An update from Alyssa and April: A fresh start in 2016!

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Well hey there! How are ya? Lots has happened  in the past year… mainly that I had a baby! Holly was born on 11.09.15 and is an amazing, sweet, happy little baby. My life has changed dramatically in just two months, and as I suspected, I’m finding that my attitude towards my body and weight loss is changing. The desire to get healthy is even stronger than ever now because it’s no longer just about me – being a healthy Alyssa is being a healthy mom for my daughter. April and I decided over Christmas this year that we wanted to come back to the Double Chin Diary.

Managing a full-time job, marriage, baby, and writing on my blog is going to be a bit difficult, so this year I’m not giving myself any “goals”. It’s simply trying to move to a frame of mind for feeling good. Pregnancy and the post-partum time period does a doozy on the body, so for now, I’m ready to get started with a few simple things; 1) Getting back to gentle exercise, like walking, yoga, and riding my bike, 2) Moving away from sugar, and 3) focusing on self-care like sleep, gardening, and eating nutritious things. That’s all. No goals of “I must lose this much weight by so and so,” because that stuff has never worked for me. I just need to try to do and be better.

A blogger friend of mine has been experiencing some health issues, and she posted this on her Facebook: “To all of you youngsters on my friend list who are carrying extra weight, PLEASE heed my warning and lose the weight … sooner rather than later! We only get one shot at this life, so please don’t waste/throw away years of it being overweight like I’ve done.”

It really resonated with me, and as I approach the ripe old age of 31, no day or time is ever promised. Why wouldn’t I want to spend it feeling great? I’m thrilled that so far mommyhood has been wonderful; I feel happy mentally, and now it’s time to start feeling better physically. My back in particular has been aching a lot since late pregnancy and labor (more details about that later: the chiropractor is my new best friend), so I’m ready to shed some weight to see if that helps.

Feels good to be back… I’ll check in soon with more details about my body during pregnancy and after.  2016: let’s do this! (PS: You can also find me on my other blog, LaLaLyssa.com sharing more lifestyle related things like tales from motherhood, random posts about cats, and other stuff.)

XOXO

The Double Chin Diary Siggy

 

 

The Double Chin Diary Divider

From April:

It has been a year since I stopped writing on the Double Chin Diary. This past year went by quickly as I didn’t have much time to rest with my usual chaotic schedule. I spent 2015 working an assortment of positions at a local humane society, babysitting, and being a full time student. I am proud to say that I’m just one class away from completing an advanced certificate in Environmental Resource Management and Pollution Prevention!

Even though my life was on the constant move, I managed to gain 45 pounds. I know why I gained the weight. I ate for convenience and not health. My idea of exercise was walking from the farthest parking spot in the lot at work. I stopped hiking, playing tennis, and going for walks around the town. I hit my ultimate level of exhaustion and my body took the impact of it.

This year I can’t continue to act the same way. My body just can’t handle any more weight. My legs get all twitchy when I’m tired, just like they used to do 8 years ago before I had lost 50 pounds. I eat Tums like they are the only thing that keeps me alive. I spend my weekends sleeping and cleaning because I’m too tired from the week to do anything productive after work. I need to start making the changes necessary for me to lose weight and regain my health. Plus, with my niece Holly around now, I have even more motivation to get fit.

Alyssa and I have been talking how we need to start writing again on the Double Chin Diary. I never had an extraordinary amount of weight loss while writing here but a major benefit I found was the accountability for myself to do well. I felt like I wanted to have positive things to write about so I was motivated to try harder.

Now that it is a new year and my crazy schedule should be calming down, it is time to start again. I plan to write at least once a week about my adventures of being back at the gym, eating well, and regaining my health. I’ll be using Myfitnesspal.com to track my weight and maybe my food and exercise, if I can be disciplined enough. I need to start COMPLETELY avoiding the foods I’m allergic to (wheat, rice, oats, apples, oranges, and bananas) as I do think my denial of my food allergies over the past four months definitely attributes to my weight gain.

Like so many at the beginning of the year, I am full of great intentions. I hope I can actually fulfill them this year.

Happy 2016 everyone!

Cheers,
AprilSignatur

On the Move: Fitting in Fitness for Fun

Hello everyone! I’m writing to you with sore calves and quads, and for once, the soreness is for good reason rather than “Oh yeah, I work fulltime from home and forget to get up and sometimes six hours goes past and I haven’t moved.” I’m preparing for my big walk this weekend (EEEEK! But I’m not nervous, more just excited!), so I really have been trying to kick up the physical activity this week.

Starting last weekend, I flew up to San Francisco to see my friend Sarah and Emily. Sarah and I decided to walk the Define Brave 5k together, and we grabbed her adorable Westies and hit the trails early on a Sunday morning. (Well, I thought it was early at 8:30 but in Sarah’s terms, at that point we had ‘slept the day away!’) Check out the Define Brave 5k if you’d like to participate in a fun virtual 5k — you get a cute shirt, awesome empowerment bracelet, special medal, bib, and a portion of the proceeds go to charity.

