Living Fit: ISBA ‘buddies’ with attorneys to stay fit during the holidays

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mcgoffI don’t know anyone, including myself, who has not gained weight over the holidays. You know, that dangerous time of year between Halloween and Jan. 2 when weight mysteriously creeps up on your thighs, stomach and other unmentionable areas. Every year, I tell myself I won’t gain the usual 10 pounds. I start strong but quickly weaken from the endless temptation of mini-size candy bars at Halloween, the Thanksgiving feast (eating as though it were my last meal), and the brownies, cake, pies, cookies, ice cream, beverages and other scrumptious treats that stare at me from the buffet table until I have at least one of everything.

To add insult to injury, I exercise and move less. I’m too busy attending parties, shopping for the perfect gifts and traveling to find time to exercise. The mornings and evenings are cold and dark, so I make excuses about getting outside to exercise or go to the gym. There is no maintenance needed in the yard, so I sit more. I park close to the door everywhere I go because it’s too cold to walk in from the out lot. I find myself layering on more clothes to keep warm (and hide the extra cookies I’ve consumed). I know I’m not alone!

This year, do something different! Your Indiana State Bar Association has launched the Maintain No Gain Buddy Campaign. This is your chance to stay healthy during the holidays, maintain your current weight, receive daily health tweets from me to keep you going, and win a Fitbit Pedometer, graciously donated by Court Call. Throughout this eight-week challenge, I will be following “challenge buddies” Kerry Hyatt Blomquist and Patti McKinnon and will keep you updated about their progress so you can be encouraged by their stories as you go through your own “buddy challenge.”

Like most of us, Kerry and Patti work full time, have families and are often over-committed and exhausted from their full days. Kerry is legal counsel for the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Patti is a solo practitioner in family law. Kerry is the 2013 Indianapolis Bar Association president, teaches a class at the law school, is a homeowner, the mother of two teenage sons and has two dogs. Patti has three very busy children (translation: mom drives them and attends their events) and two dogs. She serves on the board of her church, and she plays handbells and sings in the choir, resulting in many weekly practices and meetings, especially at holiday time.

Despite Kerry’s busy agenda, she realizes the importance of being aware of her health and keeping her baseline health scores (blood pressure, cholesterol and weight) stable from year to year. Despite this forward-thinking mentality, Kerry typically gains five to seven pounds over the holidays, mainly due to the abundance of food and treats at parties as well as the dark days that disrupt her outdoor running routine. Never one to give up, Kerry takes indoor cycling classes but admitted the motivation to go to the gym after work on a cold, dark evening is a challenge. Kerry’s goal for this challenge is to maintain her weight and get in better shape. She expressed that having a buddy to keep her motivated this season will be the support she needs to go to spin class and make better food choices. She will also rely on her mantra, “Take the path of least resistance,” or think about the choices you make now so that in January you don’t say, “I wish I hadn’t done that.” You don’t have to take the weight off if you never put it on.

Patti also knows how important it is to maintain good health. She currently attends a weekly pre-diabetes class with her husband and tries to stay active in the winter with Tai Chi and indoor biking. However, she admitted it is harder to stay motivated and dedicated to exercise in the winter. She tries to eat healthy but is tempted during busy times by the lure of fast food restaurants at every corner. Patti snacks more during the holidays because of the extra food choices at parties, and she forgets to schedule “me” time to exercise, resulting in no exercise or cutting corners on her sleep in order to fit it all in. She typically gains at least five pounds each holiday season and struggles to lose it. Patti believes this challenge will make a difference in her eating and exercise habits, and she hopes to lose weight. She is glad to have a buddy to keep her accountable and give her encouragement.

What are you waiting for? Let’s go! Grab a partner and do-si-do! You can sign up for the ISBA challenge by going to and clicking the “Maintain No Gain” story link under “legal news” on the homepage.

If you have a buddy challenge story to share, please email me at•


Sharon McGoff is a graduate of Indiana University Maurer School of Law, a certified personal trainer and health fitness specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine, and a certified life and wellness coach with WellCoaches Inc. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

ISBA Maintain No Gain Holiday Buddy Challenge

Challenge rules:
1. Choose a buddy to help you along this journey. You are required to have a buddy who will also weigh in each week and encourage you along the way.

2. Register by with the ISBA by mailing or emailing your registration form to: (Entries postmarked by Nov. 30 will be accepted.) Cost to register is $20 per person (ISBA Member) or $30 (Non-ISBA Member). Checks and credit cards will be accepted.

3. Weigh in each week. Once you have signed up, you and your buddy should both weigh in to establish your starting weight. You do not need to let the ISBA or even your buddy know your weight, at any time, but you and your buddy should keep track of your progress each week in maintaining your weight (within two pounds). TIP: Each week, weigh yourself on the same scale, at about the same time of day, wearing the same amount of clothing.

4. Gain no more than two pounds from now to Jan. 6, 2014. Your success is independent of what your buddy does. The more weeks you maintain, the more entries you have to win a prize! TIP: Sign up for Twitter, follow @indianastatebar and watch for daily fitness tweets to help you maintain during the holidays.

5. Send an email each Monday by 5 p.m. to the ISBA at to let us know whether you maintained your weight goal for the previous week. Put your name in the subject line of your email. You do not need to report your weight, just whether you met the goal of maintaining your weight or not gaining more than two pounds from your baseline weight. This is your entry ticket each week for a chance to win a Fitbit Pedometer. The more weeks you maintain, the more entries you have to win! The last weekly email is due on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014.

6. Four Fitbit Pedometers ( will be raffled at the end of the challenge. You receive an entry each week that you have successfully maintained your baseline weight (within two pounds). Thanks to Court Call for sponsoring this challenge and donating the Fitbits!

7. All funds collected by the ISBA will be divided between: 1) purchasing foot peddlers for use during future CLE programs; and 2) a charitable donation to the Indiana Bar Foundation.

What you get:
1. Daily tips via Twitter to help with healthy eating, incorporating activity into your day, exercise, sleep, stress resiliency, healthy cooking, willpower and more.

2. An easy-to-use chart to help you on your journey by documenting daily exercise, daily fruit and vegetable consumption, and your weight.

3. The chance to win a Fitbit! (Four prizes will be awarded); and

4. Most importantly, a fresh, lean, mean, great start on the New Year!•



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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

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  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

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