A Dainty Diary of Lifting

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No Sugar Detox

I am stressed.

First of all, I am mega annoyed because I’ve been looking forward to the release of The 21 Day Sugar Detox for months. It came out today and I went to several bookstores, only to find that no one in town has it in stock. And I have no mailing address so I can’t get it shipped for another couple of weeks. While I’m disappointed I couldn’t get my hands on a copy today, I’m more annoyed by the fact that the salesclerk at the first store I went to was condescending and unhelpful. It was 10:30 on a Tuesday morning. I was the only customer in the store. I asked if she could help me find a copy of the book because I didn’t see it on the shelves. She sighed and wouldn’t make eye contact. Then when she looked it up on her computer, she told me it was released in September and not in stock. Um, no. It wasn’t. Stop telling me it was and acting like I’m an idiot. THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT.

So, I am not the proud owner of a new cookbook, which might be for the better since my apartment – including my fridge – is looking pretty bare. I am about 90% packed to move tomorrow. I need to go to IKEA to get an Allen wrench, and I need to pack all of my dishes. And I need to rent a storage facility! Other than that, I am just hoping people show up to help move my junk.

I feel very stressed out. I ate an entire dark chocolate bar after dinner and I don’t even feel overfull. I could really go for a pan of brownies and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and some more dark chocolate. Wouldn’t that be delicious and highly motivating?

Actually, I keep telling myself that I don’t have the power to stop eating right now, so I’ll just end up sick and then I won’t be able to finish packing. And I want to go to the gym tomorrow before my move so I need to get stuff done tonight! I found someone’s passport while packing today. I don’t know who it belongs to. I mean, I know the name of the person but she wasn’t my roommate or one of the previous tenants. Now I feel like I’m in a Matt Damon movie and it’s extra important for me to get jacked so I can ninja-fight all of the NSA agents spying on my blog.

Or something like that.

Food Diary

Breakfast –

  • fish oil
  • 1 elk sausage
  • 1 cupped handful pumpkin pie oatmeal
  • 1 thumb of walnut pieces
  • 1 thumb of dried cherries
  • 1 fist of cucumber
  • Cup of black coffee

1st lunchSuper shake

  • 5 red kale leaves, deveined
  • 4 tbsp hemp protein
  • 1 large valencia orange
  • 1 thumb sized scoop of almond cashew butter

2nd lunch –

  • 1 cupped handful wild & brown rice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 thumb’s worth of coconut oil
  • 1 fist sized serving of frozen stir fry veggies

All seasoned with: ginger powder, 3 shakes of gomasio, 1 dash sriracha, a splash of almond milk
+ 1 bite of mashed cauliflower while prepping cottage pie.

Dinner –

  • 1 fist of ground pork + onions
  • 1 handful of kimchi
  • Fried in 1 thumb of coconut oil
  • 160g of fresh blueberries, strawberries & raspberries on the side
  • 1 walnut half
  • 1 dried cherry
  • 100g Ritter Extra Dark chocolate bar

Workout: 4 minutes HIIT (30/20) on the erg. 815 m. Considered doing more but I just want to avoid life, honestly.

Days since last meltdown: 5



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Food Diary + Food Rules

Ha! My new Lean Eating habit is to keep a food diary and track what I’m eating. I’m ahead of the curve! Not only do I feel like I can master this habit, but I also feel like I’m coming off the weekend with some momentum, which is a rare situation for me. I had a great lifting session on Saturday. I love being strong! And I didn’t have a junk food bender on Saturday so I already feel 150% less bloated!

I am trying to do some meal prep over the next couple of days in anticipation of my upcoming move. Things are slowly coming together and I know where I’ll be staying for the next two weeks. I’m trying to use up all of the ingredients in my freezer, plus I will feel reassured to bring along some LE friendly meals when I’m not cooking out of my own kitchen. I made a big batch of pumpkin pie oatmeal and some elk sausage this morning, and some stuffed squash this evening.

