And, we are currently in the middle of the second “Don’t call it a bootcamp” outdoor adventure with the awesome Teresa Marchese. 6 weeks, last stop until December 17. Unfortunately, I am unable to make it every day, due to holiday travel and some classes here and there, but getting to run up and down hills and stairs, strength train, and just generally build muscle is amazing. I am feeling stronger. I can run up stairs faster, and do more push-ups, and more sit-ups. IN fact, I didn’t write after we finished the last challenge, but I have lost an inch off many body parts, lost a few percentage points in body fat, SHAVED 10 seconds off my run up stairs, and doubled and tripled my push up/sit-up abilities. After 20 days. Fricking marvelous.
And I am holding myself differently. I have lived my life pretty disconnected from my body. Even when I worked out before or trained for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer/ Death March to Bataan (two years!), I wasn’t engaged mind and body, and thoughtful about what muscles were being used. This class has been really eye-opening – I think and breathe when I kick my leg up or when I squat or do these freak jumping jacks/Scissor kicks off a curb. (Goddamn, those suck.) I concentrate. Focus. Italicize with abandon. The stretching at the end of each session is key, as I feel the muscles and start to understand how the body is put together. If I want to engage my core more, I hold my body a certain way and it isn’t the way it’s been held, lemme tell ya.
A somewhat related note is the emotional side of getting into shape, and not turning to food for comfort. A friend/therapist told me once that as I lose weight, the “issue is in the tissue.” Meaning that once I start burning the fat and whatnot, the emotions will start surfacing. From the melting fat. (Yum!). Seriously though, that phrase has actually gotten me through a lot of emotional upheaval. When I start feeling down and defeated about normal every day silliness, I realize these are normal, human emotions and reactions and that this means a) I’m getting in touch with emotions, b) I don’t need to eat something to make it go away. It’s fine. and c) the fat is melting away so the emotions are surfacing. And when I think of my thighs getting smaller, I get happy and go floss my teeth or something.
This is a blog post from one of my clients in my current Twenty Five Day Challenge, who writes a blog called OMGiFatty chronicling her weight loss quest, peppered with vegetarian recipes. This is why I do this…
Twenty-Five Days of Loving Torture…& some goals.
So, today I finished Day 8 of Rock Solid Fitness & Wellness’s Twenty Five Day challenge, which consists of me getting up at 5ish in the morning to make it out to Land’s End in San Francisco for an hour of running up stairs, strength training, kick boxing and the stretching every day. For 25 days. Hilarious, if you know me. I love it. Marvelous trainer Teresa Marchese is just so deliciously, sinisterly sweet as she sends us running sprints uphill in between stomach crunches and dancing lunges. I laugh, pant at the same time.
A few great quotes from the other hilarious and amazing women in my group:
“I don’t think I can do this push-up, I don’t have triceps!”
“I can never be on time for work, school, anything, but this running, jumping – I am early. EVERY TIME!”
“I can still see you!” – Teresa, to me when I peeked up, slowing down during stomach crunches.
Since I don’t push myself when I exercise alone, this is perfect for me. Not only are we exercising outdoors next to Ocean Beach in the most amazing city ever, the group setting allows me to push myself hard but also keep a good pace too. I also love the demystification of strength training, which has always been something I just needed someone to show me how to do!
Teresa asked us to think about three goals, telling us that twenty-five days is a good time to lose a bad habit or build a good habit.
1. Not to punk out and miss any days, during the 25. Also, to continue an hour of cardio in addition, 3-5 times a week. Walk a couple of miles in the city or slip into a pool at the gym! I want to make it every day, because I have to show myself that it is possible.
2. Add a day or two of yoga a week and daily stretching, which will hopefully lead to lovely, loose hamstrings!
3. Being more mindful of food/drink intake – more water water water! And watching carbs, calories, but upping protein and veggie intake. It makes it easy when I start to see the relationship between what I put in my body and how fast I can run up some stairs. (Brutal, lemme tell you – trader joe’s mac & cheese is not super helpful…)
I think what I am getting out of this is the feeling that I can do anything, if I can wake up before sunrise to exercise every day for almost a month. It is empowering, more empowering then doing my 45 minutes on an elliptical.
