Category Archives: Kelly’s Journal



Last weekend, I went to see nutritionist Kim Flannery. Kim is the Nutrition Director for the Wisconsin Athletic Club, and was a clinical dietician before she took this role. I discovered Kim after reading this great blog, “Stronger Body, Stronger Life” by a colleague, Sue Spaight. Although I’ve been exercising sort-of regularly, I’m not losing any weight, and I know it’s because of my relationship with food. I’ve become desperate to make a change, and more and more frustrated by myself and my food “failures.”

Enter Kim.

I expected to go to this meeting, and have a diet prescribed to me. I did not expect to leave with a single piece of paper with the word “Nurturing” underlined in large handwriting, and a new app on my iPhone.

Kim spent an hour with me asking pointed questions and listening like a pro. She wanted to know what my diet history is, what my food patterns are today, how I feel about food, and I think more importantly, how I feel about myself when I’m interacting with food. It’s not a pretty picture when you get down to it; I feel as if I fail myself almost every day because of what I eat. I find it nearly impossible to achieve the prescribed calorie goals and stick to the restricted food plans of many diets. I feel it’s a weakness, and I’m ashamed of the fact that I haven’t gained control over how I interact with food.

As I mentioned before, I left my appointment with instructions that were 180 degrees from what I expected. And because of this, I left with hope. Here’s what Kim’s instructions for me were:

1. Are you nurturing yourself? How do you feel about what you’re doing? Is what you’re doing kind? To your body, mind, and soul?

2. When you choose something more “tasty” to eat, focus more on mindfulness. When you make the “healthier” choice, be done with it and move on. (This stemmed from a conversation about the fact that I eat at restaurants regularly, which is a challenge. Kim asked me to commit to choosing the “tasty” option 50% of the time, and the “healthy” option 50% of the time. Seems reasonable.)

3. NEVER abandon yourself. Walking away is not an option.

4. What are some ways that I can find pleasure and soothe myself without food? Go for a walk. Go to a coffee shop. I need more ideas, but these are a start.

There are no “off limits” foods or diet plans for me to follow. Just a routine of being kind to myself. Kim has developed an iPhone app that is pretty great at getting me to step away from the binge-eating ledge. It’s called “In the Moment – Mindful Eating” and it kindly and gently walks the user through the process of making a choice about food. Are you hungry? Are you in emotional distress? Basically, what can you do to step away from the fridge and address what is going on head-on. The app is $1.99 and worth every penny.

So that’s it for today. Nothing earth-shattering. Just a bit of a kinder approach to food and how I treat myself when I’m obsessing over it. Hope this helps.

What is balance?


Raise your hand if you’ve ever fallen off the bus.

Keep it up if you’ve fallen off in the last month.

High and proud if it’s been in the last week, or even day.

I’ve been off the bus. And when I get off the bus, I feel the impact of crap all throughout my life. I feel it in my brain – I’m tired, unmotivated, and less than creative. I feel it in my body – my joints are stiff, my stomach is upset, and I ache. I feel it in my emotions – the depression fog creeps into my life, my self-worth is low, I’m susceptible to believing my inner gremlin when he says I have nothing to offer anyone. And for some reason, when these symptoms appear, my brain tells me that it’s food that will stop the feelings. The spiral begins here, and it’s a long way back up. This is where I am today.

When I feel like this, I crave balance. I crave the ability to do the things that keep me sane, that keep me positive, and let me  believe I’ll get through another week. But that’s hard for other people to understand, and this week my trainer, Karen, challenged me to write down what balance means so that we could work together more effectively to achieve it.

Here’s what I came up with:

  • Balance is more energized days than depressed days in a week, month, or year
  • Balance includes regular, routine sleep patterns
  • I need to practice yoga regularly
  • I need time outdoors
  • Balance is 1-2 drinks, not 8-10
  • Every day needs: movement, meditation/reflection, engaging work, food that fulfills my body’s needs, not my mind’s needs
  • Balance is equal reading to TV time
  • Balance is interacting with professional colleagues to keep me focused and sharp
  • Balance is interacting with friends and family to keep me in good humor
  • I need to feel comfortable with food, rather than obsessed with it

Today, I’m a little overwhelmed by this list. But I am going to work on a plan for tomorrow, and next week. I am going to structure my day so that I can achieve the balance I crave. I know that things come up, and my ability to be flexible while maintaining balance will be a key to living the life I imagine.


