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Posted on Feb 20, 2014 in Dear Diary | 4 comments

Lingual Braces: Weeks 2 & 3

So after my initial bitching session post about what having my new lingual braces is like, I feel it’s probably time that I update you on how I’m doing with them now.

Not surprisingly, just a few days after I spent like 1000 words complaining about how much my tongue hurt, my teeth hurt, and how miserable I was, things got much, much better. My tongue did indeed get used to the metal and is no longer hurting. My lisping is like 800% better (in my opinion), and really the only thing that still catches me are my S’s. But I’m definitely getting used to it, and some folks tell me that they can’t really notice… though I don’t really believe them, hahaha.

My teeth also have stopped hurting, some of them just still feel loose — which is admittedly a semi-scary feeling, because even though logically I know that my teeth aren’t going to fall out of my head, I had a dream that they did and now it’s like all I can think about. Also, biting into stuff still isn’t as easy as it used to be, though I can eat most things without too much incident (no gum or caramels or biting into apples still though).) It’s just mostly annoying because stuff gets stuck in there really easily – especially rice and stringy things like cooked onions. Also, sandwiches are still a bit of a challenge… which is super sad because I loooove sandwiches. Womp womp.

But all in all, things have really turned around almost 180*, so I am no longer hating the world and regretting this decision. Huzzah! Since it’s only been a couple of weeks I can’t see any kind of difference yet, but hopefully when I go back to the ortho in a couple of weeks he’ll have an estimate of how long it’ll really take to get my chompers nice and straight — since the only timeline I’ve been given so far is the very specific prediction of “probably less than a year.”

I have my first wire adjustment the second week of March, so I’ll be back to update you again on how things are feeling after that!

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Posted on Feb 19, 2014 in Dear Diary, Food | 7 comments

Eggs & Lightning

As you may already suspect based on the title of this post, this is very likely to end up as a bit of a haphazard and non-sequiter post. But seeing as how it’s been quite a few days since my last post, and I find myself slipping dangerously into non-blogging mode, I figured I’d at least update you on a few things.

So, obviously Valentine’s Day was Friday. Let’s talk about that. Sean took me to Me Jana, a lebanese restaurant in Arlington, and dinner was delicious – you probably know very well by now that I love sharing food! So tapas, mezze, small plates, family-style dining, sushi… anything sharable is pretty much the key to my heart. I know, I know. I’m sure that some of you are shaking your heads at me talking about yet another occasion where I went out to eat and indulged, and I’d totally come up with some sort of justification or provide my reasoning (which is basically just that it was Valentine’s Day, duh) but ehhhh, at this point, what am I really gonna say?

I’m always gonna go out to eat, I’m always gonna want to celebrate occasions at restaurants. But I promise, I really am learning. I mean, sure, there was not a small amount of cheese involved in dinner that night, as well as a glass of delicious and sweet white wine sangria, but aside from that I was actually quite restrained and ate relatively well. Seared scallops, a salad with salmon on it, I resisted the siren call of the pita bread basket (well, I mostly resisted it)… really I think I did quite well! Snaps for me, hehe.

The other bonus points for the evening, of course, come from the fact that it was the perfect occasion to wear my latest Stitch Fix acquisition:

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I really love the wrap dress that I was sent in my box this month — the neckline is kind of vintage/forties-inspired, and the pattern is like part-chevron, part-Mike & Ike. Plus it went perfectly with the Seychelles heart shoes that have been hanging in my closet, yearning for their V-day release.

ANYWAY, back to the food thing: Aside from Valentine’s Day dinner, as well as a late-night post-Valentine’s dinner grocery store run to get dessert which resulted in me purchasing two things of Lunchables, I’ve actually been feeling pretty good on the food front! I’m really into eggs lately, which is semi-weird for me, because I used to hate eggs (except the fried egg sandwich that only my mom knows how to make perfectly, of course). But I pretty much throw an egg on errrrverything now, which is an amazing way to turn any kind of leftovers into breakfast food, by the way. I’m really not sure why I went so long living without thinking of breakfast pasta.

It actually really works out that pretty much every time I wander into the kitchen looking for something to eat, I just end up putting a bird an egg on it, since eggs are good for you (protein!), crazy easy to make (microwaved egg sandwich, anyone?), and easy to fit into my daily intake (70 calories per egg).

The protein thing is particularly important, since I am basically clawing my eyes out trying to maintain a good protein ratio in my diet. Even on days when I feel like I’ve eaten really balanced meals, my protein percentage is still at like… 20%. I don’t get it! Aside from having like an entire steak for dinner every night, I don’t know what else I can do to increase my protein ratio. Aside from, well, eating less carbs to lower that part of the formula, I guess…. hahahahahaha. Please. C’mon, serious suggestions only.

