Saturday, November 30, 2013

Sunday morning interview....really?

omg.  I can't believe I scheduled this skype interview with our close friend "Ram", aka Rambo Doc SFG 1 last Sunday morning at 6:00am PST!  I really don't know how we pulled it off considering that Saturday evening is our "date night" and Sunday 7:00am is some serious garage morning training with my girls!  Here is most of the interview before I had to leave (and step out to the garage gym at 7:00am!). Mark went on with Rambo Doc for another hour or so.

In part three I don't say a single word BUT my brilliant husband offers up so much great information about kettlebell training and training in general.  Anybody who knows me knows I have said a million times over that I never, ever, tire of listening to Mark speak or teach.  In fact he shares his wisdom and experience with me every single day of my life.  AND I always say, the words that come out of my mouth most likely came out of his mouth first!  Enjoy!

A huge thank you to our dear friend Rambo Doc for requesting and editing/posting this interview.  You can find more information by liking "Soul of Strength" on FaceBook.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Tracy Reifkind's First 10 x 10's, it's never too late to come to my party!

I always call my group training classes "my party" because I have so much fun it would be a shame to not invite anybody else to my workouts, and that's how I started teaching.  I like leading classes/groups because it feeds me energy.  In fact I often wonder if I was not responsible for showing up to teach would I have eventually let myself fall victim to skipped workouts, teetering on the edge of eventually not showing up myself and quitting?

Since January 2008 have never ever cancelled a scheduled class.  No holidays off if class fell on a training day, no sick days, no too hung over days (food or alcohol hangovers!).  No cancelled classes because I was just plain old depressed about something going on in my life.  In fact I barely have the phone numbers and email addresses of my regular students.  I couldn't cancel if I wanted to....but rarely do I ever want to.  I didn't say never, but every time I entertain the thought of canceling I know it's for my own good to follow through on my word to my students/clients and to myself.  Anyway, enough about me, this post is about you!

For reasons I have yet to get into, a couple of weeks ago I started posting simple, quick 5 minute swing workouts I've been calling my "10 x 10"'s  My first post on Face Book was November 21th.  I've been posting one every other day (the prescription for swing training), and the 4th was a modified, scaled version in case 10 reps every 30 seconds is something you, or someone you love, may still be working towards, and which anybody can repeat until their ability and confidence increases to my traditional 10 x 10. This blog post includes all five, the latest, #5 I'm posting for the first time today (technically tomorrow's workout)

I have so much more to write about these workouts, but for now I thought I should group the first 5 of them together, here on my blog, all in one place and easy to access.  If you follow along, and listen to "10 x 10 #1" it sets the tone for my motivation.  If you are not on Face Book and you have missed these, no worries.  If you have been on Face Book and you have been shy, unmotivated or just plain lazy please join in NOW!  I will be posting 10 x 10 workouts and "messages" until the end of the year, every other day.  I've figured out that my 10th 10 x 10 will post on December 10th, and I'll repeat the same 10 (or new ones) every other day until December 30! (don't worry, you get Xmas off!)  If you are late to my party it's OK!  Just show up.  Show up and maybe, just maybe, your body will follow.

If, I mean when, you complete all of these 10 x 10's you will have done 500 swing reps.  Not bad for less than one half hour of your life over the course of 10 days.  On December 10th you will complete 1000 swing reps if you have been following along.  If you decide to join me, join us (because you are not alone) at any time you still can complete 1000 swing reps, or more before the end of the year.  What could possibly be stopping you?

Enjoy. Enjoy the workouts, enjoy feeling good about yourself, enjoy moving in the direction of improving your strength and health, or helping someone you love do the same thing.  We are not alone.  We are powerful beings capable of changing our lives in the most positive of ways.  Change may start with the first swing, but if you, if we, do nothing to move towards health and vitality then we move away from it.  I'll do my 10 x 10 with or without you, it's my party but I would love it if you join me, please come (no rsvp required!).

