The Oaks at Ojai: The Ultimate Weight Loss and Fitness Spa

Imagine a small town nestled in between rolling golden hills and tall, green mountains. Natural rock formations jut out of the scenery, and the land you’re in has a rich Indian heritage, with citrus groves dotting the scenery. This quaint little town is just an hour and 15 minutes north of Los Angeles; seemingly make believe, a peaceful respite away from sirens and smog, a stone’s throw from the glistening coast in Ventura. Welcome to Ojai!


I had the pleasure of being invited to the Oaks at Ojai Spa for a long weekend, and I attend October 7 and 8th. Initially, I had some concerns about attending a “Weight loss spa” for the first time. I had visions of Biggest Loser style challenges, being surrounded by platters of junk food that I needed to psychologically resist, and carrying giant packs of heavy stuff up a 15-mile mountain. Thankfully, the Oaks at Ojai is not like any stereotype of a fitness or weight loss spa, and it is instead a safe haven of serenity for those looking to relax while improving their health.


My childhood best friend Katelyn drove up from Sacramento be with me, and we checked into our adorable little casita. It has a private patio with lounge chairs and a table for outdoor dining. Inside the Spanish style door, the decoration was clean and classic, with a gigantic Talavera style bath tub that I couldn’t resist posing in a picture for. There are even organic bath soaps and shampoos! We settled in and then headed over to the dining room for our first health-conscious meal.


I was super pleasantly surprised at the way the food was made. The Oaks at Ojai uses almost no salt, so if you’re a big salt user, you may at first feel like everything needs salt. I admit at first I wanted to grab a salt shaker, but there wasn’t one – and the home-grown spices helped. The Oaks uses herbs grown onsite for their blends. How’s that for farm to table? There are a variety of spice blends, including vinegar, so if you feel like flavor is lacking you can jazz things up to your liking. I especially liked the salsa that was served several times throughout the weekend; it just had the right touch to add a little heat.


Let’s talk portion sizes. Of course, the portions must be made for someone the size of a mouse, right? Nope! The portions are generous yet healthful. You’ll never go hungry at the Oaks, and I felt like I ate more (but more healthfully) there than I did at my own home. Between meals, there are broth breaks, with potassium rich broth, set out between exercise sessions, and then a vegetable break, too. The veggie break was my favorite as there were three different types of dip, including a beet hummus and a garlic hummus. Yummy! I also was obsessed with the unsweetened iced teas that were constantly available, including this incredible Meyer lemon iced tea that I should have gotten the brand of, because it was so flavorful. There was also always spa water (Water with fruits or veggies), so I was always hydrated. You even got a popcorn break after dinner for a little post-dessert nosh!img_0501

Of course, health means more than just eating well, so the Oaks offers you a robust daily schedule of many different kinds of exercise. The best part is you get to choose what you want to do: so there’s no obligation, but if you wanted to do three or four classes a day, you could, but if you’d rather just relax and do yoga, you can do that too. There are literally classes for every fitness level here, from meditation and gentle yoga to endurance hikes and boot camp. I started my Saturday morning with a cardio bootcamp lead by Gloria. Gloria was funny and motivating, but also encouraged each person in the class to go at their own pace. This is so important in fitness as you really have to listen to your own body. As someone dealing with a heel spur, I knew I needed to go low impact on my left foot, and kick it up with the weights on the arms. Gloria helped me customize the plan when sections of the class just wouldn’t be a good choice for my foot.


I had a few hours of free time on Saturday and unfortunately Katelyn was under the weather, so I walked around downtown Ojai (just a few steps across the street from the spa) and bought myself some pottery. Downtown Ojai has a bunch of cute boutiques and there is something for everyone if you’re looking to bring home a sweet trinket for a loved one. After strolling around, I wanted to hit the pool. I was the only person out basking in the sun, and I lazily flipped through a magazine, waded through the pool, and admired the gorgeous scenery around me. It was the ultimate “me time” that I had been craving. I love my husband and kiddo, but it sure was nice to take a few hours to just be still, soaking up the sunshine. After my pool time, I headed back to the spa for some YOGA! I did an hour of a totally peacefully yoga-flow, and I left limber and inspired for our dinner of chicken with peanut sauce and broccoli. Thai inspired and oh so yum! In the spirit of not lying and maintaining authenticity, I will admit that in true Double Chin Diary fashion, I allowed for one indulgence I love, the unsweetened Starbucks Black Tea Lemonade. I admit it, I brought contraband back into a weight loss spa! Haha!


