Health and wellness, healthy living, holidays, Uncategorized

Happy Healthy Holidays!

This is the time of year when I just give up! I will admit that I’ve stopped exercising regularly, have let my diet slip, and, haven’t been diligently keeping track of my budget in the midst of holiday shopping.

But I don’t want to totally derail all the good work I’ve done this year, so I’m trying to “stay on track.”

If you’re also trying to stay on track (but aren’t trying that hard, like me) here are a few quick tips to help you have a healthy and happy holiday. I hope they are useful for you!

1. If you aren’t working out as much or as hard as you were prior to the holidays, aim to get in a brisk walk at least three times a week.

2. Participate in exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise. Play with the dog in the snow, build a snowman with the kids, go ice skating, or, walk the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights.

3. Sample holiday treats, but don’t go overboard. Focus on foods that you can’t get all year round. You can have biscuits from a can anytime, but maybe you only get Aunt Rita’s famous cheesecake once a year. Eat the cheesecake and skip the biscuits!

4. When hosting, or when invited to, a potluck-type event, bring something healthy. Trust me, there will be enough fattening foods available.

5. Spend time with friends and family but don’t overbook! For every party, outing, event, etc. that you say yes to, say yes to one or two days just for yourself. This is the time to enjoy with family and friends, not for experiencing burnout!

6. Keep healthy snacks with you for those marathon shopping trips. Apples, bananas, pears, and orange slices travel nicely. My trick? Pack a Ziploc bag with a napkin in it, that way, you can wipe up after you snack and then use the bag to discard the peel or rind of the fruit. Or pack other durable snacks like pretzels, trail mix, or granola bars.

7. Keep alcohol consumption in check. For every alcoholic beverage you consume, drink a glass of water to keep hydrated and to keep from overdoing it.

8. Give yourself one healthy gift this year. Go get a massage, a pedicure, manicure, or a haircut. Take a hot yoga class, or buy yourself a gym membership. Money tight? Try a free fitness class at a local gym or treat yourself to an at-home spa night.

I want to take a moment to wish all of you a happy and healthy holiday season. I’m grateful for the support that I’ve received from all of you over the past year, and look forward to writing for you in the New Year!

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


Now is the time! Get your free health consultation TODAY! It’s the perfect way to kick off the New Year! Email me at: or visit my website, for more info.

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


Your Own Personal Healthcare Reform

I spent this past week researching healthcare reform for employees at my work and I realized just how confusing it it. Then I started to think that we spend so much time, money, and effort on coming up with ways to fix what’s already wrong, instead of putting our energy into taking care of ourselves properly in the first place.

We are not actually in the business of “healthcare” we are in the business of “sickcare!”

It’s time to take back control of our own health. So below, are a few simple steps you can take for your own personal healthcare reform.

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

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Adding more vegetables to your diet is the single best thing you can do for your health! Don’t want to spend a small fortune on the fresh stuff? Frozen and canned are fine. If buying canned, try to buy low sodium versions, or, rinse your canned veggies to wash away some of the added sodium.

2. Stop eating processed foods. Stop eating foods with ingredients i.e. chemicals that you can’t pronounce. If you must eat packaged foods, stick to foods that have 5 ingredients or less, and always try to buy products with ingredients that you can identify. Remember, if you can’t identify it, your digestive system can’t either!

3. Please step away from the sugar! Americans are eating 200% more sugar today than they did even 50 years ago. Sugar is in everything! Manufacturers sneak it into the most unlikely products, like salad dressing and bread, so we eat more than we think we do, in addition to the white refined sugar that we use in our coffee and tea. Craving something sweet? Try natural sweeteners like agave and honey, but cut back on that too! Everything in moderation, and that includes the healthy stuff.

4. Watch your portion sizes. Even the healthiest foods have calories, so watch your portion sizing. An serving of cheese is about the size of your thumb, a serving of protein, the palm of your hand or roughly the size of a deck of playing cards. A serving size of pasta is just one cup, or about the size of a tennis ball. Still hungry after you meal? Finish with a salad to curb your appetite and sneak in another serving or two of vegetables. 

5. Get enough rest. Americans are sleep-deprived. See those zombies walking around every day? No, it’s not a new episode of the Walking Dead, it’s millions of people who aren’t getting enough rest. Aim to get 8 hours of sleep a night. Have trouble sleeping? Power down electronic devices at least an hour before bed. Establish a bedtime routine each night (that will signal your body that it’s time to go to sleep) and go to sleep and wake the same time each night/morning.

6. Watch your negative self-talk. Studies have shown that your physical body reacts to everything it sees and hears, and that includes self-talk. When you constantly fill your head with negative thoughts and negative talk (especially negative self-talk) your body responds in the way of body aches, decreased immunity = think more colds and flu, and digestive issues. Get into the habit of speaking as kindly about yourself as you would about others. The conversation you have about yourself is the single most important conversation you will ever have.

7. Move your butt…and take the rest of your body with you! Regular exercise cannot be promoted enough! Get out and walk, go for a run if that’s your thing, try yoga, or martial arts, ride a bike. Whatever you decide, just find something you like and get out and do it. As the winter months approach, people’s exercise routines tend to drop off dramatically. Try yoga at home, pop in an exercise DVD that you enjoy, go to the mall and walk on a rainy day. Just find an activity and aim to engage in it at least 30 minutes, 3 times each week.

8. Keep stress in check. I know this is easier said than done, but stress can do a number on you both physically, and mentally. When faced with a stressful situation, remember to breathe, if you can, step away from the situation; take a walk or find a quiet place to sit for a few minutes. Drink a glass of water, get outside and get some fresh air. Avoid common behaviors like reaching for a cigarette or eating a pint of ice cream, which will only make things worse. If you’re faced with a long-term stressful situation, like a family member’s illness or a stressful situation at work from which you can’t escape, be sure to take extra care of yourself, and don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional for someone to talk to if you need it.

9. Curb your caffeine intake. I used to be addicted to coffee. ADDICTED! I never thought I could give it up, but one day, I did. I went cold turkey and kicked the java habit! The first few days were rough, I’m not going to lie, but once I get the caffeine out of my system, I felt so much better. Caffeine is a stimulant; it’s also a diuretic. Caffeine can make you jittery, knock your nervous system out of whack, and cause you to become dehydrated. Looking for a natural boost? Try maca powder in your smoothie or a little on your morning oatmeal. It’s a natural powerhouse that will give you a boost of energy. Bananas are another great source of natural energy, and they’re loaded with potassium too! And if you aren’t eating enough good, healthy foods to get you all the natural energy you need, consider taking a vitamin supplement to boost energy levels.

10. Cut yourself a break. No one is perfect, and most people I know can find a million things they dislike about themselves. But how about finding the things that you do like! Maybe your house doesn’t look like it’s being featured in Better Homes and Gardens, maybe you don’t decorate like Martha Stewart, cook like a five-star chef, maybe you aren’t built like a Victoria’s Secret model, or you kids don’t look like they’ve stepped out of a Gap commercial. You know what? IT’S OKAY! Stop being so hard on yourself and start recognizing the good in who you are and what you do. Feeling good about yourself is the holy grail of feeling good and feeling healthy!