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pumpkin Soup

Two weeks ago while staying in Big Sur with my friend, and BSKBG, Nadine, she made delicious pumpkin soup!  It was so delicious that I knew I was going to have to make some.  I make and eat more soup in a year than than most people (in the US!), I know how to make soup!  But I did ask Nadine how she made hers.  She told me it was pretty basic, pumpkin, lite coconut milk, etc...  Hmnn...lite coconut milk, huh.  And of course I knew she used a "real" pumpkin, I wouldn't expect anything else!

Previous few weeks I had been making my own Delicata squash soup, and a winter squash is a winter squash, is a winter squash!  The only thing that is different in handling any winter squash is the peel.  Pumpkins have a much thicker peel than Delicata, but the easy solution is to roast it in the oven cut in half, as you would a Butternut, or any other hard shelled winter squash....which was my plan until....

Enter the pressure cooker!  I've been steaming many things in my pressure cooker this year, including eggs!  The nice thing about steaming dense vegetables in a PC is that it takes only a few minutes of actual cooking time, and then once I turn off the heat I let the veggies sit inside, with the lid still locked in place, to completely soften for about another 10-15 minutes, or all day if I want to.

Pumpkin is not very tasty.  Yes, I bought the "sugar pie" pumpkin, but it must have been mislabeled because there was nothing sugary or even pumpkiny about its flavor.  I steamed the pumpkin in four or five wedges (although I could have steamed it whole I wanted to use my steamer basket), scooped the flesh out but never tasted it on it's own.

I went ahead and started a regular soup in my 6 qt PC.  Onion, celery, sauteed in some olive oil.  I added two carrots, some fresh ginger, the flesh of one small pumkin, turkey stock and oh yes...a can of lite coconut milk!  Since the pumpkin was already cooked it didn't need long, maybe 10 minutes at high pressure and then I turned it off and let the pressure come down naturally, about 10-15 min more.

I took my immersion blender to it (after I fished out the chunks of ginger), and a beautiful orange creamy soup appeared.  Now, the taste test! this what "real" pumpkin tastes like?  Um...not so nice.  It barely resembled any pumpkin flavor, what to do?  What can I add to make it taste like pumpkin?  It seemed sooooo far away from any pumpkin I've ever been used to tasting.  Salt?  Well, it did need a bit more salt, but that wasn't all.  Sugar?  Acid?  Fat?  The only thing that made sense was sugar. Even tomato soup sometimes needs sugar, so sugar it was, brown sugar.

I started out cautiously because I did not want pumpkin pie soup!  1 tbl, taste, another tbl, I dare?  Okay one more.  Viola!  Yep, that was it.  3 tbl of brown sugar isn't all that bad! Especially because there's a ton of other really nutritious goodness.  I think I'll go ahead and make some more turkey stock from the last carcass but add some meat to the next batch!

Stolen from Nadine, Pumpkin Soup

one small pumpkin (3-4 lb)
olive oil
1 med onion, large dice
2 stalks celery, large dice
2 med carrots, large dice
2 c. stock
1 can lite coconut milk
salt to taste
sugar to taste
(ginger is optional)

You don't need a pressure cooker at all to make this soup.  You don't even need to pre roast or pre steam your pumpkin squash, but you will have to peel it, seed it and cut it into a large dice, which might be difficult to handle such a large and dense vegetable.  So, throwing it in the oven, cut in two, cut side down on a roasting pan for 30-45 min until soft enough to be pierced with a fork will do it.  Let cool enough to handle and scoop flesh out of the hard skin.  It should be about 4 c. of pumpkin.  (you can scoop the seeds out after it's roasted or steamed)

Heat olive oil in pot, add onion and celery.  Cook for 5-8 min until translucent.  Add carrots, pumpkin flesh, stock, coconut milk and about 2 tsp salt.  If pressure cooking, lock the lid in place, let pressure come to high and turn heat down to maintain pressure.  Cook for about 10 minutes, turn off burner, let the pressure come down naturally.

