Posts Tagged by Healthy Eating

Transformation Tuesday: Katie Heck

I love Katie’s story because I think that it is something that many women struggle with…pregnancy and weight gain.  She gained over 100 pounds during her pregnancy with her twins and instead of falling back into old habits after they were born, she started making better choices.  But I’ll let her tell you about that.


When I got pregnant with my twin boys, I was not fat.  I was also not healthy.  As a police officer, mostly working night shift, my diet consisted of gas station sandwiches, coffee, soda, and fast food meals.  My whole world changed when I heard those two heartbeats at my first appointment.  I realized my choices from now on would no longer be for me, but would be for these two little miracles growing inside me.  Throughout my pregnancy I would Google everything I ate, picking colorful veggies over chips and fruit/protein smoothies over soda.  My pre-pregnancy weight was 176, and I was a size 10.  I gained about 100 pounds, weighing in around 270 just before the boys were born at 33 weeks (one day after my 31st birthday.)

Belly Pic (2)

As soon as the boys were born I made the choice to breastfeed and then to make their baby food fresh at home.  I began to revert back to my own unhealthy eating habits, and one day, as I was blending them some fresh veggies and steroid-free turkey, I had an epiphany.  I was making all of these healthy choices for my children, so that they would live a long and active life, and I wasn’t making the same decision for me.  I want to see everything my sons accomplish, and also be able to stay as active as they are for as long as I can.  It was then, in February, that I signed up for my first Disney 5k in November.  It gave me the incentive to walk with them in their stroller, first around the mall, then outside, and then eventually I progressed to jogging.

1st Run - 5k

The weight and the baby belly continued to disappear, at a slow and healthy pace.  I have become passionate about running, and love coupling running and Disney trips with my children.  Now, my twins are 17 months old, and I have three half marathons, and six 5k’s under my belt.

1st Half

I am 170 and still a size 10; but now I’m a size 10 with a healthy heart and lots of energy!  I love running, and I can’t wait to share this passion with my boys as they get older.  I firmly believe that anyone can make a choice to be healthy, and while it does take some discipline and hard work, all I need to do to persevere is remember why I started caring in the first place.

family run


Katie Heck is a 32 year old mom of twin boys from Port Charlotte, FL.


Has running at Disney helped to transform your life?  If so, I want to hear your story!  Send me an email at to be featured on an upcoming Transformation Tuesday!

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Marathon Weekend Eats in Walt Disney World

It’s no secret that I LOVE food and I especially LOVE food in Walt Disney World.  One of the hardest things about running at Disney is trying to figure out what to eat around the race.  Well Vilay is here with some great meal suggestions during a race weekend and tips on how to stay healthy while being tempted by some not so healthy options.  Try not to drool will reading this post!

This being my first marathon, I was nervous about everything, including my food. I’m here to share with you what I found to eat before and after the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon.

Pre-Marathon Day

I arrived at the Pop Century Resort on Saturday, which was also my family’s day at the Magic Kingdom. I ate breakfast on the road, which was just a coffee and pastry. After arriving at the park and a few rides, I was ready for lunch and chose Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Café. I wanted the Deluxe Cheeseburger which comes with bacon and onion rings on top, but maybe I spoke my order wrong and received just a plain cheeseburger.  My table also shared some chili cheese fries but I was careful not to eat too many.


Chili Cheese Fries
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe

One thing I love about some of the Magic Kingdom counter service places is the amazing toppings bar. Somehow my photo got lost but I piled that burger high with mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuce, and banana peppers. If I weren’t running the marathon, I would have just made a burger salad without the bun so that’s an option for you low-carb eaters.


Burger & Fixins
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe

A few hours later, the sun was starting to beat down and we found ourselves in Adventureland so I waited in a very long line for a Dole Whip Float. My sister chose Pineapple ice cream while I chose Vanilla. We both agreed that vanilla is the best.


