Snacks on the trail.

First off, since Alyssa “gently encouraged” me to “stay accountable” in regards to my weigh-ins, I shall be honest.  I haven’t officially weighed in at Weight Watchers for four weeks, this Friday.

I’ve been super sick.

It is birthday season.

School is hard.

I’ve got my reasons, haha!  But the biggest reason I have yet to weigh-in is because I know I haven’t lost anything.  I’ve been up roughly two pounds the whole month, fluctuating up and down depending on how much birthday cake I ate the day before.

But whatever, I have accepted it and am getting real about exercising more since I’m officially registered for the 60 mile breast cancer walk.  I’ll go to a meeting on by the end of the week.  There, now I’m totally accountable.

April is at peace with her gain of two pounds for her month of April.

April is at peace with her gain of two pounds for her month of April.

I’ve been doing a bunch more hiking over the past few weeks with the help of inspiration from my random new nature buddy and his adventurous dog. Over this past weekend we wandered the woods for six miles. I was nervous about whether or not my sickness was going to make me pass out and fall over a steep edge, however I survived just fine as I had the help of something SO important to bring with you on long energy-depleting activities like hiking… SNACKS!

Staying nourished with snacks allows April to balance on fallen trees without falling.

Staying nourished with snacks allows April to balance on fallen trees without falling.

My buddy and I discussed how important we think it is to stay nourished during long hikes.   Besides hiking, this is a big thing for me through any activity as I start to get super dizzy and shaky if I go too many hours without some sort of food.  So snacks are super important for me to have with while hiking.  Typically I make an afternoon out of my nature activities and bring a sandwich for a picnic.  Snacks like bananas, apples, cheese sticks, oranges, granola bars, and popcorn are some of the other happy trail foods I’ve brought with me.  Of course, I’m always willing to carry a backpack with me and my precious Dakine backpack has a cooler built in, so bringing snacks that need chilling is no problem. 

What kind of snacks do you like to bring with you when you go on long adventures?

Love,

AprilSignatur

 

 

 

*There’s an amazon affiliate link to the Dakine backpack. If someone buys it, we make 7c! Woohoo! :)

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

Smoothie love and progress pics.

First off, I know it has been quite a while since I last wrote here on the blog and for that I am sorry.  It is always flattering for me to hear from my sister that people ask about where I disappeared to so thank you, I feel loved.

I have been having an incredible amount of fun over the past few weeks and have been staying busy with new adventures mixed with some midterm testing for school.  However, even with my rushed lifestyle that I have been rocking for a while now, I haven’t made much progress on dropping down numbers on the scale.  I had my Weight Watchers meeting today and I was up 4.2 pounds since the last meeting I attended two weeks ago.  Oops.  I know exactly how I gained those pounds and I know exactly what I need to do to take them off.

Here is the smoothie that created much adoration.  Plus, how could one not love a drink that comes with an umbrella?

Here is the smoothie that created much adoration. Plus, how could one not love a drink that comes with an umbrella?

I have been eating rather crappily over the past week but went shopping and am ready to get a grip on my nutrition.  I’m also on day two of no artificial crap caffeine (as in Red Bull and soda).  I had a HORRIBLE headache last night so I think I need to just pop some Tylenol early on in the day to try to avoid the headaches.  I’ve been having around five headaches a week now and it is getting pretty old… I spoke with the doctor and she suggested that I start taking a bunch of vitamins/minerals to see if that helps, including magnesium, riboflavin (B2), and Co enzyme Q10.  Otherwise she recommends some daily pill which I don’t want to get on as I would rather just take a pain killer when needed, not every day.

Besides my lame headaches, I’ve been trying out new ways besides salad to get fruits and vegetables in my life.  One of the new additions to my life to help me get more produce into my life are smoothies.  I’ve always loved smoothies yet rarely have them because I’m too lazy to do the prep and clean up.  Recently I have been reintroduced to the greatness of the cold drink packed with nutrients and have shown ways to make smoothie making less tedious.  Yes, I know that they have a lot of sugar.  However, they also have a lot of potential for extra nutrients like fiber and protein if you add fun ingredients like chia seeds, yogurt, and leafy greens.  Plus, they are still way better for me than the amount of sugar I get in my Red Bull addiction.

The smoothie you see pictured has a bunch of fantastic things in it like kale, spinach, strawberries, pineapple, blackberries, almond milk, cucumber, chia seeds, ground flax seeds… A smoothie like that is a great meal replacement and my buddy has lost 65 pounds by supplementing meals for smoothies like this.

