If you’re not into it, “jog on” would be an altogether apt response

I went for a jog last night for the first time in ages. Things are warming up here in Toronto and it was a balmy -1°C. My nose didn’t run that much, my fingers barely froze and my joints were only mildly clunky. Inhaling oxygen wasn’t remotely like swallowing blades. I stretched out my decrepit limbs, tossed on the Black Panther soundtrack and set off down the road.

Listening to the soundtrack, I started thinking about music that’s been released so far this year. Black Panther ended up being so much more than a score to a film (especially since so many of its fantastic tracks didn’t even make it into the finished movie). Kendrick managed to weave together an assortment of songs that stood on their own, playing on larger ideas and concepts the film brought to life. Saying that it seems effortlessly engrossing probably betrays the amount of work put into the album, but it’s such an enjoyable listen.

I then thought about Janelle Monae’s song “Make Me Feel”, which might already be my favourite track of the year, regardless of what else is released. It’s simply incredible and, well, I have a lot of gushy and effusive thoughts. It’s so funky and sensual. It’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve been able to shamelessly listen to it on repeat. The production is tight, the influences are worn on its sleeve (or they will be if it gets a vinyl release) and the video is gorgeous.

As I jogged, I wondered if there was some way of preserving the resonance of these songs in some kind of time capsule. To take what I’d been enjoying and catalogue it for the sake of retrospection. Would they hit me the same way a year down the line? A few years down the line? I’ve always been a fan of putting together playlists, why not turn this into an excuse for one more? The idea came to me, why not make an annual playlist? I could pick my favourite song each month and add them to the stack as the year went on. February could obviously be “Make Me Feel”. January could be “All the Stars” from Black Panther (unfortunately the rest of the album was released in February. Otherwise my answer would clearly be “Redemption” by Zacari and Babes Wodumo). It seemed a low effort way to produce a punchy snapshot of an audible year. Perfect for the gym or more jogs. Best of all, it could jog my memory. Eh? EH?

Thinking of this made me realise how much more attention I used to pay to the music I consumed. I mean, for sure I still really get a kick out of finding a new release. When something grabs me I listen obsessively, as if to absorb it into my very being. And yet, I’ve lost the thirst for knowledge surrounding music. In most ways, this is great. I know a huge part of my desperate search to seek out what was new and fresh definitely had roots in an identity I was trying to cultivate. I desperately wanted to be cool and part of that for me was being on top of pop-cultural movers and shakers. At 31, my desire to discover new music is more pure. It’s a sincere wish to consume art that speaks to some part of me. Even if that’s just a track that makes me nod my head or move my hips.

This playlist concept is kind of exciting to me. It’d help me refresh myself on the cool releases throughout the year. Occasionally I’ll wholly forget large albums that dropped, but this will help me cement exactly what it was I loved about them in the first place. The more I talk about it, the more I’m convincing myself I need to get onto it right away. It’s only two songs so far, I can manage that, right?


Wolfe of Wall Street would’ve been a far more infuriating film

Here’s what’s going on in today’s entry. I’ve just come back from holiday a changed person. You know how vacations are meant to leave you rejuvenated and ready to attack life head on? That’s me right now. I’ve hoisted my metaphorical battle axe in preparation for whatever life throws at me and I’m ready to hew. While I’m riding this high, I want to have a pseudo state of the nation with myself. The idea is to look at what I’ve got going on and recognise how much of it is truly fantastic. Then maybe when I’m feebly struggling to claw my out of a rut I can look back at this list and get a little boost. Like a motivational jet pack. So what neat things are going on in my waking hours?

