Five Things on Friday

Hi Everybody, it’s Friday, woot woot! With the holidays, things are rockin’ and rollin’ and my schedule has been filled with fabulous festivities like the grand opening of my dear friend’s plus size bridal salon, holiday parties, and of course, working on getting in shape! I’ve been really good this week about doing some sort of exercise every day — mostly running with my couch to 5k app and then some yoga. I’m trying hard to maintain some level of “zen” in my life during the hectic but fun holiday season. I have a bunch of random things I wanna tell you about, so here’s my “Five for Friday”.

1) You really should read this article, “So You’re Feeling Too Fat To Be Photographed“. As someone who suffers from chronic doublechinitis, I can relate to the “Aghh! No Pictures!” phenomenon. However, the author’s life-changing experience gives her the perfect authority to speak on such a touchy subject — visually capturing the way you look when you don’t like the way you look. Read it, shed a little tear, and then smile big for the camera.

2) We have a WINNER!!!! Congrats to Melissa for winning the week of Diet to Go meals. I used a very complicated system (paper and pen) to tally up all your entries and pick the winner. Some of you pinned like crazy – you ROCK! We’ll be doing another amazing Diet to Go giveaway soon, so keep playing for your chance to win! Feeling lucky? There’s about one more day left to win some Prosperity Cinnamon. Enter now!

3) Do you guys have any tips for falling back asleep in the morning if you wake up too early? I know — sounds weird. Our kitten Oliver is almost a year old, and he likes to start causing chaos at about 5:00 A.M., either by knocking stuff over, chewing on things, or kneading my stomach with his jabby little kitten paws. UGH! It takes me about 45 minutes to fall back asleep after that. 5:00 A.M. is just TOO early to get started for the day… not gonna happen. Any tips? Do I need to lock him out of the room? 🙁

Early Morning Noise Maker.

Early Morning Noise Maker.

4) This time of year is hard for me food-wise, because I’m surrounded by holiday treats. I’ve been doing pretty well navigating so far (my jeans are loose! WOOHOO! Official weigh in is next week), but for some reason I go kookoo for peppermint and chocolate flavored things. At Trader Joe’s, I felt like my hands were magnetic to the Peppermint Joe Joe’s — but TWO cookies is 140 calories. Um, what?! I found a great alternative though! Try the Mini Dark Chocolate Shortbread Peppermint Stars. You can have 13 for 120 calories. Much better — volume eating.

5) I had the opportunity this week to share my story about my weight loss gain loss gain whatever-it-is on my dear friend Emmie’s blog this week. Go check it out, and if you don’t read Authentically Emmie, get to it. She’s the bee’s knees – and recently wrote an article in Ladies Home Journal!

Okay, guys, that’s all I got. I hope you’re having a wonderful week. Tell me what’s going on with you! Any great food finds? Exercise progress? Random feelings? Let it all out and let’s get our weekends started!


The Double Chin Diary Siggy


Busy busy bee

Have you guys heard Rimsky Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumble Bee?” Take a listen from these fine fellows of Canadian Brass:

I feel like this piece is the musical accompaniment to my life the past three weeks. As you know, I’m in the final stages of finishing my master’s degree, a three-year long process that’s caused me a lot of grief. When you write a thesis, you go through millions of revisions, up to the point that you “defend”, which means you basically defend your completed work in front of a small group people and respond back to the comments and constructive criticism your graduate committee might have. At this point they can either sign a piece of paper granting you approval, and you graduate, or they can say they need more changes before they sign it and hopefully you’ll graduate, or they can say “You’re SOL”. I’ve been making changes left and right, and I’m really hoping on Thursday when I defend that I’ll have minimal changes to make before I get the all-clear to graduate. It’s been crazy… and I’m ready to get my life back to the still very busy but totally doable routine of work, blog, fitness, relationships, friends and maybe, just maybe, house-hunting. (PS big shout out to April for being so awesome and picking up my blogging slack! You go, girl!)

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been stressed. My desire to stress-eat has been intense. After one particularly rough day last week when I got the first set of revisions and 10 e-mails stared me down with lists of things I had to immediately change, my first instinct was to make popcorn and crunch away my anxiety. But I didn’t – I took a quick walk around the block, came back, had a mango, and settled down to get to it.

