Three Things Thursday: Alyssa’s Wellness Check Up

Hey everyone! Is today your Friday? It’s mine, and I’m so psyched to head out to Paso Robles with Matt for a quick trip. I first explored Paso Robles on Fitcation, and I can’t wait for some hiking, hot spring soaking, and olive oil tasting.

I had a couple random things about my health I wanted to tell you about, and because “Random things about my health I wanted to tell you about” doesn’t seem like a very good blog title, I decided to add some alliteration (copywriter’s favorite) and call it Three Things Thursday. So without further ado, here are three things on my mind this Thursday about wellness, health, weight loss, and my general state of being. In the spirit of full Alyssa disclosure, I did receive complimentary Blue Diamond almonds for free in exchange for discussion 🙂

1) About two weeks ago, something clicked for me that to be my best self, I need to be active every single day. I decided to make a small promise to myself — on days I wasn’t doing yoga, cardio, walk training, or hiking, I needed to walk at least one mile every day. That doesn’t sound like much, but on days when I literally walk only the distance from my bedroom to my kitchen, it will help. I ended up racking up about 14 miles over my weekend in Savannah, and I’ve come to realize how much I *like* walking. Especially when I can be with a friend, sight seeing, or talking on the phone — walking is a very calming thing! I’ve been making good on my promise, logging at least 1.6 miles consecutively every day for the past four days, and tonight, my Yoga Meltdown dvd from Jillian Michaels. Hooray for change!

2) Another thing has clicked for me, and that is that I don’t eat enough. Let me rephrase that. There are times when I eat too much. But then, there are times where I eat only my three square meals (or worse – I skip), and for someone with near PCOS insulin resistance, that’s no good, because hunger makes me cranky, shaky, and anxious. I’ve turned into the girl who carries a snack in the back pouch of her purse – something small, like a Health Warrior bar, or lately, Blue Diamond Almonds. You guys know about my love/hate of almonds – I am sad to admit that on their own (raw, unsalted), I’m not a fan. But dress them up in sexy clothes like Rosemary Black Pepper, Smokehouse seasoning, Coconut, or Blueberry, and I’m all good. These in particular taste like Fruity Pebbles! I’m down. So down — they taste like junk food with minimal sugar — and how patriotic, red, white n’ blue almonds!

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3) I’m stating here for accountability that in addition to being active every day and eating more regularly, I also need to get back to taking my vitamins. I’ll do really well for a few months and then get super lazy. Lately, I’ve noticed I’m battling some day time fatigue — just a general sense of low energy. Well — I forgot about my ridiculously low Vitamin D levels, and then remembered the fact that I haven’t taken my vitamin D in… oh, several months. DUH. So now, all my vitamins are stacked up eye level on the bathroom shelf, staring at me every day. I’m taking a high quality women’s multi, Vitamin D, Biotin, EPA, and soon, some Horsetail extract to help with the tons of hair I lose (thanks, PCOS).

4) I lied — I have four things to tell you about. I got mentioned in a rap!!! My awesome friend Dre from Mission Meltdown celebrated Fitbloggin’s birthday by creating a hip hop blog soup. You’ll hear an Alyssa shout out mid way through. I’m so sad I missed this in person – I was running late for the key note session because I had just come back from a long 5 mile walk of Savannah and needed to get a shower in. I’m so glad it’s on video. Watch for my Fitbloggin recap soon, in addition to a fun giveaway for you all for some non-GMO, non-chemical stevia SweetDrops, a natural soda replacement.

HAVE AN AWESOME FOURTH OF JULY!

xoxo

The Double Chin Diary Siggy

Fitbloggin’ news: I won the California Avocado Commission’s Avocado Recipe Contest!

You guys! YOU GUYS!!!! Remember my Avocado Cream Tarts recipe? Well, it won grand prize! I am over joyed, and so grateful to both the California Avocado Commission and Fitbloggin. During the session, we learned things like a new method for cutting avocados, called the Nick n’ Peel method, that helps you conserve the good stuff in the bright green fleshy part of the avocado nearest the skin, and how to use avocado as a substitute for butter or oil in recipes. For all of the details, check out the great live blog by Denise at Almasdays.

