Daily Eats – 7/22, 7/26 & 7/27/11

Yeah, I know. I’ve been a little inconsistent with the daily eats lately. So… I’m making up for it now. Kinda. This is a lotta eats (and doesn’t even include the weekend!)

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Sweetgreen with Lara on Friiiiday! 🙂

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BAM. Deets on the amazeballs Indian dinner for Jen and Dan’s (Den? Jan?) bday celebrations to come tomorrroooow. 🙂

7 Links

Oh, you know me. I just can’t resist a good blog fad. So when Jennifer nominated li’l ol’ me to do a 7 Links post of her very own, well… here we are! And here we go:

Most beautiful post

Boulder

I couldn’t figure out exactly what this title was really supposed to mean, so I decided to go with a post I wrote from the most beautiful place, with beautiful pictures of it. I’ll Miss You, Boulder recounts my small dive into faux-mountain climbing (i.e. having your friend drive you up to the lookout points, hahaha.) Regardless, I took some beautiful photos of the breathtaking scenery (honestly, what photos aren’t beautiful up there?)

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Another post I’m proud of for what I consider to be especially beautiful food photographs is this one: Cupcakes and Pizza and Panda, Oh My! Taylor commented that the pictures looked like they could have been in Real Simple or Martha Stewart Living magazine, which made me just giddy. Giddy, I say!

Most popular post

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Taking out posts that appear elsewhere on this list (like my Me vs. Me post at the bottom) and any landing pages, my most popular post is the following: Bad Day? Try this one on for size. It includes some details of the not-so-fun day that I got my credit card information stolen (ironically since this post it’s happened two more times – wtf?) but also my amazing Caprese Pasta Bake recipe. Bon appetit!

Most controversial post

Baaaaahahaha. I only laugh because I feel like this category doesn’t apply to me in any way, shape, or form. I avoid controversy like the plague (on the blog, and in life!) because A) I have skin as thin as vellum, and probably couldn’t take the heat, and B) I just don’t think I ever have enough information to be able to back up any claims I would potentially make! So instead, I’m just going to share my favorite just-for-funsies post:

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OMG PUPPIEEEEZ!

I think you will enjoy. 😉

Most helpful post

Pretty much anything on my Weight Loss 101 page would fall under this category, but if I had to pick one based on popularity it would be Weight Loss 101: Getting Started, where I iron out real steps you can take to being your weight loss journey.

If I had to pick a personal favorite from the series, however, it would have to be my Weight Loss 101: Mythbusters post. I had so much fun writing this one, and reading your contributions of other totally busted myths in the comments was so much fun!

A post whose success surprised you

I continue to get a surprising amount of traffic on my Overnight Oats in a Jar post from waaaay back when (probably due to good old-fashioned Googling, but who’s complaining?) It’s kind of funny to keep seeing a post from so early on (check out the sweet iPhone pics on it!) continue to pop up in my Analytics.

A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved

This was probably the category I struggled with the most. I guess I kind of feel that my Thankful (Part 1) post recapping my first 5K, my first race, and my first real fitness milestone would have gotten a little bit of a larger response, since it’s one I’m so proud of. That being said, that also happened a while ago, back when the blog was still but a toddler.

The post you are most proud of

This one, on the other hand, was easy. I will forever be most proud of my Me vs. Me post, where I first came to public terms with my binge eating past, and how it continues to affect my future. It was really hard to push “publish” on that one, but I am so, so glad I did. It also remains the blog’s true most popular post to date.

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So I recognize that there are way, way more than seven actual links above, but hey, whatcha gonna do? Now it’s your turn! I’m passing the buck, so to speak, and would love to see links from the following bloggers:

1. Claire @ The Realistic Nutritionist
2. Andrea @ Onion in my Hair
3. Cassie @ Back to her Roots
4. Laura @ Pretty Little Words
5. Holly @ The Runny Egg

And many, many more. But technically I’m only supposed to list 5. So, there you go. If you’ve already participated in the “7 Links” thing, post an 8th link in the comments (get it?) so I can make sure I don’t miss it!

Do you agree with the above self-assessment? Or would you have chosen different posts for things like “Most Beautiful” or “Most Helpful”? I think those are the hardest to self-reflect upon accurately!

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?

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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?

Close, but no cigar (Weigh-in)

It’s going to be short and not so sweet this morning, folks. Short, because I’m sickitysickitysick (yes, again) and despite the fact that I slept for nearly 12 hours straight I am still muy exhaustamundo. So exhausted, in fact, that I’m making up Spanish words for how exhausted I am.

