Weekend Wrap-Up in Double Chin Land

Hello everyone! Wow, what an awesome weekend. On Friday night, I got to see tickets to Bill Maher, that I won from my friend Anne’s blog. Bill Maher isn’t for everyone as he’s super liberal, super atheist, and super opinionated, but he’s pretty damn funny. Kicking off my weekend with a bunch of belly laughs was awesome. Then, on Saturday, I went to Weight Watchers where I weighed in and…

Lost 1.5 pounds

israeli cous cous grilled pork chop roasted beets

Yummy simple spring dinner!

I’m on a nice downward trend as I’ve lost at least a pound every week for the past three weeks. WOOHOO!!!! It’s kind of weird that I’m paying for Weight Watchers but not following Weight Watchers, but I knew with my specific health conditions I needed to do sensible eating (like weight watchers) minus most carbs. The weight loss is slower than I’m used to with a low carb plan, considering I’m only eating about 70-100 grams of carbs per day (the average person eats upwards of 200), BUT, it’s weight loss, and I’d like to think that weight that comes off nice and slow is weight that will never come back! I also have noticed it’s much easier for me to stay on plan, and I think a lot of that comes from the regulation of my insulin (a PCOS symptom) with the aid of Metformin, a drug typically used for diabetics. I’m not craving things as much anymore, and it’s simpler for me to stop when I’m full. It feels good to be on the right track. A large part of this success is really limiting “white food” in my life. No sugar, no bread, no rice, no pasta. (Occasionally I’ll take a bite of something Matt is having — because let’s face it, carbs are delicious and sometimes you want a taste.) My carbs mostly come from fruit, like Strawberries or Blueberries, the occasional small red skinned potato or whole grain like Israeli couscous. The picture on the left was tonight’s dinner: a grilled pork chop, 1/4 cup cous cous, and roasted vegetables. Eating a ton of vegetables is a big part of my new plan, and to help with

hen of the woods CSA Farm fresh agriculture box

Farm Fresh to You CSA Box. The funky thing on the left is called a Hen of the Woods mushroom.

that, I signed up for Farm Fresh to You, an all organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box that comes to my house once per month. I was previously a CSA member, but ultimately had to give it up when I was doing some budgeting. However, Los Angeles Groupon has a deal going right now that you can get your first box for $15 (normally $31.50), so I decided to give it a try again. My first box didn’t disappoint, with a bunch of beets, carrots, spring onions, mandarin oranges, tangerines, sweet potatoes, strawberries, fennel, Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, a lemon, and an avocado. I roasted the carrots, onions, beets, fennel and mushrooms with some of my garden grown peas, kale and chard at 450 for 30 minutes.Roasting vegetables is such an awesome way to bring out the natural sweetness in so many veggies. Yum, yum!

 

 

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Matt and I at H&D’s wedding

In addition to laughing and cooking and weighing in, I got to see two of my dear friends get married. Congratulations to Hilda and Daniel! Matt and I enjoyed attending our first Armenian wedding, where, I kid you not, there must have been 15 courses of food served all through the night. We had hummus, salmon, lavash, cheeses, olives, kebabs, rice, salad, fresh fruit, and then wedding cake. I got a little over zealous in the beginning on some cheese and olives but learned to pace myself as the rest of the feast trickled out. After we ate, we danced our butts off, which was a nice way to burn some calories.

Then today, I slept in until 11 a.m., cleaned the bathroom, walked to the grocery store, and pulled weeds in my garden. A successful Sunday, if you ask me. In 15 minutes, Mad Men and Silicon Valley will be on, and then I’ll head to bed. It was so nice to have a weekend at home as the last two weekends I’ve been traveling, and next weekend will be on the road again.

Tell me what you were up to this weekend! This week will be busy, but I’m looking forward to it. The weather is gorgeous here, and even though the pollen is out in full force, I’m loving the sun shining as I take lunch break walks and train on my way t0 60 miles. PS: how cool is it that April and Monique are part of team Double Chin Divas with Aubrey and I?! We’d love to have you join us, if you’re interested in fundraising, walking, and glamping in San Diego November 21-23. All are welcome; together we can kick cancer’s butt! Let me know if you’re interested in joining so I can provide you a special discount code and team password.

