A Dainty Diary of Lifting

Lean Eating Update: Phase 2, Food Diary and PMDD



80% Full: 2 eggs, steamed greans and a slice of toast with almond butter

I am six weeks into Lean Eating and have officially completed the first phase. As someone with chronic dieter’s ADHD, that has to be a new world record and personal best in terms of consistency. I haven’t been perfect by any means – I ate an entire bag of chocolate covered almonds in the field, and I had an ice cream cone larger than my head at the Laurentian Dairy. But my adherence has been >80% across the board, which is what I’ve always been aiming for but never quite achieved. I seriously want to pat myself on the back for this accomplishment.

The first phase has focused primarily on eating mindfully. One thing that really grates on me is that a lot of fitspo and lifting blogs talk about eating in moderation and eating mindfully, but they never define what that means or how it’s done. If all you’ve ever known are disordered eating habits, then you need more than a vague mantra to carry you to your goals. Well, I’ve finally been implementing the instruction manual myself, eating until 80% full at meals, and I’ve been documenting what that looks like. Turns out, I don’t need a lot of food to feel satisfied – but I still feel satisfied!

Seeing myself consistently eating so little but feeling satiated, I’m also beginning to see just how out of whack restaurant serving sizes are, and it’s worse than I ever imagined. I feel like I’ve awoken to some sort of secret knowledge. No wonder we are being faced with an epidemic.


80% Full: Shake ‘n Bake Chicken with buttered green beans and waffle fries

To finish off the first stage, I had to take 6-week progress pictures. I don’t see a huge difference, honestly. Actually, I don’t see any difference at all. It seems ironic to me that the only place I see evidence of physical progress is on my scale that I’m always told to ignore. The only visible change I can distinguish is that I picked up a tan while I out in the field. Tanning apparently makes my legs look much firmer. I wanted to say I’m looking more toned, which is basically every girl’s dream (or so I’m told) but I still have too much junk in the trunk to make that claim with any sort of credibility.

And I am seeing progress. Maybe I haven’t had a drastic physical change overnight, but that’s not what I signed up for. I have noticed a very real change in my attitude towards food. It’s like how the Whole 30 challenge promises to heal my relationship with food but then cuts me off from most types of food? Well, everyday I see proof of the healing that’s happening within my body and my mind, without having cut myself off from reality.


80% Full: Two egg breakfast sandwich with greens and avocado

Now I’m on to Phase 2 of the program, which begins to focus more what I should actually be eating. The first step is to eat protein consistently. I don’t know if I’m going to stumble here, or not. All joking about theoretical gainz aside, I sometimes don’t know how women can love steak so much. I like a good steak. But I’ll take an english muffin with peanut butter over meat, any day. I often joke that I am a recovering vegetarian, and my protein intake is where a lot of cracks start to show in that regard. Certainly my failing relationship with protein is not news to me.

I’ve also started the second stage of workouts. I went this morning and performed the first routine. Although I was excited to see that the number of reps decreases, everything is supersetted without rest. Basically, fuck strength. Let’s do cardio! I didn’t move a lot of weight today, but I was nonetheless gassed by the end. And somewhere along the line I picked up a sick tricep pump, which is not something I’ll ever complain about.


80% Full: Sandwich with Hummus, turkey & cuke, baby carrots and avocado

Part of the reason that I have been able to comply with the Lean Eating protocols is simply because they’re providing me with mental support for my diet and my life. I feel like the nutrition and exercise routine that I’ve settled into is keeping my head stable, too. Just like I don’t have to tackle every little problem in my diet today, I don’t need to tackle every problem in my life at this particular moment. Just because I can do anything doesn’t mean I have to do everything. It’s been incredibly freeing to reassure myself that my life is good enough as it is for right now.

That said, I arrived home from fieldcamp to find that my SSRI prescription had run out. I considered stopping the meds cold turkey, but even I could see what a stupid idea that would be. So I went to a doctor who finally discussed the possibility of PMDD with me. He adjusted my medication and ordered a twice daily dose of 600 mg of Ca, with the goal of eventually coming off the meds. I googled “PMDD and Calcium” when I got home. This is actually a thing. My fingers are crossed that if I maintain this level of consistency in my diet and supplement properly, then then I can come off the meds in a few months time – and not just because my new prescription cost me an arm and a leg to refill. (I was unwilling to surrender my right arm, because it definitely had the better pump.)


80% Full: Organic Maple Breakfast Sausage with steamed greens and a slice of toast with almond-hazelnut butter


3 thoughts on “Lean Eating Update: Phase 2, Food Diary and PMDD

  1. So many starving kids in Africa…

    … kidding 😉

    Nice work! This has been super interesting to follow, by the way.

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