If cooking in a soup pot, follow all previous instructions except after the addition of the liquids simply bring all ingredients to a boil, turn heat down, cook slightly covered for probably 25-30 minutes until veggies are soft.

Mix with an immersion blender, OR wait until soup cools down enough to put in a tradition blender or food processor.  Blend or process until smooth.  Taste for seasoning....sugar and salt.  Maybe you'll get a better tasting pumpkin than I did!

I'll post a picture of the finished soup when I serve myself a beautiful dish of it and I can snap one to share!  In the mean time I only have photos of my steamed, pressure cooked pumpkin and what it looked like when I was scooping it out!

Have you ever made pumpkin soup, or a pumpkin pie from a "real" pumpkin?  How did it turn out?

(ps "BSKBG" stands for Big Sur KettleBell Gal!)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

This is my life, I'm the boss.

"Making weight" for my August competition took me back to food journaling.  You know, when you write down everything you eat, which also means you have to measure your portions by using spoons/cups/scale. I did not food journal in the weeks/months leading up to my April competition....any surprise I did NOT make weight?

I remember a blog post I wrote YEARS ago (I should try and find it) about how I regularly kept a journal, even after the initial 120lb weightloss.  Food journaling was a habit I developed and didn't mind one bit.  I never saw it as a crutch, or a punishment, or really anything negative. In fact I was proud that I stayed so informed about what I was putting in my body on a regular basis, and it reminded me of the choices I needed to make to create the body weight and body composition I wanted. It was a game to me, and it was a joy!  Keeping track of calories was fun and educational.  But one of the comments I received on that particular blog post was from a male reader expressing sadness for me.  Somehow he interpreted my habit of journaling my food/eating/calories as, kind of, a prison.  Whoa.....!

Maybe he was transposing his feelings onto me?  Would it feel like a prison to him if he "had" to write down everything he ate?  I'm guessing he never had the experience of finding himself extremely over weight.

I often compare food journaling to keeping the balance in your checking account.  Every person that lives within their means (and most that thrive financially) keeps a balanced checkbook.  Would this same person feel sorry for those people?  Would this same person feel as if people that balanced their checking account lived in some kind of prison?  What is the difference?

Living in denial, or "wishful thinking" is not taking responsibility.  Keeping a food journal, or balancing your checkbook is about taking responsibility and not playing victim.  I never want to play victim.  Even when I was fat I never blamed anybody or anything else on my condition.  It was me doing the damage.  People that blame credit card companies or the banks for their financial situation are the same kind of people that blame the food industry and/or foods in general for their overweightness.

I never complained about being fat, it was what it was.  I thought there was nothing I could do about it and I accepted what I thought was my genetic predisposition.  When I made up my mind to lose some weight I took responsibility, I journaled, I played the game of calories in, calories out and started to get ahead, to win!  I started swinging a kettlebell and watch my body shape change in a way I only dreamed of before.  The two methods of transformation collided and nothing could stop me.

At the end of each day it is me who is in charge.  I experienced changing and creating amazing things.  I lived 41 years of wishful thinking that didn't exactly produce what truly wanted, or what I saw myself as being capable of.  Then, I spent a handful of years practicing new habits that did create exactly what and how I saw the life I wanted.  Where am I now?

Good question.

I'm 50 years old.  Half way through my life.  I expect to know a few things by now and to be honest I'm shocked at how immature I can think sometimes!  I'm experiencing symptoms of menopause and I get pissed off.  Hot flashes are stupid.  Feeling like I'm still hungry after a full meal is stupid.  I can stay pissed off and blame all kinds of things, but I won't, I can't.

