I’m walkin’

I am so stoked to announce that I am going to be joining Alyssa and the rest of the Double Chin Divas for the Susan G. Komen 3-day walk!  Alyssa, Aubrey, Monique, and myself are going to be taking on sixty miles at the end of November in the beautiful city of San Diego. I’ve got this vision in my head of thousands of people in pink walking together, laughing, crying, and sharing all sorts of experiences as well as making new ones.   I picture myself walking into a tent city as the evening sun paints the sky with pink and yellow, a reminder to me of the people who are looking down from the skies above.   I can see the neatly arranged rows of pink triangle tents, ready to take in their weary guests after a long day of walking.   I envision myself waking up in the morning as soon as the sun begins to beat down on our tent and laughing with Alyssa at how once again, while sleeping next to each other, we woke up “butt-to-butt.”

With all these visions I can see for myself in my future, there is no guarantee that I will make it. That’s the thing about life, there are no guarantees that anyone will make it to what they envision for their future.  And that is exactly why I want to walk.  None of us know exactly how long we have here on this gorgeous earth.  Some people live for 100 years, some for 75 years, some for just 75 days.  The point is that while I’m here in this capable body, I will do whatever I can do to make life a little easier for someone else, whether it is simply holding the door open for someone or by walking sixty miles.

Nancy G. Brinker, the sister of Susan G. Komen, promised Susan that she would do whatever she could to find a cure for this disease.   With dedication and the help of millions of supporters, Susan G. Komen has provided over $800 million dollars in research and nearly $1.7 billion dollars in funding for screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs that serves millions of people in more than 30 different countries.

If you can help me make it to November 21st, the Double Chin Diva’s day to shine like the sun that will be above the sea of pink, please donate to my personal fundraising page.  If you can not donate, even just sending out happy thoughts for myself and my team mates to reach our goals would be lovely as well!  I’m so happy that I have the opportunity to do this walk and look forward to seeing what sorts of fundraising ideas I can do.

Click the heart to visit my fundraising page! Thank you!

Do you have any fundraising ideas for me?

Thank you and enjoy your Thursday!

Love,

AprilSignatur

 

 

Friend Makin’ Monday: The Tuesday Version

Hi guys! I have total “Blogger’s Block” tonight, so I decided to do my friend Sarah’s Friend Makin’ Monday a day late.

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic! This week the questions come to you from Stephanie who blogs over at Athlete at Heart.

Favorite things

1. Favorite color? (be specific… what shade of blue/green/red etc)

I definitely gravite towards blues, teals, and turquoises. My car is royal blue, aptly named Blueberry, as are my iPhone case, computer case, bedroom walls… lots of blues! I love jewel tones.

2. Favorite piece of clothing you own?

Oh, this is a tough one. I adore my Taffy yoga pants, and a pair of gnome pajamas my first boss gave me. I also have a new skirt I just bought — a maxi skirt, that may end up in the favorite things rotation. As I’m between sizes right now and my jeans are too big, I don’t want to buy new things yet, so skirts and dresses are coming into play more often.

3. Favorite smartphone app?

Another tough one! I probably use my Twitter app the most, followed by Instagram, then Map My Walk and Yoga Studios. I also love Tab, which easily splits a bill in a group of people at a restaurant, A Beautiful mess, which lets you add cute quotes and graphics to photos, and PicShop, which lets me edit photos.

4. Favorite city?

While I of course love my two current home state cities, Los Angeles and San Francisco, my heart will always belong in my maiden city of Chicago. Chicago just has so much to do – from the Field Museum, to exploring Grant Park, to the John Hancock Observatory, to Greek town… I just love it there. The amazing food doesn’t hurt, either.

Can't beat this skyline.

Washing Windows at the Willits Tower
Washing Windows at the Willits Tower

5. Favorite strength training exercise?

Uh. I can’t think of anything. Does Yoga count as strength training? Yeah, probably not.

6. Favorite vegetable?

Now we’re talkin’. I love Persian Cucumbers, tomatoes, artichokes, peas, onions, garlic, cauliflower… the only vegetables I don’t LOVE are eggplant and asparagus.

