Walking Women: Kim Baker

Today’s Walking Women Interview is with Kim Baker of Whanarua Bay, which is on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand.

Q: Kim what inspired you to start walking?

A: I don’t really know. I had always had a dog but I wasn’t particularly aware of the benefits of walking my dog. My partner Karen wasn’t especially keen on dogs but I already had Jap when our relationship began and so for most of our 24 year relationship I had a dog. Sometimes Karen would walk with us but it was clear that she didn’t really enjoy it so mostly I went alone. So, in some ways I regarded dog walking as a chore.

When the relationship broke up I felt discarded and abandoned and I was totally miserable. Jap had been dead some 6 years or so. Within 3 months of Karen’s leaving I purchased a wee dog. I have always taken my dog care responsibilities seriously so we would have two walks a day--once in the morning before I went to work and then, a longer walk as soon as I got home in the late afternoon. It dawned on me slowly that walking improved my mood and I was able to forget myself for a time. Kuskus was an absolute delight and not taking her out was out of the question. She was so “in the moment” on these walks, so overjoyed to be running along the beach, chasing seagulls, running back to me with the biggest grin on her face. It was impossible not to smile and feel love. Over the weekends I would sometimes find myself in the depths of despair and we would go to the beach and just walk and walk and walk. I hadn’t been a religious person but I found myself praying, asking for help……and it came. It was miraculous and I there would be peace for a time. I began to notice my environment; to become more aware of what was outside of me. Pretty soon I was taking the camera out with me and over a two-year period I took hundreds of photos of everyday plants, trees, flowers and I still have them. I guess it helped me to focus on something outside myself.

Q: How long have you been walking?

A: I’ve been walking consciously and with pleasure for almost 10 years. Dogs have become a central issue in this because within 3 months of Karen’s leaving my work contract expired and because of joint mortgage responsibilities I had to move. To cut a long story short I became a pet sitter and stayed in other people’s homes caring for their pets whilst they were on holiday. It provided me with a roof over my head and there was enough money to feed myself and Kuskus, buy petrol and even the odd coffee or movie. Most of the dogs I sat were big and required walks twice a day. I had done yoga for 35 years but there wasn’t enough time in the day for everything so the yoga was abandoned. Now that I have a home I still haven’t got back to it and spend that time on a set of daily spiritual “exercises”.

Kim's favorite place to walk!

Kim's favorite place to walk!

Q: What changes (body/mind/spirit) have resulted from your walking?

A: I have a belief in a power greater than myself. I live consciously, having not done so for a very long time. I am more grateful than ever and it probably isn’t entirely due to walking that I have a whole new philosophy about my place in the world, who I am, and what I want or what I am capable of. I have a belief system that I spent most of my life searching for despite having majored in Religious Studies. I keep reasonably healthy, physically speaking and I spend time every day improving my mental and emotional health. I like to think I am calmer than I have ever been but that has never really been tested. I live a quiet life, and I’m not in a relationship.

Q: What happens if you don’t walk?

A: The same thing that happens if I don’t do my spiritual exercises.  I’m all over the place, irritable, stressed.

Q: What does walking mean to you?

A: If I’m not looking after dogs, I usually walk in the morning. It’s an essential part of my day and I don’t walk far. It is uphill all the way home. Although I don’t work at it in a conscious manner, it’s the time when the things I need to attend to rise to the surface. I get home with a little list of “important things to do”. They’re often things I’d forgotten about – well that’s how it seems.

One of Kim's many gorgeous photos from her walks!

One of Kim's many gorgeous photos from her walks!

Q: What are your biggest walking challenges/obstacles?

A: After Karen left I tried a running regime, with absolutely no knowledge of what I should do – I just got out there and ran. I knew I had to do something, I just didn’t know what (I tried swimming too). Anyway whilst I was out running, someone called me and I turned around and twisted my knee. I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time and now, on occasions, it’s sore and makes walking a little difficult. Walking in the rain can be a bit of a challenge.  Actually it’s not being in the rain that is the challenge – it’s getting home and drying off, drying KK off and then finding somewhere to hang sodden jackets (hers and mine). Hardly a challenge really, is it? Hahaha! So lucky, I am.

Q: What’s your favorite place to walk?

A: I’m an ocean lover so it will always be by the sea.

Q: What advice would you give to women who know they should be walking but aren’t--yet?

A: Just do it and smile at, or say hello to everyone you see, even if you don’t feel like it. If you have to, then get a dog to force yourself out there. The dog will add immeasurably to your pleasure and if you stick at it you will come to feel the benefits. No dog? Well look around you, take a camera, think about the beauty that surrounds us. We are so fortunate and we have so much to be grateful for. Not even a bad idea to think about 5 or 10 things that happened during the day that you can feel grateful for. They don’t have to biggies – someone’s smile, your comfy bed, the coffee you drank that morning, the electric jug you used to heat the water. It’s all GOOD.

Kim it is all GOOD and so are you! Thank you for sharing your walking story!