Other updates from this past weekend include starting and, subsequently, finishing my newest video game — Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. (Just in case you guys forgot, I am a HUGE nerd.) And I somewhat suspect that all that binge-playing may have had something to do with my other news, which is that I changed my hair color… again. And I did it aaaall by myself this time.

Don’t tell my hairdresser.

Lol, JK, he already knows because we are friends on Facebook and there is obviously no way I can prevent myself from posting every single thing I do on social media. He said it looks good. 🙂 Anyway, it’s kind of hard to see with the bad bathroom lighting, but I bleached the purple out of my hair (bye for now! I’ll be back!) and now it’s a super pastel, soft pink. Just like Lightning.

Going about dyeing my hair on my own this time was very interesting, incredibly educational, and SUPER scary. This is probably deserving of a longer post at some point, but suffice it to say that I had no idea what bleaching the already bleached-then-purpled parts of my hair would do. Well, as it turns out, putting bleach on already bleached hair, even if it has color over it, takes like half a second to get it back to the pre-colored blonde. Seriously, it seemed like the SECOND I put the bleach over my lengths, the color lifted out. Which kind of made me freak out, because I didn’t want my hair to snap and fall out from being over-bleached, so I ended up washing it out after only like 10 or 15 minutes, and so my roots only lightened a tiny bit. But oh well — consider my lesson learned! #themoreyouknow

Aaaanyway, and that about catches us up! In addition to a post on the necessary magic needed to dye yourself some pastel locks, I also owe you an update about how my lingual braces are going (they are MUCH, much, much, much, much better), as well as some exciting things that will be happening soon for my job. Plus, you know, all the regular weight loss stuff and pictures of my food and definitely some humblebragging about how many times I made it to the gym this week (twice so far!). So, you know, good stuff ahead… stay tuned!

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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 Jan 27, 2014 in Fashion, Food | 10 comments

Snapshots & Stitch Fixes

Happy Monday, friendos! I hope you all had wonderful weekends, the lot of you. Sean and I continued our 2-year anniversary celebration this past weekend, so it was pretty fab… though, as you can probably guess, involved a liiiiittle more foodstuffs than I probably should have indulged in. Thank goodness my weigh-ins are on Fridays now, eh? Hahaha.

Anyway, in the spirit of always being honest and transparent with you guys (plus the fact that I’m a weirdo and I love seeing what other people are eating), I figured I’d share a few snapshots of some of the things I’ve been eating recently. I promise it’s not all from dining out, too! I even have a couple of recipes to share with you guys this week, so there.

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Whipped up a glorious batch of my (and Katniss’s) favorite Lamb Stew with Dried Plums — although evidently the Polar Vortex made it so that there was no good lamb at the grocery store, so I used beef instead. Still delicious!

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Played a game of pantry roulette and ended up creating a hot steaming bowl of deliciousness that included farfalle pasta, bacon, peas, and amazing mushrooms with a super light cream sauce just to bind it together. I know you all probably read the word “cream” and your collective buttcheeks all tightened, but I promise that it was still a very diet-appropriate dish. Recipe to come soon!

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A iPhone pic collage of some of the amazingness that we experienced at Tuscarora Mill, where Sean took me for our anniversary dinnah. It’s in Leesburg and it is DEFINITELY worth the drive. You can peep my review on Yelp if you want deets about everything we ate (spoiler alert, it was a lot more than what is shown, hahaha), but that on the right there is a truffled goat cheese ravioli with mushrooms and pulled short ribs. I KNOW. I had never been so excited to eat leftovers the next day IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.

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And, finally, last night my friend Reema came over and we whipped up a recipe from my homegirl Cassie’s AMAZING new cookbook: Beer & Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese. It really was just as delicious as it sounds, and even Sean got on board with the hidden butternut squash in the sauce. Mm-mmm, good. I’ll post more deets about the recipe (and Cassie’s cookbook!) soon!

So, lots of good eats (though in retrospect, I realize that there is a lot of pasta pictured. I promise I’ve been eating, like, vegetables and salads and stuff, too, hahahaha.) over the past few days, and even better ones to come!

So, in addition to all the deliciousness, time with friends, and anniversary celebration stuffs, I also had another fun addition to last week: I received my first Stitch Fix! Those of you who are already familiar with Stitch Fix are probably sick of hearing about it, and honestly, I kinda was too. But just before the holidays I had a chat with my friend Rachel about how much she was enjoying it, and I finally gave in and figured I’d give it a try. And when they hit it RIGHT OUTTA THE PARK with my very first box, I knew I had to share it with you all!