Yes, I still ate out of stress, but it was a small mango – much less damaging than a bowl of calorie-laden salty crunchy popcorn. (PS – My latest passionate fruit love affair is definitely Mango. I just took our relationship to the next level by buying the giant jumbo pack from Costco!) I’m still making time to fit in exercise, and tonight, I met with a friend (Hi Suz!) for a long leisurely walk. I’m trying to view exercise as less of an item on my to-do list and more of as a natural stress relief. I know those endorphins will mellow me out, because my body’s been in a particularly flighty panic mode as I imagine not graduating and being sentenced to what feels like the rest of my life in grad school. But that’s just anxiety – anxiety I can work through by getting good nights of sleep, eating well, and fitting in exercise when I can. It’s weeks like this that remind me even if the scale isn’t showing what I want, I’ve made huge changes in my life when it comes to food and fitness.The old Alyssa would have no problem eating popcorn when stressed, nor would she hesitate to blow off all forms of fitness just because it was one more thing to do. But Alyssa 2.0 knows that living a healthy life means not just losing weight, but managing stress, too.

Have you been stressed out this week? How are you managing it?

Making the most of what you’ve got

I had been planning on writing a nice blog about how to stay fit while on vacation.  My weekend was to be filled in the beautiful Lake Tahoe with my two best girl friends, Kristin and Aya.  Kristin is next up in line to celebrate her birthday (which is today, the 26th!  Happy birthday, Kiki!) and the three of us were looking forward to making our first trip up there in ten years.  I imagined us drinking mimosas down in the hot tub, surrounded by a light coating of snow as we sat beneath the towering pine trees with waves of crisp mountain air filling our bodies.  I have been pining for those pine trees all week knowing that as soon as I got up there, my brain would be able to calm down from all  the stress of the school semester coming to an end.  Maybe then, I would have been able to forget about all my choices I need to make regarding my future… but no…

Today life decided to throw me a curve ball and unfortunately, my typically swift catching abilities failed and caused me to get hit in the face HARD by this particular throw.

It started out early this afternoon when I went to the doctor on campus about my ears hurting, suspecting either hardcore allergies or the potential of a rare adult ear infection.  Turns out it was the ear infection and I have not just a single ear infection, but a double.  That’s right, one in each ear.  YEAH!  I was grateful that it wasn’t just allergies because this would have sucked to live out the next few months in the kind of pain I am in.  My college is incredibly awesome and gave me the amoxicillin I needed to get better for free and sent me on my way to my math class.

Unfortunately math didn’t bring me any better news as I found out the test I studied hours for still resulted in me failing.  Lame.

I spent the drive home crying about the failure because I have somehow bombed all three of the tests I’ve been given in that class.   I’m not even in calculus or something hard like that either.  I’m in basic algebra and often when I look up math problems on Youtube, it’s junior high level math.  I can write a four page essay in an hour and get an A.  I can walk into my science classes without even knowing I had a test and get an A.  But for some reason when I see numbers with tinier numbers above them and a line separating them from MORE numbers combined with letters that are asking them where to find their friend “X”, my brain and heart start a mosh pit in my body that results in total shut down.  Uck.  Even just writing that horrible sentence gave me anxiety and I bet those of you who share my fear of math will understand.

I’m just bad at math.

I go to ecology and get home, prepping out something I wanted to do for Kristin’s birthday.  The time comes for me to continue my mission and I go to start my always reliable Toyota Matrix.  I turn the key, nothing.    I take a deep breath, try again.  Still nothing.  Radio is working.  Lights are working.  It’s not my battery.  It’s my starter.  Awesome.  How am I supposed to drive to Lake Tahoe now?

After spending a giant chunk of time on the phone with Aya about my situation, we decide that is probably best that I avoid the mountains with my ear infection and hope that Kristin would understand having to change up our Lake Tahoe plans.  I was so worried about letting Kristin down on her birthday that I would’ve tried to go anyway but life just had a different idea.  After talking to Kristin and immediately seeing right away that she understood, I felt much better.

I started to do a reflection on my day and although I had a lot of crappy things happen, I’m still grateful for many things.   I am fortunate that I am able to go to such a great college, receive financial aide,  plus that awesome bonus of having that my current medical needs covered. I’m grateful that I have a car, even if it doesn’t currently work.  I’m grateful that it’s gone 230,000 miles almost without giving me any issues but needing a new clutch.   I’m upset at myself for doing poorly in math but I am proud of myself for still being brave enough to try.  I’ve avoided math since high school and it’s been the one big thing holding me back from a degree.  I may not be performing at a passing level, but at least I’m still up there on that academic stage giving it my all.

