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Posted on Jan 31, 2014 in Food, Giveaway, Weigh Ins, Weight Loss | 9 comments

Winners and Losers (Weigh-in)

Today has been kind of nutso on the work front, with me dashing into DC for a meeting and then settling into House of Steep in Arlington (my new favorite place evarrrrr!) for the rest of the afternoon to work with my coworkers, but I wanted to pop in and give you a quick update nonetheless.

First up, I have the winners of the Cooking with Greek Yogurt cookbook giveaway! As plucked out of the lineup by my random giveaway winner plugin, let us congratulate…

Jen Mitchell: I like to make a breakfast parfait with plain Greek yogurt, fruit, and some cereal. Boring but it sticks with me all morning.

AND

April: I use plain greek yogurt in my mac and cheese. It makes it really creamy and adds some protein. So good!

Whoop whoop! Congrats ladies! Email me your full name and address — gretchen@honeyishrunkthegretchen.com!

So there’s the “winners” portion of this update, so let’s move right onto the “loser” half, shall we?

(Re)Starting Weight: 236.6 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 231.0
This Weigh-in: 230.7 lbs
Difference: -0.3 lbs

Alas. While yes, technically that’s still a loss, I have to admit I’m pretty disappointed. Aside from my anniversary dinner on Saturday, I was under my calorie goals every day this week! In fact, due to my new braces and inability to eat, my calorie counts have been looking especially impressive over the past few days.

See?!

Blargh. I know that weight loss isn’t an exact equation and there are lots of different factors and blah blah blah, but I’m still disappointed. I was really just hoping to keep the momentum going. After all, how am I supposed to win Yelp’s Biggest Loser with 0.3 pound totals?!

Aaaaanyway, there’s no point in dwelling. I’m just going to move on, keep on doing what I’m doing, pray that I’ll be able to eat solid foods again soon, and blame this mood-dampening weigh-in on my period.

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Posted on Apr 29, 2013 in Giveaway, Recipes | 5 comments

Melon Refresher Smoothie

I know you guys are strewn all throughout the country… and the continent… and the world! So I’m not sure exactly what the weather situation has been like in your individual areas over the past few weeks, but let me tell you: In the DC area, weather has been crazy this spring. We have gone from winter to summer to winter to spring  (oh, please, PLEASE let it finally be spring!), all within the timespan of a few days! A couple weeks back, I swear, it was 38 degrees one day and 90 the next. That hot (hot, hot, hot!) summer weather stuck around for a few days, and boy, did I feel it.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever explained that summer is actually my least favorite season. I know, blasphemous, right? Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot the things that summer brings: pool parties, beach trips, ice cream trucks, and tons of general feel-goodery. But summer also brings with it lots of things that I don’t love: Mosquitos, humidity, and—oh yeah—the heat.

I am not a slight woman. This much has been, and will always be, true. Whether I’m 250 pounds or 150 pounds, I will always have big ol’ bones and this 5’9” frame and I will always, always be the sweaty beast that I become when it’s 90+ degrees outside. I know that paints an extremely attractive picture of me, but seriously. Is there anyone in the world who gets as sweaty as me when the weather is hot? I doubt it.

Given my proclivity for transforming into the aforementioned Sweaty Mess Formerly Known as Gretchen, I’m constantly on the lookout for ways to cool me down, inside and out. The out usually means I exist solely in sundresses and flipflops from May – September, while the inside means I’m eating lots and lots of cooooool foods. So when the weather unexpectedly spiked, what do you think I did? Yep, I immediately sought out a light and refreshing new smoothie recipe to cool my sweaty soul.

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Plus, I won’t lie, I really, really wanted a reason to use my new Vitamix. Hehehe.

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Enter: the cantaloupe smoothie.

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I know, sounds kinda weird, right? Well, let me assure you, if you are a melon lover of any kind, you will lo-o-ove this smoothie. It’s sweet but oh-so-light, cooling and very refreshing. I sucked down half my glass without even realizing it, that’s how wonderful it is. This can be made with any kind of melon, too. I happened to have a perfectly ripe cantaloupe on hand, but it would be awesome with honeydew, or even watermelon! Especially watermelon, actually. Mmm, watermelon… And with only five—count ‘em, FIVE!—ingredients on the list, you can be sure this is going to be a staple in my summer eats rotation.

