Change Self-Image


One of the biggest changes that happens when losing weight is the need to change our self-image. This is how we perceive ourselves. . .what we look like in the mirror.

Other people begin to see us differently too. It can be uncomfortable to be noticed by other people. How do we take the compliments that begin to come our way? How do we adjust our mindset to smaller sizes of clothing? Are we ready for the change?

Weight loss is so important for our health and well-being, yet there are big obstacles we face in our own thought processes that can sabotage our success.

It’s our self-talk. It’s all the comments that others make to us or we heard them saying when they thought we were not listening. It’s the looks that come our way in public or at family gatherings. It’s the unspoken “feelings” that come our way.

How do we rise above them? How do we change, and allow ourselves to thrive? How do we change, and be brave enough to continue on the path?

One thing I learned when I stopped drinking years ago is simply – when we change, everyone around us needs to change. Other people don’t necessarily like to change.

Many like us the way we are. Others will encourage us to lose weight, yet may not be willing to change their attitudes towards us. Others will embrace us for who we are, and happily accept our changes. When we lose weight, our true selves begin to show through. We cannot hide anymore.

We change. We look different. We feel different. We may act different.

What is this change worth to you?

Challenge to Those Who Accept. . .Think about why you want to lose weight. Is it more important than other people? Are you willing to lose some “friends” to gain new friendships?

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach


Is Self Care Selfish?


Self care is not selfish! It’s selfish to not take care of yourself. It’s selfish to allow your physical, mental, and emotional bodies to fall into disarray.  It’s selfish to allow extra weight to continue to consume your health, wellness, and well-being.

It’s selfish because it is the bases for expecting others to care for us when we become disabled or sick from our lack of self-care.

This may seem harsh, but think about it. Do we enjoy caring for others who have fallen ill from excessive weight or from other issues that could have been changed by the person?

The di-eases that excessive weight contribute to are diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and others. A di-ease is an imbalance created in our lives either by ourselves or by allowing circumstances to dictate our actions.

Does this mean we shouldn’t care for an ill person? No. It means we should work on not being that ill person.

We can choose a healthy lifestyle that minimizes the opportunity for illness and injury to become part of our lives. We can choose to care for ourselves, therefore minimizing the need for other’s to address our issues (major illnesses).

Yes, there are environmental causes that contribute to illness and injury. We do have a voice to change the environmental issues. We can choose to be part of the solution or part of the problem.

One of the best “weapons” against obesity, illness, and injury is food. Nutritional food can help the body heal from nutritional deficiencies and health-related issues (including excessive weight).

It’s not hard to make these changes. I choose to drink my nutrition through Shakeology. It’s combination of super nutrient rich foods is key to the changes I’m making in my life. Exercise is as easy as a walk in the park on a beautiful summer day. Combined, these 2 items are contributing to the health and fitness changes in my life.

The key is to choose what is important in your life. . .

Challenge to Those Who Accept. . .Think about what you would like your life to be. Then, think about small changes that can move your life to your desired lifestyle.

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach

Gratitude Changes Everything!

copyright Karen Ulvestad

Thank you for reading my posts! This is gratitude. Giving thanks is the cornerstone of changing attitude and perspective. The simple words “thank you” and “please” change everything.

Something changes in our minds the moment we start to notice the little things in life, and giving thanks. A simple thank you acknowledging a kindness can change the other person and yourself.

Life is a Blessing. We are blessed to wake up in the morning. It’s a great time to say thank you. The amazing natural world around us is great to appreciate.

Appreciation is another form of gratitude. If we appreciate someone, it is good to say so. It uplifts the other person, and continues to change our own perceptions.

Saying or showing appreciation brings more “good” things into our lives. Our lives are created by what we focus on. What good? Focus on the good and give thanks. What the challenging? Then, focus on “why is this happening to me?”

Our lives are a reflection of our self-talk, and what we believe.

Challenge to Those Who Accept. . .What are you grateful for in your life?

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach

How to do This?


How does one juggle daily life, lifestyle changes, weight loss, and keeping it in perspective?


