Alyssa’s 16 Pounds Lost Progress Pix

Hello, hello! How are things? My weigh-in on Tuesday wasn’t stellar — I was up 2.2 pounds. But, not gonna let it get me down. Pickin’ myself up and brushin’ myself off, because I seem to be in a little bit of a big loss, then gain, then another big loss type pattern. I was holding water from some yummy food on my weekend away, and I’ve been back at the tracking and exercise with a vengeance. So I know next week will be better. Moving on to Non-Scale Victories!

I’ve been wanting to update my progress pix for awhile, and now that I’ve officially passed a 15 pound milestone, I thought it was time. It’s frustrating to think that it took me since June to lose these 16 pounds, BUT, I’d rather take it suuuuuper slow than nothing at all, if it means I’ll eventually get there. Without further ado, here’s what I look like minus 16 pounds. (And unfortunately, there’s no poorly photoshopped cats this time around. Next time!)

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I’m so glad I have these pictures, because on days where it feels like it’s just not worth it to try to lose weight, I can look at these and SEE change. Especially through my mid-section. Whenever my middle starts to whittle, I know that what I’m doing is working. Even better? The joyous “You’ve lost weight!” exclamation from friends who haven’t seen me in awhile. Love it, love it, love it. But it’s not really about how I look — it’s more about how I feel. And I’m feeling good. I have more energy, my body feels less tense, and I’m not huffing and puffing from simple things. I’m so glad I’m finally seeing some progress on this very long road I’ve been traveling on for several years. It makes me think that maybe, just maybe, the future is within my reach — and it’s very bright!

Five Things on Friday

Hi Everybody, it’s Friday, woot woot! With the holidays, things are rockin’ and rollin’ and my schedule has been filled with fabulous festivities like the grand opening of my dear friend’s plus size bridal salon, holiday parties, and of course, working on getting in shape! I’ve been really good this week about doing some sort of exercise every day — mostly running with my couch to 5k app and then some yoga. I’m trying hard to maintain some level of “zen” in my life during the hectic but fun holiday season. I have a bunch of random things I wanna tell you about, so here’s my “Five for Friday”.

1) You really should read this article, “So You’re Feeling Too Fat To Be Photographed“. As someone who suffers from chronic doublechinitis, I can relate to the “Aghh! No Pictures!” phenomenon. However, the author’s life-changing experience gives her the perfect authority to speak on such a touchy subject — visually capturing the way you look when you don’t like the way you look. Read it, shed a little tear, and then smile big for the camera.

2) We have a WINNER!!!! Congrats to Melissa for winning the week of Diet to Go meals. I used a very complicated system (paper and pen) to tally up all your entries and pick the winner. Some of you pinned like crazy – you ROCK! We’ll be doing another amazing Diet to Go giveaway soon, so keep playing for your chance to win! Feeling lucky? There’s about one more day left to win some Prosperity Cinnamon. Enter now!

3) Do you guys have any tips for falling back asleep in the morning if you wake up too early? I know — sounds weird. Our kitten Oliver is almost a year old, and he likes to start causing chaos at about 5:00 A.M., either by knocking stuff over, chewing on things, or kneading my stomach with his jabby little kitten paws. UGH! It takes me about 45 minutes to fall back asleep after that. 5:00 A.M. is just TOO early to get started for the day… not gonna happen. Any tips? Do I need to lock him out of the room? :(

Early Morning Noise Maker.

Early Morning Noise Maker.

4) This time of year is hard for me food-wise, because I’m surrounded by holiday treats. I’ve been doing pretty well navigating so far (my jeans are loose! WOOHOO! Official weigh in is next week), but for some reason I go kookoo for peppermint and chocolate flavored things. At Trader Joe’s, I felt like my hands were magnetic to the Peppermint Joe Joe’s — but TWO cookies is 140 calories. Um, what?! I found a great alternative though! Try the Mini Dark Chocolate Shortbread Peppermint Stars. You can have 13 for 120 calories. Much better — volume eating.

5) I had the opportunity this week to share my story about my weight loss gain loss gain whatever-it-is on my dear friend Emmie’s blog this week. Go check it out, and if you don’t read Authentically Emmie, get to it. She’s the bee’s knees – and recently wrote an article in Ladies Home Journal!

Okay, guys, that’s all I got. I hope you’re having a wonderful week. Tell me what’s going on with you! Any great food finds? Exercise progress? Random feelings? Let it all out and let’s get our weekends started!

xoxo

The Double Chin Diary Siggy

 

Picture Post!