Other than that, I read Michael Pollan’s Food Rules this afternoon. I am not a Pollanite, largely because I’ve never read any of his books. But I agreed with most of his rules. In fact, most of them have already been said to me over the past few months over my Lean Eating journey. Eat plants! Eat until you’re 80% full! Eat meals! All things I’m already doing. Although… I do drink almond milk with xantham gum in it and I’m not terribly strict about the 5 ingredient rule. If a food contains 10 ingredients that I recognize, I’m going to eat it. And as much as I try to eat healthy, it’s more convenient for me to buy almond milk with a thickening agent than to make my own. I don’t think he taught me anything new or groundbreaking, but I did appreciate his writing style.

Food Diary


  • Fish oil, Ca supplement
  • 6 Brussel sprouts and 2/3 of a spartan apple fried in 1 thumb of coconut oil.
  • 1 egg over easy
  • 1 cup black coffee

Notes: Felt very hungry when I woke up, but didn’t need to eat a lot to feel full.

1st lunch –

  • Aprx. 1 handful of slow cooker pumpkin pie oatmeal
  • 1 Elk Sausage
  • 1 generous handful of sauerkraut

Notes: Post-workout. Very hungry.

2nd lunch-

  • 1 fist of 2% cottage cheese with aprx. 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cupped handful of mixed fresh fruit (melon, pineapple, strawberries, grapes)
  • 1 fist of english cucumber
  • 1 large square of dark chocolate
  • 3 bites of pumpkin oatmeal
  • Green tea

Notes: Ate the oatmeal and the chocolate while cleaning up. The cottage cheese didn’t really hit the spot.

Dinner –

  • 1/4 medium onion
  • 1 small tomato
  • 1/8 cup diced red pepper
  • A splat of strained tomatoes
  • Ground pork – 1 fist-sized serving?
  • 3 sprinkles of nutritional yeast “Parmesan”
  • Wildberry tea
  • Persimmon

Workout: Lean Eating Phase 4 – Workout 1. So, about that whole 5×5 thing that I did on Saturday: It was great. It made me feel really enthusiastic about lifting again, which was a feeling I hadn’t felt in month. I needed the huge mental boost that I got from this weekend. But… my hip has been painfully unhappy ever since. And today was the start of Phase 4. When I looked at the workout, I actually wanted to do it. So that’s what I went and did. Sets of 8 were awesome.

Days since since last meltdown: 4

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Awesome, awesomer, awesomest

AWESOME: An article by Neghar Fonooni entitled “The Law of First Bites” about enjoying foods in moderation even when you have an excessive personality.

AWESOMER: I managed to avoid a Saturday night junk food bender last night. I wanted to go out for chocolate and ice cream but I know that always ends in guilt and I’ve been feeling kind of crappy about my junk food benders. I get these cravings but I don’t even want the taste of the food. I just want that feeling of over-fullness and I want to be distracted from everything else in my life. But I sent myself some alerts on my iPhone and every time I was ready to cave, I had a message there to stop me. I woke up this morning feeling unreasonably proud of myself, because I feel like eliminating these excessive splurges is one of the key barriers that prevents me from being happy with my body.

AWESOMEST: In anticipation of my upcoming move, I ditched my loveseat today. I managed to move a couch from my 11th floor living room to the basement of my building for disposal. I admit that at one point I was struggling to move the damn thing, but then I just reached down and did a tire flip. Fuck ya. I still got it.

Food Diary

Pre-brunch – 

  • Steamed Kale
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice of sprouted grain toast
  • Smear of almond butter
  • Coffee

Brunch @ The Atomic Rooster – Omelet with spinach, mushrooms & goat cheese*. Fresh fruit on the side.

Post-Brunch – Super Shake

  • Apple
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cranberries
  • Kale
  • Almond Butter
  • Cinnamon
  • Almond Milk
  • ACV
  • Ice

Dinner – Kimchi, Pork Sausage and Rice Fried in Coconut oil. Seasoned with coconut aminos + gomasio. Frozen grapes for dessert.

10 pm Meal – Persimmon & Cottage Cheese

*Note: Since I’ve been eating some yogurt and cottage cheese without any issues lately, I thought I could get away with a serving a goat cheese, which I’ve really been craving lately. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel so hot after brunch and I really think the goat cheese was the culprit. Mega sadz.

Workout: Rest day.