Remember, we are human Beings! We can only physically accomplish so much in a day. It is a process of deciding what’s most important, and least important. It requires sorting out all the “expected” daily tasks, and consciously choosing the most important to complete.

My life changed years ago when I read and did the exercises from the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, by Steven Covey. I love how he diagrams and explains how to break all our daily tasks (work or personal) into 4 quadrants of importance. This helped me visually see what I was doing to myself.

Remember, everything we do is by choice!

The second part is to be present in the moment. . .

Challenge to Those Who Accept. . .Make a list of Everything that you need to accomplish in a day/week/month. Arrange the tasks in order of importance (your definition). Can it be physically accomplished in the time-frame? 

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach

Love What You Do!


Happiness happens when we decided to do the things we love to do!

Also, it helps us on our weight loss journey. When happy, we stop eating because we are unhappy or stressed. It contributes to a positive attitude. Good things start to happen, and “bumps” in the road are put into perspective.

Chase your Dreams! Dare to Dream! Why not? There is nothing more inspiring than to live the life we envision. We create our life story and narrative. Are we not worthy of becoming the best person possible?

I’ve always loved the statement “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” The rest of the statement puts Everything into perspective “and it’s All small stuff.” In many ways, this becomes my mantra when life deals me issues that seem larger than myself.

The solution is always there, and usually can be seen when we step away from the event or series of events. It’s simply a call to draw upon our ability to find creative solutions, or ask for help.

Self talk plays a huge roll in our perceptions of daily challenges. I’ve found that my new schedule is demanding, and can be overwhelming. Who in their right-mind actually runs 3 businesses, house cleans part-time for clients, and takes on a part-time job? Actually, that person is me! I find that the best calming mantra I use is simply “I’ve got this.”

“You’ve got this!”

Challenge for Those Who Accept. . .Spend a few minutes each morning and/or evening reflecting on the day or challenging event. Think about how it is affecting you, and what outcome you would want from it.

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach

Attitude is Everything!


Attitude is EVERYTHING! I cannot say that enough. We only succeed when we have a positive attitude. Attitude drives our desire to succeed, it feeds our inner self, and it overcomes ALL obstacles!

Positive self-talk boosts the probability of success in any venture. It’s time to reclaim the inner-child we all have, and move on in life. It’s okay to forgive past transgressions by other people or yourself. It’s in the past, and we don’t own the past.

The only thing we control is how we present ourselves in the present. Isn’t it time to release the past from our minds, emotions, and the energies stored in our bodies as excessive weight?

Life is too short to continue for one more day living in the past, and embracing other people’s issues. Each of us has enough of our own to work through, without other people’s baggage.

There is a quote, “if it’s to be, it’s up to me.” I don’t know the author of this bit, but it is a great mantra to embrace and incorporate into your life. I do. I live by the understanding that I am responsible for my choices, including those influenced by negative self-talk. It is my responsibility to overcome the lessons of the past to proceed to the amazing opportunities of the present.

Challenge for Those Who Accept. . .listen to your self-talk. Decide if it fits the lifestyle you want. If not, let it go and start re-programming your sub-conscious.

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach

Baby Steps. . .

Are the pounds coming off slowly, but too slow?

Weight loss is a process of baby steps towards a greater goal. The end results are better health, more energy, and feeling better. Physical fitness is a key part of weight loss. That means exercise, and burning calories.

My fitness path is one filled with starts and stops and changes. I started as an athlete as a kid. Then, I moved into coaching, teaching, and finally becoming a certified fitness instructor. It was easy to maintain a healthy weight, and eat right. It was my lifestyle.

Now many years later, I am emerging from a weight struggle. After topping 200 pounds (2008) after an injury that put exercise on-hold, I am finally changing back to the healthy lifestyle. Yes, I’ve lost 20 + pounds since March 3rd (from 191). In part, it’s because I decided that weight loss was the most important thing in my life at this point. I decided that my family was just going to have to accept the change. This is for me! There is no option to fail!

