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Featured Fitale Kimberly Shorter


FFFC:  Please introduce yourself to our readers (i.e. your name, occupation, hobbies, etc.).

KS:  Hello! My name is Kimberly Shorter. I am a program analyst for the federal government, and a freelance writer. In my spare time I enjoy cooking, baking and traveling.

FFFC:  What sparked your weight-loss transformation journey?

KS:  I have been battling with my weight for much of my adulthood. There have been times when I was rather content with my weight, whether or not it was healthy at the time. At one time I worked out religiously, going to the gym once or twice a week. When the demands of my job changed, I had less time for a workout routine and I thought I could manage my weight simply by eating right. That lasted for a while, but a few years ago I was diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure). That was the real spark for me. After my doctor had to put me on not one, but two medications to manage my hypertension, I said that’s enough. I had constant headaches, I was always bloated and tired. I had to face the fact that being overweight was taking its toll on my body and my overall health. It was a wake-up call.

FFFC:  What was your beginning and current weight or measurements?

KS:  When I started my weight loss journey in earnest, last October, I was 190 lbs. Today, I am 173.8 lbs. I still have a long way to go, but having lost almost 20 lbs., I am motivated to work harder and keep going!

FFFC:  How long did it take for your weight-loss transformation from beginning to end?

KS:  My transformation has taken 10 months, and I’m not finished yet! I consider this another weight loss milestone in my journey.

FFFC:  What physical activities did you participate in during your journey?

KS:  I didn’t stick with just one workout routine; I like variety. Plus, I like to find ways to get in some physical activity outside of the gym. I enjoy walking a lot. I challenge myself to park at the far end of the parking lot at work. Doing so, I can get in a brisk 10-15 minute walk. I also do Pilates, and I enjoy dancing. My next challenge will be to start a regular Zumba class again. It was the most fun and the easiest way to get moving and burn calories.

FFFC:  How did your eating habits change?

KS:  I am making more conscious decisions about the food that I eat, thanks in large part to Weight Watchers. I look at food differently now. It’s not just about the taste or the texture of the things I eat, but what nutrients I am putting into my body, and what kind of results I am getting because of it. As much as I love breads, baked goods and dairy products (cheese, ice cream), I admit that those things don’t make me feel healthy and strong eating them all the time. I am learning to be more mindful of the food I choose.

I had been focusing on eating a more plant-based diet when I had a health scare back in June. I was in the hospital for a week as a result of a mysterious bug bite. I was pretty bad off; my blood levels were either low or abnormal, and I was severely anemic. When I got out of the hospital, my doctors told me to focus on an iron-rich diet and suggested things like kale, spinach and beef. As much as I love a good cheeseburger and a good steak every now and then, who wants to eat that stuff every day? However, I can eat kale and spinach all day long!

I am learning that despite what we see and hear on TV, that not every good thing comes with cheese, butter isn’t everything and fried foods aren’t all that they’re cracked up to me. I love cooking, and I am finding that I can create delicious meals and wonderful flavors by grilling, broiling and steaming foods. This is opening up a whole new world for me, and I am excited!

FFFC:  What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

KS:  I love breakfast food, and breakfast used to always consist of something that involved butter and syrup. But now, I like to have something much more simple and healthier like fruit and smoothies. My favorite smoothie is a creation I make with bananas, strawberries, spinach (or kale) and flaxseeds.

For lunch, I will opt for something filling but light, like a grilled chicken wrap full of fresh, crisp veggies or fish. I try to stay away from bulky sandwich rolls and white breads.

At dinner, especially in the summer, I like to put some chicken or salmon, and some Naan bread on the grill, along with a bunch of veggies – green beans, carrots, squash, red onions — tossed in olive oil, minced garlic and salt and pepper. I can never go wrong with that!

I drink lemon water with every meal. I seldom drink anything other than lemon water. It’s the best thing in the world to me. There’s nothing as cleansing and refreshing to the body as water. Lemon water has so many health benefits, it’s long been a part of my daily routine.

I haven’t totally sworn off my favorite foods. I just eat them in moderation, and by ‘moderation’ I mean maybe once a week or a couple times a month. I cannnot deprive myself totally of a good pancake every now and then. I just know now that I can’t eat that stuff every single day. Weight Watchers helps me to make smarter food choices. If I want a treat, I know how much it will “cost” me, and how hard I will have to work to make up for it.

FFFC:  What is your favorite fitness activity?

KS:  Honestly, I love walking. I learned to power walk (not by choice, but out of necessity…LOL!) when attending undergrad in Philly. I can crank up some good workout music on the iPod and go for a good walk. Besides, you can walk everywhere — around the neighborhood, at work, at the mall. When I go shopping in the mall, I usually will do a lap or two before making a purchase (especially a major one). It helps me clear my mind and burn calories at the same time. There have been many times I’ve done a lap around the mall, only to realize that purchase I was planning to make wasn’t worth it. LOL!