Kim Baker lives in New Zealand in the most beautiful place overlooking the ocean. She is the owner of ARUHE, a BnB holiday home. The website is: www.aruhe.nz. Kim is whakapapa to Ngai Tahu meaning she has tribal roots in a South Island Maori Tribe or Iwi. Kim is an entrepreneur, a curious lover of life and a self-described “work in progress” who lives consciously and gratefully every day.

Aruhe Cottage. Heaven on Earth!

Aruhe Cottage. Heaven on Earth!

Walking Women: Debbie Wood!

Today's Walking Women Interview is with Debbie Wood of Broadview Heights, Ohio.

Q. Debbie, what inspired you to start walking?

A. For me, the inspiration was just to feel better. There’s something about being out in nature, whether it be sunny or pouring rain that just melts your troubles away, even if it’s only for a while.
Having the realization hit me--that I could feel better just by walking--was what inspired me to expand my knowledge and hiking ability and figure out just what it could do for me.

Q. How long have you been walking?

A. I would say that my walking/hiking really started when I joined the Cleveland Hiking Club in October of 2010. Being a part of an organized club is an inspiration in and of itself because there are events, challenges, and plenty to keep the mind and body occupied. I had been walking in the parks and on sidewalks since I was a little girl, but in my early 50’s I had gone through a pretty heartbreaking divorce. That was when hiking found me, and I truly believe it was a divine intervention that saved me.

Q. What changes (body, mind, spirit) have resulted from walking?

A. This is probably my favorite question of them all. I LOVE sharing with women all of the improvements that happen when you begin to walk/hike. It’s actually a bit of a minor miracle, and for me, it was on steroids.
I don’t think it really matters when you get into hiking, what matters is when hiking gets into you. There is a change that takes place that’s pretty hard to explain, but I’ll give it my best shot.
For starters, I began to see all aspects of my life through different eyes. I was less stressed and as a whole, just felt better.   
When you hike the hard hikes, (like for example I did a fourteener in Colorado, which means that you climb to 14,000 feet in elevation) you realize that all those people who ever told you that you couldn’t do ANYTHING in your life were wrong! You stand on top of that mountain and you are all of a sudden 10 feet tall. You know you’ve accomplished something that a very small percentage of the population will ever do and something inside of you changes. You grow in a way that you can never go back from.

Debbie summiting Mount Cameron, in Colorado.

Debbie summiting Mount Cameron, in Colorado.

Q. What happens if you don't walk?

A. Major crash is the only way I can describe it. My sleep quality tanks, I begin to feel fat, my energy goes right down the drain and my overall well-being suffers tremendously, most of all my attitude and mental state.

Q. What does walking mean to you?

A. Walking to me means pretty much everything. I really don’t know where I would be right now if I wasn’t able to get out and hike! I am eternally grateful that I have two strong legs to carry me through the most difficult hikes, two good eyes and ears to see and hear the beauty of the forest, and most of all a sound mind to enjoy it all and let it have its way with me.

Q. What are your biggest walking challenges/obstacles?

A. I’m going to have to say the only challenge I have is that because of the fact that I work full time, I don’t have the amount of time to devote to hiking/walking as I would like. For me, the biggest challenge is to sit in an office and look out the windows at a beautiful, sunny day and listen to the trails calling my name. (I can seriously almost hear it!)

Q. What's your favorite place to walk?

A. Oh I have so many, but I think that given the fact that my roots are in Northeast Ohio, I would have to say that anywhere in the Emerald Necklace or the Cuyahoga Valley National Park are my favorites.

The Emerald Necklace is an amazing series of parks (eighteen trailheads in all) that cover over 21,000 acres. You can walk, ride your bike or your horse or just find a really cool picnic area and spend the day relaxing. There are also nature education centers, golf courses, and many spots to cast a line and catch some fresh fish. The Cleveland Zoo is also a part of the system, which is one of the only spots that I knew inside and out as a child.

High river crossing in Burr Oak, Ohio.

High river crossing in Burr Oak, Ohio.

I’ve hiked pretty much from coast to coast in the U.S. and I still feel that we, in Northeast Ohio, have the most beautiful parks in the country. People actually come from all over the world to visit, so there has to be something to it. So come visit and look me up. I’d be glad to be your tour guide.

Q. What advice would you give to women who know they should be walking but aren’t yet?

A. In the words of the great tennis shoe… Just Do It!  In my soon to be released book, The First Mile is the Hardest, I deliver this message loud and clear. The hardest part is getting up off your easy chair and just beginning! Once you start it becomes addictive and you will notice all the sudden changes that happen to you mentally and physically and you will seriously wonder what took you so long.

But most of all, it's just plain fun!!!

Debbie it is plain fun! I couldn't agree with you more. Thanks for sharing your walking story!