  • My relationship. I’ve got an incredibly supportive partner. She’s switched on and we complement (and compliment) each other wonderfully. We’re in a non-monogamous situation and while neither of us has really acted on it much, it’s nice knowing that we have the emotional wherewithal to own our feelings and support one another. It feels like we’re a team and I can’t overstate how gratifying and secure that feels. Also she’s super cute, y’all (after Austin, y’all is a thing I say now).
  • My friends. Both in Toronto and abroad, I have a ludicrous and possibly undeserved number of amazing people I’ve connected with. Seriously, so many of my friends are people I adore and/or admire. They’re creative, talented, funny, clever, sweet, thoughtful and they tolerate all my eccentricities. Back home I have the kind of lifelong friends that make time and place irrelevant. I have utter confidence that they have my back and that’s a pretty lucky position to be in. In Toronto it’s rare that I need to feel lonely, because my friends here do a phenomenal job of making space available. I have a deep, abiding love for my close friends and it’s unfair how many close friends I have. I feel selfish.
  • My family. I talk to them all too rarely, if only because I know they’re still supporting me whatever I’m up to. That’s unbelievable, right? Some people can’t talk to their parents or have contentious relationships based on their family’s innate bigotry. I have a wonderful family who cares. I am who I am because of how they raised me and honestly, it’s fucking hard to find fault with their methods. Despite how infrequently we chat, I tend to enjoy it when we do. If I ever got into serious trouble, I know they’d be there for me. How did I get so fortunate?
  • My Toronto communities. Doubling down on the talented, smart, excellent people around me, these talented, smart, excellent people form a number of local communities. So many individuals who create events, art and support for people across the spectrum. They’re welcoming of all sexual, gender and cultural orientations. Even New Zealanders. It’s because of all the awesome people that I managed to fall in love with Toronto at all. They make a potentially cold city shine bright and add colour even in its darkest days. Toronto may be humdrum to some, but to me it just hums.
  • My health. It’s the epitome of privilege. I’m physically fit and have access to a multitude of resources thanks to both Canadian health care and my work benefits. As far as I know I don’t have much in the way of mental health challenges to deal with. I’ve been fortunate to have access to education on healthy eating and as such, learned over time how to take care of myself. I’ve also after many years gotten to a point where physical activity is more of a joy than it is a drag.
  • My employment. I may bitch about my job a fair amount. I may feel creatively unfulfilled, stunted and at times downright miserable. In the end though, even if my job is a phone it in home by five sort of ordeal, it still pays the bills. I’m fortunate to a) be employed and b) be employed at a workplace that for the most part really tries its best. It strives to be anti-harassment and progressive. There are all kinds of perks. Things could be so much worse and I want to recognise that I’m all kinds of lucky that even my lows are pretty damn high. I might not be raking it in, but I’m also not in a position where I need to worry about money. That’s a hell of a privilege. I realise too that if I were just doing a job that I cared about, things would go from sub-optimal to goddamn ideal overnight.

So Future Leon, unless the rapture happens and you’re left on this earth surrounded by people who repost David Avocado Wolfe, chances are you’re doing alright. Chill and be zen, things will work out.

Oh to be a carb-on based life form once more.

I’m out of town tomorrow, I’m so checked out already. I’d say I might as well be gone by now, but I haven’t packed a thing. I’m heading straight to the airport after work, so I guess packing is tonight’s business. I’m going for five days, it’s hard to mess that up.

Work lately has been both difficult and simple. It’s been difficult to put any intentionality or mindfulness into my work. It’s frankly not that kind of job. It’s been simple in that the work isn’t difficult, so I’ve been carving through it in an attempt to clear up potential covering that my coworkers would need to do. With little to no extra effort, I’m about a week ahead at this point. It’s alarming how much more I could be doing in more ways than one. I’ve been under no illusion for the past few years that I’m wasting time at this job, but clearly nobody could accuse me of wasting effort. In some ways it’s made me realise how badly I want to be the kind of person who invests their identity into the way they pay the bills. In other ways it’s brought home how severely I can’t with this job. My therapist told me two years ago I needed to get out. I listened, I tried, I failed. I guess like Aaliyah I’ll need to Try Again.

