about tips for "rank beginners." Her concerns are that she feels awkward while running and tires easily. She also asked what kinds of goals are good for beginners.

A: These are great questions for someone who is just getting interested in running. So first I applaud Kathy for trying something new and for not being afraid to ask for help. Kathy, you are a star! As for feeling awkward while running, I think that will fade away as you run more. It seems that Mark is probably already helping you a lot with that by showing you some form. Tiring easily is common for new runners. That is why the best way to start running is by alternating walking and running like you have been. A great beginner goal is to extend the length of time you can run without walking. Perhaps you can run about 15 seconds without feeling too uncomfortable; set a goal to work up to running a minute without stopping. Here's how the workout might look: walk for three minutes to warm up, run 15 seconds, walk a minute, run 20 seconds, walk a minute. Continue alternating for about 20 minutes and then cool down by walking for about 5 minutes. It is going to depend on your own situation whether it takes you one workout to get up to running a minute straight or a few workouts to get there. Then set a goal to run for 2 minutes without stopping. As with any goal, keep setting new ones to challenge yourself but don't be ashamed that you still walk for part of your workout. Focus on your progress. Wouldn't it feel great to be able to run for 30-45 minutes without stopping to walk? That's about how long it takes most people to run a 5K. So register for a race. After you have a race under your belt, you are no longer a beginner in my book!

Q: Katie asked about how to become better at running. She wants to be able to run longer without stopping to walk. She is registered for a 5K and would like to run the whole distance, but isn't sure how to build up to that.

A: I'm so excited for you to run this race, Katie! You are really challenging yourself and this will be a great accomplishment. Are you currently following any type of training schedule? Your race day is the same as mine! So we've got about 4 weeks to go, right? I strongly recommend you run 3 times a week. Running regularly makes a huge difference. Especially when you are getting (back) into running, taking more than 2 days off from running significantly increases your chance of soreness. That just turns into a downward spiral.
     Another tip I have for you is that you consider your pace. You were running before that miraculous phase of life called pregnancy. Now that you are saying goodbye to all those extra pounds, you probably feel like picking up where you left off on the running. However, after such a big change in your body composition you likely need a slower pace than you ran before. Picking the right pace will allow you to run longer without stopping. Runner's World magazine (Jan. 2007) puts these definitions on pace:
  • Easy: at this pace you could last all day, no labored breathing, speak in long sentences.
  • Medium: still comfortable, but working harder, can still finish a sentence.
  • Hard: uncomfortable, pushing your limit, can't get out 2 words without a big breath between them.
So find the pace for you that is around the medium mark. It is probably slower than you have been running recently, but it is more sustainable. You will find yourself running longer distances without stopping. Even if it takes you longer, you get that sense of accomplishment by doing the whole distance without slowing to walk. This is another reason why I love having a running partner; we keep a reasonable pace because we talk. And because we talk, the distance is more enjoyable.

     As a closing comment, I would just like to explain that these answers are opinions based on experience and some research. I discuss the questions with my running partner and refer to Runner's World magazine (2007 issues that I picked up for free from the local library that is relocating and down-sizing!) for more information. Helpful comments and positive input are always welcome here on The Skinny.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Happy Sunday

I hope you're all enjoying your day.  I hope it's peaceful and sunny for you there like it is for me here.  I haven't been as "into" weight loss lately.  It hasn't been cool or exciting to me.  It has been a chore.  And a chore that I didn't want to do.  And that I still often don't want to do.  It's hard to change, isn't it?  I think so.  It's easier to say to myself, "I want that brownie," and then eat it.  A lot easier than telling myself I want it and then having to tell myself no all night long because I still want it.  It's harder to get excited about carrot juice and salads than it is to get excited about making cupcakes or eating a big cookie with adorable little mini M&M's on top.  I've been taking the easy way out.  I've been telling myself it's okay.  But the truth is, it's really just a matter of me not letting Heavenly Father help me be the person I want to be.  When I was trying so hard to lose weight I always felt the Spirit whispering a little "Great job!  You're amazing!  You're so beautiful!  You're making so much progress!  You'll meet your goal in no time!"  And even when I didn't think it would pay off it always did.  Because Heavenly Father makes up for our lack and it's so easy to see when we're doing our best and trying so hard.  But I haven't been doing my best lately and instead of feeling so awesome about myself I tend more often to think, "This shirt makes me look fat and I totally deserve it because I've eaten so much junk lately."  Last night when I was having a low moment feeling discouraged about my daughter being 8 months old and still waking up to eat multiple times a night I sat there and thought to myself, "I'll never be able to get her to sleep through the night.  And I'll never lose all this weight."  Way to slip one in through the back door there, Satan.  Then this morning as I was praying over my Cracklin' Oat Bran I asked Heavenly Father to help me to be a better person and to have the Spirit as a more active companion in my life.  Sometimes when everything is going well and your life is fairly easy it's hard to feel the Spirit.  That's basically been me lately.  But then as I sat down a little bit ago and started to write to you about the sunshine outside and the peace I feel here in my home I felt the Spirit and I know that I would have the Holy Ghost as a more constant and active companion in my life if I got back on the horse--for real, now--and actively, really actively, tried to be healthier again.  Because I need the Spirit in my life.  And I feel so much happier when I'm proud of myself for being healthy.  So, Satan, with your discouraging words, please get out of here.  Find something productive to do for once in your life.  Eat a tomato.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Kathy Week 20: Dog Mountain

