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Young professional aims to improve lifestyle

Kathryn Burkholder

Kathryn Burkholder
Kathryn Burkholder

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CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta checks the weekly progress of Kimberley, David, Kathryn, Pam and Michael in the 'New You Resolution.' (January 13)
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  • Combine treatments to kick the smoking habit: take prescription medication, use a nicotine replacement product such as a patch or lozenge, and get counseling for support.
  • Design a personal exercise and nutrition plan.
  • Get a heart and lung scan to see if smoking has done any damage so far.
  • (CNN) -- Kathryn Burkholder says she is like millions of other folks. She wants to be healthier, but hasn't been able to do it alone and make it work with her lifestyle.

    When she signed up for CNN's New You Resolution, she said her goals were to quit smoking, begin and maintain an exercise program, and learn to cook more nutritious food.

    And while she says she knows what to do, it's the how part that stumps her.

    Burkholder entered the New You contest because, she says, "I've tried myself a whole bunch of times to try and get healthy and they haven't worked at all."

    The 31-year-old finance manager for Cingular Wireless feels she is where a lot of people are as they get into their 30s. They start to gain weight and have a harder time getting it off, she says. It's hard sticking to a 1,200 calorie a day diet; it's "just annoying," she says.

    Burkholder is 5 foot 8 and 150 pounds, but, she says, "stuff isn't where it's supposed to be."

    However, her top concern is smoking.

    "The biggest thing is quitting smoking, because it's not real compatible with long life. I have four 85-year-old grandparents who I really love and I'd hate to not be there for my kids, nephews or relatives," she said.

    Burkholder, who has been smoking since she was 15, wants to give up cigarettes permanently. She now smokes about a pack a day.

    "I quit a little while ago for three months and gained 10 pounds overnight," she said.

    She is also looking for an exercise program she can maintain.

    At the moment she has no regular exercise routine. She says she had one last summer and it worked for a couple of weeks.

    But Burkholder says she finds it hard to balance her life. When something has to give, it's exercise, she says.

    Her busy life also makes it difficult for her to cook more nutritious foods.

    She says she has a pretty good understanding of how to eat well, but has a hard time doing so.

    The Atlanta resident likes to entertain and is more likely to cook homestyle meals for guests than for herself.

    "I will cook some, I cook probably maybe two, three days a week. I tend to cook more for my friends. ... I don't cook a whole lot for myself. If I'm home by myself, I tend to eat cheese and crackers for dinner," she said.

    Burkholder is single, although she has a boyfriend.

    "It may not seem like I'm busy. ... I tend to have a lot of people over and tend to go to a lot of different places, and it's just hard to incorporate eating healthy into an active life where you have a lot of other things to consider," she said.

    Burkholder, though, is optimistic.

    "After the eight weeks, hopefully I will be set on a pattern that will help me continue throughout my life to eat healthy," she said.

    "There are millions of people like me. We know what we should do, we just lack the ability to figure out how to reset our priorities to make it work in our lives. If you can get me to do it, anyone in America can do it."

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