In preparation for my brief Texan sojourn, I’ve dumped keto. It’s been an incremental process over the last two days. By tomorrow I feel like I will have transitioned. It was the kind of exciting shit that’s a) not actually exciting and b) actually exciting to me. Yesterday I had oatmeal for breakfast for the first time in months. It wasn’t my usual concoction (I used coconut milk instead of soy and had no banana). As a hybrid it wasn’t perfect, but non-perfect was considerably better than non-existent. This morning I tried it with a banana. The banana wasn’t ripe and thus not sweet, but the consistency was closer than normal. My body also felt buzzed indulging in real sugar, even if it was just a banana’s worth. I haven’t done a full 180, but I’m trying to up my carbs, lower my fats and increase protein in an attempt to ease the transition. I had milk this afternoon. Tomorrow I might even try bread. What a brave new old world. On Friday I’m going to ingest every single carb based food in existence. Food truck tacos, pizza, burgers, chips, lattes, cookies, cakes, beer, happy hour cocktails. I’m going to return as a blimp to save on airfare.

I have one work day left. That’s it. I’m likely gonna do about an hour’s worth of work then spend the rest of my time twiddling my thumbs until it’s early enough to ditch. Speaking of which, it’s about time to check out here.

One more day! One more day!

What am I? I’m just a chicken. Chip-chip-chip-chip-cheep-cheep.

I’d say that I don’t know where to start, but there’s really only one place to start: At the beginning. It all began at the leftmost side of the page, right up the top. You weren’t there when it happened, but it’s where you joined in. Like, a line or two above this very one you’re reading now. At this point, you probably realised that this wasn’t going anywhere narratively. In a more literal sense it’s heading to the right in a downwards direction. Metaphorically, it’s spiralling in a downwards direction.

I was gonna make some glib comment about how my life’s following suit, but really that’s not so much the case. If anything’s following suit it’s this entry, which follows yesterday’s entry in which I talked about my newly acquired suit. Cue the groans and strap yourselves in, folks. I’m in one of those kind of moods. It’s not a bad mood per se. Also I should refrain from using the word “bad”, I’m better than that, right? Dreadful? Ghastly? Dour? Contentious? Erroneous? Double-plus un-good? Aside from padding for time, I’m not sure why I went on that tear. I’d already said I wasn’t in a “bad” mood. I had a really relaxing night last night. I’ve got no important plans for the next two days and I’m whimsically sailing through time powered by the lightness of being. Also I’ve decided I’m going to drink tonight.


Haven’t I been going on about keto for the past bloody forever? Now I’m casually introducing the imbibing of libations? I never said I couldn’t drink on keto, I merely said I wasn’t. I haven’t been. It makes it easier to lose weight and seeing as that was the goal, I didn’t. However at this stage the finish line is in sight. I’ve lost as much weight as I’m realistically gonna lose and I figure it’s time to prime my body once more for eating like a normal trashy human. I’ve stopped trying as hard. Simple as that. My old phone bit the dust and this new one doesn’t have My Fitness Pal installed. I haven’t bothered. I’ve stopped logging food meticulously and instead I’m just eating within the nutritional boundaries I learned from the diet. By now I kind of know how many calories/carbs/fats/proteins most of my regular foods have, so I figure I don’t need to make such an effort to harvest the data if it’s causing me such stress. Instead of aiming for specific macros, I’m keeping my carb intake low, eating moderate protein (and more on days where I lift) and having as much fat as I want when I’m hungry. Coincidentally I’m feeling a lot better about it and myself. I’m still in ketosis and the funny part is that according to the ketogenic [urine -ed] strip I just urined, I’m incidentally producing more ketones than I was when I was trying really hard. Overall I’m not sure that’ll affect anything. I’ve hit a weight where I’m comfortable. I’m happy as I’ll ever be looking in the mirror and that’s good enough for me.