Debbie Wood is a legal secretary by profession but her real love is writing and internet marketing. She also loves everything hiking and nature. Being outdoors is clearly her passion and she is eager to climb more mountains. Two of Debbie’s biggest hiking accomplishments are receiving her hiking club's 10,000 mile patch (in seven years) and hiking all of the fifty-nine cities in Cuyahoga County (in five years).

Debbie is a proud grandmother of three: Anthony, Luca, and Layla, and she's looking forward to more as her kids have only just begun their lives as parents.  She's also very eager to be hiking with her grandbabies! 

Debbie is the author of the soon to be published book, The First Mile is the Hardest, Seven Hiking Lessons That Will Change Your Life, which is due to be released this holiday season. You can learn more about her book, her hikes, and her love of life on her Facebook page: Addicted2Hiking.

Three Simple Daily Steps For Surviving Divorce

Divorce is a hell like nothing else. It’s the death of dreams, it’s the death of a commitment you took on fully, willingly, lovingly. It’s the death of family as you’ve known it. Divorce is hell fiscally, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Divorce can damned well kill you because you are in such uncharted, ugly territory. Divorce is not where you thought you’d be when you said, “I do.”

You never imagined you’d say:

“I felt like I was going insane--absolutely insane!”

“I’d be happy, then all of a sudden I was really sad, then I was furious, then I was happy . . .”

“I lost a ton of weight--I looked like hell.”

“Oh god I gained so much weight--I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror. I’m still trying to get it off.”

“My kids hated me because I was divorcing their dad.”

“My daughter told me it was about time.”

“Our friends chose my ex.”

“I have never felt so alone.”

“There was so much to understand--to figure out. I was overwhelmed every day.”

“This was supposed to be cheap--a collaborative divorce your know? It was so expensive!”

“Divorce messed up every single thing in my life. But deep down, I knew--I just knew I was doing the right thing.”

“I was so scared to sin and go against my church but I had to. I just had to.”

“I loved him. I still loved him. But I felt like my soul would die if I stayed married to him.”

“The whole thing was a mess. One huge freakin’ mess. But I felt this weird freedom along the way and I knew I was doing the right thing for myself. And that felt good. Finally, I felt good.”

Sound familiar?

Seven years ago I was in the mess of divorce and it was pure hell. The years it took to decide to get divorced and then to actually get divorced were the longest, most incredibly painful years of my life. I was moving from the home I loved; I was unemployed and my only child was graduating from high school and moving away to attend college. To ice that cupcake, I was entering menopause. To my surprise I had become a single, unemployed, depressed, menopausal, nestless, empty-nester. In my scramble to make sense of my new circumstances I tried to think, drink, and eat my way out of the mess I was in. I sat and worried and fumed and spun the same negative thoughts around in my poor tired brain--a cyclone of self destruction! I was drinking way too much red wine at night and eating way too much chocolate during the day. Talk about a downward spiral!

I vividly recall one night when the stress and grief took hold of my like a physical force--like a horrible, all-consuming black cloud. I lay on the floor, curled up in the fetal position and cried until I threw up. I remember being absolutely amazed that I actually woke up the next day--I believed I’d shattered to pieces.

Shortly after that night of deep grief, I literally stumbled onto a survival path that kept me sane, leveled out the roller coaster, replaced binge eating and drinking and helped me get physically, mentally and spiritually stronger every day, despite the mess I was in.

Robin Roberts said, “Let your mess be your message.” She is so right with this excellent advice. Because I had discovered a survival path, I was able to navigate the hellish mess of divorce. I want to share my path--three simple daily steps--with you so you can survive too. I was so blessed to “discover” these steps when I did--they made all the difference for me during those dark, confusing divorce years.

I’ve practiced these steps every day for the past seven years and now I’m living a very different life. I’m running my own company doing the work of my heart and soul and I live in a new city with a culture and climate I love.

Divorce is a time when you and your life are the most messed up. Yet, divorce is the most critical time in your life to stay healthy, focused, clear headed, and confident so you can advocate for yourself in a way you never have before. These three steps will help you do just that. Click below to get yours now!

Walking Women: Annajean Gorman

Today's Walking Women Interview is with Annajean Gorman of Kansas City.

Annajean before she started walking.

Annajean before she started walking.

Q: Annajean, what inspired you to start walking?

A: I started walking as a way to deal with some of the stress that goes with adjusting to a new relationship and the seeming lack of control in my life.

Q: How long have you been walking?

A: I have been walking since July 2016, so just over a year.

Annajean after walking for a year!

Annajean after walking for a year!

Q: What changes (body, mind, spirit) have resulted from walking?

A: I now have more longevity for everyday activities. I no longer dread going to zoos and amusement parks with family.

Q: What happens if you don’t walk?

A: I feel like my day is off kilter.

Q: What does walking mean to you?

A: Walking is therapeutic. It allows me uninterrupted time with my little dog, Rat, and time to talk with my sister.

Annajean's "coach", her dog Rat!

Annajean's "coach", her dog Rat!

Q: What are you biggest walking challenges/obstacles?

