A Dainty Diary of Lifting

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June 24: Benchin’

Can I just take a minute to be an old lady and talk about this heat? Crikey! My top floor apartment is sweltering. I thought that last night was bad because I was wearing all of my roller derby gear at the rink, but I had no idea what I was in for tonight.

I fell asleep after work, but made myself go lift when I woke up, mostly because the gym has air conditioning and my apartment does not. Summer could be good for my gains after all.

I benched and pressed tonight. I was supposed to do 110x3x3. Went for a rep-out on the last set and got 6 fairly easily. Not my best but also not as tragic as I was expecting given how much I’ve been slacking.

I did DB rows, curls and tricep push downs as my accessory work. Bro day, which I’m liking after derby day.

This was also my first workout since Gary left. I was thinking that I might check out some other gyms in the neighbourhood after the long weekend. I’ve been at the Y for nearly 2 years and I think it’s just time for a change in scenery. I am also debating lifting in the mornings, since I keep falling asleep after work no matter what I do.

Although, after basically taking a month off from the gym, I arrived at the gym tonight to see a bunch of people I didn’t recognize. One was guy was squatting respectably and then wanted to press. I agreed to switch racks with him, but then he felt the need to go out of his way to rack the 75lbs for me, because I look like I can’t manage on my own.


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June 23: Roller derby

Hi. I’m alive. I haven’t been to the gym all week, and I am not beating myself up over it.

I am still adjusting to the meds they put me on for my mental issues. I’ve spent a lot of time sleeping/not sleeping, and I’ve noticed that it’s affecting my performance at work. On top of that, I’ve been having some good days and some bad days, and I find I can switch on a moment’s notice for no apparent reason. But mostly I just feel apathetic about everything.

So I haven’t been back to the gym, but I’ve still been working on “me”. One of my friends commented that the drugs are changing me, which has really freaked me out. But, I also cannot disagree. I feel like my body is not as horribly deformed as I thought it was. I keep telling myself that I am a person of value and I have good qualities. Sometimes I cut people off, but I am an attentive audience. I am open to new experiences and ideas. Although I can be quick to judge, I like most people that I spend the time getting to know. I have a good memory and can make connections between concepts that I’ve learned.

All of that is a lot more important than the number on the scale this week, or my lifting numbers. Those will come with time and I’m not worried about it.

Actually, looking back, I am beginning to suspect I was overtraining. Sheiko coupled with extra gym time while running a deficit? I know the internet is quick to decry overtraining, just work harder, etc. But I dreaded having to go to the gym and then I cried in the squat rack at one point, for god’s sake. So I’ll go back when I’m ready and listen to what my body is trying to tell me.

Right now it’s saying, “You have not been to the gym in a week and you expect to do roller derby when it feels like 35 degrees outside? Ya, good luck with that.”

Much of the same tonight at derby: stopping and falling practice. We did some sculling at the end, and they did a review of the rules and how a derby match works. Apparently, you wear a “panty” on your helmet. Ya. Just when you thought derby couldn’t be any gayer.

I got lube on my knee pads this week because my falls weren’t landing smoothly. It made the world of difference, although I might need to go buy some new knee pads. Either I have a hamstring imbalance or my pads are not the same size but either way I can’t get one of them done up at the top. This is what I get for having massive quads.

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June 17: “Derby homework”

I have officially withdrawn from the meet I was planning to do in July. I realized that I was a month out, and had to make a decision, and with everything else going on, I just want to focus on getting to the gym consistently, getting stronger and feeling good about it. Let the good times roll.

Today I tackled my weekly “derby homework” aka squats and lunges. Now, the instructors told us we should be doing [body weight] squats and lunges every week. If either of those are too easy, do them faster. Ya.


Instead, I went and started my second week of the GZCL method. I squatted 250x3x3. Felt slow but smooth tonight. I was a bit worried headed in because my weight took a nose dive over the weekend and I still feel simultaneously euphoric and stabby. And exhausted. But then I saw that my worksets were only 250lbs and I knew I’d be pissed off with myself if I didn’t get it – and I’m not allowed to feel bad about lifting anymore. So I just did it.

