Guest Post: Why Aubrey walks the 3-Day

Friends: I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend Aubrey, the co-captain of the Double Chin Divas! I have the pleasure of working with Aubrey on the 3-Day, and she’ll be walking 60 miles with me and April and Monique in San Diego in November. I wanted you to know why this walk matters so much to so many of us. To read more about Aubrey and donate to her fundraising, visit her here. Can’t donate but want to join us? Consider joining the Double Chin Divas team! Take it away, Aubrey!

Aubrey's the one holding the sign!

Aubrey’s the one holding the sign!

I registered for the Susan G. Komen Seattle 3-Day in January of 2010 with the idea of doing something bigger than myself. I had heard about the 3-Day once or twice before in passing. This time I was sitting on the couch watching The Biggest Loser and saw the 3-Day commercial. My mind was made in an instant. I knew that I was going to register to walk 60 miles over the course of three days and raise $2,300. I had never done something like this. And to tell you the truth, I hadn’t done anything in my adult life that was noteworthy.

My grandmother had beaten breast cancer twice by the time I was born, I lost two of my aunts to cancer (breast and ovarian), my great grandmother had passed away from stomach cancer when my grandmother was a small child, and if that wasn’t reason enough, I believed that it was the right thing to do. I’ve always been the type of person to be all in or not at all so I jumped into the biggest, boldest event facing breast cancer out there with both feet.

I remember walking my very first 3-Day anxious to find out what was ahead, and I didn’t mean on the route. I meant with my mom. Just one month before my first 3-Day she had been diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. All throughout my journey I remember wondering what was to come. Would I lose her? She was my only parent, and she fought long and hard to give my brother and me a good life. My mom’s cancer forced me to look at this event in an entirely new way. I realized there is a difference between the feelings that are conjured up when you hear about a diagnosis. If you’ve never known someone close to you with cancer, you feel badly for the person with cancer. If you’ve ever watched a loved one fight cancer, the word “cancer” chews up your nerves, pulls on your heartstrings and launches you into advocacy.

Aubrey and her team

Aubrey and the San Diego Camp Services Team

So why this event? Why walk 60 miles and raise $2,300? I do it because it is essential. It is the single thing that I can do about breast cancer. When my mom was diagnosed I was called to action. I knew that signing up for this event meant a level of commitment that I had never encountered. And to be completely honest, I had no idea what kind of time would be involved, but I did it knowing I would not give up because cancer patients don’t get to give up. The walking part of this event is important but also symbolic to what a patient goes through. There’s a huge difference between symbolic and the same. We, as able bodied people, have to push ourselves to take every step. We have to force ourselves to get up and train when we don’t feel like it. We have to try out different techniques until we find the right training gear or walking speed. Compare that to what cancer patients go through and you’ll quickly realize you have nothing to complain about. One foot in front of the other.

The money. Why is there a goal? It’s simple.  If the goal is to fund a world without breast cancer then a certain number must be set in place in order to fulfill the purpose of what we are doing. So why $2,300? Because people don’t work for free and cancer research is labor and time intensive. Why $2,300? Because mammograms for uninsured women aren’t free so we need to raise enough to share the hope that a free mammogram can give. Why $2,300? Because there are women losing their hair and can’t afford a wig or a scarf, but if you go to your local cancer resource center you can usually get one for free. Why $2,300? Because families should not have to choose between putting food on the table and paying for treatment.

What about the folks who can’t physically or financially commit to this, but still want to help? Consider joining the 3-Day crew. They are a wonderful and dedicated group of individuals that donate four days of their time working behind the scenes during the event to ensure that the walkers have a seamless event. You can also share posts on social media, or come out to cheer walkers on.

If you have ever had a question about whether you can do this or not, I am here to tell you that YOU CAN! You cannot fail when you put your mind to this. I never once had it in my mind that I couldn’t do this even though I am a plus sized girl who had never done anything physically challenging in my life. The 3-Day is not just about pink ribbons, walking, and fundraising. The 3-Day is about living, dreaming, achieving, and loving in every aspect of your life. The confidence and relationships that you develop within yourself and others because of the 3-Day is only the beginning of what you are capable of.