Vanilla Dole Whip

Of course, I couldn’t help but think that a splash of coconut vodka would take this dessert over the top.  I hate that I have to wait for another Disney trip to eat another Dole Whip. I’ll miss you, Dole Whip!


Dole Whip Dreaming!

After that afternoon snack, I counted down the hours until my dinner reservation at Be Our Guest. After the fun introduction to the restaurant and gawking at the ballroom where we sat, I was very excited to finally be able to partake in the bread basket, which I normally don’t do. The rolls were warm and served with a pat butter sprinkled with sea salt.


Warm Rolls
Be Our Guest Restaurant

My sister ordered the braised pork. The online menu for Be Our Guest stated that the slow cooked pork was served with green beans and mashed potatoes but the menu that day was slightly different. The pork came with a good amount of vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, carrots, and a tiny salad, with cauliflower purée instead of potatoes. I blog about health and fitness, and I normally try to limit my carb intake. This meal would be perfect for someone trying to limit carbs and I would have ordered it under other circumstances.


Braised Pork
Be Our Guest Restaurant

I didn’t want to eat too much fiber or have too large of a meal as my last meal before the race so I skipped a salad or appetizer and just ordered the salmon entree. I was I informed that the salmon was served cooked medium, which I love. It came perfectly cooked – very fresh, incredibly moist, and with a thin crispy crust. The whipped potatoes and creamy sauce sauce were not too heavy so they complimented the lightness of the salmon. Be Our Guest is the only restaurant at Magic Kingdom that serves alcohol. Oh how I wanted a glass of wine with this meal! Alas, I had to think of the marathon and skipped that too.


Pan Seared Salmon with Leek Fondue
Be Our Guest Restaurant

After seeing the dessert cart, I am so glad that I saved room for dessert. Hey, this counts ad carb loading right? There was no question that I would get the Grey Stuff dessert. This stuff was amazing! The mousse was so light and airy and I loved the crumbly cookie crust. It also wasn’t as sweet as I thought it would be. I wish it were twice as large!


The Grey Stuff!
Be Our Guest Restaurant

My five year old niece chose the chocolate cupcake as her kids’ meal dessert. This was a very adult cupcake – it was a very dark, almost bittersweet chocolate. I loved it but I can see how it might not appeal to a young kid. My little munchkin liked it though. Oh, and how cute is the rose decoration on each plate? The server did that tableside.

Chocolate Cupcake Be Our Guest Restaurant

Chocolate Cupcake
Be Our Guest Restaurant

We also got the strawberry cream cheese cupcake. This was the only thing I didn’t like very much and my sister agreed. I thought it was too sugary and didn’t have enough cream cheese flavor.

Strawberry Cupcake Be Our Guest Restaurant

Strawberry Cupcake
Be Our Guest Restaurant

The whole Be Our Guest experience really was special and the food was much better than I expected. At around $25 per entrée, the quality of food truly did match “real world” restaurants in the same price range.

Marathon Day

On the morning of the big race, I didn’t leave enough time to stop for breakfast at the Pop Century food court, so I just ate a Luna bar and a packet of peanut butter while on the bus.

Breakfast on the Bus!

Breakfast on the Bus!

Post-race, my family met me with some Pepperoni Pizza Bread from Everything Pop. It felt so good to be have real food immediately after my long race. I’m holding the pizza in this post-race photo.

Post Race Pizza

Post Race Pizza

With the exception of a few pretzels, I had been eating only sweet things (Powerade and gels) for the past few hours so it was especially great to taste something salty. I also got the snack box and a banana, and there were a few food trucks parked there but as a runner, I was grateful not to have to wait in line for food. I only managed to eat one of the two pieces of pizza though. By the way, I think Disney should consider getting a Dole Whip truck for post-Marathon party. An ice cold Dole Whip after the race sounds amazing. (Sarah’s Note: LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea!)