This post was about keeping track, staying aware, creating your own experience.  I mean....creating MY own experience.  It's my life.  I'm the boss.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Removing the wishbone from your turkey before roasting: how and why

I've been removing the wishbone from my turkey, before roasting, since I learned of this simple trick by working with a caterer years ago.  The biggest reason why is that it facilitates the easy removal of each whole lobe from the bone following cooking, allowing even and precise slicing for service. It also frees up more room, at the front, for stuffing, if you stuff your bird, which is why I do it first.  Sure, you can remove the wishbone after the turkey (or chicken) is roasted too, and in fact it should pull out easily once the bird has cooled down enough to handle. 
There are a couple of youtube videos showing how to cut the wishbone out, but I found these pictures that illustrate exactly how I do it.
Pull the skin back from the front side of the breast, revealing the wishbone close to the surface:

With the tip of a sharp knife gently cut along both sides of the two prongs of the wishbone:

Work the knife (or finger) around, under and along the length of the bone separating it from the meat:

Separate the remaining three points of attachment and lift the wishbone out.  At this point you should be able to simply pull it out:

Pull the skin back down, or this is a great time to add fresh herbs on top of the meat, between the skin, or use the extra room to add more stuffing.  I use a couple of toothpicks to secure the skin over and under the bird.

I found these pictures and direction on this website.

I also found this video about how to carve a turkey that is closest to how I do it (with the exception of removing the wishbone before roasting!)

I thought Thanksgiving was next week, so I've got a couple of frozen birds defrosting in the fridge already!  It's going to be all fine because I decided to cook for my family on Sunday, the 24th.  It's the first time I've cooked dinner before the actual holiday.  Mark and I are leaving for Israel on the 3rd of December and I though it would be better for us to free up the weekend before to get ready.  

Have you ever cooked Thanksgiving dinner before the holiday?  Or, do you remove your wishbone before you roast your bird (s)?  Any other tips you want to share?  

Monday, November 11, 2013

Feelin' My Groove Again

I still have more food and travel posts to write, I'm barely back home, less than a week, and my number one priority is getting my training routine back on track.  Does that seem shallow?  That my #1 priority is my training schedule?  Hmmnn...  Well, all I can say is that there is plenty of other things in my life that are priorities, but working out, feeling healthy and fit, takes so little time and it's the easiest to cross off the list and get on to other, equally important things I have to get done.  So maybe it's tied for #1 place with a few other things.

I'm so thankful that swinging a kettlebell has got to be one of the easiest ways of exercising while away from home, dependent on having a bell to swing of course.  But training for sport while traveling half way around the world was much more difficult that I could have predicted.  It was almost torture.  And I'm not being dramatic....okay, maybe a little bit.  Exercise is different than sport.  Training for a sport requires a plan, thought out in advance, to produce a particular result.  That result is a time, a number, a distance, a performance, in preparation for a particular date of a competition.  My sport, kettlebell sport, requires numbers.  Rep counts to be exact.  Rep counts are only improved by consistent and progressive practice, like all sport performance.  There is no other way.

My next competition is not until February, but it's coming up fast and furious it seems.  I did not do as well as I wanted to in August and I'm having to take a few steps backwards in order to move forward.  Going back to lighter bells, more reps is fine with me, I probably should not have tried to move forward so quickly, but I'm old already!  I feel like I only have so much time to move some of those heavier weights.

As I wrote about in my previous training post, during my trip my sport training felt so hard, but as soon as I got home I started to feel better, stronger.  I didn't want to rush it, I still have plenty of time, so I waited until Friday to do my sets.  I had a fast 12kg, 10 min jerk set (20rpm).  I managed to complete 92 R/73 L = 165.  My first feelings are that I should be better than this by now, but it was a PR total for me, and the 10 minutes on my grip with this weight was no where near where it was only 5-6 months ago.  Considering my very first meet in Feb my total was 90 reps (after training for only few weeks prior), to 121 in April, I'd say I've come a long way.  I don't often share my jerk practice videos publicly because, to be honest, I'm embarrassed.  But really I'm caring less and less about what anybody thinks these days, so here it is.