Next up was SPA TIME! I chose to have a body wrap as I had never tried one before. The aesthetician helping me was fantastic about setting my mind at ease, as a body wrap requires full nudity. Say what?! Don’t worry, your parts are covered by a towel at all times, so you’re not just going commando for a show. My treatment began with a coffee bean scrub, helping to draw out impurities and bloat. After being slathered and rubbed with several different concoctions, I was swaddled in a wrap and cozy warm blanket where I snuggled for 15-20 minutes. After being wiped down and cleaned up, I received a wonderful scalp massage, and ended up leaving being TWO pounds lighter than when I had gone in. That’s two pounds of bloating and excess water weight, folks! It’s not uncommon for me (or other PCOS folks) to bloat up to 9 pounds overnight, so I’m not surprised. I felt svelte and slim! Katelyn also had a body wrap and raved about how her skin was unbelievably soft.

Speaking of skin — the Oaks is a Skin Authority Spa. I received some complimentary Skin Authority products, and because my skin is sensitive, my favorite product is the Vitamin C Serum. It fills in fine lines, rejuvenates cells, and sloughs off dead skin. In the week that I’ve been using it, I already feel like my skin is getting a gorgeous glow to it. Definitely ask at The Oaks how Skin Authority can work for you.

After our spa treatment, Katelyn and I headed back to our cozy casita, where we nestled up in our beds and drifted to sleep under a sky full of stars.


I’m so grateful for my experience at the Oaks because it showed me that a vacation CAN be a trip without eating junk food, guzzling booze, and laying around like a slug. I also can now say that any preconceived notions of a weight loss spa being like a fat camp are totally not true. I felt at ease, rested, well-fed, and best, totally pampered and respected at my time at the Oaks. Though the Oaks will run you a bit more than your average hotel (starting at $250 a night), remember that all of your meals, snacks, and drinks are provided. In addition, the fitness classes, steam rooms, pool, and hot tubs are well worth that extra cost. Be sure to look into the specials they’re running – this would make an amazing romantic get away or weekend away with the girls.

So, if you’re looking for a total mind and body reset, the Oaks at Ojai is for you. Pamper yourself, work your body, calm your mind… you’ll do all of that and more at The Oaks. Learn about how you can experience the Oaks at Ojai now! 


I was gifted a stay at the Oaks Spa including a spa service and skin care products in exchange for my honest review. I am grateful to the Oaks for the awesome opportunity. It most certainly went above and beyond expectations. 🙂

Body Positivity and Weight Loss: Can you have and want both?

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending BlogHer for the very first time. It’s always fun to connect in person with other members of the blogosphere and learn from their successes (and flops). I was hanging at a protein powder booth at the expo hall, and introduced myself to the brand rep. “Hi, I’m Alyssa,” I said, beginning my usual elevator pitch, “I blog about losing weight without losing my sense of humor, though lately this weight loss blog is more of a weight gain blog because I recently had a baby.” The rep and I chitchatted for a few minutes, and then I turned to leave, when I saw a girl approach me. I knew she was on the younger side as she had that youthful skin that no lotion or potion can give you back. “Hi, I heard you say you’re a weight loss blogger and I have a question for you.” She went on to explain how she struggles finding the balance between being body positive but also wanting to and trying to lose weight. She wanted to know, how did I find balance between the two and what was my perspective on it all? First of all, I asked this girl her age and she’s 17! Seventeen! Wow! Color me impressed for such an awesome, thoughtful query at such a young age.


The answer to this question is both simple and complicated at the same time. The question, if we reduce it to one direct statement is “Can you still be body positive if you are trying to lose weight?” To that, my answer is yes, yes, and more yes. I’ve actually had a few bloggers snark on me for not “being body positive” because I want to lose weight, but if you go through my blog, I think you’ll find my body positivity is pretty on-point. The key to this equation for me is that I can love myself just as I am, and I should, because once that weight comes off, there’s a lot of me that will still be the same. But more importantly, it’s about loving my body ENOUGH to know that it deserves the very best. For me, the very best is a lighter body — not just for how it will look in size 12 jeans, but to walk miles without my heel spur aching, to get my blood pressure taken without anxiously spiking it, to not fret about fitting in airplane seats or going ziplining.


Now, these two things can exist and both be true, and that said, I’m a big advocate of body positivity and am grateful it’s become a “thing” now that I am a mother. Images like this make me so very happy, to be living in a world where different shapes and sizes are becoming more accepted, just like skin color, sexual orientation, and gender.