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So, for the uninitiated, Stich Fix is like a mail-order personal shopping service. You set up a style profile and you can do one-time or monthly recurring “Fixes” (same price either way, $20, which is applied to the cost of the clothing if you end up wanting to keep anything) and they send you five items that they think you’d like! I was skeptical as to how personalized it would really be, but they let you link to things like your Twitter, your Pinterest fashion board (if you have one), and I even put my blog address in the extra field at the bottom. And when I received my box, and it came with a personal note explaining all of the items, AND it also pointed to my love of polka dots which they would only have known if they really HAD checked out my Twitter and blog and whatnot, I knew this was pretty legit.

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Of course, it helped that the totally knocked it out of the park! I received a dress, two cardigans, a shirt, and an infinity scarf. Every single item is absolutely my style, and has details that I looooove. The dress has a light polka dot pattern and has that vintage-ish silhouette that I love, the blue cardi has polka dot detailing on the pockets and down the button closure area, the red cardigan has a light butterfly cut-out print and AWESOME buttons — each button is different! — and the infinity scarf is a bright, fun orange and THEY PUT A BIRD ON IT. Many birds, in fact.

The striped shirt was the only item where, before trying it on, I was kind of meh about, but once I did put it on, I LOVED it. It’s actually really flattering, incredibly soft, and super comfortable. Horizontal stripes! Who knew?!

I ended up feeling the most iffy about the red cardigan after trying everything on, just because from a distance there was nothing too special about it. But because Stitch Fix offers a 25% discount if you end up purchasing all five items, it was essentially free — the cardigan cost less than the amount I ended up saving from the discount! Plus, it ended up being way cute when styled with the dress instead of on its own — I ended up wearing the combo to Tuscarora Mill for our anniversary dinner!

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Speaking of pricing, you can set your price points for all the various categories of stuff they offer. So in that way, you can totally emphasize the clothing items that are most important to you. For example, for jewelry and accessories, which I don’t particularly care about, I put “As cheap as possible,” but for dresses and outerwear, I said I was comfortable with paying over $100 for those. Now, it just happened that every single item in my first box was between 28 and 48 dollars (yes, even the dress! I ended up paying just over $100 for all five items with the discount and the $20 styling fee I already paid going towards the total), so this was like a double-win in that arena.

ANYWAY. Enough talk about Stitch Fix and my latest obsession. I promise that this is not a paid promotion or a sponsored post or anything like that — they’re not paying me to say these things! (Though, as a disclaimer, the “Stitch Fix” hyperlink above is my referral link for the site.) I was just REALLY impressed with this service, especially because I was admittedly worried that I was too big to fit anything they offer. Which, now that I bring that up, is probably the only real problem with it, because the biggest size they offer on their style profile is 14… and, let’s be honest, that is deeeefinitely pushing it for me right now. So it bodes well for my continued weight loss efforts, but it was kind of a crapshoot whether I’d be able to fit everything they sent this time around. Thankfully it did all fit… but still. Broaden your sizing horizons and you will be utterly perfect, Stitch Fix!

OKAY. Sorry, sorry, enough chatter for now. Hope you’re all having utterly tolerable Mondays, and I’ll see you on the flip side!

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Posted on Jan 23, 2014 in Dear Diary | 19 comments

What’s Different the Second Time Around

Sooooo, apologies in advance that this entire week is evidently full of super heavy posts. I’m thinking it’s like 25% because I have so many feelings about restarting this whole weight loss endeavor, and like 75% because — as evidenced by the tears that welled up in my eyes during last night’s viewing of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse on FX — I am PMSing pretty hardcore.

So last week I finally manned up and openly admitted that I’ve regained the majority of the weight that you all watched me lose once upon a time. And it was probably one of the hardest and most emotionally taxing things that I’ve done in a really, really long time.

I mean, c’mon, it’s hard enough having to admit you’ve gained weight… to yourself. But add in an entire internet audience, and, as I’m sure you can imagine, it becomes just a liiiiittle harder. And as if that weren’t enough, lest we forget, this is the SECOND time that I’m having to admit it. So, we take everything that was difficult about typing out my weight and then pressing “publish” that very first time, then we pile on all of the victories and defeats that accumulated in the following couple of years — wherein I actually LOST 60 pounds and was feeling pretty good about myself — and then multiply it all by the fact that everything I already went through ended up being for nothing. Because here I am again.

So yeah, it sucks.

And I’m going to be honest and admit that I’m already really struggling this time around. Not struggling to get back on track, because I’m actually doing pretty well so far: Tracking all my food, eating well, getting some exercise in, doing a lot of good things in that department. No, instead I’m struggling with all the mushy, icky, complicated emotional stuff. I’m struggling with the HOW. As in, how could I possibly have let myself regain FIFTY pounds? How could I not have noticed, how did I live in denial for so long, how could I not have stopped myself sooner, how could I have let it happen at all?

After everything I went through the first time, after all the progress that I made and all the things I accomplished and all the ways that I grew AND all the ways that I shrunk, how did I get back here?

