Happy Thanksgiving from the Double Chin Diary!

Wow – I can’t believe it’s Thanksgiving. 2014 has been a year of learning, and I’ll reflect on that in a month, but here are some things I’m grateful for today, yesterday, and always.

  • I’m grateful for YOU. Sometimes I feel like this blog is just a creaky old soap box I step up on that nobody reads, but I know that’s not true when I get an email from somebody who says I inspired them to go kayaking even though they’re plus sized, or that they’re newly diagnosed with PCOS and looking for information. A blog is just a diary if it doesn’t have readers, and I’m proud to say the Double Chin Diary is actually a bonified blog. Also, you readers help bring me opportunities – like attending Fitbloggin’ 2015 as one of their social media managers. Hooray! Thank you!

Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 10.51.27 AM

  • I’m grateful for my health. Sure, sure, I have terrible allergies, PCOS, and the occasional case of anxiety – but for the most part I am healthy, capable, and getting closer every day to this whole being fit thing. Our health is genuinely a gift we take for granted until it’s too late, so I’m glad I can recognize my body, though imperfect, is just fine.

    AlyssaAfterHerFirstFiveMileHike_DoubleChinDiary

  • I’m grateful for my family. I’ve been blessed with cool parents, siblings I’m super close with, awesome in-laws, and my sweet husband. They make me a better person every day, and I’m proud to be a Lofgren Curran.

    59045_662292648366_7631383_n

  • I’m grateful for closure. This year, we lost my mother in law to cancer. Around this time last year, we learned of her diagnosis, and it’s awful that just one year later she’s no longer with us. One of the only positive parts of losing her is that we were able to spend time with her before she passed, to tell her how much we loved her, and how we knew we’d see her again. Many people don’t have this opportunity, so this year, I’m grateful for the fact that no words were left unsaid. I still feel her all around me, like in this amazing rainbow that arched over us as we walked the 3-Day this past weekend.

    Photo via Susan G. Komen 3-Day Facebook

    Photo via Susan G. Komen 3-Day Facebook

  • I’m grateful for the 3-Day. What may have started as an exciting new job managing social media for the 3-Day has turned into a life-changing experience. Not only do I adore my co-workers and job duties (AND I get to work from home), I feel like what I do has real value in giving back. I walked my first 3-Day this year, raised over $3,300, and saw first hand the impact that this walk has on people facing cancer.

    This is why I walk.

    This is why I walk.

  • I’m grateful for a cozy home. Matt and I have lived in our little bungalow for six years, and while it’s not perfect (who designed a bathroom with the light switch behind the door?!), it’s warm, cozy, and holds our vibrant little family of two adults and two fur babies.560538_10100449850528036_1856930000_n
  • I’m grateful for my friends. There’s friends in my life that have been around since I was a spunky little spitfire (Hey beek!), to friends I met at work (Hi Jason and Juan!), to friends I met in grad school when simultaneously crying and laughing was the norm (Hi Julie, Virginia, Em), to new friends (Aubrey, the Erins, Jenn… the list goes on), to friends I work out with (Hey Susannah!). I have so many awesome friends, way too many to list here, and I’m grateful for each and every one of them and their many endearing quirks.

    Screen Shot 2014-11-27 at 11.05.13 AM

  • I’m grateful for travel. This year, thanks to work, I got to see Michigan, Twin Cities, Seattle, Philadelphia, and New York City. Next week, I’ll be on my way to Costa Rica. In March I’ll be going to the Bahamas. Matt and I pinch pennies all year to afford travel, and it’s one of my favorite things. Exploring the world is a great way to relax, rest, and reflect on all these amazing things that make life life.

    10645278_10101039881141956_8986118742610068166_n
    Whereever you are today, I hope you take a quick moment (or a long one!) to reflect on what you’re thankful for. No matter what crappy hand life has currently dealt you, there are people out there who have it much, much worse. Sending you love and light for a wonderful Thanksgiving, and thanks for being YOU.

Tuesday Tidbits

Happy Tuesday! Sure, it’s still Monday while I’m writing this, but by the time you read it, it will be Tuesday. Here are some random things on my mind at the start of this lovely week.

