Struggle

I was in South Florida the other week at my hotel getting ready to film at the kitchen set for my new tv show, Food Quest. I had time before I had to be on set so I decided to head out for a run. As I pushed open the hotel front door, I realized how windy it was. I decided, like any good runner, to head into the wind on the first part of my journey and be able to take it easy on the way back.

 

As I ran, struggling into the wind, I felt like I was enduring it. The wind was strong with heavy gusts between the buildings along the way. It was work and not once did I forget that it was windy out.

 

A I turned around, my whole perception changed! All of a sudden it was quiet and almost peaceful. Very quickly I forgot about the wind and started to enjoy my surroundings.

 

I noticed that as I turned around, I was a grateful for a reprieve from so much wind but then I quickly forgot about it. Instead I almost had a hint of pride as my stride got longer and I felt faster with a smooth, strong gait. I had to remind myself that the wind that hindered me on the first half of the run was now my friend pushing me from behind. I became grateful for that same wind as it guided me back to the hotel.

 

I think we are like this in life. When we struggle, all of our attention is on the struggle. We can’t wait for the struggle to be over. Once it is over, we quickly forget and can sometimes let pride sneak in thinking we are succeeding on our own. We aren’t. We were self absorbed in our own struggles and maybe could have forgotten about them for a bit by reaching out and helping someone else in need. 

 

Sometimes life is calm. Calm enough to enjoy your surroundings and feel like you have things under control. Life seems easy. You have hit your stride. Remember to feel grateful during these times. It is not by your own steam. Sometimes that wind that you had to push through is the very same wind that will turn you around and get you back to your finish line.

 

Winter Discipline

Well, it is still winter here in New York City. Even though it has been a mild one, I still find that I am stir crazy and waiting for spring. Little purple crocuses were just starting to bloom in Central Park and then we got hit with a ton of snow. It can be discouraging. For those of you who live in warm sunny weather year around, bear with me in this article.

 

I have had to find ways to keep my mind happy while being alone in the big city. Normally when it is nice outside, I can go for a long walk or head over to Central park to hang with a wonderful collection on human beings, but it is cold outside! I need a change of plans! Being self employed and having my own hours to get stuff done out of my apartment leaves a lot of wiggle time to juggle things around. I find that I am happiest when I stay on top of things and be disciplined with my time and tasks. I also have to watch what I eat while cooped up during these winter months. It would be way too easy to sit back and hibernate while shoveling in more food than I need. (Do you love that verb “shoveling”?)

 

I love going to my health club and find that I am spinning a lot. Not only does the fellowship of a class help me but I love the competition and also the knowledge of burning a ton of calories. Since I have to sign up a day early, I find that I look forward to working around my spin class and organize it around all my other activities. It is nice to look forward to a crazy spin class.

 

I also have a “spa” tip called hydrotherapy. After my work out and then the steam room, I head to the showers to get clean but also use that time to stimulate my lymphatic system. I am super hot coming out of the steam room and when I go into the shower, I put on the cold water for 30 seconds before turning it to the hot setting. During body washing, shampoo and conditioner I make sure that I turn the cold water on for 30 seconds three times in between the 3 minutes or so for the hotter water. This helps me pump and circulate my lymph system removing waste products and helps my immune system kick into action also. I feel vibrant when I come out of the showers! Our lymphatic system plays a vital role in removing waste products that we are exposed to daily. Don’t get me started in all of the toxins around us! The hydrotherapy also helps me have healthier hair, glowing skin, less stress and improved energy levels. BONUS.

 

When it is cold out, I also love to have a tea in the afternoon. I have found an interesting tea called Jiaogulan that claims to be the herb of immortality. I can’t make those claims and wonder who can but I DO find that I like the tea with both the taste and how it makes me feel. It doesn't have caffeine but I also don’t want to drink it late at night!

 

So, if you find you are struggling with winter blues, try stimulating yourself in one of the ways above, stay disciplined and let me know how you do! You are not alone!

 

BIG Life Changes

Many of you don't know this, but I have been in hiding. I have tried to keep my personal life quiet and stay hidden while going through a divorce and finding out who the real Kim is and what she really wants in life. For too many years, I have been a people pleaser, doing what everyone else wants me to do from poses on the set, how to dress and wear my hair/make up, to putting my family first and me last.

My first big life change after separation from my husband of 21 years occurred when I left my 5 bedroom home on 5 acres across the street from the ocean in Florida. The house was filled with 15 years of memories raising 3 beautiful sons. I drove away from it all with just my dog and a car full of my possessions, staying with friends and family for 3 months. I would use this time to ask and beg God to know if I was doing the right thing. All I knew was that I needed to get far away and find healing in the mountains. I finally arrived in Boulder, Colorado, December 2013.

