A Measured Effort: Weighing out my Weight Loss

Hello!

I love coming here to update when I have good news, and today I have good news. I lost 3.6 pounds last week! HOLLA!

I was thinking about the differences I made on the way home, and I felt like I wanted to write about it because it seems like two pretty simple changes, in the grand scheme of things…

  • I MEASURED nearly everything I ate, with a food scale and/or measuring cups and spoons.
  • I also WORKED OUT with my awesome trainer three times, in addition to two workouts on my own.

These two things were actually pretty easy to accomplish. In one way, yes, measuring out what you’re going to eat is a pain in the ass. But it was eye opening, because what I thought was one tablespoon of Peanut Butter was really two tablespoons. I’m also a chronic overpourer of cereal and several times poured a hefty one and a half cup serving that I would note as one cup. WRONG! Do it again.

And exercise? Before I signed up for personal training I kept thinking, “There’s no way I can exercise three to five times a week at the gym. I just can’t. I work full-time, I’m a wife, I’m a mom,” etc. But the truth is? Just like I make taking care of my daughter a priority, I can make taking care of myself a priority. So I use three lunch breaks a week to sweat it out, and I feel great afterwards – full of energy and ready to tackle my afternoon.

So this week, it seemed simple. I’m sure tomorrow it won’t be simple because some stuff really never is, and I hate it when people say “Weight loss is simple: just eat less and move more.” Though I guess that’s really what I just said I did. HA! Ok, I’m going to bed. Good night! 🙂

Infographic from FitFluential.com

Infographic from FitFluential.com

 

 

Weight Loss Wednesday: Personal Training and Weight Watchers

Hello there!

How are things in the land of double chins? I’ve been on Weight Watchers for about two months, and in true Alyssa on Weight Watchers fashion, I keep losing and gaining the same five pounds.


My thoughts on Weight Watchers as a program continue to be up and down (like the scale), as I love the group mentality, the food tracking, and the accessibility of the plan; however, I struggle sometimes wondering if the plan *really* works for everyone. I recently found out that the points Weight Watchers put me at were “too high” based on my height, weight, gender, and age, so my leader recommended I go lower on my app, even though there is no way for me to manually change my points. She also told me not to eat my weekly “treat” points. So, fine, I’ll do these things, but it makes me think there’s a flaw if the formula they use to calculate your points is not actually relevant or effective for everyone. However, knowing me, as soon as I lose weight consistently I’ll be like “BEST DIET EVER!”, so take that with what you will.

One thing I’m excited about with Weight Watchers is I now have an accountability buddy! A friend whom I met at birth class back when I was prego just joined Weight Watchers. We’re already texting each other our meals and will be attending meetings once a week together. Having a friend to stay accountable with is so fun, and it’s great to be on the same page with someone of equal sleep deprivation, exhaustion, and post-baby-body woes.

All the tireds.

Speaking of post-baby body woes… This old gray mare aint like she used to be! I finally rejoined my gym about a month ago, and while I was starting to work out on my own, I was running into some challenges. I got bored easily of cardio and felt uninspired and achey.IMG_0228

During my pregnancy my hip popped out of place twice, and I had to see a chiropractor about it. I also redeveloped plantar fascia, and found out today I have a heel spur. I knew that to prevent injury and improve my overall strength, I needed the help of an expert. I decided to try personal training! I went in to the initial appointment expecting I’d commit to once a week. Well, with some of my trainer’s smooth persuasive skills, I realized I needed to make a more concrete investment in my health, and I’m now being tortured trained three times per week. I really like my trainer because she  puts up with my crap (AND CALLS ME ON IT!), and above all, she kicks my ass. I leave our sessions soaked in sweat, tired, but with a happy endorphin glow. I’m really excited to see what this does for my overall fitness, and I hope it’s the key to unlocking that slimmer, more energized me.

We also do Crossfit type stuff, and there’s lots of props like boxes, ropes, balls, and weights, which keeps me interested as I have the attention span of a caffeinated squirrel. I make some pretty great expressions during my sessions, and I feel like Spiderman adequately summed it up:

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So there you have it. As usual, weight loss continues to be elusive sparkly-haired unicorn for me, but I’ll catch that beast, one day. In the meantime, I’ll be tracking my points and getting into beast-mode!

Have you ever worked with a personal trainer? What was it like?