1) November signifies the start of two pledges I am making to myself; the first, I am calling NoCANDYvember, and will be my pledge to not eat anymore Halloween candy for the rest of the month. I got a little too friendly with the cauldron of treats in our house, and too many sourpatch kids crossed my lips. I really never have issues with eating candy, but I ate enough of it this past weekend that I don’t want to see anything other than a small square of dark chocolate. The second pledge, will be called Milevember, just so I can keep with the snappy naming conventions. Each day, I’ll walk at least one mile, which shouldn’t be a problem as I gear up for my final training weeks for the 3-Day. My activity is too sporadic in that I’ll have a day where I’m a slug, and then the next day where I’m a hiking, walking, weed-pulling, car-washing machine, so setting a one mile per day goal is a good incentive for me to move.

2) I am sadly realizing that I am likely undertrained for the 3-Day. My longest walk so far was about 12 miles, and it was tough. However, I’ll be curious what my experience is as I know several seasoned 3-Dayers who say they never train, and some who train constantly and often. I wish I had trained more up to the 18 mile mark, but I feel great already about being able to walk 10 miles without passing out! That’s a big accomplishment for someone like me, the fitness averse. I’m also so proud of the fact that I raised over $2,700 to help women and men with breast cancer. You’re a big part of that; thank you so much for your support.

3) This weekend I’ll be walking in the Katie K. Active 5k. You can walk or run the 5k at any time of your choice in the next few weeks, and when you register, you’ll get a medal, a shirt, and a bracelet. I’ll actually be out of town, so I’m lucky in that I get to walk it with Sarah and Emily! Check out the Katie K 5k if you want to virtually join us – $5 of your registration fee goes to charity.

4) This weekend I had brunch at The Whaler in Venice with my friend AJ at Confessions of a Fat Girl. You want a delicious, boozy new brunch drink? Their watermelon bellini, made with fresh watermelon juice, was out of this world.

IMG_0110

5) I love the time change in that today felt like sleeping in, but I don’t like it in that by the time I finish work for the day, it’s dark outside and I don’t want to leave my cozy house! Do you guys like DST? Do you wish we were like Arizona and Hawaii and would give it up?

That’s all I got. What are your Tuesday tidbits for me?

A walk down Alyssa’s memory lane: From blonde hair to… darker blonde hair.

People often ask me if I’m a natural blonde. I reply yes, because I am. However, do they need to know that my actual, natural blonde is probably the darkest blonde you can be without being brunette? Naaaah. I was a towhead from birth (and always thought that was actually spelled TOEhead, for the longest time), and my wispy white blonde Children of the Corn hair lasted me until I was about 10.

That's me on the left, with our brother in the middle, and April on the right. Look at me rockin my double chin!

That’s me on the left, with our brother in the middle, and April on the right. Look at me rockin my double chin!

Then, my hair became more golden and grew interesting cowlicks and stubborn waves, until it burst into mermaid-esque ringlets. In high school I messed around with all kinds of hair dyes, I was fond of pink, and at one point had a yucky purple that turned gray. Me and my friend Lisa (Hi Lisa!) would spend hours in her bathroom working out the perfect punk rock highlights. Then, one year, I went auburn. I quite enjoyed that color, and thanks to the powers of Facebook, a friend recently found this picture documenting my redhead hue.

Me on the far left. I was so skinny!

Me on the far left. I was so skinny!

For about the past ten years I’ve been a home dyer, and stuck to a golden blonde shade that needed touch ups about every five weeks. I had the best luck with the $2.99 box of Revlon ColorSilk Dye, and did it by myself on random weeknights, being careful not to touch my head as I putzed around the house for 30 minutes smelling awful.

Golden Blonde by Revlon

Golden Blonde by Revlon

For the past year, I’ve been an “ultra light” blonde, which is pretty much platinum. I had a  lot of fun with this color, but it had some significant drawbacks. The first being that I needed to do my roots about every 3.5 weeks, and I’m lazy. The second drawback was that it really washed out my face, and if I didn’t put on blush, I looked like a walking q-tip. Given that I work from home I wear very little makeup, but when I do go out, I’d rather kids not point to me and ask their parents how a cotton ball learned how to walk. The third drawback was that since it’s basically bleach, the color was killing my curly texture and making it a limp wave. It was time for a change.

Photo by Lynnette Joy Photography from three weeks ago at my best friend's wedding

Photo by Lynnette Joy Photography from three weeks ago at my best friend’s wedding

I’d been hemming and hawing about going back to my natural color for a few years, but was always too chicken. The closest I ever came on my own was during this era, which was a “Dark blonde” box dye that I felt was too red. I lasted like this for about two weeks before running for my blonde safety net.

289828_881124193196_1904198087_o

Reddish blonde.

