Tag Archives: Fitness

extolmag_27-1_page_028_image_0002

‘STUPID EASY’ SABOTAGE

By Angie Fenton 

A little over a month ago, I made a decision to invest in my health by signing up with a local wellness and weight loss program. I’d recently received had my cholesterol tested, and for the first time in my life, it was high. Too high. And that scared me.

After my consultation and training, I forked over a hefty sum and walked out the door with a new plan that was – as I like up call it – “stupid easy.” I knew exactly what to eat (lean protein, small amounts of fruit and lots of vegetables), when to eat and how much water I needed to consume. 

There was no way I could mess this up. 

In the first 10 days, I lost a little over 7 pounds and 2.2 percent of my body fat. I was ecstatic. My clothes fit better already, I woke up each morning just before my 4 a.m. alarm and felt sharper and more focused than I had in years.

Friends and colleagues noticed a new pep in my step, and my energy increased, too. The timing couldn’t have been better.

In addition to my roles as editor Extol and editor in chief of The Voice-Tribune, a monthly Louisville-based publication, I also now serve as the solo host of WHAS11’s “Great Day Live!” weekday morning show, which airs 10 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday. Like many of you, I also juggle work obligations with family, and trying to find a balance is a constant battle. But it wasn’t, at least for 10 days. 

With this new lifestyle plan in action, I slept better, felt more engaged in all aspects of my life and was on a serious roll.

And then I screwed it all up.

extolmag_27-1_page_028_image_0002

On April 8, I began solo hosting WHAS11’s “Great Day Live!” weekday morning show, so getting fit and increasing my energy and health while focusing on decreasing my cholesterol means even more.

Instead of sticking to the “stupid easy” plan, I sabotaged my success with excuses and simply stopped following the steps I knew I needed to take despite seeing evidence that it worked – and quickly. 

What a waste of money. 

What a waste of results. 

What a waste, I told myself again and again. 

Except, the thing about failure is there’s always an option to start again. 

So, that’s what I’ve done, but with new resolve, new goals and the enlistment of supportive friends and family. 

Losing weight is nice and necessary (I’m still in the unhealthy range), but I’m now mostly focused on getting my energy back, regaining that pep, focus and ability to sleep better, and reducing my cholesterol. I also am making physical activity a priority. 

Here’s to turning a waste of time, effort and money into a success as I head into Round 2, where it’s me versus me. 

MY “STUPID EASY” PLAN FOR SUCCESS

extolmag_27-1_page_029_image_0001

On April 8, I began solo hosting WHAS11’s “Great Day Live!” weekday morning show, so getting fit and increasing my energy and health while focusing on decreasing my cholesterol means even more.

Weigh myself every morning but refuse to fixate on the number. 

Prep my meals ahead of time and use measuring cups and an electric scale to ensure my portions are correct.

Write down everything I eat and drink and record calories. 

Be honest with people in my life about my goals and ask for their support. 

Stop making excuses.

13

5 TIPS TO GET FIT THIS SPRING

IF THE THOUGHT OF SWIMSUITS AND WARM WEATHER HAS YOU BUGGING OUT, RELAX AND TAKE A DEEP BREATH. THEN, TRY ONE OF THESE QUICK TIPS FOR SPRUCING UP YOUR COMMITMENT TO GET FIT (OR FITTER) THIS SPRING.

LOCATE YOUR MOTIVATION.

Do you love watching the sunrise? Does walking around dusk make you feel good? Or are you a lunch-time workout warrior? Don’t force yourself to adopt a certain time to work out – go with your gut and your preference. Sure, morning people can morph into night owls and vice versa,
but if you want to save yourself a bit of misery, find the time that works best for you, and then stay committed to it.8

CLEAN IT UP.

It’s that time of year again when many of us feel a deep-seated need to clean our homes from top to bottom and everything in between. So, use the labor in your quest to get fit. Make doing chores a game and compete with yourself to see how fast you can complete a job. Work up a sweat. Incorporate squats and lunges as you clean. Finish a task and then do 10 push-ups or a set of jumping jacks. Just move while you clean. You’ll burn calories and have a sparkling abode
before you know it.9

USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM.