With the winners of the California Avocado Commission Fitbloggin Recipe Contest - Kia of Bodhi Bear and Kelly of No Thanks to Cake

With the winners of the California Avocado Commission Fitbloggin Recipe Contest – Kia of Bodhi Bear and Kelly of No Thanks to Cake

The session was lead by the wonderful chef and RD Michelle Dudash, and at the end of the session, they announced the winners of the contest! When I heard name, I had a moment of shock, and then in typical overwhelmed Alyssa fashion, put my hands over my head and was like “WHAAAAT!?” I stood up and said a little bit about my recipe, and shared that it was a good grief project for me as I dealt with feelings of loss after losing my mother-in-law in May. I feel so honored to have won this contest, because I did spend a lot of time on it, and really, found it a very fulfilling creative outlet to focus on in a time of despair. I then got to watch Chef Michelle make my recipe, and the feeling was so, so surreal to see a professional chef prepare something I conjured up in my mind. It was incredible (and far more graceful looking than if you’d had seen me try to bumble, stumble, and prepare a dish in front of an audience!)

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After Chef Michelle made my recipe, the doors burst open, all talk show style, and a table rolled in with a bunch of the cream tarts for everyone to try. I was still in disbelief at this moment, and felt like a movie star as people snapped pictures of me with the tarts!

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I was super excited that I also had chosen to wear my California necklace that day — talk about good timing, right? I may not be a native Californian, but after 19 years here, I think its safe to say California’s not getting rid of me.

You all need to check out the other two prize winning recipes! In second place, is my friend and Fitbloggin roomie, Kelly from No Thanks to Cake! How delicious does her recipe for Grilled Avocado Caprese look? I can’t wait to try it out this summer!

In first place, is my friend Kia’s Green Chile Avocado Gazpacho. This sounds so cool and refreshing!

Once again, I’m so grateful to the California Avocado Commission (Emily, Jan, Michelle, and Lori) and Fitbloggin’ for choosing my recipe. My prize includes a monthly shipment of avocados for the next three months (*drools*), a Kitchen-Aid Artisan Mixer (Movin’ on up, baby!), a $150 William Sonoma Gift Card, and a California Avocado Gift Pack. I’ll certainly share a photo of all of the goodies once they arrive. I also get to keep that kick-ass sign… it’s totally going to hang in my home office 🙂

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I have so many other things to tell you about Fitbloggin’, but it’s late, and I suspect I’m still a little bit on East Coast time. For now, I’ll head to bed and dream of avocados! I hope you have a wonderful day!

FitBloggin’ Swag Giveaway

One of the best perks of being a blogger, besides reading all of your lovely comments (Thank you for all those awesome, thoughtful comments on Friday! You guys are the berry berry best audience ever!), is scoring swag. Sometimes it’s a bummer when you get something you don’t like, and you have to tell the person who made it like, “Oh, I thought that sucked, so you probably DON’T want me to write about it…”, but usually, it’s awesome and super fun to try out new things.

Going to FitBloggin’ every year means you get a gigantic reebok gym bag packed to the gills with goodies. I couldn’t possibly score all those perks without sharing some of them with you! So lo and behold, my FitBloggin’ swag bag giveaway. You can win of two prize packs:

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  • The Nutrilite giveaway – a green duffel bag packed with Nutrilite Perfect Pack AM & PM Supplements (This kit retails for $168!!!!), Body Key Raspberry appetite suppressant chews, a blender ball shaker cup, and Slimmetry vitamins.