Over the past year, I’ve been lucky enough to meet a wonderful hair stylist who really “gets” my hair. Curly hair is a pain in the butt, because it changes day to day depending on the weather, the water texture, your shampoo, your stress level. George at Floyd’s Barber Shop in Encino is awesome (and so is Mikki!), and he’s been cutting my hair the past year. At our last visit, I asked him what he would do to my hair in terms of color. He won me over with a description of a multi-tonal mix of highlights and low lights, that would allow me to grow my roots out and have a very low maintenance of about every 3-4 months. I was in, and this Friday, we went for it!

Why yes, I do post terrible before photos of myself on the internet. In the name of science! Photo collage by George.

Why yes, I do post terrible before photos of myself on the internet. In the name of science! Photo collage by George.

I really love the new look! It was a little bit shocking at first to see the newer, darker me, but I knew I liked it. I’m still not 100% used to it, but I’m already loving the fact that I feel like my face looks slimmer and I don’t need as much makeup to look “alive”. I’m also looking forward to my low-maintenance new hair routine. So, ‘fess up – is your hair your natural color? Do you dye? If you do, would you ever go back to your roots?

The after of my new 'do

The after of my pretty new ‘do

April’s bikini day at the beach

I did it.

I finally wore a bikini at the beach.

I had done it before as a child, I’m sure.

But as an adult, my stomach had never once felt the cool sea air upon it.

bikinibeachI’ve always wanted to try wearing a bikini. If I just didn’t have that horrible fear of what everyone there would think, I bet I would have done it a lot sooner. However on this day, once my friend and I had successfully walked the farthest away we could from people, I decided to strip down just to the bikini I had worn there with fearful anticipation of actually showing it. My friend easily sensed my embarrassment as I peered around to see just how far away everyone was, standing with my hands in my shirt ready for lift off. Luckily, as the awesome guy my friend is, he knew to say all the right things to make me feel better. Compliments about me being hot and “no one caring” eased my anxieties enough to get me to take off my top and plop down with my hands/arms hiding my stomach. With a few more self-esteem boosting words, I let go of my stomach and realized I badly needed to just get over this deep-rooted fear I have about wearing a bikini.

Why is that I could go to Burning Man and walk around with no  top? Or go to an Oregon hot springs and do the same? Why didn’t I feel horrible shame there the way I do at the beach?

A suggested answer came from one of my close girl friends. She pointed out that at Burning Man and hot springs, so many people are naked and “letting it all hang out” that the societal pressure to look a certain way just isn’t there. Though at the beach and other public swimming places, it is almost expected that the only women you will see wearing bikinis are thin. I am grateful that these times are changing and more and more women are feeling more secure about rocking whatever they want to at the beach. Sadly, I still haven’t been able to JUST GET OVER IT. I think I’m getting better since I’m even willing to give it a try, but I hate knowing that the #1 reason I won’t wear a bikini to the beach is because of my fear of what complete strangers think of my body.

How freaking lame is that?

So, blog readers, does the fear of what other people think of your body ever hinder what you like to wear?  If it doesn’t, how did you get to that awesome place of complete self-security? I’d love to hear it!

Oh, and by the way, I’m totally down 20 pounds officially from the start of this year. YAY. Thank you 3-day training and food allergies! WOOO!

 

Lots of love,

AprilSignatur

 

 

 

 

bikiki

Proof (at a safe distance for my insecurities).

Burning Man: Helping April get over her fears yet again.

Hello again, readers!

I apologize for my silence over the past two weeks but I have been busy preparing, attending, and recovering from Burning Man. I ended up staying just a few days at the monumental event of around 70,000 people, however, I came home with a bunch of stories and an even more magical embrace of my body image than I had shown up with. Last time I wrote here on the blog, I told my story about my first experience at Burning Man and how dropping my top helped me get over a lot of my self-shame about my body size.

This time at Burning Man, I tested myself even further. I had longed to separate the sexuality aspect away from the ability to just be comfortable in my own skin with no constrictions. My brother Tommy was going to be joining me for this adventure and, you may remember me saying, I was hesitant about getting fully topless in front of him. It just didn’t seem like something I could do. The general American view of women being bare-chested around other people in a non-sexual situation is just not accepted.  Women can barely whip out a boob in a private corner to breast feed her baby without someone gawking at her or making a rude comment about how she needs to “cover up.” As my time progressed on and the desert heat continued to beat down on me like Animal on a set of drums, I started to make small steps in finding my true level of comfort around a sea of strangers. I suggested to Tommy on the second night, “Hey, I have an idea. Why don’t you just walk about thirty feet in front of me? That way, you won’t see my boobs.” My brother would laugh and walk on as I fell behind to embrace nothingness upon my skin.

