You can lose it, a lighter Kat Carney says
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If you open Kat Carney's fridge, you're likely to find Tupperware containers with sticky notes exclaiming "KALE IS YUMMY!" or "GREEN BEANS-GOOD!"
That's one way the former CNN reporter stays motivated to eat healthy. She also reads newspaper and magazine articles about how people were inspired to lose weight.
Carney hopes to motivate others by sharing her tips and tools for losing weight when she speaks at the Fun, Fit and Fabulous Women's Health Conference, presented by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield on Oct. 12 at the Charleston Marriott Town Center.
It is the second year that Highmark has staged the conference to promote healthy lifestyle changes and choices. The cost for the all-day conference is $10 and includes workshops, a continental breakfast, lunch and a fashion show.
Those who want to become healthier constantly hear how hard it is to lose weight and to keep it off, Carney said. So a few years ago she found 32 people to share their success stories in a documentary she produced for Georgia public television titled "The Weigh We Were."
There was no one popular diet; nearly everyone did something different.
"One man ate whatever he wanted out of a bowl -- it was a type of forced portion control," she said.
The story she'll no doubt recount in her keynote talk is about the wheelchair-bound woman who had seven children and an unemployed husband. "She drew an imaginary line down half her plate for vegetables, one-fourth of her plate for protein and one-fourth for carbohydrates," Carney said.
The woman obtained a lot of the fruits and vegetables from food banks, and she took advantage of free aerobic classes offered by the YMCA, which also provided free child care. Carney said the woman is now healthy, 100 pounds lighter and teaches Zumba classes.
Carney is also one of the success stories featured in her documentary. She lost 90 pounds over a 14-month period.
That was about 15 years ago when she was a twenty-something actress in Los Angeles. The 5-foot-6 Carney said she weighed 180 pounds when she got her Screen Actors Guild card. So she was shocked when the scale in the doctor's office hit 240 pounds.
"It was seeing that number," said Carney, who, when she got acting roles had been filling out wardrobe information listing her weight as 150. Nothing ever fit. "I was a size 8 in my head, when it was more like size 18."
Among her Ten Commandants of Weight Loss is "Speak to yourself in a positive way."
When she embarked on a quest to be healthier, she said she stuck motivational quotes everywhere. Never one to exercise, she talked to herself on the treadmill. "This is fun, this is great. Eventually, I started to believe it."
At first, she said she could only walk on the treadmill for a minute in the morning and for a minute at night. After a month, she had worked up to two 30-minute sessions.
Carney also took seriously another commandant -- eat five to nine servings a day of fruits and vegetables. Fulfilling that requirement sometimes meant eating salad for breakfast. She kept eating kale, spinach and peppers until she learned to like them. She's still working on Swiss chard.
At age 29, she hit her healthy goal. Ninety pounds lighter, all her markers, even her cholesterol count, were good. "In kindergarten, my cholesterol was in the 200s. I'd been obese since the first grade," she said.
"Once I lost weigh, I tried to resume my acting career. I couldn't buy a job."
She turned to broadcasting, doing a syndicated show with fitness guru Richard Simmons, a documentary for Discovery's Health Channel "and then CNN called."
Carney was the medical anchor for CNN Headline News. "At CNN, I gained 50 pounds back in two years. I was 31 and for the first time employed in a corporate environment. I had a desk job. I had to get up at 1 a.m. to be in at 2 a.m. for the 6 a.m. show. I was running to the food court and eating fast food," she recalled.
It was back to the basics. But how do you do that when your workday starts at 1 a.m?
Carney said she found a DVD series of 10-minute blocks of exercises. "At 1 a.m., I can do 10 minutes. I could do 10 minutes when I got home from work, and before bed."
Next, she had to get her calorie intake under control. She started using a package meal plan for her main meals. Although she is now hired by the company, Nutrition System, Carney said other companies offer healthy meals. "It depends on your lifestyle. I didn't have time to cook."
Carney did make time to get seven and one half hours sleep each night --yet another commandant.
In her Charleston appearance, she'll hand down the other commandants and provide practical tools for busy women to have a healthy life. "I'll focus on 'You can do it,'" she said.
Reach Rosalie Earle@email@example.com or 304-348-5115.
Fit, Fun lineup
The Fun, Fit & Fabulous Women's Health Conference also will feature:
Parkersburg Chef Denise Halasz will conduct healthy cooking demonstrations.
Lisa McCracken of the Charleston Town Center Mall will present a "Fitness Fashion Show" of the trends in fitness wear.
Thomas Health Systems will offer free health screenings, and HealthSource Chiropratic will provide seated massages.
Dr. Rahul Gupta, executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, will present a workshop on staying healthy and living longer. Dr. Jane Kurucz of Hurricane will focus on breast cancer in her presentation.
Sunday Gazette-Mail columnists Linda Arnold and Cindy Boggs will give a joint workshop on approaches that incorporate physical, mental and emotional health. Arnold is a certified wellness instructor and Boggs is a certified fitness instructor.
Gloria Araya will teach two workshops in movement and dance.
And author and certified well-being coach Aila Accad will speak on ways to reduce stress and increase energy.