I went back to Pop Century to get cleaned up and cat-nap by the pool while drinking lots of water and Powerade. I was surprised that I wasn’t ravenously hungry. My body seemed to be only wanting small meals. For example, I ate one piece of pizza and felt satisfied. Then an hour later I was hungry so I ate the banana they gave me, and didn’t want any more food. Around 4:00 I was hungry again so I decided to eat a mini dinner. We headed to the Art of Animation resort, home of Landscape of Flavors which everyone told me was the best food court. I ordered the children’s size chicken parmesan meal with whole wheat pasta and a side of grapes. And of course, more water and Powerade.

Chicken Parmesan Kids Meal Landscape of Flavors

Chicken Parmesan Kids Meal
Landscape of Flavors

With rest and sustenance in me, I was finally ready to go to the Cool Down Party at Downtown Disney. Because I ate early mini-dinner, I cancelled dinner plans and we agreed to eat whatever small bites and snacks that caught our fancy. I ate two churros – one caramel and one cinnamon-sugar. That was my first time eating churros since I was a small child and though it was a little stale, it hit the spot. Then I was in the mood for something from Babycakes – like their tiny donuts however by then it was 8:00 pm and they were sold out of everything except for banana bread and the thinnest chocolate chip cookies I had ever seen. Then I turned around and decided to try out Pollo Camparo. While their chicken looked really good and I’d like to try it sometime, I wasn’t hungry enough for a full chicken dinner. I ordered an empanada and yucca fries. The chicken empanada was a little soggy and bland. I didn’t enjoy it very much. I did enjoy the yuca fries. Yuca, also known as cassava, is a root vegetable. It’s denser and more fibrous than potatoes, so I felt the fries were more filling than regular potato fries.

Yuca Fries & Chicken Empanada Pollo Camparo

Yuca Fries & Chicken Empanada
Pollo Camparo

The Day After

The next morning, I think I finally had my appetite back. I got to the Everything Pop food court and suddenly I wanted to eat EVERYTHING. I figured out that I could achieve that goal by ordering two kids meals instead of one adult platter. I got one platter of Mickey Waffles with fruit, bacon, and sausage plus another kids platter of scrambled eggs, a biscuit, and gravy. Protein, carbs, fruit, and salty meats. Could you want anything else? After breakfast I had to hop on the Magical Express back to real life.


Even though my eating preferences turned out a little strange after the marathon, I hope that my experiences give you some ideas on how you can fuel up before and after a big Disney race. One thing I learned just from observing the dining menus is that although a lot of the food on the Quick Service menus offer fried or greasy foods, you can look beyond that and look closely for healthy alternatives.  Mickeycheck_0Avoid getting fries just because the meal says that it includes fries, and consider the vegetarian meals. Look for items with the Mickey Check symbol, which indicates that the meal meets federal nutrition guidelines for what is considered a healthy meal. Foods with the Mickey Check symbol are also minimally processed, which is a great way to eat in general.

Another tip if you’re like me and want to avoid overeating before or after an event is to order from the kids menu when you are at counter service locations. One of the unexpectedly great things about being at WDW for a strenuous race is that there were so many food options within easy reach. In one evening, I was able to eat multiple mini meals of varying types because that’s what my stomach wanted. If I had been on vacation somewhere else, I might be limited to a few restaurants or I might have been too tired to go through the effort of restaurant-hopping.

Overall, finding the right foods to eat was much easier than I thought it would be. I hope your next runDisney race is as nutritious and delicious as mine.


Having never played sports as a kid, Vilay Connor started running 2 years ago which empowered her to make healthy changes to her life until finally completing her first marathon. She is inspired by other “back of the pack” runners and women who find empowerment in exercise no matter what their size or ability. Follow her blog, Everyday Asian, where she shares her love of fitness, food, organic living, and travel.
Find Vilay here:  Website   Twitter   Instagram

RAD Reads and Weekly Review: July 7, 2013

RAD Living Header_FinalI want to first start by thanking so many of you for your support and encouragement with my new project RAD Living!  It has been humbling to hear all of your kind words and it has made me even more motivated to keep moving forward and follow my dreams!  I really can’t even begin to express my gratitude and I hope you are enjoying the site so far.

