There is Room for All of Us to Shine


There is enough here for all of us toI truly believe that there is room for all of us to shine. Another person’s success does not have to take away from mine. My success doesn’t take away from other people’s accomplishments. Even if I am doing something exactly as some one else – weightlifting, coaching, writing, whatever – we can be competitive together, we can challenge each other, some one can even be better but at the end of the day, I am on my journey and they are on theirs and we can both shine. We can both grow, learn, help, be bold, be ourselves, be present, work – SHINE!

I don’t have to demean, insult, gossip about other people because they have success. It only lessens my shine.

There is enough success, opportunity, connection, challenge, LIFE for all of us to shine.

So just a little reminder when you feel yourself closing down, tearing down another, feeling that resentment of another’s success, pause for a moment and realize there is enough for all of us to shine. When you realize that see how it changes your perspective on your situation, your success. Let me know what you think.


2014 Reflection

Wow. What a year.


  • 5 weightlifting competitions
  • Started a Barbell Club for women
  • Attended a Masters Olympic weightlifting camp at the Olympic Training Center
  • Completed my USAW weightlifting performance coach certification
  • Met some of lifting heros – Jon North, Travis Mash, Donny Shankle, Cara Heads Slaughter
  • Attended the American Open
  • Started the year with Outlaw Barbell programming, Ended it with joining the Dark Orchestra Online team and getting my program from Jared Enderton
  • Got an Eleiko Barbell

IMG_5485Music: Saw Justin Timberlake, Weezer, Neil Finn and Queen with Adam Lambert, the Legwarmers

Learned a ton about movement the Train Like A Girl seminar weekend, Darkside strength, Juggernaut Training systems, Original Strength.

Decided to stop coaching CrossFit, Being a part of a TEAM of women for Mudderella, Rugged Maniac, Strong(wo)man camp, Paddleboarding, float tank, shooting a gun, an engagement, a new tattoo, going with friends to get their tattoos,a tattoo gallery in my bathroom, family, friends… IMG_4989

Colorado, Charlottesville,Kentucky, Italy, Canada

Writing for Barbell Daily, interviews, Fit Mom Revolution feature, Women of Strength book.

Oh. And realizing I am not a broken person. That was pretty big.

IMG_5238Of course these are the highlights, you don’t hear as much about my day to day struggles – fears, ups and downs, doubts, but the year was full of those as well. Its part of life – the human condition.  I am proud of how I have grown and what I experienced in this past year. I am pretty pumped for whats ahead as well – more weightlifting, travels and tattoos.

Lets GO!!!

Having a 6 pack or being lazy?

Recently I did an interview for a podcast that is coming out at the beginning of2015 . During that interview I was reminded of the pain/discomfort I went through when I finally declared that I was done chasing a visible six pack. Each year for years, I would declare that this year for SURE would be my year of abs! The more I chased it the more miserable I was and the further away I got.

I had a coach of mine ask me what I thought six pack abs were going to give me. That is the million dollar question – what about my life was going to change when I got “there”? Would people love me more? Would life be smooth and blissful? Would I love ME more? The answer is No. I would still be me just with less body fat.

0 7 | 1 0 | 2 0 1 4

Huh. That doesn’t feel like what I wanted. I wanted to be new, different, better.

In letting go of that goal, with a bit of deeper understanding, there was relief and fear. I felt like in sharing with people that while I was letting that goal go that I needed to assure THEM (myself too maybe??!) that it didn’t mean that I was going to be sitting on the couch and eating junk food all the time. As if some how those were my two options 1) get abs or 2) be lazy and eat junk.

Our minds get binary some times – it can only be this OR that. The reality is there are a whole spectrum of options out there. I love moving in ways that bring me joy. I love who I am and my body and have a deep desire to take care of me so that I can be who I want to be in life and hopefully positively impact the lives of those around me. When you love something you take care of it.

It took me a while to let go of that fear and assure myself that I was ok. I also needed to be honest with myself about what I was REALLY wanting – love, growth, connection, passion and peace and I can have that NOW. I don’t have to wait until what ever X is that I am waiting for.

Love is all you need

Love your life.
Love who you are.