***Have a baby or know someone who does? Enter to win a prize package from Wellements at LaLaLyssa.com!

***Big love to Diet to Go for the shout-out, and also, PT Pioneer’s Top 50 Weight Loss Blogger’s List for including the Double Chin Diary! <3

Putting the GO in Pedego: Electric Power!

Stuff the FTC makes me say: Pedego provided me a complementary bicycle in exchange for my coverage on the Double Chin Diary and social media. All opinions are my own.

The first time I rode my Pedego and twisted the throttle, I had an unconventional and immediate association with Twlight. Wait, what? I know! How do sparkly vampires with yellow eyes relate to awesome beach cruiser e-bikes? I’ll show you how.

So in this cheeseball scene, right at 0:07 after Edward says “yeah, you need to hunt”, you see Bella flying through the forest. Well, rather you see the bird’s eye view of her looking down. She’s flying like normal and then VROOM! She speeds up. That’s exactly what using the Pedego throttle feature is like. Normal speed, normal speed, pedal, pedal, pedal, and then THROTTLE! VROOM! Vampire lightning speed. I shared this thought with Linda and John on my inaugural ride with them after receiving Cora, and I’m pretty sure they were both thinking “What a weirdo!” but hey… it’s how my brain works 😉

If you’re looking for non-vampirical comparisons, Pedego has a good video on their site that explains the features a little more in-depth.

There are two ways to power yourself: The throttle, which I mention above, and Pedal-Assist, which is like giving a little extra oomph to your pedaling. Pedal Assist is controlled by an LCD screen on the handle bars (that you can also plug a USB into, holla!), and there are five levels of pedal-power. I like using Pedal Assist when I’m tired on a ride home and want a little extra power. If you crank up to five, holy cow, it’s like flying! I’m usually too much of a chicken to go to level 5 on suburban streets, because I’m not the most graceful person on Earth, but I love using level one or two to crank up my power.

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So there you have it. A couple electric rides on your bike, and you’ll soon see that Pedego adds a little sparkle to your pedaling. The yellow eyes and fangs come later 😉

Why Pedego is a good fit for me: bikes for all sizes and shapes

Stuff the FTC makes me say: This post is part of a series of posts about Pedego I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks as part of my agreement of being a Pedego Brand Ambassador. Pedego did provide me a complimentary bike in exchange for my review and discussion.

A few weeks ago I was helping a friend pick out a cruiser bike. We were shopping online, and this friend is plus-sized, like me. “Oh, wait,” she said, as she looked at the bike’s details. “This one has a 200 pound limit.” That bike was a no-go, because despite dieting best intentions and what that number on the scale COULD be, you want a bike that will safely carry your body weight now. One of the things that first attracted me to Pedego Bikes was that their bikes come in all kinds of ranges and sizes, perfect for many different body types. In fact, one of their customers, Rhonda, used to weigh 457 pounds, and her Pedego was a main reason (in addition to healthy eating) that she lost over 250 pounds.

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Picture from Pedego.com

“The first time I rode a Pedego, it was freedom to me. It was back to being a kid again. It was the best feeling I’d felt in a long time. The smile I had on my face when I got back — I swear I had it for days,” said Rhonda.

Because her mobility was so limited, the Pedego was a perfect stepping stone to becoming active again. It empowered her to get some exercise, fresh air, and social interaction — and it was fun. “Riding my Pedego was something that I wanted to continue to do. It wasn’t something I dreaded. It wasn’t a chore. It was just enjoyment for me.”

I definitely understand what Rhonda is saying, because if you gave me a choice between riding a bike around the neighborhood and going to kickboxing, well, the bike wins any day – and I LIKE kickboxing. But it feels less like one more thing you have to do, and more like you’re a kid again – just cruising around the neighborhood. It’s kind of like tricking your body that you’re exercising 😉 Matt and I went up to Pedego 101 a few weeks ago today to test out the bikes, and the best part about the Pedego was that heading up hills was a lot simpler with the throttle option. I’m noticing that pregnancy has me out of breath a lot faster than before I was pregnant, and I guess now I’m breathing for two. It was so awesome to give the throttle a twist and get a little zip, allowing my body to rest when it needed it. Did that make the ride easy? No, but it made it easier — which is perfect. I still got a great workout that day!

