Step by Step

On Saturday, Matt and I headed out to Charmlee Wilderness Park for a hike. Charmlee is nestled in the Santa Monica mountains, and hikers are rewarded with sweeping views of the coast, complete with crashing waves and bird’s eye views of millionaire mansions.

Charmlee_WildnernessPark_Malibu_DoubleChinDiary

I had been looking forward to a nature retreat — where the only tweets I’d be interacting with were from real live birds. I was also excited to log some miles towards my 3-Day training, as I’m now to the point where I need to be totaling at least nine miles a week. The hike started out perfectly — not too hard, not too hot, not too many people. I played with my new camera, stopping to photograph buzzing bees and the occasional bumbling butterfly.

Bee_Mustard_DoubleChinDiary

We did two miles easily, enjoying the relatively flat trail. On the second part of the loop, we decided to explore a few trails we hadn’t tried before. I got nervous when the trail started leading us way down into the valleys of the hills, because I knew that what goes down must goes up.

Hills_DoubleChinDiary

The hills started climbing. I put one foot in front of the other, determined, triumphant. Surely my walk training counted for something. 3 miles done. I was doing fine. And then all of a sudden I wasn’t. It was like I hit a wall. I was hot, thirsty, and tired. I was out of breath. I was sweaty. I suddenly felt the weight of every single extra pound I carry, the pounds I’ve carried for many, many years. I wanted to stop. I wanted to give up.

Sweaty_DoubleChinDiary

I had no choice. If I decided to stop hiking at that very minute, no bus, train, plane, car, horse, Rapunzel braid or carrier pigeon was coming to pick me up. No bike would suddenly materialize by my side. No rope would cascade down the side of the mountain to help me hoist myself up its side. I had no choice but to keep going.

Climbing_Mountains_DoubleChinDiary

So I did. I put one foot in front of the other. I took small steps and deep breaths. I battled the voice in my head that was telling me I couldn’t do this. I kept going. Because I had to. Because I had no choice. I asked Matt to take these pictures, because I wanted to show you the struggle. Finally, I saw the parking lot below us. At that point we had made it five miles, and I smiled.

Victorious_DoubleChinDiary

All that sweat, all that struggle. All a reminder that the best I can do is just take this journey step by step, and slowly, but surely, I will succeed.

 

 

 

 

 

Going at full speed

Hello wonderful blog followers!

The month of June is nearing the end.  Can you believe 2014 is already going to be half over?   Time goes by way too quickly and lately I have been finding it hard to do anything that includes sitting down. Unless it is when I am sitting in traffic during my new rush hour commute.

Summer camp is in full swing at the humane society I am now working at and so far,  this job is incredible.  My first two weeks of training brought me all types of new experiences with animals and filled my head with dancing bunnies, barking dogs, and climbing kittens. It has been AWESOME. This week we have our campers, all fifth and sixth graders full of questions, enthusiasm and opinions.  Today I was introduced to the wonderful large group game called “Kelp Help” (a revised version of “Elbow Tag”). Since I’m an awesome camp teacher, I played with the kids and ended up getting a quick workout that even got me sweating!  I had to sprint around a circle playing the role of a shark-dodging seal, as one of  the campers would try to tag me before I latched on to the “kelp” to be released from my role. It was nuts. But the kids were impressed with my short bursts of swiftness.

komenwalk

Last week marked the first week of the Susan G. Komen 24-week training guide.  I managed to walk eight miles last week and this week I have done five so far, thanks to the first official training walk I hosted on Monday. Another 3-day participant, her daughter, my mother, and my two friends joined me to walk through a five mile chunk of my town. I was grateful that the weather was gorgeous and not too hot as we spent our evening chatting about what fitness meant us, weight loss, the effects of cancer on the world, and other random conversation pieces. My feet were about ready to fall off by the end of it as I was still sore from three miles I had done the day before hiking around the Santa Cruz mountains.

All my mileage I have racked up so far has certainly been making me feel all sorts of soreness. However, I also have been quickly feeling much more in shape than even just a month ago. I was down another 3.6 pounds last Saturday at Weight Watchers and am (ideally) another weigh-in away from being down 10 pounds officially since I began the program. It has been a challenge to take off those ten pounds but some progress is better than none. I have a feeling with the walk training and my new lifestyle of change of working to eliminate all the foods I am allergic to, I have faith I’ll be able to continue to drop the pounds.

This week I have been surviving off of yogurt, quinoa mixed with salsa, lettuce, cheese sticks, and grapes.  Mmm, grapes.  ::moment of Napa Valley appreciation::  I am looking forward to finally getting my first pay check so I can grocery shop for more variety! I went to Whole Foods and was saddened by the lack of products that are gluten-free but not made with rice or oats instead.  I did see some corn bread mix that inspired me to research recipes so I have faith maybe I will be able to find some other variety of carbs. Coming up with quick breakfast foods has been my biggest challenge but after some facebook friends made some suggestions, I have some ideas I could do.

