Zumba Giveaway!

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If you haven’t tried it—you need to! As I pointed out with my walking playlist, exercise has got to be part of your routine. If walking is your thing, that is great. It will burn a few hundred calories. But if you are at a weight loss plateau, there are times you may need to work a little harder and change it up.

I have wanted to try Zumba for a year and somehow never made it to a class until last November when my friend Tonni started teaching. She needed people to fill her class. I decided to try. I’ve been a fan of aerobics for years and did my share of step aerobics which I enjoyed for a long time. Despite my love for dancing, I knew that Zumba would be new. I was good at dancing to ‘80s music; I have not kept current with the latest dance moves!

I stood in the back. I didn’t care that I couldn’t get every routine right away. I didn’t care that my hips were better moving in a circular motion or side to side rather than  front to back. The point is that I was moving and having fun. The time flew by and it sure didn’t feel like exercise. Yet, I was working up a sweat and for the first time in a long time, I felt I got the true aerobic workout to raise my heart rate. I knew this is what I was missing. Rumor has it you can burn 700-800 calories in one session. Wow!

If you have participated in any type of aerobic dance over the years, you will be fine. The routines are very similar, the music is different and the movements will be a little different than you are used to. Your hips may not want to move the right way. It doesn’t matter. Your shoulders may not shimmy like the instructor’s. It doesn’t matter. If you have felt uncoordinated in previous classes, I encourage you to stand in the back and do some of the moves. You will move your body in a different way. All of that is a good thing!

This Giveaway is for my local readers. You can find out more at www.zumba.com and get classes for classes in your area.

Zumba for the Joy of It is led by instructors Danielle and Tonni. The classes are held Tuesday and  Thursdays at 6 pm and Saturday at 10 AM and are located at 107 E 7th St in Downtown Vancouver. Classes are only $5! Danielle and Tonni are giving away a pass for TWELVE classes which is a $60 value!! You all better jump on this one or it’s mine!

 Thank you ladies for this fabulous giveaway! You are awesome!

Meet Dani

  and Tonni!

 Dancin’ the hour away!

Are you willing to give Zumba a try? If you already have, let me know what you think. Your comment automatically enters you in the Giveaway. The winner will be chosen Tuesday, June 14th at 9 pm.

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Karen’s Walking Play List

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Working out is a key for weight loss. Whether you walk, run, spin or dance, music is a key to keep us moving. Some love watching TV or reading when they are on a treadmill. Whatever works!

For me, music is the only way to go. My criteria for a walking play list? I need a constant beat with a fast pace. When the song slows down, so do I.

I wouldn’t say this is a running play list, but I imagine it could be. I chose songs that are fast and even when a song slows down there is still that constant beat that keeps you going.

I love many types of music. These songs works well for fast walking, the elliptical trainer and housecleaning! You should be able to go a good hour with this.

Karen’s Play list

1.    Ain’t No Other Man: Christina Aguiliera

2.    Bad: Michael Jackson

3.    Baby I’m a Star: Prince

4.    Bad Case of Loving You: Robert Palmer

5.    September: Earth, Wind and Fire

6.    Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting: Elton John

7.    Love Shack: B-52s

8.     Black Horse & The Cherry Tree:  KT Tunstall

9.    Takin’ Care of Business: Bachman Turner Overdrive

10.  Brown Sugar: The Rolling Stones

11.  C’est La Vie : Bob Segar and The Silver Bullet Band

12.  Pocketful of Sunshine: Natasha Bedingfield

13.  China Grove: The Doobie Brothers

14.  Cowboy Casanova: Carrie Underwood

15.  Devil with the Blue Dress On: Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels

16.  Don’t Stop: Fleetwood Mac

17. A Change Would Do You Good: Sheryl Crow

17. Sweet Escape: Gwen Stefani

18.  Killer Queen: Queen

19:   Born this Way: Lady Gaga

20:   Forget You: Cee Lo Green

Whenever I see playlists compiled by other people, I always think it tells me a lot about that person. Music has a way of doing that. I guess I’m putting myself out there a little by divluging my taste in music! It would be the rare person who liked all of these songs. Hopefully you can find a couple that might work for you–perhaps even one or two you’ve never heard of.  There is so much great music out there, it is hard to limit it to 20. Do you have a “must download” walking song?

