bogey & ruby

bogey & ruby

Monday, March 28, 2016


Woke up
Got out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup ...

Not quite. There was no combing this nest. And before I went downstairs I stripped naked in the bathroom to weigh myself for the first time in about four months.

High expectations often yield disappointment. According to what I thought I weighed before we started the whole30, my net loss was 2lbs. Of course, I may have lost more if I weighed more to start with that's something we'll never know and that is a moot point anyway. This eating plan was about healing and health. At least that's what I'm telling myself right now.

The Whole30 bible prepares you for this possible outcome and has  a list of potential benefits other than weight loss as a reminder that good health is so much more than the number on the scale. Here are a few of mine:

The cravings have all gone, at least the physiological ones.

I don't think about food or eating until my body tells me I'm hungry.

I am now able to eat most fruits and vegetables without gastrointestinal distress (my gut is healing but still rejects onions).

I am way more focused/efficient and have ticked off a lot of items on my to-do list since starting.

I have been able to read four books and am on my fifth right now, not to mention there are no chocolatey fingerprints on the pages.

My right shoulder is way less painful and I am able to sleep on that side for longer periods.

I have more energy though not that much more because sleep is still lacking.

am less irritable ... I think.

Ian woke up a little after me and is down 14lbs and feeling much better overall. We discussed our strategy for day 31 and the plan is to continue with the whole30 and reintroduce some of the foods we haven't been allowed up to now but slowly.

For me, cream is the only thing I'm truly missing. I will delight in adding it to my coffee tomorrow and gauge how I feel the following day or two. Fingers crossed that lactose isn't a problem. The only other item I may indulge in here and there is a glass of wine.

No sugar. For now. Maybe for much longer. It is too powerful, enslaving my body and my mind. It has no nutritional value and the temporary high it provides costs too much in terms of quality of life.

What have I learned after 30 whole days? That I can do this long term. That my body can heal if I feed it the nutrients it needs to function and eliminate what is making it sick. That diet is but one aspect, albeit an important one, to good health with stress management being the other major one, at least for me, and something I need to tackle next.

Speaking of stress management, I got on the treadmill today (walk for two minutes, run for one) for the first time since my back and hip flared up. Fingers crossed that Dr. André doesn't have to undo the damage and that I can continue.

The biggest challenge ahead will be letting go of the number stuck in my head. It's not what you weigh but how you feel that matters most, right?  Well, I'm feeling better and I aim to continue feeling this way.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on feeling healthy if you'd like to share. Has our Whole30 journey made you take stock of your own diet/lifestyle?

Thursday, March 24, 2016


Last week as I was measuring a client's range of motion, the number ninety-five kept appearing. I wondered if it meant something beyond that the client was clearly doing her exercises. Perhaps I was biased towards that number, unconsciously pushing the limits of the goniometer, or holding back, in order to get the number I wanted.

What's in a number anyway? According to Wikipedia, a number is a mathematical object used to count, measure and label. Subjectively and/or objectively, it has meaning, it has significance, it has value.

For example, a boy I knew briefly in my 20s used to boast nine inches. I vaguely recall checking my meter stick to see what nine inches meant stretched out on a flat surface and being unimpressed. Gross anatomy does that to you as does working with clients who wear johnny gowns all day. Both experiences are great equalizers. To be on the safe side, I studiously avoided accidental glances at his crotch, being unsure if he meant nine inches at rest or during exercise. I was, however, obsessed with proving he had lied about his height. (I could sniff out these white lies having fudged my weight, both out loud and in my head, for a lifetime, all thanks to the magical expanding power of yoga pants. Not only does spandex lift and separate, it also, to this day, keeps my delusions nicely supported.) I'd observe him standing under my hanging plant or reaching into a cupboard and gauge the space between the top of his head and some random reference point then take out that same meter stick once he was gone to validate my suspicions. Sure enough, he was at least two inches shorter than he claimed.

