A book review, my last class and life talk

Hi, friends! What a week! I know some of my Florida people were without power for a couple of days after Hurricane Irma, and that’s just not fun. I also know that the Florida Keys (where I vacationed with my family nearly every single summer growing up, as well as visited as an adult a few times for bachelorettes, etc.), received a lot of damage and will have a long road to repair, so I wanted to send some love to my home state of Florida before we begin.

So let’s see — what were the highlights of this week? I had another doctor’s appointment and everything looks good with the Baby Goes West (I go weekly now); I had an acupuncture treatment (want to know more about what I love about acupuncture and what Traditional Chinese Medicine has done for me? check out this one); I worked; I did some prenatal yoga and a few workouts, including a long walk with my girlfriends (we’ve been getting together in the morning once a week to do about a 1.5-hour walking chat session on the Iron Horse Trail, and it’s the best); I went to a fashion show event at my local Neiman Marcus with a friend; and I also spent a lot of time snuggling with and playing with Rudy, because his reign as our only (fur) child is coming to an end in a few weeks. Now that we’re all caught up, let’s move on to today’s content … 

Book review: “The Anatomy of a Calling”

I’ve had Lissa Rankin’s book, “The Anatomy of a Calling: A Doctor’s Journey from the Head to the Heart and a Prescription for Finding Your Life’s Purpose,” on my night-stand queue for almost a year — long title, right? Well, the past few months, I’ve been a reading machine, so after I got through a bunch of my favorite pregnancy-related books, I finally picked this one up and finished it this week.

A few things to note about Lissa Rankin: She’s a former medical doctor, she lives in Marin County in the Bay Area (and I love supporting Bay Area people), and she has written a few New York Times bestselling titles before “The Anatomy of a Calling,” but this was my first time experiencing her work. This book was definitely different from anything I’ve read before — it’s not a self-help book, per say, it’s more of a motivational book. (Say hi to my plant below in the pic. He’s doing well so far.)

The Anatomy of a Calling book by A Lady Goes West

So here’s the deal: There were definitely some interesting parts to this book, which pulled me in. As an OB/GYN in Southern California, Rankin was totally overworked and encountered a ton of trauma as a doctor, witnessing too many sad things, like babies dying in their mothers arms (I almost can’t type that without tearing up). But she wasn’t allowed to process all of the pain and had to continue spending less than seven minutes with all of her patients, one after the other, day in and day out. This led to undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder, which she believes a lot of people in the health care industry probably have and don’t want to talk about (including ER nurses, paramedics, etc.). Long story short: She had a couple of deaths in her family, gave birth to her own baby and finally had enough of medicine and left her role as a doctor.

From then on, she made it her mission to try to show people how holistic health care, like acupuncture and functional medicine, can heal people, perhaps even when science-based medical doctors say that those same patients are incurable, and she also tried to show how people need to spend more time listening to their gut, rather than just science. And I must say the part about the holistic medicine REALLY spoke to me, especially if you know anything about my journey to recover from hypothalamic amenorrhea and get pregnant, which I detail in my own ebook, because I’m a prime example of healing from alternative methods, when doctors didn’t have answers for me.

Rankin went on to write some books that were never published and eventually opened a holistic practice in Marin County. During all of this time, she realized that she was on a “hero’s journey” to spread the word about a different kind of healing. So the basis of the book is to explain how she went through her hero’s journey and what steps people should take if they find themselves on their own journey. That’s what the calling part is about.

I got a little lost in some of the fluff in the book at times, for instance, when Rankin referred to her “Inner Pilot Light” guiding her path and even had a name made up for one part of her psyche — weird. But, I took some noteworthy nuggets from every section. I mostly liked how she completely interspersed her own experiences with tips for others on how to move forward through hard things, because that made it more relatable and interesting. Wow, this review has turned long, hasn’t it? Okay, moral of the story — this book was not life-changing for me personally, but I’m glad I spent the time to read it. And I think it could really speak to people in the medical field or people who feel like they are on the edge of getting ready to start something big in their lives. 