My Experience with Mindful Eating Part 3

Welcome to part 3 of my experience with mindful eating. The section is a bit of random thoughts about practicing mindful eating to conclude this series. Enjoy!

1. The guidelines are more than they seem. 

In looking at the previous two posts on mindful eating and the eating guidelines, I realized I was describing them as a list of things to do and felt like I needed to convey that they were so much more than that. Geneen Roth says “the eating guidelines are like nested Russian dolls; they are exactly what they appear to be and they are also worlds opening endlessly onto other worlds.” These practices are about tuning in to your life and your body and paying attention to the here and now. Mindful eating involves becoming aware of and questioning the beliefs and stories that you have. I alluded to this idea a bit in part 2. While the guidelines are useful in and of themselves, its what we learn when practicing them, when resisting them, when sitting with them with ease. THAT is why they can serve as an endless learning cycle. That is where the growth comes and eventually peace.

2. You need support when practicing mindful eating. Find a partner or start a group.

After reading point #1 above you might get a better understanding of why doing this on your own is not setting yourself up for success. You need some one to help you learn and reflect so that you can grow and get through those hard spots. It is hard to do this on your own and make yourself question beliefs or even know what to question. You know how you can clearly see that your friends situation is a hot mess but you can’t figure out your own shit? THAT is why you need an inquiry/mindful eating partner. :D  Geneen does provide a set of book club questions on her website so you could even form a group and learn together.

3. How does this fit in with being a strength athlete?

I don’t know yet. :) What I can tell you is that so far I have not noticed any effects on my ability to train and make progress. I am more hindered by my askew pelvis than I am by food. I am guessing if competed at a higher level that I might have to make some different considerations around this. I don’t track macros or calories at this point. I do some times drink protein shakes to try and bolster the amount of protein I get during the day even though its not always what my body wants or if I am hungry or not. There might be a time that I need to cut weight to make a weight class (I compete in weightlifting) and I am confident I can do so in a way that is mindful and not crazy making.

4. Will it really take care of my nutritional needs?

I am not a doctor so I can’t answer this from that perspective. I am just a person sharing their experience and thoughts.  I believe if you eat what your body wants that you will eventually turn to things that make you feel good and give you fuel to do what you need to do and to enjoy life. While you might think that all you would eat is peanut butter and whipped cream (or is that just me?!?), my guess is that if you are really tuned in to what makes you feel good and what your body really wants that you will end up choosing a variety of foods that help you thrive (which also includes peanut butter and whipped cream!).

5. Can I really learn to trust myself around food?

Yes. A very resounding yes. I know it feels not even possible some times. TRUST ME. I have been there. I have uttered the cry “Oh my! I can’t possibly trust myself around (buttercream frosting, a bowl of m&ms, cake, chocolate, insert choice of food to binge on here).” I hated that I felt so very powerless against food. I NEVER thought I could do some of the things I have done.  Sit and savor 1 piece of chocolate and then decide I don’t want more? NO WAY not me! Until it happened. It takes time and a lot of work on deprogramming all the messages you have been fed and repeated to yourself but it can happen. Once you take away the forbidden, food is just food. It can still be special of course and savored and delighted in but that is different than NO! I can’t possibly! I am a bad/lazy/undisciplined person if I eat this.

6. Answer this question: How do you want to live your life? 

One of the things that I use as a guide is my answer to that question. The things I wrote down while pondering it: happy, open, free, joyful for just being alive, peace with myself, loving myself, loving EVERY minute of my life.

I decided I wanted peace more than anything….and health of course so that I can live fully as long as possible. I can have those things in my list at any weight. Admittedly, I do still struggle with food and body image – those are pretty deeply engrained patterns in my brain but the practice of mindful eating has allowed for me to have much more peace.  I can’t ask for much more than that. The more I practice the better I will get. It takes a lot of effort to look effortless at something. Hating myself, shaming myself, not trusting myself, only brought me suffering and there was no satisfaction with any goal I hit or size I was.  I have increased my peace and joy with mindful eating and these guidelines. When I get tempted to find the next diet or the next plan that I NEED to be on to be ok – I come back to this question and my answers and think what do I REALLY want? Peace. Presence. Love for myself, for my friends and family, for my life – every minute of it.










