Get Smart Get Strong

The Nevada Woman Speaks Her Mind

What My Left Hand Said To Me

I’m reading (or maybe re-reading, it seems awfully familiar) Martha Beck’s book the Four Day Win. I’m at the part where she has you try writing questions with your dominant hand and answers with your other hand. First I felt really stupid. Then bored because as far as I could tell, my left hand was writing the same things my right hand would have written. I kept at it for a bit, maybe 10 minutes out of the recommended 15 and then something weird happened.

I wrote:

Stop Trying


You Are

Then I started to cry very, very quietly.

Afterwards I felt sleepy and oddly peaceful. 

I may have to talk to my left hand some more. Apparently there is something to this wacky technique after all.


C-3 Time (Constant Course Corrections)

I had a really good run from October to end of February. Exercising, eating right and feeling a lot less stressed. As soon as the Kaia BRIK was over, I thought, hey, I can keep right on making progress. I was dreaming of another five pounds and another pant size down.

The reality is that for 10 days I did pretty much nothing but sit around and eat. Watching tv and playing the incredibly addictive solitaire game on my iphone. I worked. A lot. Too much, maybe. But I have a new project and that always sucks me in until I feel like I have a handle on it. Early morning meetings with Mumbai and late meetings with Shanghai. Finally I put the workouts in my calendar and blocked out the time before and after, too. Still possible to get invitations, but won’t feel as guilty about declining them.

Made it to a workout on Tuesday. This morning I started cleaning my bedroom which was reflective of my mental state, so not pretty. Piles of clothes and accessories all over the floor and I actually can’t remember the last time I took out the garbage which is now reaching ridiculous proportions. I will also be able to pack up a box of really huge clothes that I was wearing in October last year. Yay!

So, time to roll up my sleeves and dig into my life a bit and give it some of the same attention as my job. Tended my little seedling garden in my sunroom and now I’m having coffee with my husband. Beautiful view of the mountains and mostly sunny blue sky. My son is sleeping upstairs and our dog is lying at our feet. 

Life is good.

Hot Bed for Potatoes

during2It may be sunny and warm during the day, but it is still February in the High Sierra desert and planting anything outside is probably insane. Not that this will stop me. I did some research this weekend on creating hot beds. A hot bed is two thirds fresh or hot compost (horse manure is what I used) and one third bedding soil. By putting the hot compost on the bottom, it generates (hopefully) enough heat during the night to counteract the night time cold.

My son and his friend did an amazing job digging a 20 foot long trench along the edge of our front lawn. One of my other goals is to reduce useless lawn and turn it into edible landscaping. This is the first step!

Then we got some 2x8x8 Douglas Fir and built two frames. We placed these on the ground and then dug down so that the hole is a total of 16 inches deep. We leveled them (sort of) and then went next door and got two big wheelbarrows full of fresh horse manure from my neighbor. We put that in the bottom of the hole and packed it down somewhat (not too tightly) to help the anaerobic process that actually generates the heat. Then we put back the top soil back in. Then I added 2 inches of super organic raised bed planting soil from my local nursery. It is black and rich and has perlite which helps to hold in the moisture – very necessary here in Nevada.

The first bed looks amazing. I’m going to let it sit for a few days to heat up, covered with black plastic to get things going.

Sometime this week we’ll finish digging the second bed and filling it. I’d like to make five beds altogether, staggering the plantings by about two weeks to give a fairly continuous supply of potatoes.

I found some organic seed potatoes at two local nurseries and I got four different kinds. I also saved out a few from last years crop (nearly ate them all they were so good!)

I’ll start checking the temperature every morning to see how the beds compare to the ambient temperature.

Once we plant, I’ll cover them with burlap and row cover and clear plastic. That should provide enough light and air but keep them warm. And if not, it was great exercise and the beds will be ready for spring re-planting.

Here are some great pictures of my son helping with the beds and the before, during and after pictures.


Introducing Nevada Woman

I decided that I am not really focused on losing weight anymore. What I am focused on is living a healthy life. That includes so many things other than diet and exercise, so I considered renaming the blog then decided that the whole POINT of the blog was to get to this life, so this is just me, continuing on with the success of that effort.

I am not thin and I may not ever be thin.

But I can do the things I want to do and I have a great life, so that’s what I’m going to write about. My family, my friends, my dogs, my house, my garden, my chickens and even my work.

Because those are the things that matter.


