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.

Daily Eats – 7/21/11

Breakfast

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Apple with PB

Lunch

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Like, 2 bites of salmon and brown rice leftover from yesterday’s lunch at PF Changs. My stomach was still queasy though from my food poisoning so it really wasn’t cutting it.

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I went downstairs to get something bland from the deli, and grabbed a ginger ale to help settle my stomach as well. Too bad this green tea ginger ale stuff tasted disgusting! I should have just gone for the normal stuff, but I was trying to be adventurous. Rookie mistake, Powell. 3 sips was all I could take before it went in the trash.

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Luckily the mashed potatoes and corn did the trick, haha. Any excuse to eat nothing but carbs for lunch, I guess!

Dinner

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Yet another round of pantry roulette was played, resulting in a stir-fry that included TJ’s broccoli slaw, TJ’s apple chicken sausage, apples, onion, EVOO, and salt & pepper. Deets on the dish to come tomorrow.

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I also ate about a bajillion blue corn chips (just a couple with guacamole snagged from Erin‘s bowl, haha).

Dessert

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And I capped off the night with a couple pieces of mango and a chocolate-hazelnut butter spoon.

My stomach is definitely feeling much more back to normal — just in time for the weekend!

DC Blogger Meetup: Ella’s

Ahoy-hoy, friends! Today’s post is coming to you a bit later than usual this morning, but you’ll see why in a bit. Phew! Between sushi, crashing a culinary school class, and last night this week has been a whirlwind! But a superawesomefuntastic whirlwind, of course.

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So last night, I met up with fellow bloggers Kacy, Katie, Allison, and Jess for dinner & drinks at Ella’s Wood Fired Pizza in Chinatown! (Photo purloined from Jess.)

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Ella’s has an amazing happy hour that goes from 4 – 7, and it was PACKED. Katie and Allison arrived there early, so they had staked out a couple seats at the bar. We ended up having to wait a while for a table, but somehow we survived…

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$3.50 glasses of sangria? Don’t mind if I do!

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Thankfully all that time waiting gave us plenty o’ time to peruse the menu, so we ordered pretty much as soon as we were seated. Can’t keep hungry bloggers from their food, after all!

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I got the strawberry & orange salad to start (with spinach, candied slivered nuts, and goat cheese), and the margharita pizza.

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Which I ate 2/3 of, and it was soooo good. There’s nothing quite like melty fresh mozzerella and fresh basil having a party in your mouth, no sirree. Of course, the absolute best part about going to dinner with other bloggers?

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I’m never the only one taking pictures of my food! A big round of applause for the evening’s organizer too, btw: thanks Kacy!

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I know you want to thank me for posting this photo, so I’ll just preemptively say you’re welcome. 😉

It was a fantastic evening, even with the stifling humidity. Unfortunately, the night didn’t end quite as awesomely. Remember at the beginning of the post how I referenced mentioning why I’m posting a little late today? Well, that’s because I was up LATE last night… throwing up. Urk. I don’t know if it was the sangria, the salad, the pizza, or some combination of the three but something just didn’t sit well with me. I started feeling nauseous on the Metro ride home, but thankfully held it together until I walked in the door (thanks again for the ride, Kacy!) So it took me a little longer than usual to pull myself together this morning after the not-so-fun-ness that occurred post-dinner. Whatever, still worth it. The only true tragedy is that I had to throw out my leftover pizza this morning, since I really didn’t want to risk getting sick again. Sad.


Thanks for this pic, Kacy!

We’re going to try to implement a monthly outing like this, so other bloggers/blog readers in the area, mark your calendars! I believe we’re aiming for the next one to be at Graffiato, Top Chef (!!) contestant Mike Isabella’s new restaurant, in August. More details to come, but come one, come all!

Have you ever gotten food poisoning before? Have any thoughts on it, tips for avoidance, home remedies, recovery foods, anything like that?