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Dieting: My Top 10 Tips

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Congratulations to Comment #8 for winning $50 of jewelry from lia sophia! A big thanks again to Kym Merrick for sponsoring. You still have a chance to win jewelry by inviting your Facebook friends. Invite 10-20 friends and you and your friend could both be winners of a lia sophia necklace! If you spotted something you like, contact Kym and she’ll get you all set.

Over the past few months I’ve shared some posts on Weight Loss and Diet. I’m wrapping it up this week  with the following post and then I’ll have my walking playlist and a Zumba Giveaway! Recently I just tried Barre 3 and I’m excited to share that with you at a later date.

TOP TEN THINGS I’VE LEARNED ABOUT DIETING

1. Men lose weight much faster with much less effort. It’s just the way it is. We need to get over it and stop beating ourselves up when comparing.

2. Accountability to a coach/consultant and a work out partner will make a huge difference in your success

3. Keeping a food journal will allow you to REALLY see what you eat.

4. Make your own sample menus rather than copy directly out of a book. Include what you LIKE and what you will EAT rather than what someone else likes. Include calories, fat, carbs, protein for each choice. Make your list or menu on the weekend before grocery shopping so you will have what you need in the house.

5. There seems to be more and more written about diets every year. Don’t jump on every band wagon. Read with discernment.

6. Listen to your own body and don’t give up even when medical professionals tell you there is nothing wrong.

7. The bottom line: Meat (protein), vegetables and fruit should be the mainstay of our diets. When we stray away from that, we get into trouble. The shelves in our stores are full of temptations.

8. Make meals ahead on the weekend of possible. Also prepare healthy snacks that are easy to grab.

9. What works for your friend will not necessarily work for you!

10. When you gain a few pounds from a special trip, weekend, party etc. Get right back to eating well so that 5 pounds doesn’t turn into 10 and then 15 and then completely get away from you.

This is only ten. What is the best tip you could share?

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Nutrition Plus Giveaway

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I’m happy to introduce another guest post written by nutrition expert, Connie Mc Graw. I met Connie a couple of years ago and she did a consultation for me at that time.  She knows her stuff! She is offering a FREE Wellness Evaluation to Style by Karen readers. ( includes a body scan.) This is about a hour and half appointment and includes suggestions for creating an eating plan. Connie gives tips for choosing the right products in the grocery store. (I thank her for the tip on the high protein, low carb yogurt on the market) Even if you are not local and cannot take advantage of this, you will glean information from Connie’s story.

I am 55 years old, and had struggled with weight loss since my first child was born. When I tried to lose weight in the past, the way to do it was to “not eat”, or live on lettuce, store yogurt, string cheese, soda crackers, etc…not much protein. I didn’t even really know what protein was all about and how important it was for your body to create lean muscle and make you strong, keep your blood sugars stable.

About 4 years ago I was introduced to Herbalife products and the concept of eating 5 times a day. Seemed like an impossibility to me…who has time for that? How could I eat all that food? And tablets, why do I want to take all that? I decided to bite the bullet and do the “program”. I was one of the biggest skeptics ever. I connected with a coach, got on a plan, learned about different body types. (we are not all created equal!) I started eating 5 times a day and the weight started coming off. 10 months later, I lost 40 pounds and have kept it off for 2 ½ yrs now.

Now, I will say, through my journey, I did not exercise at all. An occasional walk was it for me. Looking back, I wish I had combined the exercise because we all know the benefits of the two in combination.

I read everything I could about various foods, and how they react within our bodies. I discovered along the way that if I eat a lot of processed sugar (desserts, cookies, candies, etc) I will be “hot flashing” all night long. Yes, I am into full blown Menopause and have been going on 2 years now. I have been experimenting with my body and foods. It seems that sugar is the trigger for me.