A: My biggest obstacle is the weather. Here in Kansas City it is either boiling (including extreme heat and humidity) or it’s freezing. The other obstacle is time. The hour it takes to do my walk sometimes gets way- laid by work.

Part of Annajean's walking route! How gorgeous is this?

Part of Annajean's walking route! How gorgeous is this?

Q: What’s your favorite place to walk?

A: The back roads where I live. I have found a route that is 1.75 miles from start to the middle point--3.5 miles total. There is very little traffic and it has hills and valleys.

Q: What advice would you give to women who know they should be walking but aren’t yet?

A: I would advise women to just walk down the block to start. No one cares how far you can go. It is totally between you and the road.

Annajean, thank you so much for sharing your inspiring and empowering walking story!

Annajean Gorman is a self-employed (WIP) bookkeeper. She moved to the Midwest four years ago when she got divorced from her husband of 29 years. She has since lost nearly 100 pounds and has remarried. Annajean has participated in two 5k events and she's achieved a 16-minute mile--a consistent 15-minute mile is her goal.

Walking Women: Monique Odom!

Today's Walking Women interview is with Nashville's Monique Odom.

Monique Odom, Interim Director of Parks, Nashville's Metro Board of Parks and Recreation

Monique Odom, Interim Director of Parks, Nashville's Metro Board of Parks and Recreation

Q: Monique what inspired you to start walking?

A: I’ve had a few fits of starting a walking regimen. I was inspired most recently after a significant weight gain.  To be honest, I was trying to do the least amount of exercise possible to get noticeable results.

Q: How long have you been walking?

A: I actually started walking a little over twelve years ago when I was expecting my son.  My Ob-Gyn emphasized the importance of exercise and healthy eating.  “Exercise” up to that point had been a chore for me that had conveniently been left out of my schedule.  With the goal of delivering a healthy baby, which I did, I started to incorporate walking into my lifestyle.  I first incorporated it by parking as far away as I could from my destination when I was out.  Then I started walking around the mall. Years later I started walking around the neighborhood where I work with a coworker.  I also incorporated drinking my water into my lifestyle.

Whites Creek

Whites Creek

Q: What changes (body/mind/spirit) have resulted from your walking?

A: There is definitely a mind/body/spirit connection and walking brings PEACE to all of them.  I gain so much clarity and perspective, get some of my best ideas, and can develop solutions to problems when I’m walking, especially when I’m walking outside.

Q: What happens if you don't walk?

A: I don’t feel right.  I’m not at my best. It’s kind of like when you don’t start your day or have gone a long time without “being still”.  I’m definitely not focused.

Plein air artist painting at Whites Creek Greenway.

Plein air artist painting at Whites Creek Greenway.

Q: What does walking mean to you?

A: It’s definitely an important part of my life.

Q: What are your biggest walking challenges/obstacles?

A: Carving out time to get it done, especially when I’ve fallen off the wagon or have a crammed schedule. I just have to do it.

Q: What's your favorite place (or places) to walk?

A: I really don’t have a favorite place, but I definitely prefer walking outside to indoors. Our recent walk on the Whites Creek Greenway was great!

Our "Walk & Talk" at Whites Creek Greenway!

Our "Walk & Talk" at Whites Creek Greenway!

Q: What advice would you give to women who know they should be walking but aren't--yet?

A: I should be the poster woman for women who know they should be walking, but aren’t yet.  The return on investment of walking is invaluable. You owe it to yourself to experience. Just commit to fifteen minutes every other day and see how it makes you feel. I guarantee you’ll crave more. As women we are responsible for so much. Many of us find it hard to carve out personal time, but nothing is more important than you. Taking care of you, mind/body/spirit, needs to be your number one priority ‘cause if you don’t take care of you, you won’t be around for all the other things you have to do.

Monique truer words were never spoken! Thank you so much for sharing your walking story!

Monique Odom is a native Nashvillian through and through. She is a graduate of Whites Creek Comprehensive High School, Fisk University, and Tennessee State University. Monique has worked for Nashville's Metro Parks since 2006 and is currently the Interim Director of Nashville's Metro Parks Department. Monique lives in Nashville with her husband and son.

To learn more about Nashville's Greenways and Trails (over 190 miles in Davidson County alone!) visit: http://www.nashville.gov/Parks-and-Recreation/Greenways-and-Trails.aspx















Walking Women: Cindy Warner!

1MWW is excited to announce our interview series featuring walking women--women who walk on a regular basis. It's such a pleasure and privilege to be sharing their stories with you. Today's interview is with Walking Woman Cindy Warner.

Q: Cindy what inspired you to start walking?

