Three Things Thursday: Alyssa’s Wellness Check Up

Hey everyone! Is today your Friday? It’s mine, and I’m so psyched to head out to Paso Robles with Matt for a quick trip. I first explored Paso Robles on Fitcation, and I can’t wait for some hiking, hot spring soaking, and olive oil tasting.

I had a couple random things about my health I wanted to tell you about, and because “Random things about my health I wanted to tell you about” doesn’t seem like a very good blog title, I decided to add some alliteration (copywriter’s favorite) and call it Three Things Thursday. So without further ado, here are three things on my mind this Thursday about wellness, health, weight loss, and my general state of being. In the spirit of full Alyssa disclosure, I did receive complimentary Blue Diamond almonds for free in exchange for discussion :)

1) About two weeks ago, something clicked for me that to be my best self, I need to be active every single day. I decided to make a small promise to myself — on days I wasn’t doing yoga, cardio, walk training, or hiking, I needed to walk at least one mile every day. That doesn’t sound like much, but on days when I literally walk only the distance from my bedroom to my kitchen, it will help. I ended up racking up about 14 miles over my weekend in Savannah, and I’ve come to realize how much I *like* walking. Especially when I can be with a friend, sight seeing, or talking on the phone — walking is a very calming thing! I’ve been making good on my promise, logging at least 1.6 miles consecutively every day for the past four days, and tonight, my Yoga Meltdown dvd from Jillian Michaels. Hooray for change!

2) Another thing has clicked for me, and that is that I don’t eat enough. Let me rephrase that. There are times when I eat too much. But then, there are times where I eat only my three square meals (or worse – I skip), and for someone with near PCOS insulin resistance, that’s no good, because hunger makes me cranky, shaky, and anxious. I’ve turned into the girl who carries a snack in the back pouch of her purse – something small, like a Health Warrior bar, or lately, Blue Diamond Almonds. You guys know about my love/hate of almonds – I am sad to admit that on their own (raw, unsalted), I’m not a fan. But dress them up in sexy clothes like Rosemary Black Pepper, Smokehouse seasoning, Coconut, or Blueberry, and I’m all good. These in particular taste like Fruity Pebbles! I’m down. So down — they taste like junk food with minimal sugar — and how patriotic, red, white n’ blue almonds!

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3) I’m stating here for accountability that in addition to being active every day and eating more regularly, I also need to get back to taking my vitamins. I’ll do really well for a few months and then get super lazy. Lately, I’ve noticed I’m battling some day time fatigue — just a general sense of low energy. Well — I forgot about my ridiculously low Vitamin D levels, and then remembered the fact that I haven’t taken my vitamin D in… oh, several months. DUH. So now, all my vitamins are stacked up eye level on the bathroom shelf, staring at me every day. I’m taking a high quality women’s multi, Vitamin D, Biotin, EPA, and soon, some Horsetail extract to help with the tons of hair I lose (thanks, PCOS).

4) I lied — I have four things to tell you about. I got mentioned in a rap!!! My awesome friend Dre from Mission Meltdown celebrated Fitbloggin’s birthday by creating a hip hop blog soup. You’ll hear an Alyssa shout out mid way through. I’m so sad I missed this in person – I was running late for the key note session because I had just come back from a long 5 mile walk of Savannah and needed to get a shower in. I’m so glad it’s on video. Watch for my Fitbloggin recap soon, in addition to a fun giveaway for you all for some non-GMO, non-chemical stevia SweetDrops, a natural soda replacement.

HAVE AN AWESOME FOURTH OF JULY!

xoxo

The Double Chin Diary Siggy

What’s up, Wednesday?

VROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM.

There, that’s better. I just vacuumed up the spider webs and dust from the Double Chin Diary for your viewing pleasure. Oh man, seriously. I’ve been away from the blog for two weeks! April has also been away. Hopefully we’ll get back to a regular schedule soon. Unfortunately, I was away for a sad reason, as I lost a very special family member two weeks ago to cancer. I was in my hometown in Northern California for almost two weeks.  I’ll share more when I feel ready, but I can say that grief has a powerful effect on eating. For some people it causes them to lose their appetite, and for others, it makes them want to eat everything in sight.  This time around, I was the latter. But now I’m back home and back into the routine, having logged a good workout and healthy meals like 15-bean soup. Gotta get back on track! Since I’ve been away for so long I figured I’d just ramble on about a couple different things. Yup!

