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Posted on Jun 21, 2012 in Dear Diary | 12 comments

(Swim)suit Up!

This post is underwritten by Old Navy. Whether you’re looking for a tankini, bikini, or a one piece, Old Navy has you confidently covered at a great price.

I’ve talked about my fake-it-’til-you-make-it bikini confidence before. I spent years living in full-coverage tankinis and strategically colorblocked one-pieces that did nothing for my self-confidence (nor for my tan lines), constantly telling myself that “one day” I’d be thin enough, gorgeous enough, confident enough to strut my stuff on a beach in a bikini. Well, as it turned out, “one day” was evidently not soon enough. As I began to lose even the slightest bit of weight, my confidence rose skyrocketed. Even though I wasn’t (and still am not) at what my former self would have considered “bikini weight”, I started to care less and less. Why shouldn’t I be able to rock the adorable patterns and silhouettes that seem to be almost exclusively reserved for two-piece suits? Why shouldn’t I be able to get a tan stomach and back? (It helps hides the stretch marks, after all! Hahahahaha.)


So last summer, I really took the plunge. I had lost a considerable amount of weight, my prior swimsuits no longer fit particularly well, and I finally starting to really see myself in my new body. It wasn’t anything quite as poetic as purchasing my very first bikini, putting it on, and strutting out with all my confidence shining. No, I had already clandestinely purchased one or two bikinis in the past. I think I had maybe worn one of them in public one time before self-shaming myself into tucking them into the back of my underwear drawer, and trying my best to forget about them. But I did take the plunge in that I picked out an adorable halter-topped ‘kini from Old Navy, put it on, and actually felt good about myself in it.


And that’s how it all began. I know, I hardly have the “ideal” bikini-wearing body. I’m still curvy and squishy and soft, I have stretch marks on my stomach, and I have sometimes seemingly untameable bazoomas… but I also have long legs and a lean back and skin that gets beautifully golden brown. Surely those latter attributes deserve their time in the sun (heh), even if society might not think the former ones do.

Sure, there are still times when I feel too bloated or too self-conscious or have some other excuse for not getting out there in the swimsuit I really want to be wearing. Luckily, I have a couple of cute and flattering one-pieces for those days. It took a little while to come to the realization that don’t have to resign myself to “old lady suits” just because I’m not feeling the ‘kini on a particular day either.


I was absolutely ecstatic when I got an email from the Clever Girls Collective, notifying me of a sponsored post opportunity from Old Navy swimwear. I actually had just come to the realization when I was in St. Maarten last month that every single bathing suit I own is from Old Navy. So you see, I was already a convert long before this opportunity arose and thus my opinion is all the more valid, no? Ahaha. I firmly believe that any woman, no matter what her size, can look beautiful in a bikini as long as she has the confidence to go along with it. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s true! I also believe that said confidence comes not only from learning to appreciate your body as it is, but also from knowing that you’re in a flattering and supportive bikini for your body type.


I know from one horrific dressing room experience that I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever be able to wear a triangle/string bikini. Even trying one on was a serious mistake, hahaha. I think that thick-banded halters like the paisley, zebra, and navy tops above, tend to suit (heh) my body a little better, but as far as style goes, I really love retro-styled bandeau tops like the yellow polka-dotted one above. If I was looking to supplement my swimsuit wardrobe any more this summer (I shouldn’t, I shouldn’t, I really shouldn’t… right?), then these current styles would be the first ones in my cart:

plaidbandeautop uringbandeautop

My personal aesthetic tends to stray towards fun patterns, like polka dots and paisley, bright colors, and hardware. I’m a big fan of anything with a touch of vintage, and for bottoms, I am all about a wide band. Not too wide, though: I find boy-short or hipster-cut bottoms are incredibly unflattering on me. If the sides are adjustable, even better!

Nobody’s saying you HAVE to wear a bikini. It’s not as if I’m trying to say, “You only wear one-pieces, therefore you must be ashamed of your body!” Please. No. I’m just saying that if you WANT to wear a bikini, but for whatever reason have always felt like you can’t, or shouldn’t, or both… well, I’m just saying that’s a fat load of crap. You can, and you should! I bet you’ll look gorgeous. No matter what your preferred swimsuit type, it’s really just about wearing what you want: something fun, hopefully flattering, and that makes you feel beautiful all summer long.

Thank you again to Old Navy for sponsoring my post. I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all my own.

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Posted on May 3, 2012 in Dear Diary | 31 comments

Bikini Season

In exactly two weeks from today, I will be on a plane with the lovely and amazing Anne, both of us heading to Boston for the Reach the Beach Relay race. The race takes place on the 18th and 19th (it’s an overnight race, in case you weren’t aware — eep!), and I fly back on the 20th. Then, I’m back at work on the 21st… for one day. Because the day after that, I’m headed to ST. MAARTEN!