The second part of my “homework” was to do lunges. We do bodyweight lunges as part of our off-skate warm-up, and the lunge is kind of important for getting up when you’re down. I started off trying to do some reverse BB lunges. I had a coach early in my lifting career who basically told me that forward lunges with the barbell would kill your ankles and now I’m brainwashed. But I didn’t have the balance to pull off the rear lunges today, so I opted for some normal kettlebell lunges. I’m still doing like 110% more single leg work than I was doing 2 months ago when my hip was bothering me.

Finished up wit some leg extensions, lat pull downs and push ups.

Food Diary

My appetite seems to be returning for now. To celebrate, I made mini turkey meat loaves from Make It Paleo, served with green beans and shallots. Very delicious (and easy!) but meatloaf is quite possibly the most unaesthetic food ever.

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June 16: Roller Derby Round 3

So to start: a huge thank you to anyone from the internet who has been supportive of me this week as I try to figure out how to cope with life. I recognize that my “real life” support network is not quite as strong as it could be, and even where I do have friends who want to be helpful, I just feel like they don’t always get it. Asking for help seems like one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I needed some help to get there. But there have been a few people on the internet who have really helped me reach a “Eureka!” moment, and now I just feel incredibly relieved.

Actually, that’s a lie. I almost feel relieved. I almost feel a lot of things, but I’m not quite there. It’s like all of my emotions are encapsulated inside of my brain and I can see them but I can’t reach out and actually feel them. I almost feel numb. I almost feel happy. I almost feel anxious. Shit is weird and confusing. But I’m also having about a dozen other side effects which are freaking me out to various degrees. We’ll see what the doc says when I go back.

Among those side effects are lack of motivation, drowsiness and insomnia. Have you ever had drowsiness and insomnia at the same time? It’s like your body is at war with itself. And I was supposed to go to derby tonight, after completing the Ottawa Spartan Sprint yesterday.

I did this race last year and finished it in 75 minutes. This year, I did it with a different group of friends and the course had changed locations to a ski hill. It was awful. Maybe it’s just the prairie girl in me talking, but trying to run up and down grassy black diamond ski runs didn’t make me feel hardcore. It just made me feel defeated – even after getting the t-shirt and the bragging rights. I think part of the reason it sucked so much is because there was a mistake in setting up the course: it was supposed to be a 5 km course, but it was actually 6.7 km – with one water station on a hot day. I think given the entry fee, the fee for parking and the bag-drop fee, they could afford to give the runners more than 8 oz of water. Not sure I would ever want to do this type of race again, given the whole experience.

Anyway, I thought I’d be more sore today, given the fact that I spent 2 hours of my life doing that yesterday, but I woke up today with nothing more than some bruises and scrapes on my knees. Unfortunately I had derby tonight and derby is not the most knee friendly sport out there. I really wanted to skip practice, especially given my current state of overwhelming apathy, but I’ve dropped so much money on derby gear at this point that I feel like I need to pass the assessment whether I want to or not. So I went.

We didn’t learn any new skills this week, which is probably for the better. There was also a new instructor. She ran a more structured class than the past couple of weeks and that really jived well with me. Her explanations were more about mechanics – going over things like angles and where to place your weight during the movements – instead of just saying “Do this” and showing us the motions. I think it also helped that she finally provided some context for why we learn things like stepping. There were a couple of times where I just thought, “Oh! That makes so much sense!”

So now I’ve successfully performed the one-point, two-point and four-point falls. I’ve got the plough stop down. (I even got a “You’ve got it!” from the instructor on that one.) I did manage a couple of good t-stops, but that needs work because I can’t hit it consistently.  I also need to work on reducing the amount of arm-flailing I’ve got going on when I’m gliding.

Overall though, I felt really shitty about myself after last week’s class and I don’t have that feeling this week. I also feel like I will actually pass the assessment in 5 weeks time. Look at me! I’m so fucking optimistic!