Surely, someone in your stratosphere is interested in getting fit, too. Make a commitment to one another to join a class or take regular walks or runs. Working out with others is always more fun and you get the bonus of holding one another accountable, too.10

GO MARKETING.

Seeking a reason to overhaul your diet? Incorporate frequenting your local farmers markets into your weekly routine. The big, beautiful bounty farmers sell at the markets make eating healthier a treat. If you’re unsure how to use or cook a particular item, just ask. It’s a rare farmer who won’t give you his or her best tips.11

SET A GOAL. AND A BIG ONE.

What if you committed to getting fit over the next 12 – yes 12 – full months? How different would your life be than it is today? Want to, say, run the Derby Festival miniMarathon in 2020 but haven’t even incorporated regular exercise into your life? No worries. Set small goals. Reward yourself when you make progress. Then, get back at it again. In one year, you could be looking in the mirror at a whole new you on the inside and out.12

extolfebruary-march2019

Finding Balance in Historic New Harmony

PHOTOS & STORY BY JD DOTSON 

 

Late last fall, my husband and I hopped into the car and headed west. Destination: The southwest corner of Indiana and the former utopian society of New Harmony. 

Settled in the early 1800s by the Harmony Society – a communal religious group – under the leadership of George Rapp, the wilderness on the edge of the Wabash River was a perfectly isolated spot to await the second coming. Less than a decade after building the town, the Rappites returned to Pennsylvania and sold the town to industrialist and social reformer Robert Owen, who envisioned a new moral world of “happiness, enlightenment and prosperity through education, science, technology and communal living.” 

Renamed New Harmony, the experiment quickly failed for a variety of reasons but has become a center of national significance due to the early introduction of a group of artists, educators and scientists that arrived on a flatboat named the “Philanthropist” or the “Boatload of Knowledge.” New Harmony’s unique beginnings and rich history are well documented at the Atheneum, the starting place for our adventure and the official visitor center of New Harmony. 

Driving into the town, one of the first things we noticed was the presence of golf carts zipping through the streets. We asked one of the drivers and were directed a few blocks down “to a building that looks like it doesn’t belong.” The stark white and super modern Atheneum sits just on the edge of the quaint town near the Wabash River. Designed by Richard Meier, the model and drawings of the building now reside in the New York Museum of Modern Art and have won numerous design awards. The Atheneum is where you can watch a film about the history of the town, schedule tours, pop into the gift shop for a postcard (which they will mail for you!) and rent golf carts, too. For such a small town, big adventures await you. There are so many things to see and do. Here are a few of the ones we enjoyed:

We met a couple of friends in town at Sara’s Harmony Way for a quick cup of coffee to take on our cart excursion. Set right on the corner, Sara’s is much more than a coffee shop. The space is a full-service restaurant-coffee shop on one side and a wine ’n‘ craft beer bar on the other. The coffee was a perfect start to the day and kept our hands warm scooting around town on the golf cart.

New Harmony’s downtown boasts numerous antique stores, gift shops and art galleries. The New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art was split into two sides. The first was a showcase of contemporary and craft artisans from Midwestern artists. The space is full of art, sculpture, prints, blown glass, jewelry and craft. It was the perfect spot to affordably buy a thoughtful handmade gift or make a purchase for your personal art collection. We walked to the other side of the gallery and into a unique, beautiful installation in the large open space. The installation was called Nature Morte and housed a massive collection of nature specimens and archival photographs that tell the story of the town through the carefully-catalogued creatures that inhabited it. 

Next door, the Mason-Nordgauer Fine Arts Gallery had such a unique and impressive collection of post war/contemporary art from all over the world. The gallery showcases collector pieces from huge names like Roy Lichtenstein, Marc Chagall and Diana Kahlo to cutting-edge contemporary artists from New Harmony to Louisville and beyond. The gallery has put huge QR codes on the walls next to the works of art allowing patrons to scan with the camera on their phones and automatically link to information about the artist. It made the exhibit interactive and an amazing way to connect with the art.

