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Kella’s Kolumn

McKella is a soon-to-be college graduate with a passion for living a healthy life. Through lots of trial and mosty error, McKella has learned (and is still learning) to balance life’s demands with wellness, and she wants to share those secrets with you. She loves reading and writing, yoga, walking, and anything to do with chocolate. She live in Utah with her husband Sam and her pet rat, Griffy.

My 10 Favorite Workouts
Who wants to spend day after day slogging away on the elliptical in a gym or running on a treadmill like a hamster on a wheel? Finding a workout you enjoy is key to sticking to an exercise routine. Here are a few of my favorite ways to stay fit:

Walking outside-

If I don’t get my walk, my creative output for the day is zilch. Nothing gets my wheels turning better. I can do it anytime, anywhere and all I need is my sneakers and some space. If I don’t feel like getting sweaty from power walking, I just go for a leisurely, but brisk stroll instead.


Yoga stretches and strengthens the muscles simultaneously, which creates that long, lean look everyone is clamoring for. Yoga gets me out of my head and into my body so I can pinpoint any tension I need to work out. It relieves stress, increases lung capacity, improves digestion, and builds flexibility. All you need is a mat and a good DVD or book to guide you. Get to a class if you can though, a book can’t adjust your form..


I love to do this at the track when I’m mad. I speed walk half a lap, then I sprint as far as I can, just to see how fast I can go. I walk for another half lap, then I sprint again. I keep this up for as long as I can, or until I’ve sweated out all my grumpiness.


I don’t get to do this very often and I’m no Michelle Kwan, but I love gliding through the cold air. Skating firms your glutes and melts off those saddlebags in no time, so grab a friend and lace up the skates.


You’ll never find a better core workout. The stretching and strength moves will flatten your abs in a flash and will improve your posture, which makes you look taller and thinner, after only one session. You’ll need a mat and a DVD or book if you can’t get an instructor. My favorite book is The Pilates Body by Brooke Siler. It gives detailed explanations and illustrations of each exercise and tailors them to your level. Your body will never be the same.


Another great way to beat stress. Kickboxing tones muscles you didn’t know you had and is a killer cardio workout. I’ve done Tae-bo for years because the moves are simple but challenging and it works. Oh man, it works.


I’m live on the base of a mountain, so I’m blessed with a plethora of trails to explore. Hiking to a destination, such as a mountain summit or a beautiful waterfall motivates you to keep going and push harder. Be sure to pack a water bottle or two and don’t go alone. Safety first.


If you hate to sweat, jump in the pool for a refreshing, no-impact, total-body workout. Flutter kicks firm and lift your rear and arm strokes like the front crawl tone your shoulders and strengthen your back. If you’re just getting started, grab a kickboard to keep you afloat so you can focus on your kicks.


Biking around my neighborhood everyday is one of my favorite childhood memories. Ride on the road or hit some trail with a mountain bike. Biking slims those thighs in no time and is one of the easiest workouts to squeeze into your day because it doubles as transportation. Pedal to work a few days a week and bike to a couple errands. You’ll save a bundle on gas.

Playing with kids-

I teach a “Strong Kids” class at an elementary school every Friday, and it’s the most intense workout of my week. We play awesome games like “Hungry Crabs,” “Mr. Freeze”, “Freeze Dance”, and dozens of tag variations. Be a kid again, run around, play tag. Childhood enthusiasm is contagious.

10 Huge Health Mistakes (and How to Fix Them)

Dieting-Diets don’t work. Just ban this word from your vocabulary. Not only do diets make you hungry and cranky, they mess with your metabolism, prevent you from getting all the nutrients you need, and set you up for weight gain in the long run, because depriving yourself leads to bingeing later. Fix it: Make healthy lifestyle changes you can live with, like eating fruit instead of ice-cream a few nights a week, and don’t forget to exercise. Weight lost slowly is more likely to stay off because you don’t have to stick to some crazy diet.

