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Rostov

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  1. Glad to hear that you're keeping a food journal. That's what worked for me - recording what I ate (using My Fitness Pal) and looking for easy ways to cut my calorie intake, mainly through cutting out food that was poor deliciousness/fillingness value for the calories. It is amazing what a difference small changes can make. I've read that weight loss is about 80% diet, 20% exercise, and the trick is not to end up eating more and justifying it to yourself because of the extra exercise. Lots of good advice already.... I started with couch to 5k (though not at week 1) and I've got a 10k race in a month or so. The only other bit of advice I'd pass on that I've seen from other c2k5 graduates (and that you'll probably get via the app) is not to be afraid to repeat a week if you need to - better to do that than get disheartened and drop out. Finally.... don't neglect walking as a form of exercise. A brisk, regular walk can do wonders....
  2. Another quick update.... I managed a 7k run, but I really wasn't feeling good about 2-3k in and decided at that point to cut it short, but ended up lasting longer than I thought. I'm probably just mentally rusty - it's not like "hitting the wall" but there are always time where I struggle a bit until I get my second or third wind and am then fine. I went to see the physio again and I'm going to up the ankle strengthening, but I think I'm still only going to be able to run every 5 days or so, though hopefully that will continue to improve. Going for lighter/shorter/flatter runs doesn't appear to make a difference, so I'm going to try to make my run a long one - perhaps a flat 10k or 7-8k with some hills - and then do my rebounder running (which doesn't aggrevate my ankle) on other days - either an hour's run or half an hour interval training. On my side quest/romance sub plot.... I've taken the plunge, signed up for an internet dating website, and subscribed. I've even sent a few messages to a few possible matches, and received a bit of attention from spammers/scammers and some genuine people who I'm almost certainly not compatible with. I'm trying internet dating as much for my mindset as through any actual expectation of results - I need to think about what kind of life I want, and to look forward rather than dwelling on a (wonderful) previous relationship which came to an end a while back. Oddly, I've found the process has given me a bit of confidence - my profile has been viewed a lot, which means that my picture can't be so repulsive that people scroll straight past - unless, of course, they're looking for car crash reasons. But I don't think it's that. I think I'm more prepared to risk rejection through the impersonal medium of the website and that might seep through into real life too. I also find myself more willing to smile at strangers in the street or in the park, and for reasons I can't properly explain I'm feeling a bit more confident and outgoing and willing to take risks. It helps, of course, that I look damn good in my profile pictures - at least compared to how I used to look before I lost the excess weight. I'd still say that I'm unattractive, but I've given myself every chance I can, and hopefully my personality can outweight some of that - though internet dating isn't the best medium for that. Oh well. TL:DR - progress, and I think benefits are seeping through into real life.
  3. I'm back from holiday and it's very good news. Today's weigh-in was 81.0kg, 178.6lbs, 12st 10.6lbs, so I've not only not put on any weight, but also lost one out of the four lbs I'd like to lose during this challenge. I put running on hold for the last two weeks - my ankle was feeling okay, but I was doing a lot of coastal walking and getting the occasional twinge. Some of the ascents and descents were quite steep and remote, so I didn't want to risk aggrevating the injury. So it'll be my first run for a while today... interesting to see how that goes....
  4. Thanks everyone. It'll be my first official 10k, though I've managed a self-timed/measured unofficial 10k. I'm not sure about learning how to flirt, but I'm starting by being more social and outgoing and charming. Or trying, anyway.