A: I grew up on a farm near a town of 1,500 people.  I was outdoors much of the time as a child, and learned to love the natural world around me.  Since my town was so small, I could get to pretty much everywhere on foot, and I loved the journey because it put me in touch with the community.  Walking provides time to notice details and reflect on them.  It provides closeness to friends seen going about their daily business.  It was a very sweet way to grow up, but I didn’t realize how sweet until I moved to the city and began my adult life.  As an adult living in apartments, I realized that something important was missing from my life, and one day, feeling frustrated and puzzled about what could be wrong, I decided to go outside and walk.  THEN I understood!  I understood that I would always need to walk if I wanted to be happy, if I wanted time to free my brain and refresh my spirit.  I have always relied on walking as a cleansing, revitalizing activity.

Q: How long have you been walking?

A: I have been walking intentionally since I was 20, so not counting childhood, that’s 46 years.

Q: What changes (body/mind/spirit) have resulted from your walking?

A: I can only speculate on what my life would be like without the many years of walking, but I believe that my health would not be nearly as good if I had not walked so much.  
As a 66-year-old, I have good muscle tone, healthy blood pressure, good circulation, and good skeletal and overall health. I do eat healthfully, get regular medical check-ups, try to get plenty of sleep, devote time to nurturing my relationships, and stimulate my mind and heart by being an active participant in my community and the world around me.  I acknowledge the role of those factors in my health.  Still, I know from experience that walking is unique in its ability to consistently calm and cheer me, clarify my thoughts, and give me a fresh perspective on the world. 

Q: What happens if you don’t walk?

A: If I don’t walk, especially for several days in a row, I notice that I feel nervous and sometimes depressed.  My brain feels “clogged.” 

Q: What does walking mean to you?

A: Wow!  How can I even begin to answer this question?   In addition to the daily walks that I do for fun and health, I have solved thousands of problems while walking –all kind of dilemmas and thorny situations that we all encounter as part of daily life.  One thing that stands out is a bad situation that my husband and I experienced with our home.  We discovered that water draining from a housing development and into our backyard had done serious damage to our garage and basement, and had created a water flow problem that had to be addressed right away.  This was one of those truly scary situations that could have resulted in the loss of our home.  We walked, and walked, and walked.  Every day, we walked a 3-mile route in our neighborhood; some days, we walked it multiple times.  I remember so clearly the stress of those weeks when we were discovering the severity and nature of the problem, and looking for solutions.  We would be inside working on it, and then periodically, we would look at each other and say, “Time for a walk.”  We did survive, and our home survived, and for that we are very grateful.  However, we had to accept the possibility that our home would not survive.  During our walks, we made plans, sorted out possibilities, and – perhaps most importantly – we strengthened our bond as a couple and strengthened our bodies, which enabled us to think and function better.  We realized that if we lost our home, we would still have our children and ourselves and our friends and so many other gifts.  I believe that those hundreds of thousands of steps taken together saved us from despair, and enabled us to think clearly enough to achieve practical solutions and enjoy emotional health.
Something about the rhythmic motion is deeply calming when I feel agitated or preoccupied with a problem. It brings clarity of thought, and puts me in touch with thoughts and feelings of which I was not consciously aware.  More often than not, it brings a smile to my face, or at least ameliorates a sour or frustrated state of mind. 

Q: What are your biggest walking challenges/obstacles?

A: Weather sometimes makes walking difficult, but there is usually a way to work around it. I can walk indoors at the Y, or choose a time of day when the weather isn’t too bad. Also, I have learned that I don’t melt in the rain, and that with the proper clothing, a walk in the snow is invigorating and fun!  
Work for many of us limits freedom to walk, but if we’re resourceful, we can find some way to walk at least a little during the workday. Many employers aren’t enlightened enough to understand how much better a workday can be if the workers get opportunities to move, so sometimes we have to be a little bit sneaky. I am lucky to work in an athletic facility, so I am encouraged to get up throughout the day and exercise. Previous jobs have more or less chained me to my desk for long periods, but I still found ways to sneak in exercise. I use stairwells to get my heart pumping if I have only a short time away from my desk. I have gone into empty conference rooms and jogged in place for five minutes, or done a couple of yoga poses to loosen up.  A trip to the bathroom does not have to be just there and back.  I take the scenic route.

Warner Parks, Nashville, TN.

Warner Parks, Nashville, TN.

Q: What’s your favorite place (or places) to walk?

A: I love walking nature trails, and am lucky to live close to the Warner Parks, and not too far from Radnor Lake.  However, I usually walk wherever I am, whether it’s in neighborhoods near work or exploring the territory around me if I travel.  If a park is nearby, that’s a great place to go because of the beauty of the plants, and the happiness of seeing people out enjoying themselves.

Q: What advice would you give to women who know they should be walking but aren’t—yet?

A: Discover reasons that keep you from walking.  Is there a physical problem that can be fixed or improved with medical help?  Would walking with a companion be more fun than walking alone?  Lots of us walking addicts would welcome a chance to be a companion if it would make walking more attractive for you.  If you don’t have a walking buddy, or relish the time alone, listen to a podcast or your favorite music.  Walk on a treadmill at the Y and watch TV.  It’s YOUR walk; make it just right for YOU.
How are your feet?  Treat them like goddess feet all day – not just when you exercise.  My husband ignored foot pain until it got so bad that he had to have surgeries.  Foot problems will mess with the rest of your body, too.  Shoes that give your toes room to wiggle and your soles plenty of comfort and support are essential.  Invest in your feet.  Have at least two pairs of great walking shoes to rotate.  NEVER wear uncomfortable shoes or uncomfortable clothes.
Start small and make it fun.  Several short walks can work wonders and build up endurance. 