All-or-Nothing Mindset-

You eat two scoops of ice-cream, then decided you’ve blown your healthy eating for the day and polish off the entire pint. Sound familiar? Fix it: Every second is a chance to start over, so if you fall off the wagon for a moment, you can hop right back on. What’s worse, a few spoonfuls of Haagen Daaz or the entire pint?

Skipping meals-

Your body needs food every three to five hours, so skipping meals causes your metabolism to switch to “starvation mode”, when it holds on to fat to conserve energy. Also, skipping breakfast leads to binges later in the day. Fix it: Eat breakfast. Every. Single. Day. Carry snacks with you in case you don’t have time to grab a real meal. Eat every few hours to keep your energy up and prevent getting ravenous.


Stress is the biggest assault on your health because it creates tension in the body which causes migraines, high blood pressure, digestion problems, weight gain, and a host of mental issues like depression and anxiety disorders. Fix it: Let yourself off the hook. No human being should be expected to say “yes” to every commitment thrown at them. Practice saying no, or use the “one in, one out” rule. Every time you pencil something into your schedule, cross something off. Also, take at least twenty minutes a day to do something you enjoy, like reading or drawing instead of answering emails.


We all know soda isn’t good for us, but many of us are unaware of the harm it causes. Drinking sugar instead of eating it is a step above injecting in directly into your bloodstream, so your blood sugar shoots up which leads to that surge in energy followed by a wicked crash later on. The diet stuff isn‘t any better. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame have been linked to tumors, seizures and depression. Soda’s effect on hydration is a double whammy: Not only does soda contribute to dehydration, it often replaces water in the diets of heavy soda drinkers. Fix it: Cut back to three cans a week, even less if you’re up to it. Drink water instead, spruce it up with a little lemon and healthy sweetener if your taste buds need to adjust.

Body comparison-

Nothing kills self esteem faster than measuring yourself against skinnier, prettier, richer, more whatever people. Comparing yourself to others just makes you feel inadequate which can lead to more serious problems, like eating disorders, not to mention money you might sink into boosting yourself up. Fix it: Remember, everyone has insecurities. That Jennifer Connelly look-alike in the slinky dress might exercise three hours a day, your coworker who got the big promotion may come home to an empty apartment, and your ex’s new flame might be up to her nostrils in debt. No one is perfect, no one’s life is perfect, so don’t worry about measuring up to anyone’s standards but your own. Congratulate yourself for what you have accomplished, like your happy marriage or way with words. Remember, someone is probably comparing themselves to you.

Staying up late-

People who stay up late tend to get less sleep than those who conk out early and sleep deprivation contributes to irritability, weakened immune system, and obesity. Also, staying up late tends to include unhealthy activities, like booze and late night milkshake runs, which translates to a lot of extra calories and headaches you don’t need. Fix it: Set a bedtime and stick to it, and time it so you’ll get at least seven hours of sleepy time. This will refresh you for the day ahead, fight off stress and illness, and keep your metabolism going. Beauty sleep isn’t a myth people. Get rid of those dark circles and baggies under your eyes..

Processed food-

Need a dictionary to find out what’s in that can of soup? Probably shouldn’t eat it. Processed foods with mumbo-jumbo labels are often concoctions of refined sugar, salt, and chemicals in the form of dyes, texture enhancers and preservatives. You end up with a high calorie, low nutrition UFO (Unidentified Food Object). Those don’t fill you up and will send you on a sugar high with a mean crash. Fix it: If it’s not food, don’t eat it. Stick with whole, basic foods like fruits and vegetables, lean meats and dairy, and whole, gluten-free grains. Stay away from anything hydrogenated and too brightly colored to be natural. You’ll get the nutrients and vitamins you need for less calories and your blood sugar will be more stable, keeping you off the sugar rollercoaster

Skipping checkups-

The recession has hit everyone hard, and people are canceling doctor appointments to save money. I’ve done it too. However, this may cost you more in the long run. You could miss catching a disease in the early stages and have to pay massive medical bills later on, and the damage to your health could be enormous and irreversible. Fix it- This is one area where you can’t afford to skimp. Cut back on restaurant meals and shoe shopping if you need to, but make sure you keep up on dental exams and basic checkups. It could save your life.


