106: Fitness Junkie

Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

As I read this book, Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza, I couldn’t help but feel caught up in the mess that is my own fitness journey. The book opens with Janey and Beau at brunch where she’s enjoying a delicious meal and he (and the rest of the restaurant) are just Instagramming their food because it’s so pretty. He kicks her out of the company for eating a bruffin (which sounds delicious) and ‘getting fat.’

The story behind that is a little more convoluted than that, but you get the gist. She doesn’t look the same at 40 as she did at 18. So he says “take 3 months off to get yourself in shape.”

Then Janey goes through the most ridiculous ‘wellth’ classes, foods (like eating clay), juices, lifestyle changes, etc. Does she lose the weight? Yes. Does she also lose a bit of herself? Sure does.

The authors really showcase the most ridiculous aspects of the wellness industry. The industry that capitalizes on what women think about themselves. As I’m reading through the book, I’m thinking, “hmmm, maybe that would work for me … should I start drinking only juice?”

No. That’s not really healthy. Health isn’t measured by the number on the scale alone, sometimes the smaller you are the more unhealthy you are. The truth is that we all have different body types, genetic make-ups, and personal histories. Vegetables are healthier than desserts … but chocolate isn’t evil.

Like most things in life, food is about moderation – and so is exercising.

Janey’s friend helps her find all of these crazy things and when she’s in the hospital at the end of the book her friend says “You know … I think it’s a lie that all women want to be skinny. I think we just want to be told it’s okay to look the way we look.”



Giving Yourself a Break

fitbit screen

I can hold myself to some pretty high standards. When I tell myself I’m going to accomplish a goal every day or every week and don’t, I get really disappointed. These expectations are something that no one else would see as necessary, but I can really beat myself up about them.

For instance, back in late February I decided I needed to move more. I was just super lazy and since I work at home, I don’t get a lot of walking in during the day, that regular “around the office” stuff that most people get. I don’t usually drive anywhere (or very many places) either, so walking has to be an intentional effort for me. I purchased a FitBit and decided to get moving. I slowly increased my goal from 5k steps a day to 8k steps a day where it remains now. There are very few days that I have not met my goal in the last 10 months. This is because I count it as an extreme failure if I don’t. I do a lot of housewalking now that it’s cold (think elliptical on your own).

But for the last ten days of the year, I decided to just give myself a break. I was driving up to my parent’s house in PA the Friday before Christmas and didn’t want to add time to my trip by walking for 20 minutes every few hours, although sitting in the car for that long is tiring. Then while I was there, it’s so cold and going for a walk is so not what I want to do then. So I gave myself a break. I didn’t worry about my goal, turned off my “reminders to move” and just enjoyed the holiday. I kept my promise to “give myself a break” the last week of the year too. Just enjoying my time off, walking when I can, but not being crazy strict about my goal.

I also stopped tracking my food for this same time period. These two habits keep my honest as I work toward a particular goal for my health. I want to be more fit, more healthy really. I’d like to lose at least another 15 pounds, if not a few more. There’s this pair of jeans I have that I really want to fit (again). Honestly, I’d like them to be too big, if that’s possible!

But for this week, I’m just giving myself a break from it all. Taking life as it is and being able to start fresh on the 1st all over again!

He’s in the Waiting

I heard this a while ago and then it was reiterated again a few weeks ago when I read this talk that Kristina gave at a women’s conference. It’s the answer to “Where is God?” The question that all of us ask in the midst of trials, sufferings, and even the mundane. I feel like the story of my life is waiting. At one time it was “waiting for the job I really want.” At another time it was “waiting to know if my living situation would be worked out.” For more than half of my life it’s been “waiting to be with the man who will love me until we grow old together.”

We have a tendency to see the blessings only when they have fully arrived. When they are visible to the whole world. When they are a paycheck, a house, or a man watching me walk down the aisle in a white dress. But the blessings, the Lord … He’s right here in the waiting, in the midst of it all.

I found out some really difficult news the other day about a friend of mine and her child. The situation is tied up in more knots than a human can even unravel on her own. It led me to a book I got in my “box of new books” from work this month called Tied in Knots: Finding Peace in Today’s World by Greg Willits (OSV 2017). I thought I should send this to my friend, but I don’t recommend a book until I’ve read it since I don’t know if it will really help.

So on Wednesday I started reading and also praying the prayer to Mary Undoer of Knots for the intention of unraveling this giant knot in her life.

I’m still in the first half, but the chapter I read today was about just this. Finding the Blessing in the Knots … Finding God before things are unraveled. He’s there. He wants us to take it to him to undo into perfection.