If you haven’t seen it yet, go check out my new sister site to Running at Disney called RAD Living!  You can read all about why I started it and where I hope it goes here.  Also, I’m shamelessly going to ask you to like my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter…come on, you know you want to!

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July holiday and got to spend some time relaxing and having fun with family and friends.  I know I did!  In case you’ve missed it with all the holiday celebrations, here’s what’s been happening on Running at Disney this week:

And here’s what’s new over on RAD Living:

Now on to some RAD Reads from around the Interwebs!

Running & Fitness Posts
Marc Bigbie recaps his first Ultra 50K (whoa!) and also shares some of the lessons learned from his first Ultra Marathon.

The Misadventures of a Darwinian Fail encourages us to simply love our bodies in her July #BodyLOVE Summer Challenge.

Journey of  a Dreamer shares her struggles with motivation and how she overcomes those slumps.

Just a One Girl Revolution has 5 tips to keep running…very helpful!

Mommy, Run Fast! has some great tips for healthy eating on the go, including some great meal prep recipes.

Disney Posts
Mouse on the Mind finishes the fun Imagineering Awesome series with a great post by Katherine on her dream attraction: The Death Star Trench Run.  Yes!  

Eating WDW has dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe and after seeing all the delicious meats in the never-ending skillet, I think this is a must-do on my next trip!

Da Mouse previews the MagicBands Merchandise...I’m really on the fence about all of this.  They also have a photo update of the Grand Floridian DVC property, which makes me much more excited.

Eat. Sleep. Run Disney has an amazing review of the Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge at Disney California Adventure that makes me SO excited for my upcoming trip!

Weekly Review
It is HOT here in the Northeast…seriously HOT!  I don’t deal well with exercising in extreme heat, so my fitness has been severely lacking this week.  Running and CrossFit have taken a backseat to less intensive exercises like yoga and swimming.

Sunrise Yoga

Plus the 4th of July holiday was thrown in there that threw my schedule for a loop (yeah, yeah…excuses, excuses!).  Anyway, here’s my full week and to view a complete list of WODs, visit my dailymile page.

Sunday: Rest
Monday: CrossFit: Front Squats & Squat Cleans
Tuesday: CrossFit: Dead Lifts & the Hardest WOD Ever!
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Yoga – 12 min Sun Salutation
Saturday: Yoga – 30 min + Lots of Swimming

Well I did manage to get that KILLER 220# dead lift PR early in the week that was insanely exciting!

Dead Lift

This week is looking to be another scorcher, but I guess that is to be expected for July.  I need to suck it up and get the work done, I just won’t be pushing it as hard and staying hydrated.

I’m going to be starting my Disneyland trip planning in a new weekly series and I’m looking to all of YOU for help!  This will be my first trip out there for Disneyland Half Marathon weekend and I want all the insider tips.  Can’t wait to get planning with you expert westcoasters and I hope some of you other newbies will find the series useful as well!

Oh and don’t forget, Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend goes on-sale Tuesday…set those alarms!

Have a great week and remember to Be RAD!!

Friday Feast: Schwan’s Home Delivery

schwans-logo1I was recently given the opportunity to try out Schwan’s Home Delivery and I must say was a bit hesitant at first.  I’ve you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of fresh local food, so frozen really isn’t my thing.  But I’m always open to trying new things and Schwan’s LiveSmart line of products looked like there were some tasty options.

I went online to and chose a few products that I thought would go well together and make balanced meals.   All LiveSmart products have a minimal amount of additives or preservatives, a moderate amount of calories, sodium and fat, and zero grams of trans fats.  That sounds like a win!