We couldn’t resist a stop in the New Harmony Soap Company, the smells spilling out onto the sidewalk drew us in. The soap makers create natural plant and herb-based soaps, lotions, men’s grooming gear, pet shampoo and all kind of balms and ointments. The store is packed with smells and accessories. Our olfactory senses were in overdrive. We sniffed our way around the entire store and brought home a favorite scented patchouli bar.

New Harmony’s beginnings as a spiritual sanctuary are evident in the labyrinths and sacred gardens of the town. The Cathedral Labyrinth sits near the Atheneum and is a beautiful, peaceful garden with benches and a water fountain surrounding the stone labyrinth. The pattern replicates the original Chartres Cathedral Labyrinth near Paris and was completed in 1997. 

There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth, you are the navigator, you choose your own path, but some suggestions are to use quiet voices in the space. The labyrinth is a place to reflect, find serenity, count your blessings and find peace in yourself. 

Lauren Artress, Episcopal priest and author, describes labyrinths as: 

Paths of prayer

A walking meditation

A crucible of change

A watering hole for the spirit

And a mirror for the soul

Jon and I walked the labyrinth in silence, grateful for all the opportunities and love we have in our lives.

We quietly made our way back to our golf cart and headed to the Harmonist Labyrinth on the south side of town. Constructed in 1939 and restored in 2008, the labyrinth is made up of nearly 5-feet tall hedges winding to the stone grotto in the center. Its massive size would ideally make for a long meditative journey. Unfortunately, there were kids doing what any kid would do when set to run free in a “maze,” and we found ourselves in the midst of a giant game of tag. Mom and dad missed a teachable moment and maybe some peace and quiet as both took the opportunity to make phone calls and, presumably, update their Facebook statuses while walking in opposite directions as their kids. It was unfortunate for all of us, and we couldn’t figure out how they missed the giant park and playground across the street. Luckily, the labyrinth was outfitted with gates making access to the exit closer than winding our way back out. 

We returned our golf cart and with some time to kill before dinner, we made our way to Harmonie State Park just outside of town. We enjoyed a colorful drive through the park to the edge of the Wabash River. The leaves were at the height of their splendor, and the secluded woods and rushing water gave us the meditative peace we missed on our last stop. The signs at the campgrounds claimed they were full, yet we saw not a soul and fully enjoyed the beauty of our surroundings. We hiked along the banks of the river until the sound of the trees rustling and water rushing were drowned out by our bellies grumbling and made our way back to the car to set out in search of dinner.

We stopped at MaryScott’s Kitchen for dinner. The restaurant provided not only sustenance for our bodies but an overall experience. Everything on MaryScott’s menu is made to order, fresh and locally sourced when possible. There is no freezer or microwave, and the food is prepared by scratch, which diners can watch as they sit. The restaurant was warm and inviting, romantic and colorful. Each table was hand painted, ours with a fleur de lis, and the walls were adorned with vibrant paintings by regional artist Homer Duke. Jonny had perfectly seasoned and cooked salmon; I had the Bolognese. As usual, we retained our status as masters in the clean plate club and finished off every delicious bite.

We made our way out of New Harmony just as the sun was setting and marveled at how much we still wanted to see. Jane Blaffer Owen, wife of a descendent of Robert Owen and philanthropist responsible for much of its preservation, said this of the town, “My greatest hope for New Harmony is that this be a place of healing and reconciliation. … This is not to say there won’t be conflict, because there will always be conflict and difference of opinion, but we must use tools to resolve conflicts, so that there is no violence.” New Harmony offers that and much more.


IF YOU GO

Heading to historic New Harmony? Be sure to put these stops on your itinerary.