FFFC:  What do you do now to maintain your physique?

KS:  I’m not where I want to be yet; I am increasing my physical activity to get the healthy physique that I want.

FFFC:  How did you develop and sustain the willpower to avoid the bad stuff (i.e. junk food, bad drinks, lack of activity, etc.)?

KS:  All I have to do is to think back to the time when I was almost 200 lbs., popping Tylenol or other pain relievers every day along with my blood pressure medication and melatonin to help me sleep at night. My health problems were a direct result of what I was putting into my body. Bad carbohydrates, sugars and fat got me that way. And I don’t want to go back to where I used to be.

Also, I don’t beat myself up if I don’t make it to the gym. I can always find some good music to blast on the iPod and get my groove on at home. The way I see it, there is no excuse not to move for at least 30 minutes every day. I just make it a goal to be active for at least 30 minutes a day.

Seeing the progress I have made thus far is motivation to keep doing the right thing, and to do even more.

FFFC:  What advice do you have for someone starting out on their weight-loss journey but unsure of how to begin?

KS:  You aren’t going to lose weight overnight, so be prepared to take a journey!

– Make a commitment to yourself to do something to M.O.V.E. (Meaningful, Optimal, Vital, Everyday. You may not be one for the gym, but you can find something to do to get active. Do what is fun for you. Working out doesn’t have to be a chore. If you love to dance, try Zumba. If you love being outdoors, run, walk or ride your bike.

– Find a workout buddy, an accountability partner or even a mentor to support you in your journey. Having someone to help you along and encourage you will really matter when the journey seems tough or impossible.

– Make a list of healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, lean meats) that you enjoy and create an eating plan (NOT a diet) around those foods. The more nutrition you put incorporate into your meals, the less room you will have for empty calories.

– And most importantly, make getting healthy, not a number of a scale or on a clothes rack, your goal. I find that I’ve had more success this time around not fixating on what the scale says or what size pants I can fit into. That will come with time.

FFFC:  What do you think is the biggest misconception about this journey?

KS:  It is so disappointing to think there are people who buy into the myth that there is some magic pill out there that will make them instantly fit and slim. There is no such thing! Weight loss and fitness require real commitment.

Any quick-fix weight loss product usually is too good to be true. And as fast as you lose the weight, you’ll most likely end up gaining the weight back even quicker. It’s not worth it!!!

FFFC:  Do you have any fitness idols?  Who are they?

KS:  My younger sister Shani is one of my biggest fitness idols. She’s made an even greater transformation than I have. One day, Shani decided to make a drastic change in her eating habits, eating clean and being more active in her everyday life. She’s lost over 34 lbs. as the result of the smart choices she has made.

My brother Terrell is another of my fitness idols. He and my sister-in-law Lori are the perfect example of how to turn healthy choices into a lifestyle. Terrell is an avid marathon runner, Hearing him talk about his marathons, I forget that he ran 26.2 miles. I get motivated by his exhilaration and dedication.

I also consider some of my Instagram fam as fitness idols: Diatta Harris (@femmefitalefitclub), Mary Jones (@akadva37), Rochelle Quick (@mzzquick10) — all of whom are a part of Black Girls Run (@officialblackgirlsrun). I get daily inspiration from their posts.

FFFC:  How can readers learn more about your transformation and journey online (i.e. Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc.)?

KS:  People can follow me on Twitter (@KimberlyWriter) and  Instagram (@kimberlyshorter). Join me in the journey! I welcome new accountability partners!

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It’s National Running Day

Hey everybody!  Today is a cool day – it’s National Running Day.  Get out there with some family and friends and have yourself a run in celebration of this special day.  I made a cool badge from their Facebook Page.

How do you like mine?

944372_10152968208310495_57163847_nHave fun today!!!!

I met up with my running Fitales and we made it happen at 5 am and 5:30 am!  We did 5 miles again today (as well as yesterday) and while it was a little challenging for me – we finished!!!!


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Reminiscing on 2012

Wow what an amazing year for me and my family.  Not just in fitness but overall.  I will keep this post focused on fitness though.  When the year began I was a stepmill queen.  I learned about it around October/November of 2011 and was using it to up my cardio at every turn because it was one of the few machines in the gym where I found I worked up a sweat in less than 5 minutes consistently no matter what level I put it on.  I was working out with my personal trainer twice a week for 30 minutes and then jumping on the cardio machine for 30 minutes afterwards with a friend of mine who would do the same.  During the end of 2011 (I know this is a reflection of 2012 but 2011 plays a role) I attended a birthday party where I hooked up with a friend I had not seen in a minute.  I mean we text and emailed each other (even though we live in the same city) but we did not physically see each other in months.  I show up to her party and she is slimmed down looking fabulous!  I ask what she has been doing and she informs me she started running and set goals for herself to run in a certain number of races in 2011 and 2012.