If you follow me on instagram, you probably know that I’m a little bit obsessed with it – it’s like my favorite social media site, Twitter, combined with cool -looking photos. Here’s what I’ve been up to this week!

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I saw this wall-sit challenge on instagram and was intrigued. I am beginning to master my most dreaded fitness move, the Plank, so I decided to throw another hard one into the mix. My husband is doing this with me and today, 30 seconds was just enough to make my sore legs burrrrrn.

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I’ve been really enjoying bootcamp! It’s hard to get out of bed at 6:45 in the morning, but in general, I’m feeling fitter, more sore and happier. The teacher really PUSHES me each time I’m there, and I end up coming home covered in sweat, beet-red, and tired – but feeling GOOD.

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Our new kitten is a lot of fun, but at that wonderful biting phase where he’ll be nuzzling up against your leg and then suddenly goes CHOMP! This picture just about sums up daily life with our two funny little felines – one grumpy gray cat scowling as she tries to nap and one wild kitten laughing with evilness.

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OK, that’s all for today – I know it was a quick one! We may miss a post on Friday as  this weekend I’ll be in San Francisco celebrating April’s 30th birthday! I’ll take lots of pictures and would love it if you write her a happy birthday comment here on the blog. Have a wonderful day!

 

Semi-Wordless Wednesday

Hi everyone! I missed my nightly blogging, so today’s post is a quick one with a few pix of what’s been going on. I’ll be back tomorrow with a more meaty update for ya! If you want to see these fascinating photos of cats and food LIVE, follow me on instagram @lyssacurran !

This week has been crazy - Diet to Go is truly a DIET TO GO as I ate my smoked chicken sandwich enroute to an offsite meeting! Don't worry, I was parked when I took this pic!

This week has been crazy – Diet to Go is truly a DIET TO GO as I ate my smoked chicken sandwich enroute to an offsite meeting! Don’t worry, I was parked when I took this pic!

Oliver is getting bigger every day! Here he is sitting in my "Recycle" basket.

Oliver is getting bigger every day! Here he is sitting in my “Recycle” basket.

I'm not usually a veggies for breakfast type of person, but this egg and mushroom omelet with brussels sprouts was off the hook. NOM NOM. Yay for Diet to Go!

I’m not usually a veggies for breakfast type of person, but this egg and mushroom omelet with brussels sprouts was off the hook. NOM NOM. Yay for Diet to Go!

PROGRESS! Oliver and Lucia decided warmth was more important than pride, and decided to snuggle up together in bed.

PROGRESS! Oliver and Lucia decided warmth was more important than pride, and decided to snuggle up together in bed.

 

 

 

 

A Memorial for My Sweet Leo Cat

The majestic King Leo.

This post is hard for me to write because like so many things in my life, once I put the words to the paper, it becomes real – no longer something I can avoid or ignore, giving it a presence and life on the great wide internet. On Tuesday we lost our precious cat Leo. He was hit by a car in the early evening hours, and my husband found him as he went out jogging. He was only three houses down, and even in his death, I remember thinking how magnificently beautiful he looked lying there under the golden light of the street lamp. He was in perfect condition other than an injury to his head – no doubt a blessing, if there can be a blessing in this tragedy, because his death was instant. His collar was tossed to the side, a cruel reminder that this sadly was our baby and not just a Leo-look-alike.

Leo at six months.

I want to write about Leo today because his life is worth remembering, and it’s worth celebrating. We decided to get a second cat six months after we got our lovely Lucia, because we felt guilty leaving a spunky and playful kitty home alone every day. I spent weeks scouring Craigslist, looking for the right companion for my sweet tabby girl. I didn’t find one online, so we visited a local Petco on an adoption day. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Leo – he was perched inside of a black wire cage on a puffy cotton bed. Two young boys were petting him through the cage with their fingers, and with his majestic hair spread around him, he looked like a royal cat, one fit for the queen of England on a pillow of velvet. I instantly loved him, but knew there was no way my husband would go for a MALE, LONG HAIRED, ORANGE cat. (He had a cat from Hell as child named Dingus who was an orange male – and Dingus was bad enough to scar him for life!) I called Matt over and as I suspected, he was hesitant because of his color, gender and hair type. The woman overseeing the adoption must have known something about this cat though, because she scooped him up, walked my husband over to a little visiting area, and closed the door. I wasn’t in there with them, but what I saw was magical. Leo pushed his body into my husband’s hands, demanding attention. He purred like a motorboat, rubbing his sweet orange cheeks against my husband’s palms. We didn’t choose Leo that day. He chose us.

Lucia makes Leo welcome.

He arrived to our apartment in a dramatic display (as usual for such a sassy little guy), as our current cat had to be carried up the stairs hissing, growling and swatting at my face in rage. Leo had to sleep in the bathroom that night, our only room with a door (We lived in a loft apartment), and my husband eventually moved a thin mattress pad into the bathroom with him to settle his cries. They fell asleep together, Leo nestled into Matt’s arms. Leo was meek and tender the first few days we had him, respectfully trying to show Lucia that he accepted that he was the underdog. After a few more days of Lucia’s bitchiness, Leo had had enough and decided HE would be top-cat.

Leo and I didn’t have the best start in life – because he and Lucia didn’t get along and he spent hours biting her butt or humping her, I felt a tiny bit of resentment for the angst he was causing my Lucia. Sometimes in the middle of the night, he would whack my forehead with his tiny orange paw, an action I felt was surely to spite me. Something magical happened when I started to work from home – Leo and I grew to understand each other. His annoying habits, like knocking my pens off my desk, or intertwining himself around my feet, were finally revealed to me as LOVE. Leo just wanted attention. He wasn’t trying to be meddlesome, or irritating – he just wanted to be with me. That’s all. He wanted to be loved.

Friends at last

Eventually, Lucia and Leo grew to tolerate each other, and our lives became delightfully full with the addition of this spirited little boy. He was constantly grooming himself, showing fastidious pride in his silky, long coat. His hair was an amazing orange blonde, and he truly looked like a little lion, exactly like the animal that inspired his perfect name. He and Matt were inseparable, sleeping together, watching TV, playing with feathered cat toys and harassing Lucia.

Leo was always in heaven when he was outside.

Leo had a spunk I’ve never seen in an animal – I was trying to train him to stay off the counters and read a trick about putting a cookie sheet full of water on the counter. The point was the water would deter the cat and they would learn to avoid the counter thinking of the association with water. I put the cookie sheet on the counter – and came back to Leo delightfully splish-splashing in the water, droplets all around him, his feet soaking wet and a cheerful look on his mischievous face. He was spunky, all right. I was so glad to see so much joy in him, because Leo never had much luck. We found out when we adopted him that he had been rescued from underneath a dumpster behind a restaurant, where the owners threw glass bottles at him and his brothers. He had frequent eye infections and upper-respiratory illnesses, and up until the day he died, I lovingly cleaned his weeping eyes with warm water and cotton.

Leo fighting fatty liver disease. He was a trooper!

A year after we had him, we faced our first tragedy with Leo. After a move to our current home, he wasn’t eating and was very lethargic. We took him to the emergency vet one night when his eye crusted shut, and we found out his liver had jaundice. We had one very sick and very yellow cat. After a heartbreaking round of tests, we were told he immediately had to have a feeding tube inserted or he would die in the night. As young college kids, the $1,400 price tag was excruciating. We sacrificed an exotic Australian honeymoon to save our cat and it was worth every penny. Each night, we set alarm clocks to wake up to feed our sick baby. It was devastating to see how sick he was, but somehow, we prayed and hoped he would make it through.

Splendor in the grass.

It was the week that he had a feeding tube that we started to bring him outside, as it was the only thing that made him show signs of life. His ears would perk up at the myriad of sounds around him, the shrill chirping of birds, the gentle lull of the grass in the breeze. He became alive again when he was outside. As he healed, we were faced with a hard decision. Leo LOVED the outdoors. We tried to avoid letting him out, knowing the dangers that faced cats, but he quickly learned how to position himself at our front door, catapulting his tiny body out the door as soon as we opened it. No matter how many times he escaped and we carried him back in, protesting with whiny meows, he always sat by the door crying, looking at us as if we had delivered the biggest injustice in the world. Eventually, we softened, and started letting him into the backyard. This cat LIVED for the outside world.

Leo and his man.

He started to bring us “gifts” of giant grasshoppers, and even taught our shy little Lucia cat how to meow. He had a loud, obnoxious meow that ranged in tone depending on his moods – from annoyance at the door, waiting to be let out into his world, to utter affection if we were arriving home for the day. He was the floppiest, cuddliest cat I had ever seen, sitting in Matt’s lap on his back, legs splayed like a little human.

