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The Dwarf: An Unexpected Journey – Lexi Cal's daily log

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Hello, Dear Reader! I'll be chronicling here my humble journey to healthier living.


I much prefer "journey" to "battle". I understand that the way to healthy diet and active living isn't all pink ponies and purrty butterflies, that it requires grueling effort and lifelong dedication. But "battle" means fighting myself. "Journey" entails challenge, discovery, learning, surpassing myself.


Why would I fight myself if I'm the good guy?


So this good guy will log 3 things daily:

1 - Nutrition

2 - Exercise

3 - Goals


"The unexamined life is not worth living," wrote Socrates. By examining these 3 aspects of my life, I aim to supercharge my physical, personal and spiritual growth.


Let the epic adventure begin!

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So let's start with today!


1 - Nutrition

  • Breakfast: 3 toasts (peanut butter, cream cheese, honey), 2 coffees with milk
  • Snack: some mozza cheese
  • Lunch: Quesadilla, banana, pear, coffee with milk
  • Snack: Greek yogurt, dried mango
  • Supper: Honey-Dijon pangasius with roasted veggies (peppers, sweet potatoes and onions), banana, almond milk

I usually have only 2 coffees per day, but I was somewhat sleep deprived today.


2 - Exercise

This afternoon, I did dynamic stretching + 45 jumping jacks, followed by a bodyweight workout. 15 secs between exercises, 1 min between sets, 2 sets.

  • Isometric squat, 35 secs
  • Bulgarian split squat, 8 reps
  • Inverted rows, 8 reps
  • Push ups, 12 reps
  • Bridge with leg lift, 10 reps
  • Hanging bent-leg lifts, 8 reps
  • Assisted pull ups, 5 reps

Followed by one set of these:

  • Plank, 30 secs
  • 1-leg plank, 2x10 secs
  • Side plank, 2x15 secs

Then, cool down of dynamic stretches.

The whole thing took me roughly 25 minutes and felt good. No soreness or unhappy joints.


3 - Goals

I'm a translator by trade and aspiring fiction writer by night. One of my goals is to get better at the craft of writing. The best way to do this is practice, practice, practice, and honest feedback. This last, I already have: my wife is an avid reader and will tell me frankly what works and what doesn't. I also have a couple of literary-minded friends (a playwright, a) who happily do the same.


What I need is to dedicate more time to writing itself. I don't lack the ideas: I have an ever-expanding collection of prompts and what-ifs and character sketches just waiting to be developed. It's not a case of the dreaded writer's block, but of commitment.


I want to give writing the same level of commitment and energy I've given to my first 6-week challenge.


So I'll be including this in my next challenge:

Spend 1 hour daily getting better at writing.


I'll get a head start on this by including it in my routine starting tonight.


On to writing!

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Dwarf's log, date 20140523 at 2100 hours:


1 - Nutrition

  • Breakfast: 2 toasts (PB and honey), latte
  • Snack: coffee and cream, greek yogurt
  • Lunch: 11 pieces of spicy sushi (salmon and tofu)
  • Snack: coffee and cream, yogurt with raspberries, egg salad sandwich
  • Supper: pork chop, pork sausage, grilled onions and green peppers, a handful of rice, 1 cup of fruit juice

2 - Exercise

Walked outside for 30 minutes around the workplace, in downtown Montreal. Beautiful sunny day, couldn't stay cooped up in the office.


3 - Goals

I worked on a short story last night, as planned. I'm submitting it to a contest. It closes next Friday, so gotta get it done!

Tonight, I wrote a bit of my memoir. Sounds fancy, but it's really more of a writing exercise when I'm not feeling particularly inspired. No need for inspiration as I'm just reminiscing, but I still need structure and clarity.


Another goal I want to work on is decluttering. With 5 boys and generous family and friends, we've accumulated quite a lot of toys and clothes. We're getting creative at putting stuff away, but it's getting ridiculous. Closets and cupboards barely closing, risk of avalanche every time I open the shed... 


My goal: Get rid of 1 thing daily.


I've already started today: got rid of a busted trike, an equally busted bike, and an old plastic seesaw for toddlers. My youngest was too big for it, so it was time for it to go. I'm pretty sure they were picked up by recyclers or upcyclers - lots of DIY minded folks in the neighborhood :)

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Saturday's menu:

Naan bread with peanut butter and honey, coffee & milk

Orange, coffee & milk
Bowl of basmati rice with grilled veggies, raw baby carrots, pear, coffee & milk
8 dates, cup of almond milk
Shawarma and shish taouk plate with fries, rice and salad, fruit nectar
Baklava and cup of milk

No exercise

Wrote another part of the short story.

