Alyssa’s Weight Watchers Weigh In: Week 1

Tuesday was a great day. Even though I had nervous anticipation all morning before I stepped on the scale on my lunch break, I felt confident with my choices from the week before. I drank a lot of water, I exercised nearly every day, I snacked on Persian cucumbers instead of chips, and I minded my portions. I knew even if for some reason the scale didn’t reflect my good work, possibly the next week would, because “you always get the week you deserve eventually.”

I kicked off my flip flops, climbed on the scale, sucked in my breath, and wished for good news. “You’re down this week!” the leader said, and when she showed me the number, I actually let out a little hoot of joy. Here’s what made me so happy:


YAY! 4.4 pounds is a big, big loss. I was also on the tail-end of completing the Mamavation Two-Week Bootcamp, so being forced to do burpees and arm curls and cardio helped, too. I’m so relieved that the first week of “Simple Start” worked. Basically, it’s a plan focused on lean proteins and dairys, whole grains, vegetables and limited fats. It’s pretty much a “Don’t Eat Crap” manifesto, though you can choose one crap item (junk food) per night, with suggestions being things like a Weight Watchers ice cream, a glass of wine, etc. My crap items were Weight Watchers Dulce de Leche ice cream bars (they’re okay. Kinda fake. Not my fav), oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I made, and one night, two squares of white Irish cheddar cheese. Deeeeeelish. This week, I need to be aggressive about staying “good” — sometimes when I have a strong success like this, I tend to think “Oh! I did so good last week that I can cheat a little bit and I’ll still lose weight!” Nope, not so much. Don’t wanna get over confident over here. However, I did realize this week this is the first time I’m trying a “real” weight-loss plan again now that I know what’s up my wacky body, and that’s exciting.
I was also thrilled this week to hear from three different people that it looked like I was losing weight. Those comments are so encouraging to me, because I see myself all day, every day. Hearing it from someone else is sometimes exactly what you need to remember why you’re choosing the salad over the pizza.

So that’s my awesome news for the week! Can’t wait to share with you next week about my next weigh in, and I can only hope it will be as good as this one, but I’ll be happy with any sort of loss. 🙂  I’ll be back soon to tell you about my newest fitness gadget, the Fitbit Force!


Big Girls Gone Kayaking

On our last day of Fitcation, we were going kayaking in Morro Bay. Having recently kayaked, I felt powerful and strong when wielding a fiberglass boat, especially after debunking my fears of being too fat to fit, making it sink, etc. I pretty much went into kayaking with the “Heck yes! I can do this!” attitude, which usually serves me pretty well.

As we pulled up to Kayak Horizons, I noticed nerves fluttering around many of the other bloggers. By the time life jackets were handed out, I realized half of our group was heading towards a bar! I was disappointed but realized that water isn’t for everyone, with the addition of water in a chilly bay. I have only kayaked in lakes before, so I knew that it would be a more difficult ride out in the ocean.


I was honored to be asked to partner with Meagan, a lovely mom from North Carolina. She picked me because of my previous kayaking prowess and I could tell she was hopeful that my skills would make me a natural kayak partner. We got into our kayak and began attempting to paddle off. I noticed immediately that I had WAY underestimated how much more difficult ocean water is to paddle in. We had a rough current pushing us the opposite direction and despite our attempts to get in sync, we were floundering. I was kind of embarrassed that I had been so confident in my kayaking skills because at this point, I was no better than a newbie kayaker. Luckily though, Meagan is kind and has a sense of humor. After about an hour of frustrated paddling and at one point even bumping into the buoy of a stationary boat (whoopsies!), we finally got on track and made it across the bay to a little island.