Further reports will be upcoming, as will photos!
Teresa here again: We are having such a good time!
An old friend of mine told me a story this morning. Back when he was a student, he took a train from SF to the east coast where he would attend a conference at which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be speaking. One of the days, he had the privilege of being one of 10 students randomly chosen sit with Dr. King and have a more intimate “class.” Dr. King asked the students to open with their questions. Mostly intimidated, one student spoke up, and asked, “Dr. King, what is a dream that you have for your life, for your personal joy? Is there something that would make you and your family happy?” Dr. King said he could answer that easily. He told the students that he believes he would be a great teacher at a seminary, and that he and his family would very much love that life. “But why don’t you do that?” asked the questioning student, “You could teach at any seminary of your choice, Princeton, Yale…” Dr. King answered, “Because there is a bullet out there with my name on it.” The class went silent. But the questioning student persisted. “But why? When you could live in peace, teaching? Why live in the throws of racist hatred and threats on your life?” Dr. King answered, “Because it won’t let me be.”
That’s how it is with a passion, with a purpose. It won’t let you be.
I was recently asked if I was always “good in the kitchen.” My usual answer is “No! – I hardly knew anything about food before I moved to California.” But really… I have always had an instinct for food. When I was a kid, my mother worked hard to support our little family, so I would sometimes prepare meals for my younger brother and myself. I was picky about food, and, inexplicably, quite a food-snob. I developed a knack for preparing simple meals out of whatever was around. Hmmm… what could I do with this, this… and this? Add this and this, and voila! I enjoyed making everything look really good. We would play like we were “rich” – eating off real dishes, garnishing with sprigs or slices, drizzling soup or sauce, making towers of our food, sending something back. It was fun, and it made me feel good to nourish and nurture my little family. My brother and I would perform for each other, and laugh until we choked, or milk came out of our nose.
From there, I always enjoyed preparing food for others. I thrived on throwing large, lavish parties and preparing all the food. And I love throwing together a pot of something when ten or so people just “end up” at my house. I am a natural host, nuturer, and nourisher.
But it wasn’t until I started my business, that I became serious about nutrition, cooking, food preparation, food politics, and teaching others the same.
Even so, I still find it funny, sometimes, that life has led me here. For the past three years, I have been leading nutritional cleanses and lifestyle classes. These are week+long courses where I provide all the food (breakfast, lunch, dinner) for my clients. Fresh, organic vegetables, transformed into creative, flavorful dishes each day. After my clients are held for this time, they are in a place where they are ready to take responsibility for and take joy in preparing beautiful healthy food at home. I offer tips, tricks, recipes, and delicious inspiration. And my clients report a renewed energy, a lighter and brighter sense of themselves.
We are all here for a reason. How cliché, right? But a true belief in that reason is profound. It is a joy and a responsibility. And we should find that reason and live it whole-heartedly. How can you be your best on a diet of fatty, processed, toxic “food” that’s been in a box or a can for six months? How can we live extraordinary lives feeling sluggish and bloated? I want people to love themselves enough to take responsibility for nourishing their bodies in a way that transforms, energizes and heals.
Though it’s still chilly outside, I’m making myself a smoothie for breakfast every morning. Not just any smoothie, however. But a Superfood smoothie. Superfoods are superior sources of essential nutrients. We can add more fruits and vegetables to our diets, but superfoods are nutritionally more potent then regular foods (especially because so much of our food is generally grown in mineral depleted soil) and are wonderful food sources of anti-oxidants. Superfoods are packed with nutrients – you can FEEL the difference!
vitamineral green powder
raw cacao nibs
You don’t get much more super than that!!
It was a grey day, but I decided to walk down to the store instead of drive.
I only needed nutmeg. Here is a short photo essay of my journey.
The reason I needed nutmeg…
I made a yum-yummy vegan cream sauce! Brown-rice pasta with artichoke, cashew cream sauce topped with sauteed pea shoots and carrots.
Artichoke cashew cream sauce
Mix in blender or vitamix
3/4 cup raw cahews
1/2 clove garlic
4 artichoke hearts
1/4 tsp nutmeg
hot water to desired creaminess (appx. 1 cup)
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Serve over pasta, rice, veggies… whatever!