Fast Break: Keeping goals top of mind


It’s time I beg for forgiveness. I missed last week’s post. After a crazy week/weekend with lots of fun activities and being around a lot of people, I slipped into a couch coma when I got home Sunday night..ahhhhh, the quiet. And then I got the flu. No pitty party here – I caught it early and got on the Tamaflu, so after five days, I’m actually feeling pretty good again. I guess it’s time to get back at it.

Strategy: Keep your goals top of mind. It’s tough – that fresh beginning that came with January 1 has worn off a little, and let’s be honest, if you live in WI like I do, you sort of just want to eat soup and drink hot toddies until spring. One of the recommendations this week is to use visual cues like photos and affirmations to remind you of why you’re doing this. Funny, that’s just what my Life Coaching assignment is this month, too! Below you can peek at my inspiration board – it’s just a bulletin board in my basement, but I put everything up there – photos of my past when I felt good about myself, a friend’s inspirational story, Jillian Michaels, things I find on Pinterest, even the bikini I haven’t worn in years that might just be a possibility again someday.

inspiration board


Move your body challenge: I’ve been an epic failure at my own challenges. This one looks like something I can print out, put on my board, and just do it after my treadmill time this week!

do it daily


What am I going to eat? I made this Bleu chicken salad last week and it was the highlight of my week. Again, a plea for spring on my part.

bleu chicken salad


Motivation: I don’t know if I’m the best person to be giving any of this right now. I’m feeling blue and cooped up. So how about this little piece of advice (which you can buy from strongconfidentYOU on etsy)? There’s really no good reason to stop. Even the snow. So let’s just keep going.

just keep going



What was my biggest challenge last week, and how can I overcome it this week? The flu makes me only want to be comforted. So when I got my appetite back, it wanted mac & cheese, thick, creamy soup, and sour patch kids (don’t ask). I’ve taken care of myself, rested, and allowed myself to heal this week – now it’s time to get back to it by getting on the treadmill.

What will I do this week to improve my appearance? I’m getting a haircut next Saturday!

What will I do this week that will increase my energy? Take my vitamins every day, and a dose of EmergenC in the morning.

What sports, exercise or other physical activity will I do this week to improve my fitness? When and how often will I do it? There is no reason why I can’t be on the treadmill every day next week. I also really need to commit to getting back to yoga on Tuesday night. Again, I’ve been using the cold, snow, sick as an excuse – yoga is great for me, makes me feel better, and it’s literally 6 minutes away from my home. Just. Keep. Going.

What will I do this week to boost my self confidence? Go tanning. I know it’s controversial. But it makes me feel better. And I only do it once a week.

What actions will I take this week to improve my health? Drink more water and tea.

Fast-break goals – small, simple, powerful changes:

Nutrition: Tracking, tracking, tracking.

Fitness: I’m building up my running time – keep building

Motivation: Just keep going. This too shall pass.

Self-talk and Changing My Perception


I continue to struggle with the idea of weight and happiness and how they may or may not be connected. One of the ideas that I’m working on is that every time I go out to dinner or accept a social invitation I don’t have to be guilty or view these activities as “bad.” I’ve come to a place where I am probably a little too black and white with this part of my life. I like wine, and I like cocktails, but somehow the only way I seem to be able to get a handle on this part of my life is to tell myself I can’t drink at all. Or I’m misbehaving if I do have some drinks, or eat a great meal.