Have a wonderful start to your week!

The Double Chin Diary Siggy

 

 

What’s up, Wednesday?

I've been nomming on my garden grown Kale ... carb-free!

I’ve been nomming on my garden grown Kale … carb-free!

Hello, hello. I hope your day is off to a nice start, or if you’re reading this in the afternoon/evening, that it’s been AWESOME so far! I have a mish-mash of randomness to chat about today. The first is, results of my weekly Weight Watchers weigh-in. I was having trouble with motivation this week, even though I’ve been cutting carbs like a champ. As outlined in several PCOS/Low Glycemic diet guide books, I’m trying to stick to 100 carb grams or less per day. It’s actually a very doable amount, in that you can still have bites here and there of yummy carbs like red potatoes, it’s just the “empty carbs” that have to go. I just wasn’t feeling the whole “constantly trying to lose weight” thing, especially since I found an old journal from five years ago where I weighed exactly one pound less than I do now. That sent me into this whole “Why do I even bother?” type mindset, making me think things like “Maybe this is just who I am. Maybe I just need to accept that this is my weight, forever.” However, common sense spoke, as it often eventually does, and my friend who’s also dieting reminded me that we’re not getting any younger, and there’s the whole health thing to worry about. I ate the chip off my shoulder, and moved on. I forced myself to weigh in today, and while I dreaded stepping on the scale even though I knew I had done alright, I was rewarded with a 1.5 pound loss, making my total weight loss hover around 22 pounds. That was a good reminder for me that sometimes you just need to SHOW UP to find new inspiration. I have a semi-goal of trying to shed 8 more pounds before my Cabo San Lucas vacation in May. I say semi-goal because as I’ve learned with PCOS, setting up a numerical goal is sometimes a bad idea, because my body bloats like a sponge in water, and jeans/measurements are a much more reliable factor for me. But you get the drift. I’m tryin’ to be good. Enough of that, let’s talk about VIKINGS!

I'll refrain from making a bad Helga/Olga joke, but you know what I'm thinking about singing!

I’ll refrain from making a bad Helga/Olga joke, but you know what I’m thinking about singing!

Remember how I wrote a post about how I’m not fat, I’m just a viking? On Sunday, the husband and my mom and I trekked up to California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks for the Scandinavian Festival! We got to hear stories, lore and historical facts (like the fact that nobody likes Lutefisk), and there were all sorts of cool crafts for kids, like making floral wreaths and butter knifes. I, for one, most enjoyed the dress up, as you can see by the photo above. We enjoyed traditional Swedish fare of roasted corn (Yeah, not really traditional Swedish fare), curly fries, and fresh berries with cream, and spent some time shopping at all the little Norwegian/Swedish vendors. I got a cute blue and yellow horse that says ‘Vilkommen’ to hang on my front door. Here’s me in a traditional Swedish kitchen, feeling right at home amongst the cabbages.

Scandinavian Festival

Sweet Swedes in a traditional Swedish kitchen

Lastly, I have some good stuff to tell you guys about in the next few days! In the “I’m becoming a hippie” vein, I’ve stumbled upon some really cool natural healing/wellness products from a brand called Bio-Ray. Using some of their herbal detox products in conjunction with now weekly acupuncture has helped some of the ongoing health issues I’ve been having. I’ll have more details for you soon. I am also excited to share a low-calorie banana split recipe in the next few days, courtesy of some amazing light, all natural ice-cream from my friends at Halo Top Creamery. I’ll be spending some time in Palm Springs over the next few days, and when I’m not hanging with my desert tortoise friends or logging training miles walking around the living desert, I hope to be catching up on writing some more posts. Ok, I lied, I have one more thing to tell you about…

Woohoo! Let's keep fundraising and walking!

Woohoo! Let’s keep fundraising and walking!