This was supposed to be a 10 minute set at 20 rpm, but I never did get that pace once I switched to my left side.  Since I rely on my video tape to go back and count I started setting my Gymboss next to the camera to beep every 30 seconds, making it easier for me to count my rpm.  My R I was able to maintain 20 rpm until the 4th minute.  It slowed down to 16 rpm for min 4 and 5. My left, not so good.  17, 16, 14, 13, 13. Wow, not even close, but it is what it is, and it was my best that day.

My snatch set turned out a little better.  My coach programmed a 12kg 10 min set at a super fast pace.  20-22 rpm, with a little note of encouragement that reminded me to have fun with it.  He knows the 12kg is light for me at this point, but it was a workout I was supposed to do while away and I only had a 12 or 16kg.  I had done the last 3 workouts w/16kg (and a couple sets w/20kg before I left) so a super fast paced set w/12kg was reasonable.  I was confident I could do 220 total, but 246?  um....I think that's pretty good, even if it was only the 12kg.  This set came just in time to help me start to feel human again, thank God.

I took Sat off from GS, but I did teach a 1 hour class in the morning and practiced yoga at 12noon.  Sunday I had to program myself a little as I was behind in completing last weeks workouts and I hadn't received next weeks yet, so I improvised.  I looked back a couple of weeks for an idea of a jerk set.  I hadn't jerked the 14kg in what seemed like forever so taking a cue from 3 weeks ago I repeated two 4 min sets (15rpm) with a 2 min rest to see if the result would be better.  It was.  The two sets were easier and I completed them both...although my L did tire, but truly I think I'm still afraid of my weakness on that side and I let it scare me.  I'm getting better though, so maybe next time I won't worry about it.

While I was away I had to complete three 16kg snatch sets 60+60 which felt like it crushed me, 35+35 in 3 min, which also was freakin hard, but no so much because it was over in three minutes!  And 50+50 swing/snatch that I misread and only did a straight snatch set of 50+50....omg, I just now realized that! There was no way I could have done the sw/sn set, a total of 100 reps per arm that day!  Anyway, I decided to repeat a 60+60 16kg snatch, and it felt much easiser, in fact I'm kinda feelin' my groove again.  It's good to be back.

photo above was taken after Sunday training with my girls all wearing the t-shirts I brought back from my trip; L to R  Meg, Maribel, Deepika and me :)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Travel and Strength: TRif's Croation Combo, the workouts

Sooooo......more confessions.  Yes, I did train while I was on my trip.  No I didn't get a chance to train as much as I wanted to, nor exactly as I want to.  I was all full of piss and vinegar about having a lot of time to do what I wanted to but that's not how it all turned out!  I felt weak as a kitten most of the time....I swear kettlebells are heavier in Europe....I swear they are!  I learned a huge lesson about travel and strength, or should I say travel and no strength?  I can't imagine how athletes that compete around the world do it.  Much respect!

I was much busier than I "planned"!  I had no obligation to go to the SFG Cert, much less hang out there all day, for three days straight!  In reality I could have gone out everyday hiking, climbing stairs, kettlebelling, what ever I wanted, but I love deepening my knowledge of training strength and training kettlebells!  I seem to never get enough, so why not hang out and listen, watch and learn (as well as teach and coach, because we learn through teaching and coaching too!)

I trained long and hard the Tuesday morning I left so I didn't have to worry about not getting to my next workout until Friday.  Friday I lead my Power-Ful Swing workout at the SFG CERT (8 min), and went on to complete another 30 minutes of my Sinister Swing (all with the 16kg).  I also did an 8kg 10 min GS snatch set as practice.  The next day, Saturday I tried to complete my full GS practice, a 12kg jerk set (8 min), and a 50+50 16kg snatch.  Which I did, but damn that 16kg comp bell was hea, hea, hea-vy! I got to lead another 10 min swing workout, at the Cert, about 2 hours later.