I’d like to send my copy of this book to one of you lovely people, so if you want to read it, leave a comment on the post, and I’ll pick a winner next week.

Taking a teaching hiatus: My last Bootybarre class

Moving on … three weeks ago, I taught my last Bootybarre class before my maternity leave, and I briefly mentioned it in a weekly workout recap, but didn’t give it enough screen time here on the blog. You see, this marks my first time taking a big break from teaching group fitness in eight years. That’s a long time! For those of you who missed it, I gave up teaching Les Mills BODYPUMP around week 26 of my pregnancy, as it got too difficult to do full out, particularly push-ups, but I held onto my barre classes a bit longer, because they are much easier on the bod. Here’s some of the crew after my last barre class in Walnut Creek …

Last Bootybarre class by A Lady Goes West

While I may have physically been able to do another week or so of Bootybarre as the instructor, I just found myself getting slightly uncomfortable with some exercises. And, at 32.5 weeks when I stopped, I was already pretty short of breath, which does not make talking on a microphone while moving very easy. And it’s only gotten worse since then. I’ve continued to exercise, as you know, and have even attended barre classes, but I’m certain it was the right time for me to throw in the towel. (More details on my third trimester recap and workouts in this post, by the way.)

Here’s the interesting part: I thought I was going to be SUPER sad to not be teaching a single class right now, but I’m not. In fact, I don’t mind it. It’s been nice not coming up with a new playlist or new choreography. It’s been nice not having to go back to the gym to teach in the evening, when my body is ready to rest at that time. I’m not saying I won’t be so happy to be back to my old fitness self and pick up a few classes after the baby arrives and I recover, but I’m saying this break is welcome. It truly is. I wouldn’t have guessed that, but it’s clear my mind and heart are focused elsewhere right now, and that’s good with me.

A delicious throwback lunch: Sweet Potato Love

Totally switching topics again here. For those of you who have been around the blog a long time, remember when I ate a baked sweet potato with eggs and an avocado for lunch like every single day? (Check out those “What I Ate Wednesday” posts, if you want.) I never really got sick of sweet potatoes, I just pulled back from them for a while for other things. Well, this week, I returned to my sweet potato lunch, but this time, I scrambled my eggs and added some greens to them.

Favorite lunch of the week by A Lady Goes West

I’m very lucky to be able to make my lunches at home these days, and that definitely helps me with my lunch variety. I baked the white sweet potato for about an hour at 400 degrees, scrambled the eggs and cut up the avocado, and then covered it all in nutritional yeast. Fat, carbs and protein, perfection. If you’ve never tried this combination, I would highly recommend it.  

A big giveaway on Instagram

I don’t want to miss mentioning that earlier this week, I posted a giveaway over on Instagram, which I’m hosting along with six other fitness-loving ladies. There are some awesome items available for one lucky winner in the U.S., including a Lululemon gift card, a RumbleRoller foam roller and a package of superfoods from Navitas Organics. This giveaway closes Friday evening, Pacific time, so head over and enter now.

Instagram loop giveaway prize package by A Lady Goes West

A few things to read from around the web 

Here’s what I enjoyed …

  • Okay, who loves “Fixer Upper”? The hosts, Chip and Joanna Gaines, are adorable, and I love their style too. I’m very excited to see their home collection debut later this year at Target!
  • I love everything about this article by a trainer, explaining things that are more important than exercising. Good stuff!

And here’s what happened on A Lady Goes West recently …

That’s it for today! Hope you have a great weekend, my friends!

A book review, a last barre class and much more on A Lady Goes West ... Click To Tweet

Questions of the day

What are you up to this weekend? 

Have you introduced pumpkin into your life yet this season? PSL? Candle? Pie?

What’s something you thought you would miss but don’t?


  1. Not ready for PSL’s yet. It is going to be 80s this weekend! I don’t want my stone fruits to go away! And congrats on your last class–that is really exciting, and I know you will be missed!

    1. It’s 80 in Chicago? What? It’s going to be a little cooler than that here! But totally, I would wait on the PSL until the cooler weather appears. Happy Friday, Susie!