1) This isn’t my first rodeo with trying to lose weight, but one thing’s for sure: activity is good. It doesn’t have to be an hour long sweat sesh for me to feel the benefits of exercise on my body. I took some long walks (one was 5.36 miles — working my way up to 60 miles for the 3-Day!) while I was away, and all of those walks left me feeling better. My body gets awfully tense and creaky when I’m not keeping it in motion. A good reminder for the future. (Also, how cute is my Katie K. Active  top? Score 15% off and free shipping with code ALYSSA15 — more formal review to come!)

Strolling through Schollenberger Park in Petaluma

Strolling through Schollenberger Park in Petaluma

2) I’m a telecommuter, and I gotta say, dogs make good coworkers. Can you guys help convince my landlord that I need a dog now?! This is Sadie, my inlaw’s beautiful retriever. Apparently she likes lemons.

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Pucker up, Sadie!

3) I’m super happy that Summer is almost here! Summer is my favorite season (followed by Fall, then Spring, then Winter). I got to spend the first part of Memorial Day weekend hanging around my friend Susie’s beautiful pool. I’ve gotten a lot more serious now about sunscreen, thanks to a pre-cancerous mole I had to have sheared off not once, but twice. WEAR SUNSCREEN, people! That’s your PSA for the day. Hence my stylish Havana Hat and shades. But beyond sunscreen, summer means that FITBLOGGIN is right around the corner! I’ll be headin’ to Savannah at the end of June, and I can’t wait. Any must-sees in Savannah?

Cover up in the sun!

Cover up in the sun!

4) Being back in Northern California meant I got to spend some time with my awesome boss and coworker who also live in the bay. I stopped on my way home from lunch with them to stretch my legs at Vista Point, a beautiful scenic overlook at the Golden Gate Bridge. How amazing is this? I live in such a beautiful place.

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Vista Point, San Francisco

5) Lastly, I’m thinking about cancelling my Total Woman gym membership. I’ve been doing a ton of walk training lately, and I’m not happy with Total Woman’s super packed classes. They tried to set up a system where you sign in for a class before it starts and that will determine maximum capacity, but tonight was one time to many where I arrived 20 minutes early for a class and it was already past capacity. Then, the classes I do manage to get into are so packed you can’t comfortably move around. Is this a problem I just need to get used to, or does anyone have any other gym suggestions? I want to check out LA Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, Curves, and my local YMCA. Let me know if you have any suggestions! The most important thing to me are flexible hours and a variety of classes.

That’s all I got. What’s happenin’ with you? :)

 

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! :)

 

 

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

 

 

 

Monday Memo: What’s Cookin’ in the Land of Double Chins?

Hello there! Did you have a good weekend? I sure did! I started my weekend off by attending and speaking at the Los Angeles Lifestyle Bloggers Conference. It’s always nice to be surrounded by like-minded people, in this case, a room full of women who love blogging and technology. The panel I was on was about networking with social media and blogging, and while I’ll never call myself an expert, I do think social media is super-awesome at connecting people who otherwise may not have a chance to meet. In fact, this weekend I was lucky enough to meet several new friends — and that’s what I love about blogging and the internet. There are so many wonderful people out there that belong in your same “tribe”.

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Photo by my friend Calvin @MayhemStudios. See my water bottle?! I was hydrated!

Once I got over the first ten minute jitters of the panel, I had a great time! I tend to get nervous during public speaking, but I know that the more I do it, the better it will get. The audience had some great questions and for the remainder of the weekend we learned about things like SEO optimization, basic business principles, accounting for bloggers; you name it! We also ate delicious treats by places like Stonefire Grill, Fresh Brothers, Peddler’s Ice Cream, and A Sweet Design. I also experienced my first earthquake on the 11th floor of a high-rise! EEEK! Let’s just say this Midwestern girl still isn’t used to the earth rocking and rolling even after 10 years of living in the Golden state.