The love and support that I have gotten from my friends and family as I have complained to them about my circumstances have truly helped me know and accept that “this too shall pass.”  My new and wonderful friend Silviu was so sweet and even though I was being so negative to every single encouraging  text he would send, he wouldn’t accept my pessimism and continued to boost up my confidence about math throughout the day.  After talking with Aya and Kristin about us not being able to do our trip, I was so touched because they didn’t care that we wouldn’t be able to have our mimosa’s under pine trees, their main concern was my health and biggest wish was for us just to be together, even if it was just under an oak tree in a park.

Through all of this I have been reminded that the bad grade you get on a test, the amount of revisions you must do on a paper, and the number that boldly stares at you on a scale do not determine the amount of happiness we can hold for ourselves.  I spent my Thursday depressed and throwing a personal pity party but by talking with my friends and through writing out this blog, I realize that even these “bad things” are still reasons to be grateful because they are all just opportunities for positive change.



To help boost happiness levels for both myself and my sister, who has been having a hard week as well, I ask of you:

What are you grateful for and in your times of stress, are you able to keep your gratitude?

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and please, try to remember to appreciate what you in life because surely it is more than someone else out there.

Lots of love,




My Monthly Weigh In Update

Good Morning! So this morning (it’s currently Saturday), I woke up for the first time in my life, eager to get on the scale. I knew that my five workouts per week were helping, as I can now run a mile without dying, my jeans feel looser, I’m starting to get the “You’ve lost weight!” comments, and in general, I am feeling fitter, happier and more energetic. The scale would be good. It had to be.

I stepped on the scale when I rolled out of bed, before I ate anything or put anything on. The number shocked me. This has to be wrong, I thought, stepping back, rubbing my eyes, thinking I must still be in a daze. I stepped on again. The number was there again… glaring at me – the highest number I’ve ever seen in my life. This can’t be, I thought, anger growing inside me. Thankfully, in a moment of divine intervention, I remembered to take my measurements. I wrapped the pink tape around me in disbelief, not understanding how all this WORK could lead to gain. WEIGHT GAIN, that is. The measuring tape showed a different story. I lost an inch off my bust. An inch off my thighs. An inch off my forearm. An inch off my butt. An inch off my arm. THREE inches off my waist. A total of eight inches lost – surely, the proof of at least four hours of cardio per week in addition to strength training.

Thankfully, I had a therapy appointment. I haven’t been completely open about this on the blog because of the stigma that goes along with saying you’re seeing a therapist. I’m not crazy, and I’m fine – I just wanted to work on my stress management and anxiety, and I can tell you that lately I’m feeling better than ever. If you need help, get it. It’s not a big deal. We all need a little help sometimes. Anyways, we spent my session today talking about my WEIGHT. How all my life, it’s the one thing I feel like I cannot overcome. How I try so hard, and it feels like nothing changes. How this defeat makes me want to say f*ck it all, and eat 15 bags of movie theatre popcorn, to roll in dulce de leche, to be like “I’m fat and that’s the way I always will be.” But we talked about why a number means so much to me. How things like my horrendous allergies make me retain water. How I’m pre-menstrual. How I had a salty meal last night. How all of these things drastically affect a number – and how can I let a number RUIN MY DAY when I see results in so many other ways?

We talked about my food choices the past two weeks. I realized I haven’t had “perfection”. I have treated myself – because I had a major life accomplishment. I turned in 20,000 words of my own creation. My thesis, a project I’ve been working on for three years. I will graduate in May – a 28 year old with a Master’s degree. I am so PROUD of myself. I celebrated with a cheeseburger, and cupcakes. I sipped a frothy cold lambic on a hot summer day. I had a slice of pizza for lunch. My celebrations were all food, and that’s a behavior I can change, but we also talked about forgiveness. I need to forgive myself for not eating perfectly. I need to not beat myself up because of the scale. I need to be my friend. I am trying. I am working. I am going to make this happen.

I believe in myself. I will be journaling my food for the next few weeks, continuing to work out, and drinking more water. I will weigh in ONCE A WEEK, and that’s it. I will continue to take measurements. I will do this. I will do this. I can do this.

Whew – that was a heavy post. Bet you didn’t expect that, did you?! Tell me something that challenged you this weekend. You overcame it – I know you did – and if you haven’t, I know you can. We can do this! As always, thank you for reading my blog. It means a lot to me to know I’m not alone on this journey 🙂



Musings on Massage

Matt snapped this shot on our honeymoon of a real live Rastafarian. Do you see me in the background?