This focus and determination fuels the weight loss, and fitness gains. I started out in February barely averaging 500 steps per day. This is truly horrible! I spent my days working in my home office at the computer, and struggling through the day.

Now, I am averaging 5000 to 6000 steps per day. I’ve made these weight loss gains through Shakeology, re-learning how to eat and how much, and increasing my movement. These steps are produced through walking 3 to 5 miles every other day. I find my body needs to rest a day in-between workouts.

In addition to walking, I’m stretching. Stretching is that part of the exercise routine that helps prevent injuries. I’ve built it into my life. I stretch my legs whenever they start feeling tight. It’s easy to do, even in line at the grocery store. . .

I’ve begun to add weight training into the routine. I haven’t added weight yet, and am using my own body weight to accomplish my goals. I should be able to add additional weights in the next 2 to 3 weeks. I LOVE weight training! It is one of the quickest ways to tone up.

These are all processes that can be used by anyone to attain their weight loss goals. The biggest component is to listen to your body, and progress in small measurable increments.

Challenge to Those Who Accept. . .Write down your goals, and visualize successful completion. Decide how important these goals are in your life. Then, proceed. . .

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach

Keeping the Weight Off


Whether easy or not, it can be challenging to keep your weight loss from creeping back! It is an issue for all who have experienced the extra pounds of fat stores clinging to their body. I am not an exception either.

It is important to know why the extra pounds accumulated on our bodies to begin with. It could be an injury, unresolved issues, medication side effects, or health issues. These are the biggest contributing factors.

So, how do we keep the weight off?

We change how we view ourselves, our past, our medical issues, and the medication we take. We change our attitude about food, and our relationship with it. We think about and make conscious choices about the food, drink, and medications put into our bodies. In short, we become aware of our lives.

Food intake is the biggest thing we have control over. With all the current research on food, pesticides, and nutrition, we have the tools to make healthy food choices. With a change in our relationship with food, it becomes easier to choose a healthy snack or meal. Our bodies start to crave fresh, raw foods, instead of processed food products.

Does this mean that some foods are no-nos?

That is a choice that each individual makes. I choose organic, because I’m allergic to pesticides. I do this to feel better, and live a healthier life. It is for myself, and benefits my family. Each person has the power to make these choices to fit their individual lifestyle.

Challenge to Those Who Accept. . .Make a list of the foods currently included in your diet. Look at the ingredients that make each of these foods. Decide if you want to put these ingredients into your body. . .

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Fitness & Wellness Coach

Fitness After a Life Changing Injury


Can you come back to fitness from a life changing injury?


I am an example. I fell down a flight of stairs while carrying my young son. I caught myself if the right side of my body, and still have intermittent pain in my foot, knee, hip, shoulder, and elbow. I suffered soft tissue injuries. Also, I think I did have a green fracture in my lower leg, though it was never diagnosed. It’s been 15 years since the fall.

It stopped my fitness activities. I could barely walk without pain. It was hard. I weighed 147 pounds. Today, I’m at 173 (down from 191).

It requires a lot of patience, and listening to your body. I decided on walking. I started with about a mile 2 months ago. I’ve worked my way up to 3.5 miles. Yes, I do have some pain. It is in my muscles. They are adjusting to the new demands of walking for exercise. In addition, I stretch daily. This helps me from re-injuring the affected areas of my body.

The trick is to start small. It is more important to be successful, and not further injure your body. It is also good to check with your doctor to make sure your body is ready for the exercise. She/he may have ideas for where to start.

An option is to contact a personal trainer to help develop an appropriate program designed to take into account your injury. Make sure the professional you use is certified, and knows how to work with your limitations.

Challenge for Those Who Accept. . .Think about what you would like to accomplish with your fitness goals. Talk to your doctor. Implement appropriate activities.

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Note: Never accept a response from anyone that tells you to just get over it, and workout. Re-injuring an injure could put off your recovery, and create a life-long injury.

Why Lose Weight Slowly?


Why lose weight slowly?

First, it give your body a chance to adjust to the new weight. What this means is that your skin has time to shrink to your new size, and your body doesn’t feel “starved” through the process. This is also a great time to detox your system through detox tea or herbs.