EXTOL 

ATHENEUM

401 N. Arthur St.

812.682.4474

visitnewharmony.com


SARA’S HARMONY WAY

500 Church St. 

812.682.3611

sarasharmonyway.com


NEW HARMONY GALLERY OF CONTEMPORARY ART

506 Main St.

812.682.3156

usi.edu/nhgallery


MASON-NORDGAUER FINE ARTS GALLERY

510 Main St.

812.682.6127

mnfinearts.com


NEW HARMONY SOAP COMPANY

512 Main St.

812.682.0515

newharmonysoap.com


CATHEDRAL LABYRINTH

301 North Street

HARMONIST LABYRINTH

1239 Main St.


HARMONIE STATE PARK

3451 Harmonie State Park Road

812.682.4821


MARY SCOTT’S KITCHEN

518 Main St.

812.270.5030

maryscottskitchen.com 

Building a goat stable this fall
was a family (and friends) affair.

FamFitter | December/January 2019

FamFitter

By Adam & Kristin Kleinert

It’s that time again. We feel compelled to close the year with a little reflection, and, this time, we decided to ask the family to give us some feedback. In an effort to keep it simple, we posed two questions to be answered by each member of our crew. We’re hoping to gain a little insight into what worked for us this year, and what we can do in the upcoming one to keep working toward our goal of becoming a fitter family. We encourage you to try something similar with your tribe; it’s fun to hear the different answers and may even be helpful in your own journeys.

 

THE QUESTIONS

In regard to food, fitness or lifestyle, what did we do this year that you liked or didn’t like?

What could we do next year?

 

Brahm, 2nd grade, age 8

 

I like going camping. You know I always want to go camping. I wish we could stay more and more days and go to more new places. Let’s take everyone.

 

Also, I like taking my lunch to school and not eating school lunch. Next year, I want to take my lunch to school every day and go camping all the time.

 

 

Molly, 5th grade, age 10

I love the goats! They are the best new thing we did this year and I can’t wait to show them at the 4H Fair. Now we should get some chickens. They go good with goats, right?

 

I vote next year we get chickens!

 

 

Eli, 8th grade, age 13

So this year I learned I need a schedule. I want to participate in all the sports and

activities I can, but I know I have to do my stuff at home (chores and homework) so

that I’m allowed to do the things I like. I didn’t love having to make a schedule at first,

but once I had one, it seemed like there was a ton of time in my day.

 

For 2019, I’m going to try to keep a good schedule and stick with it.

Building a goat stable this fall was a family (and friends) affair.

Building a goat stable this fall
was a family (and friends) affair.

Sydney, 10th grade, age 15

We cooked some really good meals with things from our little garden this year; especially with the basil, tomatoes and peppers. The homemade pizza we grilled outside on the fire, the lasagna, the caprese orzo salad – those are my favorite things we made.

 

Next year we should try to use as much as possible from the garden, and maybe add another box. Strawberries would be good.

 

Kristin, mom, 30-something

I feel like our focus on family is usually a strong suit for us, and that was no exception

in 2018. Though we are often super busy, overall we were able to strike some balance

this year between the stress of over-commitment and the hustle and bustle of daily

family life.

 

In 2019, as cliche as it sounds, I want to maintain a more consistent exercise schedule. It seems I begin to form a good routine, and then it goes by the wayside before becoming an actual lifestyle regimen. I know plenty of other busy moms who manage to fit in a workout almost daily, so I realize my excuses aren’t unique. I feel so much better, both mentally and physically, when I’m consistently active.

 

Adam, dad, older than Kristin

Risking redundancy, my thoughts are actually a mix of all the others. I would love to do

more camping, look into the possibility of adding more livestock, and I’d most definitely like to cook with more homegrown produce. However, I am excited to try and create more of a schedule than we currently use. No military-type boot camps and bed checks, and nothing that covers every minute of every day. It just seems we are always worried about what we could or should be doing.

 

My goal is to utilize a calendar that is efficient enough to allow us to actually enjoy our free time when we have it.

screen-shot-2018-10-04-at-11-03-19-am

Pace Yourself

screen-shot-2018-10-04-at-11-03-19-amPhoto by Danny Alexander

If the sweltering summer months kept you from staying committed to lacing up your running shoes and going for a walk or run, autumn is the time to start anew. Southern Indiana offers a number of family-friendly and competitive races and fun 5Ks, including SWAT TROT 2018 in Borden (Oct. 27), ElectriCom Run Cancer Out of Town 5K at French Lick Resort (Oct. 27), Rebel Color Dash in Elizabeth (Nov. 3) and much more. Pacers & Racers, 3602 Northgate Ct. #19 in New Albany, has built a reputation of ensuring customers walk out of the store with the correct shoes on their feet, smiles on their faces, and the knowledge that they have become members of the Pacers & Racers family. The shop also hosts an online schedule of the latest runs and walks. Visit pacersandracers.com, click on “Running & Walking” and then “Race Calendar” for details.