Days since last meltdown: 3

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I did my three month progress pictures today. I’m kind of feeling ambivalent about that and determined not to fuck up tonight.

Things I am feeling good about: I went to the gym and did a 5×5. I was super light weight but I don’t even care. It felt great to do some “heavy squats” (165lbs! Ha!) I threw in a couple of quick circuits at the end but I was in and out in about an hour. Woo!

The strangest part of today was trying to bench. I chopped off all of my hair on Thursday and every time I went to bench, I was surprised to find that I no longer had a ponytail that required adjusting.

Food Diary

Breakfast- 2 eggs scrambled with red pepper, onion, tomato and spinach. Fried in a coconut oil. Served with frozen grapes.

Brunch – Fireside stew, cucumber

Tea – 2 sausages, bowl of spiced carrot cauliflower soup + more frozen grapes

Dinner – Salad with romaine, red pepper, cuke, tomato, carrot, 2 boiled eggs, EVOO, balsamic & gomasio. Valencia orange.

Workout: I squatted 165x5x5 and benched 95x5x5 and it was hard.

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A zombie, persimmons and body fat

After seeing The Fruit Hunters on Wednesday, I received persimmons in my weekly produce delivery. I have never tried a persimmon! It feels so exotic! I also received the funkiest bell pepper I’ve ever seen and it I can’t wait to eat it!


However, I was supposed to receive my produce delivery yesterday and that did not transpire because my entire apartment building had a 12 hour power outage. There wasn’t even emergency lighting in the stairwell. While I’d prepared a couple of LE meals in advance, I was hungry and trapped in darkness by the end of the day and basically looking for any excuse to binge eat… so I had another bender, just in time for my caliper measurements this morning!

I am stressing eating.

This fact hit me like a wrecking ball last night as I was buying chocolate covered pretzels. I Liz Lemon stress-eat as a coping mechanism and I am pretty stressed out. My unemployment is lasting longer than expected and there’s been a problem in receiving my EI benefits. My bank account has been cleaned out. Most of my stuff, including a large part of my kitchen, is packed into boxes. I am not sure who is going to move those boxes or where they will go and I am quickly approaching my deadline to decide. I don’t know where I’m going to live for two weeks. I need to call my cable company. And I’ve been struggling with my Lean Eating Habits this week. The lessons are all about motivation and right now I am having trouble accepting advice that presumes that I am succeeding. And in general I’m just not seeing a lot of progress; my weight is only 3lbs less than it was back in July.

I don’t think I realized how much all of these things were taking a toll on me. I keep telling everyone that my funemployment streak is so awesome! I just sit around in my pajamas all day, watching whatever’s in my Netflix cue and getting my hair done and going to the gym. That’s certainly a life of leisure but it lacks a sense of purpose. Like, I have no real reason to get out of bed in the mornings. And I thought I was coping, until I found myself unable to fall asleep last night. It’s amazing what sort of realizations my sleep deprived brain can have at 4 am.

I feel sick. As much as I like to overindulge in junk food, that doesn’t account for my perpetual stomachache. I feel anxious ALL OF THE TIME. It’s exhausting to feel like I’m constantly on the edge of my life. I stay awake all night thinking about everything and nothing. I find it impossible to enjoy anything because I feel like something is perpetually looming on the horizon. Even food and lifting are tainted by this feeling of impending doom. Oh, and and sign #1547 that I am stressed is that I keep tearing up at inappropriate times. I thought that was just PMS, but I’m no longer PMSing and I started tearing up while flexing in the mirror at the gym.So that’s kind of a problem and admitting that I’m stressed was an incredible realization and a huge relief.

Sleep deprived and feeling like a zombie, I went to get my body fat measured this morning. I had a good chat with David who did my assessment. I think I might switch up my lifting program. I miss lifting heavy and it’s important to be passionate about what I’m doing in the gym. I don’t mind doing intervals for cardio twice a week or even doing some active recovery. I don’t mind adding in some higher volume circuits as accessory work. But I just want to put 300lbs on a barbell and squat. I needed a break and now I really miss lifting heavy which is sign that I’m probably ready to come back. Does it really make sense for me to continue doing a generic program that I don’t even care for? Lifting heavy and eliminating my junk food benders would probably give me some pretty decent results. With that in mind, I’m considering doing a 5×5 LP for the next phase of the program and seeing where I stand in 4 weeks time. But first I have to do my 3 month progress pictures and since I’ve been stress eating, I’m feeling kind of anxious about that.

