My Fit Update for July 2019

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life20 Comments

First things first: I borrowed this dress from Aidan.

(And Aidan borrowed it from her teammate, Swannie, last year for graduation.)

(And Aidan is categorically tanner than me on any given day. That’s not just from the sun. She inherited an olive complexion from her father’s side of the family.)

So when we went to a lovely summer wedding a few weeks back for my dear friend’s first born child, it felt great to fit into something that would not have fit a year ago.

That is just a fact.

As I was working on my Fit 2019 album entry (I keep a mini album of the year as part of the class), I started out my monthly journal entry with the following sentence: Today I’m feeling grateful and proud that I started doing what was needed when I did.

You may or may not know this, but last fall I had my first little tangle with high blood pressure and it freaked me out completely. Mostly because I believed that I was dodging health issues here in my early 50s, and so maybe there were no changes I needed to make to my diet and my overall activity level.

I would like to be extremely clear here: I felt that as long as I was healthy, I was good with my body. I was okay with how I looked. I have been connecting to the reality that my physical body is not the most interesting thing about me.

But the high BP told a different story. It told me that maybe cheap red wine every day and a full bag of Cape Cod Kettle Style Potato Chips to cap off my work day wasn’t really working.

And that actually made me pretty sad, if I’m being honest.

I love junk food. I love cheap red wine and the ensuing buzz I get after just one glass. I like how when taken together, they let me forget that there is any stress in my life. But that, combined with the high blood pressure told me another story: you’re avoiding reality, Cath. What gives?


I am an addict. Initially, I chose nicotine and carefully cultivated that relationship for more than 25 years. When I quit smoking in 2006 at the age of 40, it actually took three whole years before I could see someone smoking without feeling pissed off that I wasn’t.

After nicotine, sugar seemed like a good replacement. After all, it does the same thing. It lights up your brain like a Christmas tree. And God knows I love me some Christmas. And dopamine.

Even though addict seems like a negative word, there are some upsides because addicts tend to be all-in types of people. We aren’t half-hearted about anything (unless that thing is stopping the thing we are addicted to.)

I’m very fortunate that I never chose alcohol as my thing. Not that I think smoking is better for you, but I think alcohol destroys lives in different ways when it is something that is beyond your ability to control.

That said, my all-in personality has strengths and weaknesses. This past year, I’ve been tapping into its strengths and because of that, my blood pressure is normal, my blood sugars are right where they need to be, and I’m 35 pounds lighter than I was in October of 2018.

Today I’m grateful that I started.


It’s nice to feel less self-conscious about my physical body, but that is really just a side effect of taking better care of myself. If I had lost no weight, but had better health numbers, I would have been grateful for that change, too. Sure, I’d probably be disappointed that weight wasn’t coming off, I mean, I have to be honest here. But still… I’m learning that if you don’t have your health, well… you know that old adage. Still, the weight loss is a nice bonus to the hard work of looking at what was needed and adjusting my behavior.

Make no mistake: I did not wait for a magic formula to effect change. I made choices. I made changes. I gave up most junk food and most alcohol. I gave up food with gluten. I made choices that were not as initially fun as sitting and getting buzzed on wine and chips. But getting off the junk and the sugar changes how you feel about real food over time. Real food is pretty dang good, it turns out.

But I also realized that connecting to what’s going on internally, however stressful, or painful, or even just mediocre, is actually how I want to live my life. My real life. I want to be connected to reality.

Also, make no mistake no. 2: I’m not a better person because I managed to lose some weight. I just workshopped some things and remained open to trying new things as they were needed.

Being an all-in person has upsides and downsides. Those aren’t automatically good or bad. They are just choices, and I’m feeling grateful today for making the ones I’ve made and continue to make.

This is what I talk about in Fit 2019. There aren’t really magic formulas or easy paths to doing what is needed. Personally, I’m wary of those who claim they exist. But the one thing that continues to surprise me is that when I make choices that are based in reality for my body, I have a sense of integrity for myself because I know I’m doing what’s needed for me. That isn’t that same for everyone. We aren’t carbon copies of one another with a one size fits all formula to apply.

Fit is a process. I’m grateful to be working it.


Just a quick note: I will be offering Fit 2020. Not because I’ve managed to lose some weight and that might inspire more people to join me (although that would be great, of course, because classes are part of my business.) But I’m offering it because I still want to help people connect to what is needed in their lives. And documenting the story as you go is part of the process. And most of all, connecting to what is needed for you.

I may change the name. I may not. More info will be coming later in the year.

Also, my class will not make the changes for you or anyone. The goal is simply to support you as you connect the dots for yourself. That’s all I can offer. That, and nicely designed materials to help you along the way. Oh yeah… and a promise that I will be truthful in my messages every month.

Of course, you can still sign up now for 2019. It’s not too late for to use the materials and listen to my monthly messages. But just know, I’m not going anywhere. I will be bringing this class back. At least that’s the plan for today.

To learn more about this year-long e-course, click on the image above!




