Sunday, January 5, 2014

Featured Author: Cara Alwill Leyba

CLP Blog Tours brings Cara Alwill Leyba here today to talk about her self-help book, The Champaign Diet: Eat, Drink, and Celebrate Your Way to a Healthy Mind and Body! I don't know about you, but that title caught my attention, and I was eager to talk to Cara. Sadly, I have no champagne samples, but wait! Cara gives us a sample of the book! So eat, drink, celebrate, and read on...

About the book:

This book is for the woman who wants to feel good about herself and her body, and learn how to start incorporating healthy habits into her life. It's for the woman who doesn't want to trade in her champagne for skinny jeans. It's for the woman who is done with dieting, and ready to start paying attention to her health before that number on the scale. It's for the woman who is ready to stop letting her weight define her, and is ready to understand why it always did. This is not a diet book. This is a lifestyle guide. This book will change the way you view your weight and yourself forever. You will walk away feeling empowered, inspired, and downright sexy (and probably craving a glass of bubbly). You will learn how to celebrate yourself and your body. You will learn to make your health a priority, always. And most importantly – you will learn to love yourself, exactly as you are. So get ready to embark on a complete dieting and lifestyle overhaul, sister. You are now on The Champagne Diet!

What reviewers are saying:

"The Champagne Diet will resonate with every woman with it’s realistic and simple approach to dieting. Alwill delivers a personal, relatable, and funny guide to shedding pounds without deprivation." - Kim Barnouin Co-Author, Skinny Bitch

Interview with Cara Alwill Leyba

Cara, this is your second book. How long have you been writing, and how did you start?

I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I started writing short stories in grade school and wrote my first book as a project in the 4th grade. I got a 100+ :)

But of course! What inspired you to write The Champagne Diet?

I've always struggled with my weight. I have tried every diet known to man, and it wasn't until I learned to eat for my health as opposed to the number on the scale when it clicked. As soon as I started eating whole, real foods, and truly loving my body, I was able to maintain a normal weight and get off the crazy diet train. Is my body perfect? Absolutely not. But that's okay. I'd much rather enjoy a bowl of pasta and a glass or two of wine than be a size 2. I wrote this book because as women, we put so much pressure on ourselves to be skinny that we forget to live our lives. We also forget that we'll never reach a healthy weight until we get our minds right. I wanted this book to be a love letter to all the girls out there who have forgotten how to be kind to themselves and their bodies and remind them what life is all about. I wanted to teach them the importance of eating nutritious foods as opposed to chemical-laden frozen meals. And I wanted to teach them that deprivation does nothing but fuel the cycle of misery and disappointment. There is an easier (and much more enjoyable) way!

The book sounds amazing. How long did it take you to write it?

About three months, but I started it five years ago.

What do you hope readers will get from The Champagne Diet?

I hope that readers will see that their lives are so much more important than their weight. That there's more to life than toning their abs. That they are beautiful no matter what size jeans they wear. And that life is meant to be enjoyed.

How did you come up with the title of your book?

A few years ago, when I finally had my "healthy eating/healthy life" epiphany, I remember asking one of my close friends if I could still enjoy a cocktail while being healthy. She told me that I should start drinking champagne because it has the least amount of calories out of all drinks (about 100 calories per glass). Plus, she added, when you drink a glass of champagne, you immediately feel glamorous and sexy. I was sold. I started exclusively drinking champagne whenever I went out and it became my signature drink. I joked and called my new lifestyle "The Champagne Diet" and it just sort of stuck. That title became the name of my blog and my entire brand, and ultimately this book.

Well, you sold me! Do you have another job outside of writing?

Yes, I am a Digital Advertising Director at MTV Networks.

How would you describe your book in a tweet? (140 characters or less.)

The Champagne Diet is about learning to eat for your health, love your body, and always leave room for champagne!

I love your cover art. How did you come up with it?

I wanted something simple and elegant, so I worked with my designer to help convey that concept. I was inspired by a photograph my friend/photographer Angelica Glass took at my friend's wedding. The bride had just taken a sip of her champagne, and it left the most perfect lipstick mark on the glass, and I just fell in love.

Tell us about your favorite chapter in the book.

I love Chapter 5 titled "Ditch the Dead Weight: Why Stress Will Make You Fat and Miserable." I really feel like this chapter is the foundation of the whole book. If you are feeding your soul with crap, you will likely eat crap. This chapter is a great way to assess your current life and figure out what needs to change so that you can achieve optimal health and feel amazing.

Who are your favorite authors?

Jennifer Lancaster and Wayne Dyer.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?

I'm currently reading Wishes Fulfilled by Wayne Dyer and Think Like a Stripper by Erika Lyremark (a brilliant business book).

Do you have a routine for writing? Do you work better at night, in the afternoon, or in the morning?

I write best in the morning after a good night's sleep and some strong coffee!

Where and when do you prefer to write?

I prefer to write in my living room at the dining room table while listening to 80's music.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?

"To bring anything into your life, imagine that it's already there." ~ Richard Bach

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to travel and try new restaurants with my husband.