As I explained in my post last week, I’m not really 100% sure. I think the main thing is that I stopped really caring about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, I stopped prioritizing good choices over easy choices, and I just stopped paying attention to my weight. And for someone like me, someone who loves food entirely too much, someone who is oftentimes physically repulsed by the thought of exercise, someone who has a known history of abusing food, abusing her body with food, and abusing herself because of how she’s abused food… not paying attention is pretty much an automatic precursor to backsliding.

So when I try to think about what’s different now, the second time, I can’t think about how maybe it’ll be easier because I already know what to do, or how because I’ve already done it once before, that must automatically mean I can do it again. No, all I can think about it how much harder it already is. And I’m not even really talking about the actual losing weight part: the calorie counting, the working out, the being accountable. That stuff is honestly all the same, because, yes, I have, done it all before. I do know that I can do it, and while I hate all of it just the same, it really is just like falling back into old habits. It’s the emotional weight that is now attached to every pound I gained, a weight that still remains even as they are starting to fall back off.

The stakes feel so much higher this time. I’ve already failed once, after all. Who’s to say I won’t fail again? Who’s to say that this won’t just be ANOTHER huge waste of time? I mean, no, I know that it wasn’t really a waste of time the first time around. I learned a lot of things about myself, I finally started to really fight back against my addiction to food, my binge eating, my relationship with my body, with myself, blah, blah, blah… but still, when you look at the hard facts, when you break it down to the fact that a year ago I weighed fifty pounds less than I do now, it’s hard not to see it all as a total wash.

One of the most difficult things that I’m having to face is how easy it was for me to gain all the weight back. I mean, it’s not like I was going to the drive-thru every night and cramming fifty pounds worth of Baconators down my throat. I clearly wasn’t trying to gain weight. I knew my eating habits weren’t great and I wasn’t getting much exercise, but it’s not like I was going balls-to-the-walls here, either. It was a pizza night here, a pasta night there, going out for a friend’s birthday here, sharing an appetizer AND getting dessert there. The pounds came back on slowly enough that for the first 10 or 15 I barely noticed anything (since 10 pounds on my frame one way or the other doesn’t exactly make for an earth-shattering different in appearance). And after I did kinda-sorta start to think maybe I was gaining weight back, I was entrenched enough in my habits that I guess I just didn’t want to think about it.

So, yes, the fact that it was so easy to gain all that weight back — and how capable I was of ignoring the gain — is absolutely terrifying.

Because everything about this second try seems hard right now.

I’m really not trying to pull a sympathy plea here. Just like I tried really hard not to come up with excuses in my initial post, I’m not trying to backpeddle and plug them in now either. I got myself back into this situation and I’m the one who wants to change in the first place, so everything that’s happened and everything that will happen moving forward is on me. I’m not looking for anybody to baby me (well, that’s not really true, I actually love being babied, according to the still-growing collection of stuffed animals hiding in my closet), I’m just trying to be honest. Honestly trying to figure out how I got back to this point, and honest about why, even though I’m going through a lot of the same motions, it all feels different this time.

Because now, on top of the shame and guilt for having already failed once, there’s this overarching, pervasive layer of fear. Hell, maybe there always was, and I’m only just now recognizing it. I’m scared, okay? I am scared that I won’t be able to get back to where I was. I’m scared that even if I do, I’m just going to regain everything all over again. I’m scared that even if I don’t regain a single pound, I’ll never be able to stop paying attention, stop prioritizing, stop caring so damn much about my weight. There won’t ever be an end, there won’t ever be any reprieve, and I’m scared knowing that I will continue to have to fight for the rest of my life.

I’m not saying that it’s not a good fight — to fight for your health, to fight for yourself? It’s probably one of the best fights out there. But the thought of fighting, all the time, from now until forever? To have to continue to carefully portion out how much I eat, to count calories, to be mindful at all times of what it is that I’m eating and how active I’m being, not just whilst losing weight but forever afterwards as well? Find me one person on this Earth that isn’t exhausted just thinking about that.

The fact is, I will always love eating. It will probably always be the thing I suggest when there’s something to celebrate, the first thing I want to do when something’s made me sad, the way I like to bond with others. But as much as I love food, I do know — whether due to years of misguided dieting or having a bad body image or maybe just because I’m programmed this way — that it’s entirely too easy for me to take it too far.

And I definitely do not love what overeating does to me. I don’t like feeling bloated or having digestive issues or being fat. I don’t like being out of shape and weak and exhausted. I want to be healthy, I want to be strong, and, as I discussed yesterday, sure, I also want to look bangin’. The point is, I do want this. And so for now, I just have to keep going down this road, and hope that part of the reason that this second time around feels different is because it is also destined to end differently.

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