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By Kristin Hiemstra A shameless believer of human potential, Kristin is as dynamic and energetic about career issues as a nice person can be. She combines real world knowledge from her many years of hiring experience in Washington, DC with a decade of college admissions experience.

Is it Fashion or Just Fitness I Covet?

By Kristin Hiemstra Posted September 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm

My latest internet addiction is Pinterest.  Pinterest lets you find things that interest you and ‘pin’ them on your ‘board.’ I have many boards on my Pinterest site including one on Mediterranean Cooking, one on housing inspirations so I won’t forget all the cool features that will be going into my next mega mansion, and of course, one on clothing. It is the one on clothing I spend the most time working on because I am ‘fashion-challenged.’  Being fashion-challenged means that I both notice and admire “well put together women” but cannot seem to replicate this notion of personal style for myself.

To help me in this department, I have two crutches. One crutch is a radio show where I get to talk to experts on all different subjects.  My personal style expert is David Goldsmith. David is super smart and practical. He believes that women should carry around color swatches like those from the Color Me Beautiful collection because these save us from buying colors that don’t look good against our skin. Good point.

However, I’m afraid to buy these swatches because I have a sinking feeling that most of my clothes are the wrong colors. Since I hate trying things on, I buy clothes because they look good on the hangers. This is not a good strategy.  It isn’t until I get home that I realize these clothes don’t fit.  I swear I will return them, but somehow that doesn’t always seem to happen.  I’m the person to invite to the neighborhood clothes swapping party.

My second fashion crutch is Pinterest. On Pinterest, I can see what cute styles other people are wearing and then rummage around in my closet to see if I have anything remotely similar and throw it together. Recently, I’ve been obsessed with pinning pictures of Kate Middleton, a.k.a. The Duchess of Cambridge.  In my opinion, she looks terrific in everything. As I began ‘pinning’ pictures of Kate and other fashionistas on my board, I began to notice one common thread: they were all super fit. 

Clothes look better on fit people. Yes, I knew this, but really it is amazing to see how different things appear on them.

This hit home for me because, like most women, I struggle to keep my fitness level in check. I exercise somewhat regularly and since I am a vegetarian, my diet is fairly healthy. However, this has not stopped the pounds from sneaking on. Last spring I had my B.M.I. measured with calipers and learned that over 30% of my body was composed of fat. Ugh! We all definitely need some fat on our bodies to be healthy but not as much as I happen to be hoarding.

To combat this problem, I frantically took to running. This was not smart, as I developed a stress fracture and had to be laid up for 12 weeks.

This go-round I’ve taken to swimming and going to the gym. I also bummed a Weight Watchers booklet off my neighbor so I can better monitor what I eat. So far, I’ve lost about 5 lbs. in 3 months. I realize this is NOT going to sell anyone on my diet/exercise program; nonetheless, I’ll tell you what I’ve done.

1.       I joined a gym with a friend. The truth is I exercise more when I have someone to go with. If left to my own devices, I will find every excuse not to exercise.

2.       I premake all of my food for the week. Mornings are an egg/vegetable low-carb wrap, lunch is a veggie/bean wrap. I freeze the fillings and microwave them when I’m hungry. My snack is a banana and cheese sticks.  Dinners are a free for all which is why I have not lost that much weight. For me the key to not gaining weight is to quit eating by 7:00pm.

3.       I try not to eat much sugar. This does not always work, but I do try.

4.       I get on the scale every morning and every night. I don’t like this part, but I do it. For example, this weekend while my husband was running a half-marathon in Virginia Beach and getting his ‘fitness’ on, I was helping him celebrate by eating pizza and Mexican food including lots of those chips they serve before meals. I managed to gain 2 lbs. in three days.

Since my goal is actually not a target weight, it is a target BMI of 20%, I’ve had to be creative about setting weight goals. Let’s say my weight was 100 pounds. 30% of 100 would be 30 lb.  If I wanted to get into the healthy range, I would have to lose 10lbs to get to a 20% bmi. However, I don’t weigh 100, so I need to drop more than 10lbs. For some reason, getting my body into the proper balance does not annoy me the same as simply having to lose 10 lbs. does. I suspect it is the same reason counting backwards while exercising makes the exercises seem more doable than when counting forwards. 

If you have some genius tips on how to do this, please email me. (NOTE: I’m not interested in diet programs that cost money.)

If I get enough free tips, I’ll post another blog on this topic so we can learn from each other. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel.

My reward for getting my BMI down to the 20% range is, of course, a new outfit.  Maybe I’ll get two; at this rate of weight loss, I’ll have plenty of time to save my pennies.

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