There Are Mountains Here

There are mountains here
Hidden in the fog
We gather slowly in the cold, reluctant to leave our warm cars
Heads are covered in fleece
Bodies hidden under layers
Hands bundled in gloves
Arms start pumping
Feet start stampingThere are mountains here
Lost in the mist
A last look at the time and we are off
Some race ahead, breaking trail through the snow and ice
Some jog behind, steady soldiers headed towards a goal
I take my first step
And the next and then the next
I think about the two miles to the turnaround point
And the two miles back

There are mountains here
Invisible in the dawn
My head is down
I watch my feet; afraid of falling
I look up to see my friends rounding the bend
They disappear into the fog
I am alone

There are mountains here
Snow covered giants rising above the morning fog
I see the fairy lace of ice on branches
Feel the glow of the pre-dawn sun through the fog
The river flows, the Valley’s life blood, pushing through the ice
My feet begin to move faster
My arms are pumping
My head is up, savoring the beauty

There are mountains here
And so am I


Today I enjoyed my workout

I do not always enjoy my workouts. That’s right, I’m openly admitting what most people just think and are slightly ashamed to admit: I do not enjoy working out. I don’t particularly mind getting up early, as long as I got to bed on time. Getting dressed seems a logical progression from there. Getting some water, check. But then putting on shoes and getting into the car while it is still DARK? Who am I kidding? I want to sit at my computer and drink coffee (oh how I miss coffee – only 17 days of BRIK left!) .Wait. Where was I?

Oh yeah, driving through the dark at 4:30 in the morning. Don’t you agree that this is, frankly, a little nuts? I mean, yes, it’s a nuts that is working for me – a lot. But sanity check here, folks: THIS IS NOT NORMAL.

So I’m not normal. Because this morning I SANG in the car – going and coming. I SANG out loud during my workout (Eye of the Tiger remake – our 5am class theme song) and I had the most amazing workout and the most amazing rush of energy and good spirits and whew!

I think I’m still a little high from that. It feels good. It feels GREAT.

I’m going to put on some shoes and go to work soon, but first, a little visit to the board. Because I must share this feeling with the world.

Vikingsholm – Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe

Vikingsholm - Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe

Yesterday was the Saturday KAIA run at Coyote Trail. When I got up my knees were sore and I decided to skip trying to run. I took my son to Shabbos School for his weekly Hebrew lesson and Temple. After I dropped him off, I spoke to the Rabbi about the Vikingsholm trail. He said he wife was going to be running it that day and it was clear and beautiful, so I drove over.
I have to admit to a little trepidation. The last time I did that hike, was in 2004. I weighed over 300 pounds and my husband and I almost died trying to get back to the top carrying a 2 year old sleeping child.
When I arrived it looked like this picture (which I borrowed from because mine didn’t come out this good.) The sun was shining. The trail was wide and clear and dry except in two tiny spots that some kind soul had sanded. The birds were singing. Small snow melt creeks were tumbling musically down the mountainside. A gentle breeze was caressing the hillside. The 1 mile walk downhill was easy, even on my sore knees. I never even put on my headphones – I spent the entire 20 minutes drinking in the sights and sounds of nature.
At the bottom I walked around and admired the carvings on the house and the stained glass windows, the roofs with grass/sod tops (they plant flowers in the summer – must come back!) and spent some time standing on the edge of the lake, drinking in the beauty. It was fairly deserted. One couple taking duck pictures. Two women who jogged past onto the Rubicon Trail. I started along it, but it was shaded and a bit more icy and I promised my son I wouldn’t go on an icy trail by myself, so I headed back.
The trail starts to climb almost immediately. I took my time, one step at a time. I got my heart rate up. I stretch out my legs and knees and back and got a workout. But I made it in about 30 minutes, even with a stop for water and to enjoy a beautiful carved bench for a few minutes. It felt good to know that I’m 10 years older, but much, much healthier and in better shape.
I missed the company of my Kaia girls, but I think that hour and a half of hiking fed my soul for the whole week.

It’s Okay to Fail; It’s Not Okay to Give Up

I’m not sure I can count the number of times that I’ve started some weight loss effort. At least every January since I was 10. Later it was every May, too so that I could “be ready for summer”. In 2007 I felt like I was starting over or cranking up every month and then every week. After my RNY in 2009, it felt as if I started over every day. Each day a new opportunity to stick to the plan. Then I stopped doing that for a long time. I started over again in October. Every day a new chance to move my body. Every day an opportunity to try new foods that taste fabulous and make me feel good. I don’t know if I’ll ever make it to my “goal weight”. I don’t think that’s as important anymore. What I think is crucial is that I’m not giving up. So, it’s okay to fail; it’s not okay to give up. That’s my mantra and I’ve found that by using it in my exercise classes or when I eat, my stress level drops and then I’m able to do more than I thought I could. Because until you try, you’ve already failed. And giving up is just not trying again. So, repeat after me: It’s okay to fail; it’s not okay to give up. One more time – louder! It’s okay to fail! It’s not okay to give up! IT’S OKAY TO FAIL! IT’S NOT OKAY TO GIVE UP!


That feels good, doesn’t it? Have a great day.

Fitness Test

I started the Kaia BRIK on January 6th. We did weights and measurements and then a fitness test.

Today we did the week 3 checkup and here’s my status:

Fitness test at week 1: 13 minutes and 11 seconds with many modifications

Fitness test at week 3: 9:37 seconds with fewer modifications.