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Then, this weekend, I met up with a quarter of the Double Chin Divas, Monique, to do a nice long training walk. Our walk ended up being more of a hike, and we hoofed it about five miles through the beautiful Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks. We climbed up into an Indian cave, jumped across stepping stones, sat in a teepee, and challenged ourselves with hills. I definitely felt the burn and am hoping my walk in San Diego is less hill and more… flat.

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Lastly, tonight Matt and I ventured to an ice rink! I was offered complimentary admission to Woodland Hills Ice in exchange for coverage on my blog, so Matt and I bundled up and headed to the rink. I used to be a good ice skater but let’s just say my talents now lie elsewhere. However, we had a blast teetering around the ice (I may have had to hold the wall the whole time) and dancing to the music. It’s also humbling to see little six year old kids whiz past you like pros.

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Admission is $15 for adults and includes skate rental for a two hour session. Kid’s prices are $13 though kids under 3 get in free with a paid adult. The rink also sells pizza, burgers, and hot chocolate and is right in the Westfield Mall parking lot — perfect if you want to squeeze in some holiday shopping. Even though I may have fallen flat on my butt right after this photo was taken, I loved the immediate calorie burn I felt from just a few minutes on the ice.

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They’re open late, sometimes as late as 11 p.m., so if the urge strikes you, get thee too Woodland Hills Ice to lace up and skate!

So, that’s how I’ve been keeping active lately, in addition to nice long walks. I can’t believe come Friday I’ll be lacing up for my first part of my 60-mile journey. I’m feeling a little bit undertrained, but I know if I do the best I can, it will be great!

Now: if you and I had to exercise together, what would you want to do: Walk, Hike, or Skate?

 

Out and About: Alyssa Explores Sequoia National Park

This year has been a weird one in terms of vacations — rather than one week in one particular place, Matt and I have ended up going on lots of mini trips this year. One of those mini trips was to celebrate Matt’s 30th birthday. His request was for trees – lots of ’em. We ended up booking a cozy cabin on Air B n’ B and headed up north to Sequoia National Park, about 3.5 hours from where we live in Los Angeles. The first picture below is when you’re about an hour outside of Sequoia. The last hour of the drive is very curvy and into the woods.

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Here’s the inside of our cabin. Note the VHS player, which enabled us to indulge in film classics like the Birdcage and Mrs. Doubtfire (We’re still missing you, Robin Williams.)

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We woke up the next morning after our arrival and headed to the Trail of 100 Giants. It was an easy three mile loop through a gorgeous… well, trail of giants. Giant trees, that is! The first picture shown below is of two trees, each over 240 feet long, that fell after a storm. Insanity!

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After a few hours exploring the Trail of Giants, we headed off to Dome Rock, a secret little vista that overlooked all over the Sequoia Canyon, recommended to us by the park ranger. This place was incredibly stunning, and we showed up at just the right time, when a storm was rolling in and the clouds were dramatic and gray. The only slightly freaky thing about this place is there are no stairs, no guard rails (and a 5,000 foot drop, as warned by the ranger), and no civilization – so if you see a hungry bear or happen to take a tumble down the rock face, well, you’re on your own. Matt and I were the only people at this place, so when he was scurrying over rocks and up into trees I was lecturing him about how if he fell, we’d be up Shit Creek without a paddle (and without cell service!). We hung out for about 30 minutes and then had to hightail it down the mountain when hail starting hurling down on us.

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How amazing is that view, right? There ended up being so many parts of Sequoia we didn’t even see, like the General Sherman Tree, but now I know for next time that we need much longer than two days. This part of California usually gets all the buzz for Yosemite, but now I know that if you stay just an hour or so south, you’re in for some incredible scenic viewpoints and a quieter, more mellow vibe; with no cell phone reception or wi-fi. (Sometimes that’s paradise, as long as you don’t fall off a mountain.)

Have you ever been to this part of California?

Step by Step

On Saturday, Matt and I headed out to Charmlee Wilderness Park for a hike. Charmlee is nestled in the Santa Monica mountains, and hikers are rewarded with sweeping views of the coast, complete with crashing waves and bird’s eye views of millionaire mansions.

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I had been looking forward to a nature retreat — where the only tweets I’d be interacting with were from real live birds. I was also excited to log some miles towards my 3-Day training, as I’m now to the point where I need to be totaling at least nine miles a week. The hike started out perfectly — not too hard, not too hot, not too many people. I played with my new camera, stopping to photograph buzzing bees and the occasional bumbling butterfly.

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We did two miles easily, enjoying the relatively flat trail. On the second part of the loop, we decided to explore a few trails we hadn’t tried before. I got nervous when the trail started leading us way down into the valleys of the hills, because I knew that what goes down must goes up.

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The hills started climbing. I put one foot in front of the other, determined, triumphant. Surely my walk training counted for something. 3 miles done. I was doing fine. And then all of a sudden I wasn’t. It was like I hit a wall. I was hot, thirsty, and tired. I was out of breath. I was sweaty. I suddenly felt the weight of every single extra pound I carry, the pounds I’ve carried for many, many years. I wanted to stop. I wanted to give up.

