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Week 4: New month to meet new health goals

January 31, 2012

I made it through January. Nobody is more shocked than me. I even managed to get my three workouts in each week. Never got much more than three –– I’m not gonna cheat and call walking my dog a workout, mainly because my dog walks me and not the other way around most days –– but I’m proud of myself. Going from not having seen the inside of a gym in years to getting in three workouts a week for an entire month deserves a pat on the back. I still have motivation issues some days, but I have noticed a real change in the way I feel. Staying on the elliptical machine for more than five minutes no longer feels like cruel and unusual punishment. I crave the endorphin rush I get from my gym time. I am sleeping better than ever.
For February, I’m going to push myself to add one extra workout a week. Since I’ve been doing Couch to 5k, which is three times a week, I can now actually run for 60 seconds straight without feeling like I’m on the verge of a total body meltdown. I’d like to add in a workout of just weight lifting, since I’ve read that the older women get, the more their bodies need both cardiovascular exercise and strength training. I have learned that running outside is, for whatever reason, exponentially more difficult for me than a treadmill, so I’m going to aim for at least one outdoor run a week while I train for the Starkville Central Neighborhood Foundation 5k. Seeing as how it’s outside and all, I’m glad I didn’t learn this lesson on race day. I do still have the butterflies and nightmares of making a complete fool of myself on race day that I admitted to in last week’s column, but since the race is three days before my first wedding anniversary I thought the timing was perfect. I can either give my husband, Jerry, the gift of a healthier wife or I can give him a good laugh and a hilarious story to tell my family about how I finished the race dead-last and on my knees.
I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Patrick House, the season 10 winner of “The Biggest Loser” last Wednesday and told him of my plan to run the 5k. He had some encouraging words, and told me what helped him the most when he trained for marathons was having a running buddy. Fortunately for me, my co-worker and cubicle-mate Kate suggested bringing our exercise clothes and running after work a few days a week. Running buddy –– check. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a little running club started. It’s definitely easier to get excited about exercise when you’ve got a little help from your friends.
Patrick also spoke a lot about food, and boy, did I learn a few things in that category. Did you know, for example, that a 20 oz soft drink contains 17 tablespoons of sugar? Can you imagine sitting in your kitchen, tablespoon in hand, eating 17 mouthfuls of sugar? Having that picture in my head will do wonders for those days when I walk into a gas station and instinctively reach for a Coke instead of a bottle of water.
Speaking of water, I don’t drink enough –– not anywhere close to enough. So that’s part of the February plan, too. I’m going to aim for 100 oz a day. I don’t know why I don’t like water, but I have heard numerous times from people who have forced themselves to drink it more that I will eventually crave it. I hope they’re right, because the ways in which water is good for you are too numerous to count, and it’s time I made the switch. If I look ten years younger by the end of February –– I’ve read it does wonders for skin –– I’ll never go a day without water again.
My husband and I have been eating a lot healthier at home, but another part of my plan for February is no more fast food or fried food, at all, for any reason, no matter how busy I might be or how much I’m craving french fries. My only exception to this rule will be Subway, because it’s easy to choose heathy there. Also, our deep fryer broke a while back, so now we have no reason to replace it. I will get my fruits and vegetables in every day and partner them with grilled chicken or fish and if I want a potato, it will be a sweet potato. I already eat an entire tray of kale chips nearly every day when I get home, and if you’re wondering what kale chips are, then if means you haven’t tried them. If you haven’t tried them, you must remedy that immediately.

Kale Chips

Kale greens
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large mixing bowl, put a big handful of raw kale. Some people cut the leaves off the stems, but I don’t mind the stems and my dog loves them. Drizzle some oil over the kale, and mix with your hands until there is a light coating on all the leaves. If you use too much oil, the leaves won’t crisp, so use it sparingly. Place lightly coated leaves on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper. Stick the tray in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Some people prefer them crispier and go for 12, but I think they’re perfect at 10 and not a second longer. You can transfer to a plate or tray, or you can be like me and just take the entire baking tray in the living room and polish it off while you’re watching that day’s episode of “Ellen” in your pajamas. You won’t even feel guilty, because who on earth will admonish you for overdoing it on the leafy greens? Nobody, that’s who.

Angie Carnathan is a feature writer for Starkville Daily News. To keep up with her progress or join in her quest for a healthier lifestyle in 2012, visit Get Healthy Starkville at

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