Cindy Warner you are a Walking Woman extraordinaire. Thank you so much for sharing your walking story!

Cindy Warner has called Nashville home since 1972 when she moved here from New York.  She and her husband Byron have lived in the same home in West Belle Meade since 1978--the home where they raised their three children and put down deep roots into Nashville. Cindy works in Sport Science at Belmont University--perfect for her since colleagues and co-workers love health and exercise! Cindy says, "Byron and I both enjoy our jobs, enjoy puttering in our yard and flower beds at home, and love seeing Nashville grow into an exciting city." 

Workout and Look Amazing Too!

Walking Women I’m absolutely thrilled to introduce Emily Goodin, today’s guest blogger. Emily is a personal stylist with Nashville-based personal shopping company Effortless Style. Emily has a passion (and genius I might add) for making the runway totally accessible to create personalized, signature looks for her clients. I asked Emily for her top tips on how to workout in our Southern summers and stay cool. Here’s her great advice, just for you!

The tips and tricks for fitting in a workout in the heat and walking away like it never happened!

Walking and exercising outdoors can be rewarding both mentally and physically. However, fitting in a workout on a busy schedule means that you may not always have the time to devote to your normal “getting ready” routine! And now that Summer is here and the temperatures are rising, you’ll need to be PREPARED to get through the heat with grace! Here are a few tips to looking HOT without looking like you’ve been in the heat!


Pack a gym bag of the following: Change of clothes and shoes, cool towel, water bottle, wet wipes, deodorant, freshening spray, and hair products.
My Style Favs!

Gym bags - I rotate between the latest, cute-patterned 99 cent tote from TJMaxx and my black duffle from back in my dance days. However, if you’d rather upgrade to something a little nicer and more efficient, the Procat duffle and the Dash & Albert Woven Bag are perfect for Summer gym totes!
Workout Outfit - I’m in love with Fabletics! Kate Hudson did an amazing job with this line of athletic clothes! From adorable patterned sets to mix and match separates...I can’t get enough! Color, patterns, mesh and strategic cut outs are IN. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles and let your personality show - even in your gym clothes!
Shoes - I tend to like a trail shoe instead of a typical running shoe or sneaker. Trail shoes have larger tread which provides better footing if you’re walking outdoors on uneven ground. My favorite is the Brooks Cascadia. However, it’s important to seek assistance in picking your shoe because everyone’s foot will require different arch support.
Cool towels - If you try the Froggy Toggs Super Chilly Cooling Towel , you will never leave home without it! This towel stays chilly in hot temps!
Water bottle/Hydration pack - I love my Camelbak! Since most of what I own is black, take a wild guess at the color of my hydration pack! Ha! However, they do make many styles in different colors. Water bottles with walking/running handles and belt packs are also great, hands-free options that make it easier to take your water with you!
Wet Wipes - I usually end up with the generic wet wipes, however if you plan on using these on a regular basis and packing them in your gym bag, you might want to consider individually wrapped organic wipes.
Deodorant - I love my Degree Ultra Clear!
Freshening Spray - My favorite light body mist is Bath & Body’s White Citrus

Hair Products - Sexy Hair Dry Shampoo takes away any oil left in the hair and refreshens your look!
TIPS FOR DURING YOUR WORKOUT Wear something that breathes! Many shorts and tops are becoming more efficient for you to wear less. Many workout tanks have built in bras so you don’t have to layer. Shorts with mesh lining can also help with breathability as you exercise.
Cool Towels are a godsend! - During your outdoor walk, it’s a good idea to place a temperature controlled, cooling towel on your neck to control your body temperature. (see above for recommended cool towel)
Carry chilled water -Drink chilled water frequently during your workout to stay cool and to keep your internal temperature under control. This will help reduce perspiration.
Incorporate these preparation tips into your daily routine and you’ll feel like you can CONQUER your day!
Happy Summer! Emily Goodin, Effortless Style