Fitness Guru Rashna Carmicle of B.YOU Her Modern Fitness Boutique

The Business of Getting (or Staying) Fit

 

Fitness Guru Rashna Carmicle of B.YOU Her Modern Fitness Boutique

Fitness Guru Rashna Carmicle of B.YOU Her Modern Fitness Boutique

By Angie Fenton

We all know it’s important to take time for our health, exercise and eating right. There’s nothing new about that. But, what if we began to treat our bodies like we approach our jobs?

 

You wouldn’t miss an appointment with a client or your boss, right? Being late to an important meeting is not an option, either, lest you risk appearing unprofessional and inept. Committing to see a project through to fruition is a must. Writing or typing in calendar alerts and making a schedule is imperative to professional success. So, what if we looked at our health that way and gave our personal fitness as much attention and respect as we do our professional lives?

 

I asked fitness guru Rashna Carmicle – creator and owner of B.YOU Her Modern Fitness Boutique– to provide a few pointers for those of us who are interested in the business of getting – or staying – fit. The following is her advice:

 

“I’m too busy” is probably the most common excuse I hear for missing workouts, but life is insanely busy for everyone these day, whether you are a CEO, a stay-at-home mom, a combination of both, or even just a kid or teenager. I believe the reason for this collective feeling of “crazy-busy” is right at our finger tips: constant connectivity to every aspect of our lives through email, text, social media, messaging, apps and the list goes on (and on and on and on). So, we have to treat our personal health and fitness as a priority, just as we do our professional and social lives. Here are a few ways to do that.

 

Change your mindset. There are so many things in life that are completely out of our control, but one thing we do have control over is our mindset. Change your view of working out from being a chore to being something you are doing for”yourself, and better yet, for those around you. Speaking from my own experience, if my workout routine starts to go astray, I am just plain cranky, and those who are closest to me have to suffer through it. They would welcome my hour away if it meant a happier, more energized wife, mom, boss or co-worker. Knowing this makes me view fitness as a priority just like brushing my teeth, going to work and driving my kids to school.

 

Write an action plan. If you were launching a new product, building a house or developing a new marketing strategy, you would write some sort of plan. Why not do this very same thing for your fitness journey. What are your short-term and long-term goals? What steps do you need to take to achieve them? How can you hold yourself accountable or, better yet, find someone to help hold you accountable, like a personal trainer or workout buddy.

 

Find a workout that works for YOU. My husband could do a spin class or cycle outdoors for three hours straight every day of the week, but if you told me I had to do that, I would give every excuse in the book. On the other hand, I absolutely love running and the feeling I get after a long run, but my body – my bad hip in particular – does NOT love the pain it feels afterwards. This is how we came to find trampoline fitness and introduced B.Bounce at B.YOU. It gives you the full-on cardio and sweat with 80 percent less impact. I was instantly obsessed! You have to find the right workout for your body and the workout that is going to motivate you and keep you coming back for more. If working out still feels like a chore after changing your mindset, then perhaps you need to change it up and find something new.

 

Find a workout buddy. Collaboration, or working with others, is often the key to success in business, education, entrepreneurship and so much more, but it can also be the key to success in your fitness routine as well. While I consider myself a fairly self-motivated individual, through my many years of trying various fitness regimens, I have always found that those involving a group is far more motivating to me. Whether it has been a single running partner, a five-person boot camp or a 20-person group fitness class, the level that I challenge and push myself is far greater than what I would have had I been working out on my own. Not only that, but it is much tougher to skip out on a workout when they’re waiting for me to show up. It holds me accountable. So, I always encourage people to find a workout buddy or try a group fitness class because collaboration may be the key to your success in making health and fitness a priority.

