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!

 

Stretchy Pants, and Remembering to Wear Jeans

Look down. What are you wearing today? Most of you are wearing slacks, or a skirt, or a dress, or Chinos, or khakis, or jeans. I used to wear jeans way more often. But lately? I wear a lot of stretchy pants.

“Sometimes, you wear stretchy pants.” Nacho Libre image from blog.logmycalls.com

Why do I wear so many stretchy pants? Because I work from home. And when you work from home, you wear your comfies, your cozies, the shirt with the unfortunate mustard stain right across the chest, or the pants with the hole that are just so darn comfortable. Because no one can see you! No video conferencing, no lunch meetings, no need to be dressed professionally — cuz gosh darnit, you do the best you can do when you’re at your most comfortable, right? Right! (It’s a miracle I brush my hair most days. And don’t even get me started on the days I put on makeup. I feel like a different person!)

I’ve worked from home before, and this time, I’m being cautious about my affinity for stretchy pants. Why? Because if you don’t occasionally remember to wear jeans, one day, you’ll be forced to go out into public, and you’ll put on your jeans — and they won’t fit. It starts slowly; a little more snug here, a little more fabric crease indentations in your skin there. You make a mental note to lay off the Nutella. But then next time you put them on, they barely button, and before you know it, you have a stack of 10 pairs of jeans that don’t fit, and a hamper full of stretchy pants. Jeans are an important barometer for maintaining your weight, especially a pricey pair that’s less likely to stretch out.

I knew I needed to start remembering to wear jeans when my allergist, whom I see weekly, remarked that it was nice to see me wear jeans. You know you have a problem when wearing jeans scores you a compliment. So now, I make a marked effort to wear jeans at least three times a week. Today, the navy blue star pajama pants won, and then even after my lunch break shower, I put on my Taffy Activewear Yoga Pants…but tomorrow, I will wear jeans.  Baby steps, people. Baby steps. Regardless of the ongoing challenge I now face with having to remember to wear jeans, all I can think is, I sure am lucky to have a dilemma like this. The possibility of tight jeans is way worth working from home. And so far, my jeans haven’t been tight. Thank goodness for small favors. (Maybe I should just kill two birds with one stone and buy myself a pair of pajama jeans. Hey, my birthday is in a month and a half…)

Do you have a certain clothing item that serves as your reminder for how you’re doing with eating well and exercising? What do you normally wear to work?

 

 

Low Carb Spaghetti Squash Carbonara by Jess of Nummy for my Tummy

Hi Friends! Last week, I participated in a Blog Swap, hosted by the lovely AJ of Confessions of a Fat Girl. The point of a blog swap is to put yourself in another blogger’s shoes, by writing a post you may not usually write. I was assigned red lips over at my friend Chris’ blog, What I Run Into, and I assigned my friend Jess, of Nummy for my Tummy, a low-carb recipe. How DELICIOUS does Spaghetti Squash Carbonara sound?! Jess has lost an incredible 175 pounds, and I can’t wait to dig through her site for more amazing recipes (For example? she just posted a sauerkraut recipe I have to try!). Follow Jess on Twitter here, Facebook here, and Instagram here. Enjoy!

The Double Chin Diary Divider

Hi everyone! I’m Jess aka Nummy For My Tummy; I share simple, quick and inexpensive gluten-free meals and sometimes “Paleo”.  Today I’m incredibly honored to guest post for Double Chin Diary.  As someone who has been struggling with weight loss my entire life, I quickly fell in love (yes love) with Alyssa and April’s blog.

I feel like I’ve been dieting my entire life. Even when I say I’m just eating “clean and healthy” the reality is that I’m on a yet another diet. Ugh!

Even after a 175lb+ weight loss I still have a few pounds left and find I’ll always be a work in progress. Feelin’ me? If you’re reading this I’m sure you do ;)

Now, let’s get down to business.