7. Favorite hair product? (shampoo, styling, conditioner etc)

I use Bedhead’s “Dumb Blonde” for shampoo and conditioner, and a bunch of random stuff for styling. I don’t really have a favorite – I don’t spend a ton of time on my hair.

8. Favorite animal?

Giraffe, hippo, penguin, cat. For a long time I had this lovely ridiculous mental image of spreading a beach towel out on a hippo’s belly as it sunned, and sunning on a hippo’s belly, and then I learned that hippos are vicious, vile, creatures, and that idea went out the window. So yeah.

9. Favorite superhero?

Hmmph. I like the idea of the nerd turned super hero, so probably Spiderman. But I’m not a big superhero/comic fan myself.

10. Favorite recipe? (share the details with us)

Aghhh, too many to choose from! Probably my favorite lately is one my husband’s family got me into, named “Fall Apart Beef”. I’m going to butcher this, but roughly, you get a rump roast cut of beef, barbeque it to slightly brown it. Put it in either a crock pot or big pot on low all day with one bottle of cheap red wine and a packet of onion soup mix. You can add sliced mushrooms a few hours in. Serve it over egg noodles. So simple, flavorful, and delicious!

Ok, well, that was fun! Will you participate in Friend Makin’ Monday? How about donating a small amount towards my journey walking 60 miles this fall to help end breast cancer? Every little bit counts! :)

 

 

What’s up, Wednesday?

I've been nomming on my garden grown Kale ... carb-free!

I’ve been nomming on my garden grown Kale … carb-free!

Hello, hello. I hope your day is off to a nice start, or if you’re reading this in the afternoon/evening, that it’s been AWESOME so far! I have a mish-mash of randomness to chat about today. The first is, results of my weekly Weight Watchers weigh-in. I was having trouble with motivation this week, even though I’ve been cutting carbs like a champ. As outlined in several PCOS/Low Glycemic diet guide books, I’m trying to stick to 100 carb grams or less per day. It’s actually a very doable amount, in that you can still have bites here and there of yummy carbs like red potatoes, it’s just the “empty carbs” that have to go. I just wasn’t feeling the whole “constantly trying to lose weight” thing, especially since I found an old journal from five years ago where I weighed exactly one pound less than I do now. That sent me into this whole “Why do I even bother?” type mindset, making me think things like “Maybe this is just who I am. Maybe I just need to accept that this is my weight, forever.” However, common sense spoke, as it often eventually does, and my friend who’s also dieting reminded me that we’re not getting any younger, and there’s the whole health thing to worry about. I ate the chip off my shoulder, and moved on. I forced myself to weigh in today, and while I dreaded stepping on the scale even though I knew I had done alright, I was rewarded with a 1.5 pound loss, making my total weight loss hover around 22 pounds. That was a good reminder for me that sometimes you just need to SHOW UP to find new inspiration. I have a semi-goal of trying to shed 8 more pounds before my Cabo San Lucas vacation in May. I say semi-goal because as I’ve learned with PCOS, setting up a numerical goal is sometimes a bad idea, because my body bloats like a sponge in water, and jeans/measurements are a much more reliable factor for me. But you get the drift. I’m tryin’ to be good. Enough of that, let’s talk about VIKINGS!

I'll refrain from making a bad Helga/Olga joke, but you know what I'm thinking about singing!

I’ll refrain from making a bad Helga/Olga joke, but you know what I’m thinking about singing!

Remember how I wrote a post about how I’m not fat, I’m just a viking? On Sunday, the husband and my mom and I trekked up to California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks for the Scandinavian Festival! We got to hear stories, lore and historical facts (like the fact that nobody likes Lutefisk), and there were all sorts of cool crafts for kids, like making floral wreaths and butter knifes. I, for one, most enjoyed the dress up, as you can see by the photo above. We enjoyed traditional Swedish fare of roasted corn (Yeah, not really traditional Swedish fare), curly fries, and fresh berries with cream, and spent some time shopping at all the little Norwegian/Swedish vendors. I got a cute blue and yellow horse that says ‘Vilkommen’ to hang on my front door. Here’s me in a traditional Swedish kitchen, feeling right at home amongst the cabbages.

