Ice Cream, You Scream…Belly Issues!

I know a lot of women and men who complain about recurring belly issues. Cramping, gas, bloating, diarrhea, etc… Unfortunately, I am also one of the victims. Since this issue hits so close to home, I thought I would see what information was out there to help all of those suffering.

A few years ago I was a victim of Salmonella poisoning. I was never able to figure out where I got it, but it did send me into a tailspin of major gastrointestinal problems. Once I recovered from the sickness, my stomach was not the same. I tried what seemed like every suggested solution, until I finally found myself walking into a colonoscopy at age 35! I have a bad family history of colon issues, so we thought it was the best idea to check it all out. Come to find out that I have a colon of a 25 year old! Oh yeah! Healthy and happy colon…so what gives? What is wrong with me?

When we are first born our bodies produce enough lactase (the enzyme necessary to break down lactose in dairy products) to drink milk from their mother or from other mammals like cows or goats. As we age, we decrease the consumption of milk as well as the production of the lactase enzyme. This can lead a lot of people to think they are lactose-intolerant. My father is one of these people. He avoids cheese like it is poison and if he thinks there may be dairy in anything he pops a Lactaid pill.

As I continued to suffer, I thought more and more about my diet history, my family history and came to the conclusion…I have a low threshold for dairy. I don’t think I am intolerant, but just cannot eat very much. I enjoy a slice of pizza every once in a while and I am fine, but if I joined the family in a bowl of queso at the mexican restaurant there is going to be a BIG problem!

Belly issueThere has been a lot of research on stomach issues in adults and they seem to occur more often in women. This leads me to ask why? Why are women more often suffering from GI issues? Why as we age do we find ourselves have more GI problems?

There is plenty of information out there to support that women suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) more often than men. This may be because women are more likely to go see a doctor than men. This also may be because women have more hormones playing a role in the gastrointestinal tract than men. This also may be because of some reason we don’t know yet. Nevertheless, we may have more control over it than we think.

I know that when I began to break my diet down to the basics, I thought diary may be a culprit. I decided to cut it out completely and see how I felt two weeks later. I felt better, but not symptom free. I then decided to cut soy out of my diet as well. I felt much better, MUCH BETTER! This study of n=1 is not a scientific study, but it works for me! THAT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Each person is different, each person has a different threshold or sensitivity. For one person its diary, for another person it is wheat or gluten, for another person its specific vegetables. A person may have a sensitivity to excessive amounts of gluten and not have to go gluten free, but just reduce their intake. Everyone is different!

Conclusion – Do you suffer from Gastrointestinal issues?

1. Get checked by a doctor to make sure there are no serious issues or allergies. Allergies can occur later in life and colon cancer or other issues can occur earlier!

2. Make a food journal for 2 weeks and see what is in your daily diet and when you eat. Do you eat too much of one thing? Do you eat too much at one time?

3. Try a food elimination – one at a time – for 1-2 weeks. Don’t remove several things from your diet because then you do not know what may have caused the problems.

4. Reevaluate you pain and discomfort. Is is better, worse, no change, improved?

5. Keep trying until you find the diet that works for you!

Food is fuel for our bodies, it should be something that does not cause inflammation and discomfort. We all have things that we love to eat…maybe we need to adjust our diets.

Maybe we need to reduce the amounts of certain foods and then we can enjoy food more!

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I’m Here To Pump (clap) You Up!

I speak to women all day everyday…at work, school events, friends, family, etc. One thing that has stuck in my brain is that women are SCARED to lift weights. Now before you start yelling at me from your end of the computer or smartphone, I know this does not apply to Woman walkingall women. I am generalizing here!

Many women will walk all the way to the grave and never touch a weight. We as a gender are over focused on CARDIO, CARDIO & more CARDIO! In fact, I am guessing that if any of you had only 30 minutes today to get a workout in, 99% of you would do some sort of cardio workout and not a strength workout.

Something to think about – Have you ever seen a man in a commercial for any osteoporosis medications? We tyBone Muscle Workpically think of the frail older female with weak bones. She may walk everyday, but her muscles are weak, weak, weak! Think of your bones and muscles like a tree and its roots. As the wind blows, the tree sways; this tells the tree to make the roots more dense and grow deeper. Muscles are attached to bones in order to move them. If we never tell our muscles to pull on that bone (like in a strength exercise), the bone does not need to become any more dense or stronger.

Like they say – Use It or Lose it!

If women just incorporated 1-2 days of moderate strength training to their fitness routine, they would see drastic improvements. If they are runners, they will see improvements in their time/distance; if they play a sport like tennis, they will see improvement in their game.

Strength training is the perfect partner for cardiovascular fitness!


Here are a few reasons to hit the gym & GO STRAIGHT TO THE WEIGHT ROOM!

1. You will lose more weight! If you add more lean muscle mass to your body, you will burn more fat! Simple enough!

2. You will increase your metabolism and eat better! Studies show over and over again that muscles need more energy to work, therefore you burn more energy when you workout! More muscle = higher metabolism. Also, women who have committed to their total body fitness workouts are more likely to stay on track with nutrition than those who are not committed.