 That doesn’t mean that will work for everyone, but it is working for me at this stage of my life. I have learned that eating a well rounded diet of proteins, grains, fruits (in moderation) lots of greens and vegetables, I feel fabulous, have tons of energy and my skin and hair glow! I also supplement two of my snacks in a day with protein shakes, I eat every 2 ½-3 hours…my blood sugars are stable, no cravings in the afternoon.

 After my weight loss with Herbal and a Wellness Coach, I decided that is what I want to do– helping people to achieve their nutrition and health goals. I coach them along on their journey.

I started my Wellness Coaching business 3 years ago. I am working at a Nutrition Club in Vancouver, WA in the Salmon Creek neighborhood. It is called Nutrition Plus. I have an office there and coach clients.

The environment of our club is a lot like Starbucks. You can order a meal replacement shake, and sit and visit with friends, or call your shake order in to go! We have TV, WI-FI, and coaches to chat with you about your topic of the day! We offer Weight Loss Challenges and classes. We do not promote “diets” but instead changes that you make for lifelong success.

When I first meet with someone, I do a body scan on them to get some numbers. It only takes about a minute to run the scan; the numbers are very powerful.

 We talk about you, your needs and how I can help you achieve your goals. I make the plan fit the person. We are all different. It needs to be a plan that YOU are comfortable with, it is about YOUR journey and goals.

 I create an eating plan for you, which comes with a shopping list and suggestions. Once you are on a plan with me, we meet weekly, monthly, whatever your schedule allows, at no additional fee. I am your coach for the duration of your journey, whether it is a few months, or lifelong.

 My goal is to help educate people in our community with better nutrition and health goals. I love people and I love what I do!

Karen’s Note: Connie’s evaluation introduces you to Herbal Life products, but her knowledge and suggestions go far beyond that program. If you are connected with another supplement program, I still encourage you to go and see her. While she may not know the details of your program, she can add knowledge that will help you with your healthy weight loss journey. Stop in and check it out. You will be so impressed with this Starbuck’s atmosphere serving delicious protein shakes. Ask for Connie or leave her a note. Let her know you’re a Style by Karen reader!

Make a comment to enter. Don’t you think Connie should start a blog? Let her know you’d love to read more about nutrition. If you’d like to connect with her personally go to my CONTACT form.

 Winner will be chosen Saturday, May 14th at 9 AM PST.

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Weight Loss: Changes I’ve Made

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If you are new reader, this is Part 3 in an ongoing series on Weight Loss. I incorporate a post on this every so often to sprinkle it in between all the fashion. When I wrote about my struggle with Insulin Resistance, I did not elaborate on the changes I have made.

Re-reading  my article, I realized I  almost gave the impression that I haven’t made any changes and that I was in complete denial. Then I thought…Wait a minute. I have made many changes! I just still have a long ways to go. If  you feel your body reacts to carbs, you may try some of these suggestions. Many also apply to general health–not just for insulin resistance.

1. I do not eat Pasta. I love it, but it’s a rare occasion. Whole wheat/grain is much better because of higher fiber content, but still carb loaded. I can’t give up potatoes completely, but try to limit now to just a couple of times a week. This is really hard. Mashed potatoes are a comfort food for me.

2. Sweet alcoholic drinks are in my past. I can’t recall the last time I had a margarita. I’ve learned to like a good Bloody Mary. A glass of wine or an occasional beer is a treat now. The best choice by far is NO alcohol.

3. Diet soda is an occasional splurge. I drink sparkling water or club soda with lemon/lime. Sometimes I just crave a diet Coke and give in. Obviously no sugar issue here. I’ve just read SO much about soda and artificial sweeteners that I know it’s time to eliminate that from my diet.

4. Walking is not a tough enough workout for me to see a difference unless I vary the incline (and wouldn’t you know it that capability broke on my treadmill) I need cardio that works up a sweat.

