Category Archives: Goals

Challenging Myself to a Healthier, Thinner Me

What does a 9 hour desk job plus 2-3 hours on the couch watching TV, combined with the more than occasional quick bite at the fast food restaurant along with an adult beverage or two from time to time added to new medications that cause fatigue and lack of desire equal?  About twenty pounds added to a frame that was already a little too heavy for my liking.

I have always struggled with my weight.  My family falls into 2 categories – the half who seem unable to keep weight on no matter what they do and have metabolisms like hummingbirds, and then those of us who just smell food and gain 5 pounds.  It was really hard as a child, and when looking back, I was by no means obese or really overweight, but because of theater and dance, I was always around these lithe little girls who seemed to have shed their baby fat at the age of two.  From the age of 4 I was always aware of being the chubby one.  Many fad diets and an under active thyroid during puberty didn’t help, so I never was the one you saw wearing the short shorts or skirts.

My obsession with dieting and my yo-yoing weight gave me stretch marks by the time I was 13 years old.

When I was living in New York, working as an actress, I did buckle down, join a gym and combined with my daily walking commute, did manage to get down to a healthy 135 lbs – just right for my 5′ 6″ frame.  After moving to Atlanta, though, back in 2000, stress, and an unhealthy relationship that (in retrospect) really messed with my self esteem, I became an exercise junkie and borderline anorexic – eating only salads and the occasional piece of fruit.  My weight, plummeted down to 110.  Finally I was as thin as my sisters!  I could fit into a size 4 jean!  It didn’t matter that my hair was coming out in clumps, and I barely had enough energy to stay up past 7:00 pm – I was skinny!  Then one day in 2004, something strange happened.  I was walking from my car to my office, and my legs went completely numb.  It was as if suddenly they had fallen asleep.  I shrugged it off as a pinched nerve and went about my day.  Later that afternoon at the gym, as I stepped on the treadmill, I found I could barely pick my feet up to jog, and tripped on the treadmill.  I made an appointment with my doctor who referred me to a neurologist.  At the time I was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis.  A lesion was found on my spinal cord, and I was told that often it is nothing, and that I was lucky to catch it early and treat it with steroids before permanent paralysis set in – but I should get the occasional MRI every few years because folks who experience TM, often develop Multiple Sclerosis.

Soon after this attack I left my job with the cushy medical benefits so, it was a good 7 years before I had insurance again, so, no doctor visits to follow up on this fluke attack.  I broke up with the unhealthy relationship, and jumped into a healthy one with a guy who loves me, and unfortunately my cooking.  After settling down into a comfortable marriage and taking a break from theater, exercise also took a bit of a back seat to spending time snuggling with my new husband and Furkids on the couch.

Then in June of 2011 I began to be plagued by headaches and double vision.  After many months of mis-diagnosises, it was finally determined that I had Multiple Sclerosis.  The treatment of steroids, and the following medications to treat the lingering nerve damage, fatigue and to stave off future attacks has left me feeling tired, unmotivated, flabby and  gross.  And 165 pounds.  That’s right.  I just publicly announced my weight.  That gives me a BMI of 26.6 (Overweight).

So along with 99.8% of the population, I have committed myself to losing weight in the new year.  One of my goals on the Big Adventure List is to lose 30 lbs by April 24, 2014.  This will put me at 135 lbs and a BMI of 21.8 (Normal) – A very reachable goal in my book.  But it isn’t just about looking good.  It is more about taking control of my health.  I want to eat cleaner.  I want to get out and enjoy nature more without being winded.  I want my joints to feel better.  And yes, I want to look good.

So, my short term goals for this long term challenge are:

  1. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
  2. Bring homemade meals for lunches – No more BajaFresh, 😦
  3. Workout 3-4 times a week (Cardio and strength – Planet Fitness Membership already done!)
  4. Morning yoga / stretching
  5. Multivitamin every morning
  6. Cut back on alcohol consumption
  7. Smaller portions at dinner time and no food after 7:00 pm
  8. Go to sleep by 10:00 pm and get 8 hours of sleep

I’ll be using the SparkPeople and MyFitnessPal tools plus a million othe apps on the iPhone to help me out.  Any other suggestions will also be greatly appreciated!!

Wish me luck!

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Oh Hi! You’re Still Here!