I didn’t know a soul out in Boulder and I spent some pretty snowy nights huddled up in my little place; lonely but free. It has been 3 years now and I have found wonderful friends in Boulder, as well as my older friends around the country to help me find me. I found in them love and support to help me heal my heart. They accepted me for who I am and gently forced me to make decisions, any decision instead of saying, “I don’t care. Whatever you want to do is fine with me.”

I have always known that some day I would move back to New York City. There has been an unrelenting voice screaming inside of me to help other women; to encourage them by telling my story and struggles. I kept my inner ears opened for that right time to leave my healthy Boulder nest and venture back out into the world to help transform it and empower others. I feel that NOW is the time! I am healthy and strong and have more of a passion and desire than ever to express myself.

So, just the other day in one instant, I heard that inner voice say, “NOW”. I am ready. No one is going to stop me or mess with my mind and emotions. I am through people pleasing. I know what I want and even though I am stepping out in faith, with no place to reside in the city, I have put a date on my move of September 1st. I made a big life decision this week and I am ready to show my inner strength and be heard!

Why Am I So Tired?

As I have aged, I have found that I have to “guard” my energy levels. I have to make wise decisions about where to use my energy and if I have a super busy day, I make sure that I rest that night by laying down with my feet up. Sometimes I have to miss out on night time events or I won’t make it through the next day! Do any of you suffer from this? I have friends who have a ton of energy and can’t understand that sometimes, my energy just runs out and there is nothing left to give. They seem to go and go like an energizer bunny while I need to lay down.

I didn’t know that I had thyroid problems until after I had had my third son at 33 years old. I was at a doctors office filling out forms for my oldest son who was 8 and having allergy problems and there were categories on the questionnaire with symptoms associated to glands and organs. I was reading and filling out the form for him, while saying to myself, “Hey, I have all the symptoms of a thyroid problem!”.

I found an endocrinologist in Beverly Hills who was old school and looked at many symptoms not just a blood test to determine that I did indeed have low thyroid. In my case, Hashimoto's. He felt my elbows to see if they were dried out and he made me do an ultrasound on my thyroid to see if it was enlarged, which it was with nodes. He also made me hold out my hands flat, palms up (like you were going to feed a horse) and looked at the length of my pinky fingers compared to the ring finger next to it. Both of my pinkies were shorter than the joint on my ring finger. I can see you checking your’s right now! He said that a shorter pinky than the joint of the ring finger may mean that thyroid runs in the family on one or both sides…

I started to take thyroid hormone and have been on a roller coaster going on and off of thyroid hormone for 20 years now. I even wrote an ebook about my “struggle” called My Thyroid Journey I know many of you have thyroid issues and would love to know what others have learned. I tried a couple of different medications for my hypothyroidism and decided that I felt better on Armour thyroid instead of the synthetic hormone. The synthetic claims that the dose is more accurate than Armour but only helped me feel better for 3 weeks and then didn't seem to work for me anymore. I wanted to be as natural as possible so I went back to the Armour.

As I aged more, I found that the thyroid alone wasn't enough and looked to my medical doctors who practiced using more natural ways, to find out what my problem was. I was put on elimination diets and anti inflammatory diets to calm my system down. I had run a marathon at 46 in New York and had GAINED about 15 pounds while training, instead of LOOSING weight. I had to find answers not only to feel better and have energy but also because I wanted to look good.

So, let’s introduce Cortisol levels. After asking around and doing a lot of research I found that the high cortisol levels probably had me gaining weight from too much running (stress) . I am still learning about cortisol but know that too much cortisol makes you retain weight around your middle and feel drained. When I feel drained, I tend to reach for food to give me energy and make me feel better. How many of you know that can be a roller coaster ride?

I feel like I have gained and lost 15-20 pounds for the last 20 years. What worked to lose weight when I was 20 doesn’t work anymore. I used to be able to go out and run 10 miles and the weight would come right off. Now, it just exhausts me and makes me feel run down so then I eat more to try to feel better. YUCK!

If any of this resonates with you, then I suggest that you find a medical doctor who can run a variety of tests on your blood to see if any of your levels of hormones are off. Cortisol testing can be done over a 24 hour period using your urine or saliva. Urine may be more accurate from what my doctor said as it measures more of the cortisol in the body. My wish is for all of us to feel our best so we don't miss any of the pleasures that this life can bring us.

