El-Tanein Diet Week #20

IMG_0973

Before heading to Barcelona, I had done a recap of the goals that were set out at the beginning of the El-Tanein Diet series. Now that I’ve returned, it’s time to take a look at that list and see where to go from here. No more walking my way through meals of cheese and sparkling wine, it’s back to the gym for me.

UPDATED GOALS FOR EL-TANEIN DIET

  • Do regular push-ups (I currently do modified bent-knee)
  • Plank for 2 minutes straight post-cardio
  • Lose 15kg by June 12, 2016
  • Work my way up to 6kg weights
  • Wear shorts to the gym without feeling the jiggles
  • 10K steps/day or at least 50K/week total
  • 5 classes/week minimum
  • Run my 5K in 35 min or less
  • Run one 5K run/week
  • NEW: Join Nike Running Club
  • NEW: Walking to and through Horsh Beirut   

The original cut-off date for ETD was January 12, 2016 to total out to a full six months of recording and progress. Can you believe it’s already been 20 weeks? Well, I can’t either which is why I’m extending it to June and bumping up the kilos to be lost. It’s also because BCN took out a chunk where I was doing more chewing than toning. I did not balloon up over there but, knowing the sedentary car-dependent lifestyle of Lebanon, I am going to have to work much harder to balance my food intake and get healthy exercise back into my weekly routine.

I was too optimistic thinking that week #20 would have me back at the gym like it ain’t no thang. Coming back, at the start of Thanksgiving week no less, has been harder than I expected. Besides too much mezza, it’s taking me longer than usual to be okay with how Beirut has changed – or hasn’t – in my eyes.

Week #21’s post will be a status report to see where I’m at physically post-Barcelona; I need to see if I’ve lost the stamina that I built up over the summer. My gym has changed up its class schedule (and jacked up its membership fee) so that may affect my workout tally too.

I have nothing to report this week but I’ll leave you with this track:

As for cheese of the week, I will admit to inhaling lots of Cheez-its with white wine. It may be Barcelona withdrawal, filling the void that only cava and slices of cheese can fill, but I think it may also be the Kellogg’s product.

IMG_1008

I once saw something about Doritos on Discovery Science. It said that along with the perfect crunch sound, the chip flavor was purposely created to be the perfect balance between salt and sweet so that your body could never reach satiety, leaving you always wanting more. Cheez-its have got to be part of that club because they are my cheddar cheese Achilles heel and the archenemy of El-Tanein Diet. They need to go.

Advertisements

El-Tanein Diet Week #19

IMG_0904

Ah, my last week in Barcelona. I did my best to fit in as many leftover discoveries before I boarded my crack-of-dawn flight back to Beirut. Let’s see week #20 be filled with more fitness than food, inshallah.

Workout Tally

Walking everywhere for 7 days.

Outdoor Activity

DSC_0596

DSC_0587

The entire weekend would suffice as my outdoor activity because I spent most of it hiking around the outskirts of Barcelona. Between Montjuic Cemetery, the Parc del Laberint d’Horta, and the Carmel Bunkers, I tried to take advantage of the sunny outdoors as much as possible.

DSC_0610_2

DSC_0625

Fitbit Flex

I didn’t even wear it this week although now that I’m back in Beirut, I will have to since my activity will not be one that is iPhone friendly. Back to the gym!

Best Meal of the Week

IMG_0791

IMG_0793

Lascar 74 is a “cevicheria” in Poblesec. It was my farewell dinner with the office and my first time having ceviche. I’m now a fan of Peruvian cuisine thanks to this dining experience. I recommend the guacamole (uchucuta) and the cheesecake de Lima. Not together, of course.

Other Highlights

IMG_0878

IMG_0876

IMG_0879

Xurreria Trebol: I had seen this spot’s churros behind the glass and made a mental note to go back at some point. All other churros tried in Barcelona were of the “tourist” flavor – too oily and stale. Trebol knows what they’re doing though. A little digging revealed that it’s one of the oldest xurrerias in the city and the only one that opens for 24 hours over the weekend. If you’re not a sweet-toothed person, they also make their own potato crisps. Otherwise, if you want beautiful churros served by a beautiful man, go here. Their churros are stuffed with dulce de leche, chocolate, or vanilla cream.