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Melon Refresher Smoothie

Half a cantaloupe, seeded and cubed (~3 cups)
1 cup Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almondmilk Original (unsweetened or not, your preference)
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup ice
Drizzle of honey (add more or less to taste)

Regular blender instructions: Put ingredients in blender in order listed, blend on high for 30 seconds, or until smooth.

Vitamix instructions: Put ingredients in blender in order listed. Start on Variable speed 1 and quickly increase to 10, then high. Blend for 15 seconds.

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This recipe makes about three 12-ounce servings… or, if you’re me, two 18-ounce servings. Heh. You can store extras in the fridge for a couple days (you may need to shake or re-blend for a few seconds). Enjoy, and keep cool out there!

almondbreezelogoThe above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but all content is 100% my own.

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Posted on Apr 25, 2013 in Giveaway | 5 comments

Not Too Shabby

Hi friendos! Sorry about that whole thing where I said the Shabby Apple Giveaway winner was going be to announced tomorrow… two days ago. So, I’m a day late. Life has been happening! But I’m back now, and I’m ready to announce without further adieu that the randomly picked winner of a $50 gift card to Shabby Apple is…

MRS. COURTNEY P!

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Whoo-hoo! Congrats, lovely! Shoot me an email with your addy and deets and I’ll stalk you get it over to the good folks at Shabby Apple. Thanks to everyone who entered, and fear not! There will be another giveaway ’round these parts soon, so you’ll get another chance to win some fun stuff… while I get to pretend I’m really popular because of all the comments my giveaway posts get. Hahahaha.

I don’t have too much else really to report today, so I’ll just keep it simple and leave off here. But with the following picture, so those of you who didn’t win don’t feel you came here for nothing:

Happy Vampire Diaries Day Thursday, everyone!

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Posted on Apr 18, 2013 in Fashion, Giveaway | 176 comments

My Body, Dressed My Way (Giveaway!)

Hi my internet loves. I know I’ve been MIA for the past couple of days (not that this should really come as a huge surprise to you all at this point, of course), so I think a proper “hello” is due! So, I received a lot of questions about the lace dress I wore to my extravagant birthday dinner that Sean treated me to last Thursday. And I held off on answering those questions because I actually had a very specific post in mind in which I would talk about it. I actually had planned on posting about it Tuesday, but in light of the tragic events in Boston, it just didn’t feel right doing so. I still don’t really feel “right” about posting, but I missed blogging, and I missed you guys, and shocking though it may be to hear, my Hunger Games birthday party wasn’t the only thing to happen over the past week.

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That’s right. MELTED CHEESE AND FLAMING CHOCOLATE HAPPENED, TOO.

What was I talking about? Oh, right, the dress.

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To preface this, let me say that despite my 60-pound weight loss… and then 15-pound weight gain… and wherever exactly it is that I’ve landed now (I’m admittedly a little scared to weigh myself after my birthday dinner AND Melting Pot date with Aileen and Ai Rei AND birthday party–hahahaha, weight loss blog, schmeight loss blog) I have always had a fairly defined body type. Whether at 250 pounds or 186, size 20 or size 12, plus-sized or straight-sized or somewhere in the great unknown between, my general body shape has stayed pretty much the same: hourglass, with large ladies on top, wide hips, and a soft belly.

That’s me. And it’s taken a long (long, long, long, long) time to come to accept that. To accept the fact that no matter how much weight I lose or how thin I get, my body is probably never going to look like Rachel Bilson’s or Mischa Barton’s or, well, I’m not sure why I’m using actresses from The OC as the golden standard of ideal bodies, but you know what I mean. I’m not lean and lanky, I’m not slender and willowy, I’m curvy and tall and thick and–short of being seriously malnourished–will likely always be this way to one degree or another.