The good news is that I haven’t managed to undo all of my progress. My 7 site skinfold assessment went from 23.1% to 19.8% body fat. Those numbers are probably the best motivation that I’ve received all week and put me in a much better frame of mind going forward. I came home and looked at my lean eating progress. My habit compliance is low the past couple of weeks, but my workout completion is 100%. There is hope for me yet.

Food Diary

Yesterday (My laptop died before I could log. #cavemanproblems)

Breakfast Slow cooker oatmeal, pork sausage, sauerkraut

1st lunch – Super Shake

2nd lunch – Oatmeal, Chicken Thighs, Carrot & Cauliflower soup

3rd lunch – Oatmeal, Cottage cheese

Not a meal – Blondie, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate covered cranberries, turkey sandwich, ice cream

Workout: Active recovery; 30 min on the stationary bike.


Lunch – Blue Gardenia Salad

Not quite dinner – Beet salad, greek salad and vegetarian quiche at Cafe 55

Post workout – Super shake

Workout: When I am this sleep deprived, I don’t trust my body to lift. I notice that I have a hard time tuning into my body on the best of days and being tired makes it even worse. I decided to do my intervals today in order to play it safe. I didn’t even manage a full mile on the treadmill and then I needed a nap. I stand by my decision.

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The Fruit Hunters

Yesterday, I went and I did something that I’ve been meaning to do for the past 18 months: I renewed my library card. Then I came home with some cookbooks. As part of my Lean Eating journey and my effort to eat a more diverse, balanced and sustainable diet, I am trying to eat new foods, and I’m trying to prepare things that are already part of my diet in different ways, At the talk I went to last week, the presenter mentioned that a good way to try new foods was to go to the library and bring home a cookbook. What a great idea.

I also used my renewed library card to get into a free screening of the documentary The Fruit Hunters tonight. The movie was released last year and explores the evolution of human culture alongside fruit, and specifically exotic fruit. There are a few story lines woven together in the documentary, including one researcher working in bananas, food hunters on the quest for mangoes, and a movie star trying to start a community orchard in his Hollywood neighbourhood.

I’m glad I went to see the movie, even though I was easily the youngest person in the audience by 20 years. The movie itself was visually stunning, but of course it’s a movie about fruit so is that really surprising? There were a couple of moments when the CGI lapsed from gorgeous to downright cheesy, but overall this was just a very beautiful movie. It was also incredibly frustrating because it was so well done. Seeing a gorgeous piece of fruit and then watching someone savour and describe its taste- pears and peaches and cinnamon and brown sugar!- without being able to experience the taste, touch or smell of these things over and over again for 90 minutes was maddening. And I suddenly have the urge to start an orchard in my non-existent backyard. That would be perfect for the canning technique I learned earlier this week!

In terms of content, the movie was interesting and did touch on some of my favourite themes: the homogenization of western diet and the disconnect between urban dwellers and their food sources. Bananas for example, are a prime example of the globalization of nutrition. Forget processed foods or chains, everyone in the world is eating genetically identical Cavendish bananas. And the idea that we could lose all of these bananas to Panama Disease is kind of terrifying. I enjoy bananas so much that I consider them one of my red light foods! They are so sweet and lovely! They are the perfect post-workout snack. What will I put in my smoothies? How will I make mock ice cream?

Of course, are people really worried about where bananas will come from? No. Because we expect bananas to be in the grocery store and the idea that one day they might not be there for $.79/lb is unfathomable. When the narrator of the film touched on the idea that fruit at the grocery store was “expected”, I thought back to my field camp this summer when we had to do communal grocery shopping. I wanted to buy a bag of Gala apples. I always buy Gala. But Stef said, “Fine, we can get Gala but they’re not my favourite.” The idea that someone didn’t totally love gala apples was kind of shocking to me, I admit. But she justified her opinion by saying, “They’re all the same. You know exactly what to expect.” And I was intrigued: did other apples have surprises?