I’ve never been a traditional breakfast kinda gal.  Steak & eggs over sugary donuts any day.  Today I’m sharing one of my favorite breakfasts; Spaghetti Squash Carbonara. You read that right…BREAKFAST.  This is a low carb meal that has just enough protein and fat to carry me through my mornings. Of course this can be eaten any time of day, but when you start changing your idea of what breakfast should be, it will open up a world of options for you.

Spaghetti Squash

INGREDIENTS:

  • · 2 eggs
  • · 1/4 c coconut milk (or milk of choice)
  • · 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • · 1/2 tsp. black pepper, ground
  • · 4 c. spaghetti squash, cooked
  • · 3/4 c. sweet onion, diced
  • · 4 strips cooked bacon, diced
  • · 1/4 c. nutritional yeast (or grated parmesan)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, milk, pepper and garlic salt, set aside
  2. Heat a large skillet and add diced bacon, cooking until almost crisp
  3. Add onion to the bacon and stir until onion is translucent
  4. Spoon mixture into a bowl and set aside, leaving grease
  5. Using the same large skillet, over medium-high heat, add spaghetti squash until heated and coated with the bacon grease
  6. Turn heat off  and slowly add the egg mixture to the squash, constantly tossing
  7. Add the bacon and onion mixture to the coated squash
  8. Stir in nutritional yeast (or parmesan)
  9. MANJA!

NOTE: The “sauce” may start off a bit watery before you stir in the nutritional yeast or parmesan, but once added it will absorb and make it slightly thicker.  Nutritional Yeast can be found and your local Whole Foods or similar market in your area and is used as a gluten-free and vegan cheese alternative.

 

 

Smoothie love and progress pics.

First off, I know it has been quite a while since I last wrote here on the blog and for that I am sorry.  It is always flattering for me to hear from my sister that people ask about where I disappeared to so thank you, I feel loved.

I have been having an incredible amount of fun over the past few weeks and have been staying busy with new adventures mixed with some midterm testing for school.  However, even with my rushed lifestyle that I have been rocking for a while now, I haven’t made much progress on dropping down numbers on the scale.  I had my Weight Watchers meeting today and I was up 4.2 pounds since the last meeting I attended two weeks ago.  Oops.  I know exactly how I gained those pounds and I know exactly what I need to do to take them off.

Here is the smoothie that created much adoration.  Plus, how could one not love a drink that comes with an umbrella?

Here is the smoothie that created much adoration. Plus, how could one not love a drink that comes with an umbrella?

I have been eating rather crappily over the past week but went shopping and am ready to get a grip on my nutrition.  I’m also on day two of no artificial crap caffeine (as in Red Bull and soda).  I had a HORRIBLE headache last night so I think I need to just pop some Tylenol early on in the day to try to avoid the headaches.  I’ve been having around five headaches a week now and it is getting pretty old… I spoke with the doctor and she suggested that I start taking a bunch of vitamins/minerals to see if that helps, including magnesium, riboflavin (B2), and Co enzyme Q10.  Otherwise she recommends some daily pill which I don’t want to get on as I would rather just take a pain killer when needed, not every day.

Besides my lame headaches, I’ve been trying out new ways besides salad to get fruits and vegetables in my life.  One of the new additions to my life to help me get more produce into my life are smoothies.  I’ve always loved smoothies yet rarely have them because I’m too lazy to do the prep and clean up.  Recently I have been reintroduced to the greatness of the cold drink packed with nutrients and have shown ways to make smoothie making less tedious.  Yes, I know that they have a lot of sugar.  However, they also have a lot of potential for extra nutrients like fiber and protein if you add fun ingredients like chia seeds, yogurt, and leafy greens.  Plus, they are still way better for me than the amount of sugar I get in my Red Bull addiction.

The smoothie you see pictured has a bunch of fantastic things in it like kale, spinach, strawberries, pineapple, blackberries, almond milk, cucumber, chia seeds, ground flax seeds… A smoothie like that is a great meal replacement and my buddy has lost 65 pounds by supplementing meals for smoothies like this.

