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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Your Own Best Friend: Body Snark

This weekend, I was lucky enough to spend a few days with my sister April and my best friend Katelyn. They had caravanned down from Northern California to check out some schools for April. We shared a lot of laughs, some good discussion, yummy food and relaxing time. Being among my besties was awesome because it made me realize how these gals have helped shape who I am. They love for me — not my blonde hair, or blue eyes, or the size of my jeans. On Sunday we were walking across the road to the Tamarack state beach. April and I had to change into bathing suits in the little public restroom. I mistakenly took April’s towel when I finished up, and she had to walk across the street to us with no towel to drape around herself. As she crossed the road in her cute blue tankini, I notice two gentlemen in a car check her out. When I told her this, she said, “No, they were probably looking at my fat thighs.”

Now, I can body-shame with the rest of ‘em. But I snapped to my sister, “April!!! Don’t say that about yourself. Would you say that to your best friend? Treat YOURSELF like your best friend.” Body-snark-police, I am. I think hearing my sister say that about herself was eye-opening for me because it reminded me of the very important reality that ultimately, who we love, respect and idolize in our lives has nothing to do with how they look. I love my sister for her love of singing, the inherent, ironic laziness we both share that never shows up at work and earns us accolades as extremely hard-working employees, but in our personal lives has us spending weekends in sweats. I love her for eco-enthusiasm, how she gets grumpy at me for using paper towels when I should just use washable dish rags. Despite finding her very beautiful, all of the things that make up April are not what’s on the outside. It wasn’t her thigh comment alone that inspired me to write this post. Tonight when I logged onto Facebook, a very respected friend of mine had posted that she was having trouble sleeping because of all the voices in her head telling her she wasn’t good enough. I reflected on this friend, just like I did with April above, and realized that despite her BEAUTIFUL outside, what I love about her is what’s on the inside. Her kick-ass dancing abilities, her sweet personality, the warm, inviting “Here, I’ll show you” persona that makes her an amazing teacher. We’re always so good about seeing the good in others, but how do we see the good in ourselves?

I think as women we need to work to change the dialogue in our heads, to make it NOT acceptable to become the body-snark authorities of our own selves. I’m guilty of this, too, and I’m sure I even snarked on myself several times through out the weekend. But when did it become a game to one-up each other on comments about how fat we are, how hooded our eyelids are, how oily our skin is, how blonde our hair is, how gross our pedicure looks, how long our arm hair is, how many freckles we have on our face? (Yep – every single one of these remarks was made this weekend among we three lovely women.) It’s not all our fault. It’s the magazines, the asshole ex boyfriend, the TV shows, the gossip rags, the radio shows, the “Well meaning” family member, the cosmetic companies, the diet pills, the fashion designers, the mean girls. No matter how far women come in their professional advancements, sitting next to male cabinet members and finding cures for diseases, we still decide that the sum of all of our parts is ultimately determined by our looks. This makes me feel all rage-y, and takes me back to the 15-year-old Alyssa who was dumped on AOL Instant Messenger by her first boyfriend for being a “feminazi”. I will proudly be a feminazi if it means declaring that we are enough as we are. That we don’t need to be 5’9, 125 pounds, perfectly tanned, with smooth hair, no flyaways, white teeth, a thigh gap, naturally rosy cheeks and big boobs. We ARE ENOUGH.

We can’t stop years of this bad habit overnight. Just as I overcame my habit of stress-eating, I’ll overcome the habit of body-snarking on myself. I’ve already gotten lots better, and now, when I catch myself dissing my bod’, I gently remind myself that I’m working on changing what I don’t like. I grew up in a beauty-positive household, one where my mom on a daily basis would comment on her beautiful daughters, how pretty we looked. I am thankful to my mom for that because I think despite my weight issues, I have a healthy self-esteem and confidence. I will always say the same things to my daughters and sons, because I know that even though my mom thinks on the outside we’re flawless, she really, truly sees what’s on the inside. Kindness, intelligence, compassion, courage, humor. Those are the things that make people beautiful in the way that makes you want to hold them near you. To be around them, to soak up their light. We don’t choose friends because of how they look, and if you do, you have some serious self-reflection to do. I’m challenging myself this week to be body-positive and to respectfully tell the body-snarking voice in my head to shut the eff up. You should do it, too. The world is a much friendlier place when we make peace with what we don’t like.

This post was also probably inspired by two awesome things I read this week:

1) The girl’s embarrassing photo went viral and she took charge to handle it. Read it and reap a good lesson (and note who she says most of the meant comments were from!).

2) I’m a big Amanda Palmer fan, and this weekend she wrote an open letter to Sinead O’Connor in response to O’Connor’s letter to Miley Cyrus. Palmer wrote about how rare it is to find female artists who have the balance of image/art and came back with a list of Women who Slay The Balance. Check it out here.

 

April’s flower filled birthday celebration!

This weekend, Matt and I traveled up the boring I-5 to visit foggy San Francisco and celebrate April’s 30th birthday! April is somewhat of a hippie. Even though she missed the 70s by about ten years, she’s always been a flower child at heart. Her birthday party was held in Dahlia Dell at Golden Gate Park, a lush green park on the lawn of the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers. Here’s some pictures of the special day! Most of these were taken by my mom of the talented Lynnette Joy Photography.

She wore a daisy chain in her hair.

April wore a daisy chain in her hair.

 

My brother's girlfriend Alison made this amazing cake. It was delicious!

My brother’s girlfriend Alison made this amazing cake. It was delicious! We had some of April’s favorite candy, bottlecaps, pixi sticks and smarties for guests to snack on.

sistahs

The Double Chin Duo is together at last! Funny how we look so much alike yet have some major differences, right? Do you think we look alike? Some people think we look like twins!

It was great to see my best friend Katelyn and my Dad. (PS: See that little hip curve I've got?! Always a sure sign I'm slowly shrinking. Woohoo!)

It was great to see my best friend Katelyn and my Dad. (PS: See that little hip curve I’ve got?! Always a sure sign I’m slowly shrinking. Woohoo!)

 

I'm not sure if you've ever seen the Double Chin Brother! This is our sweet little brother, who is almost 25 but will always be 12 years old to us.

I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen the Double Chin Brother! This is our sweet little brother, who is almost 25 but will always be 12 years old to us.

I enjoyed some yummy treats during the party like pork ribs, macaroni salad and a cupcake, but I tried not to drink my calories. This picture was actually taken in anticipation of another post I'll write this week about my upcoming break up with diet soda :(

I enjoyed some yummy treats during the party like pork ribs, macaroni salad and a cupcake, but I tried not to drink my calories. This picture was actually taken in anticipation of another post I’ll write this week about my upcoming break up with diet soda :(

We had all kinds of entertainment, from making floral crowns to a ukele player!

We had all kinds of entertainment, from making floral crowns to a ukele player!

These magnificent poppies were just a few of the many gorgeous flowers surrounding us.

These magnificent poppies were just a few of the many gorgeous flowers surrounding us.

Happy Birthday, April!

Happy Birthday, April!

Don’t forget to enter to win a prize pack filled with delicious BIG TRAIN protein drinks!!!

 

April’s first week of detoxifying

Dinosaur kale.  Roma tomatoes.  Carrots.  Spinach.  Apples.  Lentils.  Onions.  Celery.  Chives.  Pears.  Yogurt.  Brown rice.  Parsley.  Bananas.  Broccoli.  All organic.  All delicately placed in my reusable mesh produce bags for their first time ever being used, the same bags that I found removed from my car outside of my smashed-in back window three months ago.  It felt nice to finally use those bags and I’m so glad whoever broke my car window didn’t decide they needed them for their own produce purchases.

Making a conscious choice to finally use those mesh bags instead of the typical plastic ones is something I have been meaning to do for a very long time.   Even though I have had the bags for months, for some reason I never got around to using them.  I knew they were better for the environment but taking that extra effort to actually remember them just didn’t happen.   I had the tools, I just didn’t act.

Until now.   Coincidentally, I used the bags for my purchase of all the vegetables and fruits I would be needing for something else I had been wanting to do for a long time: a detox.