 

Lastly (for real this time) thank you SO MUCH for your support of me and the 3-Day! In my first day of fundraising I raised $469, which is 20% of my total goal of $2,300. I am humbled and overwhelmed by the amazing encouragement you all have given me. Thank you, thank you, thank you! $2,300 will allow me to walk 60 miles in San Diego with my team, the Double Chin Divas. Can anybody out there make a $31 donation and help me reach my first mini goal of $500? Once I’ve met $500, we don’t have to stop there — keep those donations coming! One $60 donation funds a walker for the whole 3 days, and a $35 donation funds transportation costs for a patient undergoing chemotherapy. If you can’t make a donation, consider registering for the 3-Day and walking with the Double Chin Divas! (Don’t worry – if you’re a dude and would prefer not to be a diva, we’ll make a concession and make your shirt say Double Chin Dude ;) ) Using the code TEAM20 at The3Day.org through April 16 will save you $20 off your registration, making it $50. We’ll have a blast training together, walking together, and kicking cancer’s butt.

That’s all I got for today. Keep on rockin’!

 

Livin’ la vida low-ca(rb)

See what i did there?! Okay, I’m probably a little bit delusional from working on a brand naming project for the past six hours :) Today I want to talk about food, one of my very favorite things.

One scary thing about being on a low-carb diet is that social eating situations are unknown. Will the main dishes be bread, bread and crackers? Will there only be a platter of sugar cookies and punch? We’re getting into the Holiday season and it’s not uncommon to deck the halls with tons of sugar. For example, last night I went to a David Sedaris reading put on by university’s alumni association. I was a little bit nervous about what I’d eat at the reception as breads and sugars are pretty much off the list entirely. To my delight, they had tons of roast vegetables, cold cuts, cheese, and my personal favorite – a gigantic bowl of marinated olives! I was very happy.

buffet_csun_doublechindiary

Then there’s the challenge of eating at restaurants. In Minnesota last weekend we went to the 58 Diner, famous for their Juicy Lucy burger, a patty with melted cheese inside. I got my sans bun with “Carrot fries” on the side. The dish in the background looks much more scrumptious, but hey, gotta make sacrifices somewhere!

LowcarbBurger_doublechindiary

The easiest way to handle this way of eating is cooking at home. For dinner tonight, I stir fried some ground pork, carrots, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, carrots, onion, bell pepper and celery with soy sauce and garlic. Deeeeelicious and filling!

Stirfry_lowcarb_doublechindiary

But my favorite low-carb dish of the day was my baked avocado egg. One of the best ways to get ideas for clean eating is to search hashtags on instagram. I browse #lowcarb and #pcos quite often for recipe ideas. Pop the seed out of an avocado, fill the hole with an egg, sprinkle with salt and pepper, bake at 375 for 30 minutes. It took me a little bit to get used to a cooked avocado, but it was a mellow and filling meal, and so pretty too!

Avocadoegg_doublechindiary_lowcarb

Do you find it challenging to eat healthy or in a certain style when you’re out and about? Have you pleasantly surprised lately, like I was at the David Sedaris reading? I hope you have a wonderful day!

 

All or Nothing

Hello! Can you believe it’s November already?! I can’t. It feels like just yesterday that 2013 was starting and I had all the hopes in the world of being at my goal weight by the end of the year. Well, erm… *scratches head* So maybe that hasn’t happened, yet, but in all reality, some things just take time. More time than you imagine. But, I digress.

Today I want to talk about “All or Nothing”, or, what happened to me with food this weekend! The past few weeks I had done a Doublechindiary_popcorngood job eating low-carb. I did meal prep for breakfasts, making scrambled egg whites and pan fried lean chorizo. I ate salads with chicken for lunch, drank water and snacked on persian cucumbers. Sadly, since I’m scaleless, I have no idea if I lost weight. I need to schedule a follow up with my doctor and can weigh in then. I was on track!

Then, Halloween came. That meant pizza with friends for dinner, and a few Almond Joys accidentally fell into my mouth. Halloween passed and I resolved to get back on track to the low-carb eating. Instead, we went out with friends to Dia de Los Muertos, where Matt and I split three tiny tamales. Not satiated by the corn husk wrapped burritos, I smelled the unmistakable smell of popcorn, a treat that had eluded me for the past few weeks, as buttery corn doesn’t really fit into a low-carb lifestyle.