IMG_0892

Treated myself to a solo dinner at El Nacional on my last night: The plan was to just take a walk through the venue to see the setup because I’d heard good things about its interior design. But when I remembered I had tuna and brie left at the apartment, I figured I’d go all out on my last evening with some steak, cava, and lemon pie.

Workout Track of the Week

He needs to stop doing this. And by “this” I mean making this catchy music that you can’t help but sing along to. It’s too late to say sorry though because I’m hooked.

Cheese of the Week

IMG_0849

IMG_0848

Cava, olives, and patacones with my book at La Xalada. What are patacones you ask? Homemade plantain chips with avocado, manchego cheese, and olive cream. That sums up what I’ll miss most about BCN.

El-Tanein Diet Week #15, #16, and #17

IMG_9828_2

I did it again. I bunched 3 weeks in 1 post.

Excuse: I’ve been in hermit mode ever since my roommate left because we went into overdrive before her departure from BCN. I’m a little burnt out in a good way. I came home each night last week wanting to catch up on blogging but would end up bingeing on How to Get Away With Murder. Damn you and your writers’ storytelling skills, Shonda. Then, the weekend rolled around and I realized that my time in Spain is also running out. Overdrive continued and I museum hopped and ticked off more stops on the “must-see” list before I return to Beirut in the time of cholera.

SERIO, I’ll post every Monday from now on since I’m down to TWO MORE WEEKS here. Gotta make them count! *presses play on 8th episode in a row*

Workout Tally

Walking everywhere for 21 days

Outdoor Activity

See above or below.

Fitbit Flex

I’m starting to give up on this accessory. I hardly ever sync it and forget to charge it most of the time too. It hasn’t been doing its job to motivate me and I only remember it’s there when I hit 10K which is rare during the week when I max out at 7-8K come nightfall. It used to be more effective when I was moving less. My walking here is more out of necessity than planned fitness so the counting doesn’t matter as much. We’ll see how I feel when I go back home.

Best Meals of the Weeks

IMG_9819_2

Before I crown the winners, let me say that Barcelona is a designer-who’s-a-foodie’s dream. The restaurants are beautifully designed from interior to menus AND the food is usually delicious as well. Did I mention how much I love cava?

IMG_9584_2

IMG_9585_2 IMG_9586_2 IMG_9589_2

Week 15: Tapas and sangria at Casa Lolea, a sangria factory located down the street from Palau de la Musica Catalana. I liked 3 things about this quaint little eatery: the cheese section on the menu, the sangria bottle design, and the truffle risotto.

IMG_9886_2 IMG_9888_2

Week 16: Sunday brunch at Hotel Barcelo in Raval. For 25 euros/person, you get open buffet with a cocktail on the roof. Great view of the entire city and then you can go check out the stands on Rambla de Raval selling handmade goods.

IMG_0006

Week 17: Carrot Cake at Pudding, a cafe right out of Alice in Wonderland. The actual food is mediocre but the setup is great for coffee and carrot cake. Order the carrot cake.

Other Highlights

IMG_9814_2

Bibo and my leather obsession: I wandered into this brand’s shop in Born only to want everything. Turns out they’re all over Barcelona and they’re very fairly priced considering they’re selling Spanish leather goods. Sniff.

Working on my Barcelona clip: I’ve been trying to take some quick clips using my Polaroid Cube. Hopefully, something worthy will come of the footage. Otherwise, I’ll just show you some pigeons in Plaça Catalunya.

Being the oldest people at an R&B club: No one warned us that Otto Zutz is full of prepubescent hormones but they played some decent R&B so I danced my face off and didn’t care. Pretty sure some of the songs were older than the people dancing to them.

Going through McDonald’s Drive Thru in a cab at 3 am: I don’t know how this happened. Okay, I do. We told the cab we wanted an open McDonald’s and he didn’t tell us it was drive-thru only until we got there. We weren’t going to go home after going all the way down to the beach with BigMac anticipation. Ain’t nothing like heart-attacks in a box at 4 in the morning.

