A Dainty Diary of Lifting

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Revisiting my food logging

Welcome back to my food journal. The past week has been kind of crazy.Seeing my parents was good? but stressful? I hadn’t been home in two years and it will probably be another two before I go back. Generally everyone was well-behaved but at one point I cried and said, “How am I supposed to let it go? I just can’t sit and watch you guys eating yourself to death!” So that was not fun. And I am still of the opinion that a party-sized bag of Tostitos does not constitute a “meal”. And Cheetos are not “a step up.”

But I am home now, and generally returned to the sanity of a regular meal schedule. I spent most of the weekend just sleeping but I guess now it’s back to food journalling. I found this habit to be really helpful for maintaining my consistency. Overall I felt like I could bend the rules enough to stay sane and when I did eat brie or fro-yo, I didn’t feel guilty.  Then I stopped journalling and I was struggling to remember the last time I’d eaten, and when I did eat it, they were not great choices. Honestly, journalling really does help keep my headspace clean, and I need that because my head is just a messy place. Life is untidy and I will always have a strong instinct to try and impose some semblance of order.

And maybe one day I will blog about lifting again. I am going to do a meet this year. After PNLE is done in July. But I still plan to talk a lot about food because I needed to figure out my diet before I could feel confident in my lifting. And maybe the scale doesn’t reflect any progress at the moment, but it is slowly happening. I swear. Also, I am less opinionated about lifting these days. People can do whatever they want. There are tons of stupid things you can do at the gym to feel good about yourself and you’re still ahead of everyone who is sitting at home, eating chocolate for breakfast.

Also, if you haven’t noticed, I am food obsessed. It may be a symptom of my Former Fat Kid Syndrome, but I have a lot of opinions when it comes to food and not just when it comes to my parents’ diets. Example:

I messaged a guy on OKC this weekend. I thought his profile was kind of hilarious because he devoted an entire paragraph to describing himself as Paleo. Which I thought was pretty fair, because we are what we eat. But then he listed Coke Zero as one of the things he couldn’t live without.

I asked if Coke Zero was Paleo.

He wrote back a rather hostile message, saying that Paleo wasn’t a religion so he wasn’t going to be speared and he didn’t have to eat “literally like a caveman would.”

I replied: I know what Paleo is. It just seems funny that if the principle of Paleo is not to eat like a caveman, then it’s to eat wholesome and nourishing foods… and Coke Zero is neither nourishing, nor food. At some point I couldn’t justify my Diet Coke habit, and even though I sometimes say I’m Paleo, I still eat oatmeal and quinoa and rice.

“A little quinoa and rice are fine occasionally and won’t kill you unless you eat them at every meal.”

I didn’t respond. Obviously we are not compatible.

Food Journal

8:40 – Breakfast – Sweet Potato hash w/fried eggs

  • 1 fist-sized sweet potato
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices of bacon
  • 1 cupped handful of baby carrots
  • 1 tbsp fish oil
  • 1 cup black coffee

12:25 – Lunch – Stir-fry

  • 1 thumb of coconut oil
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 cupped handful of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cupped handful of canned, diced tomatoes
  • 1 cupped handful chick peas
  • 1 pam-sized serving of beef

15:40 – Post-workout

  • 1 cupped handful 2% cottage cheese
  • aprx. 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 thumb of almond hazelnut butter
  • 1 med. banana
  • 3 mini cucumbers with sea salt
  • 2 thumbs of 99% dark chocolate

16:45 – Holiday tea @ Second Cup

19:35 – Supper – Curried Chickpeas with Spinach

  • 1 thumb EVOO
  • 1 cupped handful of chickpeas
  • aprx. 2 oz tomato paste
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 heading handful of baby spinach
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 palm-sized serving of plain greek yogurt

* Will make this meal again!



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Food Journal Day 14

Today is technically my last day of my food journalling habit do-over. The first time I tried this habit, my compliance was only 54%. This time around, I was much better with 93% adherence – the only day that I skipped some of my logging was last Saturday when I had that dinner party. So now I feel like I can actually evaluate the current state of my diet.

1. Consistency with PN-style eating and LE habits: Both weeks, 91% of my meals were consistent with my PNLE principles (including the 2 meals I didn’t fully document on Saturday night. I am really proud of that – and even a little bit surprised. As much as the perfectionist in me would like to achieve 100% consistency, I know that’s unrealistic and unnecessary. I feel like I’ve hit a really sweet spot where I am being nourished, eating to lose weight long-term  but I’m still enjoying my food. This is a Big Freakin’ Deal! Because these are exactly the things I wanted but couldn’t achieve before I started PNLE. I just want to jump for joy.