On Day 3, our final day there, I decided to just go for it. I had left to go to port-o-potty land and while walking, I decided to take off my uncomfortably itchy bikini top. Instantly, my body temperature dropped and I felt much better. Once back at our truck, my neighbors offered me some coffee and as I went over to talk to them, I covered up my chest and commented how I didn’t want my brother to see as he was a couple hundred feet away taking down our tent set-up. My neighbors, two lovely people from Montana named John and Sherri,  laughed at me and began what became a few hours of amazing conversation and insight on how to live life. They broke down for me so simply how silly I was being and that if I wanted to do something, I should just do it, and surely my brother would get over it. I also remarked how eventually my brother will probably see a kid attached to one of my boobs so I might as well get it over with now.

After talking to these Burning Man angels of wisdom, I decided to approach Tommy. I went up to him all confident and stated my claim, that I wasn’t going to be afraid today to just let it all hang out. As the amazing brother he is, he said something that gives me happy tears as I write this. He said, “April, I’m pretty sure the only one who cares about me seeing your boobs is you.” I instantly felt a million times more confident and for the rest of the afternoon, I paraded around not only topless but just in a bikini bottom and my hand-sewn white hooded cape. I even got noticeably checked-out so that made me feel great too until they would notice Tommy and IMMEDIATELY turn away.

Words of advice: If you don’t want any attention from the opposite sex at a large social event:  make sure you go with your sibling – everyone will think you’re married. This concept also works with friends as well.

Once I got home my ability to just be comfortable with my body didn’t leave. That night, as I laid in bed with Alyssa (who was in town hosting our honorary sister Katelyn’s bridal/bachelorette parties), I didn’t even pay attention to the fact that I was sans-shirt and totally talking to both girls with no shame at all. I didn’t even give it a thought until Alyssa  commented on the noticeable difference I was showing as she knows first hand my insecurity about my chest. Now that it’s been a week since I got home, I haven’t exactly been running around topless in the house, but I don’t seem to be as self-conscious about bits of skin showing. If my shirt accidentally comes up a bit and my love-handles show, I’m not so aggressive when it comes to getting my shirt pulled back down immediately. I went to the doctor the other day and as I sat there in my luxury giant drape of medical paper-towel, my bare ass totally exposed for the doctor to see, I quickly shushed my inner thoughts of body shame and had an epiphany. I realized, if anything, getting to see my lower parts was probably like visiting a princess’s palace in comparison to the hundred’s of different bodies she sees in a year. I may be overweight but I bet she would rather see my bare ass than that of a 85 year old man. So I got over it and left the doctor feeling proud of myself for putting myself in check so quickly.

How are all of you when it comes to nudity in a non-sexualized way? If you’ve breast fed, have you ever had feelings of insecurity about doing it in a public place? Have you been one of the women that has been ridiculed by an unpleasant human uncomfortable with the milk of life? Would you be able to be topless around your siblings?

Let me know, I would love to hear about the way other people view this topic!

Have a wonderful Thursday everyone and thanks for reading!

Love and bare chests for all,

AprilSignatur

 

 

 

 

PS – Here are a bunch of photos from Burning Man for your viewing pleasure <3

 

Two men – both impressive in their own ways – Random stranger, I’m sorry I didn’t get your permission to take this photo but you definitely add to the artistic integrity of this photo.

 

The Temple – A place where people can honor those who have passed on as well as a place to leave behind anything you are ready to release from

 

Our tent battling the wind. This is a wonderful place called “walk-in” camping… a chance to camp with a bit of peace – NOT quiet – sound travels way too far in the desert.

 

Tommy during one of the many quick dust storms.

Art shark.

Art shark.

This is me being VERY brave posting this online. The internet has never seen my stomach before but oh well, this will be a great picture to use as a "before" shot for my future weight loss success!

This is me being VERY brave posting this online. The internet has never seen my stomach before but oh well, this will be a great picture to use as a “before” shot for my future weight loss success!

My favorite art car – CHARLIE THE UNICORN! Click the picture to see the internet video this was inspired from.

 

My brother Tommy and I about fifty feet up on a giant climbing structure!

My brother Tommy and I about fifty feet up on a giant climbing structure!

A sweet art car in the desert.

A sweet art car in the desert.

Bone tree.

Bone tree.

 

And finally, that gorgeous Nevada sky.

 

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!

IMG_0102

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