IMG_9848_2

Dressing up for Halloween:
First time since I was 12 maybe? I was La Calavera Catrina, an icon of Mexican dia de muertos. My roommate (dressed as The Joker) and I walked through the Gothic Quarter and danced to R&B (again) in a hole in the wall somewhere in Born. But all that was only after we walked back home to make sure my carved pumpkin was not a fire hazard. Oops. Apparently, Halloween isn’t really a thing in Spain but La Castanyada, a popular festival that occurs around All Saints Day, is a big deal in Catalonia.

IMG_0020

I was one of those losers in line for H&MxBalmain: 
But in my defense, I was fully aware of the idiocy of doing such a thing. In my normal life, I would not have done such a brainless act of pure consumerism but seeing that I’m living a semi-life here, I figured I’d see what it’s like to be a fashion lemming for a brand that I wish I’ll be able to afford one day. It felt like I was a Huffington Post Snapchatter covering the event; I was there for shopping but I felt like an observer because the whole thing was an outer body experience. I have never seen people behave like that for clothing. I’d always heard of people lining up for Apple products or new releases but it was truly fascinating to see the crazy come out. From an advertising perspective, the entire campaign leading up to the launch was genius. They gave us free coffee!

Workout Track(s) of the Weeks

Week 15:

Not a new track but I’ve had it on my playlist forever and I’ve been using it to put a spring in my step during the morning walks. Ever had a song that makes you strut a la John Travolta? This is my BeeGees groove.
Week 16:

My German colleague returned from a holiday spent in Bali. Doesn’t this tune sound like you should be in a hammock in Bali? Or working out at the gym…for your beach body. Right.
Week 17:

Can Ed Sheeran ever go wrong? Best leprechaun ever. I say that with love.
Cheese(s) of the Weeks

Some science for all you cheese lovers out there:

El-Tanein Diet Week #12, #13, and #14

IMG_9395_2

I think I need to come to accept that my workouts, while in Barcelona, are going to revolve around walking. I’m bunching the last THREE weeks in one post because I’m not sure how interesting things have been in terms of content for this series but I’m going to stick to the documentation. It took me so long to actually churn out weeks 12 and 13 that I might as well throw in 14 as a bonus. Hopefully, I’ll still try to get SOME form of conventional activity in before heading back to the gym…in Beirut.

Workout Tally

Walking everywhere for 21 days

Outdoor Activity

See above or below.

Fitbit Flex

Ironically enough, I’m paying attention to this wearable less and less even though it’s tracking the only activity I’m really sticking to. My steps have continued to drop though, probably due to my tourist drive starting to wane as I get more settled here as a “resident.” However, even with that, I’m still getting higher totals than I ever did in Lebanon. I keep forgetting to charge it and losing data of up to two days by the time I realize it’s dead. Why isn’t this charged via kinetic energy? Wouldn’t that make more sense?

Best Meals of the Weeks

IMG_9264_2

Week 12: Solo lunch at Tapas 24. I was done walking all over the city and very tempted to just head to McDonald’s but walked the extra 10 minutes to have a couple of tapas with a glass of cava. patatas bravas, bikini comerç, and a bomba de la Barceloneta.

IMG_9385_2

Week 13: Lemon tart from La Bascula in Born. Having the vegan in town meant discovering vegetarian Barcelona. La Bascula is a vegetarian co-op that’s housed in an old chocolate factory. It’s on Carrer de Flassaders, a little alley full of Spanish boutiques.

IMG_9480_2

Week 14: Tickets Bar. I’m not ashamed to admit that I booked a table at this place in AUGUST. I’d read about it during my Barcelona research and it was listed as a must. They open one day two months prior every day at midnight. I was so intrigued by this but I’m not one for fine dining. However, I decided that this would be my only expensive dinner out for my entire 3 months here and it turned out to be a very laid back environment. And OMG THE FOOD. I’ll let the pictures tell you. They’re vertical because Snapchat is more forgiving on my poor phone memory.
(Add me: ferroberro)

IMG_9461_2 IMG_9462_2 IMG_9463_2 IMG_9466_2 IMG_9471_2 IMG_9472_2

IMG_9469

Other Highlights

IMG_9230_2

Them body issues tho.

Having Museum Days: Sundays in Barcelona are like Beirut in that they’re labeled “family days,” everything closes, and the only thing left to do is eat and be a tourist. I’ve been spending mine in museums or random art shows since most restaurants save their tables for parties of ANYTHING MORE THAN ONE.