Another man-boy I knew in my 20s confided in me one day that he thought his doody bird was too thin. (Doody bird is an endearing term I learned from my dearly-departed ex-mother-in-law.) How the heck does one even measure that? And for that matter, what do the stats say? While he was distraught over thickness, I was more turned off by the raw spinach that was perpetually stuck between his teeth (I know it was raw because he used to munch on it straight from the bag) not to mention that he drank his tea with two Tetley tea bags seeping in the mug for way past the recommended time, without adding milk.

Then there was Tom, a blind date who neglected to tell me he was 250 lbs overweight, then proceeded to berate my "shallowness" and harass me in a very scary way when I told him there wasn't going to be a second date. That decision had way more to do with his sneaky non-disclosure and subsequent expertise at manipulating his size to guilt you into dating him than the fact that he was hefty, liked Alf and embalmed bodies for a living. This was back in the days before the internet and online dating when there was no way to screen potential dates by lurking/stalking/googling.

All this to say that we sometimes allow measurements to define us, hold us back, keep us stuck, feed our insecurities/obsessions/egos, etc. It's not as if they're going to provide my measurements at time of death the way they do for birth announcements. "We are sad to announce the death of our dear Hobbit friend, weighing in at 110 lbs (yeah, sure) and having shrunk to 4'6" in later years due to bad posture, not enough calcium in her diet and lack of high impact exercise."

In other words, the number that matters to you is not likely to be a major preoccupation with the next person unless you point it out all the time, put it on your business card or write regular blog posts about it. And even then, they're likely to be fixated on their own special number.

Which brings me to the fact that it is day 26 of our Whole30 challenge. If you do the math, we are 13/15th's of the way through. Considering the fact that I did not weigh myself at the beginning, I am surprised to discover myself being overly concerned about what the scale will say on day 30. I have an idea what I want it to read but considering I lie about my weight in my head anyway, does it really matter what it says? Wasn't the initial goal to get healthy versus weighing less. I'm definitely healthier though my sleep hasn't improved and my left hand is still numb and my hair is still galactic and my bloody yoga pants still fit.

One of the absolute pleasures of this eating plan is that there is no measuring, no counting, no weighing of food, unless of course you are following a specific recipe. I can't tell you what a relief this is to someone like me who is obsessive about the bevel mark when measuring yet quite adept at rounding off pounds to the lowest tenth when stepping on the scale.

Stay tuned for Monday's wrap-up when we take stock of the past four weeks, weigh-in ( or not) and plan for reintroduction.

My trusty tape measure.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Two Out Of Three ...

Coffee cream reality check:

And all I can do is keep on telling you
I want you, I need you
But-there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you
Now don't be sad
'Cause two out of three ain't bad
Now don't be sad
'Cause two out of three ain't bad.

(Meatloaf ... which we're allowed, by the way)

20/30 = 2/3

Two thirds done. Ten days to go. Yeesh. Ten days is obviously a lot longer than ten minutes left on my run. At the ten minute mark, I would be furiously scrolling through my iPod looking for songs to keep me going. Maybe negotiating some sort of reward for making it to the end, like a latte ...

Not that this is going to be over in ten minutes or ten days for that matter. It's a lifestyle.

Two out of three ain't bad, three out of three completes (me).

Coffee cream, I love you.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hey Nineteen

"Hey Nineteen
No we can't dine together
No we can't eat at all
Please take me along
When you slide on down (the scale)."

I thoroughly dislike the number nineteen and was going to skip an update today but what the hey nineteen.

Ian says there is less of me to hug these days but my theory is he can get a little closer to me now that he's lost weight.

There are lots of advantages to losing weight. Things like spooning versus stacking; being able to see for yourself when your toenails need cutting rather than waiting until you draw blood from your partner; retrieving your low-rise panties from the back of the underwear drawer even though you can't fit in your low-rise jeans yet; and going a whole week without anyone asking when your baby's due.

As for the food, we have been 100% faithful to the whole30 plan. If we can do it, you can do it.

Hey nineteen.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Top Of The Hill

Hullabaloo, day fifteen and half way though. The scream for cream has subsided to a whimper and will hopefully settle there until reintroduction. Insert wistful sigh right about now.