One thing I did notice was that during both weeks of my journalling, I had a couple of meals that were not PNLE-friendly because they didn’t include a protein. I am eating protein more consistently than I have in the past – I am a recovering vegetarian, after all – but there is still room for improvement.

2. Food quality. Again, I think that this was another successful area for me.  One thing I noticed is that I’ve been flirting with being Paleo somewhat unintentionally. This seems to be working for me, so we’ll see if it continues. Even when I didn’t eat a protein, my snacks were 99% dark chocolate or fruit and almond butter. And even my “splurge” on Saturday evening was pretty high quality: brie with baguettes – the first bread I’d eaten in months. I am feeling really good in this area and I think my PNLE habit next week will help me tighten up any last little areas where I could improve. But if you compare what I’m eating now with the things I was eating when I counted calories, the difference is like night and day. It’s incredible.

3. Food quantity. I would say food quantity is still the area where I struggle the most. PNLE recommends eating 4 or 5 times/day, but it’s not uncommon for me to eat only 3 meals. I could probably stand to eat more often because right now, I sometimes let myself get really hungry before I eat and I know that makes me prone to overeating.

In social situations, I’m still struggling to recognize that I’m no longer hungry. I think this is one of those things that just takes more practice and I’m not very social to begin with, so hopefully this will improve with time.

And I still clean off my plate most of the time. Granted, I only use small plates and I serve myself more reasonable portions to begin with, but I could probably be better in tune with my physical hunger cues.

4. Food and feelings. I noticed that I didn’t have a junk food bender during my 2 weeks of journalling. I’m a bit flabbergasted. But I do think I’m getting a better handle on the link between food and my emotions.

First, I’ve noticed that cutting down the amount of really sweet fruit in my diet reduced the number of cravings that I was having for sweets in general. I think I always assumed that fruit was healthy, but I was eating enough of it to screw up my blood sugar levels. Now that I have this awareness, I’ve really been focused on eating more vegetables and I think that’s keeping my emotions and mental state more stable.

But… I did struggle with my body image. Full disclosure: My period started a couple of days before I started journalling… and it’s still going. This is my 14th day of food journalling. Is it really a wonder that I’m frustrated by my body? As much as I feel like my hormones are less of a roller coaster, something is still out of whack. Yes, I feel like I am insanely proud of how much my nutrition has improved. But 50% of the time, I just feel bloated and disgusted with myself. So in the new year, I resolve to see a doctor about getting my IUD removed and we’ll see how that affects my mental state.

I also think that I might need to reevaluate some of my long-term goals. I’ve always said that if I lost 100lbs, I would get a tattoo to celebrate – but that would put me at 132lbs. And based on my last bodyfat assessment, I’m at a healthy level of body fat and I’ve still got 130lbs of lean mass. Those numbers make my end goal seem somewhat unrealistic and undesirable… but I admit that I am still struggling to divorce my scale. I try remind myself that no one cares if I weigh 165lbs, so I should just let it go… but it’s still a work in progress.

In summary, I have a couple of areas that could still be tightened up in my diet, but I’m not obsessively worried out about them. Instead, self affirmation (7): I did an awesome job of logging my food and I recorded a pretty healthy diet. I rock.

Food Diary

7:00 – Breakfast

  • 1 slice swirly crustless quiche (2 egg, 1 cupped handful grated zucchini + carrots)
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 2 thumbs of almond butter
  • 1 tbsp fish oil
  • 2 cups black coffee

11:00 – Lunch

  • 1 cupped handful cottage cheese
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 sprouted grain english muffin
  • 1 thumb almond butter
  • 2 mini cucumbers
  • 10 cherry tomatoes

2:15 – Pre-workout

  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 fist sized serving pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon
  • 1 cupped handful brown & wild rice
  • 1/2 thumb of butter

6:00 – Post-workout

  • 2 thumbs 70% dark chocolate

6:30 – Supper

  • 1 lemon and capers chicken thigh with skin
  • 1 cupped handful of steamed green beans
  • 1 cupped handful of baked sweet potato
  • 1/2 thumb of butter

7:40 –

  • 2 thumbs of dark chocolate

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Food Journal Day 13

And… I’m officially stressed to be home.