5. No white bread. I cheat occasionally at a restaurant because that bread basket is so darn tempting and my boys love it. How do I tell them NOT to bring it?

6. No fruit juices. I craved orange and grape juice when pregnant and I still love it, but I’ve cut it out completely.

7. One of my favorite breakfasts is plain Cheerios with fresh fruit. Pure carbs. No protein. Not a good choice anymore even if the hype is all about whole grain.

8. I drink hot lemon water. It’s soothing and a natural diuretic. I still love a cup of coffee or a skinny vanilla latte, but I’m trying to keep in natural. It’s great on a cold morning or evening.

9. Increased protein. I use a High protein powder for shakes with Greek yogurt that also has a high protein/low carb count. The yogurt with a touch of fruit mixed in is also a great way to fix a sweet craving.

10. When going out to eat,  I look at the websites for nutrition details to make the best choices.

More Changes I need to Make.

1. Potatoes with evening meal 1-2 times a week only. Ask for more vegetables instead of potatoes in restaurants.

2. Say NO to the chips at a Mexican Restaurant

3.  Sweets & chips that are a weakness cannot be in the house. We now buy BBQ chips or Cool Ranch Doritoes. I don’t like those at all. Teenage snack food for the most part is not appealing to me. However, when my husband buys regular potato chips or frosted sugar cookies at the store I could crown him!

3. I still love milk chocolate over dark chocolate. I really shouldn’t have either.

4. Say NO to dessert. A couple bites only makes me want more.

5. When cooking/baking something for a special event give most of it away. My family doesn’t eat it fast enough and I will.

There you have it. Even implementing a few of these changes might make a big difference for you. Any thing you’ve tried that really has made a difference for you?

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Weight Loss: What is Insulin Resistance?

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In Weight Loss, the Ongoing Battle I delved into a topic that almost every woman can can relate to. That post contained some general advice, but today I’ll share some personal experiences. It’s a longer post than usual; hopefully I broke it down well.

My weight gain pattern started 10-12 years ago. It was a puzzle. I watched what I ate within reason, exercised, but still found it so hard to shed the pounds. I could eat a high carb meal on the weekend and gain 3 pounds. Then it wouldn’t come off. I sought advice, but others were stumped as well.

In 2001 I saw a nutrition expert who mentioned the words INSULIN RESISTANT for the first time. My Dr. said: “you don’t have that!”

I sought advice from another Dr. She told me there was nothing wrong and suggested (Seriously) “Get more involved in you kids’ activities!” I gave up.

Years passed: more frustration. I worked with a trainer who was adamant about counting calories/fiber. After a few weeks, she was dumbfounded. I wasn’t dropping weight. It  made no sense scientifically. I chose another Dr. whose kids had attended school with mine. I only knew her vaguely, but I knew she wouldn’t think I was some obsessed crazy woman about my weight. She “got it” and referred me to the PA in her office who specialized in the area of Type 2 Diabetes. Finally I had someone who would listen and understand!

After a  four hour blood test where blood is drawn every hour, I was offically diagnosed Insulin Resistant in December of 2006. Now let me explain, I’m very “non-medical”. Scientific, medical terms were not a part of my background knowledge. Furthermore, I really have no interest in learning. It all sounded like a bunch of medical jargon to me.  The most important point here?  I was in denial.  The seriousness of the matter did not sink in. I didn’t feel bad or have some of the symptoms others did. I brushed it under the table and went on with my life. It WAS reassuring to know there was something abnormal and this wasn’t all in my head. Sometimes I used it as an excuse for my weight. Most of the time others wouldn’t have any idea what I was talking about and gave me a blank look. I did a poor job of explaining it. What exactly is Insulin Resistance? The following diagram helped me:

In easy to understand terms: It’s as though I have locks on my cells and they cannot use the insulin properly. The pancreas continues to make more. I store this excess as weight–typically around the middle. Treatment: Proper low-carb diet, exercise and sometimes medication.