There’s this youth ministry game that I loved called The Human Knot. We played it last spring with our youth group as an opening for one the four sessions a friend and I were running on relationships. Both the teens and my guy friend were good sports about it when the first time we played the group was so tied up in knots that they couldn’t get themselves out of it and we had to start over. The second time I sat out and I helped to direct the situation. They were all knotted up and we never did get out of it without undoing our hands. As a side note, that is the first time I’ve played that game and it didn’t work out!

The Human Knot Game (with humans I don’t know, but google does)

We got ourselves all tied up and then even more tied up when we tried to undo it all alone. We were a hot knotted mess! But now as I think about it, the blessing was in the knot. It was in the fact that the group bonded together, laughed together, and struggled together. That was really the point of the game. The ice was broken and we were ready to get started. My co-leader’s shoulder was another story, maybe he just needed some ice!

Anyway, now as I sit in this current state of waiting, I want to do something in it, to make it more productive. So I eliminated the biggest distraction of my world in the middle of September: television. I also added in some serious discipline in regard to food consumption and exercise by keeping track and focusing on my health more. It’s paid off in the shedding of almost ten pounds, which I’m pretty excited about. Now just a few more to go to meet my “fit perfectly into these awesome jeans I have hanging on my bathroom door as motivation” goal.

The Lord is even in the waiting to fit into these awesome jeans. He’s here telling me that it really doesn’t matter to Him, that I’m still worth it all, and that He will bless me no matter what size my pants are.

Taking On Too Much

I have a tendency to take on too many things at one time and then of course fail at them all. This is one of the reasons why I was excited about Jon Acuff’s new book Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done.


I follow Jon on most of his many weekly writing adventures like his list for Speakers, Entrepreneurs, Writers, and even Parents even though I’m not all of those things Two out of four isn’t bad. I do it because I love his style of writing, his humor, and I always get something from what he’s shared.

So I even pre-ordered the book so I could get the bonuses, which are worth hundreds of dollars. Tonight I decided to start reading, even though I’m in the middle of at least six other books, during dinner and I had to force myself to stop. I could have sat in that uncomfortable dining room chair all night reading until I was finished.

I got through the first three chapters and learned a few things about my goals that I want to implement. First is that I need to be realistic. There will be days when I am not perfectly going for my goal, but that’s okay. I need to start again the next day.

Second, I should cut my goal in half. Seems counterproductive, but Jon says this helps keep the momentum going and prevents burnout from happening.

Third, make it fun. If the goal, like mine (losing weight) isn’t fun, then add in rewards to help you. I decided that I’d give myself a reward every five pounds. Seems reasonable for me.

Now to just get started – I did today by crushing it in the produce section of the grocery store. At least that’s what the cashier said when she was ringing up my order. I felt pretty good about it. Had some chicken soup for lunch and cauliflower fried rice for dinner. Feeling good about my food choices for the day.

I did not walk today though because I could not be more congested. I just got home from a week-long work trip and brought a sore throat with me, unfortunately. I decided to get ahead of it and have an appointment tomorrow with the doctor because not breathing is not fun for me.

Normally I would let being sick really get me down, especially regarding cooking and eating well. I’m glad I made the decision to cook even though I felt terrible. I feel better for having eaten a giant bowl of vegetables for dinner. I don’t know if cauliflower can cure a sinus infection, but it definitely can’t hurt my overall well-being.

So today I choose to be a better version of myself. Tomorrow my goal is the same!

Small Changes Have a Dramatic Effect

The last time I was at the doctor I was talking about my health, which was great, and I mentioned that I wanted to make some changes to be healthier (read: smaller). I prefaced my question with something that I know to do which is to lose weight: exercise more and eat less. Dr. W confirmed it is really all about math – more calories out than in. Her advice wasn’t just “eat less, exercise more.” It was actually more helpful, take the next year and make a different lifestyle change every month and in a year your life will be different.

I really took that to heart and when I got home, I made a list of 12 habits or lifestyle changes that I wanted to undertake. I gave myself credit for a few that I had started a while ago that were great changes that I felt made a huge difference. At the end of the year I will probably have made about 7 or 8 overall changes but some of them were steps to bigger things. They are small steps that have made a huge difference in my life. I’ve got a few more to add to, which I’ll share with you here.

Writing these here (and anything I do here) makes it real. It keeps me accountable, not really to the people who read this, but to myself. “I wrote it down so therefore I must do it.” This method might not work for everyone, but it works pretty well for me. I used to think I wasn’t very competitive, but that was all a lie. I’m super competitive with myself in a pretty healthy way and fairly competitive with others in a sometimes unhealthy way.

