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


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, sharing more lifestyle related things like tales from motherhood, random posts about cats, and other stuff.)


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 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!


The Double Chin Diary ExpoWest Recap

Hi there! I had a fantastically busy weekend, which combined with the time change, has me doing a little bit of yawning. but I’d rather be tired and busy than tired and bored, ya know? On Saturday, I picked up the fabulous AJ from Confessions of a Fat Girl and we were on our way to Anaheim for ExpoWest, a natural food and product show with over 2,100 exhibitors and last year, over 63,000 attendees. I had a list of brands I wanted to connect with based on previous reviews here on the DCD, but I also had a few new ones I wanted to meet. Below are some of my favorites from the show, and stay tuned in the next few weeks for some reviews and giveaways for you. I promise, there’s some good stuff comin’! (Note: I’m writing this post of my own desire. This is not sponsored in any way, though I did eat my way through most of these booths on free samples!)


Alyssa’s personal heaven with Jeff’s Naturals.

1) You guys know how I love olives. A relatively new joy of mine, I embraced the olive when I first went low-carb and was looking for something deliciously salty without any sugars. I started with Kalmata olives and then graduated into the green olives, and finally found my briny passion, the Castelvetrano. I splurge every now and then on a tub of them from Whole Foods, but the price point makes me try not to go wild on ’em. I always thought Whole Foods Castelvetrano were the cream of the crop, but I was wrong — it’s the Castlevetrano olives from Jeff’s Naturals. These things are buttery, nutty, rich and delicious! They were kind enough to send me home with a jar and I actually sent an awkward selfie of myself and the jar to my husband with the caption “day made.” Even cooler? It was a happy coincidence when I noticed the company is based in Petaluma, which is where I grew up! I’m hoping we can do a giveaway soon, because you guys have to try these. Deeeelish! (The jar is already half gone. For reals. I have an olive problem!)

2) Remember how I had a weird fear of ‘fish burps’? They were enough to keep me away from fish oil for a long time, and I finally got over it after trying some Nordic Naturals on Fitcation. For the past few months, I’ve been diligently taking Nordic Naturals Omegas. The reasons for wanting to take omegas are plenty; they reduce inflammation in the body, can help lessen stress and anxiety, improve arteries, lungs, joints and bones… all good stuff. While you pay a little more for a premium fish oil brand like Nordic Naturals, when researching fish oil and learning about how the oil is harvested, I’m happy to plunk down a few more coins for a fantastic fishy experience rather than something that just stinks like a dead fish. The folks at Nordic Naturals dressed up me up in this lovely Gone with the Wind get up, and then I got to try some of their new products, like gummy vitamin D-3s, which are mixed berry flavor.


Did Scarlett O’Hara like Omegas?

3) You know I couldn’t go to ExpoWest without paying homage to the ruler of the snack world… POPCORN! I had to stop by and give some love to SkinnyPop, who have recently introduced a black pepper, cheddar, and sweet popcorn to their mix. The cheddar popcorn was my desired crunch snack of choice during the trafficky drive home. Thankfully I had yummy corn and AJ’s fantastic rendition of “Let It Go” to keep me from going bonkers at 10 miles per hour. I also popped my top for:

  •  Pop Gourmet, who had a mind-blowing parmesan garlic popcorn and SRIRACHA POPCORN! Respect the rooster! They also had a “Rogue Blue” blue cheese popcorn which I didn’t try (was trying to conserve my belly space), but rumor had it it was pretty fantastic.

    PopGourmet's offerings include Sriracha, Garlic, Kale, and many more!

    PopGourmet’s offerings include Sriracha, Garlic, Kale, and many more!

  • Quinn Popcorn, which has a notable new snack in that its the first “do it yourself” organic microwave popcorn with cool flavors (hello, herb and olive oil). The paper microwave bag is fully compostable, and after you pop the corn, you toss it with the included oil packet and then add the seasoning packet. I got to meet the founder of the company, and I loved that he started the company with his wife, and named it in honor of his son Quinn.
  • Kettle Pop, which started as kettle corn in Farmer’s Markets and is now packaged. This corn is 100% organic and has a lovely lightly sweet, fluffy taste. I have a couple bags in my pantry now and I love that they come in 100 calorie packs — giving me my popcorn fix without the “Oops, I just ate 1,200 calories worth of popcorn in one sitting” problem. (True story.)

There were a bunch of other popcorn peeps I missed, but that’s ok — I’ll catch them next time, when I haven’t eaten 10,000 olives.

4) I was on a mission to discover new teas, and discover, I DID! Did you guys know Numi makes savory teas, in wild flavors like Carrot Curry, Fennel Spice and Beet Cabbage? I tried both the Carrot and Fennel, and it wasn’t bad at all. They reminded me of broth based soups. Not necessarily what I’d go for for my cuppa, but as a pairing to a meal, I could definitely see it working. While I’m a little more traditional with my tea, I loved the creativity of it. I tried a super yummy Cacao Earl Grey, and I need to get my hands on some “Emperor’s Pu-Erh”, which was a really earthy, full-bodied tea that some use as a coffee alternative. Mighty Leaf also opened up my eyes to some delicious Arnold Palmer recipes, in addition to their organic African Nectar.