A few days later a large styrofoam box pack with dry ice arrived at my house…I love getting packages!  It was full of all the goodies I ordered and I was actually really excited to start dinner

Schwan's Package

Here’s what I ordered: Fire Grilled Italian CodFire Roasted Vegetable BlendMicroSteam Baby Broccoli Florets, and Wild Rice Pilaf.

Schwan's Box_2


Roasted Veg

Wild Rice


The first meal I was going to make was cod with broccoli and wild rice pilaf.  I read the cooking instructions for the cod and was surprised to find that I didn’t have to defrost it before cooking.  Hmmm…  I have to say the cod looked really well seasoned, like something I would do myself.  Well I followed the instructions, popped the frozen cod filets in the oven and hoped for the best.



Frozen Filets

While the cod was cooking, I started on the rice and the broccoli…both of which were to be microwaved.  I never use my microwave, so once again I’m hoping this will be good.  But what I’m also thinking is, this is a really quick and healthy meal!

Wild Rice_3


In less than 25 minutes, dinner was served and I was actually surprised at how good it was!  The cod was still moist and extremely flavorful.  The broccoli needed a little seasoning and the rice was a little over seasoned, but having them together balanced each other out.

Baked Cod

Baked Cod


A few days later I wanted to try out the roasted vegetables I got, so I popped 2 more cod filets in the oven and evenly spread the vegetables out on a sheet pan to roast.  This was a great mix of potatoes, broccoli, green beans, onions and bell peppers.  The flavor was very good, but the vegetables didn’t have that nice roasted texture I’m used to from fresh vegetables.  Maybe I should just keep them in the oven longer next time…

Roasted Veg_3


While I still prefer making my meals from scratch, this is really a great, healthy option for a quick weeknight meal.  There are many days that I don’t get home until after 7:00 pm and this saves a lot of time in the kitchen!  And seriously, I was surprised at how good the cod is.  I have had other frozen fish before that is dried out and completely inedible.  This was still moist and had great seasoning.

What I really think is great about these products is that they are affordable.  Both of these meals cost just over $6 per person.  You would end up spending more at a takeout joint and it would probably take more of your time!

The nice folks over at Schwan’s want to give YOU a discount for trying their products.  Use discount code KIMH2 which is good for $5.00 off a $25.00 order or $10.00 off a $50.00 order.  So get to ordering…I really don’t think you’ll be disappointed

Have you ever tried a home delivery service?

Schwan’s Home Delivery via FitFluential LLC sent me these products free of charge for this campaign. As always, all opinions are my own.

Post Labor Day Recovery

Since I started Crossfit over a month ago, I’ve been trying to eat better. I large part of the Crossfit program is the Paleo Diet, which is based on eating foods that our Paleolithic ancestors ate.  Basically you eat like the hunter gathers ate with a diet consisting of natural, unprocessed foods.  You can eat lean meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits and nuts, which means all the super tasty things like grains, wheat, dairy and sugar are off limits.  I’ve been trying to follow the Paleo about 70-80% of the time and I think it was instrumental in helping me to lose pounds and inches this past month.  I have more energy and feel much less bloated when I’m eating clean like this.

Enter Labor Day weekend.  B and I traveled down to NJ to visit my Dad and Stepmom (Hi!) and sit by the pool for the last time this summer.  Their house has always been a true test of willpower for me and as usual I failed.  They are both amazing cooks and love to use all of the ingredients that are on the “no go” list for the Paleo Diet.  The house is full of temptation: cheese, chips, ice cream, cake, you name it!

We arrived to find a delicious Arroz con Pollo cooking away on the stove and I knew I was already in bad shape.  Then the cake came out of the fridge.  It wasn’t just any cake, but my FAVORITE kind.  Yellow cake with a ganache filling and a chocolate buttercream frosting.  Oh yes…I dug in!

Evil, yet so tasty!