I read, researched and tried more diets. My biggest mistake during these last years was the fact that I didn’t understand that I would NOT have the same results as someone else. People who are not experienced in the medical field are quick to tell you that a diet plan will work for YOU because they had awesome results and they are now selling the product. I jump on the band wagon with all the rest. I’m happy for all those who have lost weight with various programs, yet I’m frustrated I can’t get the same results. Looking back, I completely understand now why certain programs worked for a time and others were a total disaster.

Bottom Line: I should only have 45-60 carbs a day. If you’ve ever counted carbs you know that is NOTHING! Most diet programs promote a balance between protein, fat, carbs. 90 carbs a day is pretty standard and that is too much for me. I will not lose weight on these type of plans.

Here is another problem. I look at sample meals and I kind of pull up my nose. I wouldn’t say I’m a picky eater, but looking at the acceptable vegetable list I admittedly am not a fan of turnips, eggplant and kale. I hate many of the vegetables on the list. I like salads but tire of them easily and prefer them in a restaurant vs home. I love bread, potatoes, and have a hard time staying away from sweets. I love to bake and rarely do it any more because I will eat it ALL.

We read and hear a great deal about emotional eating. Some of us eat out of boredom. One of my friends summed up her eating perfectly. I’m going to borrow her statement because it epitomizes my feelings: “I love food. I love the taste, the texture and the satisfaction of a good meal. Eating is very social for me. I love going out to eat! I want the bread basket, the extra helping of chips at the Mexican restaurant, the garlic mashed with my entree and not another helping of vegetables! I love desserts, enjoy a glass of wine or occasional cocktail.” I can’t have most of what I want. The world is a tempting place full of foods I love!

Each year since diagnosis, my blood sugar number gets worse. I have gained 20 pounds since that first appointment in ’06. When I went in this week, I told my Dr. she needed to be a little more firm with me and say. “If you don’t change your ways… this is what will happen.” DIABETES for real with daily shots!

Perhaps writing this article will help me face the facts. I’m not sure. I think I’ve been there before and then I go back to my old ways.

If you feel comfortable sharing, I would love to hear from you. In the next weeks I’ll be sharing some ways I HAVE changed my lifestyle. I will also “review” some of the diet programs I spoke of with “unbiased” opinions.

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Weight Loss: The Ongoing Battle

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When I wrote about the Personal Training Giveaway, I mentioned a series on Weight Loss. I also admitted I’ve been avoiding this topic. 

One evening at the dinner table last fall, my son announced they were discussing dieting in Health Class all week. He likes to participate in class discussion. I could only imagine what he said.

Tell me you didn’t raise your hand and say, “My mom has tried every diet out there!” 

“No, I didn’t say that,” he replied. “But some other kid did!” I knew better.

“Ok, it WAS me.” he admitted.

My family has endured a number of my diets over the last years. You may look at pictures here on the blog and think…”Well, she’s not a size 0, but why is she always dieting?” Most of my life I never had to diet and could eat anything I wanted. I didn’t gain much weight with my kids and I lost it quickly both times. The second time was a little harder and I had to exercise a bit (what a concept). Then things started to change.

I’ve tried Atkins, South Beach, Jenny Craig, LA Weight Loss, Weight Watchers, Fat Flush Plan, Advocare, and some diet with pills that contained ephedrine before it was banned. Oh, and don’t let me forget the Lemonade Diet (cleanse) I’ve counted calories, grams of fiber and carbs. I’ve gone gluten free. I went through the step aerobics phase, worked with personal trainers, took up jogging, tried Pilates and spinning. Extensive reading on the weight loss topic only added to my frustration at times.

Most people tell me I look fine. The bottom line: I’ve learned to hide it well over the years. It honestly is one of the reasons I knew I would be a good stylist. I’m a master at hiding the flaws-especially around the middle. Please let me emphasize that I’m not trying to get back to High School or College weight. I’ve even given up weighing what I did before I had children. I have a goal that is a healthy weight for my height and AGE (this matters now). I honestly would be more than happy at this weight, but I’m a good 25 lbs away.

Before I share any more about my own medical journey, let’s talk about you.

Every woman I know wants to lose weight. It’s estimated that only 1% of women are happy with their bodies. I have very thin women come into the boutique where I work and complain about their “muffin top” and the fact that they can pinch a half inch of fat around their middle. Instead of singing the blues about myself, I validate their concerns by saying that I understand. While I might not be relating on the very same level,  almost EVERY WOMAN compares herself to how she USED to be. It’s very easy to get stuck on that. The woman that has only 5 pounds to lose or whose rock hard abs aren’t quite the same is just as upset and frustrated as those of us who have to lose 20 pounds or more. It’s all relative to your individual situation.

The next time your very thin friend complains about her weight, I want you to listen and understand. Those few pounds are just as irritating to her as your 20 are to you. By the same token, if you are the woman complaining about an extra inch around your middle to the woman who has 50+ to lose, choose your words carefully.

It may be difficult to share your own personal struggles with weight in a blog comment, but I welcome them if you are willing to share. There is more coming on this topic. If there is an area you’d like me to cover, let me know.

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Personal Training Giveaway

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It’s January 31st. How many of you resolved to get fit in 2011? Did you make a New Year’s resolution that has gone by the wayside already?

This post marks Part 1 in an ongoing series on weight loss. This series will not be in continuous posts, rather I’ll re-visit it occasionally because of the broad range of info I’d like to cover.

So why in the world has it taken me over a year to write on this topic? Weight loss, overall look and fit of clothing works in so well with what I’m trying to teach women.

It’s a rather lofty goal and difficult to do justice to this topic in a series of blog posts. There is a great deal of info out there.  Nearly every woman I know wants to lose weight/inches or feel more fit. So here we go.

Rather than hit all the diet programs on the market, we’re going to start with one of the basic components we all know: If you want to be fit, you must move! I know, the dreaded E word: EXERCISE!! Research tells us that exercise and caloric intake are the keys to weight loss. Strength training–even lifting light weights can fight against osteoporosis and heart disease. Muscle burns fat. But are all the facts we’ve read in recent years enough to get you off the couch?

I’d like to introduce personal trainer, Connie Oljar. I’ve worked out with Connie off and on for a number of years. I first met her at Bally’s Fitness where she worked with clients. A good friend introduced us and together we worked in a group. I’ve worked with a group of 2 and 3 and also individually.

Our local Bally’s closed and Connie moved to her home where she converted her garage into a work-out facility.

 

Why a personal trainer? I hear women say… “I know what I need to do.” I’m famous for saying that myself. But the bottom line is, I don’t. If you’re like me, I need a push. I need someone to think of different things for me to do so I don’t become bored. I have worked with other trainers, but quite honestly I got tired of doing the same things. Connie is VERY creative with workout routines. I rarely remember doing the same thing twice. She always puts a different twist on it and she has a knack for coming up with exercises with the Bosu ball that work so many muscle groups simultaneously. You will work hard, but you will feel and see the results. I took a break from training for a while and got “talked” into the Pilates reformer class. While I still believe this has merit, I kept saying, “I need more resistance. It has to be harder!” Simply said, I was used to Connie’s work outs. It seemed too easy and I didn’t really feel like I was working certain muscle groups.

I wish I could say that was ME in the photos. It is NOT. A big thanks to Connie’s client Charli for being a good sport about being photographed.

If you are local, you do not want to miss out on this great Giveaway. Make a comment and you will be entered for FOUR FREE SESSIONS! ($120 value) Contest ends Thursday, February 3 at 9 PM PST

Our lucky winner will be announced in my Friday post ALONG with a special for all Style by Karen readers. If you would like more details on Connie’s location, open training times and any other info, please contact her at oljar@comcast.net

When the timing is right, I will be back and I can’t wait. Even if you are not interested in this Giveaway right now, I would still love to hear your experiences with exercise and training. Is it hard to even fit a walk in a couple of times a week? Does the sight of a weight bench make you cringe? Remember, your comment may be helpful and encouraging to someone else.

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