The benefits, at least for me, are emerging slower than the Spring thaw, not quite as stubborn as molasses. A little less bloat, improved gastrointestinal function, clarity of thought at least twice a day, and a rib-spotting earlier this morning.

Ian's data is more scientific: 10lbs lighter (after breakfast and wearing fleece penguin pyjama bottoms, the kind that weigh at least a kilo or two) and an inch and a half less around the middle. I am thrilled to be losing weight vicariously though him. It almost feels as though I've lost weight too.

Almost, not quite.

One thing I have noticed so far is that I cannot skip a meal. No way José. I got into trouble yesterday after eating a late lunch then heading into town to watch a play that Ian's daughter was in.

Right before, we stopped by the Plâteau to pick up some ordered prints from lovely street photographer Mikaël Theimer, who, by the way, has offered to take our "after" photo, then dropped by the Starbucks near the theatre to gulp down some black coffee.

Chugging his café allongé, Ian munched on the organic almonds and dates he brought along but I desisted because almonds make my teeth hurt and dates remind me of large, legless cockroaches. I simply cannot eat anything that looks like it was once alive: no pleading eyes begging for mercy, no hands and feet waving good-bye, and no insect shaped food with or without appendages. The only exception to the latter rule would be rainbow-coloured, fruit flavoured insects made with 100% sugar and food colouring.

Getting back to the play, it totally rocked but by the time I left the theatre I was weak at the knees. Not far from the ground, I know, but still wobbly. Snatching the snack bag from Ian, I closed my eyes and pretended I was eating date squares. It helped briefly but was no replacement for a solid meal. And eating something substantial at midnight wasn't really an option.

Thank goodness for the clocks moving forward. It was the perfect excuse to get up for an earlier breakfast.

Lesson learned. To be fair, two weeks ago sugar ruled. Now I am forced to respond to my body's needs.

I probably won't post about our Whole30 adventure as often from here on in, that is, unless my nine subscribers clamour for more which is highly unlikely considering how slim and trim they all are.

See you on the other side of the hill!

Checking up on an old friend.

A hilarious scene from Alkestis, performed by second year theatre students at Dawson.

Friday, March 11, 2016


Day thirteen. Prime number, Fibonacci number, compound number, lucky number, evil number. 

To my mother's dismay, I once chose a wedding date on the 13th only to watch the groom drive away in my car a few weeks before and never come back. 

There is not much to say about this day as it cannot be reduced to anything more optimistic than itself out of thirty. It is two days short of the half-way mark.

We have run out of food. Whole30 food. 

Black coffee isn't so bad this morning.

Thirteen shall be my mantra today. Om shanti thirteen ....

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Day 10

Ian just lost his pants walking from the living room to the kitchen. I guess it's better than losing an eye or his lunch.

I suggested he buy some high-rise boxers real soon so that he doesn't give the kids at school an eyeful as he whittles his way down to a smaller size of black jeans. I specify black because since the 90s, he is referred to as the other man in black.

Speaking of lunch, I forgot mine (in its spanking new microwave-safe container bought expressly for transport) at home the past two days in a row. Nothing like salivating through an entire session with your eleven o'clock, in anticipation of chicken curry and root vegetables back at the office, only to find two mandarins, some stale walnuts and a fork in your lunch box.

One thing I've realized since returning to work this week is that I have not been working for the week-end all these years but rather for the cream in my coffee. If there is anything worse than black coffee first thing in the morning at home, it is black coffee first thing in the morning at the office. The pleasure centre in my brain is very confused and has directed my right arm to swing the fridge door open as my left arm reaches for the 10% cream every single morning since we started the whole30. And every time I take a sip of my cream-less coffee, it screams in agony. I am in need of some serious neuroplasticity right about now!

Not surprisingly, I have decided that the first food I will reintroduce after the thirty days is up is cream. And if I'm okay with cream, I can live without the rest.

On a positive note, my concentration is improved. I can finish writing a progress note without getting distracted and am less sleepy during history-taking. I remember what I got up to get when I get up to get something and am taking less bathroom breaks (possibly because I can't bear to finish that black coffee).