Do you have any breakfast ideas for me that don’t include wheat, oats, rice, apples, bananas or oranges?  Thank you :)

I hope everyone had a glorious  rest of their week and an even better weekend.  I’m aiming to walk another eight miles before next Monday, I’ll use this blog as a commitment to do it. ;)

Bye bye!

AprilSignatur

 

 

 

 

PS – I’m brewing up some great ideas for fundraising for my 3-day walk but once I hit 20% of my needed $2,300 – I’ll be working with my friend and stylist, Ashley Blanchard of Lauthr, to create a “pink hair color” fundraising meter - the more money I earn – the more pink my hair will become. So far I have 12% thanks to donations from lovely people (Tommy, my Mom, my sister, Shannon, Audra, and Linda!) and I am VERY EAGER to get that pink in my hair.  If you have it to spare, please consider even donating $5 to my fundraising!  Thank you so much!

 

Visit my personal page here:   http://www.the3day.org/goto/aprillofgren

 

 

 

Define Brave: Katie K. Active Wear Review

Do you guys remember that time I raved about Taffy Activewear? Taffy is a stylish boutique clothing line with super high quality athletic wear for curvy chicks like myself. A few months ago, I found out that the creator of Taffy, Katie K. herself, also had another activewear line called Katie K. Active. I was offered the opportunity to be a #definebrave ambassador, and I’m excited to tell you more about this cool line of clothing.

Defining Brave with Katie K. Activewear

Katie K. Does something I wish all clothing lines would do- offer the same pieces in standard and plus sizes (Sizes 2 – 24, to be exact)! One thing I’m looking forward to about getting out of plus sizes is having better variety in clothes. Last week at Kohl’s, I saw an adorable t-shirt with bicycles all over it. Had I wanted to squeeze myself into the large, sausage style, I could have, but that’s not my jam. I want to feel comfortable in the clothes I’m in, not constantly be worried about an escaping muffin top. I was delighted when I was browsing the Katie K line online and was able to pick a plus version of every style they offer. I ended up choosing: The Katie K. Signature Capri,  the Signature Jacket in Black,and the Signature Racer Back Tank in Coral. As a bonus, I also received a Signature Headband to match my cute coral tank.

AlyssaCurran_KatieKaCtive3One of the first things you’ll notice about this line is the quality. As someone who usually wears Old Navy activewear, I’m not used to athletic clothes that actually have great fabric quality. The fabric on all three pieces is tough, yet soft, and the seams are all strong and even. The capris are perfect because they smooth out my wobbly bits, sucking in my tummy to give me the sleek look I’m working out for. The capris also have a nice reflective design on the lower leg (that match the same design on the sleeve of the jacket), a nice nod to visibility safety.

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The jacket might be my favorite because it has thumb loops!!! This is great for lifting weights or walking in less than desirable weather, because you can keep your wrists and upper hands covered. I was so jazzed about this I had to take a picture of this feature alone. You also have pockets with zip closures, and a hood. The jacket seems to be the same material as the pants, so you have a nice stretch but also a flattering cut that streamlines your silhouette.

KatieKActive4

The top is sweat wicking and comes in a criss cross racer style tank. My next purchase is definitely going to be this adorable coral cowl neck top (in fact, I’d probably wear this for a night out – not to the gym! It’s that cute!).  I’d really recommend you look into Katie K., and the time is right, because they’re running a 40% off sale right now only with code ALYSSA40! I may have to get myself a few items… Who can resist a sale?

Have you heard of Katie K. Active? Be sure to check them out on social media and say hi!

Correction: An earlier version said the capris do not have pockets. The Capris DO have pockets, they’re just so slim and sleek I missed ‘em!

Stuff my lawyer made me say: This outfit was provided to me free of charge in exchange for accepting an Ambassador role with Katie K., helping to share news and information on social media. This post contains affiliate links, which might make me a few nickels if ya click ‘em. (So click ‘em!) ;) Please let me know if you have any questions!

A Friday check-in for April

Hello, blogging world!  It has been an exciting past week and I’m happy to announce that I lost 3.2 pounds!  I was quite proud of myself as I stepped on the scale this morning at Weight Watchers and saw that I was back on the road of losing, rather than the past two weeks when I was creeping up.  I finally shed my birthday weight!  Haha!

I spent last weekend on an impromptu trip to the incredible Yosemite and Mono Lake.  Even though I’ve been a nature lover my whole life, this was only my first time in one of the United State’s many gorgeous national parks.  My spectacular adventure pal, his schnugglific dog, and I basically “camped” in my car for Friday night, ten thousand feet up beneath a snow covered Mt. Dana.  It was just 28 degrees so while I was actually pretty warm in my car, the lack of sleep made it very motivating for me to try to act ultra healthy after I returned from the trip.  My body needed it.