I’m going back to this glorious Carribbean paradise (well, the beaches are paradise. The towns, not so much.) with my family to celebrate my brother-in-law’s graduation from medical school. It’s a little stressful when I think about the timeline of events as they approach: flying up, running my 3 legs of the relay, flying back, one day at work, flying out. Guff. Another added layer to this is that I’m ALSO starting two online classes this month as I work towards my potential teaching career.

All the stressful scheduling aside, however, I’m obviously very excited for both the race and this vacation (though I will admit, my anticipation for a week of lounging around on a pristine beach drinking frozen cocktails does edge out 24+ hours of sweaty blogger van-bonding. Sorry ladies. ;)). I’m especially looking forward to going back and getting some legit pictures of St. Maarten… and of myself, given that the last time I was there was Spring Break 2009.


And the time before that, was the Christmas prior. Er, yeah.

Gretchen Swimsuit St Maarten BEFORE tankini.jpg

What am I reading here? It does not look like I am enjoying it, hahaha.

I have changed a lot since both of those trips — both physically and emotionally. Still, it’s a little difficult to look back on the pictures from this time period and keep myself level-headed about all the impending swimsuit-wearing on the horizon. I like to think that since I’ve started my weight loss journey, I have developed a modicum of bikini confidence, but with all my recent setbacks and gains, it’s hard not to lose myself in a place of negative self-talk. And with my history of disordered eating, that’s always dangerous, because it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from backsliding into crash- or starvation-dieting just so that I can be “bikini ready” (whatever that means).

Last Summer

Even though I KNOW that is the least healthy and most ineffective way to lose weight, I know myself too. And I know I would justify it by saying it would just be for the trip, that I’d get back to doing things the healthy way afterward, stuff like that. It’s a slippery slope though, my friends. And as many of us already know, the ironic thing is that doing so probably wouldn’t result in me losing a single pound. In fact, I would probably gain a ton back instead, since eventually I would get so hungry that I would just binge. Vicious cycle, remember?

This is why it’s probably a really, really good thing that I do have the race right before this vacation. Even though the close timing of both trips has me slightly anxious, I know that if I didn’t have to train and fuel my body properly for the race, I would be all the more likely to succumb to the temptation of starving myself for this trip.

I think it’s progress that I am at least cognizant of my proclivity to fall victim to this kind of thinking. Knowing is half the battle, right? I fully intend on staying the course with my healthy weight loss “guidelines“, exercising as I have been, and participating in what is sure to be an epic racing experience. I still am planning on rocking my bikinis loud and proud on this trip (though I am admittedly packing a one-piece or two just in case I get a little too self-conscious of my tum, hehe), and even have a brand new (and hot pink!) retro-cut ‘kini (this one!) that I’m really looking forward to breaking out.

With summer and bikini season approaching, are you finding it harder to resist the temptation to drastically (and potentially unhealthily) change up your eating habits?

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Posted on Jul 1, 2011 in Dear Diary, Reviews, Weight Loss, Working Out | 78 comments

Beach Countdown: 1 Week (Giveaway!)

Oh yes. Yes, my friends. In one tortuously long (but really, due to the holiday weekend it will actually be short) week, I will be lounging on the sunny sands of Ocean City. I can’t wait. I’ve been looking forward to a beach trip for what feels like FOREVER, and I’m hoping that my new found kinda-sorta bikini confidence won’t fail me now!


In an attempt to look more kick-ass and less lazy-assed, I’m switching into HIGH GEAR MODE for the next 7 days (barring a few celebratory and patriotic food indulgences this weekend. I mean, come on. It’s 4th of July weekend!) I know there isn’t really that much I can expect to have happen in a week (guess it kinda snuck up on me, eh?) but I’m going to do what I can. I’ve actually developed an ab workout plan (what?!) based on what I learned at the running clinic I attended at the Fitness & Health Bloggers Conference in Boulder last weekend – namely, that you should be able to do as many reps as your age in years. I did it last night. It hurt.

Attention must be paid:

23 bicycle crunches
23-second plank (or in my case, modified plank. Heh.)
23 lower leg lifts (aka death.)
23 oblique crunches (on both sides).

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I intend on doing this every day (as long as I, you know, uh, can.) and working in my other daily activity as follows:

Friday: Run for 20+ minutes after work
Saturday: Walking to/in/from Farmer’s Market with Jenn (hey, better than nothing, right?)
Sunday: Run for 25+ minutes with my sister (I should probably tell her we’re doing that, eh?)
Monday: Family walk with, um, my family. (I should probably tell them we’re doing that, huh?)
Tuesday: Run for 30+ minutes after work
Wednesday: Bob Harper’s Yoga for the Warrior DVD
Thursday: Strength/stretch/panic

And then Friday I head to the beeeeeeeeach!

UGH. I already regret having written up this plan. I think I’m going to need your help to come up with some serious motivation here. And to reward you guys for doing that, I have a sweet giveaway for you! Hooray!


Back in May when I attended the Fitbloggin’ conference in Baltimore, one of the sponsors at the event was EatSmart Scales, and I even came home with their new Precision Plus bathroom scale (much to my brother’s delight, as I was actually using the scale I had purloined from him before!)