Part 1 and 2 of this series can be found here (part 1) and here (part 2).

My Experience with Mindful Eating Part 2

In my last post, I introduced the idea of mindful eating and Geneen Roth’s work. I wanted to step through each of the guidelines and share my experiences with practicing each one.

What I like about these is they are not diet RULES. Rules are something to be followed, rigid guard rails that are meant to control our behavior. Geneen refers to them as “if love could talk” guidelines. Its how you want to be with something that you love – attentive, aware, kind. If you choose not to follow one on a given day you are not a bad person. The practices are about being mindful and deliberate about the choices that we make.

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge that change, even done with love, presence and patience,  can be uncomfortable sometimes. Just allow for that and know that you will be ok.  Geneen recommends working on one at a time, practicing, noticing and approaching the guidelines in ways where we don’t set ourselves up for failure.

Geneen Roth’s 7 Guidelines for Eating – Through the experience of Kara Silva. :D

  1. Eat when you are hungry.  This was harder than I thought it might be at first. I quickly came to realize that tired feels very close to hunger to me. With practice, I have learned to separate head hunger and stomach hunger. I have also noticed that I felt guilty some times when I eat as I feel like I “shouldn’t” like some how eating is bad. I have to remind myself that its ok to eat when I am actually hungry.  I have also noticed that I can make up the hunger feeling on occasion if there is something I want to eat. I just notice that and make a conscious decision to eat something or not. I think with food lists and rules, things that are “good” or “bad”, we some times forget to get in touch with the simple feeling of hunger.
  2. Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car. This is actually pretty easy for me. I don’t have little children and my husband travels a lot so I can pretty easily create a calm environment for myself to eat in. I do choose to eat with my husband in front of the TV some evenings but other than that I tend to clear off my eating space and make things as clear and calm as I can. Also, I do still eat in the car on the way to the gym as I just like to do it. The tougher challenge for me comes with the next guideline. :D
  3. Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music. Now this can be a challenging piece. I often want to grab my phone or read or listen to something while I eat if I am eating alone – which I do fairly often. What a different experience to be completely present with the food on my plate and the thoughts in my head. I want to nourish my body, why wouldn’t I want to pay attention and savor what I am eating. Yes, some times its boring admittedly but I rarely find myself over eating or thinking “Oh, its all gone already?” when I eat undistracted. While this guideline can be uncomfortable, it can also be beautiful. I love the focus on the every day moments and meals and the food in front of me. <3
  4. Eat what your body wants. If you knew no diet rules and food was just food – calories needed for fueling, living, savoring – what would you eat? I feel like since I have experimented with diets so much over the years that I know what makes me feel good and what doesn’t.  Most people think they would just power down all junk food – which you might, for a bit until the excitement and forbidden-ness wears off. I like foods that fuel me for the life that I want to have and the activities that I want to do (weightlifting!). I know a meal based on protein helps me to that and it helps if different tastes and textures are involved.
  5. Eat until you are satisfied. This is a subtle one to miss if you are not also following #3. Many times I will just eat what ever is on my plate regardless of satisfaction level. Some times I keep eating WAY beyond that for various reasons – I love the taste of what ever it is, I am nervous, or social or I don’t want to feel what ever it is I am scared to feel at the moment. But in the quietness of savoring food, there is a moment, I have found, where my body says that is enough right there. It can be quiet and I can miss it if I am not paying attention. It might mean there is still food on my plate and that a couple of bites was all I needed. This is still the guideline I need more practice with as I can still way over eat on occasion and need to understand more about the why that happens.
  6. Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others. This is so hard for me. It can make me really uncomfortable. I have spent years hiding food and eating in secret so that I can enjoy what I want with out fear of being judged. Judged for being slovenly, fat, undisciplined, lazy. So I sneak – bites and tastes of things I “shouldn’t eat so I can have peace and non-judgement of others. But is it true they are judging me? How much control do I really have over how others perceive me? If I am eating what my body wants and being present, does it matter that people may judge? So lots of open spots for me to explore here still. Kara and Chocolate
  7. Eat with enjoyment, gusto, and pleasure.  Yes, yes and 1000 times yes. I used to say food is fuel – which it is but it doesn’t need to always been utilitarian. Enjoy what you are eating. Savor what ever you have. Take pleasure in your meal and feeding your beautiful self.  Its fun to share a good meal

