The time has come to hand over our lives to Katrina Bowden. Her new blog, FitKat, shows us more than just how to get a beach body and avoid sweets. The astounding thing about Katrina is that — as awesome as she looks — she’s actually just like us: she likes cake.
Her blog — with lifestyle, fitness, nutrition, beauty and travel advice, complete with relatable anecdotes — gives us what we need and what we don’t know we need: someone to tell us it’s okay to mess up and make mistakes.
On 30 Rock, Katrina played Cerie, the skinny intern who, due to her flawless perfection, unintentionally got on Liz Lemon’s bad side and was like catnip to the male staff. In her blog, she shows us that Cerie was merely a role she played (and rather well), and that Katrina offers dimensions proving that beauty is deeper than skin deep. And even Katrina loses her luggage at airports, just as if she were us!
Here, we pick Katrina’s brain about a few of her blog topics so far:
Let’s start with a subject that many people don’t think about until it’s too late: losing luggage while traveling! Is it best to just travel lightly, say with just a carry on, for instance?
It’s important to be aware that sometimes things go wrong. You don’t need to always just bring a carry-on. You just need to survive with a carry-on if your bag gets lost. I’ve had multiple experiences where my bag has been lost. I’ll say, why does this happen to me, but it happens. Maybe I just check in a little too late and forget it.
I’ll often be stuck with things in my carry-on bag that I don’t really need, or just my computer or chargers and that’s it. And I’m stuck without any change of clothes or a different pair of shoes, or things like that. So I decided that I really need to pack smartly, with the essentials that I would need to survive for a couple of days, in my carry-on.
The whole thought of this came when I would go to award shows with 30 Rock, basically every year. It was important for me to take my makeup and shoes and the dress I was going to wear on the plane with me. Because if my luggage got lost, the next day I wouldn’t have any of the stuff that I needed.
When I pack, I’m sometimes in this whirlwind and I start throwing things in a bag, with no organizing pattern, and I’ve been trying to fix that.
You can always go to a CVS and get some toothpaste or get some clothes that can last you for a couple of days. I don’t know, I’ve never been very satisfied with those [clothing] purchases. I’ll be doing it in a rush, just to have something to wear. And it’s also a waste of money and a waste of your time. When you land in a certain city for whatever you’re doing, you don’t want to have to go out and buy all these things just because your bag was lost. You want to enjoy yourself and spend money on things you’d rather be doing, like going out to dinner or doing something fun in that new city.
It’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s good to be prepared.
Speaking of travel, how was your recent trip to Costa Rica?
It was my first time there. The country is so different. They have the rain forest and these beautiful beach towns. There are jungle areas where there are lots of wild animals. It’s a really, really cool place.
Ironically enough, my bag was lost going to Costa Rica, and the country is pretty big and some of the roads aren’t paved properly, so getting places takes a long time. My luggage was lost on that trip and we didn’t get it until four days later. But what was great was that I packed my little carry-on and I had my essentials.
We went ziplining in the rainforest. It was totally exhilarating. I’ve gone ziplining before, but doing that in the jungle was the best time. It was drizzling too, so that enhanced the thrill of it. It was really beautiful.
You’ve also ran in two New York marathons — so far! What was your experience like?
I always loved running and I love a physical challenge. I try to do the most challenging thing that I can. I have a friend who ran the marathon the year before, and I was inspired by her story.
The training period for the New York marathon is over the summer. You train through the summer months and then you run the race in November. I found myself with free time that I didn’t know I had, for a couple of months. I decided to use this opportunity to do something crazy and different. So I signed up, and then a week later, I was doing my first training run.
Was there any remorse? Saying to yourself, “What am I doing? What am I getting myself into?”
All the time! At the beginning, yes, because it was so unknown to me. Even when it became more familiar and I got better at it, I would go on long training runs and I would say to myself, why am I doing this? Nobody is forcing me. I’m running 15 miles right now and it hurts. Nobody is making me do this. I think, as a runner or a racer, you feel that way often, but I also think the feel-good part of running trumps those other times.
How has running — and training for marathons — changed you as a person?
I’m very impatient, and running takes a lot of patience. I live in New York, and everything is so fast-paced. Running for me helped me calm down. I would go for a run and if there was something going on in my life or something I was concerned about, I would just think it over. I think having those moments where you can just be with your own thoughts is important. You don’t really get that often in this day and age.
What do you experience when you finish running a marathon?
I ran two. My first run, when I finished it, was the best feeling ever. I was so excited when I finished it. I was so proud. I started crying when I was coming to the end, not because I was in pain, but because I was really excited and proud of myself. It’s emotionally overwhelming: people cheering for you and seeing the finish line. And just knowing it’s almost over is a really good feeling. It was such a happy day and I had such a good race. And I loved it so much that I did it again the next year.
You’re a New Yorker, so finding time to meditate and relax is important, as you point out in your blog.
It’s not easy for me to find that relaxed meditative state. I’m constantly thinking of things. I have friends who can go to yoga and feel so relaxed and let things go. I have a harder time letting things go. For me, just walking around New York City can be stressful sometimes. There is a lot going on. There are a lot of people who maybe aren’t in the best mood. You encounter it all.
For me, just in my everyday life, even if I’m annoyed at something or something rubbed me the wrong way, I try to look past it and think positively. I try to smile at people and hold the door open. I try to observe things and not just worry about myself. It may sound kind of cheesy and weird, but I think if you just have a happy outlook and try to think in a happy way, it will make you actually feel happier.
Of course, I find fitness a great way to let go. I exercise very often. I think it’s a great way to free your mind and let yourself be at ease.
Sometimes I’ll go to yoga class and I’m so zen and I’m so in the moment. But then sometimes my mind just won’t quiet down. There is a give and take. You won’t always achieve that perfect relaxed state of being. We’re always pulled in different directions. But we can focus on just calming down and realizing that some things are just out of our control. You just have to try to be happy.
I guess people feel that models and actors who look like you barely even touch food, but your blog shows you to be a genuine foodie.
I love food. I love eating. I love cooking too, and I found that I’m pretty good at it. So I have to find ways to make bad food good for you — cooking in a way where it is not as good as the bad version, but it will hold you over. So I like to figure out ways to make my favorite foods a little bit healthier. But I also just really like healthy foods as well.
There are times where I just want to eat a whole giant cake, and I can’t do that. But I don’t think you can really deprive yourself. There were times where maybe I deprived myself more than I maybe should have. It usually backfires, and I think it backfires with everybody. If you’re so strict, it’s going to backfire at some point.
So you should maybe allot one day or one meal a week where you can order the burger and fries. Or if you are out with friends, share dessert so that you can all get a taste of it. Moderation is fine and good and I think it’s healthy.
Is there any type of cooking that you haven’t yet tried that you would like to try?
I really love Thai food and I’m not really well versed in it at all. I really love the different Thai flavors, and I haven’t really worked with a lot of them, so I would really love to learn Thai cooking.
Finally, how’s Puffin [Katrina’s Pomeranian]? He makes regular appearances on your blog and in your social media. In fact, he has his own Instagram page!
I love him. He’s so cute.
Follow Katrina’s blog here.
Follow Katrina on Instagram.
This article originally ran in Everybody’s magazine.