Friday, July 15, 2011

Guest Blogger: Fitness Professional Kimberly Kincaid

Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance novels that split the difference between sexy and sweet. A 2011 Golden Heart® finalist, Kimberly is proudly represented by Maureen Walters at the Curtis Brown Literary Agency. She lives in the Washington DC area, where she pursues many interests, including yoga and martial arts, healthy cooking, and her newest obsession— writing foodie romance. Kimberly is a certified fitness professional, having trained with both the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) and YogaFit®. She has taught classes that run the gamut from water aerobics to yoga to kickboxing, and is a firm believer in sharing a happy, healthy lifestyle. She can be found on Facebook (, Twitter (@kimberlykincaid) and the web at

First and foremost, I’d like to congratulate each of you for choosing to participate in such a wonderful program. Making the decision to work toward a healthier lifestyle isn’t an easy one, but taking that first step means you’re on the path to a happier, healthier, slimmer you. I’ll be here with you ladies once a month, offering up different ways to help make your journey successful. Please note that some of these ideas will resonate with you more than others—those are the ones you should grab with both hands! There’s no “cure-all” that works for all of us; fitness isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor. The most important thing I can tell you ladies right off the bat is to be careful and listen to your body. So often, we ignore our bodies! If your body tells you that something hurts, STOP (we’ll talk about the difference between pain and burn soon enough. Don’t you worry! J ) True pain is only an indicator of one thing, and that is that something is wrong. Honor that, and promise to work hard, and you’re ahead of the game.

The first thing we’re going to do is take stock, literally, with pencil and paper (or keyboard and screen— whatever your preference). Having things in writing makes us a lot more accountable for them. Don’t worry! You will not be asked to share this with anyone unless you want to. But watching your progress on the page can be a truly transformative thing (you all see the parallel, right?) So first, examine your current daily routine. Make a list of your activities (go to work, write, chores, etc.) and look at it closely with two questions in mind. How active are you? It’s okay if the answer to this is “not very”, or even “not at all”. But be honest. Remember— no one sees this but you!

The second question is, where can you add more movement to your life? If you can schedule a daily workout, at the gym or at home, of course that’s ideal. But let’s face it— life’s not always ideal. You can still be active, even if you have to miss a workout. Movement is the key. Parking further away from buildings, taking the stairs, going for a ten-minute walk on your coffee break—all of these things get you in motion. Try wearing a pedometer, available for as little as a few dollars in the fitness section at any major retail store. There’s no magic number for steps you “should” be taking in a day, but keeping track of how many steps you take and trying to up it a bit every day is a nice starting-out challenge. Try to outdo yourself on any given day, even if it’s by 100 steps. One of the most basic fitness challenges is to set the bar, then raise the bar. Your pedometer is a great place to start! When you’re waiting for the microwave to beep, walk around your kitchen, or march/jog in place. Every time you go up your stairs (or take a bathroom break or brush your teeth), do ten squats or jumping jacks. It takes less than a minute! And yet it adds up, and your body will notice.

Since we’re taking stock, let’s talk about a food journal. For one week, write down everything you eat and drink. Yes. Everything. Coffee with two creams and two sugars. 15 baby carrots with 2 Tablespoons of ranch dip. 16 ounce bottle of water. I know it may seem a bit…well, militant to measure your food, but one of the biggest eye-openers is to see our eating patterns and habits in amounts. Food scales are available at many retailers, and they’re not horribly expensive unless you go for the bells-and-whistles model. Seeing how much (and what!) we eat can help us make healthier decisions down the road. When your week is done, look at your list. What can you cut out? What can you change? Please note, healthy living is NOT about starving yourself. It is about changing bad habits into good ones. Substitute skim milk for 2%. Go for smaller portions. Leave soda on the shelf and drink water. Make it a point to have a fruit/veggie in each of your snacks and meals. Change your eating habits, and watch your new eating habits change you.

Now it’s your turn. If you’re comfortable sharing, tell us what habits you’d like to change. How do you plan to add more movement to your routine? What are some healthy food substitutions you’re planning to make? 

Your assignment until we meet next month is to write down your daily activity (your fitness journal) and to keep up with your food journal. Watch it change over the next few weeks, and mark your successes, as well as noting what doesn’t work so you can find the best routine for you. I’m excited to see how unique everyone’s process is, and to hear the stories of what works for you!


  1. I've determined that I need to do something about my "expanding assets". Age is no excuse, but it's the one I turn to in a pinch. (Bad me.) I've fought my weight most of my life--and, for the most part won--until recently. Being an emotional eater and a dyed-in-the-wool grazer doesn't help, but while I'd often joked about my weight, it wasn't until I needed to pack for National and nothing fit, it really hit home. I wept. My sweetie comforted me, but I vowed right then to do something about it.

    My life is hectic with having my grandbaby several days a week, five hour round-trip visits to the doctor, and, of course, the fact my beloved can do litle for himself, or anyone else, these days, which leaves all the yard, house, and repair work to me. I guess that's why the pounds took me off guard; I'm always going! But I neglected to factor in age. I'm physically strong---I schlepp 50lb bags of dog food---but my endurance sucks, and I've little energy for exercise. (It took me six hours to mow and weed-wack yesterday, and that's not unusual, we have a couple acres.)

    Journaling sounds good, but I know I'll forget. Still, if you can help kick me into gear, I'd appreciate it.

  2. Great post. I keep a food/exercise journal using an app on my PDA. It really helps.

    I was doing well with my slow, steady weight loss for the last two years, then I hit a stubborn plateau. I also hit menopause and learned that that can stall a weight loss program. My father became dependent on assistance and I took over his home/yard maintenance jobs. So, I'm active in doing chores and running errands three days a week, and I use the stairs at work four days a week. But I also strained my lower back awhile ago and so I haven't done much of my regular exercises/yoga.

    I'm wondering what kinds of exercises I should do to protect my back (pulled ligaments) and make it stronger so I can better help my father. I used to walk several days a week, 2 miles, sometimes more, but that gets my back.

  3. Gwynlyn, the mowing and weed whacking count for exercise, so don't despair that you didn't do "extra". I see you online a lot, so I will check in with you about food journaling! When we're accountable, even to ourselves, for everything we eat and drink, it's amazing to see the difference.

    Christy, I'm going to compile a list of exercises for your back-- go ahead an email me at kimberly (dot) kincaid1 (at) Yoga is a great place to start, and it sounds like you know some of those stretches already. Above all, if it hurts, treat it well. Your back is your anchor. If you have a diagnosed injury, let me know what it is (specific muscle groups you may have hurt, etc.) so I can plan your exercises around that. It's smart to protect your back, even without an injury!

    Good to see you both here online :)

  4. The first thing I did when signing up for this challenge was to start keeping track of my food, I was surprised to learn I was barely eating 700 calories most days; no wonder I was so tired and I never lost weight I was in starvation mode. So unlike most people who cut down on food I have been learning how to increase my calories with healthy foods. My next step was exercise, I have never been good at this one, but I figured I will be doing this forever so I invested in a recumbent bike. I choose this type because of knee and back problems I have had in the past and it puts no pressure on these areas. Bike riding has been doing good so I also started incorporating some weights. Slowly, and for the first time in my life, I am noticing a difference. Hopefully it stays going in the right direction.

  5. Over the last six months I've had to drastically change my eating habits as we have discovered that I have to eat a glutten free mostly lactose free diet.

    I have had a hard time losing weight do to a hysterectomy in my twenties, a thyroid disease that doesn't allow me to lose weight easily and a recent diagnosis of IBS stage III.

    Any help you have for these would be awesome.