Food Diary

Food has been a lot like sleep: I need it, I want it but I can’t seem to handle it. The smell of food just makes my stomach turn, even if I’m ravenous.  I’m hoping this side effect clears up shortly because now that I’m in a more level-headed place, I went back and re-evaluated my diet. I’ve felt off-track since the beginning of May, but my weight and food logs don’t reflect that fact. For one thing, I weigh less right now than I did a month ago. And cooking my meals on Sunday has been keeping me on track most of the time – which is what really matters. So it’s okay that I ate an entire pistachio dark chocolate bar for supper tonight, right?


June 14: Dozy deadlifting

As I mentioned yesterday, I finally went to a doctor. I’ve been having some issues for a while. Lack of motivation to lift and runaway diet are truly just symptoms of a bigger issue in my life right now. I’m not saying that as an excuse, although it took me a while to accept that for myself.

I might regret admitting this on the internet, but I feel that it needs to be said: I’ve been feeling suicidal for a while, but I promised someone important that I wouldn’t hurt myself. When push came to shove, I decided that I valued that promise and forced myself to go to the doctor.

It went way better than I ever imagined it could go. The doctor proposed a bunch of solutions, and let me decide which ones I wanted to pursue. And for the first time, I felt like someone was asking the right questions. Instead of asking me how I felt or why I felt this way, he asked me how my level of interest in my hobbies was doing. Doc, I’ve been saying for months that I have no interest in lifting. Just read my blog.

So this is my second day on an SSRI. I don’t expect to be cured overnight, but I feel better knowing that I’m doing what I can for now to resolve the situation. I have to go back to see the same doctor in a couple of weeks and we’ll re-evaluate then. In the meantime, I feel a bit a like a robot. A very tired robot. My emotions feel like they’re frozen and dealing with all of that junk yesterday was exhausting. I haven’t been sleeping well to begin with and doziness is a side effect of the drugs, so I am feeling a little foggy today. I know there will be a period of adjustment here, but I keep telling myself that this will be better for my lifting and my life in the long term.

Another side effect of the drugs is appetite suppression, at least initially. I am running a huge calorie deficit right now, and I knew that wasn’t going to help my performance at the gym. I tried to stuff down some extra calories at dinner, but I was just making myself feel sick so I gave up and went to the gym.

Breakfast for Dinner: Pumpkin pancakes with a fried egg and strawberries

Breakfast for Dinner:
Pumpkin pancakes with a fried egg and strawberries

I went and deadlifted, working up to 295x3x3. It’s a good thing that I’m at the beginning of a program and had an easy day, because everything felt heavy. Then again, I think I’ve only deadlifted twice in the past 2 months, so what else could I have expected?

After pulling, I did front squats, leg curls, lat pull downs and some push ups as my accessory work. I only managed 165×5 on front squatting, which is lower than where I was a few weeks ago, but I’m relieved that I’m starting a progression once again. I feel like I’m in a place where I can start rebuilding, and I’m satisfied that I’ve done enough for now.

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Rest day food diary

Yesterday, I was so busy feeling like I was suffocating at the bottom of Mariana’s Trench that I didn’t do a food diary entry. But today I stumbled upon “A Guide to Eating Very Particular Feelings“:

FEELING: The one where you’ve built an idea about the future like an intricate origami creature inside your chest, and slowly or suddenly the possibilities turn into impossibilities and for hours or days there’s a rustling in your rib cage as the complex structure destroys itself, unfolding and flattening, unfolding and flattening pleat by pleat.

HOW TO EAT IT: Maybe just like an entire loaf of bread. Put butter on it. Put anything you can find on it.

Can I get an “Amen”?

But instead I offer the following:


PROPOSED ALTERNATIVE: Orange Braised Beef with Cauliflower “rice”. Consumed with a side of Citalopram and some dark chocolate, after finally going to a doctor. We’ll see what happens, but hopefully this was a big step towards getting back on track with my lifting, my diet and my life in general. Time to begin folding once more.