This post touches on my experience with the guidelines themselves and while the guidelines are valuable the growth tends to come from noticing where you struggle.  Its in these times when you figure out what you really believe about yourself, food, other people and questioning THOSE things are what brings the growth. I will cover this a bit more in part 3 of my Experience with Mindful Eating.

I hope this has been interesting and helpful to you. I have really learned a great deal about myself and my beliefs through mindful eating and Geneen’s work.  I would love to hear from you on any thoughts or questions you might have and any experiences you would like to share.


My Experience with Mindful Eating Part 1

My connection to sanity and peace around food has grown and strengthened substantially over the past several years. While I have many teachers and practices to thank for this growth for the purposes of this post I am going to talk mainly about practicing mindful eating through the context of Geneen Roth‘s work.

Over the course of 2014, I have taken Geneen Roth’s two online courses based on her book Women, Food and God. Course 1 is The Principles. Course 2 is the Eating Guidelines.  What I like about Geneen is that she gets that the struggle with compulsive eating is not really about the food. Geneen coaches around using food as an pathway to deeper understanding of yourself. (I am guessing some of you just laughed out loud.) :) I have too.

Many things can be used as a tool for self introspection and learning, Geneen chooses what tends to rule our daily lives, what we stress and celebrate over: food.  Through her practices, which I will share in a moment, a person can learn to pause and pay attention – to your body, to your emotions, to the narrative constantly runs in our brains. The practices are about getting curious around things you have never had curiosity about before (What do I believe about eating alone? Why do I want to eat right now when I know I am not hungry? Why am I feeling anger at the moment? Or even what really am I feeling right now? Where did these messages about not being good enough come from? and countless other things that could come up for an individual).  Best of all in my mind, Geneen re-iterates that change is not made through shame and punishment. If that were true we would all be thin, smart and rich. :) She encourages us always to meet ourselves with kindness and curiosity.


I have been on the path that I am sure many of you have been on. I have struggled with binge eating most of my life. I have tried all sorts of diets. I have been vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, primal and paleo (not all at one time though!). I have thought fat was evil and then carbs were evil. I have tried eating copious amounts of protein and made myself feel sick trying to hit a daily target according to my body weight. I have sought out the magic pill supplements that will make me all better – whole, unbroken, skinny.  I have felt that I have been powerless against food. I have felt lazy, weak and stupid. I have craved the discipline of sticking to a plan because I felt there was no possibility that I could trust myself around food.

Now? Finally through little steps, practicing over and over and over again, I am finding peace in more regular intervals. I am able to trust myself more. I am able to meet myself with patience and kindness more often.

Geneen Roth’s 7 Guidelines for Eating

  1. Eat when you are hungry.
  2. Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.
  3. Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music.
  4. Eat what your body wants.
  5. Eat until you are satisfied.
  6. Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.
  7. Eat with enjoyment, gusto, and pleasure.

In the next post, I will step through each one and my experience in practicing them.

What Do I REALLY Need?

Sometimes I find I have to remind myself that losing 10lbs means that I will still just be me only 10lbs lighter. If I am feeling discontent in my life and feel like I JUST HAVE TO lose weight so that everything will be ok then I need to pause for a moment.

I have weighed less than I do now. Life wasn’t magically better then. When I feel this burning desire to be smaller, I need to figure out what else I am wanting to solve for that I am putting weight loss as the solution to.

What am I missing or needing in this

Do I need to be kinder to myself? (Btw, the answer to this is yes, always. )
Do I need more connection?
Do I need less busyness?
Do I need to pay more attention to my health?
Do I need to stop believing all the crazy thoughts in my head?
Do I need to be more present in my life?
Do I need to pay attention on a regular basis to what I am grateful for and where I already have enough?
Do I feel like I do not deserve to take up space?