We went grocery shopping. I told my mom she didn’t need to buy 2 boxes of ice cream/week for herself. She said, “Well, I normally buy 4. So this is an improvement.” And then we bought junk food for my dad – tons of chips and pretzels and chocolate – only to come home to him eating McDonald’s poutine. Chips and cheesies are not a meal. But then this morning I made a really simple meal: I mixed together eggs with grated vegetables and threw it in the oven. My dad said this seemed like a lot of work.


I just feel very helpless and frustrated. My mom told me that she couldn’t drink black coffee because it made her feel “not well”. But I just want to ask how she can ever feel well when her quality of life is so obviously deteriorated. We’re talking about a woman who was out of breath after peeling three carrots.

I do recognize that these are my parents and I want what’s best for them. And I finally feel like everything has fallen into place with Precision Nutrition: I had some sort of lightbulb moment and now I am eating healthfully and it’s rather automatic. I’m not counting calories, I’m not on a diet and even though nothing is technically off limits, I want to eat well. It’s all so easy and simple. Just do it for yourselves! And meanwhile I feel so helpless.

I’m especially irritable today. Obviously flying across time zones and sleeping in a strange bed don’t exactly make for good quality recovery. And my digestive system doesn’t seem to have kept up. So I am feeling somewhat irritable and I don’t think that’s helping me deal with anything.

I stretched for an hour today because I knew that was really what I needed. So self-affirmation (6): I have gotten much better at tuning into my body. I am mindful of when things are working, and when I need to fix something.

Food Journal

10:00 – Breakfast –

  • 1 piece of swirly crustless quiche (2 eggs, 1 cupped handful grated zucchinni + carrots)
  • 1 cupped handful brown & wild rice
  • 1/2 thumb of butter
  • 1 tbsp fish oil
  • 1 cup black coffee

3:00 – Lunch – Super shake

  • 1 large banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/8 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 scoop of whey
  • 1/2 cup of almond milk
  • 1 handful of baby spinach
  • 1 red bell pepper

7:10 – Dinner – Double Pork tenderloin

  • 1 fist sized serving tenderloin
  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 1 cupped handful steamed broccoli
  • 1 red potato, baked, drizzled with olive oil

I might have underestimated the amount of meat here slightly, just because I took a couple of extra slices after my initial serving… but it was just until I was 80% full so that’s fine.

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Food Journal Day 12

Travelling during Christmas is exhausting and frustrating and exhausting. But!

Self affirmation: (5) I am the most well fed lean eater in the air.


(5.5) I got to the gym despite spending all day travelling.

Food Journal

Last night – 11:00
Small banana
1 thumb almond-hazelnut butter
2 thumbs dark chocolate

6:00 – Ottawa airport

1 swirly quiche (2 eggs, 1 cupped handful grated zucchini  & carrot)
1 cupped handful sliced red pepper
1 cupped handful cucumber
1 green apple
23 g R/S almonds
Large black coffee

7:45 – In-flight

1 cup Ceylon tea, clear

The flight attendant had to double and triple check to make sure I didn’t want complimentary “cookies” or pretzels. At 7:45 in the morning. Ridiculous.

10:00 – In-flight
1 piece swirly crust less quiche (2 eggs, 1 cupped handful grated zucchini  & carrot)
1 cupped handful cucumber
1 cupped handful honey roasted chick peas

12:30 – coffee

1:30 – Calgary airport

1 swirly quiche (2 eggs, 1 cupped handful grated zucchini  & carrot)
1 cupped handful sliced red pepper
1 cupped handful cherry tomatoes
1 green apple
23 g R/S almonds

9:00 – Supper in Regina

1/2 chicken breast with 1 thumb of onion
1 thumb of asian sesame dressing
1 cupped handful brown & wild rice
1 cupped handful asian chop chop salad mix – cabbage & kale


Food Journal Day 11

I’ve spent most of today frantically running around town, trying to finish some of my Christmas shopping before I fly home. But I had to stop for a minute and catch my breath when I called my mom and she told me that my father had a heart attack.

In a way, this is a kind of funny. In my blog entry yesterday, I said I was generally stressed out that my parents would have a heart attack at any moment. And apparently my dad has done exactly that, and he didn’t even realize it.

The good news is that the heart attack happened in the spring and it wasn’t caught until his physical in the fall, so obviously he’s doing ok. And the prescription was an exercise program that he’s continuing to follow three times/week. So all in all I think that’s a pretty good outcome, though I’m still mystified as to how a person can miss their own heart attack.

I did manage to convince my mother that she should try my mustard chicken thigh recipe while I’m home. So that’s a success for the day. As for my self-affirmation: (4) I am doing a much better job of keeping red-light foods out of my house and I feel good about what I’ve been eating.