Veronica's amazing drawer of smoothie wonder

Veronica’s amazing drawer of smoothie wonder

I made myself a lower calorie version the other day with just some banana, strawberries, blueberries and yogurt. Although it was annoying to me to have to chop off the tops of each little strawberry, I endured through the task and decided to cut up ALL of  my strawberries in motivation to create a frozen drawer of goodness like one of my favorite women in my life, Veronica.  I’ve always admired Veronica’s master skills at organization and since I babysit for her twice a week, I get to experience first hand in how doing a little bit extra effort at one point can result in simplicity later on.  Veronica chops up all her fruit and sticks it in the freezer so she is always ready for her two children’s requests for smoothies.  I think it’s awesome and wanted to share with all of you how easy she makes smoothie making, check out her freezer drawer!  Plus, it’s a great thing to do if you know you’ve got excess fruit that you just don’t want to waste!

Do any of you guys make smoothies?  What do you like to throw in there?

And as promised.. here are my progress pics.  :)

Two months of Weight Watchers from January 3rd to March 3rd (~10 pounds down)

Two months of Weight Watchers from January 3rd to March 3rd (~10 pounds down)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have an awesome weekend, everyone!

Love and smoothies,

AprilSignatur

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.

LL Blog Badge v2 SPEAKING

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

26.2: The Double Chin Dude’s Los Angeles Marathon

This past weekend, I woke my butt up at 4:00 a.m. (the night of the time change, no less! Who decided on that?!), and prepared to drive my husband and his parents to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles for Matt’s first marathon! Matt, my double chin dude, has been diligently training for the past five months, suiting up after work and going on long, long, long neighborhood runs. On Sunday, I was a bundle of nerves (he wasn’t), thinking all the worrywart scenarios that a worrywart wife would worry: Would he be hydrated? Should I be worried because of what happened in Boston? What if he got hungry? Etc, etc. We dropped him off, headed over to a Starbucks, caffeinated, and prepared to wait a little while to get breakfast before we met him at the halfway point in Beverly Hills. Look at this beautiful sunrise we were treated with!

Sunrise_LosAngeles_Streetlights_DoubleChinDiary

There is NO editing in this picture. It was truly like the sky was on fire. It makes me think it almost might be worth being up that early more often. Nah, maybe not. I like sleeping. Especially in my warm bed. Around 7:30, Matt was off! We used the Friend Finder app on the iPhone to track his progress. The app is a little bit big brother, but in instances like tracking someone in a marathon or being at a big event, it was a great idea for keeping tabs on whereabouts.

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We set up station in Beverly Hills, right along the corner of the famous Rodeo Drive. While we waited, we made signs and cheered on other runners. I didn’t think being a cheerleader would be so fun– it was such a great boost to call out someone’s name, wiggle a sign at them, and see how they lit up into a huge smile and visibly got a burst of energy from being encouraged.

After about an hour of cheering, we saw Matt’s yellow shirt in the distance! He ran right up to us, and was still in remarkably good spirits for having just run 17 miles. We showed him our signs, exchanged some quick hugs, and he was off again.

 

Matt_Marathon_LosAngeles

Next up was our friend Jason! Jason also was in a good mood and looking remarkably chipper for running 17 miles in 80 degree heat. (With no electrolytes – the marathon ran out of Gatorade! No good.)

Jason_Alyssa_LosAngelesMarathon

Once Jason and Matt were on their way, we headed over to Santa Monica, a lovely two hour drive thanks to the families of 26,000 people trying to get to see their loved ones cross the finish line. Matt finished his first marathon in 5 hours and 20 minutes, and I’m so amazed by his efforts! While I don’t see myself as the marathon type, I think it’s an incredible physical and mental challenge. I may not be the running 26.2 miles kind of person, but I just might be the walking 60 miles type person. More on that later ;)

Matt’s advice to anyone wanting to run a marathon? “Just keep training.” What do you think? Could you see yourself crossing the finish line at 26.2? Have you? Share your stories!

(PS: Weigh in post coming soon! I missed last week but weighed in yesterday. :) )