Of course its fine to lose weight. Be healthy and be the best you you can be. I just found myself wishing again recently that I was 10lbs lighter so I felt like I needed to ask why and understand.

Love who you are. Love your life.

What’s Going on in Your Circle of Friends?

Repeatedly in my life I have learned that the people that you hang out with often can either raise or lower your game over all. (By game, I am referring to the standards that you measure yourself up to, quality of life, values, etc).

Recently, I have noticed two pretty cool themes in my circle of people that have been pretty damn cool.

1) Doing less.
Several of my friends have made some big decisions in their life to stop doing some of the things they had been doing. It felt scary and questionable. However, now that they have taken the leap they love the renewed energy they have from not being over committed or tied to things that feel too burdensome.

More is not better. Better is better.

Is there a way you can simplify or make room in your life? Let go of some things that drain you or don’t meet with your values and priorities?

2) Taking recovery seriously.
A couple of friends have made deliberate efforts to sleep more, take true days off and away from the gym, practicing more self care, eating enough and working on their mobility. Their bodies feel better. They feel better. Life is more enjoyable. They have more to give when they are in the gym. Take your rest and recovery as seriously as you take your work outs.

So. Cool. I am really impressed when people make decisions that don’t always fit with what is expected or what people view to be as the norm and I love that my friends are owning decisions to make their lives better. My friends make me want to raise my game.

What can you do to step up your game?

What I Have Been up to Lately: A Big Learning Cycle

I find that I go through cycles in my life of big learning followed by a bit of being stagnant or low growth. In reflecting on the past few months, I see that I am in a big learning cycle now and its tons of fun.

In August I attended a five week Strongman Clinic that met every Saturday morning. It was mostly women although a few men. We got to play with all kinds of fun toys – stones, axels, yokes, logs. I loved being able to try new things and test my strength with that. Strong man kegThere were several times when I thought “I can’t possibly do that.” Then I proceeded to not only do it but often with more weight then I figured I could do. That is a good feeling. I loved the sense of play and just trying things out as well as the environment of other women just encouraging and cheering each other on. Lots of fun.Olympic Center Pic



Also in August, I had the opportunity to attend a Masters Weightlifting camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO. It was a masters camp meaning that every one was over 35. I would say the ages ranged fromIMG_5397 35-65 and it was about 50/50 men and women. It was so cool to be among my peers. While there were a few people who had been lifting for a long time, many were like me and just found out about the lifts a few years ago and are completely smitten with the sport. We were coached by two Olympians Zygmut Smalcerz and Oscar Chaplin. There was lots to be learned. We had several training sessions a day plus a morning warm up session that I referred to as 1970s Polish Calthestenics. We also had several opportunities to watch the resident team lift which was amazing – speed, power and strength that I can only dream about. The more I learn about weightlifting the more I love it.

Finally, August also brought the Bar Slamming Festival in Stateville, NC. It would be my second official weightlifting meet. What I was most excited about for this competition was a chance to meet one my inspirations in the sport of weightlifting Jon North. If you don’t know him, you should check him out. He is a crazy man and I love it.  His passion and energy in the sport is just contagious. To meet him and to watch him lift and hit a PR for the clean and jerk was just inspiring. I was also there with two of my fabulous friends and I hit a meet PR so it was pretty fabulous in all ways.

Kara and Jon

In September, I attended the USAW Level 1 Coaching course. Let me repeat, the more I learn about weightlifting the more I love it. It was great to interact with the knowledgeable instructors as well as attendees, some of which had never snatched or clean and jerked before. I have an Olympic Weightlifting certification from Catalyst Athletics which is near and dear to my heart. However, the USAW Level 1 is the certification that many people look for industry wide so it was worth getting.  I did learn some great coaching queues and things to improve my own lifting.

It was after the Weightlifting Camp, that I decided to refocus on my weightlifting a bit more and enlist some coaching help. I have trained a ton on my own and really I think I have taken myself as far as I can go. I had a friend who was a competitive weightlifter write me a program and I have a coach that I work with 2-3 days a week. It has made a difference for sure. I have really learned that while I FEEL like my body is doing the right things, the video shows something different. Its been great (and challenging) to get consistent feedback on how my lifts are going. I am planning to compete at the end of September, beginning of November (Both in VA) and in a big Masters meet in California in April. I am pumped about that and ready to work hard and make some gains.