I honestly really dig this scale. Obviously, you know that this is a weight loss blog. And in order to determine that I am actually, you know, losing weight (or to determine that I’m failing miserably, haha) I weigh myself every Monday. It’s nice that not only is this a really sharp-looking bathroom accessory (super thin!), but you can literally just step on it and it begins. No tapping on and waiting for the number to zero out like most scales I’m used to. It’s a small thing, but if you’re like me and you just want to get your weigh-in over and done with it does make a difference!


So I think you guys know where this is going. The awesome people at EatSmart have agreed to give one lucky winner a Precision Plus scale of her (or his! Don’t want to be presumptuous, haha) very own!

Ways to Enter:

1. Like EatSmart on Facebook and/or follow EatSmart on Twitter.

2. Sign up for the Monthly EatSmart Newsletter on their website.

3. Tweet/Post about this giveaway! Just make sure to reference @shrinkinggretch, @eatsmartscales, and a link to this post in your message (here’s a sample shortlink: http://tinyurl.com/3w5npxp).

4. Leave a comment weighing in with your opinion on, well, weighing in! Do you weigh yourself to stay on track? Why or why not? Are you a daily weigh-er? Weekly? Monthly?

So there you have it: multiple ways to enter, and feel free to just do one or do ’em all! Just leave separate comments for each, and a winner will be randomly selected on Wednesday, July 6th.

Also, for those of you who may be too impatient to wait for the giveaway to end, or are interested in buying a scale for someone else, you can purchase it through EatSmart’s affiliate link on Amazon. They also produce food and luggage scales, and EatSmart donates 100% of the profit they get from utilizing that link to charity!

Happy Fourth of July weekend, folks! See you on the flipside. 🙂

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Posted on Jun 21, 2011 in Dear Diary, Pup Posts | 29 comments


Warning: You may at some point during this post go into cuteness overload. Symptoms may include: cooing, scrunching of the face, speaking in baby-talk, and an incredible urge to touch soft things.


But before we get to the overwhelming adorableness that is my sister and her husband’s new puppy (!!), let’s finish up the rest of the non-food related weekend, shall we?


I got to spend some time at the pool! Hooray! As you all know, I spent most of the weekend in Delaware visiting Steve for an early birthday celebration.


So we spent Saturday afternoon at his uncle’s super nice pool…


Aaaaand so did the pups. Bahahaha!


Now hold on, before you go on thinking that I’m a cruel, cruel dog owner (which, let’s face it, we all know just isn’t true.) Let me just preface this by saying that we weren’t risking their lives, we were just helping them broaden their horizons by giving them their first (and considering how much they hated it, probably their last) swimming lesson. Let the hilarity ensue:




See? No harm done other than a lot of post-pool shaking and wriggling. Well, to the dogs, at least. But to me, the experience was totally worth the ten bazillion scratches I have on my neck and shoulders now, hahaha.


And yes, this weekend’s pool trip also included another attempt to build up my bank of bikini confidence. I struggled with whether or not I wanted to post the following pic, but I’m sucking it up and going for it. After all, despite the misleading number of posts that center around my dogs, this really is supposed to be a weight loss blog, right? I figure that A) I really need to try to tie this post in at least SOMEWHAT to what my blog is about, and B) everybody get stomach rolls when they sit, right? RIGHT?!!?


So, the confidence is slowly coming. And even though I obviously still have a little ways to go yet, I strengthen my resolve that I really am going to get there this time. After all, just yesterday I was brought a little closer!

And now, to help you forget about having seen the above-posted flubbery, enjoy the following photo smörgåsbord (yep, that just happened) of Harry & Daxter’s new little cousin: Oreo!


Isn’t he adorable?! He’s a schnauzer-lab (schlabrador? Ha!) mix. So even though I was clearly HIGHLY-affronted that they didn’t go full-schnauzie (I don’t know if you could tell, but I kinda dig this breed), I think he is a perfect compromise for my sister, who loved the size and temperament of my babies, and her hubs, who is a manly, lab-owning kinda guy. We went up to Columbia Sunday night for Father’s Day dinner and to meet the little guy!



It took a second for Harry & Daxter to warm up to Oreo at first…

IMG_9008.jpgWhat is that?

But eventually they were comfortable enough to play with him (Daxter) or moderately ignore him (Harry), hahaha:


Much to my mother’s delight:


And my father’s indifference:


Hahahaha. Puppies everywhere! But don’t worry boys, you’re still #1 for me:


Puptastic weekend: check. I love life. And I love you guys! And clearly based on the inordinate number of comments you left as entries for my giveaway, you guys LOVE Popchips! So I’m going to try to channel all this love by announcing the randomly selected winner:

Drumroll please…


Congratulations, Chloe! Email me (gretchen@honeyishrunkthegretchen.com) your full name and mailing address, and I’ll get the info to Popchips so they can send you your month’s supply!

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