Archive for October, 2010

My Story by Holly Danks – Guest Blogger

I grew up with the nickname “Moose,” a tomboy at a time when girl jocks weren’t cool and didn’t have a place to play. I wasn’t overweight as a kid, although at my current height of 5-foot-6 since fourth grade, I was taller than most boys in my class until high school. As the first-born, Dad taught me how to throw a curve ball and block the plate, how to dribble and shoot a layup, how to toss a spiral and tackle a runner. I played baseball, basketball and football with the neighbor boys, holding my own against guys five years older and 50 pounds heavier than me. The nickname stuck – and didn’t bother me. Never has. My brother still calls me that.

I have a great collection of stuffed mooses and other moose stuff.

I lost about 15 pounds – whether I needed to or not — mostly by cutting out sweets and desserts my sophomore year away at college. When I came home for Christmas break, Mom accused me of being anorexic. I didn’t think so, I was just busy with classes and my job in the dorm cafeteria and didn’t always eat. Or eat right. But weighing just under 120 didn’t last, and when I got married at age 22 after graduation with a journalism degree, I weighed about 129 — pretty much ideal for my smallish frame.

Fast-forward 33 years and 100 pounds — where did the time go and the weight creep in?  I’d always been active, or so I thought. I could always get rid of the extra weight. Until it started ganging up on me. And by that time I didn’t really care. I was Moose.

Racquetball four times a week gave way to plantar fascitis and bad knees.  A lifeguard and swim instructor through high school and college, it was a bother to get into a swimsuit. Besides, I told myself that I didn’t have time to workout because my job, as a reporter for The Oregonian, was unpredictable and the hours long.  So instead using exercise and a balanced mind/body to relieve the stress of deadlines and the ugliness and tragedy I saw on the streets and heard in court on a daily basis, I relied on fast food, candy and diet Coke – and a lot of yelling and cursing – to get me through the day.

After my first knee surgery on torn cartilage in 2001, I wanted to rehab so I could play racquetball again. So I had a trainer at my health club show me how to do the weight machines and set me up on a program. I stuck with it for about six months and lost 40 pounds, but my knees never did feel right and my enthusiasm petered out. I got bored and probably something like vacation or work interfered, I don’t even remember why I quit. I told myself I didn’t care.

Every now and then, my doctor told me that I should lose weight. Yeah, I know. But even as my blood pressure and cholesterol began to mount, I shrugged it off.  Too hard. No time. I’m fine. I still play softball. I’m Moose.

I’d cut out French fries, bacon and dessert and lose 10 pounds here and there, but still wasn’t into regular exercising. My doctor made a mistake by telling me that I didn’t have to starve myself or give up everything I liked, that I could allow myself a fry or a few once in a while.

That was all I needed to hear. A few fries turned into supersize – and so did I.

My husband knew I wasn’t happy – or healthy – and suggested that I try water aerobics at the club. I started dropping in for deep-water class on Sunday mornings, with Eleni Kehagiaras as the instructor.  Easy to do, I already was up for church and the club was on my way home. Path of least resistance. Something to make me feel like I was doing some good.

It was a start, but that’s about as far as it went. Back then, the only pool was outdoors, so there was no swimming nine months of the year. I did miss it, but still didn’t make time for anything else at the club until the indoor pools opened. Then I did water aerobics year-round – yeah right, still only weekends.

Eleni started a weight-loss program at the health club about four years ago and every now and then would mention why didn’t I attend? She didn’t push, though, knowing instead that for a healthy change to stick, each individual has to make the choice, has to be ready and has to be in the right frame of mind. I just didn’t feel I was there.

The first real move I made for my health – and myself – was when I retired in November 2009 after 25 years at The Oregonian. I was only 54, but could see the writing on the wall both for me, an old-school reporter resistant to change, and for the newspaper industry as a whole. Not room for either in this new, technologically wired world. Yes, I was pretty depressed about that, but at the same time, I was happy to be getting out.

So with my buyout money, I had double knee surgery (second meniscus repair on my right, first on my left) just before Thanksgiving 2009. A couple weeks later I was standing all day making Christmas cookies at my sister-in-law’s house in California — and my knees were screaming all night.

I decided right then, if I couldn’t even enjoy the simplest of activities with my family, that I was going have to do something drastic. I wanted to be healthy enough to make the most of my new-found free time and enjoy it for many years to come. I needed to get in shape, get the extra weight off my knees and overburdened heart and lungs, and enroll that January in Eleni’s weight-loss program.

The first weigh-in was scary – I had been avoiding the scale for years as my clothes size increased. But already wearing a 22W and hating shopping in the women’s department, I was NOT going to go up another size. Even if my thighs were rubbings holes in the seams of my only pair of jeans.

Eleni had me fill out a questionnaire that made me think about my commitment, why I eat and why I wanted to lose weight. I didn’t know it then, but she now tells the story about how freaked she was when I pulled out the list of 17 medications I took regularly, including prescriptions for high cholesterol, acid reflux, irregular heartbeat, migraines and irritable bowel syndrome. About the only thing healthy about me was that I didn’t smoke or drink. Heck, looking back on what a mess I was, I probably SHOULD have been drinking!