Veronica's amazing drawer of smoothie wonder

Veronica’s amazing drawer of smoothie wonder

I made myself a lower calorie version the other day with just some banana, strawberries, blueberries and yogurt. Although it was annoying to me to have to chop off the tops of each little strawberry, I endured through the task and decided to cut up ALL of  my strawberries in motivation to create a frozen drawer of goodness like one of my favorite women in my life, Veronica.  I’ve always admired Veronica’s master skills at organization and since I babysit for her twice a week, I get to experience first hand in how doing a little bit extra effort at one point can result in simplicity later on.  Veronica chops up all her fruit and sticks it in the freezer so she is always ready for her two children’s requests for smoothies.  I think it’s awesome and wanted to share with all of you how easy she makes smoothie making, check out her freezer drawer!  Plus, it’s a great thing to do if you know you’ve got excess fruit that you just don’t want to waste!

Do any of you guys make smoothies?  What do you like to throw in there?

And as promised.. here are my progress pics.  :)

Two months of Weight Watchers from January 3rd to March 3rd (~10 pounds down)

Two months of Weight Watchers from January 3rd to March 3rd (~10 pounds down)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

Love and smoothies,

AprilSignatur

April’s 2-month Weight Watchers Review

It has been roughly two months since I signed up for Weight Watchers.  I had never been a fan of doing “molded into a box” programs that have been designed for the masses, but I figured it was cheap at $21 a month and I struggled with being accountable for my own actions.  Eight weeks in, I’m down roughly ten pounds.  January I lost the majority of that, February I fluctuated up and down because of sickness and winter blues, and now that it is March… well I guess we’ll just have to see what this month brings for me.

One major criticism that has been bugging me about this program is that I don’t feel I’m getting what I should out of it.  According to this article, Weight Watchers pulled in  $253 million dollars in 2012.  The article highlights the low wages their employees are getting, which isn’t surprising to find out about since most large corporations pay the backbone of their company like crap anyway.  However, I’m sure that profit margin is still reasonably high considering the actual work the company does for each individual client is relatively small.

Once I was registered for my first meeting and my weight and height were popped into the system, I was assigned my point value for my day.  There was no personal assessment of the foods I could and could not eat because of health restrictions.  There was no measuring of my body fat or even just with a tape measure to my gut.  I stepped on the scale, got my sticker with my weight, and sat down with the rest of the stickerfied people ready to listen to our leader.

With all the complains this blog post may have, I do have to emphasize the greatness I have gotten out of the meetings.   The meetings are why I signed up for the program in the first place.  I didn’t think I needed help with knowing what to eat, especially when I discovered what kind of processed food they suggest (but I’ll get to that another day).  What I wanted is a group of like-minded people to get together with and talk about our struggles and accomplishments with our health.  So… basically this blog!  Haha!  But in person.  My meeting leader Adrienne is spunky and inspirational and always motivates me to share my own experiences or to get up in front of the group and do a demonstration of food portions or, my favorite, writing on the white board.   I have noticed a correlation between my weeks of losing and going to meetings compared to the weeks I gained and NOT going to the meetings, so that’s interesting.

Outside of the meetings, however, I nitpick on the little things that irritates me about the program.  Alyssa and I both agree that their smart phone app is horrible in comparison to Myfitnesspal.  Their database of food is incredibly small and navigating your way through the app can be slow and frustrating as you discover that you accidentally were searching for a food in your “favorites” section instead of the general search.  For such a large company, we feel their app should be flawless and incredibly easy to navigate.  If two young women brought up in the technological world of smart phones and computers have issues with  the app, what do the people who didn’t spend their teen years with a cell phone in their hands do?

Honestly, I have not counted points for weeks.  Because of my hatred of  the app and not being home enough to be focused on checking in on the computer every day, I just don’t track my points.  I have a basic idea of what I should be eating to stick within the Weight Watchers plan, but really, if I’m not using the app or website…. I am basically just paying to go to the meetings.  $5.25 per meeting to me is worth it to see Adrienne and the rest of the awesome people fighting the struggle with me, but is it worth it to everyone?

I hope that the majority of people using Weight Watchers are finding more of a value in it than I am.  Maybe if I had no idea of what I was doing I would like it more.  Maybe if they bought out Myfitnesspal’s database for their app, I would like it more.  Maybe if they sent me an annoying email every once in a while saying “We notice that you have not tracked your points for 37 days,” I would like it more.   Myfitnesspal does that and they don’t even charge for their website.

It is unlikely that I will register again after my six months is up in August but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try to make the most out of my Weight Watchers experience.  It is working for me and I do credit the new support system I have found in the meetings for keeping me motivated. I just hope that Weight Watchers can use some of the hundreds of millions of dollars their pulling in each year to put it back into their products and individualized customer service.

Lots of love,

AprilSignatur