Hunger and the thought of “a treat” got the best of me, and I was in popcorn heaven. We hung out at the festival for a few hours longer, then went to a 24 hour diner where Matt and I split a cheeseburger and onion rings. Thankfully, I was too full before I could do major damage on the onion rings.

I forgave myself for my few days of foodie misgivings and vowed to get back on track today. But then, I saw the open box of Count Chocula and said I’d “start tomorrow”. How could I tell myself that after last week’s blog?! Haha. But, these few slip ups have reminded me of why a low-carb diet will probably be my key to success. When I can’t have a certain food group (in this case, sugar or bread), I stay away from it. It’s All or Nothing. Where I get into trouble is when I am eating a little bit of everything, and trying to pretend that I’ll have the power to say no. Tomorrow is a new day, and it’s back to the low-carb lifestyle. No sugar, no bread, no onion rings. And that’s ok. Because it’s not that I’ll never be able to have them ever again; it’s just that I’ll do better refraining entirely for the next little bit of time. I’m not sure how I’ll navigate the holidays, but I’ve noticed I feel better on low-carb. More energy, less stomach issues, and hopefully, less bloating and weight gain.

Do you notice when you splurge on something (and it doesn’t have to be food), that’s it’s ALL or NOTHING?

 

Crash n’ Burn: Navigating Highs and Lows of PCOS Insulin Resistance

All last week, I did a commendable job staying on my low-carb eating plan. My lunches were things like turkey breast, string cheese and crunchy persian cucumbers. I had raspberries with a drizzle of cream for dessert. I stuck to perrier and water (ok, fine, the occasional Diet Coke) and even managed to stay away from the yummy cookies at work. I could feel this eating plan working. Slowly, the “wheat belly” that I so often have, de-puffed, and I could feel my jeans getting a little looser. I was feelin’ good. Then, I got busy. Really busy. Busy enough that I didn’t notice yesterday that I had only eaten two egg whites, some chorizo, and a few persian cucumbers. It was 6:00 pm, but I knew I was heading to a party where I could eat there, so I held out on eating. I felt kind of shaky, but knew I was just hungry. I got to the party and there weren’t many low-carb options, so I had tortilla chips, a piece of chocolate cake, a few chocolate raspberry sticks. Towards the end of the party, my stomach started doing that rumbling that only makes you think “Uh-oh… I need to go home!”. Sure enough, I got home and immediately regretted my lack of planning. Not fun. But I forgave myself, went to sleep and moved on, knowing that tomorrow would be a new day to plan better.

Lofthouse Sugar Cookies — Image from TriadCouponing.com

You’d think I’d learn after all that. But apparently I didn’t, because I started my day today with scrambled eggs and bacon. A few hours passed. I kept working on freelance projects. I didn’t eat. We stopped to go to an open house, and there they were, on the table: my crack. Other than movie theater popcorn, there’s something about these disgusting, fake, sugar-y cookies that rocks my world. Before I knew what was doing, my hand was wrapped around one, and the first powdery bite was in my mouth. Mmmm. mmmm. nom nom nom. The house wasn’t a good fit for us, but that cookie felt like a sugar vacation. The texture alone was carb-tastic, enough to rock my world into a hypoglycemic rush of sugar and glucose. I felt fine, as we made the not so smart decision to get frozen yogurt. We got frozen yogurt; my favorite, coconut yogurt with dark chocolate chips. I made it through half when I started getting the heebie-jeebies. I felt nauseous, tired, warm and just GROSS. It took me a little while to figure out what was going on. I was crashing. My body has adjusted in the past week to being a lean, mean fat burning machine. Very few carbs have passed my lips. All of a sudden I went from practically carb-free to carb-overload. I can’t do this to my body anymore. I need to plan. I need to focus on being prepared for the weekends, when all bets are off, when sometimes, yep, I sleep till 11 AM and skip breakfast. My how the times have changed, when weekends used to be binge-fests. Now I’m not eating enough, and not often enough.