6am beneath Mt. Dana in Yosemite, California

This week I was able to integrate more salads into my day and by keenly preparing all my lettuce earlier in the week, it made it easy not to make an excuse not to eat it.  I started to work my hula hoop back into my nightly routine and am spicing it up by using my hand weights at the same time.  I use the timer on my phone because it makes it easy to build up the time I spend hooping and fluttering my arms like a baby bird trying to fly.  With that, more walking, more hiking, and a combination of some yoga and Pilates moves, my body is starting to feel much stronger.  Especially my core. :)

A rejuvenated April at Mono Lake

I have a nice rush of confidence after the past week.  Yosemite was great, the gorgeous views, fresh air, and seeing a BEAR made it easy to enter into the week with a rejuvenated energy.  I had a job interview on Monday to be a summer camp assistant for a Humane Society here, combining my love of working with kids with my love of science and animals.  I am SO STOKED because right after my positive weigh-in experience, I came outside to see that I had been chosen for the job!

So with a new job, a lighter weight, and awesome visual memories of a bear, I’m ready to continue on my path of awesomeness… AND I managed to get up to $95 in donations for my breast cancer walk!  I still have a long journey ahead of me but with all this confidence, I know that I’ll achieve my goals.  :)

Thanks for the support everyone and I hope you all have a weekend full of new visions for you to focus on!

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

 

Love,

AprilSignatur

Weekly Recap, Double Chin Style

Hello, hello! Sorry for the tumbleweeds blowin’ around here lately…I’ve been on the road living life, and sometimes living life means my little dusty corner of the internet gets neglected for a few days. Here’s what I’ve been up to!

1) I got really POed last week at my weigh in when I gained a pound. I was mostly POed because I *mostly* refrained from eating carbs (except for some delicious Scotchmallows on Easter), walked over 10 miles total, and did a horrifying Jillian Michaels Shred class at the gym. In my mind, all of those efforts should have meant I got skinny right away, because you know, of course eating mostly right and exercising for seven days should automatically result in a 70 pound instantaneous weight loss… I had to talk myself down from my unreasonable yet totally realistic-in-the-moment musings of “I should just accept I’m always going to be heavy and move on with my life”. I actually made a pretty funny comparison now that I think back on it, and I’ll share that one in a few days when I have time to summarize, but it involves everyone’s favorite new movie, Frozen, as shown below.

Coming soon on the DCD: Why Alyssa's weight loss struggles parallels Elsa, a queen with a frightening magical power.

Coming soon on the DCD: Why Alyssa’s weight loss struggles parallels Elsa, a queen with a frightening magical power.

2) I’m meeting with my endocrinologist next week for a follow up, and I can’t wait to switch medication versions from a normal Metformin to Metformin XR, which is extended release and will hopefully make me less nauseous after taking it. After two weeks of feeling constantly urp-ish, I summoned Dr. Google and discovered this PCOS medication can “hit you” five-six weeks after a dosage change, when levels increase in the body. I’m not a doctor of course, so don’t quote me on the accuracy of that, but it made sense to me. You’d think that constant nausea would translate to weight loss, but nope, not this week. Next week, hopefully. Ironically, whenever I eat too many carbs, the gastric distress is enhanced, making me wonder if I do have some sort of gluten intolerance. Maybe I should look into that. Oh carbs. Why do you have to be so delicious?

In honor of Mean Girls 10th anniversary.

3) Fundraising! Thank you SO much to everybody who has donated to my journey towards 60 miles. I’m currently at $669 raised out of $2,300, and my teammate Aubrey has challenged me to raise $200 by Sunday evening. Can you help me get there with a donation of $50?     I have been enjoying training, and today did my longest walk in awhile, clocking in 4.80 miles with my friend Amy. I’m a little bit sore now and am kind of like “Oh, crap. I’m going to be walking four times that in a couple months?! THREE DAYS IN A ROW?!” Scary, but awesome. I can do it. You can do it too. Wanna walk 60 miles with the Double Chin Divas? You can join us on our quest to end breast cancer by fundraising $2,300, walking 60 miles, and then enjoying a fun-filled weekend of walking and glamping. Let me know if you’re interested; I have a special coupon code I can share. Cancer sucks, and this is something we can do to help kick its butt.

Let's leave breast cancer out in the cold. Besides, who doesn't love penguins? Please support me on my journey towards walking 60 miles with a donation.

Let’s leave breast cancer out in the cold. Besides, who doesn’t love penguins? Please support me on my journey towards walking 60 miles with a donation.

4) My bestie got engaged this week! I flew to Northern California to celebrate her birthday and engagement. She and her soon to be hubby are a lovely couple, and I had so much fun at their BBQ and catching up. I also got to squeeze in a nice dinner with all my parents which was lovely. I’m so grateful for an awesome job that allows me to work remotely, as it gives you such a nice flexibility. I can work anywhere that has wifi and cell phone reception — so rad. Now to actually try and work standing up one of these days. Has anybody done it? Any tips?

 

Checking out the ring!

Checking out the ring!

5) I got a haircut. It’s fun to have a change. :)

Ok, that’s all I got, because it’s 11:28 p.m. and this chickadee should be asleep in bed by now. Tell me what’s new in your world, and have an amazing Thursday!

Alyssa

 

 

 

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! :)