As we were pulling on to the island, it dawned us. Why had it been SO DAMN HARD for us to row that kayak? We couldn’t maneuever it well, and it took us triple the time to get across the bay as some of the other ladies in the boat. At that moment we had the shared realization of WHY it was a little more different… because the two big girls got in the same boat! Oh. DUH! Hahaha! Now, when I say Meagan is big, I don’t mean she’s fat. I would never say that about her, or anyone except myself, for that matter – she’s the one who prompted it, but as we howled with laughter, we realized that yep, sure enough, the two tall, broad shouldered, mighty women got into the same kayak. And while Meagan’s recently lost over 120 pounds (WOW!), I know that I was responsible for some extra junk in the trunk that made us row a little bit harder. (It all works out. More weight = more cardio = more rowing = stronger arms?)

After we cheekily explained our situation to others, several volunteered to switch with us to lighten our load. Though the idea of an easier ride back was tempting, Meagan and I had a flash of inspiration. We would finish what we started. We wouldn’t give up. NO WAY would we give up! Big, strong women are exactly that – big and strong. We didn’t need to lighten our load. This weight and heft, though cumbersome, was ours, and we would rock it. We got back into our kayaks with a renewed sense of vigor, and sure enough, the paddle back wasn’t nearly as hard as anticipated. Though the opposing current helped with that, I like to think that somewhere, as attitudes lighten and positivity prevails, things get a little easier all around. This story makes me smile when I think about it, because it was the one weight related hurdle I faced at Fitcation. Going to Fitcation, I was nervous that I’d be the only big girl, that I’d be out of shape on our hikes, etc – but I felt great and kept up with the pack just fine, and my body shape and size wasn’t an issue. While my kayak experience was a little more “heavy” than the rest of the trip, I think this story serves as a fine reminder of why this journey isn’t going to be so much about the destination for me, but enjoying the ride.


It always goes back to attitude. I may not be happy with the body I have now, but it’s capable and strong. With the right attitude, I know that I’ll eventually get where I want to be, and even if I feel like I’m sinking, I need to just keep paddling.



Fitcation Recap 3: Earth Footwear, Halter Ranch, Hearst Castle and Morro Bay

Disclosure: The costs of the events and activities for Fitcation were defrayed by sponsors, and the attendees were contractually obligated to write a summary of the experience and also received free swag items. However, the thoughts and opinions I’m sharing in this post are honest and my own.

I’ve written about Fitcation 13′ here and here, and even though I wish I could have stayed on this vacation forevvvvver, I have to wrap it up! Last I left off, we were on our way to the beautiful Halter Ranch, another gorgeous location in the lovely Travel Paso region. When you arrive at Halter Ranch, you first see this beautiful Victorian home and lovely wooden bridge. However, once you walk past the wooden bridge is where the true splendor awaits; hundreds of rolling acres of winding grape vines, dusty dirt paths and expanse of beautiful blue sky.


Beautiful vineyards at Halter Ranch in Paso Robles, Calif.

We took a hike up to a very special oak tree, called the Ancestor Tree, one of the oldest oak trees in California. The branches of this tree were large enough to shade over 35 people! Here I am looking tickled to be in such an amazing place.

The Ancestor Tree, Halter Ranch

The Ancestor Tree, Halter Ranch

After hiking up to the tree, we headed back to the winery, where we treated with a tour of the wine-making rooms. I loooooove the smell of wine being made. It’s not only deliciously boozy, it’s a rich, sweet smell… grown up grape juice, y’all. We learned more about the SIP Certification and how important ethical, green business practices are in today’s green-washed consumer culture (green washing = everyone and their mom saying things are green because they’re “natural” – marketing buzz words that have no truth or verification behind them!).

