Changing Self Perceptions

copyright Karen Ulvestad

The biggest hurdle to weight loss is our own perceptions of ourselves. We look into the mirror everyday, and what we see becomes our map for what we “look” like. We accept that the extra rolls of fat are who we are. There is a profound change in our perceptions when we chose the path of losing the extra weight.

For whatever reason, we may find comfort in the extra weight. We take up a larger space in the world, even though our self esteem is bruised and battered from the challenges the extra weight causes in our lives. Our unconscious thoughts are powerful in our lives. Being leaner and healthier is a challenge, and brings changes in every aspect of our lives.

Changing our self-perceptions is the first step to successfully losing weight, and keeping it off. We need to find a new comfort zone, when we lose a large amount of body mass. We suddenly are noticed by other people, because we have made positive changes in our lives. Our relationships with life will change. This could include food, attitude, and people. . .

Challenge to Those Who Accept. . .Take a good look at yourself in the mirror, and think about what you would miss if you lost weight. 

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

It Takes Belief


To change, we must believe we can change. Every fiber of our being needs to be on-board for change, especially when it is a major lifestyle change!

The biggest yet littlest way to change is to start with one small item. It could be walking 20 minutes a day more than normal, or drinking one less mocha per day. These small changes add up in the long run. The idea is to increase good habits, and decrease bad ones.

Simple change ideas are eliminate processed sugar; eat more fresh fruit; stop eating fast food; eat unprocessed food (meat, cheese, yogurt, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, etc.).

Challenge to those who chose to accept – Quit one small negative habit and add one small positive habit. There will not be an immediate change, but over time the changes become noticeable.

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach

All or Nothing?


Often, we approach changing with absolutes. There is nothing in the world that is truly black and white, except in the world of art.

Do you want to change? Lose weight? Eat better? Get in shape? Something else. . .

Extra weight seems to be one of the biggest changes most people wish to make in their lives. The hardest part is the time and effort it takes to lose the weight. At some point, it may even seem like a futile undertaking.

The biggest question to ask is how long did it take to gain all this extra weight?

The next question needs to be what am I willing to do to lose the extra weight?

The thing to remember is that the extra weight is fat stores. Fat stores are unused calories that were consumed, not burned through activity, and turned into storage as fat to be used another day. Each pound of fat contains 3500 calories of fuel for the body to burn through activities.

So, weight loss is a total lifestyle change. It requires good nutrition, proper amount of caloric intake, physical activity (walking, fitness program, gardening, etc.), and belief.

Are you ready to commit to your health and well being?

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach

Goodbye Processed Sugar!


I have to admit, it is easy to become addicted to processed sugar. It is in many processed items, and we don’t see it unless we read the label. Processed sugar is an addictive food source with no nutritional value. Natural sugars come from fresh fruit, like the strawberries in the above photo.

I’ve cut about 95% of the processed sugar from my diet, and the remaining sugar is organic. It’s important to understand that the single word “sugar” on a food product is usually GMO sugar beets. This means that the sugar is from a source that is sprayed with an abundance of chemical pesticides.

The words “cane sugar” is still conventional, but there is a good possibility it is not GMO. I use organic sugar. It will say organic sugar in the list of ingredients on the label.

It can be challenging to cut out the sugar, but I did it easily. I started Shakeology, and I no longer craved the sugar. It was easy to stop my twice daily mocha, and choose healthier items to consume.

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach

Get Up & Move Club

copyright Karen Ulvestad

No matter what our age is, all of us need to get up and move more. Movement does not mean going to the gym. It is possible to increase movement by parking further away from the store, and walking a little further. It could be a walk on the beach or through a park.

Movement gets the heart working harder, and increases our metabolism. It maintains or increases lean body mass (muscle), which burns more fuel (calories) throughout the day. It’s easy to add a few extra steps throughout the day while maintaining the same amount of food intake.

Losing weight or gaining fitness requires rewriting habits, and creating a healthy lifestyle. It needs to be fun, and easy to maintain. It is easy to change when we want the change to happen. Small changes like this increase calories burned, and slowly decrease body fat stores.