That brings me to the other thing happening over here in Los Angeles pretty frequently — all those earthquakes. April got to experience an LA Quake that was a 4.3 a couple of weeks ago, and this weekend Matt and I felt a 5.3 and then a 4.1. I try not to worry too much about natural disasters because I have no control over them happening, but the quaking of the earth reminded me this weekend that I need to be prepared. We’ll be shopping for some emergency supplies soon, in addition to what we already have (water, canned goods, flashlights, tent, etc.). Do you have any emergency preparedness kits or supplies?

And lastly, here’s a picture of my kale, which is growing out of control. Anybody have recipes that use kale? (Besides kale chips.) That’s all I got! Busy weekend, but super fun. Next weekend will be another busy one, and April and I will have a special announcement to share. Hope you have a great day!

 

What’s Up, Wednesday?

Hi guys! (And girls!)

Sorry for my radio silence lately. Ya know that John Lennon quote, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans”? Yep, that pretty much sums it up. I’ve had a very busy month, filled with lots of awesome house guests and fun excursions. I figured I’d fill you in on a couple things before getting back to a regular (I’ll try) writing schedule.

1) My Weight Watchers attendance has been more sporadic than I’d like, (I’m set to go today), but at the last meeting I was down .6 of a pound. Hey, it’s not a big loss, but it’s a loss, so I’ll take it! I’ve been far more laidback about tracking than I should be, so I need to get back into the “If you bite it, write it” mentality.

2)  I had an appointment with an awesome endocrinologist a few weeks ago. He ran some blood tests and confirmed that my hormone levels definitely signify PCOS. There wasn’t really any doubt about it after the ultrasound scan I had, but the markers in my blood make it more like “Yep, sorry, it’s for sure.” The good news is that my thyroid appears to be functioning normally, so I’m able to discontinue the thyroid meds. He doubled my PCOS medication, Metformin, which should help with the weight loss and some of the other pesky hormonal problems of PCOS, like acne. I’m seeing a dermatologist this week about some of the acne. I’m so glad I have a PPO and can hop, skip, and jump to whatever specialist I need. That’s a definitely luxury, and I feel like I’ve finally assembled my medical dream team. Now that I know what’s up, I know my marching orders!

3) Next Friday, I’m honored to be speaking on a panel about networking for bloggers at the Lifestyle Blogger’s Conference in downtown Los Angeles. My friend Ana Lydia, whom I met at Fitcation, is hosting the whole event, and she and her team have some amazing panels, sessions, and workshops planned. Check out her latest blog post for a special surprise if you’re interested in attending! If you DO attend, make sure you let me know so we can meet up.

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4) Also in blog related news, I was so jazzed to participate in a Blog Swap hosted by my friend AJ at Confessions of a Fat Girl! The purpose of the blog swap was to write a post assigned to you by another blogger that would take you out of your comfort zone. Think wife swap for bloggers. My pal Chris at What I Run Into assigned me a post about red lips! I don’t wear a lot of makeup, so having to actually put color on my face was intimidating at first as I browsed the drug store aisles looking for RED. While some of the drug store finds were alright, ultimately, I found my happy ending at MAC. Check out my post on Chris’ blog, and stay tuned for my swapped blogger’s post soon. (Hint: it will involve something yummy!)

5) The other half of the Double Chin Diary was here this weekend! April and I had a ton of fun zooming around Los Angeles, doing things like hitting up a vintage flea market, hunting for fossils, baking cookies, and watching Despicable Me 2. Here’s a snap of us at the flea market. I definitely got in my 5,000 steps that day, AND scored a vintage sterling silver deer pin. I love productive fitness, and I love my sister! Maybe she’ll move down to Los Angeles to finish her degree. Hint, hint, wink, wink.

That’s all I got for today, folks! I hope you’re having an awesome week so far, and I’ll be back soon!

Love,

The Double Chin Diary Siggy