Time to change the subtitle of my blog, because the Mayan’s got it wrong, AGAIN! Silly Mayans…

Yes, I realize I have been MIA for six months, right after posting about how I was going to be blogging more.  But, see, there’s this thing called Real Life, and it took over in a crazy, crazy way.

I finished the show I was in and jumped right into another one for the holiday season, much to the disappointment to my husband and Furkids, who were missing me at night.  Then, sadly, 2 weeks before opening my mother passed away.  It was definitely a trying time. but I have been blessed to be surrounded by wonderful friends and family who have lifted me up and given me so much love and support these last couple of months. Also, getting to spend the last few weeks of my mother’s life with her, growing closer and sharing memories is a gift that I will cherish forever.

So, 2013 is here!  While I didn’t get all of my Big Adventure List done, I now have the opportunity to continue this adventure we call life!

This year marks my entry into my 39th year on this planet, so the Big Adventure List will have a new goal – to complete as many things on the list before Kristie can shout “Lordy, Lordy – Look who’s Forty!!”

And, new ideas have cropped up, so here is the List!!

Lose 30 lbs

Go on a road trip with friends

Go rock climbing

Hike part of the Appalachian Trail and camp out

Go to Space Camp

Explore the Grand Canyon

Complete a 5k or a Muck Ruckus Challenge

Go an entire day without using technology

Go Zip-lining

Volunteer at an animal shelter

Be in a film or TV show (even as an extra)

Learn another language

Hike part of the Appalachian Trail

Ride a mechanical bull

So, I have until April 24, 2014 to get this done – Wish me luck!!!

Follow this list on Pinterest!

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Keep calm and carry on…

“…It’s not easy taking my problems one at a time when they refuse to get in line.”

I have been in a creative slump the last few weeks.  It isn’t that I haven’t had anything to blog about, I just didn’t have the energy or will to do it.  Life, work, health has been a little chaotic, and just having the energy to get home and fall in bed at night was more than I could handle.

It occurred to me a week ago when a lovely young blogger gave me a shout out on her blog, that I have been AWOL too long.  Also, I now have less than 6 months to complete as many things off my list as I can, so time to get crackin’!

So, I have vowed to get over this hump and back to writing.

I have had some things happen in the last few weeks that are worth a quick mention, plus some great things on the horizon which will possible take this blog into some new and interesting directions…  stay tuned…

What have I been up to?  In a nutshell:

Rehearsing!

I am back on stage in a featured role for the first time in entirely too long.  I will be playing Doatsy Mae in Onstage Atlanta’s Production of Best Little Whorehouse In Texas.  Doatsy is the proprietor of the local cafe in town who follows the gossip surrounding the scandal that is the Chicken Ranch, and who enjoys goading the simple, yet foul-mouthed local sheriff.  It runs July 6 – August 4.  Would love for everyone to come and see it (though not for the faint of heart – lots of language and sexy type dancing – not by me, thank goodness!)

Gardening

I by no means have a green thumb.  It’s a little more, say, puce.  Basically, if it is an un-killable plant like ivy or a Hosta, I’m good to go. Every once and a while, though,  like to try and spruce up a little side garden we have at the house.  A couple of weeks ago I went a little wild at Home Depot and bought about $200 in plants, bird feeders, soil and pots.  The end result was pretty nice, If I do say so myself.  Except, with temps soaring into the triple digits this weekend, I’m hoping they survive!

              

Sleeping (Or not, really)

Last week I participated in a Sleep Clinic to discover why I have been waking up every night, and feeling lethargic during the day.  It was quite an interesting experience, and when I get the results, I’ll do a full post on it.

Take Your Dog To Work Day

June 22, 2012 was pretty much  like every other day for me at work – except it was Take Your Dog To Work Day!  Now, Ford and Abby come to work with me often, so this is no special surprise.  But it was fun to let the public now about the day, and it also inspired me to use their Facebook Page to promote animal welfare and adoption opportunities…  more on that in a second.

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Coming up on the horizon are a couple of exciting prospects that I hope will get me writing a little bit more, and may have the potential to veer this blog into having a few different sections – one for my Bucket List, and two new ones for some new things I am taking on.  First, I will be volunteering some freelance writing to Angels Among Us Pet Rescue.  As you may know, animal rescue is a cause near and dear to my heart, so I am excited to help them out by writing articles and posts for them to help get the word out about the animals in need of homes.  You will see me cross posting those articles here as well as on Ford and Abby’s Facebook Fan Page.