So here is my list to keep me accountable and maybe inspire you to make some small changes as well. I’ve categorized them and numbered them based on the order I did/am doing them.

Item #1: A Better Prayer Life
1. Daily Rosary: I accomplished this by beginning to pray the Rosary daily on the Feast of Fatima almost three years ago. This has made a huge impact on my life. I’ve done this off and on since I was a Junior in High School, but this time it stuck.
6. Daily Mass: I did this as my Lenten resolution last year to get back in the habit. With work, I have a tendency to let my calendar take advantage of me, so to accomplish this I put an appointment on my calendar for every day from noon to 1pm – which I will move to 8:15-9:15am on days I can’t attend the lunchtime Mass. Again I’ve been doing this on and off since high school more often than not, but I needed it on my calendar to make it a habit.
7. Better Spiritual Reading: I spent all of Advent with 30 minutes of prayer every morning which is an amazing way to prepare for the Birth of Our Lord renewing my Consecration to Jesus through Mary.

Item #2: A Better Work Life
2. Better Wardrobe: I’ve been speaking more for work so I needed to “professionalize” my wardrobe and play the part. So this summer I set about changing my work wardrobe. It’s made an impact, that’s for sure.

Item #3: A Better Night Life / Daily Habits
3. Better Sleep: This isn’t want you’re thinking!! I found that I wasn’t sleeping well and was taking melatonin to sleep better but I was getting some really wacky dreams, so I had to change that up. So to improve my circadian rhythm I decided to cut out screens in bed including videos on the computer and my cell phone. I took up reading. I started this in October to also reinvigorate my love for reading. It’s been pretty successful, although I have my nights where I watch TV in bed, in that I’ve read 43 books since then – not a bad number for 6 months.
4. Better Daily Habits: Small Disciplines to make a good start on my day beginning with making my bed every day. I wouldn’t have thought this would have the large impact it did, but it makes a difference. And getting into a made bed at night is such a treat. I also started getting ready every day. In the beginning this was fully dressed in something other than yoga pants, but that’s become unrealistic, so I stopped – but I do put in earrings or a necklace every day.

Item #4: A Better Physical Life
5. Better Fitness: I really dislike cardio and also think that it has a bigger impact on calories burned than it does, so it’s annoying for me. But I do like yoga and love Bad Yogi, so I broke down and purchased Erin’s Perfect Body Yoga Program (PBYP), which I wrote about here right before I began. Now I’ve been through Tier 1 and Tier 2 and am starting Tier 1 again.
8. Better Diet: I did this in two ways beginning back in November with a purchase to Real Plans (here) which completely changed my cooking and eating life. I can eat the same thing for breakfast every day and not get bored, but for the rest of my meals, that doesn’t cut it. I don’t even really enjoy leftovers, to be honest. So I needed some help with what I wanted to cook. This program is awesome because you can choose your meals or have them chosen for you and it creates a shopping list with the exact items you need to make the meals for the week. I recently purchased the NomNom Paleo upgrade. Paleo is another reason why I wanted to purchase this. You can have them choose recipes based on your diet needs as well as eliminate certain ingredients you don’t like. For me, that’s beans – I don’t want them in my recipes and Real Plans leaves those recipes out!
9. Better Management of Food: I started an account with MyFitnessPal in January to count calories. I needed to be realistic about my expectations and what I was eating. I needed to keep myself accountable. So I set up a daily max and if I went over, then that at least I had to record it and know that I did it.
10. Better Paleo: I learned from when I did a Whole30 I am a healthier, happier, and lighter person when I adhere to the Paleo Diet. So I’ve been working on that. I’m very good on my own at home – and for Lent I made a sacrifice to only eat “non-Paleo” a maximum 3 meals per week, which has helped. Real Plans has also helped with all of their amazing recipes.
11. Better Cardio: To accomplish this I purchased a new FitBit after losing mine on the way home from Prague last summer. Now I’m beginning my sixth week on FitBit and have been increasing my daily steps by 500 every week until I get to 8,000, a respectable amount of daily steps. I’ve also started walking my neighborhood which is about 1,000 steps around if you walk every available sidewalk. It’s very small with only 50 townhouses and doesn’t make a circle. I’ve also made an impression on many of my neighbors as the crazy lady who walks the neighborhood between 5 and 8 times an evening. It’s also been helping to listen down my list of Podcasts (the limited TV for Lent is also helping with that too). I feel a lot better that I’ve been doing yoga in the morning and walking in the evening. It’s also helping me get together with my friends by seeing if they “want to go on a walk.” Do you have a FitBit, want to be friends?