Bought a Polaroid Cube: Instead of splurging on a GoPro before knowing whether or not I’d really use it, I opted for the more affordable yet lower quality Polaroid Cube. Let’s see if some Bambi vlogs get made with this new toy.

IMG_9430_2

Having a Roommate: My friend has moved in with me for the month. I officially have my first roommate.

Human+: This is a new exhibition at the CCCB that’s about humans, tech, and where we’re going as a species. Very interestingly creepy.

Workout Track(s) of the Weeks


Because I’m not running, running, running. I’ve really got to though.


Because Jonas. Don’t judge.

Cheese(s) of the Weeks

IMG_9416_2

Receiving a bunch of jars of labneh from dad. Mom and vegan visited during week 13 and brought 3 kinds of goat’s labneh, marouk bread, and a couple of bags of pita. This is how Arab parents show they love you. Can someone send me tabbouli?

Here’s a dose of inspirational queso for you as well:

El-Tanein Diet #10 and #11

IMG_9043

I’ve decided that bunching the ETD posts into 2-week bits is better while I’m in Barcelona. Main reason being that I don’t have a lot of activity to report other than walking all over the whole city. I do plan on changing that up but I don’t want to get too repetitive and only be discussing what I’m eating. Although they come hand in hand when focusing on fitness, this is supposed to be a series about movement rather than a tribute to food.

Workout Tally

Walking my ass off for 14 days

Still can’t get myself to give up my morning walks to the office and I don’t think the rain will stop me either. It’s a 15-20 minute warm-up before I sit behind a screen for 9 hours. I’m really happy that I have this to wake me up prior and then after the day is over as well. Sedentary life at a desk can be so damaging so it’s become the highlight of my weekdays. I try to change up the route every once in a while so I can discover a new neighborhood, find another farmacia, or fit in some extra steps.

With that said, I’m still hoping to get some weekend jogs in. Since weekends are the days I get to really be Bambi the Explorer, I can’t help but deplete my energy wandering the streets looking for hidden gems. I’m trying to use the resistance tube regularly but that’s been as effective as my Duolingo Spanish lessons – meaning I’m doing it twice a week max. Catalan bread is still stalking me and now I’m crushing on its friend: bizcocho de limon (lemon cake) from Dia supermarket.

Outdoor Activity

See above or below.

Fitbit Flex

Taken from the Apple Health app because I forgot to charge my Fitbit again

Best Day. Taken from the Apple Health app because I forgot to charge my Fitbit again.

I’m doing an average of 10.5km/day when not in the office so week 10 was ~78K and week 11 was ~75K steps. Even though this is higher than my Beirut weekly stats, the totals have gone down since weeks 8 & 9 so I should get back to my old weekend numbers.

Best Meals of the Weeks

IMG_9151

Week 10: Bresaola with cava from El Jardi in Raval. It’s a charming tapas bar located in the gardens of old Hospital Santa Creu, around the corner from the famous La Boqueria. It was one of my first solo lunches and I didn’t mind one bit.

IMG_8953

Week 11: Media Pinta BrewBurger with a 1/2 pint of 5am Red Ale beer at Brewdog on Carrer de Casanova. After nachos, a burger, and brownies, my new colleagues and I played two rounds of Jenga. We defied the laws of physics and digestion.

Other Highlights

IMG_8978

Found Peanut Butter: I found the much smaller equivalent to Wesley’s in Barcelona: Taste of America. Got myself a jar of Jif. I prefer Skippy but it’ll do. The cashier began to explain, in Spanish, that I was buying the extra chunky variation. I blurted out a “…sorry?” even though I figured out what he was saying and he laughed,“You’re American! Never mind!” It seems I blend right in here.

IMG_9050

Trip up to Mount Tibidabo: We didn’t get to ride the old Tramvia Blau (blue tram) since it was a Friday. It’s only operational on weekends. That’s what I get for going to Tibidabo on my day off. BUT Tibidabo has a spectacular view of the city and you get to ride a funicular after having some gin & tonic at Mirablau bar halfway up the mountain. There’s a church and some rides at the top but the view is enough for the trip. Avoid the churros – not worth it.