3. Your clothes will fit better! It is always nice to see the scale move down, but sometimes we still don’t feel awesome. When you have added more lean muscle mass to your body, body parts go back to where they were meant to be…you don’t have to squish them into your clothes. Also, don’t worry about bulking up! Unless you have added some steroids to your breakfast smoothie, you don’t have the testosterone to bulk like men. Some women may notice that they have stronger legs than other women…if it is muscle, embrace your strength! Big strong legs are much sexier than big flabby legs!

4. Your bones will be stronger! Bone density increases when strength training is a part of your workout routine. Science supports me here!

5. You will be healthier, happier, more productive and live longer! I am not sure science can actually prove this statement ….but I believe in my heart that it is true!

See you in the weight room!


Katie Scharf – –

Posted in Exercise, Fitness, Free Weights, Health, Health & Wellness, Lifting, motivation, Strength Training, Uncategorized, weight loss, Weights, women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Year, New Goals…Same Result??

It’s that time of year again!  Time when the gyms get overcrowded, classes are full, there is a wait for a cardio machine and gym regulars get frustrated.  Don’t worry, they’ll be gone by Super Bowl!  We all know this time of year – The Time of New Years Resolutions!  “I’m going to loose weight!”, “I’m going to quit smoking!”, “I’m going to run everyday!”, “I’m going to go to the gym more!”  Each of these resolutions begins with great intentions, but most of us are setting ourselves up for failure.  People look at the new year as a time to start over, clean their slate, get rid of old bad habits and begin again.  Instead we need to look at the new year as a trip to an amazing place of health and wellness!  The road is long, winding and has bumps…but if you set your GPS just right, you have a greater chance to get there.

New Years Resolutions (aka Goals)

  1. Be clear and concise with a goal, a time frame and measurable achievements
  2. Have checkpoints along to way to evaluate and readjust
  3. Be accountable to either yourself or someone else
  4. Look at is as a lifestyle change not a short term achievement
  5. Surround yourself with positive energy and supportive people

I hear people all of the time tell me their New Years Resolutions and some are great and some are a road to failure.  For example – “I’m going to go to the gym more!”  This person has great intentions.  She is paying for a gym membership and not utilizing it.  The problem is that she lacks the plan to go with the goal.  “More” is not measurable and therefore she can’t check her progress.  A better goal – “I am going to go to the gym 3 days a week during my lunch hour on M/W/F.”  The road to the goal is laid out and can be measured & adjusted.  Adjustment is important because LIFE HAPPENS!

Life Happens!
I think one of the reasons these resolutions don’t stick is because Life Happens.  The plan to go to gym 3 days a week is great for a couple weeks.  We stick with it and we feel great.  Then one week we only get to the gym once because there was a musical at school, you were planning your son’s birthday party, and your husband went out of town for work.  Then the next week, you are out of your schedule again, again & again. It’s all very familiar, but it is also fixable!  You need an emergency backup!  Invest in a great workout DVD or check out an OnDemand workout.  If you know that you will not be able to get to the spin class you have been taking for a couple of weeks, then go to the emergency backup.  Now you can feel good about your choices and not guilty.  We have to prepare!

Add More!
We can be successful in our choices to change something about our lives.  Most of us try to quit doing something (smoking) or try to lose something (weight).  This year be different and add something into your life!

  • Add Fitness
  • Add Whole Grains
  • Add More Fruits and Vegetables (leave a bowl of fruit on the counter and cut up veggies in the fridge)
  • Add Walks at Night with the Kids or the Hubby
  • Add Strength Training (just 1 or 2 days a week for 30 min)
  • Add something GOOD into your life and you will reap the rewards for years to come (Volunteer).
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Workout Friend or Workout Snob

I see it all of the time…friends running together. I love the support system it provides to people. In fact, I suggest it often to clients for a sense of accountability. The other day I started thinking about my workouts…. EVERY ONE of them is solo! Unless I am taking a group fitness class, I workout alone. It got me wondering the reasons why people do what they do

Bootcamp has become as common as Starbucks in America…you can see them in every church parking lot at 6:00am. Spin classes have become about competitions and “torqueboards”, high intensity training workouts are now posted on boards or big screen TVs for the entire gym to see.

Is this about community & support or more about competition & self obsession?

Do people need the accolades of others in order to feel good about themselves?Workout headphones Does their opinion matter? Have you even been working out with a friend and they are having an ‘off’ day. If they bail or go at a lower intensity, you are more likely to join them. On the opposite side, if you are having the ‘off’ day,  a friend may be able to pull you out of it and workout harder than you would have done on your own. As I get older, the less I focus on finishing first or being the best. I love being with my friends at events, but usually do not stay with them during the run or race. Also, my schedule is ever-changing and trying to fit another person into that schedule is tough. Personally I like to workout on my own because I like to put my headphones in my ears and lose myself for an hour at the gym or on a run. At least that is what I tell myself. Could it be because I don’t want my “workout partner” to be better then me? Is it because I don’t want to feel defeated or need to stop? Is it because I am avoiding competition?

Why do you workout the way you do?

