Phase: Weight Maintenance
There is a misnomer in our society when it comes to what is healthy or not. Overweight always equals unhealthy, while thin equals healthy. In Kristen’s case, she learned the hard way just because you are at the right weight, doesn’t mean you have a clean bill of health. She cleaned up her diet, established some healthy guidelines for her family, and made exercise a priority. An interest in food and cooking blossomed to Kristen becoming a trained chef. You can still enjoy good food and take care of your health at the same time.
Kristen grew up with two parents who worked as executives outside the home. This meant that every night they ate out. Most nights were fast food and this lasted for years. By all appearances their family was “healthy”. Her Mom still works out almost every single day. Both of her parents are considered “thin”. The only problem was they weren’t really all that well. Both Kristen’s parents were on cholesterol and blood pressure meds early on in life. It put Kristen in a position to inherit that genetic disposition. Eating a clean and healthy diet packed with nutrients is a necessity to keep Kristen’s blood pressure and cholesterol in check. In order to not be on prescriptions for blood pressure and cholesterol, she tries to eat four servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit every day. She has also noticed that eating less sugar keeps her blood pressure down.
In high school, a class that taught cooking intrigued Kristen and created a passion for being in the kitchen. This one class led to culinary school and she graduated a chef. Cooking had become a stress relief and something she loved. Kristen also began to research what it meant to truly eat a balanced diet and how to prepare it.
Soon healthy habits started to emerge. With both of her pregnancies, Kristen kept weight gain to a minimum by aiming to eat 6-8 servings of fruit and veggies a day. She kept a dry erase board on the fridge with circles to fill in for all the food groups as an easy way to get all the nutrients she needed. After the birth of her first child, she joined Stroller Strides and worked out with other moms.
Kristen even has a few tricks up her sleeve for ensuring her girls eat enough of the good stuff. They actually love kale sautéed with a little garlic and salt, because she refers to it as “Dinosaur bites”. Now dinnertime isn’t just eating that weird green stuff, it is enjoying the same food as dinosaurs once did (they think this is hilarious). As a way to get the girls accustomed to the taste of the vegetable, Kristen started using it in soups then she transitioned to giving it to them by itself. The girls know that Mom has a rule that has been enforced since they were old enough to understand. You must try at least one bite of a new food before you declare it tasty or not. Whenever introducing a new food, she couples it with a menu item they are very familiar with already. They still get to enjoy chicken nuggets and French fries, but they also eat a ton of fruits and veggies.
One of Kristen’s favorite things is dessert (she was a Pastry Chef for a popular Austin restaurant!) and she has found great ways to incorporate healthy treats. Most days include dark chocolate at 71%. If that isn’t cutting it in terms of sweetness, she pairs the chocolate with a date. Splurges like ice cream and cookies to the weekends or special occasions. One of her favorite recipes is the single serving chocolate mug cakes on Chocolate Covered Katie.
Exercise includes the entire family with bike rides, walks, and playing around the yard and home. Morning workouts at Camp Gladiator have become her new favorite thing. Each workout is different and keeps her from getting bored. Her girls sometimes even join in on the action and you can tell they think that is pretty cool.
Healthy habits are crucial no matter what the scale says. Being thin, doesn’t always mean you are healthy and enjoying great food doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Bravo to Kristen for creating and sustaining healthy habits for the whole family.