The not-so-sweet part of today’s play comes in the following. As you know, last week I weighed in at 191.2 pounds and was pre-celebrating my entrance into the glorious 180s, a goal that was a mere 1.3 lbs away. So how did things turn out this week?

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Week’s Weight: 191.2 lbs
This Week’s Weight: 190.0 lbs
This Week’s Loss: -1.2 lbs

Womp womp. You can’t make this stuff up. Close, but no cigar.

Not that I mean to sound ungrateful! Of course I appreciate another pound lost and having made it one pound further. That being said… I really, really wanted to see 180-something on the scale this week. Ah, well. Next week for sure, eh? And in the meantime, just because in my decrepit state I need to celebrate something, I shall announce a NSV (non-scale victory) that I’ve been working on lately.

I started the 100 pushups and 200 situps challenges last weekend, and while, no, I don’t REALLY expect to ever be able to do a HUNDRED pushups (I’m not completely crazy!), after just one week of the program I can do FIVE of them. And we’re not talking girl-pushups here, folks. These are the real deal. So going from being able to do, um, none to five full-length pushups of my 190-lb self is a pretty big accomplishment! So we’ll focus on that, and not the .1 lb loss that wasn’t. We’ll still call it a win.

I’m sure I’ll be feeling better tomorrow, and we can get back on track. July WILL be the last month I see 190 on the scale. In the meantime, have a healthy day in my honor friends. I’ll be hacking up a lung and choking down herbal tea from here (here being, you know, my bed.)

PS: In case you didn’t see my tweets or Facebook updates about it, I totally saw Harry Potter again this weekend. It was awesome. Nerd out.

You got questions? I got answers.

Happy Friday, folks! It’s the last workday of the week (for us office-job peeps, anyway!) and I’m celebrating with the publishment (is that a word? Eh, I’m rolling with it anyway) of the Q&A page that I mentioned a couple days ago. I took (most) of the questions that you guys asked me and answered them in a separate page that you can access in the navigation bar at the top of the blog. Huzzah! You all had great questions, so if there are additional things you’d like to know, please feel free to ask! I especially think it will be fun to answer any “favorites” questions you might have, provided anyone has any actual interest in knowing that kind of stuff. Man, blogging really is for the narcissistic, eh?

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Not that *I* fit that bill or anything, of course! Bahahaha.

So as I mentioned yesterday, this week has been keeping me BUSY. Not that I’m complaining, because it’s all been a total blast, but sometimes you just need an evening where nothing’s scheduled, nothing’s planned, and you don’t have anybody to meet. I got my wish last night! I kicked off the afternoon with my third laser hair removal session (after just the second session I already noticed a HUGE difference, btw) and then spent the rest of the post-work day just, well, bumming around. I’m not supposed to work out or get super sweaty right after I get zapped, so a couple episodes of Sex & the City got watched, I spent some quality time with the puppers, and then headed down to la cocina to make dinner (last night was also the first night all week I cooked a real dinner for myself — eep!)

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I finally got broccoli slaw from Trader Joe’s! And it played an integral role in the game of pantry roulette that was my dinner last night. I sauteed some red onion in olive oil, then added two chopped chicken sausage links:

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Before adding the slaw to the mix:

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And while that was softening, I chopped up two apples as well, which tasted crisp and fresh in the dish. Mmmm.

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All together now!

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I just seasoned the dish with some salt and pepper, but it was some superawesomespecial salt that I was psyched to try out:

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I saw this smoked sea salt on someone’s blog recently (although I can’t remember whose – fail!) and knew I had to pick up a grinder the next time I was at TJ’s. The second you start grinding, it just EXUDES smokiness. I could barely believe it! I’m not sure I used enough of it to really get the smokiness to poke through the other flavor profiles, but you can bet I’ll be experimenting with this way more.

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A weird little concoction? Possibly. But it was delectable, it didn’t upset my stomach (score!), and was tres, tres healthy on top of all that. Win-win-win.

Do you ever buy something from the grocery store because it seems cool, even if you’re not exactly sure how to use it? I do this all the time. It’s fun to figure it out in the kitchen! What would you do with smoked sea salt? I’m thinking an obvious choice would be to season some grillin’ stuffs with it, since we don’t have an actual smoker it might give grilled meats and veggies some of that amazing flavor without the muss.