Scandinavian Festival

Sweet Swedes in a traditional Swedish kitchen

Lastly, I have some good stuff to tell you guys about in the next few days! In the “I’m becoming a hippie” vein, I’ve stumbled upon some really cool natural healing/wellness products from a brand called Bio-Ray. Using some of their herbal detox products in conjunction with now weekly acupuncture has helped some of the ongoing health issues I’ve been having. I’ll have more details for you soon. I am also excited to share a low-calorie banana split recipe in the next few days, courtesy of some amazing light, all natural ice-cream from my friends at Halo Top Creamery. I’ll be spending some time in Palm Springs over the next few days, and when I’m not hanging with my desert tortoise friends or logging training miles walking around the living desert, I hope to be catching up on writing some more posts. Ok, I lied, I have one more thing to tell you about…

Woohoo! Let's keep fundraising and walking!

Woohoo! Let’s keep fundraising and walking!

 

Lastly (for real this time) thank you SO MUCH for your support of me and the 3-Day! In my first day of fundraising I raised $469, which is 20% of my total goal of $2,300. I am humbled and overwhelmed by the amazing encouragement you all have given me. Thank you, thank you, thank you! $2,300 will allow me to walk 60 miles in San Diego with my team, the Double Chin Divas. Can anybody out there make a $31 donation and help me reach my first mini goal of $500? Once I’ve met $500, we don’t have to stop there — keep those donations coming! One $60 donation funds a walker for the whole 3 days, and a $35 donation funds transportation costs for a patient undergoing chemotherapy. If you can’t make a donation, consider registering for the 3-Day and walking with the Double Chin Divas! (Don’t worry – if you’re a dude and would prefer not to be a diva, we’ll make a concession and make your shirt say Double Chin Dude ;) ) Using the code TEAM20 at The3Day.org through April 16 will save you $20 off your registration, making it $50. We’ll have a blast training together, walking together, and kicking cancer’s butt.

That’s all I got for today. Keep on rockin’!

 

Ticks.

Warning:  This isn’t relating to weight loss or fitness but it has a lot to do with health awareness.

Continuing on…

Ticks.   I hate ticks.  The very thought of them as I write this makes me feel like I have at least four on me right now.   Ideally, it would be great if you are reading this and you have no idea what this nasty little bugger I’m talking about is.  However chances are, since there are roughly 900 different species of ticks in the WORLD, you probably have at least heard of ticks.

Ticks have been a part of my life ever since I first discovered how magnificent nature is.  My family and I would do “tick checks” after our adventures outside and if one was found, my Dad would carefully pry it out of our bodies as we screamed in horror as if he was removing a toe.  What was just as bad though was when we failed to find the ticks on the dogs and they would go around for days before we discovered the sweltering beast on their bodies.

My motivation for this post came for two reasons: One is that I went for a hike on Sunday with Maggie, our golden retriever, and twice I found two different types of ticks on her.  I was so worried about finding another tick on her that I constantly was rubbing down her majestically fuzzy fur, picking out every tiny thing that wasn’t part of her coat.  I did the same to myself, scratching at my head on the drive home, thinking of the many times I had pulled ticks off me doing the very same thing before.

The other reason I wanted to talk about ticks is because there is so much more to them than just finding them and picking them off.  The scariest thing about ticks isn’t that they fall down from the trees above you as they detect your body heat moving below and then latching on and burrowing into your body, filling itself with your delicious blood.   No no, as scary as that is, the most horrifying thing about ticks is that they CARRY DISEASE.

I know two women who have contracted diseases from a tick.  One case, not as serious, was my own mother.  While I can’t recall the name of what she got, I remember how she came down with it.  She found a tick in her arm and within a few days of removing it, she noticed the spot start to get really irritated.  After it got worse and worse, she finally went to the doctor and was put on medication to “cure” her.  She’s fine now, but it was a wake up call that no matter how careful you think you can be, there is still always a chance that ticks are out to bite you.