First of all, the calories in all those shots add up, especially if you get a little tipsy and forget to keep track. Also, alcohol in excess is a leading cause of fatal car crashes. T-boning a semi tends to be very bad for your health. Excess alcohol damages the liver, disrupts sleep patterns, and increases the risk of breast cancer. Fix it- My religion is against alcohol, but that’s not the only reason I don’t drink. I think the best way to avoid the damaging affects of alcohol is to avoid it altogether. It’s not worth it. Save your money and spend happy hour doing something that really makes you happy.

My 10 Favorite Cheap, Healthy, Gluten Free Foods
A healthy diet shouldn’t require a big chunk of your budget. You can’t go wrong with these basics.
-A staple of the budget conscious crowd, these little guys are packed with fiber and are a great source of vegetarian protein, especially if you combine them with whole grains like brown rice. Try them on salads, in soups, dips, tacos, omelets, whatever. Try to get at least three half-cup servings a week.
Gluten-Free Oatmeal-
A bowl of oatmeal for breakfast will keep you full for hours thanks to its impressive fiber and water content, but forget about the sugary instant packets. Instead, try regular quick oats in the carton. They’re just as quick and easy and you can add real fruit and healthy sweetener.
Didn’t like the gloppy green stuff as a kid? Try spinach as a salad green. These tasty leaves are loaded with iron and other nutrients and they’re great in soups, omelets and stir-fries.
If you’re not a milk person, yogurt is a great way to get your calcium and is full of healthy bacteria that aids digestion. Instead of presweetened yogurt, try mixing ripe fruit into plain yogurt and adding a little healthy sweetener if you want. Plain yogurt is also a healthy substitute for sour cream in most recipes.
Unsweetened applesauce is spectacular as a healthy snack or pancake topping, just add a little cinnamon. Try swapping some or all of the oil in muffin and cake recipes for applesauce to slash the fat and calorie content.
Now that the cholesterol fuss has died down, eggs are hailed as a source of protein and vitamin E. You can’t get more versatile than this. Of course you can scramble a few for breakfast, but don’t forget about omelets, frittatas, quiches, salads, and soups. Eggs fit into every meal and snack, so swap them for meat a few nights a week.
One of the best sources of potassium, bananas spruce up oatmeal, cold cereal, yogurt and are a naturally portable snack that comes prepackaged.
Who doesn’t love baby carrots? Reach for these high-protein, vitamin-rich veggies when you get the munchies. Sprinkle them on your salads, chop or puree them for a soup, or steam them for a side dish.
Entire gardens are dedicated to this stuff. Thanks to the tomatoes, salsa is rich in lycopene, and cancer-fighting antioxidant. You can go for the standard chips-and-salsa, but load it into tacos, eggs, meat, and even on salads with a little lime juice. Swap it for ketchup on your hash browns and I promise you’ll never look back.
Dark Chocolate-
Ok you chocoloholics, listen up: Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and flavanoids, which fight heart disease, high blood pressure, and raise your “good” cholesterol while lowering the “bad” . Also, the chemicals in dark chocolate help release endorphins, your happy hormones, which is why you crave chocolate after a fight with your boss. Stick with the dark though. Milk chocolate is mostly sugar and white chocolate contains no cocoa, so it isn’t chocolate at all. An ounce of dark chocolate a day will benefit your body and soul, so allow this treat into your healthy diet.

One Comment

  1. Anonymous Anonymous

    Kella, love your lists, they are soooo fun. Keep up the great work and interesting topics. You're a great writer.
    Tana B.

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