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Whelp! Not as daily as a daily should be, but here I am.


Today's menu:

2 toasts (PB & honey), coffee & milk

Coffee & milk

Sandwich roll (ham, egg, salad, cheese)

Coffee & milk, banana & chocolate chip muffin (uh oh!)

Munchies and cake (my boys' end of year Scouts' celebration... not the best time to have supper)

3/4 cup Greek yogurt with honey (post-workout snack)


Hm. I'll curb my coffee intake back to 2 per day and cut the milk from it. I'll replace it with more water. I have a fountain right next to my desk, so I have no excuses.

I'll also up the amount of lean proteins and cut some carbs. I'll ditch the morning toasts for eggs or Greek yogurt instead.


Workout (1st of the challenge!)

(~15 sec pause between each exercise)

Wall sit 35 seconds

Half shrimps 8x

Wall rows 8x

Pike push ups 8x

Weighted (5lbs) straight leg lifts 8x

Push ups (arms in) 8x

- 30 sec pause -

Deep squats +10lbs 8x

Dumbell rows (10lbs) 10x

Pike walk 8x

Bridge with leg raise 20x

Push ups (regular) 8x

Plank 20 sec

1 leg plank 2x10 sec


Got rid of old clothes with holes or rips that were beyond repair.


I wrote short essays Sunday and Monday, and also did some story brainstorming. I'm one day ahead on my weekly goal, so I skipped today without guilt :)

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Good log. I once asked Richard Kadrey (a favorite author of mine) how I might be able to increase my writing skills and get over the block. His answer to me was "write, write, write, and just keep writing. Even if you think it sucks just keep plugging along and don't ever give up. Sometimes we are our own worst critic." I share your passion and wish you luck.

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"a cleaved head no longer plots." -Viking proverb


"You are not your job, you're not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You're not the content of your wallet. You're not your f#$king khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world."  -pay me no mind I've seen the fight club about 28 times...  


Hakuna Ma-frickin-tata



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Yesterday's log



1 pb toast and Greek yogurt, coffee and milk 
Coffee and milk, banana 
Tomato and lettuce sandwich, coffee and milk 
Cup of milk, mozzarella and Swiss cheese
Spaghetti with meat sauce
Chocolate chip cookies, cup of chocolate milk
No exercise (rest day - still sore from the day before)
Got rid of old half-finished art projects that were collecting dust.
Wrote a haiku
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June 12 log:


2 toasts, coffee and milk

coffee and milk

Vegetarian Samosa, basmati rice, curry chicken, lemonade

Mango, kale, spinach and fruit juice smoothie

Huge buffet for supper (friend's engagement party)


Exercise30 minute walk


God rid of some busted toys


Wrote another haiku.

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Today's log:


2 PB toasts, coffee and milk

Coffee, banana

Salad from my garden (5 types of lettuce, 2 types of kale, radishes)

Power shake (vanilla Greek yogurt, banana, peanut butter, kale, fortified almond and rice milk, dash of coffee)

Pork roast with more salad, roasted sweet potatoes, onions and carrots.

McCain chocolate cake.


Exercise - bodyweight workout ~25 minutes

Dynaminc stretching + jumping jacks

2 sets of:

Assisted pull ups 5x

Push ups 10x

Pike push ups 8x

Weighted squats (20 lbs) 10x (2nd set were lunges)

Hanging leg raises 8x

Bridge with leg raise 20x

Dumbell rows (20 lbs) 10x (2nd set was Inverted rows 8x)


Wall sit 45 secs

Plank 45 secs (25 secs regular + 2x 10 secs one foot)

Side plank raises 2x 5 reps

Dynamic stretching + cool down


Creation - The beans in my garden needed tutors, but I didn't have enough for all the plants. So I made one in the shape of a ladder with dowels and string.


No writing.

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Today's log:


2 toasts, coffee and milk

Pulled pork sandwich and a chocolate milk

1/2lb burger with the works, french fries, pint of pale ale, apple crisp and coffee (Fathers' day supper at the restaurant)

Yogurt and a banana


Exercise - 16-minute run (5 min warm up, 2 min sprint at 5 min/km, 2 min jog, 2 min sprint at 5 min/km, 5 min jog)


God rid of a dead plant.


Worked on two songs with a friend.

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Yesterday was a rest day.