June 2: A bit of benching and a bunch of feelings

I lifted this evening. Technically it was my second day of GZCL method and it just so happened to be the biggest, bro-iest workout I’ve had in a while. I was okay with this plan. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but that Insanity circuit left my legs pretty sore.

So I went and benched, working up to 110x3x3. It looks like I’ve lost all of the work capacity built up on Sheiko, despite the fact that I still haven’t managed a PR in several months and I’m 20lbs heavier. But my last rep looked smoother and more controlled than my first, which is at least a good sign. I did eat approximately at maintenance-level calories today because I’ve been feeling pretty hungry. I suspect that’s why these felt really strong and fast, even though I struggled to set up on the bench that is too tall for me.

Accessory work was OHP, one-armed rows, curls, and tricep extension. Like I said, I was okay being a bro. And I’m glad this was kind of an easy day, because I’ve been feeling kind of down all day.

I know that I’ve been saying for a while that I’ve been struggling with my lifting and my weight and my diet and my self-esteem. Like, really struggling. And I realize all of those things an interrelated part of my state of mind. But today just so happened today that they all came crashing down in a giant meteor of dysfunctionalism.

It started with the internet. I read this article, It’s Hard Out Here for a Fit Chick which was so relatable in fact, that I finished reading it and thought, “Ya, but she is not actually fat. She just has poor self-esteem due to the fitness industry’s culture. What if you are actually fat, like me?” Congratulations brain! You totally missed the point!

I also read an article on women who eat Paleo, noting that the women who are leading the current Paleo trend all hot, fit, conventionally attractive chicks. There seems to be a requirement to look a certain way if you claim to be “fit”, regardless of the fact that fitness is a measure of work capacity. And note that while each of these articles seems to be geared towards professionals in the industry, the problem is much more ubiquituous.

I am by no means a fitness professional. But I feel like my current level of fitness is one of my biggest barriers in attempting to date. Let’s play out the scenario, like I’ve done many times in my head. You’re me. You sign up for a dating site and you find a guy who is into lifting and eating Paleo and generally being active. What does he look like? Probably pretty hot. And because he values his own physical appearance, he expects the same from a partner. He’s looking for a fit chick. How does he react when I show up on a first date? I may be able to squat +300lbs, but dudes looking for a fit chick are looking for some muscle muscle definition, low body fat and abs. I have none of those things. In fact, I think some of those things are kind of overrated, which is not necessarily a socially acceptable viewpoint.

In fact, I am pretty objectively fat. I was playing around with BBC’s global fat scale this morning. My BMI is higher than 97% of women aged 15-29! And you know what? That’s 90lbs lighter than I was 5 years ago, yet my self-esteem couldn’t be any lower.


When I weighed 250lbs, I knew that my self-worth was based on factors other than my bodyweight. It was like all of that extra weight made me deaf to all of the comments about how I needed to lose weight. I was so far from being hot that I was a lost cause, or people at least knew that it was in poor taste to disparage fat people in my presence. And then all of a sudden I lost some weight and suddenly I started hearing all of the comments at once. Now I’m bombared with messages from everywhere about how disgusting fat people are, or how women always need to be skinnier, leaner and more toned – or whatever else it is that I’m supposed to be. I’ve kind of lost track.

Now I’m at this point in my life where I feel like all of my social interactions are dictated by my weight. I’m always wondering whether the person I’m talking to would like if they knew me when I was heavier? And what if someone rejects me for being overweight? On the one hand, it makes them an asshole. But it also makes me feel like shit. It negates all of the progress that I’ve made, and it scares me that I simply might never be good enough to feel accepted by other people. Needless to say, this is not a healthy attitude for approaching social scenarios or dating.

[Redacted some parts that maybe I don’t want on the internet for open commentary]

In the meantime, the cure for an internet-induced bout of depression is always more internet. You know what made me feel a bit better? First, a tumblr entitled “What Kind of Guy Tells Women To Make Him a Sandwich?” – which reminded me that tough guys who vocalize their opinions on the internet are sometimes kind of lame. And second, these adorable Corgis.