I weighed 229 pounds on Jan, 5, 2008. I think Eleni was being generous giving me two pounds for my clothes and my breakfast. My body mass index was 37 and my body fat was 46.2 percent. Obese on all counts and heading toward diabetes and a heart attack.

To start off, Eleni had her clients keep track of what we ate. She preaches no processed foods, sugars or salt. Cut down on carbohydrates and eat more protein. Drink plenty of water, at least eight glasses a day. Because I come from a long line of salt-a-holics, it was huge for me to take the salt shakers off the table and counter and replace them with Mrs. Dash. I also used to guzzle four or five  – OK, seven or eight – diet Cokes a day, especially at my work computer. Now I have none. I drink green tea for caffeine and haven’t had a bad migraine in months.

I also cut out fast food (unless you count Subway once every couple months), fried foods, desserts and bakery items. Well, OK, I used the 100-calorie cookie packs and fat-free or sugar-free puddings to help me through the early months of my diet, but since I threw them out at the beginning of this year, I’ve gotten past my plateau.

My staples are chicken, fish, turkey, oatmeal, apples, oranges, broccoli, lettuce and tomatoes. I try to limit bread to turkey sandwiches and carbs to reduced-fat crackers and pretzels for snacks.

I have found that I am an “All or Nothing” girl. I tell myself I will only have one piece of candy, but if I get started, I have a bag. So if I don’t take the first bite…

But diet alone isn’t the answer. Exercise gets everything moving, mentally as well as physically.

Taking my gimpy knees into account (not to mention my rotator cuff tendonitis) Eleni put me and the others in my class through our paces twice a week for eight weeks. Lunges, leg extensions, squats, leg curls, chest presses, leg presses, seated rows, pull ups, push-ups, triceps pushdowns, biceps curls, lat pull downs, hammer curls, dead lifts, ab crunches, roll-ups, bench step ups, front raises, lateral raises, reverse rows, walk/run laps on track. Then she’d get out the medicine balls and weighted bars.

Besides the two days with Eleni, I went to the club three or four other days a week to do core strengthening classes in the pool and ride a stationary cycle for cardio and my knees. In all, I’d spend at least two hours a day, and often three or four hours, working out as often as six days a week.

In no time at all, I got stronger and the weights we used got heavier. Within a few weeks of starting Eleni’s workouts, friends were commenting on how my face was getting thinner and my clothes were beginning to hang. I could sit cross-legged on the floor for the first time in years. Heck, I could even get down on the floor in the first place.

In four weeks I had lost 10 pounds and more than 20 inches. May not sound like a lot, but because I started losing weight slowly and with both diet and exercise, it will stay off!

At the final weigh-in after eight weeks, I was down 22 pounds and 30.5 inches, including nine inches off my waist alone. My body fat dropped 2.6 percent and my total weight loss was 9.6 percent. I was the biggest loser. I was happy – but didn’t quit there.

Today, a year after starting Eleni’s weight-loss program, I can’t quit smiling. I have lost more than 80 pounds.  My doctor has cut my prescription doses in half, until she can check my blood work in another three months. She was astounded, to say the least, and probably will take me all the way off the heart, cholesterol and gastric medicines. My physical therapist is ecstatic and has given my knees and shoulders a clean bill of health.

I really didn’t have any goal weight in mind, but I had no illusions about ever again being what I weighed 30 years ago. Bodies change, skin isn’t as elastic, bones are more brittle. However, if I approach the elusive, magic number with a positive attitude, who knows? Besides, my size 12s are already loose and I’m in better shape than I was on the beach in my 20s!

I keep weight lifting, spinning and doing core strengthening in the water, and have added Pilates/yoga to the mix for stretching, stress reduction and mental health. I have found I truly enjoy exercising and working up a good sweat. I am proud to have tossed my baggy shorts and T-shirts for tight tank tops and spandex. I laugh when people tell me I am “buff.”

Because what I really am is a Moose.

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Katherine Schwarzenegger has put it all out there in her book, Rock What You’ve Got. It’s not just a lot of stats and ideas about body image and media it’s a NECESSARY must have for any woman. Tons of advice for girls going through puberty as well as special sections for mom’s to better understand what is up with their teens. This book is great for all women 5-95 as well as men. Especially great for the single dad!

Not sure it’s the right book for you. Well it IS the right book for many so consider gifting it to a school library or teen shelter.

Check out the Get Fit Now Radio interview with Katherine here then share it!

For more info on Katherine Schwarzenegger read her article Defining Beauty on the Huffington Post

Plus follow her on Twitter

Posted by Eleni K

“I hate myself!” I cried to my mother. “I’m fat, I’m ugly and I feel totally disgusting!”Katherine Schwarzenegger, age 10 / Intro to Rock What You’ve Got

Who tells us what is beautiful? Who has the right to define beauty for someone? Should media and in turn society have the power to tell us who we are? NO!!!