The other size-friendly or age-friendly thing I love about Pedego is they offer some very advanced options for bike frames, in terms of mobility. My bike model has what’s called a “Step Through” which means instead of swinging my leg over the seat like I’m about to hop up on a camel, I just step through the frame of the bike and gently sit myself down. There’s no heave-ho or grunting as you try and hoist yourself up on the seat. For people who want an even easier option, they have the Boomerang, which has an even lower frame (9″). This is perfect if you have knee or joint issues, or just want a bike that’s less of an ordeal to hop on. I’m so jazzed that my bike has the step-through, because as this bump grows into a beach ball, it’s going to be a lot more convenient to have a prego-belly friendly bike.

Boomerang from Pedego.com, with easy step-through access.

Boomerang from Pedego.com, with easy step-through access.

While I’ll be in New York for a few more days and am away from my Pedego Cora, I’m still thinking of my lovely bike… including wishing I had it as we wrapped up a very looooong day of walking in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. I had to snap a pic of myself with this cool bike mural in Brooklyn because it reminded me of Pedego.

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Not quite an easy step-through on that model… but awesome, nonetheless. I hope you have a wonderful day!

 

Big News: I’m a Pedego Electric Bike Ambassador!

Hi friends!

You may have noticed I’ve been hanging around the DCD again lately, and it feels good to be back! Today I’m thrilled to share that I’m one of four brand spankin’ new Pedego Electric Bike Ambassadors! Over the next few months I’ll be blogging weekly about my experience with my beautiful Pedego bike. Now, the first thing people want to know is: what’s an electric bike? Well, it’s a bike you pedal and ride just like any other bike; but this one has the option to get a little boost if you need it (up to 20 mph!). I have the Pedego Interceptor, which is a cruiser and has an easy step through, so there’s no need to swing your leg up high to get on the seat. Once you’re on your bike and ready to go, you can pedal like normal, twist the throttle, or turn on Pedal Assist, which helps speed up and power your pedaling. It’s pretty much the coolest thing ever. I’ll share a meme next week about how it makes me feel 🙂

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I chose the coral and aqua Pedego with brown wheels, seat, and handle bar trim. Isn’t it gorgeous? I love the bright, beachy feel and the retro styling. I have decided to name her Cora (And yes, of course I have color coordinated shoes. Gotta make sure my pedaling fashion is on point.) However, the best thing about this bike isn’t its cute styling — it’s that this bike is going to help me maintain my fitness and reach new levels of health. Now, a few people that hear about electric bikes always say the same thing “If it’s electric, how is that going to help you get exercise?” While on my lazier days I may *want* to just use the electric option the whole time, I find in the 7 miles I’ve already ridden that I only use the electric options when accelerating from a stop, or heading up a hill. In fact, because I have the electric option, I end up riding longer and further — certainly something you can’t debate when you’re biking for exercise. You still get the exact same benefits of biking on a Pedego that you do from a normal bike — the wind in your hair, the breeze kissing your cheeks, the joyful “WHOOSH!” as you cruise down an empty street. Plus, isn’t anything better than nothing? (Always. No matter how slow you go, you are always, always, always lapping somebody who is still on the couch. Progress, not perfection!)

Pedego_101_ElectricBike

Because I work from home, I’m most excited about using my Pedego for errands rather than driving my car. For example, this week I already rode to the post office, the grocery store, and even my acupuncture appointment! On Friday, I’m having lunch with some friends and I can’t wait to check out Reseda’s new protected bike lane. Of course, I’m learning all about bicycle traffic laws and always make sure I wear my helmet (the photo above was just for photographic purposes!). I’m looking forward to seeing how Cora helps me accomplish my fitness goals, because I know I do best with exercise when I can make it multi-purpose. If I have a nice long bike ride while doing an errand, it doesn’t feel like exercise: it feels like a fun way to be productive. That’s why I had success last year when training for the 3-Day, because suddenly I was able to walk long distances to do things like visit the crafts store or meet friends for dinner. When I’m able to make exercise less tedious I always end up doing more of it!

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I’ll be sharing more about why exactly Pedego makes such unique bikes in the coming weeks (spoiler alert: USB charger on deck, a range of sizes for all body shapes and sizes, over 6 models of bikes including a tandem and a cargo version, awesome customization, super sturdy build, the list goes on…) If you’re interested in learning more about Pedego, definitely check out their website, and see if there’s a dealer near you. Almost all dealers offer bike rentals, which is a fantastic and low-cost way to get to know the bikes. I’m lucky to be working closely with Pedego 101 in Westlake Village, which is even cooler because it’s owned by a friend from journalism school, Linda C.