Schedule, schedule, schedule. Clients tell me regularly how much they love the fact that they have to schedule their classes because it helps to hold them accountable. Whether or not you are scheduling a class at B.YOU or another studio that has an online booking system, be sure to add your workouts to your own personal calendar each week. It makes a big difference to your commitment level if the time is already penciled in just like your other obligations.

 

Working out is only half the battle. Remember that being healthy is not only working out; eating healthy is just as important. You have to balance both, especially if your goal is weight-loss. If you are training five days a week but eating fast food, carbs and sugar, your results are going to be few and far between. You also have to steer clear of fad diets and try to adopt healthy eating habits that are realistic and sustainable. The key is balance.

 

Don’t beat yourself up. Our busy realities aren’t always conducive to our plan; we all fall off the wagon once in a while. When you do, don’t beat yourself up and definitely don’t give up. Just move on, refocus on your goal and get back to it the next day.

 

screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-2-54-31-pm

Progress & Priorities

screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-2-54-31-pmBefore: 180 lbs.

Current: 129 lbs.

The last time I stepped on the scale before giving birth to my daughter, I weighed 180 pounds and stood in awe.

I’d happily gained what I referred to as “love weight” after meeting my husband, an incredible cook whose food I loved to eat. But after a year and a half, I couldn’t fit into any of my pants and had resorted to flowy tops with leggings or dresses to hide what was underneath. It was time to get back in shape, except nothing seemed to work. I was exhausted, craved food I’d never been drawn to and thought age must be the reason my waist was thickening. It never occurred to me I might be pregnant. After all, I was 40 and had been on the pill for years. Thankfully, God had other plans.

Now here I was, hours away from meeting the daughter I’d carried for months, in awe. I had never experienced such love for my own body. I felt strong, beautiful and at peace, all 180 pounds of me…us.

Hours after labor, I cradled Olive in my arms while my husband slept on a cot nearby, grateful tears rolling down my cheeks as I looked at the two most important people in my world.

Less than three weeks after becoming a first-time mother, I was asked the dreaded post-birth question – “When are you due?” – while on a quick solo trip to grab a few items at my neighborhood grocery store. Surely, the stranger had not meant to be rude, so I laughed it off without correcting her, but the comment stung.

When I began to receive unsolicited Facebook messages and texts from people who wanted to help me get my “pre-baby body back,” I was deeply hurt. Well- intended or not, the offers were offensive. This mama was focused on learning how to parent (and finding pockets of time to slip in moments of sleep). What I looked like – what I weighed – was not for others to judge.

Instead of accepting someone else’s perception of me, I marveled at how this body had produced a tiny human and was now responsible for providing her what she needed to thrive. I knew I was, for the first time in my life, clinically obese and resolved to get back in shape when I was ready – not a moment before. Immersing myself in motherhood was the sole priority.

A year later, however, I grew tired of being tired. My joints hurt, my balance was off, and I lacked energy and stamina. I’d lost a little bit of weight without trying, but as a doctor gently pointed out, I was an older mom – 41 the day I gave birth – with a family history of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. My health needed to become a priority in my life.

So, I started working with a trainer and following a diet plan. But as soon as I lost a mildly noticeable amount of weight, I’d allow life to intrude, the excuses to flow and give up. I’ll start again Monday, I told myself again and again, sometimes lasting to the weekend but reversing any gains I made in the matter of a few days.

I didn’t feel like a failure; I just didn’t care. I was juggling multiple jobs, and working hard to be a good mom and supportive wife. That was enough, I rationalized. What I looked like did not – does not – define who I am. As someone who decades before had battled anorexia and bulimia for 10 years beginning in the eighth grade, this stance was proof my body image was strong, and I was proud of how I had evolved. But confidence and self-acceptance were not going to make me physically healthy.

I don’t quite know what sparked my resolve to get off the roller coaster of losses, gains and plateaus, but I woke up one Saturday morning ready for a change. Forget waiting for Monday. The time was now. There is no guarantee about longevity of life, but finally I wanted to do everything I could to lead a healthy one.