In the past few months, Leo and I had grown closer that I knew possible. While we didn’t have the same connection that he and Matt did, I now understood and truly loved this little cat. We spent time curled around each other, and I often woke up with his long hair forming a warm cascade around my feet. We loved each other. There was no doubt. I never thought it was possible to love an animal this much. I had dogs my whole life; Lucia and Leo were the first cats I had ever had.

And all this time we just thought the birds weren’t thirsty.

Now that Leo is gone, we realized we didn’t fully appreciate the presence he brought to our daily lives. This picture of him on the birdbath captures his spirit – playful, mischievous, curious, always making us laugh. I didn’t think about how when he sat in the sink right before I brushed my teeth, he wasn’t plotting to give me cavities – he just wanted to be by me. We often saw a tiny pink tongue snaking into the shower curtains, and it was always just Leo trying to lap up a little morning drink. He loved playing with jingle balls, always in the wee morning hours, making us think “LEO! You drive us crazy!” He was painfully shy around new people, but with us, he was constantly preening and posing, showing off his extravagant tail and how it flamed around him like a velveteen feather. He was extraordinary.

Leo and I catching some cuddles.

My heart is so heavy, but in writing this I feel some lightness. I’m asking you today, if you have a pet, to squeeze him a little tighter, stroke their ears one more time, or give them a smooch on their forehead. Some people might say Leo was just a cat. And sure, he was just a cat. But he was also a member of our family. He was our little boy, and he taught us so much about life; the delight that can be found in the afternoon sun, the simplicity of a walk through the grass. He gave us so much love, so much joy, and so much entertainment. I still can’t believe he’s gone. The hardest part is knowing how sudden it all was – when Leo first got sick with his liver disease and he lived, we thought surely we would have him forever. That our kids would pull at his tail and that he would wrap his soft body in a toddler’s arms. That he would experience us eventually getting a dog, and moving into our first home, a new backyard to battle the neighborhood cats. He’s not with us here now. He’s in the backyard, laid to rest between two 60-year-old orange trees, a perfect spot with afternoon sun and wild clover. My husband and I have been crushed with grief the past few days, but in it I find something to smile about. I read this quote today, and along with the compassion and kindness of our friends, I have felt a little bit better.

““When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”
― Kahlil Gibran

Goodbye my sweet Leo. We’ll love you forever. You’re always in our hearts.

Rest in peace, darling boy. We love you.

Random Monday Ramblings and Alyssa’s Crispy Critter Poll

Greetings, friends! How are you today? My weekend was busy, nice, relaxing and fun all at the same time. Matt’s parents just came back from a month-long cruise to Polynesia (I KNOW! Color me jealous) and this weekend they came to our place fresh off their cruise ship. We got to see pictures of Tahiti and had a yummy lunch and dinner trading vacation stories. It got me even more excited for my upcoming trek to Thailand! Woot woot! I don’t have a “topic” for tonight’s post, so here’s a bunch of randomness:

Same jacket, one month!

1) I did an excellent job with cardio this week, clocking in four hour-long cardio sessions. This is the good stuff, because I’ve felt relaxed, calm and healthy all week. I guess exercise does give ya that feel-good feelin’, huh? Another thing I noticed is that even though the scale might be slow to show it, I feel like my hips are starting to poke out more – always a sure sign I’m toning and losing weight (the fat melts, the curves appear!)

If I fits, I sits.

2) I love working from home. Since this is the month of gratitude, I’ll say I love having a job that allows me to work from home and have office-mates like this fur-ball, who has decided an overflowing letter tray is a great place to nap.

California Chicken Salad

3) Look at this gorgeous salad. This is from the California Chicken Cafe and can easily be two meals. A scoop of feta cheese, half an avocado and boneless skinless chicken breast chunks let me get my omegas, proteins and healthy fats in. And it’s so tasty! I get it with the fat-free Italian dressing for extra calorie-cutting. Deeeelicccious!

4) I am starting to plan out our itinerary of things to do in Thailand. One of these things, I have decided, will be eating a bug. Which bug I should eat? I will film this for your viewing pleasure. Consider it my Christmas gift to you – a disgusting video from your favorite blogger. I have no idea why I feel like I HAVE to eat a bug, but for some reason I feel like it’s part of an exotic Asian adventure. Choose which bug you’d like to see me choke down!

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Talk to you tomorrow!