Update: We survived Dog Mountain! I've posted more photos on my blog.

Week 20 Stats:
Today's Weight: 139
Last Week's Weight: 140
Starting Weight: 151
Total Weight Loss: 12 pounds
Dog Mountain
This morning's post will be fairly short, because Mark and I are getting underway to go hike Dog Mountain today! This is a challenging hike on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge, about an hour's drive from our home. 

The hike is famous for lots of things...beautiful views of the Gorge and surrounding mountains, gorgeous wildflowers in the spring, and a thigh-busting steep trail. Oh, my... I haven't hiked it in years, but Mark and I decided we are fit enough to go for it. 
I pulled these two photos from the internet, but I'll come back to The Skinny this evening and post some photos from our hike, with an update on how we do. The photos give you a sense of how amazingly beautiful (and amazingly steep) this place is.

Here's a quick recap of the goals I set for myself last week. I did better on some than on others.

1. Keep a food diary
2. Visualize my stomach the size of a fist
3. Learn how to run

Keep a food diary
I wanted this to be super simple, so I used an empty check book "stub book." It's skinny and fits easily into my purse, it's free, and it already has lines and columns in it. I tracked food for four days, and then I kind So I definitely need to get going on this goal again, because I really do think it helped. 

The funny thing is that I didn't always even bother to go to an online calorie website to look up how many calories in something. Just the fact of writing the foods down helped. There were some evenings that I was tempted to have a little snack, but I'd think, "Is it worth the bother of writing it down?" ... Lazy me, the answer was usually no, so I'd end up not snacking after all. 

Even on the days I didn't do so well with writing in the food diary, just knowing that it was sitting there in my purse made me eat less. So for those of you who have been holding off on keeping a food diary because it's too complicated, I'm here to tell you that even a simple one can help.

Visualize my stomach the size of a fist
This was the goal I did best with. Choosing portion sizes with a fist-sized stomach in mind really helped me keep the portion sizes reasonable, and I was less likely to go back for seconds, or to mindlessly snack. Prior to learning about the true size of my stomach, I'd always imagined it to be a something like the size of a cantaloup. Getting this new visual image in my head has made it easier for me to make good eating choices.

Learn how to run
I didn't do as well on this goal as I wanted, but I did make some progress. Mark and I didn't get back to the track, but I talked with one of the track coaches at the high school where I teach, and she gave me some pointers. (Alternate walking and running - a good cardiovascular workout, and good for building bone density. There's no shame in running for a while and then walking for a while.) On Thursday afternoon I walked for a mile up a gentle grade, and I alternated walking and running for a mile uphill! Wow, I felt so good---my body actually wanted to run! So this is another goal that I want to keep trying to get better at. I think the little bit of running I've done this week has helped to rev up my metabolism.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Garden Linguine - Frugal Food Friday

This is one of our favorite summer recipes.  Just thinking about it makes me miss having a big garden because it's such a good way to use all those yummy veggies.  I used whole wheat linguine noodles for the first time in this last time I made it and they were really good.  (Wal-Mart has a line of whole wheat noodles now that is just as cheap as their regular generic line.)  Pretty much all of the veggies in this are optional and you can add just about any other garden veggies you want as well and in just about any amount.  I love to choose veggies that are different colors to make it more colorful.  Watch for whatever veggies are in season and on sale (or free from your garden.)

