Don’t fence me in.

Two weeks from today I’ll be joining the Double Chin Divas (Alyssa, Monique, and Aubrey) in San Diego to spend our last day with all of our toenails, haha! Though maybe we’ll be lucky and none of us will lose any toenails as we attempt to walk sixty miles in three days, but I’m aware that it could happen and accept it.

;)

I’ve been walking A TON and am grateful that my body seems to be handling it mostly pretty well. The most I have done in a day is eleven miles but ideally this weekend I’ll be hitting at least fifteen. I’m taking a risk over whether or not I will be truly prepared for this challenge but after hearing my many other 3-day walkers, they said as long as you can by on at least ten miles then you should be able to do the twenty. Plus, we’ve got practically the whole day to get it done.

I’ll ENDURE.

But if you’d like to send me some mail by MONDAY that I’ll pick up during my walk, I bet your letters will help me get through the walk with a little bit more faith in myself.

Susan G. Komen 3-Day
Attn: April Lofgren
PO Box 4560
Carlsbad, CA 92018
*Must be postmarked by November 10th.*

 

Anyway, the best part of all this walking hasn’t been the weight loss (down twenty pounds!) or the incredibly firm calves or the simple fact in knowing that I CAN walk eleven miles in a day…It has been that I am fortunate enough to be able to do my training in some incredibly gorgeous places. I’ve done some major walking at Crater Lake in Oregon, Yosemite and Mono Lake  in California, Burning Man and the Red Rock Canyon in Nevada… not the mention the more frequent walks through places like the Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, the hills of Sonoma and Marin County, and the redwood forests all over the fog-belt of Northern California.

I’m spoiled, I know it. I send gratitude out into the universe every single day that I get to spend my life here. I haven’t walked a mile on a treadmill in over a year and I’m so appreciative that I have been able to prepare for this event outdoors. The song “Don’t fence me in” (the Ella version) is constantly playing in the back of my mind. Sometimes, if I’m completely alone, I’ll sing it as I stroll along happily under the trees. It makes me happy to be free and out in  the open. <3

“Let me wander over yonder till I see the mountains rise.. I want to ride to the ridge where the West commences and gaze at the moon till I lose my senses… And I can’t look at hobbles and I can’t stand fences…. Don’t fence me in”

 

And now for your visual pleasure… a collage of photos taken during some of my walking adventures. <3

Red Rock Canyon - 11 miles... Crater Lake - 3 miles... Alemeda Beach - 1 mile morning walk... Yosemite - 4 miles.... Mono Lake - 2 miles...

Red Rock Canyon – 11 miles… Crater Lake – 3 miles… Alemeda Beach – 1 mile morning walk… Yosemite – 4 miles…. Mono Lake – 2 miles…

 

Burning Man - 10 miles... Redwood Tree in Cotati (next town over) - 10 miles... Golden Gate Bridge - 3.2 miles... Petaluma walking trail - 8 miles

Burning Man – 10 miles… Redwood Tree in Cotati (next town over) – 10 miles… Golden Gate Bridge – 3.2 miles… Petaluma walking trail – 8 miles

 

Oh, and now  that I have hit AND surpassed my $2,300 fundraising goal – I’ve gone ALL PINK! (and a bit of purple) Check it out! If you live in the Bay area, you can hit up my buddy Ashley Blanchard for your own style. 

Colorful at Red Rock Canyon!

Colorful at Red Rock Canyon!

 

Lots of love,

AprilSignatur

Alyssa Got Her Groove Back

Heeeey! *Dusts off a few spider webs, then sits down next to you*

How’s it going? I know I’ve been gone for awhile, but I’m back! I’ve been super busy the past few weeks traveling around the country for work, helping kick cancer’s butt with the 3-Day. I’m lucky that I find the work I do immensely fulfilling, and I spent many long weekends hearing and telling people’s stories. Love, love, love it!

Being on the road when you’re in a perpetual state of trying to lose weight can be challenging. In addition to working long hours, there’s the fact that you have a per diem, and sometimes, the only food around you in the area in which you’re traveling is fast food like Popeyes. (And I’m not going to lie – I do find a buttery Popeyes biscuit quite delicious.) While I was in Michigan and Minnesota for work, I tried to just tell myself that I could make an unhealthy decision if there didn’t seem to be any other options, but that I needed to make up for it with exercise. And exercise, I did! My job while out on the road is very active: as I’m documenting people doing the 60-mile walk, I also get a fair amount of walking in. At one point, I walked 11.25 miles in one day! I tried to stay away from too many of the delicious snacky items like potato chips, and tried to nom on fruit whenever possible.