4.5) Some other notable people I met with that I can’t wait to learn more about? BioRay, who has a detox product I’ve been using for quite awhile that I love and will share about soon, New Chapter, which are vitamins you can take on an empty stomach, and Oregon’s Wild Harvest, high quality organic vitamins and tonics.

5) The best thing about ExpoWest wasn’t the things: it was the people! I was so happy to get to meet my friend Jody from Truth to Being Fit, and then catch up with my pal Annabel from Feed Me, I’m Cranky, Monica from My Life is a Journey, and Angela from Nine More Months. It’s always so wonderful to see the faces of people you interact with all the time online. Hugs just aren’t the same virtually 🙂




Top left: Me and AJ from Confessions of a Fat Girl. Top Right: Angela, Monica and Me. Lower Left: Me and Jody. Lower right: Me and Annabel.

So as you can see — ExpoWest was a fantastic whirlwind experience. I have no idea how some people do it for four days — after one day and 11,000 steps, my dogs were barkin’ and I was ready to sit on my duff and eat popcorn and olives. However, I didn’t have much rest before my next adventure… waking up at 4:00 A.M. to bring my husband to the Los Angeles Marathon! Stay tuned for the next post about his courageous 26.2, and I’ll be talking to you soon. Have a wonderful day!


2012 Turkey Trot – My First 10k

April and I about a mile in.

Hello! Yes, blog friends, I have FINALLY received the card reader I complained about not having several times this week. Which means… PICTURES! VOILA! (Did you know that word is “Wah-lah!” For the longest time I just wrote wahlah. Had no idea it was Voila. Anyways, random is me.) So! All week I had been pumping myself up to do the third annual Petaluma Turkey Trot. Sure, I’d need to wake up earlier than I do for work, and sure, it’d be 44 degrees when we started, and sure, a large portion of the trail was up a steep, rocky hill. But, SURE, I could do it!

I arrived in Petaluma the night before and my sister and I spent the night awake and giggling like we have too many times. Finally, we knocked out around 1:45 AM, and I awoke the next morning to the blaring alarm clock set 14 minutes too fast (I guess delinquency runs in the family). My sister had an ailment that could have prevented her from going, but I’ll let her tell you all about that tomorrow. (She’s a trooper! Go April!) We got dressed, got in the car, and were on our way!

We showed up at the park at 8:38, where everyone was supposed to be meeting at 8:30. There were no turkey trotters in sight. Plenty of cars, but no people. Had we missed the turkey trot? Indeed we had! But, since we are super hardcore and were determined to come home with the glow of pre-feast fitness victory, we relied on our pal Melody’s trusty sense of navigation (and her phone) and created our own route. We were initially going to do the 5k track, but as we got going, catching up and BSing about life, the Sonoma Aroma filled our lungs and we were filled with motivation and inspiration, fueled by perspiration. We trudged forward, stopping to check out cows and compare manicures.

Reached the top of Helen Putnam Park without going into cardiac arrest. YAY!

Right before this picture was taken, I was sitting on a bench, breathing heavily, half wondering if I had overdone it on the huge, steep hill leading up to the nature trail called Helen Putnam Park. I had pushed myself forward, but it was a long, steep climb and all of a sudden I felt really out of breath and could tell I was having a pollen reaction, combined with hauling 50 extra pounds up a huge hill. (Long story short – when you have crazy allergies like I do, if you suddenly take in a lot of pollen or an inhalant, your body gets a little… fuzzy feeling. This can happen even with allergy meds ,and it sucks – it’s kind of like feeling super super tired all of a sudden yet panicky at the same time. It’s a big fat fail.) I sat on the bench, feeling frustrated and wondering why this all had to be so damn hard. Hadn’t I just said I was feeling more in shape? I said this aloud to my friend Melody (who has lost 70 pounds – SUPER STAR! She’s amazing!) – and she provided even more weight loss wisdom. “It’s hard, but you have to push through it. Just keep going. Just. keep. going.” She enunciated the last three words, and I realized, she’s right. Everything I’ve ever done that’s been worth doing has been HARD. Victory and success doesn’t come without major perseverance. I got off the bench… and I kept going.

The beautiful Petaluma, California

The rest of the trail was awesome, as we got on top of these hills which then took us through a beautiful wooded area, dappled with morning light and gently rolling fog. Once I made it past that hill, the rest of the hike was gravy. We were jolly and laughing the whole way down, proud that we had done something so good for ourselves on a day that’s usually good for the soul but bad for the arteries. By the time we got back to where we started, we had clocked 6.9 miles – just over a 10k, and according to MyFitnessPal, a 910 calorie burn. I think I need to make this a new Thanksgiving day tradition, because it made the rest of the day feel so rewarding. I felt great after my workout and I’m proud to say now that I can walk a 10k.

April, Melody and I after our Turkey Trot.

Have you or would you ever participate in a “turkey trot”?