Okay...think fast, and answer quick! 

Name one thing you couldn’t live without. (It can’t be your phone!)

My dog!

If you could only keep one book, what would it be?

The Secret

Your last meal would be...

Eggplant Parm.

Would you rather work in a library or a bookstore?


You won the lottery. What’s the first thing you would buy?

A one-way ticket to London.

You’re given the day off, and you can do anything but write. What would you do?


Where would your dream office be?

I'd probably pick two: one in Soho (New York) and one in Chelsea, London.

Where’s home for you?

New York City.

Good job! And finally, what are you working on now?

I'm currently putting together two self-help workshops that I'm launching in January (one is virtual and one is located in New York). If you'd like more info feel free to email me at!

Excerpt from The Champagne Diet

Comparison Will Kill You

Can we just address this right now before we go any further? The fastest way to be miserable is to compare yourself – especially your body – to anyone else’s. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve stared obsessively for hours at photos of other women, trying to identify with someone who looked most like me, and then convince myself that she wasn’t really “that fat.” What a serious waste of time.

I’ve seen countless women do this to themselves and guess what? It makes you even fatter. Yes, seriously. The more you stress and obsess, the more you self-sabotage and overeat. If you are that down on yourself, you’re so much less likely to eat a super healthy dinner or go for a run on a Saturday morning. Instead, you’ll be wasting that energy wishing you had your sister-in-law’s ass. And that is a one-way track to Loserville.

Remember this: nobody in this world will have the exact same story as you, or the exact same body as you. Nobody in this world will lose weight at the exact same pace you do, or see results from working out the exact same way you do. You know that cute little Dr. Seuss quote, “There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” We brainwash kids with that message because it’s f&%#ing true. So why can’t you believe it? The sooner you realize that your body is a unique gem that is like no other, the quicker you’ll be on your way to health and happiness. And the quicker you set goals that make sense for you and only you, the quicker you’ll reach them. There is no “one size fits all” for weight, body type, or beauty. We don’t all need to be a size two. Define your “happy place” when it comes to weight and health and do whatever it takes to get and stay there.


What Are You Waiting For?

A major theme of The Champagne Diet is “living your most effervescent life.” Not ten pounds from now. Not next year when you’re finally wearing a size eight. Right now. If I think back to all of the times in my life where I waited to do something until I lost weight, I get really sad. I missed out on so much: so many dips in the pool, trips to the beach, parties that I skipped out on because I didn’t want to wear a sleeveless dress in the summer, dates I declined, and events that I didn’t host because I felt like I wasn’t thin enough yet. It really sickens me to think that I could have had so much more fun if I had just learned to let go a little and stop waiting to get skinny.

As women, we seem to have this idea that life will be perfect when we lose weight. We’ll finally start that business, have the confidence to wear a bikini, or go on that vacation. We’ll start dating when we’re thin, and we’ll be ballsy enough to ask for that promotion. It’s completely ridiculous to assume that any of those things will be made possible by a shift of the scale. Guess what? It’s the exact opposite. Once we start actually doing those things, the weight will come off. I promise you that. When you’re fulfilled in your life, it is so much easier to eat healthier and eat less because you have so many exciting things going on. Think about that one for a moment.

Make a list of 3 things you’re waiting to do until you lose weight:
1.     __________________________________________
2.     __________________________________________
3.     __________________________________________

I want you to examine that list and come up with a valid reason for each one explaining why you need to be thin to do any of them. Remember, I said valid. Write the reasons below:
1.     ___________________________________________
2.     ___________________________________________
3.     ___________________________________________

If you actually filled anything out above, cross it out right now. It’s bullshit and I don’t buy it. There is nothing in this world that you should be waiting to do until you lose weight. Nothing! If that’s your excuse, you’re missing out on more than you can imagine. By the end of this book, I want you to promise me that you will have an action plan in place to do at least two of the things on that list. You don’t have to have completed them, but you’ve got to at the very least be planning for them. Got it?

About the author:

Cara Alwill Leyba is a best selling author and life coach from New York City who encourages women to live their most effervescent lives and celebrate themselves. She runs an international private coaching practice where she works with women who are ready to make their happiness a priority. Through loving guidance, support and an expert perspective, Cara empowers women to be the change agent in their lives.

Her blog, has been featured in Glamour, Shape, Marie Claire UK, Cosmopolitan South Africa, and a host of other publications worldwide. Cara's writing has been featured in The Huffington Post, Marie Claire, xoJane, Mind Body Green, and many other sites.

Cara is the author of two books: Sparkle: The Girl's Guide to Living a Deliciously Dazzling, Wildly Effervescent, Kick-Ass Life, which was a #1 Amazon best seller in the Happiness and Self-Esteem categories, and The Champagne Diet: Eat, Drink, and Celebrate Your Way to a Healthy Mind and Body, which was a #2 Amazon best seller in Self-Esteem.

When she’s not popping bubbly and blogging, Cara spends her days leading a digital advertising team at MTV Networks. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and dog.

Connect with Cara:

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Publisher 

Buy the book: