Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

My Plan for 2017: A Commitment to Fitness

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For years, I lived my life with one solid focus: to travel the world as much as possible and build my career as a travel blogger. And it was good. Lord, was it good.

But over time, I learned that being singularly focused means that everything else in your life suffers to a degree. Relationships. Other interests. And most importantly, health. Case in point: almost every travel blogger who has given up full-time travel has cited health as a reason.

When I finally felt the travel desire waning, it was a blessing. For the first time, I felt the freedom to create a fixed life in New York. Now that I’ve been managing that for a year, it’s time to turn my efforts toward improving my health.

The Background

I grew up very thin, put on weight throughout my twenties, then lost 20+ pounds in 2010, just in time for me to start my travels in Southeast Asia. How? I basically starved myself. It wasn’t healthy.

You can see in the pics from back then that I was super thin but had no muscle tone. I was the epitome of skinny fat.

After Southeast Asia, the weight packed back on. And while I would lose a few pounds here and there, I was never able to commit to anything. Yoga? BORED. YouTube workouts? MAYBE FOR A FEW WEEKS. Paid video workouts? DIDN’T LAST. Running? HURT MYSELF AND STOPPED. Walking a ton? NOT ENOUGH CARDIO.

And so I found nothing that worked. As a result, my weight stayed the same. And I am so fucking sick and tired.

I’m tired of contorting myself into the skinniest position possible while posing for photos.

I’m tired of traveling with gorgeous friends with hot bodies and feeling like the resident lump.

I’m tired of hiding on beaches behind sarongs and caftans.

I’m tired of traveling with brilliant photographer friends and ending up photos of a fat girl I don’t recognize.

For five and a half years I’ve been looking at photos of myself and thinking, “That’s not me.”

So I’m finally taking action. In a big way. Here is how I am going to change my life with fitness.

Exercise Goals:

Join Equinox.

Yes, I drank the #committosomething Kool-Aid. There was a promotion in December where there was no initiation fee for joining Equinox (usually $300-500), so that was the incentive that brought me in.

(Note: this January you can still join Equinox with no initiation fee if you work out 12 times in your first 30 days! Tell them Kate McCulley recommended you.)

I held off because I wanted to join a gym like Healthworks Back Bay, where I went in Boston. Healthworks is a luxurious all-female gym and I went all the time because I loved the atmosphere. And there actually isn’t an equivalent in New York. I went back and forth — did I really want to work out with boys who used all the heavy weights and made me feel inadequate?

Turns out a coed gym wasn’t the problem. My core issue was that I didn’t want to feel intimidated. And I lucked out — I go to the Equinox on West 92nd St., which is in a residential zone and thus reflects the locals: there are a lot of older people. Classes tend to be young and nearly all female, but usually at least two thirds of the floor is filled with people in their fifties and older. The kind of people who say, “Why, thank you, young lady!” when I hold a door for them (so sweet). And because of that, I don’t feel intimidated at all!

For what it’s worth, not every Equinox is like that. I’ve heard the downtown locations have a hotter crowd and the SoHo location in particular is popular with models.

And to acknowledge the elephant in the room — yes, it’s an expensive gym. I wish it weren’t. But for someone like me who has tried and failed so many different fitness plans over the years and has only succeeded staying in shape when she has a fancy gym to go to? GIVE ME THE FANCY PLACE WITH THE COOL CLASSES. All day. I need that as motivation. And their app. God, Equinox has an awesome app.

Honestly, if I joined Planet Fitness or even NYSC, I wouldn’t be motivated to go. Equinox is super nice and fancy and I love going there. Spending that money is worth it because it’s keeping me in shape.

Get a personal trainer.

I didn’t see this on the horizon, but surprise — I have a trainer now! Equinox matched me with Gayle, a trainer who met the criteria I asked for (female, not a drill sergeant type, wouldn’t mind my sporadic travel schedule) and I see her twice a week for strength training.

I went into the gym as a fitness newbie — I have no clue how to work out on the machines or what my form should be or how hard to push myself or how to design a circuit. Even when I went to Healthworks in Boston, I avoided the machines because I didn’t know how to use them. This way, Gayle is helping me go from an unshaped ball of clay to a very fit human being with a routine customized to all my personal strengths and weaknesses.

Try 20 classes at Equinox before the end of the year.

I am a class junkie — I love group fitness, especially fast-moving dance-y classes, and it’s one of the best ways to motivate me to go to the gym. Equinox is known for its excellent classes and instructors. I’m already impressed at what the difference can be between an average Zumba instructor and a great Zumba instructor.

I *could* take 20 different classes at my gym on 92nd St., but that would mean taking virtually every class they offer, so I may look into expanding into a global membership, letting me check out other clubs and classes.

Get up the nerve to take a spin class.

The idea of spinning, or indoor cycling, has always terrified me, especially after hearing accounts of intimidating instructors from friends. It seems like everyone yells at you, and I don’t feel strong enough to join in yet!

I will get up the nerve, and I will do it. Maybe in a month or so.

Figure out how to keep up exercise while traveling.

This is the one that stumps me the most. Everything I’ve tried while traveling has not worked long-term. I think my best solution may be trying to find Zumba classes when traveling in the US or major cities.

Lose 25 pounds by Memorial Day.

Memorial Day is the last weekend in May and the unofficial kickoff to the summer, non-American readers. And I think losing 25 pounds a week, which works out to just a little over a pound per week, is a very reasonable goal.

My body assessment calculated that my optimal goal should be to lose 33 pounds of fat and add 11 pounds of muscle. So losing 25 pounds will get me to a good, bikini-worthy weight, but I think I can lose another 5-10 pounds beyond that.

Get sexy, defined clavicles again.

I want my clavicles to be sharper than a serpent’s tooth.

Diet Goals:

Aim to eat paleo 80% of the time.

I’ve always thought the paleo diet made the most sense — lots of vegetables with meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds, while avoiding processed foods, sugar, dairy, and grains. It sounded so healthy — I just didn’t want to commit to it.

Then I promised my trainer I would give up sugar and carbs (not all carbs, just bread and pasta and rice). And then I dropped dairy as well and didn’t miss it. I guess this is what I’m doing now.

Doing it 80% is a smart choice because it keeps me from being miserable and it makes socializing easier. I went out for Vietnamese food at Anchoi on the Lower East Side and enjoyed pho and summer rolls with rice noodles and rice paper, and didn’t care. I had a little shaved parmesan on a kale caesar salad at Sweetgreen and loved it, too.

I’m not going to splurge aimlessly — I’m going to save them up for really good reasons. Like a Salty Pimp at Big Gay Ice Cream in the Village or the fettuccine al’amatriciana at Emilio’s Ballato in SoHo.

Commit to cooking paleo at home.

I love to cook. And there are so many great paleo recipes on the internet! I’ve been experimenting and having a great time. I made a grass-fed beef chili so good that I nearly cried. And my new favorite things are date-almond-coconut bars made with nothing but those three ingredients.

In the process, I’ve also started shopping at the Trader Joe’s on 72nd St. more often, rather than relying on the subpar markets in my neighborhood. Not only is Trader Joe’s shockingly cheap (like, cheaper than Amazon cheap), they also have a nice selection of organic options and cool store products. (The only thing? The checkout line stretches for AGES, even on a random Tuesday afternoon.)

Make smarter choices about alcohol.

I’m still doing a sober month once a year (though I didn’t write about it in 2016), which I recommend to everyone. It’s good to give your body a break and remind yourself how to socialize without booze. It made my skin clear up so much, too.

I’m not giving up alcohol entirely, but I’m making smarter choices about what I drink. I don’t drink at home to begin with, and when I go out, I choose wine (usually red or champagne) or spirits, ideally low-cal vodka sodas with (a lot of) lime.

And if I get a cocktail, I try to get a relatively clean cocktail. At Attaboy on the Lower East Side (amazing speakeasy and one of the best cocktail bars I’ve ever been to), the bartender made me a Bee Sting: gin, lemon, honey, ginger. At Red Rooster, the restaurant that literally made me want to move to Harlem, I got an Earl of Harlem: bourbon with Earl Grey tea and lemon.

Off the menu are beer, sugary cocktails, and anything involving soda or high-cal mixers like tonic.

Make smarter choices about caffeine.

I’ve become a latte-a-day girl, and as much as I love them, they’re not the smartest choice. They add a lot of calories and the dairy isn’t great for you. Plus, I don’t mind drinking (good) coffee black!

When I go out to cafes now, whether to work or for a pick-me-up, I restrict myself to either black coffee or herbal tea. No sugar, ever, but I didn’t use sugar anyway.

I’ve also been experimenting with bulletproof coffee: a cup of coffee with a tablespoon of organic unsalted grass-fed butter and a tablespoon of organic coconut oil. I only do it pre-workout, but it makes me feel like I have rocket fuel in my veins.

Make smarter choices about animal products.

This year I’m going to make a bigger commitment to cooking only with organic, free-range, antibiotic-free eggs and poultry, grass-fed beef, and wild-caught fish. These kinds of animal products are so much healthier for you than the conventional options.

Unfortunately, meat this good comes at a price — it’s very expensive. I’ll try to get what I can for cheap at Trader Joe’s, but they don’t have everything. I plan on making lots of visits to Harlem Shambles, one of the best butcher shops in the city.

Mental Health Goals:

Meditate more often.

I pay for the Headspace app but don’t use it nearly enough. It’s funny how I can while away ten minutes on Facebook without noticing but ten minutes of meditation makes me think, “Do I really have time for that?” Hell yes, Kate, you have time for that!

The truth? Meditation always helps me relax, focus, and feel more in control. Sometimes it even cures my headaches! There’s really no reason not to do it. I’d like to do it a few times a week.

Let go of the body baggage.

I grew up in a thin family. I graduated from high school at 5’4″ and 109 pounds and didn’t start putting on weight until later in college, then kept adding more and more in my twenties and thirties.

My family members are wonderful, smart, funny people. But nobody’s perfect, and looking back, I realize that when I was growing up, we were not as kind and accepting of overweight people as we should have been. It never lapsed into mocking or cruelty, but there were constant negative comments when talking about people heavier than we were.

Two examples of that? I remember when I was in a play and one 15-year-old girl had to do a move where she flung her arms outward. I noticed nothing unusual about it, but I remember my mom saying, “If I had a daughter whose arms jiggled like that, I’d have her on a workout plan so fast.” (And because I know a lot of people from home read this blog — she wasn’t talking about someone from Reading. This was at summer camp.)

And I remember once at church when a family of three came in. Both of the parents were obese and each used two canes to walk. Their son, probably around 12 at the time, was overweight. “That kid is doomed,” I remember my dad saying as soon as we were home.

It was during college when I realized that making negative comments about overweight people was neither kind nor common. I spent a few years rewiring my brain and trying to become a better person.

So, what’s it like to grow up thin in a family where thinness is prized but you end up heavy? It’s been rough. I’ve felt like an embarrassment to my family for many years now, especially after being a heavy bridesmaid in two weddings. My weight is frequently a topic whenever I’m home, but it’s more along the lines of, “So what are you doing to work out now?” They’re not mean about it, but it’s tough to know that they would hold a better opinion of me if I lost it.

I need to keep working through that.

Use the SELF Journal for fitness goals.

I supported the SELF Journal on Kickstarter and got one of my own but haven’t even started using it yet! Talk about the height of laziness.

It’s part day planner, part bullet journal. It helps you set your daily and weekly goals and lay out the steps you’ll take to get there.

I particularly like that it has sections for daily gratitudes, both in the morning and the night.

Make peace with the fact that I’m going to lose my boobs.

Because, really, they’re exceptional. And I don’t say that lightly.

Get up early — perhaps a monthly challenge of getting up early.

I got this idea from Lauren of Neverending Footsteps — she wants to spend a month waking up early, like at 4:00 or 5:00 AM.

I love getting up early, but I rarely do it — I feel like I’m wired to do my best work at night, especially when it comes to writing, and it’s not unusual for me to be putting the finishing touches on a blog post at 2:00 or 3:00 AM. Even though I don’t want to.

So perhaps I should make a concentrated effort to get up at 5:00 AM for a month and see how it goes. That would be easy to take on the road, too!

Put phone on airplane mode long before bed until long after you’re up.

C’est Christine recently posted about doing this and I’m a big fan — it’s nice to know there are no distractions when you’re trying to get to bed. And this way, my eyelids start fluttering while I’m still reading and I fall asleep immediately.

It also helps me get up in the morning and get things done before getting sucked into social media.

So, how’s it going so far?

Well, we’re 17 days into the New Year, so I’m well aware that I’m in the “This is awesome!” stage of things and keeping it up will get more challenging.

So far, though, I feel amazing. I don’t know whether it’s the workouts or the diet, but I feel so focused and aware and light and I have an easier time getting work done. My skin is soft, too.

And the big one: I’ve lost five pounds in two weeks and my jeans are loose in the butt region. Five pounds is a lot of weight to lose that fast, but it’s common to lose fast at first, and I’m certain the weight loss will soon taper down to a more-reasonable one pound per week.

I plan on doing little fitness updates in my monthly recaps and a bigger post around Memorial Day or once I hit a major milestone.

But what I really, truly hope is that this is the beginning of a major lifestyle change for me. I’ve waited long enough.

What fitness goals do you have for 2017? What has worked for you? Share away!

Comments

160 Responses to “My Plan for 2017: A Commitment to Fitness”
  1. I’m rooting for you! You have your goals down to the specifics, you can do it. 🙂

  2. Jessica says:

    Hi Kate!

    I read your blog every day, though I don’t think I have ever commented before. Prioritizing health is an awesome goal, and I am happy for you. The “get rid of body baggage” goal seems like a great idea as well. When you mentioned in the first part of the article that you think of yourself as fat, and see yourself as the resident lump, I actually had to stop and go back to previous posts to check out some group photos, because I thought to myself, “WHAT!!? Impossible!” Of course, I understand that you choose the photos for your blog, and therefore most likely only choose photos you are comfortable with. However, I would like to say that, from an outsiders perspective, you do NOT look fat. In fact, to me, you look very thin, and in terms of size, at least comparable to and sometimes thinner than the other people you are in photos with. Anyhow, obviously what matters is that YOU are comfortable with your health and weight, however I just wanted to leave you this comment to let you know that you miiight be a little too hard on yourself. Certainly strive for your ideal healthy lifestyle and weight, but again, from a readers perspective, you do already look great! 🙂 Of course, how you feel is the most important thing. Good luck on your journey to feeling awesome and healthy!

    Jess

    • Stephanie says:

      I also see your pictures and think “she looks beautiful and happy!” I hope you’re healthiness journey gets you confidence at whatever size you may be at any future point!

    • Camella K. says:

      I completely agree with Jess. Been reading your blog since 2011 and always thought you were/are truly beautiful and thin.

    • Jessica, welcome and thanks for commenting!

      I should clarify one thing…the moment that I MOST felt like that is when I was in Montenegro in 2015 with my buds Jeremy and Ryan who are both SUPER FIT. Seeing me in between those chests trying to hide my stomach with a sarong…it wasn’t great! But I think most people would have felt that way.

      But thank you very much. I appreciate it!

  3. Elizabeth Pedraja says:

    AS someone who did this about four years ago, I can say it definitely can be hard, but it is so worth it. Some things I found that helped:

    1. Don’t get crazy about just weighing yourself- take measurements as well! as you gain muscle, you may see the number on the scale go up, but your measurements go down.
    2. I joined classpass and loved it- I had no problem doing workouts on my own but needed a variety of classes to really challenge myself. They are also having crazy specials right now.
    3. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a cheat day or don’t feel well enough to work out.
    I have been guilty of this so many times- you can prolong colds or just feel worse if you aren’t listening to what your body needs out of guilt.

    Having a plan and a trainer will be so helpful, so I am sure you will do great and meet your goals. Good luck!

    • Thanks so much, Elizabeth. I just did my second weigh-in at the gym on the special scale (first one was on December 30) and I actually gained a shocking amount of muscle in those three weeks. That was very encouraging.

  4. Yay for sleeping with your phone on airplane mode! I really have found it makes such a difference, especially when I’m so glued to my phone the rest of the day. Also, I can attest that your paelo creations are delicious–keep cooking! 🙂

  5. Kate says:

    Great goals – wishing you all the best this year!

  6. First off Kate, I think you look great as you are, but I totally understand how you feel. I’ve yoyo-ed with weight over the years and am currently heavier than I want to be. I’m happy to hear you have come up with such a solid plan and I personally think that have specific goals makes it a lot easier to achieve what you want. You’re great motivation for me as well!

  7. Laryssa says:

    Kate, this is awesome!! I love some of these ideas. Waking up early for a month sounds cool if I can kick my own butt to do it.

    I made a similar commitment to fitness last year, and egg whites for breakfast changed my life. Also, kale/celery/banana/cilantro/pear smoothies!
    I also got into riding my bike a lot…for me, it’s easy to do when traveling and aerobic. (It was a great way to get to and from the Tulum ruins!)

    • I don’t bike that often, but I did bike in Tulum! 🙂 I should start experimenting with egg whites. Whatever recipe prevents me from scrubbing a pan super hard (I love scrambled eggs but not the cleanup required after).

      • Kent says:

        Here’s a way to stay in shape while traveling — travel by bike! 🙂

        I haven’t noticed too many guys commenting on this, but I’ve always thought you looked great (not that you should be worrying about what I think about that!).

        I’m glad you’re saying you’re giving yourself some wiggle room on the paleo diet — not that I’m against the paleo diet, per se, but I’m against being fanatical about *any* diet. (I have a relative who’s super into paleo, raw milk, etc., etc. and it’s like her preoccupation with her diet is almost consuming her life, which I think is sad, plus it’s leading to conflict with family members.)

        I’d encourage you to add some flexibility work to your training — that’s important for long-term health. I think that also having some other well-defined goals besides weight loss is healthier mentally — for example, “I want to be able to squat X pounds by April 1”. And for God’s sake don’t pay attention to every little upward blip on the scale — I know my own weight varies by several pounds over the course of a single day, so even if your overall weight loss is going great, there will be days when you are up a little bit…

        Good luck with all of this!

        Too bad about the boobs — I guess you’ll just have to focus on other parts of your body! 🙂

  8. Candice says:

    I just messaged you on FB to tell you I’m feeling this post SO HARD, haha. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been now that I’m settled with a routine, a steady flow of income, and a chance to take care of my health. Spin classes are my CRUTCH. I love love love them and I know you will too! I’ve never been yelled at in a class — if that’s the case, find a new one. For me it’s one of the few group fitness classes where there’s a distinct sense of camaraderie, and the classes get super addictive. I adore them. Wish you could join me!

  9. Bina says:

    The only thing that has worked for me long term is to drop the goals about weight or measuring what I eat obsessively (how many carbs etc). Too many targets was unattainable for me..

    I stopped drinking alcohol 3 years ago and can attest to what a difference it makes! I started doing yoga, which gradually meant I embraced a healthier lifestyle as an incidental biproduct. I don’t want to eat crap much because yoga is harder, I ended up going to the gym to make sure I was stronger and keeping my joints healthy.

    If you approach things holistically with realistic goals then hopefully that will work for you, it’s no bad thing trying to be more healthy. Good luck!

  10. Nicole says:

    hi!! long time reader (and fitness blogger). Wishing you lots of luck on your journey. you’re taking on a lot at once but it sounds you’re committed. i’m currently a ClassPass member (And I go to Refine Method and Lyons Den Yoga also) but as a former member of the Nox i really recommend the global membership. It keeps things more interesting. Soho, 19th street, West Village are all super hottie locations but 76th street and Columbus Circle a more mixed. Nothing is like the 92nd Street grandma crowd though 🙂

    • Nicole, I’ve seen you comment now and again and I finally checked out your blog — I love it! I’m actually heading to Pon de Flo with Oneika next week because of your blog post about it!

      I love my grandma gym, hahaha. But I’ll probably expand to a global Equinox membership in the future. No reason to JUST yet.

      Let me know if you’d like to try out Harlem Cycles with me sometime! They are a tiny spin studio that opened last year and they have reggae, gospel, and hip-hop rides that I’d love to try.

  11. Good for you! I’ve really gotten into fitness and health last year and now I’ve actually turned into one of those people who always talk about how good being fit has been for my mental health and how much more productive I now am. It’s so funny, sometimes I pause and laugh at myself because one year ago people like me really bored me 😉 Good luck on your path and by the way: you look great no matter what!

  12. Kate Storm says:

    Good luck, can’t wait to see where you are by Memorial Day!

    I’m definitely in the “travel as much as possible” phase of life right now, but the sacrifices to my health are constantly on my mind. Sometimes, all I want is a nice, well-stocked kitchen with great ingredients and quality cookware for a couple of weeks!

  13. Casey says:

    Kate, I’ve been a longtime reader of your blog and this post really saddens me. It’s great that you want to get in shape and feel strong, but there’s a lot of self-hate and body-shaming going on in this post. You are a beautiful woman who has managed to run her own business and travel the world! You’re not fat, and even if you were, you would still be a valuable person.

  14. Kendra says:

    Kate! Do not be scared of spinning! The instructors don’t yell at you because they are mean, they shout and encourage bc they WANT you to have a great workout. And even still, that hour will be whatever workout you want it to be. If you love group fitness, spinning and cycle classes will take that to a whole new level for you. You will be addicted to the sweat drenched, wobbly legged feeling of ” I just had an insanely good workout” feeling in no time!

  15. Katie says:

    Good for you, Kate! Home yoga videos on YouTube (yoga with Adriene) are what did it for me — I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life (even if I’m not as thin as I was in high school). It’s good to feel strong. I also felt the best when I used to meditate every morning. I’m not sure why that habit was so easy for me to break, but I really want to get back into it. I guess there’s no better way than to just do it. Good luck and as Adriene would say, just find what feels good!

  16. Jules Fitz says:

    Go Kate! I cannot recommend your approach to Paleo more highly, and commend your commitment to fitness. I had a similar experience in my 20s, and Paleo and great gym classes changed everything for me, most importantly, my outlook on it all. Rooting for you!

  17. Erin says:

    Kate, I could have written this post a year ago! (Even the boob section!) Check out the podcasts at http://www.primalpotential.com. They really helped me understand the science around how my body reacts to food, sleep, hormones, and exercise. They are very direct and informative–not a lot of hype or marketing. Once I understood the science aspect of fat loss, it was easy to make good choices. I’m not affiliated with the site in any way. It just really changed my life. I hope it helps you, too.

  18. Emily says:

    I know the feeling of being considered “thin” but feeling fat. Same as you, I’m 5’4″ and never weighed more than 110. As I’ve gotten older, I feel the weight coming on and I feel so lazy and sluggish all the time. Everyone will say you still look skinny, but you don’t feel like yourself anymore! So frustrating.
    I finally decided to get a trainer as well–I go to a small class of about 6-8 ladies 3 days a week and it’s amazing how good I feel now! There will be plenty of times when travel will mess up the routine or you’ll miss a few days because you don’t want to go. Push through it. Best of luck in your journey 🙂

    • Small group training is an awesome option! Cheaper than a personal trainer. They have some programs for that at my gym. I nearly killed myself at one session I did at Healthworks in Boston, though!

  19. Karen says:

    Good for you Kate! I’m glad you are taking the time to take care of yourself. We’re the same age, so I relate to the changes that happen to your body in the late 20s/early 30s. I’ve been active my whole life, but only recently started embracing strength training, and not only is it the first time I feel like I’ve had a booty, but it makes you so much stronger for other physical activities like cycling and snowboarding.

  20. Acelyyn says:

    This makes me sad, I see so much shame about your body in this and thinking your worth with improve if you are skinnier. Your body doesn’t define you, it’s just the place where your soul lives.

    I’ve struggled with all of this for a very long time and it’s resulted in a 15 Year battle with anorexia.

    I’m about to head to Asia next week for 4 months, and I’m hoping to gain some weight… I’m currently 114 at 5’11… so extremely underweight still.

  21. Amazing goals! Great job in defining them so well – looks like you’re set up well to hit your Memorial Day goal!

  22. Laura Oganowski says:

    Hey Kate,

    Good for you! I committed to something similar in November. I had put on a lot of weight since graduating from college, when I jumped head first into a career that required a lot of hours and a lot of travel that didn’t leave me time or energy to pay attention to a healthy lifestyle. I started working out every day for 30-40 minutes (the elliptical is GREAT for if you want to lose weight) and paying a lot more attention to what I eat and I have lost 21 pounds in just three months. Obviously every body is different, and I didn’t have the weight on for too long, but it has been an amazing confidence boost. Some things that have helped me are signing up for 5ks and 10k races to stay motivated, and using the MyFitnessPal app throughout the day to keep track of my calories. It’s been a very rewarding journey for me and I am definitely rooting for you!

    • Thanks so much, Laura! I’m so glad it’s been working for you! I’m not a big fan of just plain cardio, but the elliptical is what I choose when I need to do it. Maybe I should get back into the calorie-tracking game.

  23. Alice says:

    I really enjoyed this post, thank you. I think it was really open and honest which is one of the reasons I generally love your blog and why you’re one of my favourite bloggers!! I also read the Never Ending Footsteps post and vowed I could get up at 6am every day (except weekends, don’t be ridiculous!) for a month. Yesterday was my first go. I snoozed my alarm until 6.10. Fell back asleep until 6.30. Woke up, did half an hour of work, then fell BACK asap until 8.15. #fail. On a more serious note, with exercise while travelling, I know you tried running before and got injured, but if you are stronger from your gym work and you take it slowly initially, there is no reason to get injured and it really is the best way to exercise while abroad. I trained for a marathon while in Guatemala and Colombia last year. It is especially good when you only go places for a short space of time as it is a really good way of sightseeing – you cover so much more ground more quickly!!! Best of luck with getting fit this year 🙂

    • Hahaha. I love your early morning fail!

      I might attempt running again. My sister is dating a marathoner and he got her into running. And we all live in the same neighborhood, so I could join them if I got good. Now that I know how to roll myself and properly stretch before workouts, I might have a better time this time. Thanks!

  24. Sarah says:

    I’m looking forward to your fitness updates!
    I’ve been on a healthy lifestyle hiatus for the last year ++ and just started back at it on Jan 2nd. I’ve always been conscious of my weight and super into the gym but I went backpacking in Asia/Australia for a year and I was like…fuck this, I don’t care anymore! Eat everything! Drink everything! My bad habits followed me home and I gained 15 lbs overall. Ugh. I don’t even recognize myself in the mirror anymore.
    I’ve lost 2 lbs since Jan 2nd and I feel AMAZING. I’m not doing paleo/whole30 or anything because I find when I restrict certain categories of foods it has the opposite effect for me (ie if I can’t have something I want it more!) so I’m just focused on eating food that is processed as little as possible and still eating whole grains etc in moderation (I eat grains in the morning and then dinner is lots of veg with meat) Best of luck with your fitness journey Kate !

  25. Ksenia says:

    Great post, thanks for laying it all out there. I can definitely relate to not recognizing yourself on the photos as well as growing up in a skinny family. I mean, my mom can still put away 2-3 times more food than me, yet people look at me like i’m the ‘fat’ one, while I’m over here eating salad. Fun group classes are definitely a way to go! I once was so addicted (in a good way), I’d take 2 a day. Needless to say, I was in the best shape of my life. So looking forward to reading more on your progress!

  26. Tess says:

    You are an inspiration, Kate!
    I’m rooting for you!

  27. Julia says:

    Hey Kate,

    First, as most people here have said, you look amazing and the word overweight to describe you would never have even crossed my mind in a million years.

    You mentioned finding zumba classes while travelling: at least here in Germany, most gyms/dance schools let you try out one zumba class for free (a Schnupperkurs). Other countries probably offer this too. So it’s totally doable to work out for free while on the road!

  28. Maggie says:

    Well I think it’s great you want to take on healthier habits, but I’ve always found you very beautiful in your photos and with an amazing figure. I’ve grown up in latino culture so I guess maybe we have been raised with different standards of beauty, but I think most people would find you very hot as you are. Best of luck with your goals 🙂

  29. Anne Morgan says:

    I could relate to so much in this post Kate and from the previous comments it sounds like I’m not the only one. I would never consider you to be overweight, but I realise you choose the photos you show and anyway, at the end of the day, it’s how you feel about yourself that’s important. It sounds like you really want to get fitter and healthier and not just thinner and that can only be a good thing. Good luck.

  30. Holly wells says:

    Hi Kate,

    I love your writing so much. I’ve been reading for awhile and recommend it as a source of excellent and genuine travel knowledge and insight. I loved this post so much and can totally relate. I am the larger sister in the family, both my sisters a slim and for the last ten years it has been a point of contention in my family. My goal is to really work on it this year, because I know how important it is. But more importantly I have realised that I need to work on my mental health. Recently I realised that I suffer from anxiety and I need to get myself out of it. People don’t appreciate how important it is, so thank you for writing about it. I use headspace and love it and I know that mental health issues affect so many of the people I know.

    I’ve always thought you were totally gorgeous but I know it is about how you feel. So I wish you all the best with this! Thank you for writing so honestly about something which affects all of us.

    Holly x

    • Thank you so much, Holly, and thanks for sharing your story. I think anxiety can be related to other body issues. For me, just being in shape the past few weeks has already made me feel better both mentally and physically in ways I didn’t expect. Good luck on your journey!

  31. Holly says:

    I know there’s more reasons to work out and eat healthy than losing weight, but I have to say that I’ve NEVER looked at a photo of you and thought “she looks fat.” In fact, I distinctly remember seeing some of your Australia photos a little while back and thinking how fantastic you looked!

    Anyways, I’m with you on the health and feeling better parts. I’m terrible at sticking to a regimen, but god, do I feel better when I do! And having a trainer, when I could afford it, really made a difference. Don’t feel guilty about spending the money if it works for you.

  32. Tessa Clare says:

    Please post the date-almond-coconut bars recipe!!!! 😁

    Good luck with the goals! I think I’m going to start with tracking what I eat for a couple of weeks and see where I stand with the %paleo currently and then set a goal from there.

    I always find with fitness is start reasonable and then ramp up instead of saying “Im going to work out every day now” when you haven’t been. Rather “Im going 4 times a week” and then increase.

    • It couldn’t be easier! 1 cup of coconut flakes, 1.5 cups almonds, 2 cups dates. Put in food processor and blend. Spread into pan. Chill for a bit, then cut into bars. They do fall apart a bit easily if at room temp, though.

  33. Mari says:

    For me, the key was trying enough things to figure out what I actually enjoyed and then sticking with that. I cannot force myself to regularly do boot camp classes, spin, workout videos, or solo gym workouts, but I’ll happily go running or do heated power vinyasa yoga 3-5x a week. The other key is having exercise buddies!

    Hope you find your sweet spot this year. 🙂 And remember you’re already beautiful.

  34. Caitlin V says:

    I saw your spin goal and had to speak up. I am so like you with the group classes. That is my wheelhouse, but spin was the class that intimidated me to much to try for the longest time. Cardio has never been my thing. Zumba was as close as I got. I hate running. Surprisingly, I LOVE spin. It proved I am tougher than I thought. About half way through the first several classes I had to dig deep to finish. It was mostly mental. I had to prove my self-doubt wrong. Bonus, it has reshaped my body with muscle tone I have never had before.

    Please have the instructor show you where you should set your bike up. It makes a difference getting the seat and whatnot in the right place. Also, don’t be afraid to back the resistance off even when no one else is, but don’t back it off too much. The more you bounce, the worse the saddle sores.

  35. April says:

    Thank you for being so brave to write about this shit many of us struggle with. I love your detailed plan. I actually lost 120lbs a few years ago. I gained some of it back after getting hit by a car while driving my scooter, so I’m getting back on track to lose it again. I did it by joining Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous a (free) 12 step program similar to AA. Cut out flour/sugar, attend meetings, lost 20lbs the 1st month and 10-15lbs ev month after that. Goo g to the gym to lose weight never worked for me because I just are too damn much. Anyway, I laughed about your comment about losing your breasts…but that shit isn’t funny! When I lost 120lbs and was at 135 I went from a DD to an A and I was seriously depressed. Having big boobs is like the only (tiny but huge) benefit for a “voluptuous, thick in all the right places” big girl like me. But, your plan has me inspired and encouraged. If you can do it, I can do it!

  36. Emily says:

    Hi Kate,

    I can absolutely relate to this!
    I have also grown up in a very thin family and surrounded by very thin friends.
    My family also places a very high priority on being thin and it often makes me wonder if they are embarrassed by me.

    I am in the process of losing weight too.
    Weight is a really sensitive subject to talk about and I really appreciate you sharing your story!
    Keep up the good work!

  37. Hi Kate

    Love your blog. I like traveling.
    Hope your dreams come true

    Thanks

    Best,
    David

  38. To Trieu says:

    So sweet. How can i subscribe your blog an get information?

  39. Marisa says:

    Please don’t be intimidated by spin class… it’s actually far less intimidating than other classes. No one knows where your resistance is set. If you get tired, reduce the resistance. Getting tired in a Zumba class is far worse, in my opinion, when my flailing body is set on stage for everyone to see. Do speak with the instructor beforehand though, it is seriously very easy to injure yourself (especially your knees) without a proper bike fit.

  40. Just what I was looking for! One thing that I have realised that we neglect the most among all the things is our health. And, it’s so important to stay healthy especially when we all travel.

    I feel inspired by all your goals that you have mentioned. Wish you good luck, and I’ll borrow some of them for adding it my goals! Keep going, girl 🙂

  41. Neha Sharma says:

    Just checked out your blog, The points really inspired me a lot…to keep myself fit even when I am travelling.