Second on the docket is a weight overhaul.  This last year, my health took a bit of a hit with the MS Diagnosis, and the combination of medications, lack of energy, depression and fatigue have caused me to pack on an additional 20 lbs onto a frame that was a little to heavy for my liking to begin with.  I got a nice wake up call a couple of weeks ago when some routine blood work for my life insurance came back with my cholesterol, sugar and sodium levels nearing the “Bad zone”.  No bueno.  Also, I am committing myself to compete in the MS: MuckRuckus Challenge on October 6th, and I know there is no way I could do it right now in the shape I’m in.  So, with the help of my friend Amy and Advocare, I am starting their 24 Day Challenge to Cleanse and jump start my metabolism so I can have the energy to get back into training and losing this weight!  To be accountable, I will be blogging it here – the good, the bad and the ugly!

So, look for some changes – hopefully you will enjoy my journey.  As far as my next adventure, It looks like white water rafting may be coming up next!!  Stay tuned.

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Today’s Inspiration

I needed to read this today as I have been feeling every bit of my age and more these last few days…

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Free Fallin’!

Saturday could not have been a more perfect day.  Sunny, blue skies, wispy clouds, a gentle breeze…  a peaceful day that became very exciting for me for about 5 minutes.

Yep.  I went skydiving!

To be honest, this is not something I had been dying to do, nor was I dreading it.  I was a bit nervous about whether or not I’d actually be able to do it when the time came or if my sense of self preservation would keep me from jumping. Turns out, I had no choice – but I’ll get to that.

Skydive The Farm is an amazing facility in Rockmart, GA – about 1 hour outside Atlanta.  When we pulled in, I had my first twinge of fear (or as Martie put it my “S#!t’s Getting Real” Moment) when I saw the airplane taking of from a grassy field.  This was, by definition, a Buddy Holly airplane that I’m sure someone was controlling by remote control somewhere.  I do have a tendency to get airsick on takeoff, so I was not looking forward to that flight.

Once we parked and headed up to the hangar, I knew immediately I was with my kind of folks.  About 8 dogs were running around and playing.  Matt and I immediately regretted leaving Ford and Abby at home.  After signing in and filling out some waivers that I think had me offer my firstborn in there somewhere, we watched the best disclaimer video.  Ever.  Sidebar – working with City Segway Tours, we show an instructional video prior to tours that has a Stick Man falling off a Segway in a number of horrifying and hilarious ways.  About 6 out of 10 times we hear the phrase “Now I’m nervous” after the video.  Well folks, our video has nothing on this one…

I don’t remember the exact phrasing, but it was along the lines of, “You are about to participate in a highly dangerous sport.  There is no such thing as a perfect plane.  There is no such thing as a perfect parachute.  There is no such thing as a perfect jump instructor. You might actually die doing this.”  Then it went on to show an ambulance pulling into a field full of people shaking their heads and trying not to throw up.  I would have been terrified if I wasn’t trying not to giggle at ZZ Top who was explaining the video.  Well, actually, it was Bill Booth, the inventor of the tandem skydiving harness on the video.  He also has a spectacular beard.  Check it out, I’ll wait.

So, video watched, then it was time to meet Chucky – my tandem instructor. Super nice guy who, with his wife, are expecting a baby boy in September.  So I knew he had incentive to come back safe. He helped me into an incredibly tight and oh so not flattering at all jumpsuit. The announcement then came that I would be in the next load.  My tummy did a little flip.

I loaded onto the shuttle bus that took me along with about 11 other jumpers to the plane.  A shuttle bus that seemed to have a hive of wasps nesting somewhere.  It was pretty funny to see these guys who stare death in the face 10-12 times a day by jumping out of a plane freak out over a wasp.

Once we arrived at the plane, my butterflies were going full force.  Oddly enough, though, I was still more frightened of the flight than of the jump.  I don’t think my brain had processed past that part just yet.  We squeezed in sardine style, and in a matter of minutes were off.

The flight was surprisingly smooth, and soon we were climbing to 14,500 feet.  At this point, my brain had gotten to the point of realizing I was about to fall from a very high distance, and my tummy butterflies had morphed into very large fruit bats.

