health, healthy living, Uncategorized

Poor, Fat People

I was at the grocery store the other day, stocking up in preparation for the big storm. Side note – I hope all of you on the East coast fared well in the storm!

The line to check out was long, as one might imagine, and in line in front of me was a very overweight woman in an electronic scooter checking out. In her cart were multiple bottles of soda, bags of non-brand-name chips, snack cakes, family-sized packs of cookies, a few loaves of white bread, and boxes of, once again, non-brand-name macaroni and cheese. To be sure, there wasn’t a vegetable or piece of fruit in sight.

The guy in line behind me was clearly in a hurry (as evidenced by the fact that he kept butting up against me with his cart). I’ve had the flu for over a week and was already rundown and tired, so every little thing was annoying me more than it would on an average day.

I could hear the man sighing loudly, watched as he stomped around and rolled his eyes, and heard him muttering under his breath. I heard a few phrases like, “fat ass,” and, “eat another cookie.” Part of me wanted to turn around and confront him, but the bigger part of me just wanted to try to get out of the store and get home and back on the couch.

When the woman finished with her order, she pulled out her state welfare card, payed for her order, and scooted on her way. The man muttered the last comment, “figures,” and proceeded to move his cart up, hitting me again. I angrily pushed the cart back toward him and asked him to “back up,” as I started to unload the few groceries I had onto the belt. The truth was, while I didn’t have a lot of things to buy, I was praying as I swiped my debit card that I’d have enough to cover my order.

I’ve heard snarky comments like this guy’s before. “If people are poor they should be skinny,” “Clearly, he’s not that poor, he looks like he’s eating pretty well,” “The state doesn’t need to pay for her food, she’s so fat, she just needs to eat less.” It’s just so unnecessary, and so wrong.

While I agree that you can eat somewhat healthfully on a budget (I teach this to people as part of my health coaching practice) junk food is cheap. I can tell you that cheap soda pop, Pop Tarts, and off-brand cereal is a lot cheaper than organic juice, spelt bread, and organic granola.

We shouldn’t be asking why “health food” is so expensive, but instead, asking why junk food is so cheap! It’s a problem when a hamburger at a fast food joint costs $1.00 and a salad costs $6.00!

Comments like “He’s not that poor, he looks like he’s eating pretty well,” just speak to the problem. A lot of people who live under the poverty line rely on cheap, packaged foods to survive. They’re shopping for foods, based not on their health benefits or calorie counts, but to get the most amount of food for the least amount of money. They are shopping for bulk and price, not for health.

If we desire a return to health, it’s not going to be found in a pill or an exercise video, or a packaged diet shake. For a return to health we need a return to real food. We need to stop shaming people and judging people. We need to stop feeding our kids crap in school cafeterias. We need to educate people on basic health and nutrition, teach them how to shop on a budget, help them understand the mechanics of food, and yes, work to make healthy food available and affordable.

That’s why I’ve been working hard on the development of a community program aimed to address these issues and then some. I hope to roll the program out in the fall to YMCAs, community centers, schools, and churches across the country to help people who need help. Stay tuned for more.

I know that some of you may disagree with this post, I know some of you may be offended, and that’s okay; everyone is entitled to their opinion on things. But I think most of you can agree that the systems we have in place aren’t working, in fact, we are failing our families at almost every level.

If you’re in need of health and wellness information, please feel free to reach out to me at karen@thecaringcoachingcenter.com. I promise I’ll answer your questions and do my best to help you if you need it.Or visit my website, www.thecaringcoachingcenter.com for some quick information at a glance.

Take care of yourself, be nice to yourself, and be well. And until next time, veg in – don’t veg out.

Karen

Karen Ann Kennedy’s commitment to wellness and service is at the heart of her life and career. As a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a decorated United States Army veteran, and a longtime Human Resources Director, it is only natural that Karen would launch The Caring Coaching Center, to support others in reaching their health, fitness, and lifestyle goals. As the company’s President, CEO, and “Coach in Chief,” Karen provides individual, group, and corporate health and wellness coaching that is flexible, fun, and free of denial. As Karen likes to say: “Little changes. BIG results!”

Thanks to her studies at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition school, Karen is well versed in the importance of nutrition and healthy living. Karen also has extensive experience in compassionately coaching and counseling others through her work in human resources and volunteer management, having worked in this industry for over 20 years.

Karen shares her knowledge and passion for healthy living as a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Known for her bright smile, boundless energy, and approachability, Karen is an in-demand speaker who has presented training programs for many prestigious organizations and schools in the Philadelphia area, including The National Constitution Center, The Urban League of Philadelphia, Constitution High School, Planned Parenthood of New Jersey, The Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, City Year of Greater Philadelphia, and the Upper Darby School District.