Second, it give you a chance to change your perceptions about your self. We see ourselves through the reflection in the mirror. When we change too fast, it’s hard to keep up with changing how we view our self. To make weight loss permanent, we need to adjust how we view our self, and not feel like a stranger in our own “skin”.

Third, it gives the lifestyle changes a chance to become permanent in your life. Lifestyle changes are easier to maintain if they are incorporated slowly and in small increments. The way to maintain weight loss is to change our perceptions of food, exercise, and wellness.

Fourth, it is easier to change. Slow changes are easier on ourselves and the people around us. This type of change is more likely to become permanent in our lives.

Challenge to Those Who Accept. . .Take an accounting of your current weight and measurements. Take time to write this information down, along with your goals. Realistic weight loss is 5 to 10 pounds per month.

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Downsizing Body Fat

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

The photo is me at an unrecognizable weight. It’s a total embarrassment to me that I let myself slip so far into poor self-esteem, unhappiness, and over-eating to compensate. I don’t know what I weight, but I’m sure I topped 200 pounds. This is where my weight loss journey began in 2008.

This year, I woke up and realized that the extra weight needed to come off now. The other option was to die. It might seem dramatic, but my mom died at 56 from cancer. I’ll be 55 this year. I’m too young to die! I have a son that’s still in school and a disabled husband, who both depend on me.

Added to this, my dad dropped dead from a massive heart attack at 72. There are possible health issues in my family. In addition to this, there is obesity, addiction, and depression issues. In the extended family, there is stroke, heart disease, Alzheimer, alcoholism, drug addictions, and cancer.

So, the solution is to lose body fat, eat right, and increase fitness. Many of the risk factors for these diseases include sugar intake, unhealthy fat intake, excessive weight, and lack of fitness. Changing these things contributes to weight loss, and decrease in body fat. Exercise is the biggest contributor to losing body fat.

Our society breaks it down to Cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and weight. Each of these things are important, but there is more to it. Many of our ailments can be changed through the food we consume.

What to downsize your body’s fat stores? Then, you need to change your food intake and add exercise.

You already eat healthy? Then, decrease the amount of food eaten during meals, and try 4-6 small meals a day. This helps maintain your blood sugar levels throughout the day, and helps with the need to binge eat.

Cannot exercise? Exercise is moving your body more. It could be walking further to the grocery store. Or, getting up from your desk at work. Or, stretching more often. Or, taking a walk in the park (with or without your family). Or. . .I think you get the picture.

One thing that helps me is to count daily steps. I put an app on my phone (Pacer). I have the free version, and just track my steps. It gives me a picture of what I am doing, which allows me to make appropriate changes in my daily activities.

Challenge to Those Who Accept. . .Think of 3 ways to increase your body’s movement throughout the day. Then, implement them into your life.

To Wellness for All. . .Karen

Weight Loss Success Comes with Lifestyle Changes


Successful weight loss and maintenance comes from lifestyle changes. One of the easiest changes is to know where your food comes from. The simple act of talking the farmer who grew the produce you purchase changes how you look at food. It is the act of becoming involved in the process of feeding yourself nutritious, nutrient rich foods.

It is hard to step away from fast food, the morning mocha or latte, and quick, sugar rich snacks. Our lives dictate that we run fast between appointments, find time for our families, and work long-hours to pay for our “bills”. A permanent lifestyle change happens with small, manageable changes that we choose to make consistently.

So, start small. It could be a choice to bring lunch to work 1 or 2 days, instead of eating out all 5 days. Little changes like this increase nutritional intake for your body. You may find that the food from home tastes better than the fast food.

Another possibility is to stop using processed food products. Weight loss is easier without all the extra added ingredients in processed foods, like monosodium glutamate, sodium, sugar, and other chemicals.

These little changes add up over time, and become new healthier habits. These are lifestyle changes for a healthier life.

Challenge for Those Who Choose to Accept. . .Look at your lifestyle, and pick one small “thing” you want to change. Then, take the steps to change it.

To Wellness for All. . .Karen