The next morning I went for a 4 mile run to burn off that dinner and also in anticipation of all of the food yet to come for the weekend.  I was having trouble finding something to fuel me for the run.  There were no bananas, no almonds, not even whole wheat bread to slap some peanut butter on, so I ended up having a bowl of Cheerios with whole milk and a spoonful of peanut butter.  I also popped a Gu before I went out just in case.  It was so nice to have a new area to run since I’m getting kind of bored around my house.  Look at this gorgeous tree lined (and shaded!) road 🙂

I downed a protein shake and immediately jumped in the pool to cool off after my run.  After about an hour in the pool, I was famished.  Turkey club sandwiches anyone??  Another weakness of mine!  Of course the only bread in the house was good ole white bread, which I slathered some mayo on and went to town.  Yes, I probably could’ve made a nice turkey club salad with a good balsamic dressing, but that didn’t even cross my mind.  I was too excite about the deliciousness of this sandwich.  Bring on the wheat!

The Dreaded Turkey Club

So I’m sure you can see where this is going.  The beginning of a serious food bender.  After a lazy afternoon, we moved onto dinner and I made a healthy slaw of savoy cabbage, kohlrabi and carrots with an apple cider vinaigrette.  This went really well with the BBQ ribs we had.

Ribs, Slaw & Jersey Tomatoes

What this picture doesn’t show is the generous helping of potato salad and corn slathered in butter that I had.  Oh yeah and another piece of cake for dessert…ugh.

Moving on to breakfast, my Dad made his famous pancakes and of course I couldn’t turn those down.  I’m not sure what he does, but he makes the fluffiest, most delicious pancakes ever!  I spent about another hour in the pool doing laps later in the morning before it was time to head home.  Had to get some exercise in there!

I rounded out my horrific weekend of food with tacos, corn and rice & beans at my favorite joint, bartaco, on the way home, and then a nice bacon cheeseburger the following night.  Needless to say, I woke up on Tuesday feeling like absolute crap and like my body was rebelling against me.  All that hard work out the window!  My face began to break out and I was seriously bloated.  I was having trouble getting my rings on and off!  Let the detox begin…

Yesterday I got back into my routine and stuck to the Paleo Diet all day.  I started with my favorite smoothie and had a delicious lunch at Whole Foods.  They had a mango slaw with cabbage, bell pepper and red onion that I added some grilled chicken, greens, almonds and sprouts to…yummy and filling!

Whole Foods Lunch

I relaxed for most of the day and made a ton of homemade tomato sauce (info on sauce fest to follow this weekend!) and then headed to Crossfit for my first non On Ramp class.  It was a good class and it felt really good to sweat all that crap out.  I sported my new FitFluential tank to give me that extra push 🙂

Why do front facing iPhone photos always come out so grainy?!?

Last task for the day was to make a good dinner.  I roasted a whole chicken with potatoes, carrots and onions from my CSA and paired that with a tomato and bell pepper salad.  I know I’m not supposed to have potatoes, but I had to try 2.  I left the rest for B and mostly ate the carrots.  This is one of my favorite dishes!

Roasted Chicken…nice and golden brown!

Tomatoes & Peppers

Instead of making a heavy gravy, I topped the chicken with some of my tomato sauce.  It was kind of sad to leave all of those yummy brown bits in the pan, but it was for the best.  There is something about eating fresh, local foods that always makes me feel better.  By the end of the night, I felt rejuvenated and my body was thanking me for taking it easy.

Even though I felt like total crap for a few days, sometimes I feel the need to splurge.  It helps me appreciate how good healthy eating actually makes me fell.  I know what the side effects will be from eating poorly, but sometimes sharing good food with your family is just as important as sticking to a diet.  Next time we visit, I will probably be more inclined to bring my own snack foods to tide me over so as to not eat so much of the “bad” stuff.  Bananas, almonds, almond milk for coffee, etc…  Then I won’t feel so bad when I splurge a little.  The holidays are coming, which you know are full of cookies and butter, so I need to be prepared.

Do you ever go on a food bender?  How do you recover?

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