I asked a group of women today how they felt about media and body image. The answer…. “it teaches us to hate each other and ourselves.” Beauty is not defined by looks alone. Most women, 76%, feel it should be defined by other qualities in addition to looks. The answer most women gave me… CONFIDENCE. Confidence determines beauty. Anyone and EVERYONE is beautiful. What makes one stand out is confidence. Self esteem leads to confidence. What zaps us of our self esteem? Feeling like we aren’t good enough. Being shown an average of 5,000 advertising messages a day. 1 out of 3.8 network television commercials has a message of attractiveness in it. Defining our views of beauty. Watch…

And its not just the media. We carry on the problem without even knowing it by asking our friends if we look fat, hurting our frenemies by saying they could use more make up, telling our daughters we could lose a few pounds, getting a breast augmentation. We buy into what is being sold and re-sell it! These feelings of inadequacy lead to depression, low self esteem, eating disorders and sometimes suicide. How sad is that. So how do we stop?

EDUCATE. Learn the facts! The images we see are not real. They are not an accurate representation of our population. The aren’t even an accurate image of the person. As Cindy Crawford stated, “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.” Get more concerned with your health than with looking a certain way. Find out how to eat and exercise right and you will find your potential. You aren’t going to grow to 6′ if you’re 5’3″ or have blue eyes if you’ve got brown…stop trying to be something you’re not. Embrace who you are, not just the outside but the inside…. be confident and beauty will be yours!

WATCH THIS VIDEO

READ THIS BOOK

SHARE WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED

Knowledge is wasted if not shared. Help someone out! Support others in their journey to feel good about themselves, so we can all be shouting out “I love myself!” while we rock what we’ve got.

Eleni K

SAD

Posted: October 12, 2010 in Uncategorized


SAD aka Seasonal Affective Disorder aka winter blues. The days get shorter and you get down. Feeling depressed, lethargic, tired? You may have SAD.

Listen to Eleni K & Dr Ciprian discuss SAD as well as tips to make you feel better. Topics also covered: seasonal vegetables, how bad is sugar? and how to avoid Halloween candy…caution: there are cockroaches lingering in this episode.

Follow on Twitter / Facebook / iTunes

Posted by Eleni K

HIIT, is it here to stay?

Posted: October 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

Episode 23 of Get Fit Now Radio was about movement methods. Do you HIIT, Jazzercise, P90X, run, swim, bike or even move at all…? Is what you are doing enough?! What stops you from getting in movement everyday and how might you move more?

Aaron & Eleni discussed boxing, movement, HIIT, Tabata and more with Sandy Ibrahim of Capital City Boxing (Victoria, BC). She is the innovator/creator of Hit to Fit a 30 minute functional fitness program. To hear all Sandy had to say &/or share the podcast with friends click here.

We think Sandy is cool. Watch and see for your self!

Find out more about Hit to Fit. Follow on Twitter or Facebook!

Posted by Eleni

You may have recently heard the interesting tidbit that HFCS wants to be called corn sugar now. And sugar is po’d about it. Well they should be. After all, HFCS is not sugar it is High Fructose Corn Syrup. It takes days to make and several processes before it becomes its totally unnatural self….  HFCS is not sugar, it is processed in the body differently and it has no business being called sugar. So why is it suggesting it then… because people have caught on to HFCS. They launched a media campaign to clean up their name but that does not seem to be working. Time to latch onto what people will be ok with, sugar. In a time where many people are considering a cleaner approach to food (eat whole foods / not man made substances) being labeled as sugar makes more sense. Thinking that sugar and butter and red meat are not the devil but ok in moderation…oops balance (read this post) maybe sugar or HFCS masked under the name of sugar will be ok too. Although brilliant marketing, the bottom line is, sugar isn’t good for you either.

So I’m not buying it and neither should you, here is why….

The processing of whole substance to make alternate food products opens up a whole new realm of problems. Stick with natural forms of food. Cancel out as much refined and processed stuff from your diet as possible. Refined cane sugar and HFCS are both bad for you.  But it’s no argument that HFCS undergoes significantly more processing.

Not enough reason for you? How about this….

HFCS also affects obesity levels in rats and humans more than table sugar by lowering the production of leptin (this hormone tells you that you’re full) in the body, which contributes to obesity at a higher % rate.

That was my 2 cents, here is what Dr. Cirian had to say….

My take on sweeteners: go to a 12 step group and get off of them! Otherwise I would say to only partake in the sins of a substance that should be regulated like alcohol during holidays, birthdays, special occasions or if you are traveling through some yummy areas in Europe. If you are going to partake in levels of sweetness that are killing America then I recommend using real, unrefined cane sugar. Otherwise stay away from anything that is new, trendy and or made in a laboratory. I would even say eat refined white sugar over things like high fructose corn syrup or any artificial or no carb sweeteners. Even Agave Nectar has been exposed and found to be just as bad as high fructose corn syrup. Your best bet is to eat sweets like grandma would of made. Sugar is much better handled by the body if it is with something containing some good fats. Think butter or milk!

Ok enough for now, if we get started on sucralose/Splenda, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, agave syrup etc etc we could be here all day.

EAT REAL FOOD!

posted by Eleni