Item #5: A Better Life
12. Better Relaxation: This one was slated for September, but I’ve already done this twice by buying plane tickets. I wanted to take off for a vacation that wasn’t me taking vacation to just go home or to lead a youth retreat, etc… So a vacation was in order. I’ve decided on two! The first is in two weeks when I am going go to Texas for 9 days from Good Friday to the following Saturday. It’s going to be a good break for Easter and a super relaxing week. I’ve got lots of plans for visiting with family, playing lots of hands of cards, drinking wine, and reading tons of books! The second is in 117 days when LK and I leave for Greece! Yes, you read that right. We purchased a vacation package to Greece last week and we are going the first week of August. This will be our fun vacation!!

A Better Katie: All of these things are the basis for a better Katie. A happier, healthier Katie who people want to be friends with, who I want to be. Taking control of the things in my life I have the ability to control of helps me. I can’t control my weight, but I can control how much I eat and what I do for exercise. I can’t control what others think of me, but I can control how I think of me and if I’m the best version of myself by keeping my resolutions.

What can make you a better you just for you?

Roasted Carrot Soup

Since Thanksgiving, I’ve either had company at my house, been celebrating a holiday, or traveling for work 35 days (out of 50). My eating habits (although not my exercise habits since I’ve been doing Daily Burn 365 every day – try it out) have been awful! On the way home from Myrtle Beach today (for work, not for pleasure – and it was freezing there! … but the view from my room was excellent) …

… I decided I needed to work on eating more vegetables. I need to fuel my body better if I want to be healthier and more fit. So I stopped at the grocery store to get some veggies and set out for a healthy dinner. What’d I make?

Roasted Carrot Soup

2 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch lengths and quartered
1 jalapeno, minus the seed, cut in half
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 medium red onion, diced
1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger (from about 1/2-inch piece, peeled)
2-3 cups homemade or low-salt chicken broth
3 large spoonfuls of greek yogurt
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
Chopped fresh green onions for garnishing

Heat the oven to 375°F.

Put the carrots in a medium baking dish or cookie sheet (11×7-inch is a good size, or any dish that will hold the carrots in a single layer without touching) and drizzle them with the olive oil. Toss them to coat well, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and roast about 40 minutes to 1 hour.

Melt the butter in a medium (at least 3-quart) heavy saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it’s translucent and fragrant, 2 to 3 min. Stir in the ginger and cook the onions start to brown, 4 to 5 min. Add the roasted carrots, jalapeno, chicken broth, no more than 2 cups of water, depending on how thick you want your soup. I like mine really thick so I didn’t add any. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the jalapeno if you just want medium heat.

Purée the soup in a food processor added in the greek yogurt once it is to your preference of thickness. If serving immediately, return the soup to the pot and reheat; garnish with the green onions.


This made two servings for me since I ate it as a meal, rather than a starter. That’s an entire pound of carrots for dinner! Lots of veggies and my eyes will be better at night vision, too!

Happy Traveling – and hopefully Happy Eating! I’m home for six nights … enough time to make for a good habit! I’ve got to start ordering salads when I’m away…

7 Quick Takes … August 9th

If I were to recount my ‘quick takes’ since the last time I linked up, you would would be here all day – so we’ll just go with the past few weeks!  As I started writing again last weekend, I realized how much I really love writing and documenting my life.  I stopped blogging back in the Fall after a writer/speaker/radio show host I like said something about how blogs give everyone a place to squirt out their opinion even if they have nothing to say.  Then, I got to thinking about what I really have to say and why I write.  After my weekend with the NAS girls in Savannah I realized that I don’t blog because I have something to say to you, but because I have something to say to me.  In the age of technology, writing a daily journal has because more and more difficult for me, so I became committed again to this place to write, to me, to the future Katie (and the past Katie) about what life is like.  If you enjoy, I’m happy to share!

I’m closing on a house today.  Yes – I”m buying a townhouse.  I can’t even believe it.  This is so crazy, but as I was talking to MG last night, that seems to be how I roll lately.  Just … plain … crazy.  I think I need to redefine it and say this is the new normal so when something outlandish does happen, we have a better word!

Check out my house!

Here I come!!!

This summer I also said goodbye to my roommate of a year, Lisa.  We had a great year!

Some of the evidence is here:

We had a growing collection of our favorite looking bottles!

And some great birthday/celebration dinners around town … here’s our last get together for MG’s birthday before Lisa left for Chicago.

google made us into a gif!