I used to babysit for a raw vegan woman who would talk about the benefits of eating non-processed and raw foods.  She also had all sorts of interesting books that would fill my head with ideas that maybe my constant headaches and digestion problems are caused by more than just the way my body works.  The past month I have had a dramatic increase of headaches, probably because of my body slowly adapting to going to school full time and taking classes like Algebra that keep me always searching for the elusive “X”.

Because of those headaches and knowing that I could use all the help I could get for my weight loss, I decided to utilize some more things I have had for years:  two books by Linda Page,  one is called “Cooking for Healthy Healing” and the other is “Healthy Healing“.  Both books are a bit old but the logic of a detox remains the same over the years:  Eliminate the potential toxins entering your system and eating specific foods that will help expel the toxins already in your system.

When you think of the word “detox”, you might automatically think of something like the Master Cleanse , a hardcore and dedicated cleaning process where you consume lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup for a period of time.   My detox is not that hardcore.  I’d love to be able to try something like that but until I have a full span of time where I don’t have to do anything but sit around a house watching reruns of Community and sitting online, that kind of detox just isn’t going to happen for me.

The basic idea of a detox according to Linda Page is to eliminate all the processed foods from your diet and eat and drink foods that will help your body perform at it’s best.

For example, today I made something called “Potassium Essence Broth” that was created for almost every health problem and has a substantial amount of minerals and electrolytes, including a nice 713mg of potassium per serving!  That’s nearly twice the amount of potassium as in a banana and will help get me to the recommended amount of 4.7mg a day!

Of course this broth didn’t do much to keep me satisfied so I also enjoyed my first glass of homemade vegetable juice ever!  I was so proud of my juice and amazed because it was actually quite delicious.  I combined two carrots, two tomatoes, half a red peppers, a small handful of spinach, kale, and parsley along with a clove of garlic and some sprigs of chives.  The results were a zesty and garlicky party on my tongue.

There are a few other recipes I made today to get me through the week, including a “macrobiotic soup” that is supposed to help me with stress exhaustion and weight control.  It’s made with wonderful carbs like lentils, brown rice, and split peas but sadly lacks immense wonderful flavor.  Too bad.

Have any of you ever done a detox before?  Would you ever do one?  How long do you  think I’ll last without a Red Bull or Coke?  The goal is to get through this week and once I hit Sunday, I’ll ease up a bit and let myself have some caffeine. Maybe by then my cravings for that liquid nectar of the Gods won’t be so intense.

Until next time, enjoy your Monday and I hope we all have a healthy week!

Much love,

AprilSignatur

April’s Two Month Check In

Well, dear readers, I wish I could write a joyous post like my sister did yesterday revealing her AMAZING 5 pound weight drop within a week but no… I must write a post of the opposite side of the spectrum:  failure.

I was doing pretty good for the first six weeks; I lost about six pounds.  Then the dark shadow of November came over me bearing down grief from the death of my cousin Josh, too much school, and a horrible neck injury that left me messed up and in pain for two weeks.

Whatever weight-loss wagon I was on, my fellow riders clearly booted me off for sitting on the couch and watching too many reruns of “The Daily Show” and “Colbert Report” instead of attempting to go for a walk or eating something that didn’t come from a box.

But whatever, like my last post regarding my battle with math, my failure of the past month will only make me try harder.

I decided to take this past Sunday as a day to get in some fun exercise by walking for miles around the marina region of San Francisco.  I practiced my photography and trekked about four miles up and down the gorgeous water front overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.  I tried to keep my pace up enough to get my heart rate going and every time a neon spandex wearing jogger trotted past me, I only gained more motivation to boost up the speed.  I should have kept track of the amount of damn joggers I saw within my two hours of being at the marina.  Probably 100.  Of course, it was 65 degrees and totally clear in San Francisco that day, which is pretty rare for a December afternoon so I can’t really question.  Plus one day I’ll be a “damn jogger” rather than the “damn girl taking up the sidewalk with her walking”.  Oh, how I look forward to getting to the point when I look forward to running instead of dreading it.   I was there once, and it wasn’t really THAT long ago.   I just need to get there again.

Getting exercise by the golden gate bridge!

In January I will be joining up with some other friends from around my area in a weight-loss competition.   The contest goes for three months and has a $50 “buy-in” so the ending pot could end up being quite the pretty penny for whoever wins.   If I were to actually get serious about my weight loss, who knows!?  Maybe I could win!