Oh, and there is a parallel challenge going on between me and the boys at the office. They've decided to get healthy too before bathing suit season and set some fitness goals of their own. Being scientists, we decided the best outcome measure is waist size. And when I say waist size, I really mean the circumference of our bellies. Thankfully, I have the smallest measurement from the get-go but not by much. We will take another measurement in exactly a month, then at two months and so on.

A third of the way through, folks. Catch you later!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Day Seven (And A Half)

We are a quarter of the way through this plan. There is hope and it is light at the end of a very tight tunnel. We are looking forward to good health and skinny jeans.

Okay, maybe not skinny, boot cut would be fine too as long as they are blue, have a snap and don't expand to accommodate middle-age spread/muffin tops/cake tiers/pot bellies.

Ian weighed himself yesterday and has already dropped six pounds. He's feeling better and more energetic. I am not tempted to step on the scale because I purposefully didn't weigh-in on day one.

Unfortunately, I am lagging behind when it comes to energy levels, something the plan warns may happen if your body is used to relying on sugar as fuel. I also have to eat more often than Ian, in the form of nutritious snacks. This can be quite distracting as I am used to ignoring those signals in order to save myself for chocolate.

We've filled the week with activities that we enjoy: music, books, movies, and creativity. We also managed to cope with evenings out, declining the delicious food we usually enjoy at our beloved Mariposa Café and opting instead for Perrier and tisanes.

This coming week will present a new challenge as we are back to work. Not so much avoiding the forbidden food as planning ahead so that we have enough to eat for the day.

I absolutely loathe meal prep and cooking so I am grateful to Ian for doing the good majority if not all of it. My fridge has never been so full. My kitchen, never so messy. Oh well, It was about time I put it to use.

Finally, although I didn't step on the scale or take a dreadful down-to-my-skivvies selfie under fluorescent lights, I do have a before picture of us taken by street photographer Mikaël Theimer on the first day of our plan.

Tum to tum, voilà!

You can read about days one and four here and here.

See you in a few days!


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Day Four

Thirty is a number I know all too well from my runs. On those days when it feels like an uphill trudge all the way, I like to divide my run into increments, partly as motivation, mostly as a distraction to get me through it. It is effective if not very mindful. My treadmill celebrates my progress in percentages of ten but that isn't enough for me. I divide the thirty minutes by thirty : one thirtieth; two thirtieths or one fifteenth; five minutes is one sixth of the way through followed immediately by one fifth at six minutes; seven and a half minutes is one quarter; and ten minutes is one third. Sometimes it's so bad, I'll divide a minute into sixty and count.

You get the picture. I do the math.

I'm coping with this whole30 plan pretty much the same way. Yesterday, we were at the ten percent mark. But day five is tomorrow and that means we are a sixth of the way through. Woo hoo!

The book explains what we should expect by use of a timeline. Day 2 to 3 is the hangover phase : "The amount of suck you experience in this phase is directly proportional to the amount of junk you consumed before you began the program. Especially if you consumed it consistently."


I am clearly still in the hangover phase, headachy and foggy, my Hobbit body mourning the sudden removal of sugar as a source of energy, my mind adrift as it can no longer count on chocolate as a reward for getting through the day. Apart from these feelings of malaise, I am also having to adjust to actual hunger pangs, something quite foreign to me, as I almost always eat according to cravings. This is especially surprising because I am eating way more in terms of volume of food, three meals instead of my usual one meal plus snacks.

For the most part, this plan has been easy to follow. Today's big challenge was not licking the peanut butter off my fingers after making toast for Sean. And I still miss my usual coffee concoction. Ask Ian how many times I've reached for the cream since we've started this thing only to shout, "Arghh, no cream!"

Something is definitely shifting, even after only four days. My tummy is less bloated and this morning I could actually see my eyes without having to move things aside. Ian is feeling a difference too and having less side-effects than me.

Holy moly, in two days we will be a fifth of the way through!

The countdown continues ...

Apple slices and almond butter for a snack. And black coffee. :(