Happily, my efforts weren’t in vain, because when I got back from my last trip, I had an endocrinology appointment to see how everything was going. I hadn’t weighed since a month prior, and I’m happy to report I’m down another six pounds! This is roughly 22 – 25 pounds since the beginning of this year, and while it’s slow progress (sometimes only two pounds lost per month), this is PROGRESS. As I’ve written about before, weight loss is challenging as is, and then add a double dose of PCOS and thryoid crap, and you’ve got a perfect storm for frustration after lots of good effort. However, I’ll take it. I feel like I’m finally in a groove again with weight loss, realizing that if something doesn’t taste worth it, I don’t need to eat it, AND, that if I stick to my PCOS medication regularly, that will help keep me on track. I sometimes avoid it because it makes me nauseous, but I’m starting to see that it’s an important ally for me in the weight loss war.

I’ll be taking some new progress pictures hopefully sometime this week, but when the nurse at the doc’s office told me my weight, I had a sudden burst of victorious glee. I know that I still have a long, long, long way to go, but every day and every choice that I make can help put me just one tiny step closer to the person and place I want to be :)

 

Obese, morbidly.

 

Greetings, readers! I’m back with my attempt to blog at least once a week and this week I want to talk about something that I’ve known but never really thought too much about. I visited the doctor this week and we did a check-up on my blood work  with my discovery of food allergies and such. My blood ended up being just fine but there was something that came up on my lab reports that disturbed me.

 

My doctor had officially noted me as obese, morbidly. I was well aware of what the medical world calls people with high weights but I like to live in my happy bubble where I can just consider myself as an obese person working towards better health. Unfortunately the medical way to describe my weight, specifically with the use of the word “morbid”, makes it seem like I’ve got one foot on the gas and one foot in the grave. I just don’t agree with the word morbid. Obese, fine. Fat, whatever. But morbid? It makes me feel like I should start dressing like Morticia Addams and never smile again. Why not just call it, “super obese?” Like, you’re fat, but you’re also SUPER! It’s bad enough to just BE obese, but why does it still have to sound so harsh? It’s like the only expression that hasn’t been sugar-coated over the past few decades.

I know the amount of fat on my body isn’t healthy but I don’t feel like I’m one more soda away from immediate death. The doctor also tested all sorts of things like cholesterol, calcium, sodium, thyroid, potassium, and glucose levels. Everything was perfectly in the normal range. I also was weighed and had lost seven pounds since I found out about the food allergies. I’ve been feeling pretty good about myself. I’ve been walking more at night and forcing myself to attempt to jog. I set up little goals of amount of blocks and it’s been pretty cool to see how quickly I’ve improved over the past couple of weeks.

According to my training walk schedule, I’m a few miles short of the suggested amount I should be doing every week to prepare for the 60-mile walk. I have been thinking about ways I could fund raise as I still have $1,800 to go and am stoked that I’ll be getting the pink in my hair done today! I still want to do a “Brews for BOObs” event so I hope I can do that to help raise money. I also have been thinking of a way to craft together a promised “training walk sponsorship” where maybe I could ask people to “sponsor” my training walks – They give me a goal for a month during my pre-training, say 50 miles – and they’ll promise to donate $50 when I achieve it. I log all my walks on a fabulous app called Runtastic so it would be legitimate to track my progress… and hopefully everyone who promises to donate will follow through.  What do you all think of that idea? Would any of YOU sponsor my training walks?  ;)

I hope you all have a super spiffy Thursday and if you’re looking for some good laughs, check out my hidden link coated in sugar.

Bye bye!

AprilSignatur

 

 

 

 

Click my picture to get to my 3-day page!

Please click my picture to get to my 3-day page!

Sweet Leaf Sweet Drops Review & Giveaway: All Natural Soda Alternative

SweetLeaf_SteviaLeaf_WaterEnhancers_DoubleChinDiaryDisclosure: I received free samples of Sweet Leaf Sweet Drops in exchange for a review.

It’s now been about a year since I gave up my dark master (Diet Pepsi) for good. I still crave it every now and then, but I find if I go for it and order a soda, the first few sips are like “Blech! Why did I used to think this stuff was good?” I now drink a ton of iced tea, perrier, and water, and occasionally I’ll splurge on something delicious and caloric, like a Mexican Coca Cola or Izze. When an announcement about Sweet Leaf ended up in my inbox, I knew I wanted to try it. The problem with so many water enhancers or flavor additives is that they’re full of garbage and chemicals, or if they’re low-cal, they’re packed with aspartame. Sweet Leaf is USDA Certified Organic, Non-GMO project verified, gluten-free, and zero carb/calorie.

Upon first tasting, I thought the drops tasted good, but there wasn’t enough flavor. I was putting two drops in per 8 ounces of sparkling water. Then, I read the directions again and realized it was two drops per OUNCE of sparkling water. Duh! No wonder I wasn’t getting the flavor I wanted. I re-did it and was pleasantly surprised at the simultaneous sweet but light taste of Sweet Drops. My favorite of the four flavors I tried (Lemon, Berry, Orange, Cola) was definitely cola, followed by orange. Another small but important thing to me? No gross coloring. The Cola flavor adds a very slight caramel tint to the water, but you’re not getting any hues that will turn your tongue into a rainbow.