What is "Real Beauty"?

Have you ever noticed people who seem to carry a dark cloud over them? I have. They walk into a room and there is an immediate feeling of doom. I have also noticed that there are other people who seem to be happy no matter what the circumstance. These are the kinds of people I tend to gravitate to as I like to be around people who have a positive outlook.

Have you ever looked at the face of someone who are negative? It seems that the phrase “sour puss” was meant for them. They tend to have more worry lines on their face and wear a permanent scowl. Then there are people who carry that inner light in them of happiness and joy. The phrase “sunny smile” or “bright disposition” seems to fit them. Their skin seems to be glowing and healthy and even if there are wrinkles, they seem to be lines that speak of life and living well. They walk into a room and it seems to brighten with goodness and purpose.

Why am I talking about grumps and happy people in a beauty article???

I believe that our inner thoughts can affect our outer beauty. After all, beauty is not only about how you look in the physical. It is about how you make others feel. Experiencing beauty in others often involves perceiving them to be in balance and harmony with nature. When we view beauty or what we think is beautiful, we tend to feel a sense of well being. All is right with the world. Beauty is a characteristic of HOW something or someone makes you feel.

Ideal beauty is meant to be admired. We all have our ideas of what is beautiful; in art, nature and people. We have the phrase, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” but there seems to be a standard through the centuries for what exactly is beautiful. One trait that stands the test of time is symmetry. Lacking flaws or the absence of genetic or acquired defects; which as far as viewing people goes includes well proportioned bodies and young, smooth skin. Some of us are way past young, smooth skin but are still beautiful.

From what I have found to be true, beauty not only consists of the outer features but also that inner personality and intelligence, grace and morality. Elegance in any situation life throws at you is also important in determining a form of beauty. People, who are elegant, graceful and morally balanced on the inside, generate a sense of beauty on the outside.

Beauty also presents a standard for comparison and can generate feelings of jealousy and inferiority. We spend millions of dollars in this country alone, trying to be more beautiful. Some of us forget our own beautiful traits while only focusing on other peoples unattainable traits. This leads to misery in my mind. Each one of us has a desire to “fit in” and being beautiful is one way to be popular.

Think of this the next time you wish you looked differently. Does beauty on the outside mean beautiful on the inside? Does beauty on the inside mean beautiful on the outside? You were given certain traits that are beautiful. You decide what is really important and lasting. My life is spent seeking both inner and outer beauty. How about you?

Still Running

As many of you know, I grew up swimming. From the age of 6 on, I swam at my local YMCA 3 days a week with swim meets taking up every Saturday until I hit high school. Then in high school, things picked up. I had daily swims and then “two a days” swimming and lifting weights (51/2 hours a day). It was hard work but it paid off in more ways than just winning races. Our girls’ swim team was undefeated for the four years I swam there! It taught me a great work ethic and the never give up attitude that still stays with me to this day.

It was easy to stay in swimming even when things got intense because it was a family affair during my years at the Y and then all my girl friends were on my same team in high school.

Then, after graduation, things changed. I no longer had a support system to continue swimming with friends, as none of us wanted to even see a pool! I also didn't have a coach to push me. I didn't have weekend events planned around swim meets. Instead, I was discovered and moved to NYC right out of high school to live on my own in the “Big City” and start in the modeling world.

Not only did the modeling world want me thin, (so I didn't and couldn't eat much) but it wasn't easy to find a pool to work out in and I didn't want the muscles. I had starved the muscles off when I was discovered during my senior year of high school.

Now I had a problem, I had grown up with a swim family to support me so I felt alone in New York City and I was used to working out regularly. Back in the 1970’s, there weren't as many gyms and frankly, I didn't know what to do with myself with no coach yelling at me and telling me my workout routine. I realized that I had a body that was used to hard exercise to stay fit and happy.

It took me awhile to find a new exercise to love (because pools and the smell of chlorine didn’t hold as much appeal). I finally found a way to stay in shape and be able to do it almost anywhere in the world; running! I started to run when I was 21 years old and after being an athlete for all of those years, couldn't run for more than a couple of minutes without getting a stitch in my side. What a wimp! I would walk and run until I had gone 3 miles or 30 minutes when I first started and then one day, I found that I didn't have to stop; I ran the whole 3 miles without feeling horrible and  actually felt good! From then on, I added miles and started to run races. I had always been competitive and running races was a good fit for me!