Where the magic happens - Inside Halter Ranch

Where the magic happens – Inside Halter Ranch

After our education, it was off to a beautifully decorated barn for dinner and EARTH SHOES! Now, if you know me in person, you know I have a bit of a problem with shoes. As in, there’s a whole storage trunk full of shoes in my house. Only one problem… they’re all MY shoes. Yup. Maybe it’s the big-girl syndrome, but often, shoes are the only things I can buy without worrying about size, and even saying that is a stretch — as a size 11, I’m lovably larger in all ways! I was excited to learn more about Earth footwear because one of my favorite stories about my mom and dad’s relationship is that when they first started dating in the 1980s, my mom thought my dad was a hippie because he wore Earth shoes. Back then they were way less fashionable, but made of premium materials, as they still are today. We got to try on shoes and I was generously gifted with these adorable Bellflower shoes in Pewter. These shoes have not left my feet for the past week! They’ve really molded to my feet and are sooo comfortable. They’re padded with three layers of material and the leather has definitely conformed to the shape of my foot. If you “like” Earth on Facebook, you’ll be the first to know about sales and deals. Believe me — these shoes are worth the price, and for those of you who want shoes in non-animal material, they have plenty of adorable vegan options as well.

Loving my new Earth Brand Bellflower Flat!

Loving my new Earth Brand Bellflower Flat!

After our shoe presentation (did I mention we each got a five minute reflexology foot massage? Mmmhmmm. It was awesome), we enjoyed an amazingly yummy dinner of spaghetti squash with turkey bolognese, roasted zucchini and squash, kale salad and some delicious artisan bread. And wine! LOTS OF WINE! I have some very funny pictures from this evening that I’ll not post on this blog, as I’d like to keep some of my new friends 😉 Let’s just say 35 women who are all pretty chatty (aka BLOGGERS) plus booze plus vacation = some pretty wild conversation.

Locally sourced dinner at Halter Ranch

Locally sourced dinner at Halter Ranch

After dinner, it was back to the hotel for a night of sleep before DAY THREE: MY FAVORITE! We woke up early in the morning and headed to the amazing Hearst Castle! I had been to Hearst Castle before with Matt, but it’d been a few years. I enjoyed a private car pool with three of my new buddies, Deb, June and Ana-Lydz. One thing that sounds corny but I think is important for women to remember is that we really need to value friendship with women of ALL ages. In that car, we had many different ages, but each of us had something special to contribute to the conversation. Our chatter never stopped, and I felt so lucky to get to gab to them! We arrived at the amazing Hearst Castle, boarded the shuttle up the hill, and were off to William Hearst’s castle in the hills. I have to say, I’m a big sap, because seeing those amazing mountains and the ocean in the distance was just breath-taking and brought a tear to my eye. I’m so glad my Dad moved us here 15 years ago 🙂

Hearst Castle in the San Simeon Hills

Hearst Castle in the San Simeon Hills

Check out some of the gorgeous sculptures and flora around his home. I wouldn’t mind living here for awhile. I’ll say this much, none of the houses we’ve been hunting for look like this…

The grounds at Hearst Castle

The grounds at Hearst Castle

One of my favorite spots is the Neptune Pool. I wanted to rip off my jacket, throw on a swimsuit, grab a trashy magazine and set up shop RIGHT HERE. Sounds good, right?! Here I am with Leah, the founder of Fitcation and Mamavation!

Alyssa and Leah at the Neptune Pool

Alyssa and Leah at the Neptune Pool

And because one pool wouldn’t be enough, Hearst also had a second pool, the Roman Pool. I think I might almost like this one better. Breathtaking.

The Roman Pool, Hearst Castle

The Roman Pool, Hearst Castle

After Hearst castle we got back into our cars and headed to Cambria! We enjoyed a yummy lunch from Robin’s Restaurant, and then we did some yoga on the beach, led by Kia. It felt soooo good to stretch out my body with the sun on my face, the sea breeze gently lapping my hair, and the sound of the waves crashing against the sand. I need to get into yoga again, because it’s a great workout and has a magical calming effect on my monkey mind.  How amazingly gorgeous is this picture of Kia from Bodhi Bear doing Yoga on the cliffs?

Kia and the waves.

Kia and the waves.