Now, let me be clear that I am not complaining about this fact. Not anymore, at least. Sure, I may not have a flat stomach (I cannot even tell you a single period in my life where my stomach has EVER been “flat”) or “thighs that don’t touch”, but even at my current weight, I can still appreciate my body for the things it does have. The things that some other women probably complain about not having. Boobs. A butt. Height. Long legs. A defined waistline, even if it’s got some extra padding around the front.

All that said, being comfortable(ish) with my body does not mean I wake up every morning with a huge smile on my face, thinking, “Oh! Glorious day! I feel beautiful beyond compare!” Accepting that my body is the way it is does not equate to having full, unbridled self-confidence. It does not automatically mean I feel beautiful and put together 100% of the time. It generally takes at least a modicum of effort on my part to feel confident and sexy in my own skin, and to achieve this, I need to ensure I am wearing clothes that A) fit, B) flatter, and C) I actually like. With an always-changing body that most definitely does not conform to Hollywood standards of beauty, this is not always an easily accomplishable feat.

To satisfy the A) criteria, I first have to accept that the size label on the inside of my clothes means NOTHING. Far more important than the actual number, is how the clothing fits. But, of course, that’s not always an easy pill to swallow, especially for those of us who have long equated clothing size (in addition to the scale) with our self-worth. But a size 12 is not a size 12 is NOT A SIZE 12. And because they’re all jerks, J. Crew and Old Navy and H&M and Loft and NY&Co and Forever21 all have very different ideas of what each size means.

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Sized up to 14 for this dress. Also, BAM. See what I mean? There’s no denying them curves. Oy.

Sometimes this works in my favor, like when I’m in the dressing room and I realize I need a smaller size, and suddenly all I want to do is announce to ALL THE NAKED LADIES in the dressing room with me that I can wear a size M sweater. Buuuut more often than not, it means that I have suck up the fact that I might need to size up, but that doing so does not make me less of ANYTHING.

To satisfy the B) criteria, I need to embrace clothing that flatters the body type I talk about above. This means getting over the fact that there are certain fashion trends I cannot pull off (farewell, sack dresses), and getting INTO the ones I can (like anything that belts at the waist).

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So while I absolutely love the blue Calvin Klein empire waist dress that I own (and wore to dinner with my two Ais on Friday in the pic above), I have to admit that it doesn’t really do much for me. It makes me look wider and thicker than I am, which, in turn, doesn’t make me feel great about myself when looking back over these pictures. Although, given the amount of melted cheese we consumed, I maintain that wearing something loose at the waist was probably a good call, purely from a practical standpoint.

Which brings us to point C): finding clothing that I actually LIKE, in addition to fitting and being flattering. I know, right? How much more can I possibly demand of the clothing industry?! Back when I was larger, I would settle for clothing that wasn’t particularly appealing all the time, simply because it fit. Did it matter that I didn’t particularly care for those colors? Did it matter that it pinched my underarm a little, or wasn’t the right length? Of course not! It fit over my head, it zipped up, it buttoned. That was the only thing that really mattered, because surely I didn’t deserve to actually feel fashionable or cute or sexy or beautiful. It didn’t matter that the clothes might not have been my style, or even that I HAD a style (which, if you were wondering, falls somewhere in the vintage/romantic/feminine/preppy aesthetic… I think). No, I just needed to find clothes that fit, that were more socially acceptable than the XXL hoodie and stretchy pants that I really wished I could have been wearing.

NOT ANYMORE. Enter, my newest closet acquisition:

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Shabby Apple I’m Late! I’m Late! Navy Lace Dress

Shabby Apple approached me asking if I would be interested in hosting another giveaway for you guys. (I held one waaaay back when that ended up being quite popular, for good reason!) I told them that I absolutely was interested, as long as they were comfortable with me using the giveaway as a means to open up a discussion on what it means to try and dress for your body type. Thankfully, they were MORE than on board, and let me pick a dress from their site to illustrate my point. I ended up choosing the I’m Late! I’m Late! dress from their Mad Hatter Collection (best collection ever, amiright?) and am could not be more pleased with my choice.