Since field camp, I’ve been trying new varieties of apples and I like the surprise each time I try a new variety. How will this be different from good ol’ galas? It turns out that I really like honey crisp. And I’ve been making a hash with potato, brussel sprouts, apples and oregano. The first time around, I used a fuji apple. The second time I made the recipe, I used a gala. I was kind of disappointed by the gala in a way I’d never felt before. It was just boring.

But those are just apples. Here are people who travel all around the world looking for fruit that’s more exciting than what’s found in the produce department. I can definitely see the appeal. Like I said, I’m pretty much ready to start planting my own orchard right this second.

One thing I would I have liked to seen explored more is the distinction of fruit as a “health food”. For someone trying to “eat the rainbow”, fruit is a great choice. It’s natural and full of fiber, vitamins and minerals and water. But it’s typically more calorie-dense than vegetables and can cause blood sugar spikes. I’ve seen fruit demonized in diets like Keto because it’s considered too high in sugar. I wonder if having access to a rich variety of truly fresh fruit would be an effective obesity intervention. Someone should do an experiment where they move me to my own orchard and force me to live off an acre of land. I bet I could do it. And I bet I’d lose weight. And it would probably make for some great reality television.

Food Diary

Breakfast – Orange, Spinach, Pumpkin, Hemp, Kombucha Super Shake

First Lunch – Apple, Brussel Sprout & Potato Hash with eggs

Second Lunch – Mustard Chicken Thighs with Spiced Cauliflower & Carrot Soup

First Dinner – Cottage cheese, toast with almond butter, cucumber

Second Supper – Shrimp Stir Fry

Workout: Final Workout 1 of Phase 3. No more rack pulls for a while – and I was just starting to build up my callouses again! 😦

Days since last meltdown: 3


Some soup and a Vitamix

Spiced Cauliflower & Carrot Soup

Spiced Cauliflower & Carrot Soup

I used the money that I earned dog-sitting last week to buy a stick blender, because I really felt I needed one.  Homemade soup seems like a great way to eat my 5 servings of veggies everyday, and I can use up some of the extras that would otherwise wilt away in my fridge.

I’d seen a recipe on the Kitchn last week that I seemed destined to make, since I had both a cauliflower and some old carrots in my crisper. Oh. My. God. I can’t believe that some simple veggies can be pureed with a few spices to make something so incredibly satisfying. I had a giant bowl of this stuff with sardines and sauerkraut on the side for lunch, and my belly felt warm and loved all afternoon.  In fact, I wanted some more so I had another bowl at supper time. My blog is just not sufficient to explain how good this soup is. I seriously need to kidnap another human being and hold them hostage so I can force feed them. But I am not a sociopath.

Speaking of blenders, I asked for a Vitamix for Christmas. I asked for other things, too. My list consisted of about 25 items, most of them basic kitchen gadgets to improve my life as a chef.  My mom wrote me back and said, “It’s bad when I have to Google half of these things because I don’t know what they are. I didn’t know what a sous-vide was, or a Vitamix (Holy fuck! Expensive!) “.

And I responded with a link to this article from Slate: Can a $400 Blender Change Your Life? Yes.


Within three days of ownership I had made smoothies for my in-laws and husband, endorsed the machine to my office manager, raved about it to friends, and invited my parents over specifically for a Vitamix-themed lunch. When my mother, a former nurse, refused my blueberry-kale smoothie on the grounds that it looked like bile, I felt as if she were rejecting my new boyfriend. Eager to gain her approval, I whipped up some strawberry sorbet instead.

Just imagine all of the soups I could make with a bad boy like that in my life.

Food Diary

Breakfast – Apple Cider Pumpkin Super Shake

Lunch – Shrimp Stir fry with beans, onion, broccoli, water chestnuts, mushrooms and bok choy in a ginger sesame sauce

Second lunch – Spiced Carrot Cauliflower Soup, sardines and sauerkraut

Dinner – Potato, apple and brussel sprout hash with 2 eggs + another bowl of soup

Workout – LE Phase 3 Workout 2 – The lifting routine that I failed to schedule yesterday.

Days since last meltdown: 2