‘Gov. Schwarzenegger, watch Nevada County trim the fat!’ | TheUnion.com

‘Gov. Schwarzenegger, watch Nevada County trim the fat!’

With the publicized budget crunch in Sacramento, I can’t resist teasing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger about our collective efforts at trimming fat in an effort to get him to come to the eighth meeting Feb. 24.

He needs to proclaim Nevada County “the fittest county in the state” for our courageous efforts.

To be sure, the work associated with the Meltdown taxes my own dedication to fitness. I’ve continued to exercise – especially tennis when the weather permits – despite the pressure of multiple tasks. I don’t take my habits for granted, though. Each day I must recommit.

I’ve sometimes forgotten to eat, so I’ve even lost a couple of pounds.

Consequently, I planned on indulging with my husband last Friday night – pizza at the local Round Table. I had finished a salad and was debating about a second piece of pizza when we were unexpectedly joined by a bouncy, effervescent woman.

This enthusiastic Meltdown participant was checking to see if I was overindulging. I was busted. Sooner or later, this had to happen. After introducing herself as my neighbor (Kathy Palmer, who lives across the street), she swept me away with her enthusiasm and energy. Instantly, I pushed aside tempting thoughts about the second piece. Instead, the two of us began carving out her volunteer role.

Kathy’s competence, professionalism, natural leadership ability and high spirits made her a natural to become “Captain of Captains,” working behind the scenes to keep everything moving smoothly.

And what a huge project the Meltdown has become! With 188 teams and 950 team players (and others who are supportive but not on a team), there’s a lot of work to be done. Thank goodness for e-mail.

A typical Tuesday evening may include arrangements for an interpreter for the hearing impaired, blood pressure and body fat testing by nurses, one-on-one advice from fitness trainers, minimassages in the lobby, the distribution of free T-shirts, and a Jazzercise class pumping music and energy into the back of the room. The atmosphere is a mix between a revival, carnival and political convention.

Excellent past presentations have covered the importance of making permanent lifestyle changes – taking care of our bodies from a physical therapist’s perspective, the medical risks of being overweight, and healthy eating. This Tuesday, we’ll hear about how to design our own home gym. The following week’s topic is eating, especially the medical risks and implications of dieting. We celebrate our progress Feb. 24.

Just as I put myself on the line when my efforts to lose weight were chronicled in The Union, now the eyes of the nation are on Nevada County as we collectively work toward the goal of a ton a week. We’ve challenged other communities to beat us at the fitness game. In less than four weeks, we’ll see how far we’ve come.

Because our group effort is so daring, the media is tracking our progress. Coverage is increasing, with stories and interviews appearing in print and on radio and television, including the major networks. Yesterday morning, I gave an interview on Chicago’s ABC radio station WLS89AM and challenged 3 million Chicagoans to join us in getting fit.

Although this has been a ton of work for all of us – volunteers, presenters, participants, club owners – we’ve also had a ton of fun. Better yet, make that two tons.

What’s increasingly obvious is that the program can’t end Feb. 24. The format may change – for instance, a community walk is scheduled March 13 from 9-12 a.m. at the Fairgrounds – but the commitment to fitness will continue and be expressed in a series of events throughout the remainder of the year.

The wonderful part about having a big dream – Nevada County leading the nation in creating a fitness-friendly community – is the joy of having that big dream come true.

Carole Carson is a fitness and nutrition advocate from Nevada City. E-mail her at beltink@ earthlink.net or write her at The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945.

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