Are you a Workout Friend or Workout Snob?

Posted in Exercise, Fitness, Girlfriends, Health, Health & Wellness, Mental health, motivation, new moms, relationships, Resolutions, Strength Training, women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Have a Happy & Healthy Thanksgiving

A few things to remember over the Thanksgiving break…Turkey Day

* Don’t over indulge in liquid calories, enjoy your vacation & family, but remember those are empty calories.

* Be careful around the apps/snacks out at parties and before he meal is served. Grab a plate and try the foods, but don’t stand next to the cheese dip and chat with a long lost cousin. You may finish the whole bowl without realizing it.

* Volunteer to bring a healthy side dish. At least you know the dish you brought is good for you and won’t ruin your diet.

* Eat breakfast & lunch before Thanksgiving dinner. If you skip these meals, I can almost guarantee you will overeat at the big family meal!

* Taste it all, but watch your portions.

* Wait 10 minutes before you go in for seconds. Let your brain catch up to your stomach in order to know when you are full.

* Eat dessert if you like it, if it’s not worth it, don’t eat it. Keep the portion small and enjoy every bite!

* Earn your treat foods – Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! Don’t obsess about it…run, jog, walk, go to the gym, etc…just move! Look on to see if there is a Turkey Trot Run where you will be spending the holidays!!


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Move It to Lose It!

imageWe have a problem. People can go the week, a month or more without any physical activity.

People hire out for housekeeping & gardening, we don’t do our own chores.  We drive everywhere we need to go & we circle the parking lot for the closest spot!

We try to be as efficient as possible. Work dominates our time. However, we sit for hours and hours at work or in the car on the commute.

This terrible shift away from physical activity has led us down a dead end road filled with obesity, diabetes, childhood obesity, heart disease and so much more!


Start NOW! Get up and walk to lunch, bike to work, play outside with the kids, build a family obstacle course, walk the dog, walk a neighbors dog, join a gym, try a new fitness class… JUST MOVE MORE!

Your body, your heart & your family will thank you!


Posted in Diet, Exercise, Fitness, Health, Health & Wellness, motivation, Uncategorized, weight loss | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Warrior Dash 2014 – The Year of Redemption!

Last April I was at a loss for words…I had just completed my 4th Warrior Dash with my childhood bestie and was shocked at the debacle unfolding in front of my very eyes. I am not going to rehash how unbelievable the situation really was, but I am sure that the race directors were well aware of how terribly run, ill-prepared and shocking the Warrior Dash was here in Georgia in 2013.Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 12.51.47 PM

Needless to say, I was hesitant to return this year, but writing this today…I am so very glad I did!  The team at Red Frog Events decided to return the event to Mountain City, GA. This small town embraces the event and the runners every year. They are kind, they volunteer, they cheer from their cabins, campsites and RV’s & they make the event better!

Jennifer and I make this a girls weekend every year, and we look forward to it all year long…from our matching t-shirts and socks, our lounging at the Holiday Inn Express, lots of wine and snacks & no families to take care of…its is wonderful!

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 1.03.50 PMThis year was a smaller event than previous ones, but I am not complaining. As we walked in to the Warrior Dash Village for packet pick-up, we could watch waves of runners competing in the obstacles. It gets your heart pounding to see a taste of what is to come. I have competed in several mud runs around GA and sometimes I disagree with the level of difficulty of a few of the obstacles. I agree it should be challenging, but it must be safe. Many people enter into these events with rose-colored glasses. They assume everything is safe and just intimidating, but that is not always the case. I have watched many people driven off the course by the medic with broken bones, serious cuts and dislocated joints. I would like to ask the race officials that actual temperature of the water…the swim obstacles literally took my breath away! It was COLD! #SnowmeltScreen Shot 2014-04-17 at 12.58.04 PM

All of that said…Georgia Warrior Dash 2014 was well prepared, safe and challenging & a great event! Throughout our wave people were laughing, smiling, helping each other, pushing each other to try harder and having a great time.Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 12.59.31 PM

As we crossed the finish line, we gathered our medal (which also doubles as a bottle opener!) and we headed back to the village for the after party! Red Frog Events welcomed Shock Top Brewery this year & the crowd LOVED IT! We sat in our mud soaked clothes and enjoyed a cold beer (or two) in the sunshine while people watching for hours! There was live music, a DJ, a pushup contest, tug-of-war and a dance party! One major shout out to the volunteers and staff that kept the Village clean! I never saw a trash can over flowing with garbage, very little trash around on the ground, there were plenty of bathrooms & parking was a breeze!

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 12.51.32 PMFor the rest of our weekend, Jennifer and I kept coming back to the same comment – This year was AWESOME! I will chalk up last years event (2013) as a learning experience for Red Frog Events and the Warrior Dash team. They took that experience and made 2014 a fun and challenging weekend for everyone!

Jennifer & I look forward to next year – Year #6 for our Moms Warrior Dash Weekend!

For more information on  Warrior Dash  or other mud run/obstacle course events, feel free to send me an email.

* Share your event stories in the comment section below, on Twitter or on Facebook.


Facebook – Strength in Moms

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