Karen is also a decorated veteran of the United States Army, serving her country for eight years including a tour of duty in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, and now residing in Ocean City, New Jersey, Karen offers Caring Coaching to clients nationwide. In addition to coaching, she loves cooking, marathon running, and writing her blog, Carrots Don’t Scream When You Boil Them.

Karen is also the author of Your Best Year Yet! 365 Days of Little Changes that Add Up to Big Results! Available on www.amazon.com.

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Health and wellness

Health Tips for the 40 and Older Set

Yesterday was my birthday! Yay, I’m getting older! I suppose getting older beats the less-desirable alternative of dying young.

As I’m getting older, I’m learning to appreciate my body and all the wonderful things it does for me; I’m also paying better attention to how I care for my body.

I want you to do the same thing. Whether you’re 17, 21, 35, 44, or 62, I want you to take care of yourself.

But since I am over 40, I want to talk directly to the other folks in the 40 and over club.

Here are some health recommendations to help the 40 and over set take control of their health and well-being.

Check-ups and exam

Schedule a check-up with your doctor every two years until the age of 65, then schedule a check-up annually. When visiting the doctor for a check-up or general wellness exam, have the doctor check your height, weight, BMI, and blood pressure. Be honest with your doctor about your diet, exercise, and whether or not your smoke or use drugs.

Colon Cancer Screening

Ask the doctor about early screening if you have a family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, or if you have a history of inflammatory bowel disease. Your doctor may order a colonoscopy to check your colon health. If you don’t have a sketchy family history, your doctor may start to discuss these screenings around age 50.

Breast Cancer Screening

Regular at-home exams should be happening at least once per month. If you are 40 or over, be sure to schedule an annual mammogram. If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, be sure to let your doctor know so they can determine if more frequent screenings are needed.

While breast cancer is more often found in women, men can also develop breast cancer. Men, if cancer runs in your family, or, if you have experienced any tenderness or soreness or changes in your chest area, be sure to let your doctor know.

Cervical Cancer Screening (Pap test)

After the age of 40, women should have a pap test every three years. If you have certain risk factors, you may need more frequent pap tests. It’s important to tell your doctor about your family history so they can determine the correct frequency of testing for you.

Please note that the three year frequency is only for pap testing; women should continue to be vigilant about scheduling and keeping their annual gynecology appointments!

Prostate Cancer Screening in Men

You may want to discuss screening between the ages of 40 – 45 if you have a family history of prostate cancer, or, if you are an African American male, as prostate cancer is more common in African Americans. If you do not have a family history, the prostate screening discussion usually happens around the time you turn 50.

Whenever you are going for a check-up, you can make the most of your visit with the doctor by discussing the following topics:

• Discuss any known family history, such as cancer risk, diabetes, etc., that may affect your health
• Review any medications you are taking, and don’t forget to include the use of vitamins and herbal supplements
• Discuss with your doctor any changes in mood or behavior, such as depression, anxiety, or lack of interest or energy
• If you are having trouble sleeping, or experiencing stress, talk to your doctor about your symptoms
• Be honest with your doctor about any unhealthy habits such as smoking, excessive drinking, or drug use. Your health care provider can provide you the best care only if they know the truth about your health and habits

I hope this serves as a good guideline for helping you take control of your health, while also helping you make the most of your visits to the doctor.

If you haven’t been to the doctor in quite some time, consider scheduling a wellness visit TODAY. Struggling with your health? Contact me for your FREE health consultation, 267-258-7338, or karen@thecaringcoachingcenter.com.

While your health consultation does not take the place of a visit with your doctor, it can help you uncover valuable information and get you on a path to greater health and wellness.

Take care of yourself, be nice to yourself, and be well. And until next time – veg in, don’t veg out!

Karen

Karen Ann Kennedy’s commitment to wellness and service is at the heart of her life and career. As a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a decorated United States Army veteran, and a longtime Human Resources Director, it is only natural that Karen would launch The Caring Coaching Center, to support others in reaching their health, fitness, and lifestyle goals. As the company’s President, CEO, and “Coach in Chief,” Karen provides individual, group, and corporate health and wellness coaching that is flexible, fun, and free of denial. As Karen likes to say: “Little changes. BIG results!”

Thanks to her studies at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the world’s largest nutrition school, Karen is well versed in the importance of nutrition and healthy living. Karen also has extensive experience in compassionately coaching and counseling others through her work in human resources and volunteer management, having worked in this industry for over 20 years.

