The Kristen Heptinstall Quest: Fit by 30

I’m not someone you would point at and say, “Hey, fat girl!” but I’m getting close. I’m inspired by The Jen West Quest. Jen is around my age, and in 2010, she shed about 50 pounds over the course of about 6 months. Her starting weight is pretty cl…

I’m not someone you would point at and say, “Hey, fat girl!” but I’m getting close.

I’m inspired by The Jen West Quest. Jen is around my age, and in 2010, she shed about 50 pounds over the course of about 6 months.  Her starting weight is pretty close to mine.

I’m also inspired by friends like Stephen Vinson, who I’ve seen transform over the past couple of years. 

So, my goal? To lose 55 pounds in 6 months. Yep. 55 pounds. This is 35 pounds of post-wedding weight, and another 20 pounds beyond that. No bikini photos like Jen (girl, I love how you bruise up the way I do), but I will keep myself accountable and post how much I’ve lost each Sunday.

I’ve decided to start tracking my workouts and calories again using an app. In the past, I’ve used SparkPeople and LoseIt with minimal to moderate success. Now, I’ve downloaded My Fitness Pal (which is also a weight loss community a la SparkPeople) on iPad and iPhone to log every calorie and workout, and already I’m finding it easier to use and more intuitive than other apps. I’ve programmed it to share my weight loss to Twitter automatically.

My daily calorie goal is 1,320. If I work out, I can eat more than that, as long as what I’m burning puts me around 1,320. That makes me happy, because it promotes balance. Sure, I can eat a greasy hamburger every once in a while, but I better put in a workout to balance it all out.

This is all pretty notable because I turn 30 in roughly 6 months. So Fit by 30 is the name of the game.

-K

 

 

Stopping Stress in its Tracks

I’ll admit, I’ve been feeling a bit run-down lately. I’ve had the sniffles, allergy issues, headaches and digestive issues, to name a few. I’ll also admit that I’ve not been taking the best care of myself. I’m not eating wonderfully or working out…

I’ll admit, I’ve been feeling a bit run-down lately. I’ve had the sniffles, allergy issues, headaches and digestive issues, to name a few. I’ll also admit that I’ve not been taking the best care of myself. I’m not eating wonderfully or working out enough. So of course it’s taking a toll on my body.

Stress sucks. Even after 4 months at a great new job, I’ve realized I’m still getting over the effects of working 12-hour days in local news and sleeping with my phone by my head. And after a year in Orlando, I’ve yet to take a vacation, other than a few days to see family over the holidays.

So, this is where that all stops.

Next month, we move into a new home. I plan to:

  • Take time for myself and use our pool to workout and relax in.
  • Look at local gyms with 24-hour access so that my husband and I can work out any time.
  • Cut back on the crappy food I’ve been eating and start fueling myself more nutritiously. 
  • Start planning a vacation — a real one — with my husband for our next anniversary.

What changes have you made to combat stress in your life?

 

Sweet Home…Florida? Selling our Alabama home

Over the weekend, I sent off paperwork to sell our first home in Alabama. If all goes well, that chapter of my and my husband’s life will be over come Monday. It’s hard not to get nostalgic about the time we spent in that house. We got engaged and…

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Over the weekend, I sent off paperwork to sell our first home in Alabama. If all goes well, that chapter of my and my husband’s life will be over come Monday. It’s hard not to get nostalgic about the time we spent in that house. We got engaged and married while living in that house, and brought home Mango as a 4-lb. puppy. We had great neighbor-friends, and built a lot of memories there.We also put a lot of work into the house and fixed it up as well as we could.

So to see it handed off to someone else is bittersweet to the core. It’s compounded by the fact that my parents chose to leave their house, 6 miles from our old house, and move to South Carolina, close to my sister and her family, and just a 5.5-hour drive to where we live now in Florida. They left this week — the same time that our house is selling. It feels as though together, we’re closing the door on Alabama. And that hurts, because as much as I love Alabama, my husband and I both needed career moves that weren’t there for us.

So now, over the past couple of months, I’ve been watching my employer from the time we lived in that house, al.com, reorganize and shape itself into a new digital-first news organization. It’s hard not to get a lump in my throat and ask, “What if?” What if we had stayed in Alabama and kept our house? What if I had stayed with al.com and could be a big part of the new organization? Or, conversely, what if I wasn’t…?

But the choices we make in life are just that. I could not have predicted what al.com is doing a year ago. And I also can’t predict what good things are yet to come from our move to central Florida. I have high hopes about the coming months and years. We’re settling into a house next month with a garage, and a yard, and a pool. My husband is building a career as a chef.

And me? I’m going for my dreams, asking for what I want, and trying until I succeed.

 

Cutting my teeth

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my career — its trajectory, how I got where I am, and some general reflection. Just call me Mulan? For those like me who have worked at a few places, I think there’s always one that stands out, that helped sh…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my career — its trajectory, how I got where I am, and some general reflection. Just call me Mulan?

For those like me who have worked at a few places, I think there’s always one that stands out, that helped shape us the most. It might not have been the one we worked at longest — maybe it was a brief stop. 