Weight: Down 8 pounds from 233 to 225

Waist/Hips: down 1 inch from 51 to 50

Bust: down 1 inch from 46 to 45

Thigh: stayed the same – 26

And yesterday I ran with the I KAN RUN group at Kaia. We went to the local high school and went around the track. Run the straight parts, walk/jog/recover the curved bits. At the end, I was running halfway around the track.

It felt crazy and wild to be out there at 5:30 in the morning, in 14 degree cold with the other crazy runners, gasping for breath. I do believe, though, that as a runner, I run for the pleasure of stopping.


Back on Track in 2014

In October last year I was not only at a very high weight again (236) but was not moving very well. All the signs were there that my sleep apnea and my diabetes were coming back.

The HeathAhead team at work started a Fall into Fitness challenge which helped to get me started. I was walking 1, then 2, then 3 and then sometimes 5 miles a day.  Then a couple of weeks later I bought a Kaia FIT membership at a breast cancer fundraiser. I called to find out when it would start and the answer was TOMORROW. Wow. I did not feel read AT ALL. I’d only been walking again for a few weeks and I was more than a little scared. I had done the program before and it is a serious, kick your butt kind of workout. But – they do have three levels for every exercise: Balance (just starting) Strength (you can do this!) and then Kaia (extreme strength and balance and a real thing of beauty to watch).

So on October 15 I started working out at Kaia FIT in Minden, NV near our new home in Gardnerville. Well, not that near. It takes me 20+ minutes to drive there if I hit all the green lights. But it has been so worth it!  I was getting up at 5am to make the 6am class. At first, frankly, I was miserable. But I also REALLY wanted to get back on track. So I kept at it. When the CORE session was over (5 weeks of workouts, four times a week) I signed up for another one. In every class and for almost every exercise I was still making modifications to even the balance level version. But I kept at it and I was starting to see some improvements in movement, sleep, anxiety and even my clothes were a little looser. (My very, very large, size 20+ clothes. Sigh.)

Towards the end of December I hit a wall – blame it on stress, blame it on seasonal affective disorder, blame it on the holidays – for whatever reason, I was backsliding again. Missing workouts and not always eating as I should. Blast those holidays! I felt like I was spending too much time on the workouts, between the drive there and back and what not.

So I kept with it but I switched to the 5 am class. That’s right. In January I started getting up at 4am to go and work out for the BRIK. I have no idea what that stands for but what it means is 6 days a week, plus a nutrition plan, plus measurements, photos and goals all along the way.  The 5am class is full of teachers from the local school who come out to exercise before racing to school to be at work before 7am. These women are amazing. I’m two weeks into the BRIK and seeing amazing results. I’m eating vegetables, fruit, nuts and as much organic as I can. I haven’t lost that much weight, but I know I’ve lost a lot of inches. Since October I’m down 3 pants sizes and just fit back into a pair of size 16 pants. They are a bit tight, but they fit and hey, with a sweater over them, no one knows about the muffin top. (My son says Mom it’s not a muffin top, it’s a whole loaf and then laughs like a loon. I love that boy.)

Four more weeks of no meat, no dairy, no gluten, no alcohol and no caffeine. I should be in a panic and cheating like crazy but I’m not. I’m actually feeling really good and having a good time with the recipes in the Kaia Kookbook. I’m even getting my husband and son to try some of the recipes and Fred made a dinner the other night of brown rice cooked in vegetable broth and stir fried zucchini, onions and tomatoes that we all three fought over. They added some rotisserie chicken to theirs, but I was really happy with just the veggies.

It was Jacob’s birthday on Thursday and I did have a burger and fries and cake which tasted AMAZING. Fortunately for my plan, I felt like crap afterwards and it was easy to get back on track. At the birthday party yesterday I ordered a burger with no bun, no cheese and no meat. Ha! It was at Five Guys Burgers and Fries and they made me a lettuce wrap with grilled onions and mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. I put a little mayo and mustard and salt on it and it was GREAT! I did have a few fries (a few too many) but I am not going for perfection. I’m going for life and life is about wobbling on and off the path and keeping on towards your destination.

I have new goals this year. They are a little different than previous years, but I’m feeling very relaxed and calm about them. Here goes:
1. I will give myself a break and not expect perfection, because it is not possible
2. I will give others a break because it’s only fair (see #1)
3. I will go outside every day and look at the sky and feel the sun or enjoy the stars
4. I will celebrate all the things I can do at 50+ that I never tried to do at 20
5. I will be grateful every day for all the wonderful things in my life
6. I will be less fearful and more peaceful
7. I will take care of myself by eating food that I enjoy that is good for me
8. I will take care of myself by spending more time relaxing and enjoying life
9. I will talk to more friends and not just on Facebook
10. I will not go back and move the indent over so this line matches the others (see item 1)
11. I will whine less and wine more
12. I will give myself permission to be happy and to do things that make me happy
13. I will not make New Years resolutions that make me frantic and feel like a failure (see item 1) (Ed. note: several items removed)

Well, that’s it. It’s good to be back to blogging. I didn’t realize how much I missed it.

Happy New Year to everyone and a peaceful, joyful year to all.

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