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

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