For me, it was definitely a place. Despite working in two TV newsrooms, it was my two separate stints at Alabama’s largest website that has shaped me more than anything else. There, I learned to think strategically, seek out talent and mentor others, and go with my gut on what works for digital.

I believe I’ll take a little bit of al.com with me wherever I go.

-K

The Struggle of ‘Digital First’

Earlier this week, roughly 400 employees at The Huntsville Times, The Birmingham News, Mobile’s Press-Register and their umbrella website, al.com, were told they no longer had their current job after Sept. 30. Also included in this round of layoff…

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Earlier this week, roughly 400 employees at The Huntsville Times, The Birmingham News, Mobile’s Press-Register and their umbrella website, al.com, were told they no longer had their current job after Sept. 30. Also included in this round of layoffs was The Mississippi Press and its website, gulflive.com. Another 200 or so were laid off at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and its website, nola.com. [Disclosure: I was an employee of al.com during two stints in 2006-2008 and 2010-2011].

Here’s a look from Poynter on what lies ahead for al.com.

I saw this coming, but not with the degree of carnage involved. What I predicted was the more common consolidation of copy editing, page design and printing. This has been done already at several news operations throughout the country.

I also understand al.com’s vision of a truly statewide website — one that covers the entire state, and not just the three major cities of its partner newspapers. I was also highly involved in the first wave of community engagement at al.com — truly engaging with users, cleaning up the muck of comments, and connecting journalists with the public. This I still believe in wholeheartedly.

I didn’t predict that Birmingham Magazine, acquired by The Birmingham News last year, would get caught up in this, or that former coworkers of mine with superb digital skills at al.com would be affected. I didn’t predict 400 gone. I didn’t predict that employees would be put into 1 of 3 categories. And I didn’t predict that it would hurt so much.

I miss everyone in Alabama dearly, and I’m thinking of you.

But, this struggle of “Digital First” is not a new one, or unique to my old comrades. It’s something that I’ve worked on and struggled with for the past 6 years of my career. For this amount of time, I have been working with broadcast and print journalists, showing them the light and the way of “Digital First.”

There has been a lot of kicking and screaming; a lot of bruised egos; a lot of realignment of duties; and of course, a lot of layoffs. But there’s also been innovation and success; “lightbulbs” brightening in journalists’ minds; and a lot of lessons learned.

The struggle for traditional print media will continue in the coming months and years. This is the wake-up call that a lot of journalists will have to face, or already have faced — that the print medium will eventually cease to exist, and going forward, digital and multimedia are the future.

-K

Post Local News Syndrome (PLNS)

It’s going on 2 months soon at my new job, where I’m doing digital content for magazine titles. It’s a great job. I have my own office, a budget, a company credit card,

It’s going on 2 months soon at my new job, where I’m doing digital content for magazine titles. It’s a great job. I have my own office, a budget, a company credit card, 

Learning the power of “no”

Raise your hand if this sounds like you: I have a habit of saying “yes” to everything that is asked of me, because I am a people-pleaser and chronic do-gooder. Count me among that group. Is it me, or do women have an especially hard time with this…

Raise your hand if this sounds like you: I have a habit of saying “yes” to everything that is asked of me, because I am a people-pleaser and chronic do-gooder.

Count me among that group. Is it me, or do women have an especially hard time with this? 

One good thing about moving down to Orlando is that I was able to start fresh as far as networking and volunteering goes. And going forward, I’m being very careful about what I say “yes” to, and learning the power of “no.”

I found a great article recently on Shine from Yahoo: How To Say No.

The article says to follow these 5 steps:

1. Find Your Yes. My ‘yes’es include time with my husband and dog, and going forward, time to get healthy. I also have to have time on a regular basis at my Happy Place — Disney World. If I can come home from work and have time for a jaunt to the dog park, dinner with hubs and a workout session, then I’m a very happy girl — which means leaving work by 5:30 each day. And if on the weekends, I can get out and enjoy a local event, some time at the pool or at my Happy Place, then I am also happy and fulfilled — which means turning down some events or parties that I feel obligated to go to just because I was asked to.

2. Buy Some Time. This means don’t respond right away to everything that is asked of you. I was asked about a month ago to speak at UCF’s SPJ chapter. I took a couple days to decide on my time commitment, because I was in the middle of transitioning jobs. Ultimately, this was a ‘yes’ for me, as it was a chance for me to visit a new college campus and possibly get to know some college students, which I love interacting with. But definitely from now on, I am going to ‘sit’ on decisions for things I am asked to do — nobody really expects you to answer right away!

3. Deliver Your No With Grace and Resolve. I delivered a ‘no’ recently to an acquaintance who was interested in having us rent their house. And while it was a great house, it didn’t fit our need of having a garage. Being the people-pleaser that I am, I hated to deliver the bad news! But guess what — it was no big deal. They’ll find a renter soon enough, and we need a house that fits our needs.

4. Have a Plan B. Luckily, I can’t think of many situations in which I said ‘no’ and someone reacted badly. But if someone does, I plan to listen and repeat my ‘no’ in a firm but gentle manner.

5. Cut Yourself Some Slack. I always, always feel guilty when I say ‘no.’ But it’s always a bigger deal to me than it is the other party. Basically, I just have to Get Over It!

Have you learned to say ‘no’? What are your ‘yes’es?