I never dreamed of running a marathon but a friend flew into town back in January of 1985 to run the Jacksonville Marathon. I went with him to the expo to get his race packet for the race and got the marathon “bug”. He asked me to run part of the race with him to keep him company and I ended up running the whole thing and crossed the finish line with him in a 4:35 or so! That was it, I was hooked!

Right after that, Fred Lebow hired me to be was the spokesperson for the New York City Marathon. I ran my first of 5 New York Marathons in 1986, 6 months after giving birth to my first son.

Now, over 30 years later, I still find that I love to run. It makes me feel good about myself. I am blessed that all my joints and bones are still healthy and that I can get out and run wherever I am in the world. I hope you have found a sport that you still love to do!

Control

Control…

Recently, I have become aware of a control issue; people needing to control others. How do people control others, you ask? There are many ways I am becoming aware of. People offer their opinions and also try to force others to do things their way. They choose what they think is best for others without asking them, like where to eat or what movie to watch. I am not sure if I am seeing more “controlling” people because I need to learn to set healthy boundaries or just that more and more people feel the need to control others.

I left home at 18, from being under the control of my parents to an apartment alone in New York City where I no longer had to answer to anyone. It was a big shock and for awhile, I didn't know what to do with myself. I had free time and got to make all of my own choices without parent supervision. I jumped into a business where I was paid to have other people “dress me up” so it took awhile for me to learn what I really liked to wear. (I dressed as a punk for a bit, then wore a string of pearls with sweatshirts and a pony tail.) People still told me what to wear when I worked, but after work, I eventually found what I liked and felt comfortable in.

I don't feel that I am a controlling person. Most of the time I don't care where I eat, what movie to see or what the plans are for the weekend. I don't force my ways and opinions on my 3 sons either. I am much more of a hands off and let people make their own decisions type person. I have never been bossy or overbearing and I don't like that quality in others.

I find lately that many people want to give me advice and tell me their opinions without me even asking. I had to examine that and wonder why others felt the need to give me advice. Do I come across as weak or stupid? I don't think so. I have come to realize that I am taking offense when others push their opinions on me which isn't good either. I rise up like a little kid and push back, firmly letting them know that I don't need their advice. A happy medium would be for me to learn healthy boundaries and stop people before they offer their opinions with a gentle warning or kind word stating that I can figure it out on my own, thank you very much.

So, as you read this article, do you find that you are someone who has to give their opinions and have their way all the time or do you sit back and let others have their way? Which way is the right way? Should everyone be able to do what they want without advice from others? When is it okay to step in and voice your opinion? Are there certain circumstances when it is right and good to try to direct someone away from doing the wrong thing?

I have found that it is best to listen and not voice your opinion.

Spice It Up!

Besides adding flavor to food, did you know that spices can be beneficial to your health? Many of you know that herbs have health benefits and people can study for years to learn about the benefits and ways to use herbs for health. I want to focus on spices because spices are less talked about but still filled with potent nutrients which can enhance your health.

Some of the spices I want to focus on that have benefits benefits are oregano, cinnamon, mint, turmeric, rosemary, clove, and parsley. They are very good sources of anti-oxidant nutrients, and contain different vitamins and minerals. They even contain fiber, protein and healthy fats! They have other "anti" factors also like antibacterial and anti fungal elements and they are all anti-inflammatory which means that they could help reduce joint and muscle swelling. Many people take over the counter medications for aches and pains. Adding certain spices to your diet may help you recover from aches quicker.

Oregano and parsley have vitamin K which is good for bone building. Ginger may help with muscle soreness if taken for two weeks and is anti inflammatory and may help with attention span if taken for 2 months. Nutmeg may help prevent cavities by reducing plaque and fighting bacteria in the mouth and is another anti inflammatory. (Try adding it coffee like I do) Cayenne pepper may help you to burn more calories and crave fatty foods a bit less. I sprinkle it on eggs in the morning. Cumin may help boost your memory and brain power and is high in iron which can help your immune system. Sage may help boost brain function and memory.

Cinnamon is also reported to help control blood sugar. 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can provide improved insulin resistance, which in turn decreases heart disease risk and also helps with weight control. If you are eating something sweet, add a half a teaspoon of cinnamon to it to moderate any blood sugar spikes. (Chromium is also helpful for blood sugar levels but it is a mineral.)

Some of my favorites have numerous health benefits and I try to add them daily… Turmeric can be used to help with arthritis and stomach problems and has anti cancer effects. If I don't add it to food, I take it in capsule form at night. Rosemary is great and I have the essential oil also. It can help improve circulation and boosts immune health. Since it is harder to cook or bake with it daily, I use the oil or chew it raw. Saffron extract is harder to find and use but there are more benefits with the saffron extract than the powered spice found in stores. It has been shown to help with depression  and reducing menstrual cramps. Ginger is also one of my favorites and it has been shown to reduce cancer risks and even help reverse it. Please consult a doctor before starting new herbs and spices as they may not be beneficial for you but great for someone else. Have a spicy day!