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I had no choice. If I decided to stop hiking at that very minute, no bus, train, plane, car, horse, Rapunzel braid or carrier pigeon was coming to pick me up. No bike would suddenly materialize by my side. No rope would cascade down the side of the mountain to help me hoist myself up its side. I had no choice but to keep going.

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So I did. I put one foot in front of the other. I took small steps and deep breaths. I battled the voice in my head that was telling me I couldn’t do this. I kept going. Because I had to. Because I had no choice. I asked Matt to take these pictures, because I wanted to show you the struggle. Finally, I saw the parking lot below us. At that point we had made it five miles, and I smiled.

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All that sweat, all that struggle. All a reminder that the best I can do is just take this journey step by step, and slowly, but surely, I will succeed.

 

 

 

 

 

A Friday check-in for April

Hello, blogging world!  It has been an exciting past week and I’m happy to announce that I lost 3.2 pounds!  I was quite proud of myself as I stepped on the scale this morning at Weight Watchers and saw that I was back on the road of losing, rather than the past two weeks when I was creeping up.  I finally shed my birthday weight!  Haha!

I spent last weekend on an impromptu trip to the incredible Yosemite and Mono Lake.  Even though I’ve been a nature lover my whole life, this was only my first time in one of the United State’s many gorgeous national parks.  My spectacular adventure pal, his schnugglific dog, and I basically “camped” in my car for Friday night, ten thousand feet up beneath a snow covered Mt. Dana.  It was just 28 degrees so while I was actually pretty warm in my car, the lack of sleep made it very motivating for me to try to act ultra healthy after I returned from the trip.  My body needed it.

6am beneath Mt. Dana in Yosemite, California

This week I was able to integrate more salads into my day and by keenly preparing all my lettuce earlier in the week, it made it easy not to make an excuse not to eat it.  I started to work my hula hoop back into my nightly routine and am spicing it up by using my hand weights at the same time.  I use the timer on my phone because it makes it easy to build up the time I spend hooping and fluttering my arms like a baby bird trying to fly.  With that, more walking, more hiking, and a combination of some yoga and Pilates moves, my body is starting to feel much stronger.  Especially my core. :)

A rejuvenated April at Mono Lake

I have a nice rush of confidence after the past week.  Yosemite was great, the gorgeous views, fresh air, and seeing a BEAR made it easy to enter into the week with a rejuvenated energy.  I had a job interview on Monday to be a summer camp assistant for a Humane Society here, combining my love of working with kids with my love of science and animals.  I am SO STOKED because right after my positive weigh-in experience, I came outside to see that I had been chosen for the job!

So with a new job, a lighter weight, and awesome visual memories of a bear, I’m ready to continue on my path of awesomeness… AND I managed to get up to $95 in donations for my breast cancer walk!  I still have a long journey ahead of me but with all this confidence, I know that I’ll achieve my goals.  :)

Thanks for the support everyone and I hope you all have a weekend full of new visions for you to focus on!

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

 

Love,

AprilSignatur

Snacks on the trail.

First off, since Alyssa “gently encouraged” me to “stay accountable” in regards to my weigh-ins, I shall be honest.  I haven’t officially weighed in at Weight Watchers for four weeks, this Friday.

I’ve been super sick.

It is birthday season.

School is hard.

I’ve got my reasons, haha!  But the biggest reason I have yet to weigh-in is because I know I haven’t lost anything.  I’ve been up roughly two pounds the whole month, fluctuating up and down depending on how much birthday cake I ate the day before.

But whatever, I have accepted it and am getting real about exercising more since I’m officially registered for the 60 mile breast cancer walk.  I’ll go to a meeting on by the end of the week.  There, now I’m totally accountable.

April is at peace with her gain of two pounds for her month of April.

April is at peace with her gain of two pounds for her month of April.

I’ve been doing a bunch more hiking over the past few weeks with the help of inspiration from my random new nature buddy and his adventurous dog. Over this past weekend we wandered the woods for six miles. I was nervous about whether or not my sickness was going to make me pass out and fall over a steep edge, however I survived just fine as I had the help of something SO important to bring with you on long energy-depleting activities like hiking… SNACKS!

Staying nourished with snacks allows April to balance on fallen trees without falling.

Staying nourished with snacks allows April to balance on fallen trees without falling.

My buddy and I discussed how important we think it is to stay nourished during long hikes.   Besides hiking, this is a big thing for me through any activity as I start to get super dizzy and shaky if I go too many hours without some sort of food.  So snacks are super important for me to have with while hiking.  Typically I make an afternoon out of my nature activities and bring a sandwich for a picnic.  Snacks like bananas, apples, cheese sticks, oranges, granola bars, and popcorn are some of the other happy trail foods I’ve brought with me.  Of course, I’m always willing to carry a backpack with me and my precious Dakine backpack has a cooler built in, so bringing snacks that need chilling is no problem. 

What kind of snacks do you like to bring with you when you go on long adventures?

Love,

AprilSignatur

 

 

 

*There’s an amazon affiliate link to the Dakine backpack. If someone buys it, we make 7c! Woohoo! :)