Alcohol has no carbs. Diet sodas have no carbs. On the other hand, alcohol is the first thing your body processes (with it being a poison and all). Like a theme park queue jumper, it’ll push that whole ketogenic body devouring fat process to second in line. The food you eat will stay as a backlog and stick around waiting for its turn. Plus while diet drinks don’t have carbs, they can cause blood sugar spikes similar to insulin responses. These won’t knock you out of ketosis, but it’s kind of like when you’re waiting in line for a roller coaster and the person in front asks if you mind if their partner can join them. No biggie, you say. But then it turns out they’re part of a massive polycule and suddenly half of The Bay Area is pushing in line and your five minute wait became five hours. To be entirely honest, I’ve got nowhere I need to be in a hurry. If I’m gonna have a blast getting nostalgic watching the 90s promotional videos they’re screening on overhead CRT screens. Why yes, I do want to buy into the elaborate backstory of a fucking Godzilla themed rollercoaster. That sounds just like my kind of zoning out.

Plus tonight’s party is themed after The Room and I was obsessed with that film ten years ago.

It’s two weeks of mayo, boys.

I have two weeks left until vacation and I’m getting excited. I’m heading off to Austin with friends for the weekend. Our first obstacle is a fuck of a layover. I sure hope Charlotte has some wondrous amenities (or somewhere worth sleeping), cause we have ten hours there. We’re getting in at 9.30pm and leaving at 7.30am. All so we can better harness our time in Austin. A bumpy start should surely give us a karmic bump, right? That’s how these things work, I’m quite sure.

Of course I’m looking forward to discovering new exciting things with friends. Going on excursions and taking in all the weirdness that Austin has to offer. In no small terms, however, the thing I’m most looking forward to is dropping keto. Hands down. It’s been a slice, but it’s also cramped my style in a big way. Keto is the kind of diet that’s perfect for preppers. It’s amazing for Food Is Fuel folks. If you get a kick out of tailoring your portions and obsessing over data, keto is right up your alley. Keto takes the utmost of conscious thought about your intake. It also works really bloody well for weight loss. After the first week and a half I dropped around 4kg. That’s insane. A lot of it was water weight, but not all. I noticed a difference in my face as I looked in the mirror. I’d get on the scales every day or two knowing in my heart that the same kind of rapid weight loss was not sustainable. It wasn’t. After that first drop (and one subsequent drop that quickly came back up), I plateaued. At least according to the numbers. It was discouraging, but I told myself to keep it up, watch my intake and hope for the best. If there were no bumps on the road, how could I expect that karmic bump I mentioned in the intro?

Here’s one thing about keto, at least from a first timer. You’re constantly worried about what you’re eating and the effect it’ll have on the diet. You’re jumping at shadows, freaking out about hidden carbs, etc. Even with more experienced friends sharing their knowledge, I still expected enemies around every corner. As I counted my macros on My Fitness Pal and noticed carbs creeping in over the afternoon, I worried about what I’d eat for dinner. How could I fit 50g of protein and 60g of fat into 200 calories, for instance? Would I have to shelve cheese, mayo and straight coconut oil or something? When the scales jumped by a couple of lbs I’d freak out, wondering if I’d taken a wrong step. After a party one night I drank a bunch of Zevia, then got scared I fucked up. Had I fallen out of keto? Or plateaued?

Weeks went by and I hadn’t dropped a single pound. I got frustrated. Why was I going through all of this stress if I wasn’t getting anywhere. At the same time, I was happy looking in the mirror. I noticed my belt, which started out just past three notches was now reaching four comfortably. Then five. Now it goes past five and I still haven’t dropped weight since that first big drop. Obviously I’m losing, but it’s not factoring into the numbers. So all is right with the world, right?

Not so. I’ve got under two weeks until I leave and the diet feels oppressive. That might sound silly, but it’s dominating my social decisions. It’s made me realise that virtually all of my interactions with friends revolve around food or drink. Whether it’s going out for brunch/lunch or grabbing drinks. If I’m hitting up some evening event, chances are I’m getting a bite on the go. Keto makes all of that much harder. So I’ve been shirking off social contact because I don’t want to have to make hard decisions about what to eat. It’s really frustrating being out at a party where everyone’s drinking and eating if you’re not. What’s a birthday without cake?

We’ll see if I learn lessons from my journey into keto. Will I finally learn that I don’t need to eat if I’m not hungry? Will I get better at taking my caloric intake into consideration? Will I develop a greater understanding of my dietary requirements?

