Bay Ridge

‘Champagne Diet’ blogger’s new book urges women to love themselves

July 17, 2013 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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If you’re a woman who is dieting to lose weight so that you’ll feel better about yourself, Bay Ridge-based writer Cara Alwill Leyba has a message for you: You’re doing it backwards!

Love yourself first and then you’ll see the excess pounds fade away, Alwill Leyba said.

“You have to make your happiness a priority. Do something nice for yourself now. Don’t wait. Celebrate who you are today. Buy a nice dress in a size 14 if that is your size. Don’t wait until you lose weight to buy a nice dress. So many women think, ‘I don’t want to go shopping for clothes until I lose weight.’ That’s just wrong,” Alwill Leyba, 32, said.

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Alwill Leyba, whose popular blog “The Champagne Diet,” offers sisterly advice to women on how to live the good life without going broke, recently self-published her second book, “The Champagne Diet: Eat, Drink, and Celebrate Your Way to a Healthy Mind and Body.” Her first book, “Sparkle: The Girl’s Guide to Living a Deliciously, Wildly Effervescent, Kick-Ass Life,” published last year, was a best seller on in both the Happiness and Self-Esteem categories. The new book is also available on

She celebrated the launch of her book with a reading at the Book Mark Shoppe in Bay Ridge, the neighborhood where she was born and raised.

“The new book is not a sequel to my first. It’s kind of an extension,” said Alwill Leyba, who by day works as a digital advertising director for MTV. She is also a life coach who said she enjoys helping women reach their full potential.

“It’s about overall wellness in relationships, careers, in everything you do,” she said.

The key is to “concentrate on what’s good about yourself.” She said. “Until you get to that place where you are comfortable with who you are, your issues will remain,” she said.

The book contains chapters with titles like “Self-Compassion Can Save Your Waistline,” “Get Your Sexy On,” and “Love The Skin You’re In.”

While “The Champagne Diet” isn’t actually a diet book, Alwill Leyba does offer some advice on eating well. “I tell women to concentrate on eating for your health as opposed to eating because of the number on the scale,” she said.

Most of all, Alwill Leyba advises women to “live a passionate life” by finding something that excites them. “Practice self-care rituals, things that you look forward to. If it’s exercise, do that. Travel if you like to travel. Go get a massage. Make yourself a priority,” she said.

The blog,, which she started writing a few years ago, encourages women to refrain from dieting and instead, urges them to indulge themselves as long as they don’t overdo it. The blog got its name from the fact that Alwill Leyba enjoys a glass of champagne each day.

Alwill Leyba, who admitted that she has had weight issues in the past, said she believes her personal experience can help other women. “I really got to the emotional side of why I was overweight. My book is about guiding women through that journey,” she said.

Alwill Leyba is a lifelong resident of Bay Ridge. She is a graduate of local schools – P.S 185, McKinley Intermediate School, and Fort Hamilton High School. She earned her B.A. from Hunter College. 

For more information on Alwill Leyba and her work as a life coach, visit



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