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Now – I haven’t tried all of these items, so if you don’t like them I apologize, but they’re FREE, so why not give ’em a try, eh? I was SO LUCKY at FitBloggin’ and not only won a Tiffany Key Necklace from Nutrilite, but a FREAKING KITCHEN SUITE from Amana!!! I scored a stainless steel refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher and stove/oven. It arrives on the 29th… perfect timing as my husband and I are looking to buy our first home! Yay! More on that later when I get pictures and such.

I’d like to take a moment to thank the sponsor of FitBloggin for providing all of these lovely goodies! As someone who works in brand marketing and social media, I know that stuff like this actually isn’t free for the company, but can be an amazing way to get your product out to the right set of people.

If you’d like to win one of the prizes, just leave a comment with which giveaway pack you prefer – either the FOODIE or the NUTRILITE. I’ll pick a winner next week! I’m sorry, US Only because it’s crazy expensive to ship out of the country. Good Luck!

PS: Congrats to LIZ for winning the Turkey Jerky Prize Pack from Perky Jerky! I will e-mail you soon with details!!!

 

 

Gettin’ Fit with CrossFit

Have you guys heard about Crossfit? I posted about it in my last blog and prior to this weekend, I thought it was a place where only the super athletic went to lift humvees, jump on giant boxes and discuss the newest trends in eating like a cave man. (Remember when I tried the Paleo diet? That didn’t work out so well for me, but then again, neither did anything and know we now it was my craycray hormones. Yay for lab tests!) However, FitBloggin’ did me a solid in that I finally mustered up the courage to try crossfit as I knew I’d be surrounded by crossfit pals like Steve, Alan, Martinus, Erin and Dre. I’m not gonna lie, I was slightly terrified about joining the crossfit cult, but I made it through my hazing and I may now officially be a crossfitter.

Nervous and excited for my first crossfit! Photo by Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

Nervous and excited for my first crossfit! Photo by Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

What happened in CrossFit surprised me, because we only did about 15 minutes of actual exercise with the warm up and actual workout. I know, weird, right?! We started off learning a little bit about how crossfit works from friendly Reebok Crossfit coaches. Crossfit is defined as constantly varied functional movement performed at a high intensity, which means that every time you see the acronym WOD it means workout of the day, and it will always be different. We started warming up with jumping jacks, and then we learned the various types of moves we’d be doing – sit ups, push ups and AIR SQUATS. Now, I can drop it like a squat with the best of ’em, ‘cuz having a big old ghetto booty works well for squat-pros like me. However, I had never done an air squat, and that’s basically where instead of squatting down half way, you kind of drop your butt cheeks all the way to the floor and squat way, way down, using your arms to propel you. HOLY QUADS. I must never work my quads because everytime I sat on the toilet after the class (TMI, but that’s how I roll), I wanted to immediately stand back up. Burning, burning quads! Thank you air squats for awakening muscles that have been sleeping for years.

Steve demonstrating a perfect air squat with Alyssa following behind. Photo thanks to Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

Steve demonstrating a perfect air squat with Alyssa following behind. Photo thanks to Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

After we learned the moves, we were ready for our WOD – just four minutes of 9 push ups, 7 sit ups and 5 squats. You basically go as fast as you can while focusing on form. I was feeling pretty good because despite my lack of weight loss, I can definitely feel that I’m more physically fit. I think I made it through about five full sets by the time our coach blew the whistle, and by then I had worked up a pretty killer sweat. I stood up, knees shaking, ready for the next part of the workout… and then the coach announced we were done. Whaaaat? The workout was high intensity which was great, but I’m not so sure a 4-minute workout is going to cut it for me. According to my polar I burned about 76 calories, which is great for four minutes, but not great considering my usual boxing or bootcamp torches between 450 to 600 on a good day. I’m trying to keep in mind that this was just an example class so it’s probably unlikely to always be only a four minute workout, but at the same time, cool – crossfit might be great for busier days when you don’t have a full hour to devote to working out.  I know Alan and I were both like “Four minutes?! I wanted more!” Change is possible, folks — the girl who dreaded parking at the edge of the grocery store lot is asking for more cardio. Amazing!