Food Diary

7:50 – Breakfast

  • 1 fist-sized serving of 0% plain greek yogurt
  • 1 thumb of honey
  • 1 thumb of walnut pieces
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 cup of black coffee
  • 1 tbsp fish oil

11:55 – Lunch

  • Swirly Crustless quiche: 2 eggs + 1 cupped handful of grated carrot & zucchini
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 2 thumbs of almond butter

2:30 –

  • 2 thumbs of 99% dark chocolate

3:40 – Post-workout – Super shake

  • 1 scoop whey
  • 1 small banana
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/8 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 generous handful of spinach
  • splash of vanilla
  • 1 tbsp cocoa nibs

7:20 – Supper

  • 1 egg over easy
  • 3 pieces of bacon
  • 1 fist-sized yam
  • 1 cupped handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cupped handful of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium onion
  • sprinkle of fresh parsley

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Food Journal Day 10

I had to lift today, although I feel like I’ve been taking it easy at the gym lately. This is partially because my allostatic stress seems to be mounting and I probably won’t feel more normalized until the new year. First of all: my uterus appears to be malfunctioning this month. Without going into details, I have a very, very strong suspicion that this is correlated with my body image issues lately. I’m counting down the days (55) until I turn 25 so I can just request a hysterectomy and be done with it.

Second of all, I am still not entirely sure what’s going on with my job situation. I think at some point I will have a job, but honestly I don’t know. Why won’t someone just pay me to do a job that doesn’t involve human interaction?

Third, I’m flying home for Christmas and this is a huge source of stress all around. Christmas at my house just plain sucks. I don’t know if it’s magical for anyone, but my dad has always had issues with Christmas and since he is always miserable, so is everyone else. Apart from that, I will be sleeping on an air mattress for 10 days, so that is probably going to put in a wrench in my recovery, which I’ve been rocking. And of course, I will be obligated to see all of my ex-friends who married each other and have jobs and houses and children. I’ve tried to visualize a couple of the scenarios that I know I will encounter, and they just become so stressful that I end up visualizing all of the excuses I could make to get out of these situations. No, I am still chronically single and struggling with my weight and self-esteem, and generally feel isolated from all of you, just like I did in high school.

Then there’s the issue of what I’m going to eat for 10 days. The last time I ate with abandon for 10 days, I gained 19lbs (and I spent a week de-bloating before I could even step on a scale). Simply: that cannot happen again. Mentally, I am just unprepared to deal with that. But I’m staying at my parents house so it should be easy to just cook reasonable meals, enjoy some Christmas treats and come back on January 4th ready to face a body fat assessment. If only it were that simple.

I’m stressed out thinking about my parent’s diets. They are both well north of 400lbs. I am willing to bet my dad is over 600lbs. So I do generally worry that one of them will have a heart attack and die at any given second. But when I moved out on my own, I could at least reasonably see that my responsibility was only to feed myself. The problem is that now I have to go back and surround myself in a diet that sustains this extreme morbid obesity. And I don’t want to do that.

I can already picture my parents’ pantry which is really just a wall of refined corn and sugar in brightly coloured boxes. Or their “junk drawer” which is so full of candy that it spills out on to the counter above it. Or my mother’s secret chocolate stash. Or the massive serving sizes for 8 meals every day – because really, a snack that consists of 1/2 a gallon of ice cream is no longer a snack. Or the way my dad used to force us to sit down to dinner as a family, but we never talked because we were too busy shoveling our food into our faces and inhaling. Or all of the meals that came pre-cooked, swimming in mysterious sauce and consumed in our kitchen, but prepared somewhere else. Or all of trips for errands that ended with a trip to the coffee shop for a little “something” which was inevitably a hot chocolate or an iced cappuccino with whipped cream.

I suggested to my parents that I could cook while I was home. I have a baseline established for how I eat and I want to continue eating as close as possible to that baseline. Arguably, part of my parent’s problem is that they have no baseline nutritional habits. But I haven’t even arrived and it’s already a source of frustration for all of us. My dad won’t eat any “stinky vegetables” – cucumber, tomato, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage, zucchini or sweet potatoes. He claims that he was traumatized by boarding school vegetables, and I can only imagine that it was awful. But when I try to point out that he lost his sense of smell an accident when I was little, that I can probably cook better than any institutional setting, that his taste buds might have changed sometime in the past 40 years, then I just come off sounding like a confrontational asshole. I just want my parents to eat some goddamn vegetables!