Why am I sharing this? I guess as a reflective time for myself to see how much has happened in a few months but also to help inspire you to go and seek out experiences that you want to have happen and do what ever you can to make them happen. As Jon North has said, Love your life or change it!!

Lessons Learned from My Life So far

In honor of my 42 year on the planet, I am going to copy some of my friends habits of sharing a list of things learned in life so far. I am not doing 1 for every year but a top 20 of the things that pop out at me.  I would love to know what resonates with you and what some of your big lessons are.

  1. Love who you are.  We are born knowing this and then we forget or get it conditioned out of us – some times on purpose and some times by the most well meaning of parents. If we are lucky and with lots of practice you can reconnect with it, savor it, live it. It changes your perspective and how you show up in the world.IMG_2543
  2. Know that you are the ocean. You are not the number on the scale, the size of your jeans, your depression, your food restriction or binge. Those are the waves, you are the entire ocean.
  3. Sit, Stay, heal.  I ran from emotions and experiences for a long time. A powerful tool for me to move past what ever feels really hard is it sit with the difficult feeling, be present with it. It changes and dissipates and typically I have a deeper understanding than I did before.
  4. Its so easy to judge. You never know what is going on with some one else. Try and have some compassion. I find that I have often been in a similar situation to what ever that person is doing that I am judging them for.
  5. It takes great effort to be effortless at something.  Sports, dance, art, loving who you are all take lots of practice. Keep at it. Eventually it gets easier, effortless.
  6. I can trust myself. For a long time I didn’t and even more so never thought it would be possible. But then I practiced (see #5) and it got better.  The inner voice got stronger, clearer and I know I can listen and trust.  The inner critic? Well I got that voice to STFU. :D
  7. Every thing changes. People, pain, health, rules, moods, energy, life, jobs, technology. If it feels hard or impossible, hold on – it will change. If it feels awesome, savor it, it will change.
  8. The number on the scale does not determine how my day will go or what kind of person I am. See #2 as well.
  9. Follow the energy and passion. I do my best to make decisions that keep me where my energy and passion go and take on less of the things that suck the life out of me.  Of course there are always have to do but probably less of those things than you think.
  10. Genuinely and authentically being love for others and myself. I am pretty sure this is my purpose in life. <3
  11. Move in ways that bring you joy. Bodies love rest AND they love movement. While I would love every one to strength train, its so more important to move in ways that bring you joy. Find what you love and do that.   IMG_5410
  12. And throw random movement shit in there too. We don’t forget how to squat, reach, flip, roll over, get up off the floor, find our balance, become less agile – we just stop doing it one day and then we eventually lose the ability.
  13. CTFO on the food rules. If your life and meals revolve around a strict list of what can and cannot be eaten, you may be missing out on life and the stress probably isn’t worth it. Part of what brought peace for me around food is when I stopped having a “good” and “bad” list.
  14. Don’t underestimate the power of regular good sleep.  Yeah.
  15. Choosing the right mindset can go a long way in managing stress. Some times you don’t have to change what you are doing just your attitude towards it and things feel better. Gratitude is a powerful tool and a perspective changer as well.
  16. Value doing less over doing more.  Open time on your calendar, down time during the day is not a crime. We live in a society that glorifies busy-ness. Maybe try doing a few things really well, rather than a ton of things that you only kinda care about because you think you have to.
  17. Lifting heavy weights and long leisurely walks in nature have done more for me than any antidepressant has.
  18. Consciously take care of your relationships. What can you do to make this person feel more loved?
  19. Its fun to walk through a crowd of people and silently offer them the metta blessing – ” May you be happy, May you be healthy. May you be free from fear. May you feel the joy of being alive.”  It can change your whole outlook.
  20. Don’t believe every thing you think. So. Many. Thoughts. They are all just stories and constructs that I have gotten used to. Doesn’t mean its true. The world got a lot bigger when I questioned what I thought.