Here I am with Meagan doing the Warrior Pose. Meagan and I have a great story to tell you sometime this week about our amazing kayaking trip, but it’s such an awesome story that it needs its own post 🙂

Warrior Girls aren't afraid of a little sand in their clothes!

Warrior Girls aren’t afraid of a little sand in their clothes!

We wrapped up the activities of the day at Morro Bay, a lovely seaside town with a huge rock jutting out of the bay. I definitely need to return here for a fun weekend trip with the husband. Half of the gals went kayaking, while the other half enjoyed some libations at the Morro Bay Yacht Club. I have lots more to say about the awesomeness that ensued while kayaking, but like I said, I’m saving that for another post 🙂

The amazingly beautiful Morro Bay

The amazingly beautiful Morro Bay

The final Fitcation gathering was enjoying a feast of yummy pizzas at Eatz  in San Louis Obispo, and then I said my goodbyes. I feel so very, very lucky to have met all of the women I did, and hopefully, we’ll all stay in touch. Also, a huge thank you to the wonderful sponsors of Fitcation for the meals, activities, swag and education. It’s amazing to think this little blog has brought about so many wonderful experiences. Last week, I noticed that in October of 2012, I was celebrating 150 Facebook likes. Today, I’m just over 1,400. WOW! While I know my journey has barely even started in terms of getting the weight OFF, I’ve learned so much about myself, fitness, food and health in general that it’s safe to say this blog has become a very special part of my heart. Thank you for that! *cheese fest over*

Now — because I can’t be the only one who gets to enjoy the awesomeness of this trip, if you leave a comment on this post, you’ll be entered to win a MYSTERY GRAB BAG of some of my swag items! Just leave me a comment and let me know if you’d like to travel to Paso Robles, Cambria, Morro Bay and San Louis Obispo, too. I’m pretty sure you would 😉 Have an amazing day!



The Double Chin Diary Siggy



Fitcation Highlights Part 1, Thursday: Paso Robles, SIP The Good Life

Happy Monday, friends! I’m returning to work today feeling refreshed and relaxed after a wonderful weekend meeting many inspirational women at Fitcation! I drove up to Paso Robles on Thursday with my new friend June from Savannah. We quickly broke the ice and were gabbing like old friends within minutes of meeting. I’m looking forward to keeping in touch with my new travel buddy and seeing her next year in Savannah for FitBloggin’! Here we are being silly bloggers on a lunch stop at Pea Soup Andersen’s, a kitschy place you definitely need to stop at!

Bloggers take pictures of EVERYTHING. Photo from Simply Junebug's Instagram.

Bloggers take pictures of EVERYTHING. Photo from Simply Junebug’s Instagram.

We arrived in Paso Robles in the nick of time to check in, get our awesome swag bags, and then head out in a van to downtown Paso Robles. The TravelPaso team had set up some amazing things for us to see and do, including sampling local wine and homemade soda at Pithy Little Wine Company, chowing down on delicious Brown Butter Cookies at the Brown Butter Cookie Company (Salty AND sweet), and then browsing unique knicknacks and goods at the Paso Robles General Store. One of the things I loved about Paso Robles was the friendly, small-town feel. Everybody was so friendly and gracious to have us, which is impressive considering 30 female bloggers can be quite chatty and a little overwhelming with our constant tweeting and picture taking 🙂 . I especially enjoyed meeting two of the owners of the Paso General Store, as they own the shop along with another female friend. Girl power! As someone who’s new to owning her own business, I love chatting with ladies who have been there, done that, and are kickin’ ass and takin’ names. They had some really unique artisanal goods in their shop, and I left with a tin of gourmet ghost pepper salt for a Christmas gift, a hand-poured honey beeswax candle and a metal reusable straw. I could have easily spent a whole paycheck in that store!

Alyssa with two awesome women business owners of the Paso Robles General Store.

Alyssa with two awesome women business owners of the Paso Robles General Store.