She also tells me about a running group called Black Girls RUN! and says there is a local chapter online that runs together in our city.  I immediately go on Facebook to check them out and ask for admittance into this online group who also takes their runs outside.  I also took it upon myself to purchase some outdoor running gear because I envisioned I would be running with these ladies very soon.  I used to run outside consistently with a partner back in 2005 so I knew I could hang and handle running outside with a bunch of avid runners.  Time kept going by and with my outdoor tights and running gloves for the cold months ….. I never got with the ladies to go running.

What I did do is workout with my trainer consistently from about January to May.  In April I took the kids down to S.C. to visit with my mother for a week and the local gym actually gave me a FREE guest pass for the week to use their facilities otherwise I would have had to pay $50 a day!  I thought that was awesome of them because they could have just went with the profit and made me pay.  But you know – next time I go down to visit I will gladly pay to work out in their gym since they were so gracious to me.

May/June timeframe I get my neighbors to come out running with me around our neighborhood.  Several were walkers vs. runners but figured, if I get them moving it will be a benefit to all.  They invited other neighbors to come work out with us and I had visions of grandeur – all of the ladies in our neighborhood walking and running together showing solidarity..blah blah blah.  The ladies who decided to attend were fairly consistent but then I found my new running and workout buddy who was a neighbor of mine I never met and we lived in the same neighborhood together over 5 years.  I know shame on me but the good thing is…..after I met her and saw her determination…I knew I found a kindred spirit!

She and I proceeded to continue to walk/run with the other ladies but we would run first then when the ladies would come out – go walking/running with them.  See we were trying to improve our running and distance.  Everyone was not ready for that so we would slow down to not leave everybody yet we were not getting a true workout in for ourselves.  She and I continued to run outside during the summer months at her suggestion.  We would run 2 times during the week before work starting at 5:30 am ending around 6:30 am which gave us time to get home, wash up and get out of the door to work on time.

In August we discovered this awesome boot camp (Sanders Optimum Fitness) which was located not far from our neighborhood.  Once we started those sessions it was ON!  I stopped going to my trainer the first month I started boot camp because I did not think I could physically do both even if there were no schedule conflicts.  Boot camp was M, W, and Th and my personal trainer was Tu and F.  No conflict but that meant 5 solid days of grueling training with no break.  I would then incorporate a Saturday in there with a run or gym time just to top it off.  In the month of August, I took a break from my trainer.

I returned to her in September and took a month off of the boot camp.  In October I decided I was going to go BEAST MODE and did both boot camp and personal trainer and I haven’t looked back.  I signed up for boot camp again through the Christmas holiday as well as worked out with my trainer and a BEAST has been born.

It is now the end of the year and as I reflect on this past year I feel like:

1.  I have gotten stronger

2.  My arms have more definition than they did last year

3.  I can run further

4.  I have improved my running pace from a solid 10 minute/mile to a solid 9:30 minute/mile

5.  I finally got out there with Black Girls RUN! and ran with them twice over the Thanksgiving holiday (ironically one of the ladies who runs with the group also trains with my personal trainer)

6.  I am lifting heavier all around

7.  My sprint game is up

8.  I have met some incredible people from boot camp and BGR!

9.  I started this blog to share my passion and interest

10.  I have been able to get others interested in their fitness and well-being

11.  Weight consistently down 5 lbs

When I look back over this past year I can’t complain and I look forward to 2013 being just as amazing!  I want to continue to try new things that challenge me and help me grow so that next year this time I am even more solid than I was before.  I am proud of my accomplishments and welcome 2013 with all of its surprises and adventure!

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#Thanksgiving Damage

If you have time to sit back and reflect what type of damage did you do this Thanksgiving?  Did you throw caution into the wind?  Did you just say “2 peas in a bucket…..you know the rest”?  Welp I will admit that these are MY confessions.  I own up to what I do and it doesn’t make me a bad person.  Makes me human.


I know what needs to be done to get back on track and quite honestly – don’t feel I am off of it.  I just detoured for a quick minute.

Here is what I did.

Wednesday – 11/21/2012

I got up bright and early at 5 am to join Black Girls RUN! Owings Mills for an outdoor early morning run.  I have been saying I was going to run with them in like FOREVER but just never made the extra effort to get out there.  I decided to commit to go this time because one of the ladies there goes to my trainer and she encouraged me to come out.  I called my neighbor to see if she wanted to go since she loves to run and once she said YES it was ON!  I went to pick her up at crack o’thirty and we were off.

