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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 23, 2006

Healthy inside and out

By Zenaida Serrano
Advertiser Staff Writer

Kathy Davenport prepares her shrimp and spinach salad. Part of the motivation to change her eating habits came from photographs taken at a family reunion when she was overweight.

RICHARD AMBO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Healthy eating doesn’t mean depriving yourself of delicious dishes. Makakilo resident and fitness enthusiast Kathy Davenport, who dropped 8 dress sizes in six months, shares this recipe for one of her favorite salads.

  • 1 bunch (or bag) of baby spinach leaves

  • 1 ounce bag of sliced, dried shiitake mushrooms

  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1/2 tablespoon butter or margarine

  • 6 ounces cooked shrimp

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced into quarters

  • Cherry or grape tomatoes

  • Handful of sliced or slivered almonds

  • Strawberry dressing (this is a sweet and sour dressing):

  • 1/2 cup sugar-free strawberry preserves

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider (brown) vinegar. (Reduce the amount if you prefer a sweeter taste.)

    Wash and drain the spinach leaves. Soak the shiitake mushrooms in warm water for about 1 minute or until softened. Drain and squeeze the excess water. Saute the mushrooms in the butter and shoyu about 5 minutes. Remove mushrooms from pan and toss with the spinach. Arrange the spinach and mushrooms on a serving plate. Top with the shrimp, eggs and tomatoes. Sprinkle almonds on top. Mix all ingredients for the strawberry dressing and drizzle desired amount over salad. Makes 2 to 4 servings.

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    Kathy Davenport of Makakilo went home to Kansas two years ago for a family reunion and had a wonderful time catching up with loved ones — until the cameras came out.

    "I knew that I was so heavy, so I would put my kids in front of me when they started doing the photos," said Davenport, a 5-foot-tall woman who weighed about 150 pounds at the time. "We got those photos back, and I thought, 'Oh, I look awful.' "

    The pictures weren't the only problem. Davenport knew her laziness wasn't helping her unhealthy situation.

    "I thought, 'I cannot live my life sleeping on the couch after dinner,'" said Davenport, 47. ... " 'I'm too young to do this. I've got two kids, a great husband and more to life than this. I've got to figure out a way to take care of myself.' "

    A few months after the reunion, Davenport decided to start going to a gym and signed up to meet with a trainer.

    "I was scared at first," she said, "because I was so overweight I thought that he'd probably just laugh at me and say, 'Are you kidding?' "

    Davenport quickly got over her fear and met with her trainer, who planned a fitness routine that included running, weight training and cardiovascular activities.

    "After the first session, I realized it wasn't going to be as painful as I thought," Davenport said. "As soon as I started, I started seeing the results and noticed all the energy I had. I was able to take on more."

    Within six months, she lost 12 1/2 inches around her body; on one thigh alone, she lost 3 3/4 inches. Davenport went from a dress size of 14/12 down to an 8/6.

    To add to her accomplishments, Davenport completed a 10K fun run when she went back to Kansas last summer for her family reunion.

    "I came back from that and thought, 'I can actually run,' " she said.

    Encouraged by the run, she took on the Honolulu Marathon in December. She trained for about four months and completed the 26.2-mile marathon in a little more than 7 hours. She plans to run the marathon again this year.

    In addition to her workout routine, Davenport learned to eat more nutritious foods — another reason for her improved health.

    "It was really just having the realization that I needed to change what I was putting in my mouth and actually being more aware of what was going in my mouth," she said.

    Davenport eats six small meals throughout the day. Her diet includes a balance of carbohydrates and proteins. And eating healthier doesn't mean eating bland and boring foods; one of her favorite meals is a tasty spinach, shrimp and shiitake mushroom salad. (See recipe, right.)

    Davenport, a busy working mom, is grateful for her newfound fitness regimen.

    "It was such a world of difference to see how much more I could do because I had managed to get fitness into my lifestyle," she said.

    • • •


    Age: 47

    Profession: Works from home as an independent scrapbook consultant with Creative Memories, and as area director for Business Network International, a referral organization

    Residence: Makakilo

    Height: 5 feet

    Weight: 129

    Stays in shape by: Running, walking, weight training, doing cardiovascular activities and healthy eating.

    Fitness goal: “To try to increase my lean muscle mass more, and still reduce my body fat.”

    Family: Husband, Tony; and daughters Caroline, 14, and Catherine, 12.


    Workout habits: Six days a week, Davenport starts her day either doing wind sprints for about 15 to 20 minutes, or going for a walk or run for 30 to 45 minutes. Four days a week, she meets with a trainer at a gym after her run and alternates upper and lower body weight training for about 30 to 45 minutes. This is followed by 30 to 45 minutes of cardio, such as working out on a treadmill or an elliptical machine.

    When and why I started working out: Davenport began her fitness routine in December 2004, after seeing photos of herself from a family reunion. "I was heavier than I was when I was nine months pregnant," Davenport said.

    Davenport was also unhappy living a sedentary lifestyle. "I noticed I had no, just zero energy," she said. "I was just tired all the time and just sleeping on the couch. Then I thought, 'This is awful. I've got to do something.' "

    My good foods/bad foods: Davenport's good foods include spinach, chicken, fish, oatmeal, whole grains and protein shakes. Her bad foods are "dark chocolate truffles or anything dark chocolate, you name it," she said.

    My biggest motivator: "It's knowing how much energy I get from working out. ... Getting into a fitness routine got me more focused, more organized and I'm able to set priorities."

    What saves my sanity: "I also work with a balanced-life coach. She helped me learn to set boundaries, helped me learn to set priorities based on what's important to me and really ... gave me a lot of clear direction."

    My next challenge: Like last year, Davenport plans to once again do a 10 K fun run in her hometown in Kansas in July and the Honolulu Marathon in December.

    Advice for those in the same boat: "In my line of business (scrapbook consulting), I see so many women who are just like me. They are the busy moms working all the time, and they don't really take time to take care of themselves. My advice to them is you've got to take care of yourself first or you're going to be of no use to anybody else. Make yourself a priority."

    Reach Zenaida Serrano at zserrano@honoluluadvertiser.com.