I did set my plank PB at 1m 29s. :)


Today's menu:

2 toasts (PB and honey)

Fruit salad, coffee

Spinach quiche, carrot soup, orange juice, brownie

Chicken pesto wrap with salad

Post workout shake (kale, banana, greek yogurt, almond and rice milk, PB)



Dynamic stretches
Shadow boxing 30 secs
50 jumping jacks
50 squats x2
5 assisted pull ups x2
12 pike push ups x2
10 hanging knee raises x2
14 push ups AMRAP 1min + 10 knee push ups
12 dumbbell rows (20lbs) x2
Plank 45 secs
More stretching
Got rid of another dead plant and some boxes we were keeping in case we needed to return the items (the warranty has long expired).
Wrote part of a song. More to come.
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Today's menu:

2 toasts (PB and honey), coffee and milk

Fruit salad, butter pecan mini pie, coffee and milk

Spinach, kale, mango, fruit juice smoothie; protein bar

Chicken pesto wrap with salad, chocolate chip cookie

Post run snack = greek yogurt and peanut butter


Exercise: Run 3.88 km in 22m 31s.


Wrote an essay outline. I need to finish what I start. That's my goal for the rest of the week. I will finish the projects I started in the past few days.


Got rid of a whole lot of weeds and unwanted plants in the backyard. There's so much space all of a sudden!

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Today's menu:

Chocolate milk, Greek yogurt, coffee and milk

Coffee and milk

Veggie soup, banana smoothie with yogurt and almond milk

Greek yogurt

Rice, pork chop, angel's food cake with vanilla pudding, strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream

Post workout shake (milk, greek yogurt, PB, strawberries, blueberries)



Dynamic stretches
Plank 1m 45s -- PB, oh yeah!
Shadow boxing 30 secs
50 jumping jacks
---2 sets of---
50 squats +5lbs
5 assisted pull ups
12 bridge leg lifts
12 pike push ups
10 hanging knee raises
11 push ups
12 dumbbell rows (20lbs)
5 leg lifts side plank + rotation
More stretching
No writing today.
Got rid of more stuff in the backyard (old tire, broken furniture, the rest of yesterday's weed hacking)
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Friday was a rest day. I had hints of ankle fatigue, so I took it easy. Didn't log my menu, but nothing out of the ordinary.




Smoothie (pear, mango, banana, pineapple, guava juice)

coffee, Greek yogurt

Naan bread with cream cheese, ham and lettuce

Red wine vinegar glazed chicken breast, roasted bell pepper, carrots, onions, salad from the garden

Donut :P



Assisted pull ups 5x

Push ups 8+8+6

Inverted rows 8+7+7

Hanging bent leg lifts 3x 10


Wrote a Fleshed out version of a short story = 1st draft!


Got rid of 2 old baby bath thingies to sit a baby in.

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Today's menu:

Oatmeal with Greek yogurt and honey, coffee and milk

Sports drink

Cheeseburger, chocolate milk

Another cheeseburger, fries, orange juice, donut. Ouch, that sounds terrible. It WAS terrible :/



6.26 km in 47m 49s. Ran with a friend on the paths crisscrossing Mount Royal, which is the "mountain" (it's a small hill, really) that gave the name to Montreal, Canada. It was a beautiful day, a fun run, and a grueling succession of hill sections.


Wrote a short book review.


Got rid of school paperwork from the past year.

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Yesterday = rest day.

Wrote a new song.

Got rid of an old board missing too many pieces.


Today's workout:

dynamic stretching
2m 10s plank (PB!)
--- 2 sets of ---
Assisted pull ups 5x
Assisted pistol squats 6x (2nd set = side lunges +23lbs)
Decline pike push ups 10x
Hanging bent leg raises 10x
Decline push ups 8x
Dumbell rows (23 lbs) 8x
Leg lifts side plank + rotation 5x
Cool down
Wrote another song
Got rid of my 2 laptop's boxes.
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Eeesh, haven't logged on for a week :/


Quick recap:


Ran sprints on 25/06 (3.73km in 22m 5s) and 28/06 (3.49km in 20m 39s).

Swam 500m in 20 mins today, and 200m paddleboat.

Bodyweight workouts on 24, 26 and 28/06.


Wrote the end of a short story (1st draft = done!), mini essay, 2 poems.


Got rid of 2 sofas, a busted bed frame, and an old cooler (all freecycled).

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You can do it!!! said in my best guy from the waterboy accent...

"a cleaved head no longer plots." -Viking proverb


"You are not your job, you're not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You're not the content of your wallet. You're not your f#$king khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world."  -pay me no mind I've seen the fight club about 28 times...  


Hakuna Ma-frickin-tata



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