The Defiance Fuel Story, Part II


In Part I of this blog post I shared the story of how Defiance Fuel was developed by Dr Lee Lorenzen in response to his wife’s devastating illness. Here in Part II I’ll be sharing my personal experience with taking the Defiance Fuel 30 Day Challenge.
The Defiance Fuel 30 Day Challenge is simply this: drink two 1-liter bottles of Defiance Fuel every day for a month. I did just that and am blown away with my results. I’ll get to those results in just a moment but first I want to explain what Defiance Fuel does.
Cells are the basic building blocks of all living things. Our human bodies are composed of trillions of cells. Our cells provide structure for our bodies. They take in nutrients from food, convert those nutrients into energy, and carry out many specialized functions. Defiance Fuel’s patented Cellular Hydrating Processing (CHP) is a process that creates an environment where our cells–our basic building blocks–are hydrated very effectively. So what does that feel and look like?
It feels and looks fantastic!
After drinking Defiance Fuel for just two weeks, I realized my workout recovery time was much shorter. I also had increased stamina and strength during my workouts. My workouts are daily walking for cardio and, three days per week, I add upper and lower body strengthening with weight machines. I also noticed that my lower back pain–caused by an unscheduled dismount off my horse eight years ago–was gone. And my knees, damaged by years of serious ballet, no longer felt stiff and unreliable. These were big game changers for me but then more amazing shifts started taking place as I continued the Defiance Fuel 30 Day Challenge.
I’ve never had great skin. I had terrible acne as a teen which was compounded by a late-in-life and very severe case of chicken pox that left numerous scars. Fast forward 40+ years to the onset of menopause and my skin was showing its age and damage. However after a little over a month of drinking Defiance Fuel, I started getting compliments on my skin from friends and family. I was asked what topical products I was using because my skin appeared so smooth and supple and yes indeed, radiant. My skin?! Seriously?!
The final shift I want to share with you that really has made an enormous difference in my life is what I’ve experienced with my eyes. I’ve worn bi-focal contacts for five years. As a photographer my contacts allow me to use my camera with the familiarity and ease I knew before my vision changed due to age. Unfortunately for the past two years I’ve been unable to wear my contacts all day long because of my eyes being too dry–another change due to aging. After a few hours of wearing contacts my eyes would feel like the Sahara Desert and my contacts had to come out. In order to take photos I would struggle with fitting my camera’s view finder to my “cheater readers” which often resulted in bruises on my forehead and disappointingly blurry pictures. After two months of drinking Defiance Fuel daily, I can wear my contacts comfortably ALL DAY LONG. I can grab my camera and go whenever an incredible moment presents itself. I’m free to capture my vision again and that freedom is wonderful!
I had no idea true hydration looks and feels so fantastic. Needless to say I’m a Defiance Fuel advocate in a large way. Drinking Defiance Fuel has allowed me to overcome many of the limitations I thought were simply “givens” associated with aging. I’m thrilled to report they are not.
I invite you to take the Defiance Fuel 30 Day Challenge and defy your own “limitations”.
Go to the Defiance Fuel website and read up on this life changing water here: www.defiancefuel.com. Make sure to read this: www.defiancefuel.com/the-technology.asp!
Then sign up for the Defiance Fuel 30 Day Challenge here: www.defiancefuel.com.
Take the 30 Day Challenge, defy your limitations and change your life because you deserve to look and feel your best!