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Given that I’m not 100% happy with the weight I’m at right at the moment, this dress made me feel elegant and beautiful, while also making sure I didn’t feel self-conscious about the way my arms looked thanks to the lace sleeves. Cap sleeves tend to be a larger-armed girl’s worst nightmare, and it’s really difficult to find a vintage-style dress without them, so at least these had the extra covering too. The cut of the dress nips in at the waist while skimming over my hips, which is my ideal silhouette. I received SO many compliments on this dress! (It comes in purple, too, just saying.) In my opinion, this is very much a dress that exemplifies all three criteria: it fits, it flatters, and I don’t just like it, I LOVE IT. (It is just a smidge longer than is ideal for flattering my legs, but I think it’d probably be easy enough to hem up the lace on at the bottom.)

So now is your chance to find something that makes you feel equally as good! I’ve got a $50 Shabby Apple giftcard to give away to you guys, and all you have to do is…

1. Like Shabby Apple on Facebook.

2. Leave a comment back here telling me something you’ve learned (or are learning) to LOVE about your body!

That’s it! I know this is pretty much old hat by now, but I like giving you guys as many opportunities to win as possible, so–as always–extra entries are given for liking HISTG on Facebook, following me on Twitter, and tweeting/posting about this giveaway. Just makes sure you leave separate comments for each one, and in order to win you MUST like Shabby Apple’s Facebook Page. Unfortunately, this giveaway is open to US residents only.

ETA: I’ll be picking a random winner on Wednesday, April 24th! Sorry for forgetting to mention that little nugget of crucial info, ha!

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Posted on Feb 19, 2013 in Food, Giveaway | 115 comments

Protein-eriffic (Giveaway!)

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. To see the winner announcement, please click here!


The following post is sponsored by Pure Protein. I am receiving a stipend for my participation in this campaign, but all content is–as always–100% my own. Check out great ways to Eat Good and Look Great at their website.

So, protein. Admittedly, as a self-professed carb lover (addict?) for, ummmmm, my entire life, protein has never been at the top of my diet priority spectrum. I mean, sure, I always knew it was important in a “duh” kind of way. And, sure, I like to eat steak and chicken and tofu and all that good stuff. But before starting this blog (and my weight loss/health journey in general), I never really gave a lot of consideration to how much protein I was really consuming. Nor did I consider how much I SHOULD be consuming. And even now, two and a half years into my journey, I still struggle. Despite my best efforts to make my plate balanced, I find myself constantly falling back into the pattern of a VERY carb-centric diet. And that certainly isn’t conducive to my weight loss: protein is proven time and time again to be critical for weight loss–helping elongate your periods of satiety, keeping your blood sugar stable, and generally just being a good USE of your calories.

So when the opportunity presented itself to try out some of Pure Protein’s products, I had a kind of curiosity epiphany. After all, I am constantly trying to better my understanding of the nutrients my body needs, as well as what my body responds to, so I figured this would be a good way to test those waters. Now, granted, protein supplements are not, at least in my opinion, a crucially necessary thing to add to your diet. I don’t think anyone is going to make the argument that supplements, shakes, and bars are better than obtaining your macronutrients directly from your food. But there are also plenty of reasons why that’s not always going to happen. For many, it may be as simple as being too busy to think about protein when making dinner, since it’s just faster to make spaghetti. I figured, why not give these things a go and see if they would be a fitting addition to my lifestyle, especially now that I’m getting back into going to CrossFit and upping the fitness ante in general.

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Enter the protein supplement. Pure Protein sent me a package including a big ol’ tub of protein powder, a few bars, and some protein shakes as well. So I spent the holiday weekend taste-testing the products and seeing if I felt they helped me stay fuller throughout the day, kept my energy up for working out, and the like. Verdict?

Mixed, definitely mixed. Pretty evenly split, actually, in terms of the good, the bad, and the meh. For the sake of ease, I’ll break this up into reviewing the three different products I was sent.