My method was simple: Reduce portions, know my calories, no skipping meals, eliminate alcohol, drink at least 64 ounces of water and exercise.

I purchased a cooler, prepped all of my meals except breakfast, scheduled workouts on my calendar and set a routine: Wake up, drink 8 ounces of water while packing my meals in my cooler, get ready for the day with my husband and daughter, make a simple breakfast, go to work, eat lunch, eat again four hours later, spend time with my daughter, eat dinner, prep for the next day, eat a snack before 8 p.m. if still hungry, go to bed.

If I had an evening meeting or event to attend, I’d eat beforehand so I wasn’t hungry. When offered a cocktail or some sort of delicious treat, I’d decline, explaining I was on a mission to get fit.

When life threatened to get overwhelming because of work duties related to coverage of the Kentucky Derby and my husband’s campaign for Floyd County Commissioner, I researched a local meal service called MacroMan and started ordering freshly-made meals from them to supplement what I was preparing.

As my clothes began to get looser, my motivation, energy and productivity strengthened. Sure, it felt good to have my waist back and zip up a dress I hadn’t been able to wear for the better part of three years, but what I valued most was my decreased anxiety, calmer approach to stressors and mental sharpness. I called it “getting my groove back,” though it was nothing more than setting a goal of getting healthier and – finally – proving to myself I could do it.

I’ve lost more than 50 pounds since my all-time high of 180. My goal now is to lose more body fat, gain muscle mass and continue increasing the strength of my heart and lungs through exercise.

These days, when I feel my motivation waning, I take a moment to stand in awe and remind myself I’m worth being a priority.

screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-3-00-32-pm

Tried & Tested

screen-shot-2018-06-05-at-3-00-23-pmBy Angie Fenton

I AM IN NO WAY AN EXPERT WHEN IT COMES TO HEALTH AND ALWAYS RECOMMEND CONSULTING WITH A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL BEFORE EMBARKING ON AN EXERCISE AND DIET PLAN, BUT HERE ARE SOME TIPS THAT HAVE WORKED FOR ME.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Thanks to the internet, I’ve found a zillion healthy, simple ways to cook chicken and make my own dressings for salads. There are also numerous Facebook pages dedicated to healthy eating. I often take screenshots of recipes – the easier the better – and save them in a photo folder on my phone. Then, when I’m ready to go grocery shopping, I write down exactly what I need so I’m not wandering aimlessly. Whatever you do, be sure you do your homework before you commit to getting fit.

EAT TO LOSEscreen-shot-2018-06-05-at-3-00-32-pm

Prepping meals takes some time, but it has been worth it. While I don’t force myself to eat if I’m not hungry, I think of my body like a furnace: You’ve got to keep the fires stoked if you want them to burn. Although I prepare most of my food, I also make purchases from MacroMan – MacroManMeals.com – a locally-owned meal prep service that has dishes for every taste. The food is delicious and has helped immensely when I need something to grab and go and don’t have time to figure out proportions or calorie counts.

DON’T CHEAT – TREAT

Even though I slip and still use the terms “cheat meal” or “cheat day” on occasion, I loathe the negative connotations. I also finally had to admit a “cheat moment” for me often became a “cheat month” or more, so I don’t allow myself to have them in the same way I used to. For example, instead of eating pizza, I treat myself to a healthy-ish dinner of, say, steak, something I don’t eat on a regular basis. Or, in place of ice cream, I’ll have low-fat frozen yogurt. The treats (usually) suffice and I don’t feel it necessary to full-on cheat. On the rare occasions when I have resorted to eating unhealthy foods, I start again on my journey the next day and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

KICK THE COCKTAILS

As much as I love a glass (or three) of wine, alcohol isn’t on my diet plan, and it’s been months since I’ve had a drink. My cocktail of choice now consists of sparkling water, lime juice and a coconut-flavored drink by Bai or club soda, lemon juice and mashed blueberries. I now think of alcohol as unnecessary calories and a trigger to slipping back into old eating habits I’ve worked really hard to break. When I recently considered having just one glass, I grabbed a bottle of water and forced myself to weigh the pros (there weren’t any) and cons (there were many). I may indulge in the future, but for the present time, it’s not for me.