 

Stacy and her friend who organized the fundraiser, Sasha

Stacy and her friend who organized the fundraiser, Sasha
Click here to view Stacy’s Gofundme Page!

The next case, much more serious, is that of my high school friend Stacy.  Stacy got diagnosed with lyme disease a few years ago after being bit by a tick in the very county I live in today (Sonoma County).  Stacy started losing her hair and was constantly incredibly tired.  She would get migraines, blurred vision, heart palpitations, insomnia, sensitivity to light and sound, issues with speaking, memory loss… SO many symptoms that continue on.  Now that she is in the last and final stage of the disease, she described it was living with the flu, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Of course our American healthcare system doesn’t do much to help her situation unfortunately, people with lyme disease were often denied coverage. (I hope Obamacare will truly change that!)  Stacy has had the best luck using homeopathic remedies to relieve her awful symptoms.  There are some organizations out there that help people like Stacy, but people with serious diseases like Stacy could always use all the help they could get.

I was aware of Stacy having lyme disease for a while now but I didn’t know how severe it had gotten until her friend Sasha made Stacy a fundraising page and tagged her on it.  If you are able to help Sasha make Stacy’s life a little easier, please check out her Gofundme.com page!What steps do you take to avoid ticks?  Are they on your mind when you go out in nature?

Thanks for your attention, blogging world!

Love,

AprilSignatur

 

 

I’m walking 60 miles in 3 days.

Remember how a few weeks ago, I teased that I had an announcement to make? This is it! I’ve decided that this November, I’ll be walking 60 miles over three days in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. I’ll be walking alongside my friend Aubrey, and hopefully some of you, with the Double Chin Divas — a team made up solely of people who are invested in not only their health, but the health of women and men worldwide. While the 3-Day is specifically an event to help end breast cancer, I’m walking these miles not only against breast cancer; but against liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, brain cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, and every other type of cancer that’s ever touched the lives of anyone you and I have ever loved. (And sadly, I know that cancer has touched and taken many lives.)

This year, an old classmate of mine, Scott Schipper, passed away after a courageous fight against colon cancer. He was 29 years old, just a few months older than I am. 29. I turn 29 in a month. Think about that. There’s so much I want to do, to be, to see. I’m only 29. Scott was only 29. Scott was an incredibly enigmatic person. I first met him in high school marching band, and that kid never left home without his saxophone. He was a class clown, but the friendly kind, never somebody to bully or taunt, but leave you with that goofy perma-grin that only a true comedian can. When I heard that he had passed, I was filled with an overwhelming sadness, but also, a rage. Scott’s passing is just one too many. Cancer has touched far too many lives. This year has brought a long and unfortunate list to mind of those fighting cancer. Their bravery stuns me, amazes me, touches me, and above all, propels me into action. I can’t directly cure cancer. But what I can do is donate my time and energy to a cause that I care about deeply.

DoubleChinDiary_SusanGKomen_The3day_60miles_alyssacurran_breastcancer

3 Days. 60 Miles. $2,300.

While I train to walk 60 miles, I will also be fundraising. I need to raise $2,300 to participate in the walk, and 100% of the net proceeds raised by participants in the 3-Day are invested in community-based breast health programs and breast cancer research. $2,300 is a big number. It’s intimidating. But, it’s a lot more intimidating to think about twiddling my thumbs and remaining passive about the fact that cancer is effing with the wrong group of people. I’d like to ask for your help as I prepare for this amazing journey. Can you spare something to help fight cancer?

A $75 donation will help two breast cancer patients get to and from their treatment sessions. A $120 donation will fund the cost of one life-saving mammogram. With your donation, please share the name of a person you’d like me to walk in memory of, or in honor of. I will gladly carry their name with me every step of my journey. You will see a lot about my 3-Day journey in the coming months on this blog. I will be selling ad space to help me fundraise, and I’m hoping to host fun events like a “Boob-b-q”.