    From now on “I promiss to avoid any type of junk or fast food during my travel”

    Thanks for sharing the post

  42. Eva Casey says:

    DUDE. –> “For five and a half years I’ve been looking at photos of myself and thinking, “That’s not me.”’ THIS. That’s exactly where I’m at right now, and about 5 or so days ago I said enough! Here’s to making 2017 all about getting healthy! Just a reminder: the only thing you need to have a “bikini-worthy” body is a body. Period. And I guess a desire to wear a bikini 😛 Which I definitely don’t when I feel uncomfortable in my own skin. A silly thing I like to do to get out of the “I hate my body” mentality is dance around naked. It seriously works! hahah

    I won’t say not to go to spin class, but I will say that the one time I attempted one I had to leave halfway through. LOL.

    • You are right about that, Eva! A bikini body is a body with a bikini on it. Period.

      Good luck with your own journey! (And PS — the only room in my place with enough room to dance around naked happens to have no curtains and face the street. Eek!)

  43. Alexandra says:

    You’re not alone here. I have put on weight the last year or so and I have that same reaction about pictures. I appreciate that you said this all so apologetically because whenever I say this to people they try to comfort me, and it’s not what I need. I started doing something about it in November, but progress is slow. I can’t believe how much slower my metabolism has gotten in my 30s, it’s shocking!

    Regarding animals, I suggest experimenting with a vegan diet. There are about a billion reasons why. Firstly, eating animals is NOT ok. Secondly, it’s way healthier – talk about good skin! Thirdly, methane is one of the top contributors of global warming, so eating meat is adding major points to your carbon footprint. Fourthly, and few people talk about this, the resources used to feed animals for consumption often come directly from other people’s food supplies. Of course, this is a big decision and people usually do it in baby steps. I just hope it’s something you consider.

    • Thanks, Alexandra, and good luck with your journey. I have considered a vegan diet in the past and temporarily going vegan has often helped me drop weight quickly. There are so many good reasons to go vegan and I should revisit it. I think going vegan once a week, no matter what your diet is, can make a big impact.

  44. Laura says:

    I never once thought you were heavy but I understand if it makes you unhappy. I’m in kind of the same boat. Over the last five years I’ve gradually put on weight (and had a hard time losing it). Then this last holiday season was a big shocker…I added 5-7 pounds in just 2 months. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN??? So now I’m doing something similar – changing my eating habits and working out 5 times a week. But my big question is….

    Where do you get all of your Paleo recipes? I follow a few food blogs, but I think I’m pretty picky about choosing the ones I love. Do you have a website that’s you go-to for finding the best Paleo recipes?

    • I’m actually not loyal to any blog in particular — I just google recipes and they’re easy to find! Whole30 recipes, too.

      Good luck with your journey! Keep up the good work!

  45. Dominique E says:

    Hi Kate,
    Your post really made me smile because I’m about 10-15 lbs away from my ideal fitness goal. It gives me a boost a motivation. I may look into getting a trainer to reach my final goal!

    For 3 years, I worked for a travel management company where I was traveling nationally and internationally every 2 to 3 weeks per month! I had to work long hours, entertain clients non-stop (SO food, cocktails, lack of sleep). I was tired, overweight, and couldn’t find my mojo!!!

    In August 2015, I started a program called 21 Day fix. It was finally something that worked for me and it taught me how to eat again and balance and make the right choices. Their excersize DVDs were great, intense and only 30 minutes!

    Last April, I decided it was time for a work break and a career change and took the summer off, cooked, worked out, went to the gym 7 days a week (LOVE fitness classes!!!). I finally found a new career I love and that gives me the work/life balance I needed to continue my fitness journey.

    As of today, Im down 44 lbs!

    Keep it up and good luck!

  46. Frank says:

    During our 1st year of full-time travels we put on weight, especially in South East Asia (you’d think you’d lose it with the heat and humidity but in fact I think it makes you lazy). The 2nd year we committed ourselves to joining a gym everywhere we go (because we usually use a place at least a month). Not only are we in much better shape now, we’ve met a lot of locals through gyms in different places. Budapest, Prague, Cape Town, Padova, Rovinj, Split…in fact the only place they wouldn’t allow us to sign up for a month membership was Kyoto (I don’t know, the Japanese can be inflexible sometimes).
    I don’t know how people who bounce around from one place to another can maintain it for a long period of time.

    Frank (bbqboy)

    • You know, one thing people don’t take into mind about Southeast Asia is that the food can often be full of sugar. Fruit juices, too. My eyes nearly fell out of my sockets when I saw locals pouring sugar on their pad thai! That adds up.

  47. Victoria says:

    Good luck Kate! I’m also trying to be healthy. I’ve joined an African dance class, which is brilliant!

  48. Becky says:

    I too have plans to get fit and healthy. For one, it helps me have a better mindset and I will be able to enjoy my travels more. I want to feel good about myself, and I commend you for doing the same. It’s not easy, but it will be worth it! Good luck!

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