lyssaloves

These are affordable ($9.99 for a three pack), and the small size is easy to slip into your purse to have your own flavored water anywhere you go. I liked using the berry flavor in still water with a few smashed raspberries — it felt like a fancy cocktail, but with no calories and no booze. I like, I like. Sweetleaf also carries funky flavors like Pumpkin Spice, Peppermint Mocha, Chocolate Raspberry, Rootbeer, and Grape. Can you imagine baking with these, or using them as yummy flavors for coffee? My friends at Sweetleaf are giving you a chance to win a full-sized bottle of Cola drops (ARV $15.44), and all you have to do is “like” Sweetleaf on Facebook. This is on the honor system, and I will be checking that the winner has “liked” Sweetleaf on Facebook. Once you’ve “liked” them on Facebook, please leave a comment on this blog post. I’ll give you two extra entries each for sharing on Facebook or sending a tweet — let me know if you do those actions in the comment you leave. I’ll pull a winner a week from now, next Sunday at 8:50 p.m. GOOD LUCK!

Enter for a chance to win! Simply Like Sweetleaf on Facebook and leave a comment.

Enter for a chance to win! Simply Like Sweetleaf on Facebook and leave a comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Charmlee_WildnernessPark_Malibu_DoubleChinDiary

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.

Bee_Mustard_DoubleChinDiary

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.

Hills_DoubleChinDiary

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.

Sweaty_DoubleChinDiary

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.

Climbing_Mountains_DoubleChinDiary

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.

Victorious_DoubleChinDiary

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Going at full speed

Hello wonderful blog followers!

The month of June is nearing the end.  Can you believe 2014 is already going to be half over?   Time goes by way too quickly and lately I have been finding it hard to do anything that includes sitting down. Unless it is when I am sitting in traffic during my new rush hour commute.

Summer camp is in full swing at the humane society I am now working at and so far,  this job is incredible.  My first two weeks of training brought me all types of new experiences with animals and filled my head with dancing bunnies, barking dogs, and climbing kittens. It has been AWESOME. This week we have our campers, all fifth and sixth graders full of questions, enthusiasm and opinions.  Today I was introduced to the wonderful large group game called “Kelp Help” (a revised version of “Elbow Tag”). Since I’m an awesome camp teacher, I played with the kids and ended up getting a quick workout that even got me sweating!  I had to sprint around a circle playing the role of a shark-dodging seal, as one of  the campers would try to tag me before I latched on to the “kelp” to be released from my role. It was nuts. But the kids were impressed with my short bursts of swiftness.

komenwalk

Last week marked the first week of the Susan G. Komen 24-week training guide.  I managed to walk eight miles last week and this week I have done five so far, thanks to the first official training walk I hosted on Monday. Another 3-day participant, her daughter, my mother, and my two friends joined me to walk through a five mile chunk of my town. I was grateful that the weather was gorgeous and not too hot as we spent our evening chatting about what fitness meant us, weight loss, the effects of cancer on the world, and other random conversation pieces. My feet were about ready to fall off by the end of it as I was still sore from three miles I had done the day before hiking around the Santa Cruz mountains.

All my mileage I have racked up so far has certainly been making me feel all sorts of soreness. However, I also have been quickly feeling much more in shape than even just a month ago. I was down another 3.6 pounds last Saturday at Weight Watchers and am (ideally) another weigh-in away from being down 10 pounds officially since I began the program. It has been a challenge to take off those ten pounds but some progress is better than none. I have a feeling with the walk training and my new lifestyle of change of working to eliminate all the foods I am allergic to, I have faith I’ll be able to continue to drop the pounds.

This week I have been surviving off of yogurt, quinoa mixed with salsa, lettuce, cheese sticks, and grapes.  Mmm, grapes.  ::moment of Napa Valley appreciation::  I am looking forward to finally getting my first pay check so I can grocery shop for more variety! I went to Whole Foods and was saddened by the lack of products that are gluten-free but not made with rice or oats instead.  I did see some corn bread mix that inspired me to research recipes so I have faith maybe I will be able to find some other variety of carbs. Coming up with quick breakfast foods has been my biggest challenge but after some facebook friends made some suggestions, I have some ideas I could do.

Do you have any breakfast ideas for me that don’t include wheat, oats, rice, apples, bananas or oranges?  Thank you :)

I hope everyone had a glorious  rest of their week and an even better weekend.  I’m aiming to walk another eight miles before next Monday, I’ll use this blog as a commitment to do it. ;)

Bye bye!

AprilSignatur

 

 

 

 

PS – I’m brewing up some great ideas for fundraising for my 3-day walk but once I hit 20% of my needed $2,300 – I’ll be working with my friend and stylist, Ashley Blanchard of Lauthr, to create a “pink hair color” fundraising meter – the more money I earn – the more pink my hair will become. So far I have 12% thanks to donations from lovely people (Tommy, my Mom, my sister, Shannon, Audra, and Linda!) and I am VERY EAGER to get that pink in my hair.  If you have it to spare, please consider even donating $5 to my fundraising!  Thank you so much!

 

Visit my personal page here:   http://www.the3day.org/goto/aprillofgren