Monday, June 28, 2010

Food addictions

Cutting back on the fattening food was probably one of the most difficult challenges I faced and still face. I come from an extremely Italian family and food holds great importance for us. A lot of family time was centered around decadent meals with things like baked ziti, chicken cacciatore, lasagna, and my favorite, chicken parmesan - mmmm mmmm good.

Not to mention that dinner was almost always followed with a delicious, hard to resist dessert such as red velvet cake or cookie dough ice cream. It was such a catch-22 with my family as well - we'd be eating dinner and mid-meal someone would nonchalantly announce, "Gee you're puttin' on the pounds there chunky." Obviously that would quell my appetite and I'd put down my fork which would be met with the inquiry of, "Oh, you're done, do you want some dessert?" Excuse me? No I don't want dessert now! As you can probably guess based on this story, dieting was never met with much success in my house

Since January, I have revamped my eating patterns and decisions and trained my stomach to fill up on smaller portions than what I was used to. This was NOT easy though. One thing you need to be prepared for is that you aren't always going to get support from people. I can't count the number of times someone said to me, "Oh come on, don't follow your diet just this one time eat the (insert high calorie, not good for you, food here)." And oh is it tempting to listen to the other person's pleas for you to join their eat-a-thon of crap food - I'd be lying if I said I didn't give in sometimes.

The point of this post
When you start a diet it is going to be rough - especially if you are addicted to food the way I am or it is engrained in you to eat big meals. Remember though, you are not alone - there are thousands and thousands of others out there struggling to diet as well. 

Taking the time to think of the reasons you love food and have a hard time keeping a diet is very important though. If you can address these issues, then when you are faced with a challenge and feel like you're going to break your diet you can understand your emotions towards food and battle them better. 

If you do falter and make a bad choice one time, for a whole day or even for an entire week, this does not mean you should give up. We are human - taking a step backwards is normal - so just get back on the diet with your next food decision and eventually eating healthy will become a habit.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Getting back on that really big horse

Finding motivation to get back on track can be one of the hardest challenges.

It took a few months for me to realize that not everything was just going to be magically fixed by medication. Towards the end of December I sat contemplating how things in my life were going and I decided that I just couldn't live like this anymore. So I began by confronting one of my biggest problems: being overweight.  

How do you make yourself do something you have no desire to do?
The same technique may not work for everyone but here's how I tackled the problem.

I signed up for an aerobics class - this way it wasn't an option of whether or not I exercise since you have to attend a class you sign up for. Feeling that you are not doing the exercise alone also helps.

On the days I did not have aerobics I scheduled in a specific time to go to the gym and I viewed it as a class. Look at it in the grand scheme of things as well: when I hit that point on the treadmill/elliptical when I felt I couldn't go any longer I thought to myself this is only 45 minutes out of 16 hours that I am awake, I think I can stand physical work for 4.6% of the time I'm awake today. Besides these techniques, tell people that you're exercising 5 times (or however much) a week and tell them about your routine. I found this to be motivation in itself because now I had a standard to live up since other people believe I am going to the gym all the time and I didn't want to look like a liar or fool for not going.

Eventually I began to love the gym and it wasn't such a chore. In fact, I came to crave going to the gym as exercise was a release to all the stress I would have and it gave me alone time to just think. Not to mention, when you begin to feel healthy, your confidence goes up.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


My name is Kendra and I was born and raised in Denver, CO.  After high school I attended Syracuse University majoring in public relations and minoring in economics. While I was there I was lucky enough to spend a semester abroad in Madrid, Spain and traveled Europe - it was the experience of a lifetime. I graduated from SU a month ago and am now looking for a job in PR!

Why I chose the topic of health:
In high school and for the first two years of college I had always been pretty thin, in good shape and healthy. It didn't take much effort for me to maintain my weight and while I was active in sports and the gym, I didn't have to watch what I ate. In fact I one time had a huge piece of cake for breakfast and didn't think much of it since my weight never seemed to fluctuate no matter what my habits were. That all changed though.

In October 2008 I began to put on weight at a rapid speed. By mid-January 2009 I had put on 40 lbs. For a period of time I was running four miles 3x a week, but was still putting on weight. It was one of the most frustrating experiences I've ever had. Besides the weight gain I also had developed dry skin, an insatiable appetite, constant fatigue, severe anxiety and depression.

I saw five doctors who each gave me a different diagnosis - none of which were correct. It wasn't until exactly one year later in October 2009 that I finally saw a doctor with brains and figured out my problem. I had a serious chemical and hormonal imbalance that was causing all of my problems. I was put on medication - but meds weren't going to fix everything. I was going to have to work to lose the 50 lbs I had gained, learn to eat healthy and learn to balance my life.

I found that it takes a lot of work for me to stay healthy. I need to exercise at least five times a week, I have to eat mostly fruits and vegetables and control my desire for sweets, I have to try to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, I need to take time to myself to have some mental relaxation, but I also have to take time for friends and family. 

Balancing all of these things properly can be a real challenge at times - but keeping up with it is how I've lost 30lbs since January 2010. It has helped me to become a very happy person who feels, and knows, I can now handle anything that life throws my way.