Monthly Archives: February 2012

Look Where You Leap

As Leap Day approached I began to have this sense I was to get what I always seem to need: an extra 24 hours in the day. I didn’t write this blog post as usual on Monday because, well, I could do it on my “extra” day (and I also wanted the novelty of posting on Leap Day for no other reason than to have February 29 logged on the blog, which is about as significant as picking out a certain coffee mug to drink from in the morning to elicit a certain mood, but that’s what I do).

An extra 24 hours.

Would the laundry get washed, folded and put away? If so, Leap Day could replace my desire to declare “Naked Day” for this same purpose.

Would I have enough time to work on upcoming deadlines? If so, Leap Day would allow me to bring my head “above water,” rather than stay where I usually am, just below the surface, breathing with a snorkel.

Would time for my workout come easily? If so, Leap Day could become the “restart” day I’ve needed in the slow-to-motivate last two weeks.

Then I started to think that perhaps Leap Day should be designated a holiday so that people can take advantage of their 24 hours however they wished. I wanted my daughters home from school. I wanted us to approach our extra 1,440 minutes with intent. By marking this bonus day in some way special, we would celebrate time–really consider what it means to have time here on earth–and thus, our life and our time together.

Backstory: I spent the weekend at the Motherhood and Words Writing Retreat. I was cocooned with seven extraordinary women with ample time for writing my life and a bonus health coaching session that provided much needed tools for living my life (and don’t you know I’ll be blogging about that in the future). If you’ll allow me to continue with my metaphor, I feel as if I’m still snugged up in that protective cocoon built from my experience at the retreat. Sure I came home and dove back into “real lice”–oh my gosh, did I say lice? I mean life, although, yes, there was lice, too (again, another post, focus Kara!)–I can’t shake the serenity. There was a metamorphis. I feel different. I have new friends; new essays; new ideas; new knowledge. I am by no means ready to fly, I am still enjoying this place of comfort and transition–LO!–the PRESENT!

Is that truly possible? Am I here, living in the present? Or… is it the coffee mug I chose this morning? The one that evokes Eastern religion and meditation for me. The green is calming, the orange blossoms–my favorite color–make me happy. Or did I pick the mug because I’m already here, in the present*, where I should stay because, to quote a friend: it’s the only place my body knows.

Would you believe… while writing this post, the school district called with their automated message announcing that, due to severe weather, school is cancelled today, Leap Day. Coincidence? No, I can’t see it that way. God is so unbelievably good to me like that. I will embrace the day for the holiday it is.


*Disclaimer: I kind of hate it when people talk about the importance of living life in the present when I don’t feel I’m doing that very well, mostly because I’m hearing something I already know and forcing myself to thinkabout being present doesn’t seem to work very well. Therein lies my problem, as I learned on this retreat. I can’t just *think* about being present, I must act on living in the present. I can no more think my way about being present as I can think myself into running a personal best 5K. For that I am planning my workouts and diligently following the plan with specific speed and strength training. So it is with living in the present. Apparently mindful workouts (sitting still, reflecting, meditating) are necessary.


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Life with a Fit Mom from Birth to Age 3

My mom says when you grow up in a fit family you have the advantage of never having to start exercising. Apparently getting started on the path to a fit life is the hardest part. Kids in fit families just don’t know any different.

Here I am working out with mom. Before I was born she would smuggle me into the fitness center.

This still goes down as our hardest workout together. What started as an easy walk around the maternity floor–throwing in some lunges and squats–became more difficult as the night went on. It left us both exhausted and crying. The exercise-induced endorphins were awesome though.


I don’t exactly remember any workouts those first few months. Maybe I slept through most of them. Maybe the dog wouldn’t let me out of her sight.