Then, before I realized what was happening, the door slid open and people started flinging themselves willingly out the plane.  At this point I panicked because as each person evacuated, the small plane would bobble and we had to redistribute the weight.  I was the second to last to head out, so I slid up to the door behind my cameraman, Andy.  Next thing I know, Chucky had me in the doorway, then suddenly I was streaking through the air heading to the ground like a dart.

Honestly, the whole thing happened so fast that the second I was in the free fall I forgot to be scared and immediately started having the most fun I had ever had in my life.  I free fell for 9,000 feet for about a minute.  Then, pop!  Up the chute went and we immediately came to a gentle glide for another 5 or so minutes.

It was surreal seeing the ground so far below up like a Google Earth map.  And it was so quiet!  An immediate sense of peace came over me at the beauty of it all.  So much so, that when Chucky offered me the chance to steer the chute, I declined because I was enjoying the view so much.  Then the most amazing thing happened – we saw what is known as a Sun Dog – a rainbow that is circular that was reflected off the clouds below us – and our shadow was perfectly in the center of it.  I was immediately cursing myself for not strapping a camera to myself somehow.

All too soon it was over and we were coming to a gentle stop in the middle of the field.  The adrenalin surge ebbed away, and quickly I was overwhelmed by a sense of “Boo!” as I realized I was finished.  Matt came running up with a bottle of champagne and I was immediately surrounded by my friends.  And all I wanted to do was cry because the whole experience was beyond words.  The fact that it has taken me three days to even be able to put this down shows how overwhelming the whole experience was.

Of course, no skydive is complete without the video and rockin’ soundtrack, so please enjoy…

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April 5th – 10th: Just Be Nice

I know, I know, I said I would post everyday on my new experiences…  One of the groovy highlights of MS is it’s unpredictability, and I have been struggling the last week with fatigue and nausea.  Pity party for one, over here…  but I have been trying to keep up my resolve to try something new everyday!!

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There are very few things about my old Kia Sportage that I miss.  It was the first car I bought with my own money, but it had problems from day one and spent more time in the shop than in my driveway.  I finally got rid of it when it threw a rod and punched a hole through my oil pan.  I donated it to charity, thinking it would be sold for scrap, but low and behold I actually saw it on the road a few days ago (or at least its bumper).  How did I recognize it?  Well on the bumper was a City Segway Tours bumper sticker and my favorite bumper sticker ever – a simple request:  Just Be Nice.

I miss that bumper sticker.  My car now is geeked out with my NASA and Think Geek’s Timmy bumper stickers.  But it was the Just Be Nice sticker (and my good buddy Wil Wheaton’s personal motto) that inspired this New Thing.

I’m not (I’m pretty sure) a mean person, but I know from time to time I can be a little distant or formal with folks, especially strangers.  I thought I’d try and change that.  So for the past few days, every person that I interacted with, I made a conscious effort to extend a compliment to them.  Strangers on the elevator were complimented on their shoes or purse; co-workers got a sincere thank for their hard work or some positive feedback passed along from customers; tenants in my building were praised on their dogs.  And something wonderful happened.  That person seemed, if for only a brief second, connected with me and I could feel the pride and happiness coming off of them.  It made me feel happy to have brought a little bit of sunshine in their life.

Try it yourself sometime.  I promise it will make the day a happy one.

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April 4, Run Kristie, Run!

Anyone who knows me knows I’m often heard saying, “I only run when my life is in danger…  and even then, I weigh my odds.” I am not a fan of running.  My body does not like it, and I have never felt that runners “high” everyone talks about – all I feel is stabbing pain and hatred.

But I have realized that my exercise regiment has gotten stuck in a rut lately, and my 20 minute elliptical routine barely even breaks a sweat now.

So yesterday I downloaded the “Get Running” app on my phone. This is a nifty little Couch to 5K app that eases you into a routine by alternating walking and running.  The first session was 5 minutes warming up and then 8 intervals of running for one minute and walking for a minute and a half, then ending with a 5 minute cool down walk.  Because the elliptical machine is kinder on my joints, I decided to do the intervals on the machine.

Wow.  Butt. Kicked.  It is definitely a challenge to really burst into a fast stride and maintain it for a minute.  The minute and a half walking intervals seemed really short, and I almost gave up halfway.

