Sunday, July 26, 2009

Presidential Surprise At Weight of the Nation

I popped open the agenda to the CDC's Weight of the Nation Conference and got a great surprise. Tomorrow's Keynote Speaker: President Bill Clinton.

I have long wanted to meet President Clinton. I feel my Save the World Diet initiative, encouraging people to take on physical events (from 5Ks to mountain climbs) for charity as fitness and weight loss goals, is in line with his work. Of course, President Clinton's healthy lifestyle changes made news after his heart episode. Plus he penned a terrific book, "Giving" about how we can all make a difference.

I should mention that President Clinton has been at this venue, the Omni Shoreham Hotel, before. There is a placard in the hotel's lobby with a photo of him delighting guests at his 2003 Inaugural Ball here when he broke out the saxophone for an impromptu performance.

So, saxophone or not, I hope to have the opportunity to at least shake his hand. In fact, at the conference, which actually continues until Wednesday, I look forward to meeting so many people committed to the cause of curbing the obesity epidemic.

I'm just here Monday and hope to have a chance to meet you! By way of introducing myself, I thought I would include this little write-up about me from a recent news story...

So far in 2009, Kara Richardson Whitely has run in Central Park at midnight for UNICEF, jumped in icy Lake Champlain , Vt. for Special Olympics, walked amid monkeys and alligators for the MS Society, walked/jogged where Washington slept for National Parks and walked the Flying Pig Marathon course to benefit the American Heart Association.

She is taking on a physical event for charity each month of the year -- an initiative she calls the Save the World Diet.

This Save the World Diet movement -- of taking action steps toward better health and a better world -- was inspired by her 2007 trek up Mount Kilimanjaro . The journey to Africa's highest peak was not only a celebration of her 120-pound weight loss, it was a fundraiser for Global Alliance for Africa 's AIDS orphans programs. She couldn't justify not getting out of bed to train when a child needed fresh water, an education, a chance.

After the birth of her daughter a year later, she was left with about 50 pounds of baby weight to lose all over again. She remembered how motivating it was to be working for a cause as well as a fitness goal. She signed up for an event each month of 2009, knowing that it would allow her to go from feeling helpless about her weight and the problems in the world to feeling empowered and strong.

So far this year, she's down several pounds, feeling great and has raised thousands of dollars for charities.

By the year's end her treks up mountains and down the scale will help AIDS orphans and those with Leukemia & Lymphoma. She will also run on the beach for Autism research, dance for food at a Cancan for Hunger, and bicycle 220 miles from Hershey, Pa. (away from all of that chocolate) to New York City for young Breast Cancer survivors. The year will end with another Kilimanjaro climb for AIDS orphans.

Kara is the founder of, a website to inform and inspire others on their weight loss journey, and a contributor on She is an American Heart Association spokeswoman, sharing her story to inspire others make healthy life changes, and a finalist in the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Casting Call competition.

That's all for now, tomorrow starts with morning exercise at 6:30 a.m.!

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