Three-time Emmy Award nominee, Kat Carney, was previously the Consumer Health Anchor for CNN Headline News.
After a lifetime of obesity, she lost 90 pounds and has made it her mission to provide credible and practical information that people can use to embrace healthier lifestyles.
In this segment, Carney joins Dr. Darria to provide tips on preparing for a trip... from what to pack to yummy snack options for staying healthy while traveling.Click here to access Part 2 of the interview.
RadioMD Presents: Sharecare Radio | Original Air Date: August 11, 2015
Host: Darria Long Gillespie, MD
Guest: Kat Carney
Sharecare. Helping you get younger, get guidance, get better care, get smart, get fit. RadioMD presents Sharecare Radio with Darria Long Gillespie, MD.
DR. DARRIA: Hi, Dr. Darria and I'm back. Often for all of us, travel can be so hectic. You don't eat well, you don't work out and by the time the travel is over, you have zero energy. So, InterContinental Hotel Groups, EVEN Hotels, was designed to combat exactly that. And our monthly Travel Well segment is sponsored by them to give you tips to stay healthy, fit and just feel great and be at your best when you're on the road. Our guest today is Kat Carney, journalist and TV host and founder of the popular weight loss blog, TheWeighWeWere.com, and Emmy nominated PBS show by the same name. Kat, thanks for joining us.
KAT: Thank you so much for having me.
DR. DARRIA: First, I want to talk about your blog, The Weigh We Were, spelled W-E-I-G-H we were.
KAT: That's right.
DR. DARRIA: How did you get started with it and how did it become a PBS show?
KAT: Well, I have to go all the way back to when I was a kid. I was someone who always struggled with my weight from the time I was in the first grade until I was about 27. I wasn't just heavy, I was actually obese and morbidly obese. I hate to use that phrase but that would accurately describe what I was. We move to Georgia when I was in the first grade and I don't remember a time that I didn't struggle with my weight. I would tell myself all the time, “My metabolism is slow. I'm big boned.” I had all of those reasons for my weight and then just one day I said, “Well, what if I spent a whole year living a healthy lifestyle doing all of those things that the experts say we should do? Eating five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables and getting 60 minutes of physical activity a day. What would happen in a year?” So, I didn't set out to lose weight, I just said, “I'm going to live a healthy lifestyle.” And in 14 months, I dropped 90 pounds.
DR. DARRIA: Wow! And, of course, our listeners can't see her but Kat is in fantastic shape. There is no signs of any morbid obesity here, so we need to listen to her and take some lessons. That's fascinating. Is that really what started your interest in health because when you were in CNN you were a consumer health anchor? Was that the catalyst for it?
KAT: It absolutely was because the other thing that I did that whole 14 months is, I would read weight loss success stories every single day. I wanted to see what real people were doing to lose weight. I didn't want to read diet books. I wanted to see what is this mom of three doing who has a busy lifestyle? What is this business person who is travelling all the time, what are they doing? That's what really inspired me. At the end of the 14 months, I had this big collection of real-life weight loss stories so I built the website, The Weigh We Were, and I just linked all of these success stories onto the website and that was even pre-blogs. Fifteen years later, the website is still going and I just really learned that there is something to breaking things down into simple actionable steps and then, also believing that you can do it. That really did kind of change the direction of everything in my life--really wanting to help people and communicate and that is how I became a health journalist.
DR. DARRIA: I loved two things you just said. One is believing you can do it. I do the same telling my patients, obesity or diabetes or any one of these health conditions, is not something that has happened to you that you have no control over. You can really change that.
KAT: That's right.
DR. DARRIA: And that's sometimes when we see the light bulb go on with something like that. “I can do something about that.” And then, giving them actionable tips. We love to do that here on the radio show and on my Busy Woman's Guide blog, specifically. Like, what are some secrets to break it down which is also why we have you here to get some of your tips. So, we want to start talking about travel. With all your work, you're probably on the road a great deal and we want to know is that what took you into the healthy travel space?
KAT: Well, right after I lost the weight, or shortly after I lost the weight, I booked two jobs back to back. One job was in Los Angeles and the other job was in Boston. So, when I lost the weight I was living in New York City and so I was stationary. I was walking all the time. I had a very different lifestyle. Then, I found myself living in Los Angeles. I was in a car all the time and so I was 12 days in Los Angeles and then I would get on a plane and I’d have to fly to Boston and I’d have to work at the other job. So, I'm living in hotels; I'm on planes and I said, “You know what? I just lost 90 pounds. I've got to figure out how to make this work.”
DR. DARRIA: Right.
KAT: So, instead of letting the lifestyle control me, I just spent some time going, “Okay. I'm in a hotel. Maybe let me call the hotel in advance and see if they can put a refrigerator in the room for me.” So, it was really about learning how to problem-solve based on where I was at the time. And that's what I tell everyone. You know, it doesn't matter what your circumstances, it's about sitting down and problem-solving. And maybe going online and other people can help you--other people who have been in that situation can help you work through it. But just believing that there is a solution to it.
