Archive for January, 2010

You’re a Cookie Monster? Blame Your Friends

C is for control, right?

Pick your pals wisely: A new study says that the people you hang around with directly help — or hinder — your powers of self control. “If you spend time with people who exhibit self-control — resisting the death-by-chocolate cake after a restaurant meal, for instance — you can expect your own self-control to be pretty good, too, according to new research,” Kathleen Doheny writes on “But the opposite seems true, too: Spending time with people with less-than-ideal self-control will influence you negatively, the researchers found.” (Thanks to Heather at for the heads-up.)

How about in your own life? Do your friends help you toward your healthy goals, or do they block them?

January 19, 2010 at 10:02 pm Leave a comment

Fuel Yourself: Slow It Down Now

When I was in high school, my family got a bread-making machine. For weeks, we made tons and tons of hot, crusty bread. Then we put it in the closet, and it never came out again.

This Christmas, I got my first slow cooker. Since then, I’ve used it every week. I’m more than willing to admit that there may come a time when the cooker goes the way of the bread machine, but until then, I AM IN SLOW-COOKER HEAVEN. I’ve made soup and oatmeal in my ceramic oven of joy, as well as some entrees that were amazing. Here’s one, courtesy of Weight Watchers:

Provencal Beef Stew


1 pound(s) lean beef round, cut into 1-inch cubes (London Broil)

1 small onion(s), chopped

2 cup(s) mushroom(s), sliced

2 medium garlic clove(s), minced

2 large carrot(s), sliced

15 oz canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed, divided

1 1/2 cup(s) canned beef broth, divided

14 1/2 oz canned crushed tomatoes

1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed

1/4 tsp dried thyme, crushed

1/2 tsp table salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbsp thyme, or 2 whole sprigs, for garnish (optional)


Put raw beef in a five-quart slow cooker. Coat a skillet with cooking spray or misted olive oil, then add onion, mushrooms and garlic. Sauté over medium-high heat until the onion mixture is nice and soft, then add the mixture to the slow cooker. Throw the carrots and half of the beans in, too. Put the other half of the beans in a blender with half a cup of broth, then blend. (I did it in a bowl with an immersion blender. Aside from a small spatter on The Boyfriend’s shirt — he was helping me cook — it worked just fine.) Once the puree is done, add to slow cooker. Add remaining broth, tomatoes, oregano, dried thyme, some fresh thyme, salt and pepper to cooker. Cover and cook on high five to seven hours. Garnish with fresh thyme before serving, if desired.

Makes six one-and-a-quarter-cup servings. If you’re counting, it’s four Points per serving.

I had this over a small baked Yukon Gold potato for lunch. Insanely delicious, and there’s no way to tell that it’s not the full-fat version.

January 19, 2010 at 4:15 pm Leave a comment

Where’s Kim?

When will you fit in your workouts this week? Maybe with me? (bats eyelashes)

Monday: 6 a.m. Spinning at New York Sports Club Butler

Tuesday: 7:30 p.m. Body Sculpt at Excel

Wednesday: 7 p.m. Intro to Step, followed by 7:15 p.m. Step I at Feminine Fitness

Thursday: 5:30 a.m. On The Attack small group training followed by 6:30 a.m. Step Blast at Feminine Fitness; 6:30 p.m. Cycling Basics at New York Sports Club Butler

If you’re not a member of the gyms listed but would like to take a class, let me know and we’ll get you a guest pass. See you there!

January 18, 2010 at 5:39 pm Leave a comment

Try This At Home

During my attempts to straighten up my apartment at the beginning of the year, I realized that I have a heck of a lot of fitness DVDs and tapes. I also realized that I can’t remember the last time I actually did one of them. Some of the seals are still intact on the cases, indicating that though I might’ve thrown them into my shopping cart during a post-holiday-eating guiltfest best-intentions impulse at Target, they never actually made it into the player. For the ones that had been used, I couldn’t even recall whether I’d liked them or not.

So in the name of resourcefulness, re-committing to goals and the recession, I’ll be your fitness guinea pig. Every week, I’ll do one of the workouts from my stash and then tell you what I think. If you’ve done that particular DVD/tape before and have some input, I’d love to hear it in the comments section. And then I’ll let you know what workout I’ll do in the following week, so you can join me in a virtual class if you like. We’ll save money. We’ll be productive. Most importantly, we’ll try these things in the privacy of our own homes where no one can gawk.

First up, Prevention Fitness Systems’ Dance Yourself Thin with Marie Forleo

Format: Warm-up, isolations, 30 minutes of cardio dance and a cool-down

Instructor annoyance level: Very low. Forleo isn’t too perky or chirpy, and her breakdowns of the steps are pretty easy to follow if you’ve ever taken any kind of choreographed class. (If you haven’t, there’ll be a bit of a learning curve.) I kept staring at her abs, though. They’re very nice. If I had abs like that, I would probably bare my midriff to anyone who passed by. “Here’s your mail, ma’am.” “Why thanks! Look at my abs!” or “How would you like your coffee?” “Skim and Splenda, and take a look at these abs!” But I digress…

Sweat factor: Low. I was warm and slightly glistening during the two dance segments, but nowhere near as sweaty as I get during my regular workout. The steps were fun, particularly in the Afro-Latin segment. Lots of big arm swoops, hip rolls and tush pops —  my default club moves. I didn’t feel silly until the reggae-funk segment, where my white-girl coordination made it hard to get up the proper Rasta swagger, but I kept at it anyway.