I also purchased a chromebook this summer and it has been such a great addition to my life.  It is probably the reason for my increased blogging, it creates those great gifs you’ve been seeing around when I import my pictures from my phone, and all around, a great investment for me!

I started running again this week, after a two week hiatus … now tomorrow, my new running partner and I are running a 5K! What? Crazy again … looking forward to it, anxious about the event.  We’ll see how it goes, I don’t think I’ll be able to run the entire thing, but I’ll definitely be able to finish.

I’m also pretty excited my friend Fr. Michael is coming to visit Charlotte this weekend.  He’s living in Chapel Hill now to study Physics and UNC, so he’ll be in NC (my state) for 5 years!  I’m excited about being able to visit with him more often!

See you next week – check out Jen’s for some more quick takes!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Five Favorites (June 12th)

Five Favorites, hosted at MoxieWife.com

Some Favorites for this week:

1. English Trifle!  Our secretary made an amazing trifle for Father’s Ordination Anniversary Lunch and it made me think of this video:

2. Our new statues in the Church – every time I go into the Church I am pleasantly surprised and excited to see Mary and Joseph!

3. BlogLovin’ – I enjoy this so much better than the old google reader format – and although I have a deep affection for google, I’m glad they forced me to migrate!

4. My friend Elisabeth!  I just purchased a plane ticket to travel to see her over the 4th of July and I couldn’t be more excited!!! 20 days until me and this face are reunited!!!

she’s on the left!!!

5. MG – Favorite today (and every day) because tonight we’re going out to celebrate her birthday!

That’s all folks!  Head on over to Moxie Wife for some more favorites!

7 Quick Takes Friday, May 31st

For More Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

– 1 – This is just one piece of the crazy stuff I’m asked to understand where I work:

Seriously – some days I don’t feel qualified to work here!

– 2 – Last week I finally did it – I ran 2 straight miles!  What an accomplishment!  Now working on being able to do 3.1 to finally master the Couch to 5K!

– 3 – This series (that’s the 4th installment, you can find the rest in the first few paragraphs) has been an interesting find…  In the Cafeteria Catholicism Discussion, this part was particularly fascinating:

Cafeteria Catholicism is rooted in two basic problems. The first is a foundational relativism. What I mean by “foundational relativism” is the sort of relativism that is simply woven into American culture. Nobody thinks about it or discusses it. It is just there as a founding principle of the American worldview. This relativism can be stated as “I know what’s best for me” or “everybody has their own truth–what works for you doesn’t work for me.” Nobody thinks this through. It’s just part of the American air we breathe, but it’s poisonous air when it comes to the practice of the Catholic faith.

The other thing which has exacerbated the problem of Cafeteria Catholicism is a poor understanding and poor exercise of Church authority. Too many Catholics regard the teaching of the Catholic Church to be a sort of arcane theory of life for saintly people–not something for ordinary folks like them. They have a vague notion that the Pope is infallible, but see no real reason or way that the Church speaks to them in their ordinary life. Why is this? Because too many priests have been dishing out saccharine Oprah Winfrey self help homilies rather than teaching the faith.

Furthermore–and the most damning–they have seen the clergy and bishops living just like all the other materialistic compromising American Catholics. To often the clergy and bishops themselves have not lived the life they profess and preach. Why should the people take the authority of the church seriously when their own clergy and bishops don’t seem to take it seriously? They have been picking and choosing which parts of Catholic faith and practice they want to observe. Why should the laity be any different?

– 4 – This week was our first play off game and WE WON!!! 12 to nothing!  Oh, and I scored a run, yeah, you read that right, I scored my first run!

– 5 – Talked with Elisabeth last week, friend from St. Marys who lives in Denver now, and really want to fly to see her over the 4th of July.  Tickets are sooooo expensive though…$505, although my favorite travel search site (bing.com/travel) says price is 80% going to drop by $50!  Will it happen?

– 6 – Really missing my guy Lino this week while he’s on vacation … at least he’s uploading beautiful pictures:

At least of beautiful places … but can’t say I don’t think God did some good work there!  Excellent job Lord!

– 7 – New Roommate moves all her stuff in today!  Pretty excited … yeah, welcome Lisa to the crazy house. It seems to be only one of three kinds of people live with me: ladies preparing for marriage, women who are crazy (ie: don’t trust the bank system and keep their cash in a safe in my apartment and have a car parked out front that doesn’t even work), or discerning becoming a cloistered nun (left the convent, lived with me, decided best option in life was to go back to the convent).  Which will Lisa turn out to be? any guesses…

Head on over to Jen’s place for some quicker quick takes with her peeps!