video #1

Sunday I went to Opatija, so I took the day off from KB's.  Monday Mark and I went for a long hike, and then I did my swing workout in the hallway of our apartment with only the 12kg before dinner (video #1) for about an hour, with some snatches, cl/pr, etc..  Tuesday we climbed hundreds more stairs as Sasa took us into Rijecka to sightsee, no KB's.  Wednesday I got a chance to go back into Rijecka and train at Sasa's gym.  30 minutes of swings (videos #2, #3,#4, 14kg and 16kg) and two GS sets (12kg jerks, 16kg snatches).  Later that afternoon we drove back to Vincenza.  Thursday we went to Venice and walked at least couple/three plus miles.

video #2

video #3

 video #4

Friday I wanted to go to Fabio's gym to train in the morning, but I could tell it just wasn't going to be convenient for him to pick me up, so since I had the two comp bells with me at the hotel I chose to train on my own.  I didn't get to it until late afternoon, but I did get to it.  That was my 16kg two hand swing "bad day" workout (video #5, 30 min)!  I ended up doing a longer workout that included some 16kg clean and press, inspired by the speech Mark was to give later that weekend about the "Renaissance of Strength".  I was working off the ginormous dinner we had the night before at Filo.  Steaks that looked as if they came from a buffalo!  Needless to say I felt soooo much better afterwards and I stayed in from dinner that night!
video #5

Saturday was the first day of the Strength Convention Fabio was hosting and Mark was scheduled to speak on Sunday.  But it turned out Mark also helped Fabio teach 300 attendees how to swing a kettlebell, and I, along with all of the other SFG's (including some of the new Croatian Instructors) were invited to help.  I can't say I did a bunch of work, but I did a few swings and helped out when I could.  Saturday night we had THE most obscene dinner yet!  And I took full advantage, including a doggie bag with dinner for the next night (and still there was a ton of food left!)

Sunday was our last day there and Mark's speech was to be given in the late morning.  (it was brilliant, as usual, and more about that, fingers crossed, in a blog post to come).  We had the last half of the afternoon off and went back to the hotel with a 14kg I was able to "borrow" from the event (and some chalk!!!!!)  My last workout.  30 minutes of 14kg swings (video #6) and two GS sets.  My 12kg jerk set crashed and burned, bad!  My 50+50 16kg snatch felt as if it was going to kill me (damn heavier European bells!).  I just never can say that I felt strong, even almost 2 weeks adjusting to the time.  I could have wrapped it up after my snatch set, but I needed to do something more.  It was my last chance and I had a long travel day starting the next morning.  I did a 10 min 12kg snatch set 100+100. That should have been "easy" for me, but it finished me off, and tore my palm during the last 10 reps.
video #6

Wow, actually looking back at my travel training log I guess I did get some training in!  But if I compared it to what I would have done if I stayed home it was about 50%, not including the thousands of stairs, of course!  I also did some serious eating!

We got home on Monday, I got up early on Tuesday to teach and had a really nice workout, but still not the kind of training I would normally do.  I thought I would do my GS sets later in the afternoon, but that just did not happen :(, I was beat.  I thought I might get to them Wednesday morning, but no, still beat.  Thursday morning?  Nope.  How about that afternoon?  Nope.  Wow, three days late, but finally starting to feel normal again I got back to it first thing this morning!  Yay!  Feeling good and it's time to get back to strength!

The basic swing order for "TRif's Croation Combo" for all of the above workouts is the following:

10 2 hand swings 
+ 10 transfer swings 
+ 5 R/5L one hand swings 
+ 10 2 hand swings 

Here are 6 of video workouts done in a progressive way, building on the first one,  the least difficult to most difficult.  If you were to do all of them, I believe, it's apprx. 1300-1500 swing reps!  

I post these workouts for free for you to use in your own training or if you are an Instructor to lead clients or classes with.  I only ask that you credit me by using the workout title and/or my name as the originator.  If you would like to share any of my workouts, please refer others to this blog post, or to the original video post.  Thank you for all of your interest and support all these years, this will help me continue to share how much I love training the kettlebell swing with all of you.   

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Eating Makes You Hungry! The Beginning of My Food and Eating Story

This is the beginning of my food story about my 2 week trip to Italy and Croatia that ended in a 6lb weight gain, or should I say a around a 2.5 kilos?  In terms of eating I am calling this trip the most successful from my past experiences with travel.  Not in terms of pounds gained or not gained, but in getting closer and closer to putting behind me the fear of not being able to control/not control the availability of food that up until now had sometimes triggered unwanted over eating.

We left on a Tuesday around 10:00 for 1:50pm flight out of SFO to Venice via Amsterdam, spending about 16 hours total in flight time.  I packed a wonderful lunch of kale salad (2 servings), deviled eggs (1/2 dz), chicken salad, peanut/coconut butter w/raisins, celery / carrot sticks, a couple of apples and one or two other things.

It was a perfect amount considering I was up and at the gym that morning to get in my last workouts around 5:00am and had not eaten anything before boarding the plane. So it was my breakfast lunch and dinner.  I did eat a few of the things the airline served, like a small roll to make a chicken salad sandwich, and the brownie they served with the first meal....I was on vacation after all!

We arrived Venice the next afternoon, drove to Vicenza about 40 minutes west to spend the night before driving to Croatia the next morning.  After a short nap we were picked up for dinner around 6:30pm and taken to a local pizzeria by our host in Italy, MSFG Fabio Zonin.  

Dinner started with a huge appetizer of some sort of special handmade fresh mozzerella cheese with a pure cream center, served with sliced cured ham/meat, and lots of it.  (I just googled it and found out it's called Burrata)

The pizza was off the hook, crazy good, and I could have easily eaten more, but I was trying to not look like a pig...I'm not sure I managed to do that!   Each pizza was cut into eight pieces, and I'm pretty sure I ate four parts (maybe five, ouch) which equalled 1/2 of a whole one!  Two large pizzas for basically three of us because Fabio doesn't eat bread during the week, so he helped himself mostly to the Burrata and meat.  Another motive for trying to not eat more was the wine (and dessert!).  Goodness, why didn't I remember my rules? Food OR wine, not both! (more about that a bit later)  Dessert was served with Grappa (to dip the cookies in!) and to top everything off Sambuca! (another shot of alcohol).  That was only the first night!

Why is it I wake up the morning after a big meal feeling like I'm starving?  Mark always explains it by saying "Eating makes you hungry!" I had some nuts with my coffee first thing and then I think we went back to bed for a bit! A couple of hour later more coffee while repacking for the next part of our trip.  When we went downstairs to meet Fabio in the hotel lobby I learned that, yes, our stay included a free breakfast buffet.....argh.  Knowing in the past that "free" food has been a big overeating trigger I simply reminded myself that feelings are not facts.  In the past I let free food trigger the fear of lack, the fear of not enough, and that was NOT fact.  I would not be acting on hunger, I would be acting on fear.  

Day two we leave on a 4 hour car trip to Kastav Croatia and the very first SFG Instructor Certification Course to be held in that country!  I still had a bit of the lunch I packed the day before (our room had a fridge) and that amount was all I needed for the road trip to Kastav.  We did stop at a Autogrill market for an espresso where I picked up some bresaola (cured beef, similar to prosciutto).

We got to the Cert site in Kastav just before dinner time and checked into our apartment flats.  Yay a kitchen in my room!  Again we all went to the market for some supplies, for Mark and me heavy cream for our coffee in the morning

topped the list.  Cheese, eggs, sliced meat (mortadella w/olives), yogurt, some bagel chips (instead of bread), dried fruit and nuts, and Mark got an ice cream and a couple of yogurt/nut bars for the next day.

There was a dinner at a local restaurant planned but I had to stay in.  The dinner the night before could have easily lasted me a week and I simply did not want to eat out again so soon.  This was the kind of compromise I felt I had to stick to.  The compromise was not one I made because I wanted to eat more and couldn't trust myself, but because I wanted to eat less and not allowing others or "special events" to obligate me to eat when, and how, I know it will create the opposite of what I really want. 

The next day I felt great!  Ready to meet all of the new SFG Candidates start a first full day, of six, we had to spend in this lovely country!

PS  Whoops..I forgot to mention that after only one day back home I'm down an entire kilo!  Sounds more impressive than 2 pounds!  Regular eating?  Who'd of thunk? lol

Friday, November 1, 2013

The small details of our lives

One of the things I had to do was collect a rock from the
shore in Opatija.  I had to do it because my mother started, kind of, a tradition of collecting sand (or rock) from all of the different beaches (shores) she visits.  I think this is a very special meaning for her because of her fond and deep memories of growing up in California, along the coast, from Southern CA, where she was born, to No CA where she spent most of her life until moving to Denver...oh gosh, was it over 20 years ago now?  She tries to visit California once a year and always spends a good amount of time in Santa Cruz (Cruz is our family name).  Every year as I was growing up with my sisters we would go to the beaches at and around Santa Cruz.  Perhaps this is why, no matter what the location, I still enjoy the tremendous wonder of where the water meets the land.  It's a big world out there.

When I get back home I'm going to find the picture of myself collecting sand from a beach my mother and I visited last we were in Italy.  It is a "before" picture taken when I weighed over 200lbs...more about that trip and the photo when I return home.

This past year, as my mom was starting to settle up her affairs (her will) she sent all of us girls an email asking each one of us if there were any particular belongings that we wanted to receive when she was gone.  I thought of very little in terms of monetary belongings, if any actually.  Some of my mother's things I thought I might like to have we very simple and sentimental, like her collection of sand, rock and pebbles from the shores and beaches she has been to.  She keeps them in cute little glass bottles, some with shells, some accompanied with other relevant souvenirs.  She emailed me back, pleasantly surprised that I had even remembered such a small detail of her life.  It made me glad.

What is a small detail of a loved one's life would you like to remember them by?  Or do you, yourself, have a personal connection to the beach, water, mountains, or particular country/region?

What Day Is It? Opatija

I'm going to try and write some very short blog posts about my trip before I forget.  Short for a blog, but too long for facebook!

On Sunday, the last day of SFG Croatia I met up with Marla, a friend of mine from New Mexico, traveling through eastern Europe on sabbatical from her job.  Marla had earned her RKC years ago as a personal challenge and was definitely inspired to train for her SFG after spending Sunday morning with me watching the snatch test, and then returning with me to watch the grad workout!  In between, since she had a car, we drove to nearby Opatija, a seaside tourist town some describe as the Croatian French Riviera!  On this day it was an overcast day on the Riviera!

Only about 15 minutes way (the photo from Mike Souza's room you can see Opatija) I was still anxious not wanting to return back too late, missing the Grad workout, so we only stayed for a couple of hours.  First a walk down the main street, lined with shops and cafe's, we just had to stop at the chocolate bar!

We shared a fruit and chocolate fondue and I picked up a few chocolate coconut truffles for Mark.  If it weren't so early, AND we had to drive back, I most certainly would have had to try one of the alcoholic chocolate drinks!  

Marla and I caught up on each other's lives as we strolled along the waterfront path, then stopped at the market for some supplies (good, or should I say "better" wine) before heading back to Kastav....just in time, although we took one tiny wrong turn!  Good thing Opatija, Rijecka and Kastav are only minutes away from each other!  

Marla left around noon the next day on her way to one of Croatia's National parks. While Mark and I were enjoying his first day off, I was also saving my appetite for a fabulous dinner to come!  But first a late afternoon workout!  (You all saw the last post, right?)

See you at dinner!  Kukuriku was so good we ate there two nights in a row!

photo above was taken from the roof top window in Mike Sousa SFG ll's room.  Next year Mark and I will take the other apartment next door with the same view!