This weekend, I treated myself to a massage. I had my first massage on my honeymoon in St. Maarten, and the masseuse had garlicky breath that washed over my face like a hot wind as she said “Breaaaaafe, breaaaafe”, in a Caribbean accent that made me think of Bob Marley and coconuts. It was not amazing, but it felt good enough, but I chalked it up to inexperience, kind of like the first time you have sex. (Sorry, Dad – I’m a married woman now.) There was room for improvement.

When I moved to Los Angeles and got my first big girl job, I splurged and got a deluxe gym membership that included a monthly massage. I fell instantly in love with my masseuse Armissity, a spunky girl about my age who always commented on my pedicure and wore a fake plumeria tucked behind her ear. Her hands felt like magic gliding over my knotted back, and as I felt muscles pull and crack, tension melted like Reeses pieces on a hot summer day. Despite the anti-stress and healing properties of massage, massage has taught me to know my body. Not in the “Fried Green Tomatoes” let’s get hand mirrors and explore type of way, but in the “Wow. This is your body. It does stuff” type of way.

There’s this misconception that some fat people have, or at least I did, that because my body is covered in excess weight, my muscles don’t exist. I have grown used to a body that’s pillowy and soft, never known for rippling biceps or toned, taut calves. Of course I knew I had muscles, they just ceased to exist in my mind. As I became accustomed to massages, I realized that I had muscles – and I didn’t just have them, they DID STUFF. Those tight muscles, that tiny little web that makes up my trapezius – so glorious, so firm, so full of tension. That trapezius holds up my neck and head all day, letting me write this blog or lean forward to work. As she traced my muscles with her finger tips, I could feel the outline of this anatomy, working, breathing, living – trying to desperately to relax, to release the accumulation of weeks of stress, anxiety and thought.

The next most amazing part of a massage is feeling all of the muscles in my arms. My arms are one of my trouble spots – as a heavy woman, I tend to carry a lot of extra weight in my arms, giving me the unfortunate look of wings. I was amazed the first time a masseuse rolled her hands over my upper arms, and muscles emerged like tiny hamsters, poking out of the fat to be released and relaxed. A massage is always worth it in my mind, not just for the “ahhhh” zen moment that emerges, but for showing me and proving to me that despite some 40 extra pounds, my body is full of muscles – glorious, amazing muscles that carry me through my day.

Have you ever had a massage? What’s your favorite part about it?



Weekly Weigh In #1 – Starting Over!

Hi everybody,
I decided to just start from scratch with the weigh ins again to reflect my NEW plan (calorie counting) and get the “Progress” section going again. Last week, I had 51.4 pounds to lose. This week, I have 49 pounds to lose, which means I…

lost 2.4 pounds!

Last week when I met with my nutritionist, I had a good kind of Eureka moment about my weight loss. This nutritionist is fantastic because she doesn’t just focus on the food aspect of losing weight, but the psychological factors as well. When I saw her five years ago, she hit the nail on the head that for me, a lot of my weight issues have something to do with eating being my “rebellion” in my life. It’s kind of hard to explain without getting all Freud on you, but basically, I’m pretty much a “good girl”. I do good in school, I always show up to work, I don’t drink much, smoke or do drugs. I hate being late, I’m an old lady in that I like to go to bed by 11:30, and my one guilty pleasure (besides shopping and trashy magazines) is food. In her words, much like a drug user or drinker or smoker, my “rebellion” from always being the good girl is eating what I want when I want it. (Who needs vodka when you can have popcorn?)

I exercised more this week, too!

Bingo. So this week, I paid more attention to the psychological aspect of weight. Feeling stressed? I walked it out at lake Balboa park. Feeling anxious? I had a glass of water. Feeling irritated? I hugged my husband. I tend to turn to food when I’m feeling something other than contentedness and happiness – and with that, the pounds pile on, and I’m in an eternal cycle of stress-eat-soothe. That’s not good in any way, y’all.

So, I was thrilled this week to see some nice progress and identify some things that I need to work on. Maybe I put too much of an emphasis on the physical factors of weight – like the scale, eating, calorie counting and exercise. Maybe I need to focus more on ME – and why I do the things I do. A lot of weight loss is behavioral. Maybe it’s time to just gently adjust some behavior. Hmm. I have to admit to myself that I’m in a pretty stressful phase of my life, juggling a demanding full-time job, a thesis, a blog, a household and weight loss. It’s ok to not be perfect 99% of the time. If I can embrace the emotions rather than trying to mask them with food, maybe I can embrace weight loss. Now I feel all psychological! Just call me Dr. Alyssa…

Have you ever had a Eureka moment about something you were struggling with and then realize more of it than you’d care to think was related to your thoughts and/or feelings? How did realizing that moment feel?