Weekly Recap, Double Chin Style

Hello, hello! Sorry for the tumbleweeds blowin’ around here lately…I’ve been on the road living life, and sometimes living life means my little dusty corner of the internet gets neglected for a few days. Here’s what I’ve been up to!

1) I got really POed last week at my weigh in when I gained a pound. I was mostly POed because I *mostly* refrained from eating carbs (except for some delicious Scotchmallows on Easter), walked over 10 miles total, and did a horrifying Jillian Michaels Shred class at the gym. In my mind, all of those efforts should have meant I got skinny right away, because you know, of course eating mostly right and exercising for seven days should automatically result in a 70 pound instantaneous weight loss… I had to talk myself down from my unreasonable yet totally realistic-in-the-moment musings of “I should just accept I’m always going to be heavy and move on with my life”. I actually made a pretty funny comparison now that I think back on it, and I’ll share that one in a few days when I have time to summarize, but it involves everyone’s favorite new movie, Frozen, as shown below.

Coming soon on the DCD: Why Alyssa's weight loss struggles parallels Elsa, a queen with a frightening magical power.

Coming soon on the DCD: Why Alyssa’s weight loss struggles parallels Elsa, a queen with a frightening magical power.

2) I’m meeting with my endocrinologist next week for a follow up, and I can’t wait to switch medication versions from a normal Metformin to Metformin XR, which is extended release and will hopefully make me less nauseous after taking it. After two weeks of feeling constantly urp-ish, I summoned Dr. Google and discovered this PCOS medication can “hit you” five-six weeks after a dosage change, when levels increase in the body. I’m not a doctor of course, so don’t quote me on the accuracy of that, but it made sense to me. You’d think that constant nausea would translate to weight loss, but nope, not this week. Next week, hopefully. Ironically, whenever I eat too many carbs, the gastric distress is enhanced, making me wonder if I do have some sort of gluten intolerance. Maybe I should look into that. Oh carbs. Why do you have to be so delicious?

In honor of Mean Girls 10th anniversary.

3) Fundraising! Thank you SO much to everybody who has donated to my journey towards 60 miles. I’m currently at $669 raised out of $2,300, and my teammate Aubrey has challenged me to raise $200 by Sunday evening. Can you help me get there with a donation of $50?     I have been enjoying training, and today did my longest walk in awhile, clocking in 4.80 miles with my friend Amy. I’m a little bit sore now and am kind of like “Oh, crap. I’m going to be walking four times that in a couple months?! THREE DAYS IN A ROW?!” Scary, but awesome. I can do it. You can do it too. Wanna walk 60 miles with the Double Chin Divas? You can join us on our quest to end breast cancer by fundraising $2,300, walking 60 miles, and then enjoying a fun-filled weekend of walking and glamping. Let me know if you’re interested; I have a special coupon code I can share. Cancer sucks, and this is something we can do to help kick its butt.

Let's leave breast cancer out in the cold. Besides, who doesn't love penguins? Please support me on my journey towards walking 60 miles with a donation.

Let’s leave breast cancer out in the cold. Besides, who doesn’t love penguins? Please support me on my journey towards walking 60 miles with a donation.

4) My bestie got engaged this week! I flew to Northern California to celebrate her birthday and engagement. She and her soon to be hubby are a lovely couple, and I had so much fun at their BBQ and catching up. I also got to squeeze in a nice dinner with all my parents which was lovely. I’m so grateful for an awesome job that allows me to work remotely, as it gives you such a nice flexibility. I can work anywhere that has wifi and cell phone reception — so rad. Now to actually try and work standing up one of these days. Has anybody done it? Any tips?

 

Checking out the ring!

Checking out the ring!

5) I got a haircut. It’s fun to have a change. 🙂

Ok, that’s all I got, because it’s 11:28 p.m. and this chickadee should be asleep in bed by now. Tell me what’s new in your world, and have an amazing Thursday!