We get there and out of the car and there are like 10 women standing in the parking lot fully geared up with lights on their heads, reflector vests and lights on their shoes!  I was in total amazement.  They decided on a 3-mile route and explained the path of the route and we were off!

I got my music and running program straight (jury is still out on whether I like using Runkeeper to manage my run while listening to music both from my iPhone vs. just having separate devices to manage everything (iPod for my music and HRM for my HR, GPS, pace, speed, and calories burned).  It was dark dark dark!  I mean pitch black areas on the route (now I see why they wore lights on their heads)!  I just kept my eyes on the lady in front of me to maintain my pace and to not get lost in the darkness.

We got to the top of the hill which was the 1.5 mile mark and my Runkeeper told me I made it in 15 minutes with an average speed around 10 mph!  Not bad but I definitely want my mile under that.  We stood at the top of the hill waiting for the others to catch up and I see a host of people at the Royal Farms.  They were giving away .98 cent gas and free turkeys!  I would have never known if I was not out here running like a mad woman.

Some ladies stopped at the pit stop and others kept going depending on what they wanted to get in (4 miles vs. 3, etc.).  We ran back the way we came (another 1.5 miles) and got back to the car and I vowed I would come back out again with them.  My neighbor and I had a blast.

  Thursday, 11/22/2012

I woke up early as usual and did NO workout.  You hear me?  I vowed I would rest and just relax.  Dinner was scheduled for 3 pm at my cousin’s house and all I had to bring was a corn casserole and some roasted vegetables.

I arrived at my cousin’s house around 3’ish and once grace was said I dove in.  I piled my plate up only once (everything in moderation) and went to town on collard greens, stuffing, mac and cheese, fried turkey and vino, vino and more vino.  I normally don’t do this but I ate some of my mom’s lemon pound cake with vanilla ice cream.  DIVINE!  Don’t judge.

Friday, 11/23/2012

Ya know what?  I was looking forward to my second morning run with Black Girls Run! Owings Mills.  I had so much fun the first time I figured I might as well do it again.  We met at 8 am vs. 5:30 am this time and there was about 7 or so ladies who showed up all geared out.

Our leader instructed us on the run route and everyone agreed they wanted to extend it around the Owings Mills loop which is about 4.8 miles all around chock full of hills and everything in between!  One of the ladies even brought her own pace maker (her husband) who helps push her beyond her comfort pace.  It was great.  Off we went.  We did stop at the normal pit stop and that was just so the leader could make sure everyone understood the route so they could decide if they wanted to continue running it or turn around from whence we came and do a 3 miler instead.

I proceeded to do the loop because I just wanted or rather needed to challenge myself.  I had never done it before and about 3 weeks earlier I attempted with my neighbor and we walked 1/2 the route.  So off I went.  I got to a part of the run (actually near the end of the run) where I hit this MOTHER hill!  I mean MOTHER MOTHER MOTHER hill!  I was in a running stance but I swear I was more like walking.  Legs felt heavy and I thought I was going to stop right there but my little voice told me to keep going.

I made it through and realized I was out here all by my lonesome.  Was I the only person who decided to run on?  Did everyone turn back, already got back to their cars and was on their way home?  I waited about 3 minutes and then I saw this little head running up the hill.  YAY!  She crossed the street and I just had to ask her about that MOTHER HILL!  She laughed and informed me that hill is a beast but keep running it and it gets easier.  I guess with anything in life right?

She and I turned to go back to our car after another runner came up and I said to her “Let’s sprint up this hill”.  She agreed and then I took off.  I know I am going as fast as I can when I hear the wind whistling past my ears.  When we got to the corner she laughed and said “Oh you meant SPRINT”?  LOL!

We then gathered up by our cars and took a photo for her to post on the Black Girls RUN! online group.  It was fun and again the folks were amazing to run with.

I then got in my car and since I was in the neighborhood – decided to drive to my cousin’s house to pick up some food I left the night before.  She was surprised to see me up there around 9 in the morning but by this time I was starved!

After that I ran some errands and came home.  My cousin was hosting a fish fry that day so we went back over there and threw down on fried fish, MORE WINE, cake, ice cream and every other carb you can think of.  It was delicious!

I enjoyed my Thanksgiving with family and friends.  It is not a time to feel guilty about possibly cheating on your eating habits or work outs but a time to be thankful for the people who matter most to you in your life.  I know I enjoyed it and hey – I signed up for Sanders Optimum Fitness Boot Camp today (another 4 weeks of torture) so trust me……all of this is going to get worked off.

Have a happy holiday and stay firm…fit and fabulous!



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