A Year in Review

That’s right, friends.

It’s finally here.

1 full year of blood, sweat, and tears (okay, mostly tears.)

365 days of blogging my heart, soul, and weight almost every day.

Happy blogiversary to me!

Those of you who aren’t related to me, did you ever get a chance to read the first post? If not, you should take a gander. In case you hadn’t heard, I’ve kinda made some progress.

I was 246 pounds and counting, on the wrong kind of path. I have never considered myself to be a strong person, but somehow, some way I pressed publish in tears, not really believing that this would last any longer than the last failed diet attempt.

And yet here I stand (er, sit? Type?) 56 pounds lighter and more committed than ever.

I think I'll keep it.

It’s a good day.

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And even though the journey hasn’t always been roses and multi-pound weigh-ins, even though it isn’t over yet, I am so, so grateful for undertaking this, and so proud of myself for coming this far.

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And to show myself exactly how far I have come not only physically, but emotionally as well, I have done the unthinkable. The unimaginable. I have posted my “real” progress pictures on the blog to horrify and astound. Please be aware, these are pictures of me in a bikini at various weights, so they may be potentially NSFW. For that, and for other (obvious) reasons, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Click here to throw up observe.

No, seriously though. I can’t even imagine having the hutzpah to post what I’ve posted today a year ago. Hell, I couldn’t have posted it five years ago! Had I not come down this road, I don’t think I’d ever have had the nerve to post anything close to it. But if there’s one thing that this past year has taught me, it is how to be brave.

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I guess I really am growing up. Heh.

And I guess life really does come full-circle. Because one year ago, I was in tears as I pressed the publish button. And now… well, c’mon. Are you really surprised?

Thank you. I really couldn’t have done this without you.

Seasons 52 (Weigh-in)

Happy Monday, friends! Today marks my official first day at my new job in the big citaaaay (as opposed to my previous cozy Northern Virginian gig) so think good thoughts for me! I’m admittedly nervous about starting a new job, but luckily I finished up my week of fake unemployment with a bang: going out to dinner for an early celebration of my 1-year blogiversary! (The actual annivesary of my blog is tomorrow! Eeee!) Naturally, this called for getting dolled up and forcing Steve to be my personal photographer:

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Oh, and some robot. Duh.

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How did we celebrate? Why, dinner with Steve and the fam at Seasons 52, of course!

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Seasons 52 is an expanding restaurant chain that serves upscale Americana grill food and every item on their menu is under 475 calories. I can verify that it was delicious, and it was verified by our waiter that they don’t ever cook with butter in the restaurant! A pretty good place to go to for my preemptive blogiversary celebration, eh?

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I started off the night with a coconut strawberry “skinny” martini, made with strawberry-infused vodka, coconut water, and agave.

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Just my kinda drink!

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Hehe.

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We got a ton of various appetizers for the table to share, too: tuna-avocado rolls, chipotle shrimp and garlic chicken flatbreads, and a goat cheese ravioli thing that my sister got – delish!

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And I also got an incredible arugula salad with goat cheese, pistachios (!!) and golden beets. Where can I find golden beets? I feel like I’ve never seen them in the grocery store but I looooove them.

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For my main entree, I got caramelized sea scallops with asparagus and pearl pasta. Yum-o.

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And dessert was the best part! Seasons 52 claims to have originated the “shot glass desserts” and I would believe it — they were delicious!

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They had a ton of flavors — red velvet cake, mocha macchiato, rocky road, blueberry cheesecake, and more! Mine?

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Key lime pie, of course! I got to sample everyone else’s too, but mine was definitely a winner. Just a small bite of dessert at the end of a (huge) great meal. Parfait!

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Thanks for dinner, Mom and Dad!

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It was a great night, with great company, and even helped me momentarily forget how nervous I am about starting my new job. It’s always so nice to get the whole family together (thanks for playing the role of family photographer, Dan!)

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Even if it was just for us to be photobombed by my boyfriend. Womp.

And now, alas, can’t let you all go without the stats for the day, can I?

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Week’s Weight: 189.6 lbs
This Week’s Weight: 189.9 lbs
This Week’s Loss: +0.3 lbs

Hoo boy. Weeeeeell, I can’t really say I didn’t see this coming. I didn’t exactly do, uh, “well” over 4 days of furloughed laziness. But considering the pizza consumption and the, uh 2 times I exercised this past week, it’s actually not as bad as I was expecting. I know that probably sounds bad but… yeah. I mean, in spite of a gain, I am just SO thankful not to see 190-something back on the scale? I know, it’s a VERY small margin, and by the time I have had breakfast I’m sure I’ll have broken the barrier again. But, hey. It’s at least keeping me to my personal goal of never seeing 190 back on the scale again, and for now, I’ll take it. A new week, a new job, renewed motivation!

As their part of their blogiversary present to me, my parents gave me a “coupon” to cash in for a shopping extravaganza with my mom and sister! Amazing, right?? I feel that this is the motivation that will help me to push through these last 20 – 25 pounds. Because, regardless of how vain it sounds, I really, really, REALLY want to be able to spend my “coupon” on size 10 clothing. Plus there’s just that whole 5 miler thing coming up RAPIDLY at the end of September I’m supposed to be running (and yesterday morning’s lousy 1.2 miles with my sissypoo was a harsh reality check.) C’mon, Gretchen, you can do it!

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Bring. It. On.

Special Delivery

Good news, everybody! The FAA furlough seems to have reached some sort of agreement, temporary or not, so it looks like I’ll be able to start my new job after all! Huzzah! Let’s celebrate with some on-the-parents sushi, shall we? Oh wait, I already did.

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My parents and I met up with some family friends for lunch yesterday at Hoang’s. The sushi combo I got for lunch was really good, though still not quite as amazing as my precious Koi Koi sushi. But hey, I’m biased.

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Thanks for venturing down to join us for lunch, Uncle Gil & Aunt Linda!

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The lunch combo consisted of miso soup, a california roll, a salmon roll, and an eel & avocado roll – what a deal, eh?

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My mom also gave me a taste of her shrimp pad thai. Thanks mom!

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You can see where I get my adorableness, huh? Bahaha.

So I have been the recipient of some exciting deliveries as of late. First up, my order of the amazingly fantabulous Mama Pea‘s new cookbook finally arrived!

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If you’ve read her blog at all, you already know what a hilarious writer and great mom she is (and she and her adorable family reside in my dad’s hometown of Salem, OR!) and her cookbook channels that exact same energy. It’s full of witty anecdotes and fun family photos, as well as (duh) delicious vegan recipes. I haven’t even bothered making any of the items in the book yet, I’ve just been poring over the sidebars and general hilarity – but I can’t wait to!

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The other special delivery that I was super-psyched to discover on my doorstep? Observe:

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In case you didn’t see my tweets about it yesterday, JALAPENO POPCHIPS HAVE ARRIVED!!!

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I’ve been waiting on these babies since hearing about the impending flavor at the Fitness & Health Bloggers Conference I attended. I am so excited! Jalapeno is my favorite flavor of Kettle Chip, and I was thrilled to hear that my beloved Popchips would be following the trend. And so after doing a little happy dance and deafening my roommates upon discovering the basket on my doorstep, the tasting commenced:

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I love ’em! They are definitely spicy, so be aware of that, but the zing is delicious. They’re not *quite* as flavorful as their Kettle Chip counterparts, but they probably have a lot less salt which I guess would be a contributing factor (but probably makes them better for you overall.) Salt & Vinger flavored Popchips might have to watch out… a new contender for favorite is on the move!

Happy Friday, folks!

Healthy Eating on the Cheap

You know, temporary unemployment really puts your budget in perspective. Who knew that I’d be paying such close attention to my own advice when it comes to food and finances so soon? After Monday’s pizza pity party, I’ve made it my goal not to spend money on food until the weekend. So all week long, we’re going to be playing my favorite game: pantry roulette!

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Start with an on-its-last-legs zuke from the fridge (purloined from your sister’s CSA share), add a kajillion knife cuts (I really need a mandolin) and some fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and set aside.

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Meanwhile, cook up some whole wheat pasta and stare longingly at the beautiful label on the newest kind of spaghetti sauce you’re trying from Trader Joe’s.

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Add in zucchini “noodles”, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, whatever, and shake it all about.

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Garnish with a random cherry tomato you found at the bottom of the produce drawer and some fresh basil from the plant that you still can’t believe hasn’t died on your windowsill. Eat.

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Another way to save the cash monies when you’re trying to scrimp and save? Eat dinner at the parentals’ house! 😀

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My mom and I made a decadent and delicious meal together for the fam that consisted of creamy mushroom risotto (O.M.G.), chicken, salad, and whole wheat bread for EVOO dippage.

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And fruit for dessert! Crazy exotic fruit, that is.

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Papaya and “dragon eyes” (related to lychees). Mmm.

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The only not-so-economical part of my day? Paying for the mutts to be transformed from their previously shaggy selves into this:

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Worth it. 🙂

Day 1

Hmm, so contrary to all of my at-work daydreams, apparently I am not very good at not working. Yesterday was merely Day 1 of pseudo-unemployment and I managed to spend nearly the entire day playing video games and eating pizza. Womp womp.

I did manage to drag myself out of the house (guilt over singlehandedly eating half a medium pizza is a powerful motivator) for a run. I pounded out a miserable 2 miles (okay, fine! It was 1.9! Geez.) I’m not really sure what caused me to think that going out to run at 4:45 PM in August was a good idea, but just in case you were unaware, let me assure you that it wasn’t. I was drenched in sweat. Somehow, I think it motivated me to run even faster though, just because I wanted it to be over. Or maybe thin-crust Hawaiian is just the perfect pre-run fuel. Either way, I’m proud of getting it done, but the whole day did make me realize I need to formulate a gameplan if I’m going to not be working for a while (the latest reports say that it might be September before Congress reconvenes to resolve the furlough! Ugh!)

So given that I ate 2 “meals” yesterday (overnight oats for breakfast, pizza for lunchdinnerdessert. Oh and a brownie. Oops.) and spent the non-running, non-showering parts of my day pretty much prostrate on my bed, here are my basic tenants of non-working life:

1. Get out of the house at least once a day.
2. Eat normally on a regular schedule, moron.

Pretty simple, eh? I refuse to let myself lose all sense of time and human decency, and so far today I’m on track. I ate breakfast at 8:45 this morning, not 11! Granted, breakfast was a coconut donut, but, well, baby steps. And it was consumed after returning from walking the puppers to the groomer (we live 1/2 a mile from the groomer – convenient, right?) so I knocked two birds out with one stone. It’s all about efficiency, people.

In case you didn’t notice from the yesterday’s puppyriffic post, the pupperonis were starting to look, well, just a smidge shaggy:

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And since the last time I tried to groom my dogs myself didn’t exactly work out as planned, I was happy to drop them off in the hands of some professionals. Even if it is gonna cost a lovely $60 a pop. Er, I mean, a pup. Heh. Not so sure they were as thrilled though…

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Puppy Dog Eyes

Sorry to those of you who may be suffering from pup-picture-overload at this point, but, well, c’mon. It’s me. You kinda knew what you were getting into.

What are your tips for keeping my life on track while I’m on hiatus from working?