I’m still enrolled in my Pilates and yoga classes for Mondays and Wednesdays.  I  also could utilize my free three-month membership to 24-hour Fitness and just get obsessive like my amazing homegirl Melody did and make the weight fall right off me.  With the combination of exercise and eating my “clean slow carb” diet,  I know that whether I win the contest or not, I could still finally get out of the 200′s and have a 1 for my single digit weight for the first time since I was 16.

I look forward to my future.  ;)

How about you guys?  Have you or would you ever do a weight loss competition?

Peace and monkeys,

 

 

2012 Turkey Trot – My First 10k

April and I about a mile in.

Hello! Yes, blog friends, I have FINALLY received the card reader I complained about not having several times this week. Which means… PICTURES! VOILA! (Did you know that word is “Wah-lah!” For the longest time I just wrote wahlah. Had no idea it was Voila. Anyways, random is me.) So! All week I had been pumping myself up to do the third annual Petaluma Turkey Trot. Sure, I’d need to wake up earlier than I do for work, and sure, it’d be 44 degrees when we started, and sure, a large portion of the trail was up a steep, rocky hill. But, SURE, I could do it!

I arrived in Petaluma the night before and my sister and I spent the night awake and giggling like we have too many times. Finally, we knocked out around 1:45 AM, and I awoke the next morning to the blaring alarm clock set 14 minutes too fast (I guess delinquency runs in the family). My sister had an ailment that could have prevented her from going, but I’ll let her tell you all about that tomorrow. (She’s a trooper! Go April!) We got dressed, got in the car, and were on our way!

We showed up at the park at 8:38, where everyone was supposed to be meeting at 8:30. There were no turkey trotters in sight. Plenty of cars, but no people. Had we missed the turkey trot? Indeed we had! But, since we are super hardcore and were determined to come home with the glow of pre-feast fitness victory, we relied on our pal Melody’s trusty sense of navigation (and her phone) and created our own route. We were initially going to do the 5k track, but as we got going, catching up and BSing about life, the Sonoma Aroma filled our lungs and we were filled with motivation and inspiration, fueled by perspiration. We trudged forward, stopping to check out cows and compare manicures.

Reached the top of Helen Putnam Park without going into cardiac arrest. YAY!

Right before this picture was taken, I was sitting on a bench, breathing heavily, half wondering if I had overdone it on the huge, steep hill leading up to the nature trail called Helen Putnam Park. I had pushed myself forward, but it was a long, steep climb and all of a sudden I felt really out of breath and could tell I was having a pollen reaction, combined with hauling 50 extra pounds up a huge hill. (Long story short – when you have crazy allergies like I do, if you suddenly take in a lot of pollen or an inhalant, your body gets a little… fuzzy feeling. This can happen even with allergy meds ,and it sucks – it’s kind of like feeling super super tired all of a sudden yet panicky at the same time. It’s a big fat fail.) I sat on the bench, feeling frustrated and wondering why this all had to be so damn hard. Hadn’t I just said I was feeling more in shape? I said this aloud to my friend Melody (who has lost 70 pounds – SUPER STAR! She’s amazing!) – and she provided even more weight loss wisdom. “It’s hard, but you have to push through it. Just keep going. Just. keep. going.” She enunciated the last three words, and I realized, she’s right. Everything I’ve ever done that’s been worth doing has been HARD. Victory and success doesn’t come without major perseverance. I got off the bench… and I kept going.

The beautiful Petaluma, California

The rest of the trail was awesome, as we got on top of these hills which then took us through a beautiful wooded area, dappled with morning light and gently rolling fog. Once I made it past that hill, the rest of the hike was gravy. We were jolly and laughing the whole way down, proud that we had done something so good for ourselves on a day that’s usually good for the soul but bad for the arteries. By the time we got back to where we started, we had clocked 6.9 miles – just over a 10k, and according to MyFitnessPal, a 910 calorie burn. I think I need to make this a new Thanksgiving day tradition, because it made the rest of the day feel so rewarding. I felt great after my workout and I’m proud to say now that I can walk a 10k.

April, Melody and I after our Turkey Trot.

Have you or would you ever participate in a “turkey trot”?