How to keep it together when the going gets going

Two of my favorite things: The Double Chin Diary and my Erin Condren life planner!

Two of my favorite things: The Double Chin Diary and my Erin Condren life planner!

Earlier this year, I bought a planner. Almost every year of my adult life, I’ve bought a planner with amazing intentions. I’d diligently pencil in appointments and reminders for about four days, then forget about it and go back to my hectic and crazy life. Well, finally, this year, something stuck. I took a big career risk. I quit a cushy, high-paying full-time (but boring) job to go freelance. While I love the work I do, being a freelancer means no real days off (you’re always on call. If something major happens on Facebook to your brand on Labor Day, you deal with, it because that’s your job). This weekend on my family trip to Oregon, I’ll probably have to take a few work calls. It’s not ideal, but it comes with the territory. The sacrifice of a structured work day and no holiday/vacation hours or benefits comes with higher hourly rates, flexible schedules, and the ability to walk away from any crazy-face client. (And yes, sadly you do get ’em from time to time… the trick is spotting them early.) I can enjoy random Tuesdays off doing errands and I can wear jeans to work, but I have to keep it all together. There are invoices to be sent, reports to make and meetings to attend. My planner is now a part of my daily life for tracking hours worked on projects, upcoming concerts, trips out of town, doctor’s appointments… you name it.

Alyssa and Alan rock FitBloggin 13!

Alyssa and Alan rock FitBloggin 13!

Now that we’ve thrown househunting into the mix, I”m having a hard time carving space into my schedule for fitness and meal prep. It isn’t an excuse, but it is a fact. My friends complain about how busy I am, and it’s true… I am busy. We’re all busy, and I know that. I need to find the time. So last weekend when we met with friends for dinner, we decided to get frozen yogurt for dessert. Instead of driving, we walked the .8 of a mile each way – and voila, there was a mile and a half of hidden exercise. I used to have a pretty solid gym routine where I met two of my gal pals after work, but now that I have multiple clients, I’m not a dependable “meet you after work at 5:30” type of girl. Sometimes the meat of my work day is just starting at 5:30! Hopefully soon things will calm down and I’ll get past some of my big project deadlines, but the reality is that I thought I’d have oodles of free time after grad school, and well… the free time has been replaced by new projects. There will never be enough time. And again, I’m not complaining. I feel so incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to do the work I do in the way I do it — but it’s a challenge when dieting and exercise needs to be such a large part of your life. For example, have you guys seen or heard about my friend Alan at Sweating Until Happy? This guy is ROCK SOLID with his meal planning and EVERY SINGLE DAY he is at the gym. And he has the results to prove it, and I admire it. I need to emulate that bulletproof commitment, because as cheesy or narcissictic as it sounds, I’m worth it.

So as usual, spewing this all out on my little corner of the internet is a good idea for me, because it helps me brainstorm what I need to do. I need to find ways to incorporate exercise that doesn’t seem so daunting in that I need a dedicated two hours to go to the gym, workout, come home from the gym. I can use my 7-minute exercise app a few times a day. I can walk around the block. I can jog slowly while my husband runs at night. I can go to the gym on those rare days I have off. I can pop in my Richard Simmons DVD. Fitness can be effective at just ten minutes, so what am I doing? Laying on the couch exhausted? (Yes… I did that today, too.)


My awesome instagram pizza, doctored up thanks to the Rhonna app!

I also need to be more prepared in terms of food. Now that I’m on a “lower carb” (I refuse to say low carb, because I can still have carbs, darn it, just in more limited amounts) diet, I need to be ready to go with healthy and convenient snacks at all times. Tonight, I got past my tiredness and looming work deadlines and made a cauliflower pizza crust with turkey pepperoni and skim cheese. I’ll have this for lunch and dinner tomorrow, and I can’t wait! Delicious looking and healthful, too. I’ll let you know how it comes out! A couple times last week I did breakfast meal preps with turkey sausage and eggs, and packed them up, and that was good. One nice thing about lower-carb eating is the protein keeps me satiated way longer, so I’m not nearly as hungry as I usually am. Woohoooo!

April will be back writing for y’all on Friday while I’m on my way up to Sisters, Oregon. Matt’s parents rent a cabin there, so we’re sneaking away for a long weekend to do some river hiking, lake kayaking, and bike riding. I should be able to squeeze in plenty of activity and also get some fresh air. That will be so nice for somebody who’s hunched over a computer 10-12 hours a day 🙂 I hope you have an amazing weekend and tell me – what do you do when the going gets going?! Give me your “get it together and keep it together” tips, as well as anything that saves you times in terms of meal prep, diet or exercise. I know I gotta do the work, but I’m all about efficiency — so tell me how you handle it when things get (and stay) crazy!



The Double Chin Diary Siggy





I’m not fat, I’m just a descendant of the vikings.

I fit right in!

Many years ago, my ancestors from Scandinavia raided, explored and settled in the desirable parts of Europe – parts of Europe  laden with plump rabbits, fruitful rivers, and green, grassy pastures. In my many years of complaining about my weight, I often was quick to blame my obesity on my genetics. It’s true that on both sides of the family we are stocky, thick people, as tall as we are wide. We all have blonde hair and white skin that turns ruddy from the slightest heat or smallest sip of beer. Genetically, our bodies stored fat like polar bears in the winter. The long, cold winters spent dashing over icebergs required a thick pelt of blubber to keep us warm; and our fur capes and shields looked much better with curves behind them, thank you very much.