I work with a Life Coach (Jessy Stickel – worth every penny) who has helped me discover so many things about myself. The work we’ve done over the past year has helped me create a vision for my life, have the confidence to follow my dreams, and be a little more gentle with myself. I’ve focused in on my health and weight issues as a top priority in 2014. Here are some of the ways we’ve discussed for me to work through this challenge:

Start looking at social invitations as a positive opportunity to interact, rather than an eating/drinking disaster waiting to happen. I often start beating myself up the moment I say yes to an invitation. This can stop. I am trying to start looking at invitations as a way to connect with people, build my business, learn something new, and actually enjoy human interaction. Jessy suggested that maybe once I reframe this thinking, food and drinking will take a backseat and may just naturally become less of an issue.

Focus on my vision of my best self – what pieces need to be in place to get there? We all know that hydration and water make us feel good. Exercise makes us feel good. Whole foods make us feel good. But how do I make sure I’m focused on this when I’m in social settings, without going back to my belief that social settings are a trap for me? I know that my best self can drink water between each drink at happy hour. I know that my best self can make time in my day to workout, even if I went out the night before. My best self can both sincerely enjoy social outings, and have all of the pieces of a healthy life in place.

Remember that happiness does not live in excess. I was watching a Ted Talk by Matthiau Ricard, a Buddhist monk, who says that we can train our minds in habits of well being. We train for so many things, is it possible for me to train my brain when it comes to my problem with food and drinking? In the talk, Matthiau uses an example that stuck with me: our first piece of chocolate cake is delicious, decadent, and truly exquisite. The second piece doesn’t have that same effect, nor do any after that. This is the literal story of my life. I’m attracted to that initial feeling, and For some crazy reason I expect it to continue when I’m on my fourth serving. Happiness is savoring the real delight, and stopping before excess takes over my life.

Fast break: Setting Up Shop


Another week has gone by, and it was a rough one for me. I fell off of the wagon in many ways, and I’ve been procrastinating about writing this blog all day. But I made a commitment to start each week with a check-in, and I’m going to stick to it.

Strategy: The spark diet is all about baby-steps, and this week it’s about making sure you’ve got the right stuff in your environment. I’m already pretty good about only buying the things that are good for me and having a cleaned out kitchen, but it’s when I go out that I have the problem. This week is going to be tricky, because I’m a little overloaded on evening social events (two wine tastings, really?) I am going to take the advice of eating a small meal or snack before I head out – hopefully curb my appetite. I also appreciate the idea of having a cup or water bottle that you like to drink out of around at all times. My trick right now is this pretty tea pot and cup – I go through about 3 pots of tea each day!


Move your body challenge: It’s going to be cold, cold, cold again this week in WI, so here’s another one you can do in the house, with very little space needed. Let’s do it. At least once.


What am I going to eat? Check out this recipe for roasted chicken and winter squash with endive-apple salad. I make the chicken recipe from Practical Paleo all of the time, and I found the rest of the salad in Curtis Stone’s What’s for Dinner cookbook. This was a huge hit when I made it for my parents – I will make it again!

winter squash salad

Motivation: Oh man, do I ever need this for the week. I’m pulling my inspiration here from my effort to try to be a little more in love with myself, every day. Each day, I’m going to try to remember that by getting on the treadmill, cooking and eating healthy foods, and being gentle and forgiving with myself, I’m living my life with love.

A bright yellow sunbeam pattern on vintage paper.


What was my biggest challenge last week, and how can I overcome it this week? Drinking continues to be a challenge for me. I love red wine. I love having beers on Friday night. And I use an evening of drinking as an excuse to a)binge eat, b)not exercise the next day, c)eat poorly the next day, and d)beat myself up. I’m trying to learn to live a little less black and white, and a little more grey, where I can enjoy the lifestyle I enjoy, while maintaining my health.

What will I do this week to improve my appearance? I will keep up the painted fingernails.

What will I do this week that will increase my energy? I will commit to waking up early and STARTING my day with exercise. It always turns out better when I do.

What sports, exercise or other physical activity will I do this week to improve my fitness? When and how often will I do it? Mon-Wed I will use the treadmill for 30-60 minutes. Thur. I will train with Karen. Fri. I’ll be back on the treadmill.

What will I do this week to boost my self confidence? Put together a training schedule for Crazy Legs. (I didn’t achieve this goal last week).