My four minute taste was enough to get me intrigued, so in a few weeks, I’m going to check out Golden State Crossfit with my local fitbloggin’ friend Paula. She lives only 15 minutes away from me! Until then, tell me — what have you heard about crossfit? Would you try it? If you have tried it, do you like it?

 

 

Wacky Workouts: Kickball, Trampolines, Circus School, Crossfit and Roller Derby

One of the hardest things I had to overcome when embarking on this whole “getting fit” thing was learning that exercise did not need to be torture. Sure, it’s work. I’m not so sure I’ll ever be one of those people that bounds out of bed early in the morning, giddy at the thought of putting on a uni-boob-inducing sports bra and working up a nice, healthy sweat. However, I have learned that with a little patience and a little exploration, exercise can actually be FUN! I know, shocking, right?! Here’s a few wacky workouts that have caught my eye the past couple of months.

1) Kickball. One of my coworkers is a member of an award-winning kickball team called the Sofa Kings. Is that not bad ass? Imagine burning calories from something you used to do as a child. Awesome, right?

Image from Kickball.com

2) Crossfit. Crossfit has been sweeping the nation, and until I tried it this weekend, I was mildly terrified at the thought of pushing humvees, jumping on giant boxes and following a strict paleo-only diet. However, after a great and intense workout that was only FOUR MINUTES LONG (yes, you read that right – CrossFit is more about the intensity than the duration), I’m going to check out a Crossfit place near me.

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Image from InspiredFitStrong.com

3) Roller Derby. When I saw the Derby Dolls Skate-Off in Los Angeles, I was instantly smitten. These chicks are BAD ASS. Tattooed, tough and totally gorgeus, there were all shapes and sizes rolling around the rink, thrashing each other with their arms and elbows. It looked like one hell of a workout, and one day when I’m brave enough, I’ll put on my quads and give it a go. They even get awesome names like “Laguna Beyatch” and “Betty Blowtorch.” I wonder what my name would be… Lecherous Lyssard? Lyssa Pissa? Haha!

Image from LATbirds.net

4. Jumpsport. Trampolines aren’t just for kiddos anymore. As I saw at FitBloggin’ this weekend, bouncing, jumping, twisting and twirling can give you one heck of a workout, because the spring in your step totally challenges your balance and core. Places are popping up all over the country that offer giant, padded trampoline rooms where you can boing and boing to your heart’s content. I’ve been meaning to check one out with a friend. Sign me up!

Image from LetsMoveItMommas.Blogspot.com

5) Circus School! Kids these days can threaten to run away to the circus and actually DO IT. Fun fact: My mom was in circus camp in high school! Anyhoo, Cirque School in Los Angeles teaches people to work out on aerial bands and ‘introduces students to a combination of aerial and Pilates exercises on the trapeze, fabric and rope.  Students follow a circuit of exercises to increase strength in their core and upper body creating a solid foundation for our Aerial Tricks classes.’ Because this one is local to me, I DEFINITELY need to try this. I’m always in awe of the incredible Cirque-du-soleil style performances I see, and I can’t imagine the strength it must take to dangle your body on an elastic rope and not freak the eff out. I love their motto – for any body with any body.

Image from CirqueSchoolLA.com

So there you have it – five totally wacky and weird workouts that challenge the idea of calorie burning needing to be torturous. Which one would you try first? I think Cirque School or Bounce Camp is calling my name!

 

Monday Musings: FitBloggin’ 13 and the Double Chin Diary

Hey guys! I hope you’re having a great day so far this Monday. I’m exhausted from my incredible trip to Portland for FitBloggin’ 2013, and I was sitting at my desk thinking, “How am I going to sum it all up?” So tonight, I won’t sum it up, but give you a couple snippets. You know the song “Seasons of Love” from Rent? This one?