  5. Main quest: "There's a world that's waiting to unfold...." Well.... I've lost 67lbs in about 13 months, since I started counting properly. I am a shadow of my former self - my trousers were size 42", now they're 34". My t-shirts were XL or XXL, now they're L. Point is, I've lost a lot of weight, and at the start of this challenge I'm about 81.5kg (179.5lbs, 12st 11.5lbs). I've finished couch-to-5k. My 5k PB is 23:21. I've done an unofficial self-timed 10k in 57 mins, and I've got an official one after the end of the challenge. I can do 2-3 pull ups, and I've gone fron knee push-ups to standard to decline to one footed to walking. I've seen attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. And my longstanding foot/ankle instability problem is showing positive signs of clearing up, now I've got a diagnosis and some exercises to do. I'm nearly where I want to be. A few more pounds to go, and then I'm there. And then there are some choices to be made. What kind of life to I want to lead? How am I going to balance food and exercise to enjoy my food but stay at my goal weight? What about time for sedantry interests? Fortunately for me, I like exercise, I like running, and I like sport. So it's not going to be too hard, but it needs careful thought and reflection. My main question is reaching the end of my weight-loss journey, and starting on a new journey - to where, and how, and why, I've yet to fully discover. One thing is for sure - it's going to feature running at 5k and 10k distances. Goal 1: "Staying out for the summer....." I'm off on holiday for the first two weeks of the challenge. The good? Weather permitting, I'm going to be doing lots of walking. The bad? Away from my kitchen, my rebounder, my usual environment. Ice cream and high calorie local delicacies will be everywhere. Meals out. Now, everyone is entitled to a holiday, but my goal is to come back the same weight as I left. Goal 2: Last few pounds I want to lose 4lbs over the next 6 weeks, which should get me at my goal weight. Goal 3: Train towards the 10k race The race itself is outside the goal period, but I'm going to put in place a training plan so that I can complete the 10k, ideally under 55 mins. Side Quest: Together Alone A couple of challenges ago, my relationship status shifted from "it's complicated" to "single". I think I've processed all that now, and I'm wondering about doing something positive to see if there's anyone else out there to re-complicate my life. Problem is, I'm not sure exactly how best to go about this, or even if it's a good idea. I mean, I like being free and single, and I'm quite happy as I am. And I'd much rather be happy and single than not happy and in a relationship. Some people need to be part of a couple - I really don't. So, although it's vague, at the end of this six week challenge I should have something to report back to myself about my thinking. Am I going to do anything positive (internet dating, speed dating, practicising flirting, whatever), or have I decided that actually I'm perfectly content by myself? Honestly don't know.
  6. This. If you want to lose 50lbs at an average of 1lb per week, you're looking at about a year or so, perhaps a bit less. That's a long time. After you've reached your goal, you'll have to stick to something like your routine - or a modified version - to stay at that goal. And the rest of your life is an even longer time! The answer to the question about which is the best diet/exercise regime is always 'the one you can stick to'. I'm starting to think that there's something about personality and temperament which sorts people into Paleo or calorie counting camps, and probably also into (mainly) weight training or (mainly) cardio camps. But I don't think it's always possible to predict when you start out. If you've genuinely got no preference at the moment, I'd suggest trying one then the other and seeing which you prefer. I'd also suggest three possible alternatives to the gym for cardio. Walking is a great exercise, and I've found the NHS couch-to-5k really useful - though I found that I needed to lose a bit of weight before I felt brave enough to try it. Another key weapon in my arsenal is a rebounder/mini-trampoline thing. I keep it in my front room, put the TV on, turn the volume up and either run for an hour or so or run intervals. When I started out I'd alternate between jogging and just bouncing for shorter periods of time It's cheap (one off cost for a good quality rebounder) and is very convenient - it's in the privacy of your own front room, so no commuting or worrying about the weather.
  7. And so, the post challenge wrap-up. Goal 1: A shadow of my former self Lose 5lbs (average of just under 1lb per week) over the duration of the challenge. I'll do this by a combination of calorie counting and exercise and run a safe net deficit through, sustainable habits. This has been a constant goal for each challenge, but as I've less to lose (and it's harder to do) I've made it 5lbs rather than 6lbs this time. +0.5 con and +0.5 dex are available per 1lb of weight loss, for a total of +2.5 for each. My starting weight is 83.3kg, 183.6lbs, 13 stone 1.6lbs Final weight: 81.5kg, 179.7lbs, 12 stone, 11.7 lbs. Total lost: 4lbs, so +2 con and +2 dex. Perhaps another 4-8lbs to go before I'll be happy. But I've already been told by one person not to lose any more.... A sub-goal of this is Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is to work out on at least 11 days of 14. This has been a regular goal that I've almost always succeeded at in full, so perhaps it's not a challenge any more. However, I'd like