My mom won’t eat mustard, turnips or anything mexican. She said she’d make dinner the first night I was home. Pizza!

It takes a lot of calories and a special kind of diet to feed people who are morbidly obese. I am not the type of person who will tell a fat person that I believe they should lose some weight because I’m concerned about their health. I don’t really care. I get it. I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life, and I’m not entirely sure it’s made me happier. But these are my parents! I know they aren’t happy and I just want them to try eating some real food! They are the prime example of people whose diets who benefit tremendously from even a few small changes. If I could drop 20lbs in a month by eating more brussel sprouts, god knows I’d eat nothing but brussel sprouts and love it!

And if I have to worry about them, then I’d at least like to know that I’m taken care of. That’s why I have a well-stocked pantry and I plan out all of my meals. Do you know why my diet is so on track since I moved? Because there is nowhere nearby that I can buy junk food and I never do my weekly grocery shopping trip when I’m hungry – so junk food just doesn’t make it home.But instead, on Wednesday, I am going back into the middle of all of my bad old habits and it feels like I am quite literally moving backwards. I’m really scared about what’s going to happen.

So, for the fourth day of self-affirmation: (4) I am really good about planning my meals. I’ve made a list of what I will buy and eat when I’m home. I’ve even thought ahead to the plane ride and packed enough meals to get me through the day of traveling. I’ve asked my sister to bring home her protein powder. I’ve planned out an LE-friendly Christmas dinner. I feel like eating healthy kind of happens on auto-pilot for me now, and if I just stick to the plan, then that can happen anywhere.

Food Diary

9:35 – Breakfast – Swirly crustless quiche + yam hash

  • 1 slice of quiche: 2 eggs, 1 handful of shredded zucchini and carrot
  • 2 slices of bacon
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 cupped handful of shredded yam
  • black coffee
  • 1 tbsp fish oil
  • 1 probiotic cap

1:10 – Lunch

  • 1 cupped handful of 0% plain greek yogurt
  • 1 thumb of honey
  • 1 thumb of walnut pieces
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 4 thumbs of cucumber

5:10 – Post-workout – Super shake

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 small banana
  • 1 scoop of whey
  • 1/8 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cupped handful of baby spinach
  • splash of vanilla
  • aprx. 1/2 cup almond milk
  • aprx. 1 tbsp cocoa nibs

8:00 – Supper – Salad

  • 3 slices of bacon
  • 1 cupped handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cupped handfuls of lettuce
  • 2 cupped handfuls of sliced portobella mushrooms
  • 1 thumb of feta
  • 1 thumb of balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 cupped handful of honey roasted chick peas

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Food Journal Day 9

I considered just posting my food log without commentary today, but then I realized that I’m supposed to be writing down a stupid self-affirmation every day and that just made me angry. I am in a really bad mood. I went to a dinner party last night and although I knew I ate a little more bread & brie than I should, I enjoyed it and didn’t think that I was excessive. Turns out I was just one meal away from being back over 170lbs – which made me cry, even though that’s totally irrational.

I just feel very frustrated with my weight lately, whether it’s justifiable or not. It seems like it takes so much work over a sustained period of time just to maintain a weight that is too heavy for a short little woman – and only one mistake to put on 5 or 10 or 20lbs. I don’t feel like I look good and at some point I need to accept that I’m not bloated, I’m just fat.

So that’s discouraging.

You know what though? At least my body is not totally stupid.I woke up this morning obviously not hungry a result of eating last night. So that’s what I did well: (3) Today I did a really good job of eating when I was physically hungry. Because otherwise it was one of those days when I just wanted to starve myself or say fuck it and eat junk food with abandon. I’ve had to remind myself several times today that I am neither of those people. I am a responsible adult who is capable of feeding herself properly, regardless of the number on the scale.

Food Diary

9:30 – Black Coffee

11:45 – Brunch

  • 1 cupped handful of cottage cheese
  • 1/2 tbsp of cocoa powder
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 4 thumbs of cucumber
  • 1 fist-sized yellow bell pepper
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 2 thumbs of almond-hazelnut butter
  • 1 tbsp fish oil
  • probiotic caps
  • 1 cup of sugar plum spice tea

5:45 – Supper

  • 1 bison sausage, casing removed
  • 1/2 a head of red cabbage, steamed
  • 1 medium carrot, steamed
  • 1/2 cup of primevera
  • 23 g R/S almonds

8:30 – Super shake

  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop of whey
  • 1 cupped handful of spinach
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1/8 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • splash of vanilla