SEARCH FOR SUPPORT

My husband has been a constant source of support, which is helpful, and I have a few friends I reach out to as well. I also occasionally share tidbits of my journey on social media. Accountability is important to success. Search for support in whatever way works for you.

MOVE IT

You don’t have to join a gym in order to exercise, although being a member of one can help with accountability. I have a number of friends who swear by Four Barrel CrossFit (you get a workout and a great community of supporters), love Planet Fitness (clean and open 24-7), thrive on personal trainers that come to your home (Ryan Schrink of Schrink Personal Training is THE best) and, for the ladies, have had big success at B.You. I belong to a gym and also exercise at home. Some days that means going for a walk or dancing to the “Trolls” soundtrack with my 2-year-old. Whatever you do, get moving and regularly.

Photo by Jenny Branson

When Politics Get Personal (And Getting Fit Turns Political)

Photo by Jenny Branson

Photo by Jenny Branson

By Angie Fenton

This is not a political column.

That needs to be said upfront.

I grew up in a household where

talking about politics was rarely, if

ever, a topic discussed out loud, and

I am still more comfortable listening

to political views as opposed to

divulging my own and engaging in

political talk. I often feel like that’s a

rarity – I mean, listening to someone

else’s opinion instead of exclaiming

my own – though if I said as much

on Facebook or Twitter, I’m sure

someone would attempt to shame

me for saying that, but whatever.

My husband, Jason Applegate,

spent e ight (long) months

researching a passion he’s held for

a very long time. Then, he officially

declared he is running for Floyd

County Commissioner. I fully

support him but am just that: his

support. Still, this is not a column

about him or politics (though I do

encourage you, wherever you’re

located and regardless of your

political affiliation, to exercise your

right to vote…and if I’m called to talk

politics, well, just know I’ve spent a

lifetime of listening and am ready to

stand up and speak if necessary).

But this is a column I wrote for

the now-tabled Extol Sports, Extol

Magazine’s sister publication, and

it is and will remain a column about

getting fit as it was in the other

publication. So…

What I didn’t realize until Jason’s

candidacy began was the role his

campaign would take in terms of

how we approach getting fit as a

family, which has been the focus of

this column since it first debuted in

Extol Sports, our (again) now-tabled

sister publication, in January 2017.

Suddenly , si n c e Jas on’s

announcement, work and life

responsibilities have included a

schedule requiring advanced

planning as well as a family

commitment to fitness and fun.

While social media and print, radio,

digital and television options to

spread the campaign word are vital,

nothing is more effective than inperson

interactions. And that means

hitting the streets on foot.

Over the past several weeks, we’ve

really benefited because family

walks – which include our 2-yearold

– have become a priority. So,

too, has meal planning. Stamina

and endurance are imperative on

this journey, and carving out time

together is important as well, now

more than ever.

Instead of flying into the start

of a new week without thinking

beyond Monday, we’ve made it a

point to plan out the week’s meals

and preparing what we can ahead of

time. We have to. That saves money,

of course, and also forces us to think

about what we’re putting into our

bodies. Garbage in, garbage out is a

cliche of the past, but when you make

it a point to ingest food intended to

fuel your body, you feel better. We

are proof of that.

While in the past it has been easy

to end the day by sitting on the couch

and watching yet another episode of

“Sesame Street” before our tot goes

to sleep and then staying up way too

late working on our computers, Jason

By Angie Fenton

and I have a newfound commitment

to getting outside before dinner

(weather permitting), walking our

four dogs with our young one and

talking about anything but work.

It’s funny how much happier that’s

made us. It’s wonderful how much

healthier it’s making us, physically,

spiritually and emotionally.

We still fail and falter. That’s just

life. We also refuse to give up.

This mama built a body who

has become an amazing little

person. And I’m still committed to

competing in another bodybuilder

competition one day soon like I did

years ago.

For now, though, I’m going to walk

and support those I love and have

fun with my family while focusing

not on politics but on this journey

we’re fortunate to call life.