Cathy ZielskeMy Fit Update for July 2019

20 Comments on “My Fit Update for July 2019”

  1. #1
    Carolyn Wright

    Cathy you are so inspiring! Making real change is so hard but you have done so & we are all proud of you. Thanks for creating a community that helps me stay accountable even when life gets hard. I’m excited to hear there will be Fit 2020 in some way! Yay!

  2. #2

    I am so proud of you! I need to make similar changes just haven’t wrapped my head around it all yet…you are an inspiration for sure! Thank you for sharing!

  3. #3
    Sharon Kanniainen

    I get your post each time. Today you just connected with me in a way that means so much to me. It was nearly 20 years ago when we met and your incredible daughter was in my kindergarten class.
    I must admit I had a hard time with you growing out your hair. You have been my short hair hero. I am getting used to it.
    It was in my 50s when I developed high blood pressure. I had a bunch of tests. No obvious cause. My wonderful doctor put me on a LOW salt diet! I no longer have high blood pressure. Of course I read the nutrition menus for restaurants before I go out to eat. Salt is a thing of my past.
    That is just an aside.
    You bring to life our daily challenges way that helps me put things into perspective. You call yourself to task, but you also forgive yourself. Something, which at my advanced age I am still learning how to do. Smoking, aah yes!
    Keep up the good work! Know, that even though I don’t comment often I read your every post. You make a difference!

    1. #3.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Nothing makes me happier than a post from Miss K!

      And i know… the hair thing… honestly, it just started out as a cost savings. I figure I’ll let it go until I cannot stand it another minute. Then, it’ll be gone. I mean, it’s just hair. It grows. 🙂

      I’d like to take credit for what I’ve learned over the years but honestly? I have a therapist who kicks my ass. And that ask kicking has been needed and has improved every area of my life. Hasn’t been easy. But has been worth it!

    2. #3.2

      Thanks for your post! I too have been on a health journey since September 2018. We seem similar in our thinking and our weight loss. I really enjoy having someone to”do this with ” . Thanks again!! Look forward to the next update.

  4. #4
    Michelle Bradtke

    Good for you for giving up alcohol. I still like my occasional glass of wine, approved by my doctor. Reducing sodium is my current challenge

    1. #4.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I’ve had wine three times since January, so it’s not completely off limits. But it lowers my inhibitions and leads to junky food choices. That’s mostly why I abstain. Plus, I don’t really need it. So there’s that.

  5. #5
    Cheri Andrews

    I appreciate the message because I need to rethink my strategy. At the halfway point of the year, what I’ve tried so far is not working. I need to get real about it and try something new!

  6. #6
    Kim Bennett

    Congratulations on the changes you’ve made Cathy! 35 pounds in 8 months is amazing! Change is never easy…I quit smoking 35 years ago right after getting married (my husband wasn’t a smoker & that alone pushed me to quit)…but my chocolate addiction skyrocketed after quitting and I have to fight it every single day. I’ve never been a wine drinker (immediate headache) but have had my share of happy hours back in the day. Traded that in for sugar too. It’s a roller coaster! Happy for you!!!!!

    1. #6.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Good on you, Kim, for being an ex smoker. I feel like regardless of how long you did it, it’s hard to quit. That’s what BREAKS my heart with people vaping in this error. It’s the nicotine. Doesn’t really matter how it’s delivered. I know people who’ve been using Nicorette for a decade, in place of smoking. It’s pretty insidious.

  7. #7

    I love your honesty and willingness to share your experiences. It’s motivating and enlightening and refreshing. Thank you for keeping it real!

    1. #7.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Trying to be as honest as possible without coming off like an ass who knows everything. 🙂 I’m working on being more curious about my own motivations and inadequacies.

  8. #8
    Ruth CM

    Cathy, I love your honesty and your sense of humor (and not to forget your sense of creativity). Congratulations! Your hard work is paying off.

  9. #9

    I live how open you are about the changes you’ve made, especially the fact that you are still the same person. I traveled this road about 10 years ago, I lost around 100 lbs. It’s so strange that when you’re thin people treat you differently, which annoys me to this day. I go up and down a bit yet but try to reign it back in before I hit the point of no return. You are right that no one can do this for you, you have to make the commitment and them stay the course. So glad you found your way to a healthier you. Hugs

    1. #9.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Diane, you know, I’ve struggled with it all since quitting smoking (body image, of course, since I was old enough to understand I was female with a body), and it seems like it has taken me a long time to connect healthy as the goal, versus just losing weight.

      I do feel better physically. I can bend over more easily and paint my toes, tie my shoes, etc. But the addict in me knows: give sugar a window on a semi regular basis, and I lose the ability to make health choices. It’s how I’m wired. I’m okay with being wired like this. I just need to acknowledge it and work within those parameters.

      It’s easier today than it was 6 months ago. But I will never say I have this conquered. That I have the answer and figured it out. It’s simply a process. 🙂

  10. #10
    Glenda Thorne

    Love your posts. They keep me focused, give me a chuckle and memories of myself in my 50’s. Keep on doing what you are doing, cause it is working both personally and professionally. Ciao ( learning Italian for my big girl trip in Sept, woot!woot!)

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