I feel like I want to create this huge slideshow with all of the photos from this weekend and tweak the whole “Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes” to be just the amount of time in a weekend. (I’m far too lazy and tired to look it up, so you know, it’d probably be like.. what… hmm… umm… 3,000 minutes?) Anyways! This weekend was beyond words one of the best weekends of my life and I don’t say that lightly, as best moments of my life include marrying my husband, graduating with my BA and MA, spending holidays with my family… you know, major stuff like that. This weekend was AWESOME.

Why? Because of all these beautiful, warm, radiant talented people.

FitBloggin' 2013 Bloggers in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Carrie D Photography.

FitBloggin’ 2013 Bloggers in Portland, Oregon. Photo by Carrie D Photography.

Do you guys have a friend or person in your life who just GETS you? The person who you can look at, and in a split-second, know exactly what they’re thinking? Maybe you have the same weird hatred of those strings in the sleeves of your clothes that are supposed to be there for hangers, but really just dangle on your armpits? Or maybe you both love feta cheese but can’t stand goat cheese? The friend who has no problem telling you that you’re being a big old bitch, but they forgive you because they know you’re just hungry? That kind of friend. They just GET you, every fiber of your being. Imagine that friend at FitBloggin’ — times 300. The sense of community at this conference is amazing! We are all one big like-minded tribe.

We did SO much this weekend. We walked around the waterfront of Portland.

Walking bloggers at Fitbloggin' 13

Walking bloggers at Fitbloggin’ 13

We met new friends, people who decided that YES, weight loss bloggers SHOULD go on late night treks to Voodoo Doughnuts. (Don’t worry – I ate half of one and gave the rest away. They’re good but like, eh, overrated. We’ll discuss later.)

The Double Chin Diary and Project Unfluff take their mission of losing weight very, very seriously.

The Double Chin Diary and Project Unfluff take their mission of losing weight very, very seriously.

We got to try tons of new things, like doing squat challenges on a trampoline.

Jumpsport Trampolines had me bouncing with joy at FitBloggin 13!

Jumpsport Trampolines had me bouncing with joy at FitBloggin 13!

We cried, and they weren’t pretty little delicate cries, they were big, snortin, honkin’ ugly cries. We got some things off our chest and shared our “Ah-ha!” moment about weight loss. (There’s a whole blog coming for this one!)

FitBloggin' girls earn pretty peonies for sharing their stories!

FitBloggin’ girls earn pretty peonies for sharing their stories!

We learned about awesome things we can to make our blogs better for you, the reader, and better for us, the blogger.

Nicole Bullock presents SEO strategies for bloggers at FitBloggin' 13. Photo by Carrie D Photography.

Nicole Bullock presents SEO strategies for bloggers at FitBloggin’ 13. Photo by Carrie D Photography.

AND…. we scored some amazing swag from our VERY generous sponsors! Look who happened to walk away with a Tiffany Key necklace from Nutrilite!

Celebrity chef Jason Roberts and Alyssa Curran of the Double Chin Diary celebrate a raffle prize win from Nutrilite!

Celebrity chef Jason Roberts and Alyssa Curran of the Double Chin Diary celebrate a raffle prize win from Nutrilite!

I have so many wonderful gifts from sponsors that I can’t wait to share with YOU. I even packed up a whole duffel bag just for my readers – would you guys rather me have a giveaway where one person wins a TON of stuff, or break it up into a couple smaller different prizes? Let me know!

There’s so much more I want to tell you, especially about all of the wonderful bloggers I really got to know this weekend, but I need far more time than this Sunday night at 11pm type stuff is gonna give me. I’ll be back tomorrow with some more details, but this weekend has confirmed that writing this blog is one of my very favorite things to do — and it wouldn’t be half as special to me if it weren’t for you reading along. So thank you from the bottom of my very full heart! I am so excited to reach my goals with you by my side.

So now you know what I was up to this weekend – what were you doing? Dish!

(Special thanks to the awesome Carrie D. Photography for the pro shots and from FitBloggin’ bloggers instagrams for some of these pix. I think most are mine but if I missed a credit, let me know!)