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First up: the protein bars! I was sent both the peanut butter and a chocolate flavors. I actually only ended up trying the peanut butter one, because I felt like the chocolate-chocolate one might end up being a little too close to an actual chocolate bar, and I gave up sweets for Lent. The bars have 20g of protein (!) and 200 calories, and I actually thought it tasted pretty good. Chewier than your average bear bar, but pretty good. I was actually pretty surprised that it only has 2 grams of sugar (although I’m sure it has other non-sugar sweeteners in it). In terms of satiety, the bar definitely filled me up and made it so I didn’t feel like snacking on anything else between meals. I think for someone with a serious grab-and-go lifestyle, this kind of thing could almost work as a breakfast replacement (after all, you’re getting about 20 grams of protein more than you’d find in a pop tart). They’re also gluten-free, if that sort of thing matters to you (obviously it doesn’t for me, haha).

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Moving on, let’s talk about the shakes next. Pure Protein’s shakes come in different flavors and different protein amounts. I was sent the 15g of protein shakes in Vanilla Creme, which is actually the lowest protein amount (they also come in 23g and 35g). Soooo, I won’t lie, I really did not like this one. Maybe it was the flavor or the consistency, but I’m pretty sure I actually made a face when I first tasted it. It reminded me of watered down Slim Fast, which has negative connotations for me given how many of those things I drank back when I was in middle school and thought I was too fat (oh, if I’d only known then…!). Maybe this shake would be better in a different flavor, but as I was only given one flavor to sample, that’s all I’ve got. The shake is 170 calories for the whole bottle, and includes the aforementioned 15g of protein, but there’s also a LOT more sugar than in either of the other products (25g!). It was definitely the most disappointing of the three products for me.

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However, I have better news when it comes to the protein powder. Now, confession, this is literally the first time I have ever used protein powder before. I’ve seen a lot of other bloggers that use it, and I’ve seen lots of smoothie recipes that include it, but I’ve just never gotten around to trying it for myself. Well, I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with my first experience! Pure Protein sent me a big ol’ honkin’ thing of Whey Protein Powder, also in Vanilla Creme. Thankfully, I enjoyed the flavor MUCH better this time (possibly because there were other flavors involved). I made myself a smoothie that included a banana, almondmilk, ice, and half a scoop of the powder, and it was really good! If I’d had some spinach laying around, I would have totally turned the thing into a green smoothie.

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The protein powder is 150 calories for a full scoop, with only 2g of sugar, and adds 25g of protein to whatever you put it in. So, with my half-scoop, I ended up with a 75 calorie, 1g of sugar addition to my smoothie, which was about 120 calories with the banana and almondmilk on their own. I can definitely see myself utilizing it to add extra protein to smoothies, which I tend not to make a lot in the past because I don’t find them filling enough to warrant the A) calories or B) time spent cleaning my blender. But this concoction absolutely worked for me as a breakfast smoothie.

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So, my feelings overall on the products? The powder itself is probably the only one of the three I can see myself adopting into my lifestyle, since I really enjoyed both the flavor it added to my smoothie, and the flexible utility of it. I also really like the suggestions on the back of the tub for how to use the powder other than in smoothies. They suggest adding it to oatmeal or pancake mix, and since you know I’m all about finding ways to boost the nutritional impact of foods that are otherwise not super-nutritious, I think those are both great ideas.

As for the other products, you already know how I felt about the pre-made shakes (read: not good), but depending on how much convenience food you eat anyway, or if you have a specific reason to really amp up your protein intake (are working out heavily, weight lifting, etc), I can see how the bars could be a viable option for some. And Pure Protein does produce “natural” versions of all their products, if all the fakey ingredients are a problem for you. But why take my word for all of this, when you can form your own opinion? I have a Pure Protein prize pack to giveaway to one of you, which includes several full-sized versions of all the products mentioned in this post!

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post answering the question: What role does protein play in your life? Is it something you already take care of, something you know you should have more of? Do you find it difficult to get the required amount of protein in your diet? I’d really love to know where everyone else stands!

As always, extra entries are granted for those who follow me on Twitter, Like me on Facebook, or blog/Facebook/tweet about this giveaway! Just make sure you leave separate comments for each thing you do to ensure your extra entries are all counted. The random winner will be selected on Monday, February 25th!

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