August is Good Eating

Ahhh, the crazy thunder-storm from this morning has passed and now it is HOT and STICKY.  Super humidity!  Good thing I got out early for some exercise.

Tate and I have spent the last few days at my dad’s farm, hiking, picking veggies, eating from the garden, and enjoying how gorgeously green West Virginia is in August.  The garden is prolific and it feeds my soul to harvest veggies and put them up for winter, which beings me to

Gracefulfitness Tip of the Day

Take advantage of the August garden bounty by making a veggie soup to freeze for quick and healthy winter eating.  You can freeze the soup in mason jars or freezer bags (if using jars make sure to leave about an inch of space on the top for expansion). I like veggie soup best with a tomato base but you can use any vegetables you have in the garden, find on sale, or that look good at the market.  Yesterday I cooked up tomatoes, green beans, lots of onions, cabbage, garlic, basil, and dill with a bit of salt and pepper.  Fresh herbs add a lot of flavor and cut down on the amount of salt!  I am looking forward to breaking into this soup in the cold of winter, pairing it with some hearty bread or beans, and chowing down.

Life is feeling very surreal right now.  Tate and I are in a serious transition time right now.  With our year of expat living and 6 months of vagabonding behind us it’s now time to, ummmm, what’s that word?  Oh yeah, settle down

When we arrived back in the States on June 30th we set out collecting our things that were stored across the country and consolidating them to West Virginia.  Now all of our material possessions are scattered across just the “quad county area” (the adjacent counties where my dad, sister, mom, and mom-in-law live).   Ugh!  Living out of a backpack can be very freeing for a while but we are going on 7 months now!  (And this is why I don’t have any pictures of the awesome soup from yesterday or that gorgeous green I mentioned, the camera is in another county!  I really need to just keep everything I might need in my car so I have it with me at all times!)

The plan is to move to Charlottesville, Virginia, as soon as we settle on a house.  Tate and I spent last weekend over there and decided to put in a bid!  If all goes well we could be homeowners and moving in towards the end of the month!  Yikes!  Especially because I have not spent any time in Charlottesville and picked it based on its location (proximity to “home) and what I have read about it.  I have faith that it will be a good fit for Tate and I…

I am slowly but surely regaining my fitness after a couple of kidney infections knocked me off my feet for 6 weeks.  My favorite new workout is walking with weights!  It is such a great workout and a very efficient use of time. 

Here are some tips for walking with weights

  1. Keep the weight low-3 pounds or less. 
  2. Go for high repetition. 
  3. Go slow!  Take at least 3 counts to lift and 3 counts to lower the weights, no swinging, no momentum!  Going slow will also make those 3 pounders feel a lot heavier than they really are, bonus!
  4. Keep a close watch on your posture, always walk upright with your abdominal muscles engaged and chest open.
  5. If you need to rest with the weights keep your arms long with a small bend at the elbows and move arms in opposition to your legs (like “normal” walking).
  6. Keep your first couple “weighted walks” short or on a path where you can stash the weights if you get tired.  It can be more tiring than regular strength training because you are constantly lifting weight.
  7. Choose your favorite exercises.  And do lots of repetitions and lots of sets.  I do variations on bicep curls, lateral raises, and tricep presses.  (I will post pictures tomorrow with demonstrations of my favorite exercises).
  8. After a “weighted walk” make sure to stretch your entire body, paying special attention to your forearms and biceps. 

NOTE: Weighted walks ARE appropriate for people who are very comfortable using hand-weights and familiar with correct form for upper body strength training exercises.   If you are new to using hand-weights you may want to stick with stationery exercises until you have the form down.

I took a 35 minute (just under 2.5 miles) weighted walk this morning.  There were a lot of big hills which got me panting and sweating, just how I like my cardio!  I still intend to do a bit more stretching this afternoon and maybe another small walk (but it is SO HUMID!).  My yoga routine has been SERIOUSLY neglected lately so maybe that’s what needs to happen this afternoon.  Hey, I could do it on the porch and pretend like it is a heated studio! 

Keep an eye out for tomorrow’s post where I will demonstrate some great strength training exercises you can do while walking.

Clarity for Success

This is from an article in the Himalayan Times that I read while in Kathmandu back in May.

“Clarity for Success”

  1. Decide exactly what you want in life.  Be specific!
  2. Write it down, clearly and in detail.
  3. Set a deadline.  If it’s a large goal break it down into sub deadlines.
  4. Make a list of everything you can think of that you are going to have to do to achieve your goal.
  5. Organize by listing in proper sequence and priority.
  6. Take action on the most important thing you can do on your plan.
  7. Do something everyday that moves you toward the attainment of your goal.


It’s been about a week since I set my July Goals and I figure it’s time to for a progress report.  Let’s take my goals through the “Clarity for Success” list.

  1. Decide exactly what you want in life.  Be specific! I want to continue recovering from this bout of illness that wiped me out at the end of June.  I want to regain my strength and fitness that I lost from being in bed for a few weeks.  I want to rebuild my immune system and make it stronger than ever so I don’t have reoccurring health problems.
  2. Write it down, clearly and in detail. Read July Goals for details.
  3. Set a deadline.  If it’s a large goal break it down into sub deadlines. My deadline is one month but I plan on these goals being lifetime changes.  Also, I like to check my progress each week or so.
  4. Make a list of everything you can think of that you are going to have to do to achieve your goal. Plan!  Make sure to always have fresh greens and berries available.  Plan! Prioritize exercise each day and start early in the day so that it doesn’t get put off until too late.  Pause before eating and remind myself to slow down, chew lots, and appreciate what I am feeding my body.
  5. Organize by listing in proper sequence and priority. I guess I already did this with my July Goals list.
  6. Take action on the most important thing you can do on your plan. All of it! My goals this month are daily occurrences so I must take action many times each day to follow my plan.
  7. Do something everyday that moves you toward the attainment of your goal. I have been doing really well with most of my goals.  The two where I have really been falling short is with stretching everyday and recording my exercise.  Irony is that if I were in fact recording my exercise everyday I would be more motivated to stretch everyday!  I have done my yoga routine 3 or 4 times this week (I don’t remember because I didn’t write it down!) but besides that no stretching.

Setting goals is motivating and an important step for achieving clarity on what you want to achieve.  Just as important as setting goals is assessing these goals and giving yourself progress reports.  By going through the “Clarity for Success” list I realized where I am achieving my goals and where I need to step it up.  I will start stretching and recording today!

Only two more days in Portland!  Tomorrow we load up the Penske moving truck and Tuesday morning head east!  We plan to arrive in West Virginia by the 20th.  The truck has to be returned to Charlottesville, VA (our new home!) on the 22nd so after throwing stuff in storage in WV we will make an overnight trip to C-ville (I already sound like a local) to start looking at houses TO BUY!

I am really excited about the move.  I am actually looking forward to moving to a completely new place and starting from scratch.  I am also looking forward to getting back to teaching!  Aerobics studio, here I come!

Today’s exercise is a hike in the Columbia River Gorge, push-ups (I am shooting for 50 today), and STRETCHING (or maybe yoga).