What actions will I take this week to improve my health? Get my healthy meals on – at home!

Fast-break goals – small, simple, powerful changes:

Nutrition: I need to get back to My Fitness Pal this week. Honesty and accountability.

Fitness: Morning workouts.

Motivation: My mental health. This winter is getting long, and losing this weight will make it easier.

“Diet” Confusion & Weekly weigh-in


I’ve been struggling lately with the concept of what “diet” or way of eating is the best for me. You hear a lot these days about gluten-free, Paleo, and even vegetarian – and they’re all so different! How is it possible that one camp says you’ll have the best health if you stick to all things “primal” like meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, and another camp says to avoid the animal products and stick to beans, grains, fruits and vegetables? (I guess we can see the common denominator here).

I talked to my trainer Karen (click her name to see her blog – and her amazing bod – talk about inspiration!) about this, and her response was, “do what’s best for YOUR body.” Not everyone responds to food the same way, and it’s actually much more complicated than the old adage, “calories in, calories out.” No doctor, nutritionist or trainer would recommend living on a couple of snickers bars and a coke every day as long as you’re exercising, which I get.

My struggle is this: when I’m eating Paleo, I feel good. But I miss things that are supposed to be healthy, like chickpeas and milk. I added quinoa and edamame back into my diet this week, and honestly, I feel kind of crappy. Like – diarrhea and nausea crappy. In fact I’m about to throw out a big salad that I made for the week because it has not agreed with me at all.

Sad to see this beautiful salad go, but my body says, "No!"

Sad to see this beautiful salad go, but my body says, “No!”

So does this mean I am meant to be eating Paleo? Or am I allowed to make up my own version of these diets, where I get to have my milk and chickpeas, but avoid the other stuff?

Have any of you found a way of eating that just works for you body, allowing you to feel good, lose weight and still actually enjoy food? What have you tried? What’s your motto when it comes to food?

And this just in – I weighed in at 221 pounds this week. Down four pounds in 11 days, not bad. I’m going to have to crank it into high gear though, to hit my goal of 210 by Feb. 1. I think the treadmill will have a big impact on this.


This is me today at Push. Wow that muffin top looks gross. Something to work for, I guess. Get ready for it, because next week, Karen is going to come do training at my house, and we’re putting it on YouTube so you can work out with her at home, too.

Fast break: Finding the Time


It’s Sunday again! Time to get geared up for a good week, which for me pretty much boils down to planning. I’m feeling motivated as this is the new view in my basement!


Strategy: This week the Spark Diet talks about using every small opportunity we have to do a good thing for ourselves and our diets. One example is especially easy if you’re a Subway fan – switch out the mayo (100 calories) for mustard (11 calories) on your next sandwich. Carve out 15 minutes to move rather than sit. Maybe even team up with someone for meal planning or exercise. I forgot to mention it last week, but if anyone would like to hook up with me on My Fitness Pal for some accountability, my screen name is keandrew82.

Move your body challenge: I was an epic failure at last week’s challenge. I printed it out with grand intentions, and I didn’t do it even one day. I’ll keep it out again this week. I also challenge you guys to do this one at least once this week. It shouldn’t take long (maybe 20 minutes?) and it’s all basic moves that are great for you.


What am I going to eat? I’ll post recipes with photos later in the week, but this Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing is on my agenda for today. Like many people, I keep a lot of recipe ideas on Pinterest, so if you want to follow me, you can find me as Kelly Andrew or under the email

Motivation: This is from one of my favorite workout songs (and songs in general) “Shake it Out” by Florence And the  Machine. Let’s be honest, the devil on my back right now is a whole bunch of extra pounds, which are making it hard for me to do the things that will make my life how I want it (ie: physical activities with friends who are in better shape, having the confidence to date, etc.). Shake off whatever devil is riding you this week, and dance with me, okay?

devil on your back


Goals: I didn’t do this section last week, but I thought I’d share to stay accountable. I’ve used this goal sheet for years (on and off) and it helps me remember to take baby steps each week to feel great about everything in my life, not just a “diet.” I think it’s a combination of something I read in a Jillian Michaels book, and Spark People, and maybe a little me, but it’s not original by any means. It helps me though, so feel free to use it if it will help you.