IMG_9118

Attended my first Barca game at Camp Nou:
I’m more of a World-Cup-only football fan but it seemed wrong to not attend a game while staying in the home of FC Barcelona. With great seats thanks to friends at Fly-Foot, we got to see Barca’s win against Las Palmas with Messi’s injury in the first 10 minutes, Suarez’s two goals, and Neymar’s bad haircut. The energy in a stadium is so much better than watching behind a screen.

IMG_8969

IMG_8964
 IMG_8972

Faborit for Light Lunches: So far, this is my favorite lunch spot away from the office. They’ve got a healthy salad bar, fresh juices, pastries, loyalty cards, and a green-walled terrace. I got the swing chair last time I was there! I am a child. The interior is just as warm and inviting. Did I mention it’s at the ground level of Cadafalch’s Casa Amatller? #designerd

Went Flexitarian Two Sundays in a Row: Read more about this here.

Workout Track(s) of the Weeks

Fun, hip track to trot to. Not hardcore workout material but it’s a cheerful, summery tune. And the video was shot in Barcelona.

Cheese(s) of the Weeks

IMG_8410_2

I’m in love with burrata anything. I’ve had burrata back home but I don’t know what it is about this español cheesperience. Maybe it’s the arugula or the sun-dried/seared tomatoes but I can’t get enough.

El-Tanein Diet Week #8 and #9

IMG_8501

Botero’s Gato, Rambla del Raval

It’s too late to apologize for having to bunch the past two weeks into one post but getting settled, working full-time, and having some visitors has been keeping me quite busy. I’m still finding my rhythm here and I’ve got a few posts lined up about what I’ve been doing in Barcelona – I just have to sit and write them out in a comprehensive manner. It’s all on its way, promise!

Workout Tally

Walking my ass off for 14 days

I’ve been on my feet a lot. I walk pretty much everywhere and my Fitbit now loves me. I’m afraid of the size of my calves but I guess it’s good that this is happening since I refuse to forfeit my morning stroll for rushed gym classes. Hopefully, I will still appreciate them when the winter season takes over.

As for fitness plans and resistance training: I want to do weekend jogs in the park by the National Museum in Montjuic. I decided against getting a set of free weights and got a resistance tube from Decathlon since I need something temporary that’ll do the job. Along with some daily pushups and some Nike Training Club downloadable workouts, I should be able to stay on the track to getting toned if I avoid all the Catalan bread that keeps following me everywhere.

Outdoor Activity

See above or below.

Fitbit Flex

IMG_8625 IMG_8626 IMG_8627

I haven’t seen numbers like this on a consistent streak since I got the device. Walking to and from the office is making a big difference when it comes to my movement during working hours and my exploration of the city during the weekend makes up for the rest. I’m doing an average of 15km/day when not in the office so week 8 was ~85K and week 9 was ~103K steps!

Best Meal of the Week(s)

IMG_8394_2

IMG_8381_2

Tapas and sangria at Numero Nueve in Born. This place can win the title for both weeks since I’ve been back twice since my first visit. I don’t even like red wine sangria. Yes, it’s that good.

Other Highlights

IMG_8075

New Instagram Series: For some reason, I kept on noticing the various storefronts of the pharmacies in and around town on my treks. I’ve turned it into a series on my Instagram account. Follow me or the series via #Farrahfindsfarmacias

Look Ma, tourists!

Look Ma, tourists!

Being a BCN tour guide after 2 weeks: I’ve had a few visitors and it’s been challenging to show them around while still being a tourist myself. However, it’s a blessing to have good company when you’re in a new place learning about Gaudi and tasting tapas. Going to museums, Pedrera, Güell, and Sagrada. It’s been an intense couple of weekends.

Workout Track of the Week

The track I’ve been walking all over Barcelona with. How Spanish, I know. Also, the Straight Outta Compton OST but I can’t seem to find a link for that anywhere.

Cheese of the Week

I’m going to go with sentimental cheese for my first two weeks away from home. I was warned about feeling homesick and lonely. Thankfully, I haven’t had much of a chance to dwell on the solo part of my solo expedition since my visitors list keeps growing. Who would’ve thought you’d get to have a little bit of home along for the ride. Now, where in Barcelona can I find some peanut butter?