The best part of small changes is that they are not painful, it’s easy to incorporate into a busy life, and increases metabolism.

Challenge to those who accept. . .Monitor steps per day, and increase the distance walked daily. It’s easy with an app for your phone or a fitbit. Remember to document your daily steps, so you can see your improvement. To your health! 

To Wellness for Everyone. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach

What Does It Mean. . .Weight vs Inches

copyright Karen UlvestadOften, we are led to believe that what the scale reads indicates our level of health. We go to the doctor, and they weigh us. They talk to us about our weight, and health issue we can encounter if we weigh too much. In truth, it is only on defining factor to over-all health. The other piece of the puzzle is body measurements.

Body measurements are an indication of the tone or fitness of our muscles. It is possible to take inches off without losing weight. When the muscles become stronger, the inches decrease. To do this in a healthy way, it requires exercise, or burning calories.

Definition of calories – a measurement of energy; it is the fuel for the body. Too many calories turn into body fat, and each pound is 3500 calories. Too little calories force the body into starvation mode, which burns muscle instead of fat. Losing excessive body fat is a balance between calorie intake and burning calories through physical activity.

When monitoring the effectiveness of an exercise routine, it is best to use your body’s measurements. An example of why is that two individuals weight 165 lbs and are 5′ 6″ tall. One individual has a waist measurement of 34″ and the other is at 30″. Both are the same height. In general, what this indicates is that the second individual is more fit than the first, which equates to more lean body mass (muscle).

So, how do we lose inches?

The best way to lose inches is to increase physical activity, and decrease calorie intake. Our extra fat stores are 3,500 calories (per pound) that can be converted back into energy through this process. The change is easy in theory, but may be challenging in practice. Increased physical activity could mean parking further away from the grocery store entrance or gardening to taking a brisk walk or starting an exercise program.

When our bodies move, we burn calories. We increase our metabolism (the body’s way of processing calories from food). We release endorphin into our blood stream, and feel better. When we feel better, we eat less food. We eat less food, which allows our body to start burning the stored calories in our excessive fat stores. It’s a cycle. . .it’s a lifestyle. . .

To beginning a healthy lifestyle. . .


Wanting to Change. . .

Many people, including myself, reach a point of deciding to change. It’s easy to lose weight, then gain it back within a year. It’s easy to say an exercise routine is good, but easy to let life get in the way.

copyright Kai UL
My son took this picture of me, and I didn’t recognize the person in it.

My wake-up call happened with an innocent event. My son took a photo of me during a photo shoot, and I was shocked at what I looked like. I had known there was a weight issue, but stopped looking at the scale when it read 178 lbs. My brain couldn’t comprehend that I needed to change my lifestyle. I think I probably reached somewhere around 200 +/- lbs, though I never stepped on a scale.

Weight loss only works if lifestyle is changed. One can be on the best weight loss program in the world, but it will only be temporary results without lifestyle change. I did change my lifestyle enough that I lowered my weight to about 155 lbs. 

Recently, I’ve notice the weight creeping back on, and I’m at 164 +/- lbs. It’s time for another change, and this time I’ve chosen a program to use. So far, I’ve watched my weight drop to around 160 lbs, in 3 weeks. It’s good to take the weight off in a consistent manner. I will be sharing more about my newest adventure. . .

So, what are the steps to successful weight loss?

1 . A commitment to make the lifestyle changes for yourself, your health, and your well-being. This is a change for one’s self, and cannot be done for another person.

2. Find a support group of friends, family, or others that encourage success. Strive for the change, and remember mistakes will happen as we learn. This is a process, not an instant change.

3. Change dietary habits. The food we eat is fuel for the body, like gas is fuel for a car. Know what ingredients are in your food.

4. Find an exercise that works with your lifestyle. Our bodies are made to be active. Inactivity contributes to obesity, health issues, and clarity of thought.

5. Have faith. A healthy lifestyle can happen at any age.

So remember. . .be patient with yourself, and believe you will accomplish your goals. . .Karen