What was my biggest challenge last week, and how can I overcome it this week? The cleanse offered a protective barrier from the real world, and once it was over, I went nuts and had waaaaay too much wine and felt like crap. This week I will remember that moderation is okay. I can drink wine, it’s not “bad.” I just need to do it in a way that doesn’t make me feel bad.

What will I do this week to improve my appearance? I will take the time to wear makeup when I leave the house.

What will I do this week that will increase my energy? I will work to get on a sleep schedule that allows 7-8 hours per night. For me this means moving away from a bad habit of Netflix in bed.

What sports, exercise or other physical activity will I do this week to improve my fitness? When and how often will I do it? M-3 mi. jog with Erin, T-morning walk & yoga, W-off, R-off, F-workout challenge, S-morning walk/jog, Su-morning walk/jog. I want to say I’ll do something every day, but I also want to be realistic. I’ll get there.

What will I do this week to boost my self confidence? Put together a training schedule for Crazy Legs.

What actions will I take this week to improve my health? Stick to my food plan and cook at home.

Fast-break goals – small, simple, powerful changes:

Nutrition: I will continue to track all of my food daily using My Fitness Pal

Fitness: Switch out couch TV time with treadmill TV time

Motivation: 210 pounds by Feb. 1 – which is coming fast. I’m going to a gala next month and I want to be able to feel good in a dress!

Detoxification Cleanse – Day 7


As I sit here drinking my tea on the morning of day seven, I feel good. I’m proud that I’ve been able to stick to the cleanse guidelines for a week. I’m happy that those holiday pounds seem to have come off during this week. I’m glad that I feel good.

But this is also a scary day for me. Without the excuse of “I’m doing a cleanse” how will I regulate my diet? I already have social plans for this weekend that include eating and drinking – how will I maintain moderation? How can I keep the cravings that I know are going to pop up again at bay, and how do I keep from overeating and binge eating in the future?

I have to think that this is the case for many people out there. We start the new year right, we clean out our systems, we engage in the right activities for a few weeks and feel great…and then we stop. Somehow the weight gets put back on and we start to feel like shit again. I don’t know how this story is going to end, but I’m committed to sharing the story along the way, and hopefully becoming accountable to readers of this blog.

On to day seven. Nothing new or earth-shattering here. Same routine as yesterday. I made this slow cooker savory bean and spinach soup, which was good, so I’ll have some leftovers for the next couple of days.

spinach soup


I’ve also got some broccoli slaw salad left, and ingredients to make this crunchy cashew thai salad tomorrow. Of course I’ll be back with more recipes next week.

Why I’m looking forward to the weekend: my treadmill gets delivered tonight, I have a date with Erin for a 3-mile run on Saturday (it’s going to be 35 degrees, a WI heatwave!) and there’s plenty of time to cook.

Why I’m nervous about this weekend: I want some red wine. And I want brunch. And those are two things that can get me in trouble when it comes to going overboard, having no boundaries, and ending up with a 3,000 calorie day.

Detoxification Cleanse – Day 6


Wow, after an impressive reiki session last night, I slept well and I’m ready for my day. I’ve got some appointments this morning and afternoon for work, so I’m strategizing on how I’m going to handle my food and liquids since I’m leaving the house and won’t be 12 feet from my tea pot and refrigerator! I should be okay though – I’ve got an hour to kill between two appointments, so I’ll take some of this broccoli-slaw salad to eat in the car, then get some tea at a coffee shop.



Today, the cleanse instructs that in addition to fruits and vegetables, I can add back mushrooms, beans, legumes, seeds, nuts and healthy grains. I made the broccoli salad yesterday without pumpkin and sunflower seeds, but I’ll add them in today. I’m sticking with my green smoothy for breakfast, although I’m out of juice cubes, so I’ll need to stop at the store for more greens to juice. I’m going to pop this Savory Bean and Spinach Soup recipe into the crockpot before I leave, so I should have a nice, warm, NEW meal when I come home tonight!