After doing some shopping and exploring, we headed to Studios on the Park, an awesome community art space. Once we got there, we kicked off our festivity with a certain drink that would be making a recurring theme during the whole Fitcation…. SIP Certified WINE! Because nothing says “fun” like gal pals and vino, the lovely people at SIP, which stands for sustainability in Practice, helped coordinate many different wineries supplying their grown-up grape juice for our pleasure. What is sustainability in practice? SIP says, “SIP is a sustainability certification for California winegrape growers. The program looks at the farm in its entirety addressing water conservation, energy efficiency, air quality, habitat conservation, business stability and social responsibility. Each applicant is audited by a third party inspector to confirm that they meet the strict eligibility requirements.”

Community Art Space Studios On The Park, Paso Robles

Community Art Space Studios On The Park, Paso Robles

The whole SIP concept is cool on so many levels – not only are you putting the most premium ingredients in your body, but when you buy wine that has the SIP Seal on it, you’re helping to support viticulturists who truly care about the environment. When you look at the beauty that abounds in any wine country, it makes sense that we’d do everything we can to help protect it. Now that I’m educated in SIP, I’m going to make sure all of my wine purchases moving forward are SIP approved. It’s the least I can do to help save our environment while catching a nice little buzz at the same time. CHEERS to that, right?!

Paso Robles Wineries Help Loosen Up Travel-Tired Bloggers with Delicious SIP Certified Wines!

Paso Robles Wineries Help Loosen Up Travel-Tired Bloggers with Delicious SIP Certified Wines!

In addition to grapey goodness, we had a super yummy and healthy locally sourced meal from FIG Good Foods of Atascadero. One of my favorite dishes they served was a wonderful Indian spiced roasted vegetable medley. It may have been Morroccan, but you ate it with a fig and olive chutney on top and it was GOOOOOD. It also was something I wouldn’t regularly make for myself, so this signaled the start of a vacation beginning. As y’all know, I’m all about the yum-yums, so here’s a snap of me looking tickled pink with such a fancy and tasty meal!

Yummy Fig Good Foods catering from Atascadero/Paso Robles

Yummy Fig Good Foods catering from Atascadero/Paso Robles

After imbibing in yummy food and wines, it was either back to the hotel or out to a bar. I chose to go back to the hotel, knowing that our early start time the next day would have me yawning if I didn’t get some shut-eye. It was the perfect way to start a fabulous, fun-filled Fitcation. Come back tomorrow to find out what we did on Friday, and what wine tasting has to do with this friendly little beaver!

So now, tell me. Have you ever been to a wine country, and if so, which one?!

A Dam Fine Wheelbarrow. What do beavers have to do with wine? Find out tomorrow!

A Dam Fine Wheelbarrow. What do beavers have to do with wine? Find out tomorrow!


Bon Voyage… I’m off to Fitcation!

Hello everybody! Here we are, one day before Friday! You’re almost there! I, on the otherhand, have been in blissfully happy “It’s my friday mode” all day, and as I’m writing this, it’s only Wednesday. Tomorrow I’m picking up my pal Simply Junebug and we’re off to beautiful Paso Robles, a lovely little wine town nestled in the coastal hills of San Luis Obispo, 230 miles north of Los Angeles. That area happens to be one of my very favorite places in California, as the husband and I have spent many weekends at the kitschy and totally amazing themed Madonna Inn, guzzling wine at the drive-in-theatre double feature, and exploring the salt water taffy shops along Avalon Beach.

Paso Robles, from

I’m excited for this blogging event because it’s less “conferency” with panels and such, and more “activity”, with winetasting, kayaking, hiking and even, my very favorite, olive oil tasting at places like Pasolivo. I’ve been pulling some crazy hours lately with last minute writing projects, so I’m looking forward to decompressing, tasting wines, meeting friendly new blogger faces, and enjoying awesome swag like FIT Protein Brownies from my homies at Lenny & Larry’s  and Nux Vomica in-case I over-wine it, from Boiron USA.