Alyssa

 

 

 

Weekend Wrap-Up in Double Chin Land

Hello everyone! Wow, what an awesome weekend. On Friday night, I got to see tickets to Bill Maher, that I won from my friend Anne’s blog. Bill Maher isn’t for everyone as he’s super liberal, super atheist, and super opinionated, but he’s pretty damn funny. Kicking off my weekend with a bunch of belly laughs was awesome. Then, on Saturday, I went to Weight Watchers where I weighed in and…

Lost 1.5 pounds

israeli cous cous grilled pork chop roasted beets

Yummy simple spring dinner!

I’m on a nice downward trend as I’ve lost at least a pound every week for the past three weeks. WOOHOO!!!! It’s kind of weird that I’m paying for Weight Watchers but not following Weight Watchers, but I knew with my specific health conditions I needed to do sensible eating (like weight watchers) minus most carbs. The weight loss is slower than I’m used to with a low carb plan, considering I’m only eating about 70-100 grams of carbs per day (the average person eats upwards of 200), BUT, it’s weight loss, and I’d like to think that weight that comes off nice and slow is weight that will never come back! I also have noticed it’s much easier for me to stay on plan, and I think a lot of that comes from the regulation of my insulin (a PCOS symptom) with the aid of Metformin, a drug typically used for diabetics. I’m not craving things as much anymore, and it’s simpler for me to stop when I’m full. It feels good to be on the right track. A large part of this success is really limiting “white food” in my life. No sugar, no bread, no rice, no pasta. (Occasionally I’ll take a bite of something Matt is having — because let’s face it, carbs are delicious and sometimes you want a taste.) My carbs mostly come from fruit, like Strawberries or Blueberries, the occasional small red skinned potato or whole grain like Israeli couscous. The picture on the left was tonight’s dinner: a grilled pork chop, 1/4 cup cous cous, and roasted vegetables. Eating a ton of vegetables is a big part of my new plan, and to help with

hen of the woods CSA Farm fresh agriculture box

Farm Fresh to You CSA Box. The funky thing on the left is called a Hen of the Woods mushroom.

that, I signed up for Farm Fresh to You, an all organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box that comes to my house once per month. I was previously a CSA member, but ultimately had to give it up when I was doing some budgeting. However, Los Angeles Groupon has a deal going right now that you can get your first box for $15 (normally $31.50), so I decided to give it a try again. My first box didn’t disappoint, with a bunch of beets, carrots, spring onions, mandarin oranges, tangerines, sweet potatoes, strawberries, fennel, Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, a lemon, and an avocado. I roasted the carrots, onions, beets, fennel and mushrooms with some of my garden grown peas, kale and chard at 450 for 30 minutes.Roasting vegetables is such an awesome way to bring out the natural sweetness in so many veggies. Yum, yum!

 

 

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Matt and I at H&D’s wedding

In addition to laughing and cooking and weighing in, I got to see two of my dear friends get married. Congratulations to Hilda and Daniel! Matt and I enjoyed attending our first Armenian wedding, where, I kid you not, there must have been 15 courses of food served all through the night. We had hummus, salmon, lavash, cheeses, olives, kebabs, rice, salad, fresh fruit, and then wedding cake. I got a little over zealous in the beginning on some cheese and olives but learned to pace myself as the rest of the feast trickled out. After we ate, we danced our butts off, which was a nice way to burn some calories.

Then today, I slept in until 11 a.m., cleaned the bathroom, walked to the grocery store, and pulled weeds in my garden. A successful Sunday, if you ask me. In 15 minutes, Mad Men and Silicon Valley will be on, and then I’ll head to bed. It was so nice to have a weekend at home as the last two weekends I’ve been traveling, and next weekend will be on the road again.

Tell me what you were up to this weekend! This week will be busy, but I’m looking forward to it. The weather is gorgeous here, and even though the pollen is out in full force, I’m loving the sun shining as I take lunch break walks and train on my way t0 60 miles. PS: how cool is it that April and Monique are part of team Double Chin Divas with Aubrey and I?! We’d love to have you join us, if you’re interested in fundraising, walking, and glamping in San Diego November 21-23. All are welcome; together we can kick cancer’s butt! Let me know if you’re interested in joining so I can provide you a special discount code and team password.