Allright… I’m off to take a bike ride! Do you have a bike? Do you love bike riding, too?

Disclosure: I have received a Pedego bike in exchange for blogging and sharing on social media about my experiences over the next several months. All opinions are my own.

 

 

Walk the walk: My Komen 3-Day Experience, Day 1

When I signed up to do the 3-Day, I had two big hurdles to clear; the first, fundraising $2,300, and the second, preparing my body and mind to walk 20 miles three days in a row. While the fundraising initially made me nervous, I was so grateful to see there were plenty of people who were willing to support me. I surpassed $2,300, and today, am hovering at an incredible $3,300 — a number that I KNOW is making a difference for those diagnosed with breast cancer. The next big challenge? Walking. Plenty of people will say, “Oh, it’s just walking.” Sure, it’s just walking, but this isn’t a quick walk through the super market or around the local park. The average person walks less than two miles a day after all their steps have added up. If you’re active, you walk maybe five miles a day. But to walk 10 miles? Amazing. Make it 20? Incredible.

I started adding small daily walks to my routine. I’d walk on my lunch break to the grocery store to buy myself a turkey sandwich, or things to make dinner. I’d walk to the post office with a stack of Thank You notes ready to mail to my donors. I’d walk the block at night, dodging spiderwebs as my husband ran circles around me, laughing as we exchanged sweaty high fives. Slowly, walking became easier. I remember very clearly a 5k I walked last November. During the final mile, my feet were hurting, I was out of breath, and I wanted to quit. My first big accomplishment with training this year was a 6.2 mile walk I did with my friend Jason, and then later, a ten mile walk I did with Jason and Matt. I started tackling longer distances, at one point walking from my house to Michael’s Crafts, five miles up and three towns north. The longest walk I ended up doing was 12 miles, which was a few short of what the 3-Day training program recommends, but I felt confident that I could do at least ten miles each day. So I took that confidence and ran with it (errr, walked with it), and before I knew it, me and my team were boarding a bus in the rain to go to the Opening Ceremony in Del Mar.

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The Opening Ceremony of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day San Diego at Del Mar Fairgrounds

The rain stopped just in time for the sun to burst through the clouds, and as my team stood in a sea of pink, we listened to people share their reasons for doing the walk. People walked for their mothers. Their sisters. Their aunts. Their daughters. As I held up a picture of my mother-in-law surrounded by thousands of other people holding pictures of loved ones lost, I was overcome with a sense of grief and anger. This was too many people. Too many lives cut short. However, that anger fueled reminders of why I was here; to make a difference for somebody else facing cancer, and to honor the memory of so many wonderful people that have since moved on. Our first steps out of Del Mar, we were greeted with a magnificent rainbow, glistening in the sky. I felt in that moment that everybody had just received a special reminder that loss is physical, but memories will always live on.

Photo via Susan G. Komen 3-Day Facebook

Photo via Susan G. Komen 3-Day Facebook

We walked along the coast, marveling at the waves lapping the shore, the sea breeze crisp on our cheeks. Soon, we made it to the first pit stop, where we used the glamorous porta-potties and prepared for the first major hill up Torrey Pines, a nature reserve. I had been hearing about this hill all year long, so I was nervous. However, as I put one foot in front of the other, I realized my body could do a lot more than I thought it could. We climbed up slowly but steadily, turning every now and then to see the San Diego valley in birds eye view. When we made it to the top, we posed for this picture, feeling victorious. Our first major hill: DONE!

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Alyssa, Monique and April victorious after Torrey Pines!

From there, we walked through neighborhoods and business parks, and we began to scatter a little bit as we talked with the women and men around us. I met a 76-year-old woman who had walked eight times, and walked for her husband and son she had lost to cancer in the same year. I met a girl my age from Wisconsin, and twin sisters from Arizona who walked for their mom. Everybody at the 3-Day is there for the same reason; cancer. It’s an unpleasant thing to bond over, but at the same time, something pretty special to realize you’re part of a community of people dedicated to making a change. We arrived at the mile 10 marker for lunch, and we were all pretty darn excited to sit and take off our shoes! One thing really cool about the 3-Day is that each official stop, be it Lunch or a Pit Stop, is themed. Lunch was pirate themed, and all the Crew volunteers were in full costume. It’s things like these that made my first 3-Day experience so special: being handed a turkey sandwich by Jack Sparrow, walking past men in bras with miniature watermelons in them with signs that said “Squeeze my melons”, the people that come out to cheer you on as you walk by. I laid on the grass for what felt like a good, long 10 minutes, and then hobbled over to the medical tent. I felt some hot spots and blisters popping up on the fleshy pad of my foot right beneath my toes, and I wanted those suckers wrapped up before they progressed further.

