If you are not redirected automatically, follow the link to Gretchen, In-Between wellness | Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted on Jan 30, 2012 in Dear Diary | 25 comments

The Effects of Not Eating Well

You probably hear it all time: you are what you eat. The saying implies that if you eat healthy, you’ll feel healthy; if you eat crap, you’ll feel like crap. I am here to back up that claim 100%.

IMG_8159.jpg

At this point you are all probably aware of my love for the, er, crappier side of the food spectrum. French fries are my weakness. Mozzarella sticks will never not be delicious. Nachos will always have a special place in my heart. Sure, over time I’ve learned to genuinely enjoy — even crave — salads, kale, yogurt, quinoa, and brussels sprouts (especially brussels sprouts!) but I know that if given a choice, I will always want the “bad” stuff.

ShrimpiesFried Pickles

I should point out that yes, I know there are ways to rework and recreate recipes for junkier foods that makes them healthier. In fact, in order to literally have my cake and eat it too, I try to do this a lot. But underneath the semi-satisfaction that baked onion rings coated with bran flakes may give you, there is always the underlying desire to gorge myself on a Bloomin’ Onion. Them’s the facts.

IMG_2497

In order to arm myself in the battle against these constant cravings, I have to remind myself of the aforementioned adage: you are what you eat. And when I eat poorly for extended periods of time, I suffer the physical, mental, and emotional ramifications of that. Par example:

1. My skin goes the way of the Rockies.

I was pretty blessed as a teenager. Whereas my older siblings battled acne and breakouts through puberty and beyond, my adolescence was barely tarnished with a single zit. Now that I’m an adult (HA!), however, my skin gets seriously messed up when my diet is out of whack. I breakout in varying levels of severity, my skin takes on a greasy quality, and simply loses it’s lustre. Not cute.

2. Despite feeling more tired than usual, I am unable to sleep soundly.

I’m already a fairly restless sleeper — the kind who tosses and turns and goes from side to stomach to the other side throughout the night (I’ve woken up with my feet on my pillow and head at the bottom of the bed on more than one occasion). So what happens when I mess with my already delicate sleep cycle by fueling my body improperly? I become an even, uh, restless…er sleeper. Which makes me cranky and irritable upon waking, ultimately leading to me craving more crappy food. It’s a vicious cycle, I’m telling you.

3. Acid reflux rears its ugly head.

In college, during the worst of my binge eating issues, I had fairly severe issues with acid reflux. The stomach acid that crept back up into my esophagus due to my poor digestion (due to poor quality food… you may be sensing a pattern here, haha) while I slept was doing a number on me. It even started to affect my singing voice at one point, causing my voice teacher to send me to the campus doctor for a prescription to counteract the issue. Nowadays, I can always tell when a bout of acid reflux it hitting me, and it usually comes after a particular weak moment. When my eating is clean, however, I rarely have issues with it.

4. It can (and probably should) go without saying, but my digestive system gets its ass whooped.

I won’t go into detail here, but I’m pretty sure you guys get my drift.

5. So much for that manicure.

Another, slightly less noticeable, effect that abandoning a clean(ish) diet has on me has to do with my nails. They come brittle and break very easily when I’m off the wagon. I generally tend to keep them painted most of the time, but when they’re naked I do notice that I get those little white lines on them upon occasion as well — a sign of lacking nutrition.

IMG_0593.jpg

So there you have it! Just more proof that, aside from the whole weight loss jank that I’m always trying to do here, there are many, many reasons to eat well. Of course, this in no way means I endorse completely cutting out junk food indulgences completely. Emotional health too, remember? I just need to continue to work on using the word “indulgence” as it was originally intended, hehe.

What effects of not eating well plague you?

Read More

Posted on Jul 26, 2011 in Dear Diary | 46 comments

The Spark

Thanks for all your well-wishes and congratulations in response to yesterday’s almost-there weigh-in, friends! I swear, if I’m not in the 180s by this time next week… hahaha. Although, granted, yesterday probably didn’t help push me in the right direction too much. I was going to try to gloss over the fact that I spent yesterday doing nothing but reading/napping/playing video games and had pizza for lunch and Chipotle for dinner but, hey, this blog is about honesty, right?

IMG_9651.jpg

So speaking of honesty, I’m curious to know: for those of you on weight loss or health journeys, what was the “spark” that caused you to want to turn your life around? What was the catalyst that made you finally decide that there’s no use in putting it off any longer? A recent exchange I had with a reader has caused me to think about the fact that I didn’t really have a specific thing happen to make me decide to change. No fat photo, no unkind remark, nothing like that. It was just more of a general “hallelujah” moment. I guess what I want to know is, is that weird?


One of the many unflattering “before” pictures that did NOT spark my lifestyle change

I’ve touched on how I got to my journey’s starting point in the past, and how I’ve started and stopped more diets than I can even count at this point. Every Sunday night was a new resolution, and every Monday by lunchtime I’d failed. Being healthy, vibrant, and able to enjoy my life was a pipe dream at best, and diabetes, high cholesterol and a general deterioration of my health (at 22!) was a terrifyingly all-too-close nightmare. Some of you ask me how I finally got the courage to break the cycle of binge eating, food hiding, and occasional purging and I honestly wish I had a more concrete answer to give:

I saw THIS picture of myself, and I knew it was time to change.
I went shopping and realized I was officially THIS size, and I knew I couldn’t let it go any further.
Someone made THIS remark, and I knew it was time to start over.
My doctor told me THIS, and I knew I couldn’t lie to myself anymore.

But… I can’t really say that’s the case. Because I was 22, 246 pounds, a size 20 (I know I say that I was an 18, but I think we all know the truth here), outrageously out of shape, probably pre-diabetic for all I know, and I saw pictures of myself, went shopping, had family members tell me things, and went to the doctor just like any other person. And still didn’t have the motivation to truly change.

Grizzly Gretchen.

Aaaaand yet, here I am today. 23, 190 pounds, a size 12, a 5K finisher (and working towards my first 5 miler at the end of September!), feeling stronger and healthier than, well, EVER. I guess, for me, it was just all about the culmination of stuff: the number on the scale, the clothing sizes, the remarks, the pictures, the way I felt about myself… all of it. Eventually, finally, thankfully I just hit my breaking point.

So, I reiterate: what sparked your journey? What was is that led you to where you are today? Or are you, like me, unsure of exactly what it was that caused you to change, but either way are eternally grateful that you did?

Read More

Posted on Jul 19, 2011 in Dear Diary, Food | 26 comments

Living Healthy

Healthy living means a lot of things.

IMG_0194.jpg

It means salted edamame.

IMG_0193.jpg

It means tofu that is, yes, smothered in sauce.

IMG_0195.jpg

It means good-for-you sushi…

IMG_0198.jpg

…and not-so-good-for-you sushi, too.

IMG_0196.jpg

Hehehe.

IMG_0197.jpg

But hey, it’s okay. After all, you’re sharing with a friend!

IMG_8042.jpg
Recycled photo of Ania and me at the Falls Church Memorial Day Parade

After furnishing my pantry with some supplies from Trader Joe’s yesterday, Ania and I had a decadent sushi dinner at Koi Koi — where else? The cuisine, company, and conversation was just what I needed. Healthy living does, after all, extend beyond what we put in our mouths and do with our muscles! Mental and emotional wellbeing is just as, if not more, important than physical health (and failure to attend to all of the above inevitably results in a rapid degeneration of general wellness, as I know all too well.)


Unhealthy: physically, emotionally, mentally.

Grizzly Gretchen.
Getting there…

Between the evening and yesterday morning’s weigh-in, this week has kicked off surprisingly well! So I’m going to take my good mood (180-degrees from last week’s Gloomy Gussery) and do something potentially frightful:

Ask me anything.

No, really! This is your opportunity to ask any questions you might have for me regarding my journey, my methods, my habits, my food, my past… heck, even the dogs are fair game! I figure it’s about time I compile a good old-fashioned Q&A/FAQ page anyway, so this is where I’ll start. Not comfortable leaving your question in the comments? Feel free to DM me on Twitter or email me at gretchen@honeyishrunkthegretchen.com instead.

Ahhh, true pandering to my conceited and self-centered nature at last. 😉 Knock yourselves out! This evening I’ll be auditing a culinary school class at a local institution. I’m really excited, so stay tuned for a report on that. Hopefully the chef won’t mind me bringing my camera…!

Read More