Karen shares her knowledge and passion for healthy living as a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Known for her bright smile, boundless energy, and approachability, Karen is an in-demand speaker who has presented training programs for many prestigious organizations and schools in the Philadelphia area, including The National Constitution Center, The Urban League of Philadelphia, Constitution High School, Planned Parenthood of New Jersey, The Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, City Year of Greater Philadelphia, and the Upper Darby School District.

Karen is also a decorated veteran of the United States Army, serving her country for eight years including a tour of duty in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, and now residing in Ocean City, New Jersey, Karen offers Caring Coaching to clients nationwide. In addition to coaching, she loves cooking, marathon running, and writing her blog, Carrots Don’t Scream When You Boil Them.

Karen is also the author of Your Best Year Yet! 365 Days of Little Changes that Add Up to Big Results! Available on http://www.amazon.com.

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Uncategorized

For Germophobes

I have lots of friends who are teachers. I know that they are dreading going back to school. It’s not that they don’t love what they do; teaching children and shaping young minds, but the return to school also means the return to unprotected sneezes, runny noses, and scores of germs on surfaces from desks to chairs to books.

The most effective line of defense, as we all know, is hand washing. Be sure to wash your hands often and thoroughly, by making sure you lather up the entire surface of your hands (including between fingers). Use hot water and soap.

In addition to hand washing:

– Stifle those sneezes by sneezing into the crook of your arm. Just bend your elbow and let ’em rip!

– Get plenty of rest to avoid getting run down. Aim for at least 6 – 8 hours of sleep each night to give your body a rest. This will help you fight off colds and flu caused by germs.

– Eat healthy foods with lots of vitamins and minerals. This will help you maintain a happy immune system.

– Avoid touching your face, rubbing your eyes, or putting your hands near your mouth. Think about all the things you touch in the course of a day, and then think about touching your face. EW! Gross!

– Carry an antibacterial lotion or spray with you for those times when it’s not convenient to get to a sink to wash your hands. Although I recommend not overdoing it with the antibacterial stuff, it’s good to have in case of an emergency. 

Germs are everywhere and unless you plan on living like “the boy in the bubble,” there’s no way to avoid them completely, but just following a few simple steps could help you stave off illness as we move into the cooler months. 

Take care of yourself, be nice to yourself, and be well. And until next time – veg in, don’t veg out!

Karen

Want more tips like these? Sign up for my monthly newsletter! Just go to http://www.thecaringcoachingcenter.com and click on the newsletter link. No spam; I promise!

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Uncategorized

Denial is not Just a River in Egypt!

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After months of debate with myself, I have finally made the decision to go gluten-free. I have known for several months that I needed to do it, but I was too busy visiting another state; the state of denial!

I had every excuse under the sun, “it will be too hard,” I’m a vegan; what will eat?” I felt bad every time I ate bread or pasta, but not bad enough! You see, that’s what happens when you decide to make a change, you have to feel bad enough, be uncomfortable enough, to make that change!

The decision became crystal clear this week when, after eating bread at breakfast, pasta at lunch, and a peanut butter sandwich at dinner, I felt more horrible than I could remember feeling in recent years. I spent a half hour of my one-hour karate class in the bathroom (TMI), and knew then that it was time to leave the state of denial and move to a new state; the state of ACTION!

Will it be easy to go gluten-free? Probably not! But I need only think about how crappy I felt the other day to remind myself that eating that muffin, bowl of pasta, piece of bread, or piece of cake is not worth it!

Is there something in your life that you are denying? Is there something you feel strongly that you need to do? You could do what I did and wait until it’s so uncomfortable that you have no choice but to make a change, or, you can be proactive in your life and decide to make the changes in your life that you know will benefit you.

Some people need that “rock bottom” moment before they make a move, and if that’s you, than at least you can recognize it. But if you can make changes now, DO IT! Trust me, in six months you’ll wish you had started today!

Take care of yourself, be nice to yourself, and be well!

And until next time, veg in, don’t veg out!

Karen

On a gluten-free diet? Struggle with your weight? Living with high blood pressure, diabetes, or any other health issue? Health coaching can help put you on the path to wellness! Contact me TODAY for a FREE health consultation, karen@thecaringcoachingcenter.com. Evening, weekend, and phone consultations are available, but sessions fill up FAST, so don’t miss out, get yours today!

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Uncategorized

When the Health Coach Gets Sick

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An amazing thing happens when you become a Health Coach. Suddenly, everyone around you starts monitoring what you eat. God forbid you miss a workout, everyone gets on you for it. And don’t even try to sneak to the vending machine, or eat a donut at a staff meeting!