Or am I just gonna have my cake and eat another two?

In that case, I’m sure we’ll find some other way to make fun of all those cumulosers.

As I occasionally do, I’m gonna cheat with today’s writing and start by reposting a Facebook comment I made. I’d seen a post about the discourse surrounding being overweight in our society and how nuance is so quickly lost in the shadow of fatphobia.

“A hill that I am willing to die on is that the apparent healthiness of your food intake is not a moral issue. The way that society has developed language around it is bullshit. An entire swath of foods is grouped under the label “junk food”, which automatically gets slammed with negative connotations and we start to associate guilt with our intake. It’s lead to a mentality where you’ll hear people about to eat something sweet and say “oh, I shouldn’t” or “I’ll be bad” and wink. This entire concept can fuck right off to the fiery gates of Mt. Fuck. It’s all predicated upon a ridiculous social fear of gaining weight, as if that’s the worst thing that could happen. What’s more, it only serves to entrench this view in people who have issues with moderation, leading to pointless and unnecessary self-loathing. Then others wield it like a badge, as if your ability to count calories says anything about your character.

Let people enjoy things. Their consumption is not your business.

Edit: Let’s also not forget that for many, cost is a gatekeeper to healthy eating. It’s entirety possible to have a nutritionally balanced diet on a low income, but it requires a ton of education. Nutrition is a minefield of information and most of us don’t really know what’s in our food. Pre packaged and manufactured foods are often far more affordable than their fresh counterparts and this has a trade off. So any kind of snooty moral superiority can take a fucking dip in the Arctic depths of Lake Fuck.”

If you’ve spent any time with my daily writing, you’ll recognise that these sentiments have been repeated ad nauseum. I’ve had to struggle with precious little in my middle class white cis male life. Body issues have been one of the few repeat offenders. While it may seem kinda ironic posting this in the middle of my tussle with the ketogenic diet (I’ve never professed that I’m doing it for anything but weight loss), my hope is that the two aren’t mutually exclusive. The point that I’d like to drive home is that your relationship with your body is a personal thing. Not all relationships are healthy, but neither are they the domain of strangers. In the same way that moral panic has been used through the ages to control mass behaviour (the concept of sexual pleasure outside of marriage as a sin, for instance), being outside a slim definition of physical norms has become aberrant. We’re told that irrespective of health, being overweight is cause for disdain. Hell, even the euphemism “overweight” implies a deviation from the norm. Fuck that noise. What right does a stranger have to cast judgement on your health or worth based on the way you look?

Turnabout is fair play, supposedly, and it’s easy to point the finger back to me. For the past 17 years I’ve pushed myself to the gym three or more times per week. I’ve tried diets, cut alcohol and run to work in order to drop weight. I’ve constantly fought with the scales, yet I’m standing here advocating against demonising people’s weight? I want to be clear, I’m not saying I’m any different or better than you. I have internalised personal fatphobia, I just come by it honestly. As a child I was teased and physically bullied for being fat. It hindered my ability to be confident in myself. I drank deeply from all the media messages telling me that to be successful and admired was to be trim and attractive.

I didn’t feel trim or attractive and as such thought of myself as pretty damn unlikable. At the age of seven I started to believe that if I was to be fat, nobody would love me, I’d never get married, then die alone and childless. I WAS SEVEN YEARS OLD. Isn’t that fucking ridiculous? The only thing seven year olds should care about is the wonder of the universe around them. Not their inevitable entropy. You know what? I bought in. I struggled unsuccessfully with weight loss for years. I started going to the gym at 5.30am three times a week before school at 14. I ascribed to the notion that I would never be liked or desired unless I fit a certain body type.

At 31 I’d love to say that I’ve grown out of it, but you read the keto diet thing. I know that in my brain and heart, I’ll always be fat no matter what my body looks like. It’s absurd, but therapy to unpack and dismantle all that trauma would cost more annually than my salary. My hope is that we as a society improve. That these attitudes die out. That we change the language and perceptions around the way people look to save future generations from needless anxiety.