What is Anti-Aging?

Anti-aging is a term that covers a broad range of opinions and products. Anti-aging means to stop the aging process by stopping or slowing down oxidation or free radical damage, which can lead to premature aging. This term is a fairly new health category and seems to be a good sales term that is popping up everywhere. It is applied to so many treatments and products that the true meaning is getting lost and people are getting confused. Remember that the anti-aging goal is to minimize damage from free radicals that injure cells and damage DNA.

Here are some of the main treatments and product categories for anti-aging: supplements, lotions, serums, spa treatments, plastic surgery treatments and overall ways of living, to name a few. How can we keep up with all the different ways to stay young without wearing ourselves out? Sometimes we have to start slowly one step at a time.

Let’s examine what we put into our bodies: Supplements and food. Anti-aging supplements are also called antioxidants. Some of the best and most potent anti oxidant supplements in single form are: Resveratrol, CoQ10, Bee Pollen, Curcumin, Astaxanthin and Alpha Lipoic Acid, to name a few. These supplements can be taken individually or combined with other ingredients.

There are also foods that naturally help fight aging. All berries, dark chocolate, beans, and fish with omega 3’s, vegetables (and NO, ketchup is NOT a vegetable!), nuts, red wine, avocado, whole grains and garlic are all great anti oxidants.

There is also a new category emerging called “superfoods” which are nutrient dense foods. The list is varied depending on who you talk to but these are some that I like: goji berries, chia seeds and blue green algae.

So even though we covered one area of anti-aging here, we found quite a list of different ways to fight for our youth. If this is all new to you, it may be time to ask yourself if you should take anything for free radical damage control. If you want to start adding these foods daily to your diet, it certainly won’t hurt you and may even slow down the aging process. You can also look into supplementing your diet with some of the supplements listed above. There are many products to choose from and you may want to run the idea by your doctor like I have done. Fighting the clock can be easy or complicated depending on how much time and money you want to put into it. Sometimes it is as easy as slipping some chia seeds into your next beverage or cereal bowl.

Stay young my friend!

Spring Cleaning our Bodies!

Depending on where you live, spring has arrived (or will come quickly) and it is time to look ahead. Since we all want to look our best, we need to take stock of our bodies. Many of us have been hiding under layers of clothes and eating more than normal in order to stay warm, and now is the time to come out from under those layers! How can we prepare for the upcoming season? We prepare our hearts, minds and bodies by cleaning out the negative and focusing on what is good and right and healthy.

Spring is a time to open windows for fresh air and clean out the house. We can clean out our bodies as well as detoxes that I cover in my ebook, Lean Clean, found on Amazon.com. I think spring cleaning our bodies is important. Think of how much better you will feel getting rid of toxins that accumulated during the winter months. Cleaning out our bodies helps us to feel better internally and therefore feel better about ourselves.

Spring is also a time for us to readjust the way we take care of ourselves. We need a new mindset that helps us make healthy choices. If we have gotten into a bad habit during the dark winter months, now is the time to expose it and come clean! No more hibernating with a bag of chips and sitting on the couch! Join a club or a group that makes you get out of the house and MOVE somehow. A new yoga and Pilates class would be good for us all, while others can be more vigorous and find a running or biking club and starting counting the miles. 

If you take a vacation in the spring, think about a healthy one. There are numerous spa vacations that help to restart and refresh ourselves. Spending the day with relaxing treatments or scrubs, and then having a chef prepare a healthy meal, may be just the thing for you right now. If you can't find the time for a healthy vacation, you can still find the time for new, fresh recipes to eat. We have to spend time preparing food. I find the fresh, unaltered food is not only easy but good for us. I try to eat mostly fresh fruits and vegetables with some beans and nuts added to stay at a healthy weight and feel good about myself. 

Other ways to refresh ourselves is to re-establish old friendships that we may have neglected during the dark winter months. Don't wait for the phone to ring, pick it up and reconnect with friends that you have been thinking about. It may even be good to meet them to exercise together! I will be spring cleaning with you!

Finally, find time to reconnect with God. Take time for a grateful hike or a stroll along a favorite pathway. It is good to practice being grateful for all you have been given. It is also a great way to refresh and get ready for a fantastic spring ahead!