DR. DARRIA: This is very true. There is a solution. You can always find a solution to it. So, let's get into some of those tips. When you're packing, what are some of your essential items that you pack every time?
KAT: I always keep gym clothes packed. Years ago, there was a little invention that came out called “Huggable Hangers”. Remember Huggable Hangers?
DR. DARRIA: No. I don’t.
KAT: Oh, my gosh. You never heard of the Huggable Hangers? Girl!
DR. DARRIA: No.
KAT: I just changed your life!
DR. DARRIA: Huggable Hangers.
KAT: What they do is, they're like these slender hangers but they give you about 40% more space in your closet. I don't know if that's the exact amount.
DR. DARRIA: Ah.
KAT: But they give you a lot more space in your closet. Well, there are like packing cubes that you can use in your luggage. So, I was going to say they're like Huggable Hangers for…
DR. DARRIA: Okay, now I get the analogy.
KAT: That's where I was going with it. And so I like to keep one packing cube that has my workout clothes. They're always there. I'm not grabbing for them at the last minute. I'm not over-packed so I don't go, “Well, my workout clothes can't fit.” I always keep them in my bag, packed and ready to go. That way I know I can work out when I get to where I'm going.
DR. DARRIA: Now, how does that work with shoes though? My running shoes are always a problem especially with the new carry on limits.
DR. DARRIA: Do you pack smaller shoes or do you just say, “I'm going to sacrifice that space and take my shoes?” Or do you work out doing yoga where you can be barefoot?
KAT: Well, a couple of options: I either wear my shoes on the plane unless I have to get off and go right into a business trip and sometime you can't wear sneakers. But those packing cubes give you so much more space in your luggage, I can actually pack for two weeks and take five pairs of shoes, including a pair of sneakers, when I pack everything in cubes. So, I tell everyone about it.
DR. DARRIA: No way.
KAT: I'm serious.
DR. DARRIA: What is it like Harry Potter/Mary Poppins suitcase?
DR. DARRIA: Okay, so packing cubes.
DR. DARRIA: That's a way-- I like that. It helps you organize and also makes sure you have the right things. You always have all your gym clothes.
KAT: That's exactly right. I don't like to necessarily break my routine when I'm on the road. So, I'm a treadmill runner. I like to have my sneakers. I like to actually go into the gym. So, by keeping everything packed and organized I know I don't have to break my routine. For me, I'm someone, “A body in motion stays in motion; a body at rest stays at rest”.
DR. DARRIA: Yes.
KAT: So, I found that when I wouldn't work out when I was traveling, that would kind of hang over a couple of days when I got back. I wouldn't start back right away. So, that's why I like to keep everything packed. My heartrate monitor, a pedometer, all of those things.
DR. DARRIA: Okay. Well, you just started answering my next question. What other tools do you take with you? So, you mentioned heart rate monitor.
KAT: I love a heart rate monitor. I was that girl; I was the sedentary girl until I was close to 30 so it was great. When I started wearing a heart rate monitor, I was able to see that even though I think, “I'm working out really hard,” the heart rate monitor was saying, “You're not working out as hard as you think you are.” So, it helped retrain my thoughts but then it also helped me push myself beyond the limits that I thought I could do. So, I always wear a heart rate monitor.
DR. DARRIA: There's a lot to be said for data. It really gives us objective information and feedback. So, and you also wear a pedometer. Are you wearing one right now?
KAT: I'm not wearing one right now but I normally wear one, especially when I travel and I'm not sure when I'm going to be able to get to a workout space. I keep the pedometer on so I can track my steps instead of sitting at the gate waiting for my plane, especially when there's a layover. I say, “You know what? I'm only at 4000 steps for the day, let me get up and walk around the airport and maybe I can log an extra 500 steps.” So, it goes back to the point you just made about having data. When you see where you are at any given point during the workout or during the day, you know what you have to do to adjust.
DR. DARRIA: And that's true. It gives you that information and if you're Type A, you like to compete against yourself.
DR. DARRIA: In our last minute, any other little things you take with you?
KAT: Oh! What else do I take? I like to put my workout videos on my iPad because, again, I like to keep my same routine. So, I like to do a lot of home exercise DVDs. A lot of them now, you can take the download versions, put them on the iPad and then if the hotel you're staying in has a gym, you can still, again, stay to your whole routine. I did the whole P90X while travelling.
DR. DARRIA: Really?
KAT: I took it with me.
DR. DARRIA: That's amazing. So, that's a really good message. Sticking to your routine.
DR. DARRIA: So that you're also healthier when you get back and it also gives you much more energy when you're on the road, too.
KAT: That's the trick.
DR. DARRIA: Alright. So, we will be coming back with Kat Carney for some more information. In the meantime, stick to your routine, take your running shoes with you and use little packing cubes to save you space and make room for all of that in your luggage. This is Dr. Darria. You're listening to Sharecare Radio. Stick with us to our next segment.