Worth it?: Dance Yourself Thin is a perfectly lovely way to spend  half an hour, but like most dance dvds, it’s difficult to sustain an increased heart rate throughout. If you want to try out a few moves before making your Zumba class debut, though, this may be the disc for you. And if I were going for a real burn, I might use it as an extended warm-up for a toning workout

Next week’s workout: Fat-Blasting Yoga: 21 Days To A Yoga Body with Denise Austin

January 14, 2010 at 10:06 pm 1 comment

Fit Notes

Here’s a pretty interesting article, written by a soldier, about the importance of a fit military. In somewhat related news, some Canadian police say working out is so integral to their jobs, they want to be paid for it. What do you think? If your job were dependent on you being in tip-top physical form, would you want your employer to foot the bill to keep you that way?

January 13, 2010 at 10:25 pm Leave a comment

Spinning Tunes

Disclaimer: This ride probably won't actually cause beams of light to shoot from your skull.

Rosalie, one of the cool chicks who reads this blog, recently suggested that I post the playlists I use for Spinning workouts. Ro is smart, so I try to do what she says. Here’s a rundown I’ve used in the past week that worked well both in an aerobic base-building (a.k.a. mostly in the saddle) ride and a good, ol’ mix-it-up (jumps, hills, etc.) ride. All songs are availble on iTunes.

1. Great DJ — The Ting Tings (3:23)

2. Packing Things Up On The Scene —Radio 4 (4:16)

3. Tennessee — Arrested Development (4:33)

4. Call On Me (Eric Prydz vs. Retarded Funk Mix) — Eric Prydz (7:33)

5. No Hay Igual (Club Mix) — Nelly Furtado (3:40)

6. Love Generation (Bob Sinclair Radio Edit) — Bob Sinclair and Gary Pine (3:32)

7. Love Today (Moto Blanco Full Remix) — Mike (6:04)

8. Somebody To Love — Leighton Meester feat. Robin Thicke (3:33)

9. Call Me When You’re Sober — Evanescence (3:35)

10. I Want You To Want Me — Letters To Cleo (3:26)

11. Stereo — John Legend (4:10)

Got an idea for a song you’d love to hear in a Spinning class? Post a comment and let us know!

January 12, 2010 at 4:22 pm Leave a comment

Where’s Kim?

Here’s my schedule for the rest of this week. Can you fit me in?

Tuesday: 7:30 p.m. Body Sculpt at Excel

Wednesday: 7 p.m. Intro to Step, followed by 7:15 p.m. Step I at Feminine Fitness

Thursday: 5:30 a.m. On The Attack small group training followed by 6:30 a.m. Step Blast at Feminine Fitness; 6:30 p.m. Cycling Basics at New York Sports Club Butler

Saturday: 9 a.m. Step, followed by 10 a.m. Power Abs at Excel

If you’re not a member of the gyms listed but would like to take a class, let me know and we’ll get you a guest pass. See you there!

January 11, 2010 at 5:50 pm Leave a comment

You got frostbite WHERE?

With an arctic blast turning most of the eastern U.S. into a Popsicle as of late, just thinking about this news story makes me want wrap myself head-to-toe in fleece and sip steaming cocoa from a mug the size of my desk. But naked running is always funny, so I humbly present this tale of a scantily clad sprint — in the prez’s backyard, nonetheless.  (Though the headline is Onion-esque, I assure you, it’s a legit story.)

Don’t try this at home. And for the love of chafing, definitely don’t try it without bathing in Body Glide first.

January 11, 2010 at 5:25 pm Leave a comment

Shoud Haul-d Acquaintance Be Forgot…

So maybe you had some big ideas right around the end of December. Maybe you thought, “This is the year I’m actually going to do all of the stuff I always say I’m going to do.” As the champagne bubbled and 2009 waned, you were full of promise. You were going to organize your closets, run your first 5K, learn how to use mascara and liner to properly execute the smokey eye look. You would lose weight, stand up straighter, buy only organic and drink 32 oz. of water a day.

I know. I’m that way, too. As I told a friend this week, I know the idea of starting fresh at the new year is a little cliché, but I still love it: I’ll grab on to any new beginnings  — with their sense of promise — that come my way. I’ve had years where I’ve set monthly goals and met them. I’ve had many more years where my ambitious January plans fizzled before Valentine’s Day. So, sure; I’ve got stuff I’d like to achieve and accomplish this year. But the only thing I’m going to hold myself truly accountable to is this: relentless positive thinking.

I’m going to do my best to be positive about everything and everyone. I’m not saying I won’t have moments of all-out bitchiness, but let’s hope they’re fewer and farther between than in the past. Even in situations where you’d think only a crazy person could find something positive, I will find something to smile about. Yes, haulers: I will be that crazy person.

Along those lines, if you’ve already tripped up on your grand plans for the new year, here’s a little positive present to start off the second week of January: I’m granting all of us a do-over. Life’s not all or nothing, so why should our 2010 game plans be that way? If one day of football-watching and eating chips seemingly derailed you, DO OVER. If you just can’t seem to find 15 minutes for a much-needed walk during the day, DO OVER. Take as many do overs as you need; just keep moving forward.

And if you need something to make you laugh, check out how I rang in the new year. The headgear isn’t mandatory at the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run in Central Park, but I think it’s rather flattering.

Photo credit: The Boyfriend

Haul on!

January 10, 2010 at 11:32 pm Leave a comment

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