Until we upload our consciousness to the cloud, anyway.

Sadly the “ketogeneric” line was the standout here.

The more that I try to think about what to write about other than keto, everything circles back to keto. Is this some kind of mental trick? Like “don’t think about X” means that “X” filters all other thoughts and as such, just forces you to think about X more? I can’t be bothered filtering and there’s very little else going on in my life at the moment, so you’re getting more keto content. I guess you could say we’ve reached a ketogeneric state?

Dumb puns aside (there goes my entire arsenal -Ed), I’m finding this whole process interesting (even if none of you are). It’s causing me to look at everything I ingest under a magnifying glass, which is another way of saying I’m obsessing. I pissed onto a small stick today, like some faux pregnancy. They’re called Keto Sticks and they’re used for measuring the ketones in your urine. Unlike the pregnancy test, there’s a colour scale. It’s not like you can be kind of pregnant, but you can be in varying degrees of ketosis. My reading (which was hilarious to do. As I peed on the little stick it boinged back and forth like one of those door stopper springs) said I have trace amounts of ketones in my body. Trace amounts? I figured my past week’s fanaticism deserved more than trace amounts. I wanna be pissing ketones out the wazoo (otherwise known as my urethra). On the other hand, according to a bunch of threads I read, the sticks aren’t super accurate and being overly hydrated (or dehydrated) could affect the reading. They universally said to check first thing in the morning. So first thing in the AM I’m gonna check my pee-M.

Secondly, broth. I’ve got chicken broth bubbling away in the slow cooker. It smelled amazing when I left this morning and it’s only gonna get better. I’m no stranger to chicken soup and it’s wondrous panacea qualities. It’s one of my favourite foods, no joke (also that’d be a pretty tepid joke at best, even if I was leaning against an exposed brick wall for authenticity’s sake). Bone broth is a whole different endeavour. It’s quite possibly one of those hipster health movements, but maybe it’ll help encourage some healthy movements in my bowels. I don’t think that’s one of its benefits, but I’ll try most anything at this point. N. E. Way. I threw in the corpses of two whole chickens, plus some apple cider vinegar yesterday evening. They cooked all night and this morning I added chopped carrots, onion, garlic and celery. By the time I get home tonight, I should have a savoury gelatinous mass that I can melt down into a rich broth. I can wait (and I’ll have to) but I don’t want to.

Moving back to the movements, I got myself some psyllium husk powder in the hopes that it’d ease my struggles. Holy coprophilia, Batman, does that ever taste foul? Nobody told me it doesn’t easily dissolve in cold water, so the first few times I tried it there were little orbs of repugnant gel in a viscous liquid. Even after figuring that out, the stuff is nigh inedible without gagging. Like some form of rotting mushrooms, it’s fucking hard to get down your gullet. Then again, I figure that’s the point of this biological equivalent of drain cleaner. It terrifies everything clogging up your pipes, which rushes to the exit. So far I’ve had middling results, but here’s looking up. I’m increasing my dosage day by day as it suggests, which seems to merely be upping my revulsion. Positive signs?

Worth mentioning is that last night featured exceedingly the best meal I’ve had since I started this bloody diet. Emphasis on bloody, because I had roasted strip loin done pretty rare. It was divine and so goddamn simple. Down to $3/lb from $12/lb, I felt pretty chuffed to have a high quality meat cut for once. I cranked the oven to 450°F and put on a dry rub. I tossed it in for 15 minutes, turned it to 350° for 35 minutes, then took the slab out and rested it for 20 minutes. That was it. I flanked my steak with a heaping of silverbeet (known as Swiss Chard over this side of the pond. Silverbeet’s a better name) and cabbage. While luxurious, it was also the most normal meal of my past week. Nothing in it felt like I was pandering to the diet. No extra fats added in order to hit macros, just a glorious and delectable dish.

Have I bored you enough with the comings and goings of my intestinal tract? Like I give a shit.