Have a wonderful start to your week!

The Double Chin Diary Siggy

 

 

I’m walking 60 miles in 3 days.

Remember how a few weeks ago, I teased that I had an announcement to make? This is it! I’ve decided that this November, I’ll be walking 60 miles over three days in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. I’ll be walking alongside my friend Aubrey, and hopefully some of you, with the Double Chin Divas — a team made up solely of people who are invested in not only their health, but the health of women and men worldwide. While the 3-Day is specifically an event to help end breast cancer, I’m walking these miles not only against breast cancer; but against liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, brain cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, and every other type of cancer that’s ever touched the lives of anyone you and I have ever loved. (And sadly, I know that cancer has touched and taken many lives.)

This year, an old classmate of mine, Scott Schipper, passed away after a courageous fight against colon cancer. He was 29 years old, just a few months older than I am. 29. I turn 29 in a month. Think about that. There’s so much I want to do, to be, to see. I’m only 29. Scott was only 29. Scott was an incredibly enigmatic person. I first met him in high school marching band, and that kid never left home without his saxophone. He was a class clown, but the friendly kind, never somebody to bully or taunt, but leave you with that goofy perma-grin that only a true comedian can. When I heard that he had passed, I was filled with an overwhelming sadness, but also, a rage. Scott’s passing is just one too many. Cancer has touched far too many lives. This year has brought a long and unfortunate list to mind of those fighting cancer. Their bravery stuns me, amazes me, touches me, and above all, propels me into action. I can’t directly cure cancer. But what I can do is donate my time and energy to a cause that I care about deeply.

DoubleChinDiary_SusanGKomen_The3day_60miles_alyssacurran_breastcancer

3 Days. 60 Miles. $2,300.

While I train to walk 60 miles, I will also be fundraising. I need to raise $2,300 to participate in the walk, and 100% of the net proceeds raised by participants in the 3-Day are invested in community-based breast health programs and breast cancer research. $2,300 is a big number. It’s intimidating. But, it’s a lot more intimidating to think about twiddling my thumbs and remaining passive about the fact that cancer is effing with the wrong group of people. I’d like to ask for your help as I prepare for this amazing journey. Can you spare something to help fight cancer?

A $75 donation will help two breast cancer patients get to and from their treatment sessions. A $120 donation will fund the cost of one life-saving mammogram. With your donation, please share the name of a person you’d like me to walk in memory of, or in honor of. I will gladly carry their name with me every step of my journey. You will see a lot about my 3-Day journey in the coming months on this blog. I will be selling ad space to help me fundraise, and I’m hoping to host fun events like a “Boob-b-q”.

Beyond fundraising and kicking cancer’s butt, I’m looking forward to the satisfying physical effects that long distance walking will help with; increased energy, toning, stamina, stress reduction, and above all, weight loss! The 3-Day is a win-win for me. I’ll be fighting breast cancer, getting fit, helping others, and making a difference. And above all, that’s what this blog has always been about. Making a difference in the way I viewed my own body. Making a difference in the way I approach weight loss, and ultimately, making a difference in my health. I invite you today to make a difference not only in your health, but in the health of the estimated 232,000 women who will receive a breast cancer diagnosis this year. Together, we can impact change, and create hope. Won’t you join me?

Please help me kick off my fundraising with a donation today.

Help me reach my goal for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day

Are you interesting in joining the Double Chin Divas team? Click here for more information about the San Diego 3-Day. You can use code TEAM20 now through April 16 to save $20 on your registration. Aubrey and I would love to have you! Besides the walking and fundraising, there’s a ton of cool stuff that happens on the actual event — camping in PINK tents, dance parties, trail mix, delicious food pitstops every couple miles, entertainment… it’s basically a giant party for three days. Sounds good to me! To see more of what it’s going to be like, check out this board on Pinterest.

Do you have any advice for me, either about fundraising, walking long distance, or anything else? You know I always love to hear what you have to say. 🙂

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.

 

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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. 🙂 )