Events like these help rank high on the reasons of why I love to blog. I had a meeting with a client last week, and I was surprised that they spent a large part of our meeting asking why I wasn’t doing this and that on my blog to make lots of money. I do make a little bit of money from this blog, and certainly enjoy bountiful swag and freebies from this site, but if someone asked the number one reason why I blog, it wouldn’t be to make money. First and foremost, I’m a writer, and writers write. It’s what we do, and I’d write even if no one read it. The fact that you’re here, reading, is just a major perk for which I’m infinitely grateful. THANKS 🙂

Speaking of swag and freebies, We have a winner for the Naturally Sweet and Gluten Free Giveaway! Congratulations to KRISTINE! Thanks to everyone who entered, and watch for more giveaways soon.

There’s one last thing on my bloggy-to-d0-list — letting you know that I now have a snazzy badge! If you want to link up, just copy and paste the code to the right of this post (looks like the picture below) into your html widgets or body text on your website. Let me know if you do!

Also, here’s my confession. I have been super totally lazy about working out this week. As in, like almost no exercise at all. Eeeek. Not ok. However, I plan to make up for it with bootcamp, yoga, kayaking, hiking and crossfit this weekend. Thank goodness.

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I’m out! I’ll try to check in from the road this weekend and April might be around on Friday, but have an awesome end of the week, and thank you, as always, for stopping by the DCD! 🙂



Fat Girl Fear Debunked: Kayaking When You’re Overweight

Hello everybody! I’m on my last day in Oregon, and WOW, I needed this vacation! We’ve been super active, hiking, kayaking and biking, but it’s the type of activity where you go at a leisurely pace and ooh and ahh at the scenery, so it doesn’t feel like work. Our second day in Oregon, we decided to go kayaking! I think I had been kayaking once before, but quickly deemed it too hard when my spaghetti-noodle arms failed to get me around fast enough. I was also 17 years old and had that “I hate everything” attitude, so even if kayaking was the coolest thing on Earth, I’d still have rather been in Hot Topic. Thank God that phase of my life is over! The in-laws have two awesome Hobie Pedal / Paddle kayaks, which mean you have the choice of either pedaling with your feet or paddling with the oar.


The whole way to the lake I was plagued the “What if I don’t fit?” in the kayak type thoughts. I imagined climbing in and my round behind plopping down, only to be stuck like a blueberry in a straw, having to stand up and having the whole kayak stick to my rump. In addition to that lovely thought, I was afraid as soon as I sat in it, it would sink down, filling with water and bringing my humility down with it. As soon as we got the kayaks off the car and onto the sandy shore, I had that type of “Well, here we go” type of moment where I decided if my roundness interfered with my kayaking, all I could is laugh it off and know that every day I make efforts to change the shape my body is in. THANKFULLY, I sat in the kayak and 1) my ass fit in the seat just fine and 2) I didn’t sink!. In fact, you could feel that the kayak wasn’t going anywhere except where I directed it. WHEW.

lyssa_kayakOnce I got over those ridiculous fat girl fears, I was able to have FUN – and boy did I have fun! Paddling was a great arm workout, as the resistance of the water got those biceps and triceps movin’, and I’d challenge myself to skim across the water by pedaling like my feet were on fire. The kayak was actually really comfortable, and a little seat even kept my lower back supported as I glided around Lake Suttle. Matt and I were admittedly kayaking pretty leisurely, but after a couple hours, I had burned 500 calories – a great workout! I wish that I could exercise in such an unconventional and gorgeous setting every day! It made me even more excited for the upcoming Fitcation, where I’ll be kayaking Morro Bay. Soooo cool.


Is there any type of exercise or activity that you’ve ever been anxious about because of your weight, size or physical ability? Have you conquered it or is fear keeping you on the sidelines? Dish it — talking it out will help you move on. Have an amazing day! <3