I think this year has been an interesting one in terms of learning why my body does what it does. A large part of that is realizing and recognizing that I have insulin resistance, a happy little side effect of PCOS. There’s a reason my doc put me on metformin; to help me process sugar the way a normal person would. If I’m eating a low carb diet, my body doesn’t have to deal with the huge blood sugar highs and lows that my usual diet causes. Now, I keep the blood sugars happily in the middle with a low or reduced carb plan. By eating the party food and cookie, I basically shocked my system. It wasn’t fun. This week, I need to take better care of myself. My deadlines and projects will only be excellent if the person working on them is also feeling excellent. Who’da thunk that a few little carbs could so drastically affect my blood sugar balance? Beyond sugar and carbs affecting the way I feel, I need to be more mindful of this, as my insulin resistance puts me on the fast track towards diabetes. While my fasting blood sugar tests are all still great, as I’ve seen this year, my body is a fickle, delicate little (or not so little) thing. I need to take better care of myself by taking better care of my food.

Do you find that when you eat really sugary things, you get either a “crash”, or feelings of hyperness? Which is it? I think I can now confirm I’m definitely the “Crash n’ burn” type of gal!

 

Banned Words: I’ll Start Tomorrow

It starts out innocently enough. In my case, a movie. The husband and I had been wanting to see Gravity for a few weeks, but overlapping schedules prevented us from the two-hour luxury. We finally made it yesterday night. As we planned our day, I thought about what we’d make for dinner. I had previously said on Saturday that I’d “start low-carb tomorrow.” I’ve been kind of “off” the past few days in terms of exercise, overwhelmed by life and feeling lazy. (House-hunting and being a business owner will do that to ya.) I knew I needed a fresh start. I decided that I’d have movie theater popcorn as my dinner. Yes, yes, that sounded lovely. There’s nothing like hot, buttered popcorn and a suspenseful flick to end the week. Wait! A little voice popped up in my head. “Popcorn isn’t low carb.”

“Oh, who cares,” the other voice in my head reasoned. “If you don’t eat dinner, and have popcorn instead, it cancels itself out. Sure, it’s high in calories, but you ate light today.”

The other voice responds, “Movie popcorn is the worst thing you could eat. The salt alone will make you bloat ten pounds. Add the butter oil and you’re asking for it. I thought you wanted to lose weight. Don’t do it. Losing weight means saying NO. It means discomfort. It means sacrifice. How bad do you want this? You have to make the change.”

The other voice, growing panicked, grasps for straws. “You deserve it! You’ve had a hard week, with lots of important, adult decisions. Movie popcorn is your FAVORITE. AND, you’ve eaten low-carb all day. You’ve already done so well! You can have a little splurge.”

The other voice, sounding sad, tells you to stop and think. “Remember trying on jeans at TJ Maxx? How the cold, metal button on almost every pair gouged into your tummy, made you cringe? How you’re avoiding the scale, knowing that your body isn’t “normal”, and that your small mistakes with food and exercise WILL ALWAYS show? Your hormones are wacky. It’s not just bad habits that make you gain weight, but it doesn’t help. Your body is actively going rogue. You have to work hard to prevent it from defeating you. It is what it is. Popcorn won’t help, on any level. You know that, Alyssa.”

The other voice, feeling defensive now, says “Just start tomorrow, Alyssa. You deserve this. It will make you feel good.”

The other voice says, firmly now, “No. I’m not starting tomorrow. I’m starting today.”

I’ve learned something about myself the past few years. I can’t just decide one day to lose weight and just do it. I have to decide almost every minute of every day. At least once an hour. I need to decide to drink water, to get moving, to not eat bread, or cookies, or candy. To refuse the movie popcorn. I need to recommit. I’m fiercely loyal to the things I love. Clearly, weight loss is not a thing I love.

So I saw Gravity. And for a riveting two hours, I sat, consumed with emotion and angst, completely lost in the story. The movie was phenomenal, and my husband and I left shaky and tense, rocked by the amazing visual effects and captivating storyline. We’re still talking about the movie today. I didn’t even miss the popcorn. Sure, the smell always seduces me when I walk in, but I didn’t need the crunch, the salt, the butter, the motions, the kernels in my teeth. I didn’t need popcorn. I didn’t need snacks. I didn’t need to start tomorrow. I needed to start today.