So, today, I got sick! Here’s a news flash, I’m a human being! Do you think doctors never get sick? Dentists never get a toothache? It happens! And it happened to me in a big way today!

I knew it was coming last night. I had a scratchy throat, and I kept repeating the mantra, “I am not getting sick, I am not getting sick,” but then I sneezed; TWICE, and I knew that was the beginning of the end. When I woke up this morning, I WAS SICK! Horribly sick! I went to work; big mistake! I made it for part of the morning and then promptly came home, parked myself on the coach, and started pumping myself full of liquids.

My co-workers were appalled! How I possibly be sick! I’m a Health Coach. I tell everyone else how to stay healthy! They looked at me as if I were an alien!

As a Health Coach, I am always so concerned about my clients. Are they getting what they need? Eating healthy? Taking care of themselves? Getting enough rest? It’s that last one that was my downfall. I am very good at telling other people to make sure they rest, but I’m terrible at doing it for myself. As I sat at my desk with the world’s worst headache, seriously, my eyeballs hurt, I emailed my brilliant marketing consultant to cancel a meeting for tonight, cleared off the calendar for Saturday, and came to the sad realization that my never-ending to-do list was going to get a little longer.

So what happens when the Health Coach gets sick? The same thing that happens when everybody else gets sick; you get forced to slow down and take care of yourself.

I hope all of you are staying well! Please remember to take care of yourself! And until next time, veg in, don’t veg out!

Karen

Haven’t signed up yet for my monthly newsletter? Please do! Visit my website at http://www.thecaringcoachingcenter.com and click on the newsletter link. You’ll get great health and wellness tips, recipes, and fun articles! Like the blog? Check me out LIVE every Friday night on http://www.dtmwickradio.com. YES,  even tonight I’ll be on there sharing health and wellness tips! 9 pm EST, don’t miss it!

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Uncategorized

Long Live the Twinkie

No, seriously, long live the Twinkie, it’s probably going to be around long after you and I are gone!

People are always asking me for quick tips or “rules of thumb” for eating healthy, so I’m happy to share with you one of my favorites.

If a food can go bad, then it’s good for you. Think about that for a minute. If a food can go bad, then it’s good for you.

Tape that to your refrigerator, put it on a post-it-note to keep in your wallet, write it at the top of your shopping list each week!

If a food has a long shelf life then it’s likely to shorten yours! Why? Because it’s NOT FOOD! It’s chemicals.

Here’s one of the biggest issues I see, people have stopped eating real food and are eating chemicals instead. People are more particular nowadays about the type of gas they put in their cars then they are about what they put in their bodies. Does anybody else see anything wrong with that?

There was so much going on in the news this week; shootings and killings in cities across America, protests continuing on gay marriage, uprising in Egypt. The verdict came in on the Trayvon Martin case and people are still reeling over it. Glee star Cory Monteith died at the very, very, too-young age of 31.

But what’s been all over the news? The return of the Twinkie! The media is hyping this up like crazy! People are rushing out to stand in line at Wal-Mart like it’s the release of the new XBox. We’re one step away from women fainting in the aisles as if Oprah were giving them away. Could you imagine? “You get a Twinkie,  and you get a Twinkie, and YOU get a Twinkie!”

So here’s a challenge for you. It’s an easy one, I promise. Before you eat ANYTHING this week, pause for a moment and ask yourself these 4 questions:

1. What exactly am I eating?

2. Where did it come from?

3. Why am I eating it?

4. How will this make me feel?

1. You need to know what you’re putting in your body. And please don’t say, “I do know, it’s a Twinkie!” I get that, but what exactly IS that Twinkie made of? What’s in it? If it has a list of ingredients that you can’t pronounce you should probably back away from it!

2. Where did it come from? Did a farmer  harvest this from a lovely field or did some dude in a chemical suit push it through a conveyor belt?

3. Why am I eating it? Are you eating for entertainment? Are you bored? Are you fueling up for a Yoga class or a long run? Am I craving salt, sugar, fat?

4. How am I going to feel after I eat this? Will I feel satiated? Will I feel guilty? Is my stomach going to rumble all night? Is it going to give me gas?

Once you start to understand what and why you eat, you’ll start to see the benefits of eating real, whole foods that make your body feel fantastic. As one of my wise friends once said , “People don’t know what it feels like to feel good.” And it’s so true, because once you know what it feels like to feel good, trust me, you’ll never want to go back to eating crap!

So, long live the Twinkie, but for those who choose to eat them, short live you!

Veg in, don’t veg out!

Karen

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