We needed these bodies for winters spent at sea, preparing to pillage and plunder the next unexpecting nation’s refrigerators. Maybe all this history about vikings being raging, blood-thirsty people is missing one key fact – maybe, we were just hungry.

My horned helmet is a crock of viking voodoo!

In honor of my people, I must dispel three key falsehoods about our ancestors:

1) We did not wear horned hats. The familiar “It’s not over till the fat lady sings” image of a big blonde Bertha wearing a silver hat with horns is manufactured, some smart marketing move. Take it straight from the internet horse’s mouth (Wikipedia) “Apart from two or three representations of (ritual) helmets – with protrusions that may be either stylised ravens, snakes or horns – no depiction of Viking Age warriors’ helmets, and no preserved helmet, has horns. In fact, the formal close-quarters style of Viking combat (either in shield walls or aboard “ship islands”) would have made horned helmets cumbersome and hazardous to the warrior’s own side.”

2) We did not drink from the skulls of those we had slain. The only skull I plan to slay is that of a ripe coconut, the better to hold my pina colada as I tan my blubbery backside in Thailand. Apparently, my ancestors didn’t use skulls as tumblers for their Diet Coke, either. “The use of human skulls as drinking vessels—another common motif in popular pictorial representations of the Vikings—is also ahistorical. The rise of this legend can be traced to Ole Worm‘s Runer seu Danica literatura antiquissima (1636), in which Danish warriors drinking ór bjúgviðum hausa [from the curved branches of skulls, i.e., from horns] were rendered as drinking ex craniis eorum quos ceciderunt [from the skulls of those whom they had slain].”

Dirty, blood-thirsty brute!

3) We were not all dirty, barbaric brutes with bugs in our beards. Historical accounts actually prove that the Vikings were among the cleanest civilization in this period’s time. “The Anglo-Danes were considered excessively clean by their Anglo-Saxon neighbours, due to their custom of bathing every Saturday and combing their hair often.[citation needed] To this day, Saturday is referred to as laugardagur / laurdag / lørdag / lördag, “washing day” in the Scandinavian languages. Icelanders were known to use natural hot springs as baths, and there is a strong sauna/bathing culture in Scandinavia to this day.[citation needed]” No wonder I can’t stand a day without washing my hair. There will be no pit-sniffing among my ancestors, thank you very much.

After dispensing this undebatable history to you, I think we can all agree that my obesity is not in any way, shape or form, due to error of my own part. It is clear from these readings that I’m not fat, I’m just a descendant of the Vikings.


My weight has nothing to do with college dinners of oil-popped popcorn and guacamole, nor the fact that my biggest form of exercise from the age 13 – 25 was trying to zip up my jeans. I will not take credit for this malady of adiposity – truly, really, thankfully – I’m not fat, I’m just a descendant of the Vikings.

My Fitness Evaluation

So remember how I blogged about my upcoming fitness evaluation? The few days before, I was legit nervous. Like, “ERMAHGERD I’M GONNA HAVE TO FACE THE FACT THAT I’M GROSSLY OUT OF SHAPE.”. Even though I already knew that, there was some sort of like… impact of being told it by a fitness professional. (I’m sure to some extent that will happen at Fitbloggin’ anyways,  but still – YAY! Only 2 more days!)

So, I was being my usual self, day dreaming about maybe I should re-schedule it, because you know, I was flying to San Francisco for work Monday morning, and I really had a lot to do over the weekend… or maybe I should wait a couple days so my bloating goes away… I’m the mayor of excuses village. But, every time I came up with one of these crazy excuses, I reminded myself that denial aint just a river in Egypt, and I needed to just face my fear and do it. So I was all set. I went to my Fitness Evaluation the next day. Right?

I saw Fiona Apple on Friday night (she was fantastic! I love her because she’s a total koo-koo-roo and did push ups against her piano randomly and sang like a female Tom Waits). I wasn’t feeling great, but I figured it was my allergies acting up. I got home, popped an allergy pill, and got into bed where I had the dizzy spins, kind of like that time in highschool I decided it would be a good idea to mix a cup of goldschlager with chocolate milk. (Good idea? Worst idea ever.) I fell asleep, woke up at 2:30 AM with the chills, ran to the bathroom – and my body purged every single little thing I had ingested in the last 24 hours.

I’m not going to get into details, but let’s just say it was NOT pretty, and I spent the remainder of the night sleeping next to an industrial sized bucket. The next day I woke up kind of shaky and run down, but thankfully, barf-free. I decided to reschedule my fitness evaluation. Don’t worry – I’m going to do it as soon as I get home from working on site this week and Baltimore. I just thought it was ironic that my brain was so intent on finding a way to put it off that I got food poisoning. HOWEVER, I’m not owning up to this one, because there’s no way in hell I’d pick food poisoning over a fitness evaluation. Body, you got pwned.

Have your best laid plans ever been foiled by the evil, evil food poisoning? What was the culprit? (I’m blaming a vanilla cupcake from Aroma Cafe. It was good but I could tell it wasn’t super fresh. Of course I ate it anyways. Sigh.)