Garden Linguine from pg. 288 Favorite Brand Name Best Loved Casseroles
8 ounces linguine
3 tablespoons olive oil (I use less.)
1 tablespoon butter (You can use less or omit it altogether.)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced onions (I use a whole one.)
2 cups snow peas, cut in halves
2 cups diced zucchini
1/2 red pepper, cut into strips
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves or 3 tablespoons fresh
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook linguine as directed on package; drain.  Set aside.  Heat oil and butter in saucepan; saute veggies until crip-tender.  Remove saucepan from heat.  Add seasonings to vegetable mixture.  Toss with linguine.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese over the top.

Sorry, there is no nutrition information that came with this one.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Its getting hot, hot, hot!

So did you step up at least one workout since last week? I did! Friday I rode my bike 1 1/2 miles to meet my mom, we ran 5 miles, walked 1 to cool down, and then I rode my bike another 1 1/2 miles home! It was a sweaty one, but I felt great afterwards!

It is getting hot here in Houston- really hot. There are plenty of days that we have 100% humidity which makes it feel like I am exercising in a sauna! This week it has really started to feel like summer even when I am running before the sun gets up.

Summer can be a dangerous time to exercise, so please be careful. Below you will find three of the most common problems that occur during the summer- make sure you know the symptoms and treatment of each and always drink plenty of water when you exercise!


Dehydration: This person's body is losing more water than it is taking in. The body is 75% water and is in constant flux; the body routinely loses water by breathing, sweating, and remove waste and needs fluids to replenish what it loses each day.

Heat exhaustion: This person's body fluids are lost through sweating, causing the body to overheat. The person's temperature may be elevated, but not above 104°F.

Heat stroke: The person's cooling system, which is controlled by the brain, stops working and the internal body temperature rises to the point where brain damage or damage to other internal organs may result (temperature may reach 105+°F).


Dehydration symptoms

Increased thirst; dry mouth and swollen tongue; weakness; dizziness; palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding); confusion; sluggishness, even fainting; inability to sweat; decreased urine output (Urine color may indicate dehydration. If urine is concentrated and deeply yellow or amber, you may be dehydrated.)

Heat exhaustion symptoms

Often pale with cool, moist skin; sweating profusely; muscle cramps or pains; feels faint or dizzy; may complain of headache, weakness, thirst, and nausea; core temperature elevated-usually more than 100°F-and the pulse rate increased

Heat stroke symptoms

Unconscious or has a markedly abnormal mental status (dizziness, confusion, hallucinations, or coma); flushed, hot, and dry skin; may have slightly elevated blood pressure at first that falls later; may be hyperventilating; core temperature of 105°F or more.


Dehydration treatment

Sip small amounts of water; drink carbohydrate/electrolyte-containing drinks- good choices are sports drinks such as Gatorade or prepared replacement solutions (Pedialyte is one example); suck on popsicles made from juices and sports drinks; suck on ice chips; remove any excess clothing and loosen other clothing; air-conditioned areas are best for helping return body temperatures to normal and break the heat exposure cycle; avoid exposing skin to excessive cold, such as ice packs or ice water as this can cause the blood vessels in the skin to constrict and will decrease rather than increase heat loss. (Exposure to excessive cold can also cause shivering, which will increase body temperature—the opposite effect you're trying to achieve.)

Heat exhaustion treatment

Rest in a cool, shaded area; give cool fluids such as water or sports drinks (that will replace the salt that has been lost) -salty snacks are appropriate as tolerated; loosen or remove clothing; apply cool water to skin; do not use an alcohol rub; do not give any beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.

Heat stroke treatment

Do not attempt to treat a case of heat stroke at home, but you can help while waiting for medical assistance to arrive.

Call 911 immediately; move the person to a cooler environment, or place him or her in a cool bath of water (as long as he or she is conscious and can be attended continuously); alternatively, moisten the skin with lukewarm water and use a fan to blow cool air across the skin; give cool beverages by mouth only if the person has a normal mental state and can tolerate it.

Triathlon/Biathlon Update: It is like a week away! I am getting nervous and excited and making the last few workouts really count. Ready or not, here I come!

We'd love to hear from you!

Want to write a guest post for The Skinny? E-mail Katie at kathleenann08 (at) gmail (dot) com.