As we near the end of this cleanse journey, I feel good. My body feels revitalized and my head is clear. I think I may even feel a little less achey when I wake up in the morning. I’ve tracked my food intake every day on My Fitness Pal and cleared all of the crap from my fridge. So the next challenge is living this as a lifestyle, not just seven days out of the year. How can I incorporate this feeling into my every day life? What kinds of recipes can help me stay craving-free and eating at a normal intake rather than bingeing? I don’t know the answers yet, but I’m working on it.

Detoxing through Reiki


Tonight, as an unexpected addition to my cleanse, I was blessed to practice reiki for the first time. As I was reviewing the cleanse guidelines yesterday, I noticed that a suggested add-on to day 5 was energy work which includes reiki and acupuncture. My friend Rebecca recently opened Mosaic Wellness Studio in Germantown, so I emailed her to inquire if she provides reiki. I was in luck! Although her treatment rooms are not quite ready yet (her yoga studio and retail store are bustling though!) she offered me a session, on the condition that I ignore the construction equipment in her back hallway. Of course I agreed, and off I went to Mosaic.

I’ve never practiced reiki before, nor did I really know much about it going into the session. Frankly, I was a little surprised that it was recommended by a physician trained in western medicine, so I guess that made me even more curious. Rebecca had me lay down on a heated mat filled with amethyst (yes, she pulled up the sheets and I kid you not, there were rows of little amethyst chips sewn into the mat) which is intended to stimulate and soothe the mind and emotions.

Rebecca began the session by “scanning” my body from toe to head which was basically just floating her hands over each area and gently placing her hands down at times. She explained to me that the practice of reiki is meant to tune in to the chakras and make sure energy is balanced between them. She started with the root chakra, and moved up my body through the sacrum, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown (yes, she gave me a lovely worksheet after our session to help me remember these). She said that she had set her intention for the session for healing and cleansing, but that she is more of a vessel, an that the energy is actually doing the work. She warned me that I may not really feel anything other than relaxed, or I may feel some heat as she worked on certain areas, or even a magnetic type feeling.

During my session, I did feel heat coming into me from her hands. I felt extremely relaxed, and even got into a meditative state during the second half. During my meditation, I focused on releasing toxins, negative energy and the past from my body and soul. I visualized it moving out of my hands and feet (Rebecca had told me earlier that those are the places where most detoxification can happen). When Rebecca got to my throat chakra (this chakra’s function is inspiration and expression) I felt something – I can’t explain it well, but it was a blocking – my breathing wasn’t as easy, and I wonder if this has something to do with the challenge I’m having with my business identity right now. I also felt something different when she was working on the third eye (this chakra’s function is seeing and wisdom) – I felt almost like I was hearing electrical currents or something.

Now I know, to many of you all of this probably sounds whack-a-doodle and you’d laugh at someone for spending money on such a thing. But I’ll tell you this – I sort of get why reiki was recommended at this point in the cleanse. In the first couple of days, it’s more about movement and detoxing the physical toxins out of your body, and frankly, physically expelling the bad stuff. This practice, on day 5, left me feeling emotionally light and balanced. I was surprised at how nice my body felt on the way home. No hunger cravings. No tummy rumbling to poop some more. No headache. Just plain old nice.

If you are open to it, I do recommend trying reiki. I know that it will do different things for different people, and I think that’s okay. Tonight, it helped me release some things on a different plane than the caffeine, alcohol, sugar and wheat that I’ve been detoxing from all week. It helped me send some feelings away, and made me feel good, and quite frankly, if that’s what it takes, then that’s pretty cool.

Mosaic Wellness Logo

Oh, and if you’re in the Germantown area, I encourage you to check out Mosaic Wellness. They’re on Facebook, too. They have a gorgeous yoga studio with a variety of classes and teachers each week, awesome retail goods (I bought a beautiful scarf and a lip balm tonight), and coming in February, the treatment rooms will be available for massage, reiki, etc. Support local, y’all!