The Defiance Fuel Story, Part I

Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “It is health that is true wealth.” The amazing story you’re about to read illustrates Gandhi’s words perfectly.
In 1983 Penny Lorenzen was a very sick woman. A mystery illness was causing excruciating pain, fatigue and a myriad of other symptoms that did not add up to any plausible diagnosis. Prior to her illness, Penny had been a ranked tennis player and a great athlete. Now the former athlete and mother of two young children was practically bedridden and in chronic pain.
Penny and her husband, Dr. Lee Lorenzen, were told that Penny’s illness was psychosomatic–all in her head. Lee and Penny disagreed. Dr. Lorenzen received his BA in Biology from the University of California at Berkeley. From there he went to University of California Irvine School of Medicine where he was a Research Associate in the Department of Pharmacology. Lee continued his graduate studies in Biology at Cal State Fullerton and finished up with Doctorate studies in Nutrition at Metropolitan Collegiate Institute, London, UK. His professional background, as well as his understanding of his wife’s personality, made it impossible for Lee to accept that Penny’s mysterious ailment was not a disease in her body.
After two years of ongoing frustration for both Penny and Lee, to say nothing of the ongoing pain for Penny, an internist at UCLA was able to identify two viruses in Penny’s cerebrospinal fluid–Coxsackie B and Epstein-Barr. The official diagnosis was Myalgic Encephalomyelitis–one of the worst cases the doctor had seen. At this point, the couple were told that Penny would be bedridden for the rest of her life, and that basically there was no hope. She would live, but she’d want to die. The news devastated the entire family.
Despite the diagnosis, Penny and Lee tried every therapeutic approach possible–anti-virals, experimentals, chiropractic, acupuncture–yet no treatment helped in a substantive way. Then Lee met a physician who said he took a group of patients to drink from the healing well at Lourdes, France, every year. This doctor reported seeing wonderful results in his patients. Drinking the waters of Lourdes seemed worthy of consideration, but there was no way Penny could make such a trip–the flight alone would be too painful in her fragile condition.
So Lee got on the phone. He began investigating and found that healing springs exist all over the world–Japan, Russia, India, Mexico and more. He learned the efficacy of the water was attributed to faith or religious beliefs or in some cases the local deity. But Lee, who is himself a Christian, felt that a broader interpretation was possible; that it is possible for God to use a variety of tools to achieve His purpose.
Ultimately Lee spoke to an inn owner at Lourdes. Lee wanted to know specifically what the inn owner saw in the pilgrims’ experiences. The answer, which held as a constant across multiple phone calls to many inn owners worldwide, was that when patients drank directly from the source, the water helped their ailments, but when the water was bottled and taken back to their rooms, it didn’t work. Lee realized the water had a half life of minutes. Lee experimented a bit and learned that if the water was chilled its properties lasted a little longer. Thus, Lee realized the healing properties of the water could not be bacterial or mineral, but rather must be structural since the effects were so transient.
The next step was to have samples of the water at Lourdes flash frozen at the source and shipped back to US packed in dried ice. Under the microscope Lee found an organized cluster of water molecules held together by their shared hydrogen atoms–a uniquely crystalline structure. Lee then set out to recreate this same physical profile. He worked in his lab until he got the same pattern and he found a way to stabilize it. The process took four long years.
When Lee was satisfied that he had successfully recreated the healing water, he first experimented by drinking it himself and he had the family dog, a senior golden retriever with hip dysplasia, drink the water as well. Lee himself felt fine and to his amazement and delight the family’s old arthritic dog was jumping into the family car two weeks later. Next came the real test of Lee’s work — Penny began drinking the water. In six weeks she was up and moving around and feeling good for the first time in almost five years.
To Penny and Lee’s great delight, by 1988 Penny was feeling her old self again. But several years after Penny’s recovery, Lee realized that he was bothered by a feeling of niggling doubt lurking just below his consciousness. He knew Penny trusted him implicitly and that her trust might have led him to create the biggest placebo in the world. So he switched Penny’s healing water for regular water and didn’t tell her. After three days Penny was not feeling well and she asked Lee if he had changed anything. Lee confessed to his “experiment” to which his wife replied, “I’ll make a deal with you–you don’t change my water and I won’t change the locks.”
Today Penny Lorenzen is playing tennis again, chasing her grandkids and living a full active life. It’s hard to believe she was ever ill. The healing water that Lee created out of a desperate need to help Penny went through several more iterations. Lee then patented his processes. The end result is now known as Defiance Fuel, the first patented structured water formulated for athletic performance. Defiance Fuel is designed to return your body to a state of healthy hydration, energy, and balance.
In Part II of this post, I’ll share with you my own experience with drinking Defiance Fuel and participating in Defiance Fuel’s 30 Day Challenge. (Spoiler alert–I’m blown away!!)

May Is Women's Health Month!

May is our month ladies--Women’s Health Month. And May 14 to 21 is National Women’s Health Week. So let’s make this month our very best and really focus on ourselves and our health. Here’s two tiny tweaks that will add up to big health changes when you do them every day!

Tweak #1
Walk! My number one piece of health advice for all women--WALK!

A 25 minute brisk daily walk can add up to seven years to your life! And that’s just the beginning of what walking can do for you! Walking is the ultimate all-in-one multi-tasking miracle for women. In fact, a recent study done in Australia reported that staying physically active is far more likely to determine a woman’s future risk of heart disease than other well-known factors including smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure. Walking takes care of our whole Self--body/mind/spirit like no other exercise.

Starting right now add more walking to your day and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come! Here’s some tips on how to work walking into your day every day.

How To Work Walking Into Your Day Every Day.jpg

Tweak #2
Drink Water! I cannot say enough about drinking water.

Your body is 60-70% water. You can do the math and figure out how many pounds/gallons of water you’re carrying in your body mass--it’ll blow your mind.

I carry nine gallons of water. Thank heavens it’s distributed throughout my body! I can’t quite fathom hauling nine gallon jugs of water around with me every day.

Here’s why drinking water is so important: according to Brian Richter, Chief Scientist for the Global Water Program of The Nature Conservancy, “With a deficit of as little as one quart you’re likely going to start losing some cognitive function, alertness, and ability to concentrate. If you lose a gallon you’ll start feeling pretty lethargic, and you’ll likely have a bad headache. If you’re down two gallons you’re going to be sick enough to be in the hospital. Three gallons and you’re in the morgue.

Now consider that during a normal day we breathe, urinate, and sweat out about three quarts of water. We could easily be in the zone between some loss of cognitive function and bad headache. Not fun. That mid-to-late afternoon headache you get on a daily basis? Guess what--it’s dehydration. Continuously replenishing your body’s water is the key to staying hydrated and hydration=health.

So for Women’s Health Month, put away the sodas and drink water. And if you want to really hydrate, drink the best water on the planet, Defiance Fuel. (Look for a detailed post on Defiance Fuel soon!)

So there’s my two tweaks to turn May into your healthiest month ever.

Walking + Drinking Water = A Happy, Healthy, Long Life. And that’s what I want for you!

Happy Women’s Health Month!