However, I have to scrutinize a little bit about the body positivity community if those who are wanting to lose weight are being challenged. If we’re advocating for acceptance of all bodies, wouldn’t it be hypocritical to be against those who are wanting to make a change to their body? I think that you can love yourself just as you are but still want to make improvements; for example, how my husband adores the heck out of me but really wishes I didn’t need 10,000 reminders to empty the dishwasher. I think perhaps the emphasis of body positivity can shift slightly to be just more positivity in general; with your pants size, your religious beliefs, your diet, your hobbies, whatever makes you YOU. However, I suppose a key difference here is if you’re coming at your body and size with negativity, no confidence, and self-hatred while wanting to lose weight, THAT doesn’t really work as body positivity, ya know?

I guess the point of this is, and what I told that girl, is that you can lose 100 pounds, 5 pounds, or 1 pound — and you might look “perfect”, or whatever the meaning of that word of what we’re desiring really is, and if you haven’t done the hard work on the INSIDE of learning to love the person you are, then you’re not much better off than when you started. We all know happiness comes from within, and it sounds cliche, but it’s true. If you hate yourself at 300 pounds there’s a chance you’ll hate yourself at 100, too. So, I say, rock on with your body positive self, but if you’re wanting to lose weight to feel better or heck, even look better, rock on with your self-loving self. Because there’s nothing more positive than believing in the person you are and were meant to be — regardless of what the number says on the scale.

Don’t Sweat It: Why Sweating a Lot at the Gym Really Doesn’t Matter

SWEAT. It’s one of those weird bodily functions that you don’t really think about a lot, and then all of a sudden, you’re sweating, and you’re like “Huh. That’s weird. There’s this wet sheen of wetness on my skin and I’m red and AHHH WHY AM I ALL WET AND SWEATY?” I imagine this discussion in your head is a lot less likely if you’re a dude, because, well, dudes are allowed to sweat and it’s manly and masculine and maybe even sexy. But if a woman sweats, WELL! Who does she think she is, defying traditional beauty conventions and letting fluids seep out of her epidermis after a grueling workout?

I’ve always been a heavy sweater. No, not the wool kind you get at Christmas and pretend to like; a person who sweats a lot. It’s not particularly a trait you boast about, like being able to tie a cherry stem with your tongue or never getting cavities. Being a sweater means that you awkwardly avoided certain materials in high school or that you wore a sweatshirt through gym class because god forbid somebody see you exercising and showing exertion. I battled a lot with sweat in my younger years, and now that I’m beginning to be intensely active about four to five times a week, the self-consciousness has reared its head again. However, I had a convenient doctor’s appointment last week, and I mentioned my concern with my sweating. “Well, what’s the problem with sweating?” the doctor asked. “I don’t know, it’s embarrassing,” I said. “Come back to me when you’re not sweating. THEN it’s a problem,” he said. He proceeded to explain in fancy medical terms how sweating is the body’s way of cooling down and how it helps you remember to rehydrate and balance electrolytes and all these other things, and basically told me to chill out.

So in my efforts to embrace the sweat, I’ve learned a few tricks to help me feel more comfortable with my slick self. Sure, sure, even if sweating isn’t gross, it FEELS gross, because suddenly you’re walking around in wet clothes. Here’s a few of my tried and trues to help me cope with my well-moisturized skin. (Some of these links are affiliate links, which means I could buy a yacht off the proceeds of your clicks or maybe pay off my student loans. Who am I kidding? I’ll never pay off my student loans. Dream big, folks.)

    1. A workout towel. I had been using a clean dish towel as a sweat rag at the gym, and let’s be honest, my snowman themed dish towel wasn’t able to mop up the Niagara falls of my workout quite like I’d hoped. I went to TJ Maxx (my go-to for most things in life except groceries), and found a “Yoga Towel” that has a dry-wik fabric, anti-stink properties, and comes in pretty neon colors. Here’s one similar to it on Amazon.

2. A headband. If you’re a forehead sweater, a headband will keep those salty skin tears out of your eyes, and better yet, manage your flyaways. Again, I found mine at TJ Maxx, but you can grab all kinds on Amazon like these (and in so many cute colors!).


3. Most importantly, rock a sense of humor. Get the shirt that says “I don’t sweat, I sparkle“. Laugh about your sweaty self and enjoy the fact that your hydration is so on point that its escaping out of your skin just so you can hydrate some more. Also, be courteous. Nobody wants to go touch a sweaty machine. Wipe that shiz down. You’re not in highschool anymore. (Unless you are, in which case, go on and keep being gross, because you have to embrace hygiene once you graduate.)


Get cool with your sweaty self, because as the Fitness gods say…

So in other words: Don’t sweat it.

A Measured Effort: Weighing out my Weight Loss


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

Infographic from



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:


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!

***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.


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 😉