Then I thought to myself, “Self.  If you can just get to the end of this session, think of how pleased you will be with yourself.” So I soldiered through to the end and finished a sweaty, happy mess.  The only drawback was, it got me late on my day, so when I do this in my next morning session, I need to hit the snooze one less time.

No, I realize this doesn’t quite make me a runner – but it’s a start!

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April 3 – It’s Pretty Easy Being Green

My husband has been on a wheatgrass kick for about a year and had been hounding me to try it.  After my MS diagnosis, he was adamant that I start the day off with 2 ounces of wheatgrass.  I’ll be honest, I was not a fan at first.  It took many tries, many brands and many different ways to deliver it to my body before we settled on the least icky option.

We came across the company Dynamic Greens who allows you to order packs of flash-frozen wheatgrass cubes in bulk.  You melt the cubes in some water and sip it down.  The taste is like a very weak iced tea (as opposed to the really nasty grassy taste of other brands and fresh pressed wheatgrass from a juice bar).

After a few months of morning consumption, yesterday I decided for my “New Thing” I’d bring some juice to work with me to drink before my lunch.

Despite some sideways looks at me as I drank my dark green juice, it was great.  I had really good energy through the rest of the day and wasn’t starving by the time I got home.

Chalk this one up as another thing I think I’ll keep doing!

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April 2 – Napping…

One of my earliest school memories was my preschool teacher complaining to my mother that I would not take a nap.  All this poor woman wanted was one hour of escape from 4 year old screams and cries – but I wouldn’t give it to her.  I would lie on my mat and talk, or sing, or sneak a book to read.  Why would I waste an hour of my day sleeping when there were so many more fun things to do?

Fast forward 30 some odd years, throw in a chronic illness and a hectic job and you have yourself a woman craving just 15 minutes where she could lay her head on her desk.

Unfortunately, my job does make it difficult to take a catnap midday. There is always someone calling, coming to the door or a tour out that needs some help.  However, I could feel my health suffering because of my fatigue.  I needed to find at least 20 minutes to carve out of my day to just unplug.

So yesterday, I did it!  My first midday nap while at work!  I know it seems simple, but it really did make all the difference.  I locked the door, put a sign out that said “Will return in 15 minutes”, turned off the ringer on the phone and let my guides know to call my cell if there was an emergency.  Then I stretched out on a cot in the back and closed my eyes for 15 blissful minutes.  I was helped out by a handy-dandy app on my phone called Power Nap with Andrew Johnson.  He is a hypnotist with a soothing Scottish accent that had me relaxed instantly and let me feel refreshed and energetic the rest of the day (good thing, since my day went to 8 pm!)

This was a “Thing I’ve Never Done” that is sure to turn into a “Thing I’ll Want to Do Everyday” for sure!  Maybe a move to Spain where the whole city shuts down mid-day is in the cards for me…

 

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April 1st – Two Things I’ve never done…

I am sticking to my promise to do something new everyday in April – as long as I remember to do it!  I almost forgot to do something yesterday, but then realized I had inadvertently done two things I’d never done before!

1.  Record Breaking Day at CST Atlanta

Some of you may know that I run a tour operation of Downtown Atlanta – City Segway Tours Atlanta.  We had a spectacular day yesterday in which we got 115 riders up on Segways in one day! Our previous record was 66 (which we had only hit the day before!)

It was a bit of finagling to break that 100 mark – we only have 30 machines, and factoring in for the guides, the most we could realistically do on traditional tours would be 81 in one day.  We had 102 kids visiting from Minnesota (near and dear to my heart!) so we set up special 1 1/2 hour tours that went back to back.  Then we also had 13 folks on regular tours, so there was a lot of Segway swapping, nail biting, and prayers that all 30 machines would make it through the  day without any dead batteries.  Well, I’m happy to say, it was a success!!

2.  April Foolin’

Every year I try to get my mom on April Fools Day.  Epic “gets” include convincing her I had accidentally flooded my freshman dorm, and one year when I called and told her I had been hit in the face with a hockey puck during an Atlanta Thrashers game.  She has gotten so sly to me, however, that she refuses to believe anything I tell her on April 1 (heaven forbid I actually get into a real scrape!).  I’ve tried getting her a few days later, but she’s on to me.

With the craziness of yesterday – I completely forgot to try something (much to her relief, I’m sure).  I guess that just means I’ll have to come up with something extra special next year!

Now to come up with something I’ve never done before by the end of the day…  🙂

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