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Cookie as big as my head? Don’t mind if I do!

Then, we were off again, and before I knew it, it was back to the glorious coast. At one point we walked through a patch of coast that smelled awful — garbage-like and just rank, when one of the walkers ahead of us said we were nearing a sea lion colony. Sure enough, we came down a hill to see a big rock formation covered in velvety sea lions, barking and frolicking in the water. It was so cool! We ended up meeting my parents along the route shortly after, and it was super fun to see them and get hugs and support at mile 15.

The Double Chin Diary in front of Sea Lion rock!

The Double Chin Diary in front of Sea Lion rock!

It was shortly after we met up with my parents that I encountered my first big hurdle: an exploding blister. Now, I’ve had plenty of blisters in my adult life. However, the experience of a blister exploding from the sheer weight of all your body, on the fleshy pad of your foot, at mile 16? Totally new and not so awesome experience. At first I didn’t know what it was, other than the fact that my foot suddenly had this searing pain ripping through it. Then as my sock felt squishy, I realized with horror that my giant foot pad blister had popped. GROSS! I ripped off my sock with the enthusiasm of a kid at Christmas, both grossed out and fascinated, and confirmed that sure enough, my blister had called it quits. I decided I’d flag down a sweep van (the 3-Day has nifty themed vans that drive the route to pick up anyone who’s tired, not feeling well, or just wants a break). I hobbled along tentatively, until I got a second wind. Blister? Who cares! That attitude served me well for two more miles, until the broken skin started to feel raw. This was around mile 17, so I took a van for another mile and waited at the pit stop for my sister and Monique to arrive.

The kind medical volunteers tending to my nasty Texas sized blister.

The kind medical volunteers tending to my nasty Texas sized blister. (Don’t worry, you can’t see it here. I’d like to keep some of my readers!)

Once they showed up, we got more Gatorade and continued our trek. It was dusk and those last few miles were feeling like they would never end, and we were teased along the way by chalk notes on the sidewalk of what the Garmin miles were. Toward the end we saw a Garmin 22 mile mark, so I decided right then and there that despite my quick van ride, I had very much walked 20 miles that day! Finally, we walked into camp — exhausted and stinky, and very much wanting to SIT and never move, ever again. We got dinner, enjoyed the plushy bean bags, massage chairs, trail mix bar, and snacks, and then collected our camp mail. Camp mail is an awesome invention where your loved ones can send you snail mail to pick up during your 60 mile journey. After our relaxation time, we watched an amazing show in the giant dining tent, where we got to hear from moving speakers and hear updates about the day on the route and the next day to come.

20 MILES!

20 MILES!

Even though at this point I was too exhausted to process anything more than “Macaroni and cheese. Hungry. Tired. Stink. Sleep,” I was able to process the fact that this girl had damn near walked 20 miles in one day. 20 frickin’ miles. That’s no small beans. That’s no laughing matter. That’s a HUGE, GINORMOUS, MASSIVE, LONG distance to walk. That’s only 6.2 less than a marathon, and granted, I wasn’t running (if you see me running, you better run too, ‘cuz something’s chasing me), but ain’t no thang. I walked 20 miles. That’s a lot.

I went to bed that night thinking about some of the things people had sent to me in so many wonderful cards, letters, and notes. Things like, “When it gets hard, remember… your body can do amazing things. Your legs are strong, your hips are flexing, and your heart will carry through.” Or, “Thank you for walking, thank you for making a difference, thank you for being my friend.” Or, “You inspire me every day to love myself just as I am.” With sentiments like that, how could I not close my teary eyes and glow with gratitude?

I drifted into a deep sleep, heart full of the amazing things I had seen and felt that day. Vibrant. Alive. Proud. Thankful. These feelings carry you far and wide, as beautiful and inspiring as the rainbow, as vivid and real as the blister, as simple and profound as the smile of a survivor cheering from the sidelines. These things were Day 1 of the 3-Day.

We walk.

We walk.