Beyond fundraising and kicking cancer’s butt, I’m looking forward to the satisfying physical effects that long distance walking will help with; increased energy, toning, stamina, stress reduction, and above all, weight loss! The 3-Day is a win-win for me. I’ll be fighting breast cancer, getting fit, helping others, and making a difference. And above all, that’s what this blog has always been about. Making a difference in the way I viewed my own body. Making a difference in the way I approach weight loss, and ultimately, making a difference in my health. I invite you today to make a difference not only in your health, but in the health of the estimated 232,000 women who will receive a breast cancer diagnosis this year. Together, we can impact change, and create hope. Won’t you join me?

Please help me kick off my fundraising with a donation today.

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day

Are you interesting in joining the Double Chin Divas team? Click here for more information about the San Diego 3-Day. You can use code TEAM20 now through April 16 to save $20 on your registration. Aubrey and I would love to have you! Besides the walking and fundraising, there’s a ton of cool stuff that happens on the actual event — camping in PINK tents, dance parties, trail mix, delicious food pitstops every couple miles, entertainment… it’s basically a giant party for three days. Sounds good to me! To see more of what it’s going to be like, check out this board on Pinterest.

Do you have any advice for me, either about fundraising, walking long distance, or anything else? You know I always love to hear what you have to say. :)

Love,

The Double Chin Diary Siggy

 

 

 

 

Buy the box weight loss

Even though I am currently “doing” Weight Watchers, it took me a while to get keen on  the idea of paying money to do a program that had already been determined for me before nothing was known of my own personal condition. But since I can’t resist a good deal and I knew I needed some sort of extra pressure to help me… I signed up.  As you guys saw with my last update, I have actually been having some success over the past few months.  Whether or not I could have done that on my own, who knows.  I do know that I counted points for like 2 weeks and the rest of the time I have just been eating my typical “earth food” that comes from the ground rather than a box.

I’ve got this issue with boxes with more than just avoiding food from them.  I also have a big issue with companies that try to fit their potential customers or current customers into a box.  Specially, weight loss plans.  Ever since I started gaining weight as a teenager, I’ve had suggestions of weight loss programs that I should do.  Slimfast.  Nutrisystem. Jenny Craig.  Weight Watchers.  Atkins.  Now, as an adult blogger, the suggestions come on even stronger.

The past few months on Weight Watchers has really confirmed my disliking of programs that are designed to place certain people in certain boxes.  For example, my daily point allowance for WW was based on my age, height, weight, and my suggested activity level.  The spectrum for everything is pretty broad though.  According to this handy blog by LaaLoosh, age groups are clumped within ten years and people who fall between 5’1 and 5’10 are clumped together as well.  So that means a 27 year old female who is 5’9″ and 200 pounds who is sedentary will have similar point values to a 37 year old female who is 5’2″ and 160 pounds and walks often.  I would like to believe it is balanced accordingly per person, but I just doubt the specific attention each member receives when determining what they should eat every day.

Weight Watchers gripes aside, my point is this:  I believe there is no program that works for everyone.  The weight loss industry in the United States is driven by one thing: money.  Our country feeds into this multi-billion dollar industry by quickly latching on to whatever they feel is going to be the easiest solution to their weight loss.  I know when I signed up for Weight Watchers, it was and is because I still feel like I need the weekly meetings in order to feel accountable for myself.  I had a feeling that I probably wouldn’t actually track points and  even without it, I have still been able to have success.  Whether or not it is because I’m enrolled in the program and going to the meetings, who knows.  I do feel more determined that ever to get this weight off so whatever it is that I’m doing, it is working.

However, I can not just go and say that Weight Watchers works for everyone.  I think the only sort of program I can really advocate for is one that a trained dietitian and nutritionist creates specifically for YOU.  Anyone that I have talked to about their successful weight loss has been on a journey that has consisted of what they have crafted together by what works best for their bodies.  There is no simple, by the box, weight loss program that works for everyone. The trick is just finding what works for YOU.

Lots of love,

AprilSignatur