Early on I couldn’t go to the gym because I was too little. Then mom was too sleep deprived to remember to make an appointment in the infant room. So I hung out with dad.
Tethered together like this, we got in lots of walking workouts. We were also the family’s cheer team that first summer, watching as they competed and crossed finish lines. We were patient (as only mastitis can make necessary). Our turn would come.
Life changed when we got our Bob Revolution Stroller. Whether running sprints to the post office (hurry, before the bus!) or a leisurely jog through the arboretum, mom’s been a reliable training partner.
As I grew and got stronger, she got stronger. At every opportunity, was the workout.
The following summer, after all that training mom got back to crossing finish lines. I cheered her on.
Then, like a baby bird I got tossed out of the nest. I wasn’t sure I could fly.
We experimented with snowshoes that winter. Awesome.
Mom says finding opportunities to workout with kids is also an exercise in creativity and persistence.
And like we do whenever the weather allows, we “play out” a lot. If you’re ever at a park never allow your mom or dad to sit on a bench and watch. Make them move, too.
That fall they threw me out of the nest again. I’m definitely growing up active, but racing is for the birds.

We still go to the fitness center together a lot. I have my workouts and mom has hers. Mom doesn’t need to smuggle me in or make an appointment any more, she just has to remember to carry more stuff in her gym bag. I’m old enough now to know better not to sabotage her workout with a dirty diaper. I’ve learned the day will go better for me if I let her workout… She’s a nice mom and all, just nicer after the workout.

Now that I’m three, my fitness world is expanding: swimming lessons, soccer, riding my bike. So much to do. Mom still makes a pretty good training partner. She says she always will.

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Are You Drawn to Scale?

Will this be a make or break moment?

Sometimes you know you’re the bee’s knees. Like those mornings when you drag yourself out of bed an hour early so you can squeeze in a workout before the rest of the crew gets up. Or, those afternoons you insist everyone (including Mom) enjoys a healthy afterschool snack. Maybe you’ve raised your chin a little higher because you’ve been consistent and dedicated to a new healthy way of life.

And then, feeling confident and self-assured, you climb on the scale for a little extra validation. Which quickly becomes




Stepping on the scale isn’t always happy inducing, is it? Sometimes that number just doesn’t jive with what’s going on in your life and suddenly, faster than you can down a little high carb comfort food, your mood is soured and your motivation squashed.

Here’s where your mindset can be make-or-break. On a good day you might assume the scale is inaccurate, you’re retaining water, or the weight gain is the result of fat turning to muscle. You shrug your shoulders, step off, and move on with your life. A “bad” number is nothing but a small blip on your radar.

Other times a disagreement with the scale can leave you feeling like you’ve been kicked in the gut. You decide you’re a hopeless case who is never going to meet her health and fitness goals and make your way to the cookie jar. Or, maybe you’re prone to the opposite behavior and begin restricting your diet. Either way, there is no healthy escape.

We’re all prone to either reaction on any given day. Ensure you’re doing everything you can to foster your fit lifestyle. Live life a little more deliberately and follow these five pointers when you’re drawn to check the scale:

  1. Don’t weigh yourself every day. Lots of factors, especially water retention, can cause your weight to vary significantly from day to day. Don’t get sucked into those daily fluctuations in weight—your mood is likely to follow. Who needs another reason to be moody?
  2. Your weight can vary 2-4 pounds during the day so when you do hit the scale, do it at the same time each day. Morning, when you first get out of bed, is best since that’s when most of us are at our lightest.
  3. Use the same scale each time to weight yourself to avoid confusing accuracy with variance.
  4. Think through the consequences of meeting or not meeting your goal. Only step on the scale if you are confident you won’t let an unexpectedly high number defeat you.
  5. Chuck it (as in garbage heap). Remember that your weight doesn’t tell the whole story. Instead of judging your progress by the number on the scale, gauge your success by how your clothes are fitting, your energy level, or your general state of health.  After all, that’s what this whole healthy living thing is all about anyway, isn’t it?

-Laurie Kocanda

What’s your relationship with the scale like? Connected at the hip, separated for good, or somewhere in between? Do you own a scale? Why or why not?

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