  2. I’m so in love with Chip and Joanna that I will probably be waiting in my car outside of Target on November 5th waiting for the store to open lol. I need to visit the store in Waco!
    It’s nice that you’re stopping teaching now to give your body some rest and I bet you’ll be more than ready to jump back in once your healed from giving birth.

    Have a great weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Maureen! I love them too! And it’s awesome that the things from their line at Target are supposed to be really affordable too. I have never spent any time in Texas, but I hear that Waco gets a LOT more tourists now because of Fixer Upper! Hope you have a Happy Friday, lady!

  3. Your weekly friend walk sounds so nice, I love being able to stroll and chat with friends. That book sounds interesting, I have heard that stress of the schedules is a major issue in medicine. I am enjoying the PSL already, but in iced form. Hope you have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Emily! Yes — walking with friends is the BEST! I think there are some studies out there too that say you open up, listen and retain information better when you are active and walking with people. I believe it! You should start a walking group with your pals! ๐Ÿ™‚ And PSL in iced form? Haven’t tried it! Happy Friday, lady!

    1. Hi Christen! Yes — plus walking dates can be done during the morning too. We’ve been enjoying them for sure — no phones, no distractions, just some movement, fresh air and chatting. Love it! You should suggest a walking date with your pals! ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Friday, lady!

  4. I tried an americano coffee a splash of cream and a pump of pumpkin syrup. It is really good and not as sweet as the regular psl and also stronger?

    That book looks very interesting! I always wonder if what doctors see Day in day out, if it really affects them. Most I’ve come in contact with seem very straight to the point, non- emotional but I’m sure they have to protect themselves in that way.

    My grandma is a registered nurse and I saw growing up how much it affected her to seeing people dying everyday. People she often developed relationships with over time. People who often knew they were going to pass soon and would give her certain possessions they had. I know that kind of job would affect me too much.

    1. Hi Jess! Sometimes with pumpkin, all you need is a little pump heheh! As far as your Grandma and what you’ve seen — I’m sure we can’t make any blanket statements for the medical field, but it would make sense that it’s tough for them to process all the very hard things they have to see. I don’t think that’s the job for me! It sounds like your Grandma was definitely in the line of fire with trauma and people passing. So hard! Anyways — thanks for saying hi! Happy Friday to you!

  5. I had a PSL this week but it was too soon. It’s hot an humid (again) where I live so I’ll be waiting a bit more before all the things pumpkin sound good.

    A long run, dog walking and house organization are on the agenda this weekend. I’m nearing the end of a 10 week training plan for a half marathon and I’m ready for a break from running. I’m looking forward to other forms of exercise and it will be nice to maybe miss running instead of feeling like it’s one more thing on my to-do list.

    I love sweet potatoes and feel like I can’t go more than a day or two without having one.

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Carol! Sounds like you have a very productive weekend ahead! Sorry about the heat, but maybe it’s on the way out soon? And I feel you with running — I LOVED it, until I ran a half marathon, and I really think I never enjoyed running just to run again hahaha. But you will feel so accomplished once it is over. Are you doing any sort of cross training during your plan? That sometimes help you to have a better time too — maybe some swimming or weights or yoga? Hope your weekend goes well, lady! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I’m just hanging in there after Irma- we STILL don’t have power! The first night wasn’t so bad, 2nd night was uncomfortable, then we have some wonderful friends that got power back that invited us over after that. My 8 month old has been handling all the change like a champ though.
    Been enjoying catching up on your blog. I was very out of all goings on the world for several days there! Still getting my bearings.

    1. Ohhhh my gosh, that’s awful! I can’t believe you’ve been without for so long. That must be SO hard to handle, especially in the heat and with a little one. ๐Ÿ™ At least you have some nice friends. Hoping things get back to normal for you soon, lady! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Thanks for sharing the book! We have book club next week and I’ll bring it up as a suggestion ๐Ÿ™‚ love reading your posts!

  8. I will have to put that book on my reading list! I work as a nurse, so reading a book about a more holistic approach to medicine would be very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

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