El-Tanein Diet Week #6

Courtesy of Death to Stock Photo

Courtesy of Death to Stock Photo

I’m hiding behind the floppy hat of shame. Week 6 and 7 have and will be slow because my gym membership expired. I didn’t renew for the month since I’m traveling this coming weekend and, as it turns out, having guaranteed access to the treadmill at home isn’t enough variation to keep you entertained and motivated. I’m going to have to figure something out for week 7 before my flight but prepping for travel will also be messing with my schedule.

Workout Tally

2 20min runs

I’m going to have to pay for some individual classes this week because my discipline falters when it comes to treadmilling at home. Electricity cuts don’t help, but honestly, it just gets dull. I can safely say that the only reason I want to be faster on the machine is so the boredom ends sooner. Did I mention you feel like a human waterfall in this weather? The plus side is that you can run whenever you want…if you have power.

IMG_7700 IMG_7741

With this week’s decreased workout level, I did notice my appetite was proportionate. The more I exercise, the more I become a human Hoover so it’s going to take some time to figure out the right balance of exercise and feasts.

I have been adding some goals over the past 6 weeks but I’m losing track of what they are since they’re scattered across the posts. I’ve compiled them below and will do so every 6 weeks to make sure I’ve got an updated list to keep referring to.

Recap of the Goals for El-Tanein Diet

  • 10K steps/day or at least 50K/week total
  • 5 classes/week minimum
  • Do regular push-ups (not modified bent-knee)
  • Plank for 2 minutes straight post-cardio
  • Lose 12kg by January 12, 2016 (2kg/month for ~6 months)
  • Work my way up to 6kg weights
  • Wear shorts to the gym without feeling the jiggles
  • Run my 5K in 35 min
  • NEW: one 5K run/week

Recap of Mini Victories So Far

  • Average of 3 classes/week
  • Planked for 1:10 (up from 0:40s)
  • Up to 4kg weights
  • Running 5K in 40 min (down from 41:30)

Outdoor Activity

I never thought participating in a protest would count as an outdoor activity but walking around Riad El Solh Square for a few hours under the afternoon August sun is still something. I got a tan and mixed feelings about this whole “revolution.”

Fitbit Flex

Staying home is worse than office life when it comes to step count. Week #6 totals at a little under 40K, 10K short of the 50K minimum. Even with very little workout activity, I was almost there!

Best Meal of the Week

I headed to Zouk Mikael with the sisters for this weekend’s Souk el Akel at the old Zouk souks. It included the same stands I saw when I went to the downtown edition last month. Upon arrival, the sisters admitted they weren’t hungry and just wanted to see what the fuss was about so I ended up having dinner solo. I had a half pulled pork sandwich from This Little Piggy and a sloppy joe from Meats & Bread.

IMG_7759

IMG_7758  IMG_7760

I have yet to try the recommended sushi burrito because that combination seems insulting to both sushi and burritos. It’s like making a ribs pizza. Actually, that sounds genius. Let me think about it.

Other Highlights

Bought a Crop Top: I was never a crop top person. I’m not a fan of midriff baring but I’ve seen classy examples of how to pull off a crop top. I don’t think it’s the kind of style made for muffin tops or belly pooches so I figured it be a good motivator to get my abs in shape. I opted for one that was easy on the wallet too so it won’t break my heart if I only wear it around the house. H&M saving the day.

Workout Track of the Week

I don’t know why this was playing at Souk el Akel but it’s a song that was once used during Body Attack. It was weird to hear a song that is used during intense cardio while walking by food stalls and smoking barbecues.

Cheese of the Week

IMG_7727

Knefeh bi Chocolat: Since the above is called best MEAL of the week, I did not count my first encounter with the knefeh bi chocolat of Sea Sweet as the winner. I will say that it was the highlight gastronomically though. For those who don’t know, knefeh is baked white cheese pastry topped with semolina and syrup. Knefeh bi chocolat is a chocolate croissant stuffed with knefeh. I can’t for the life of me understand why people who discovered it this year decided to call it the cronofeh; it’s been around longer than the cronut and such a moniker does not make you salivate. Way to make something so sinfully delicious sound like a village with no gas stations. My reaction was, and I quote, “this is like whoa” and I could only eat 3/4 of the half I had before I felt the glucose seeping out of my pores.

I shall leave you with a cat meme.

IMG_7770