to track it here to make sure. Even if I've not always met this exactly, exercise as part of a routine is now fitting in nicely. I think next time I might let myself count walking over a certain distance towards this goal, as some days I do a lot of walking that I don't really have a mechanism for counting as exercise. Goal 2: Drink water like water, and soda like soda One of the big changes I made when I first started out with weight loss was cutting out full calorie cokes/sodas. It wasn't easy, but I succeeded and now rarely have any liquid calories. However, I don't think I drank any less soda overall, but just shifted to Diet Coke and Pepsi Max. While I don't want to throw words around like "addicted", I drink more than is good for me and do get a form of "withdrawal" if I don't have any. This is not good. I understand there's some research that would indicate that diet sodas are nearly as bad as full calories and that artificial sweeteners are not good for the body. I'm unconvinced, and I think my experience has been that the kick of something sweet and caffinated helps satisfy cravings for high calorie food. Last time I tried to drink water instead of soda, and made myself finish a bottle of water before I could have any. I largely succeeded at this, but I'm not convinced it actually helped much - probably I just drank more later. There's good evidence that presentation/plates/glasses affect portion sizes, so I'm going to try to drink it from a tumbler, rather than from the bottle. My challenge is to see if this works, and if it doesn't, try something else instead. There's the danger that I'd pour myself more than I want, and end up finishing it in a way that I wouldn't if I only wanted a sip or two. +0.5 wisdom for each week of success = +3 available overall. This experiment didn't really work for me, and if anything I've gone backwards on this. Part of that might be because of the heat, but I don't think that's really an explanation, and it's certainly not an excuse. Goal 3: The awesomeness of the middle distance runner I'd love to beat my personal best over 5k, but I don't know how realistic that's going to be, given my injury problems. I'm not going to break myself for the sake of a challenge goal! So here are some running milestones for which I can earn points: 1) Run another 5k parkrun - +1 sta 2) If too injured to run, but not to walk there, volunteer to help out at the parkrun. They only happen because of volunteers, and I should pay it forward. +1 cha 3) Set a new 5k PB. +1 sta 4) Set a new PB for distance run without stopping (currently 6k). Would like to take this to 7k, and build towards 10k eventually. I'm delighted to pick off all four targets - another packrun with PB, volunteering when injured, and a new distance PB (7.5k in arond 45 mins) too. So +2 sta, +1 cha. Goal 4: Life goal - Roll your Charisma In my previous challenges I've set myself life goals related to getting to know people better, or opening up more, or turning acquantainces into friends. In the last two I decided to broaden things out and give myself points for times when I've taken a risk and "rolled my charisma" - to use a D&D term. Actually my charisma score isn't bad, especially diplomacy, but I tend not to take risks and introversion is my default setting. In challenge IV I scored well at this, kept it going but raised the bar for V and did much less well. I'm keeping the challenge, but I think I'm going to score it per situation rather than on a weekly basis.. Total +3 available, which I'll split evenly between wisdom and charisma. Adding up it's +1.25 for charisma and +0.75 for wisdom. Not bad at all. While I don't think I've solved the underlying issues here, gradually my default setting is starting to shift a little away from introverted.
  8. And so, the post challenge wrap-up. Goal 1: A shadow of my former self Lose 5lbs (average of just under 1lb per week) over the duration of the challenge. I'll do this by a combination of calorie counting and exercise and run a safe net deficit through, sustainable habits. This has been a constant goal for each challenge, but as I've less to lose (and it's harder to do) I've made it 5lbs rather than 6lbs this time. +0.5 con and +0.5 dex are available per 1lb of weight loss, for a total of +2.5 for each. My starting weight is 83.3kg, 183.6lbs, 13 stone 1.6lbs Final weight: 81.5kg, 179.7lbs, 12 stone, 11.7 lbs. Total lost: 4lbs, so +2 con and +2 dex. A sub-goal of this is Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is to work out on at least 11 days of 14. This has been a regular goal that I've almost always succeeded at in full, so perhaps it's not a challenge any more. However, I'd like to track it here to make sure. Even if I've not always met this exactly, exercise as part of a routine is now fitting in nicely. I think next time I might let myself count walking over a certain distance towards this goal, as some days I do a lot of walking that I don't really have a mechanism for counting. Goal 2: Drink water like water, and soda like soda One of the big changes I made when I first started out with weight loss was cutting out full calorie cokes/sodas. It wasn't easy, but I succeeded and now rarely have any liquid calories. However, I don't think I drank any less soda overall, but just shifted to Diet Coke and Pepsi Max. While I don't want to throw words around like "addicted", I drink more than is good for me and do get a form of "withdrawal" if I don't have any. This is not good. I understand there's some research that would indicate that diet sodas are nearly as bad as full calories and that artificial sweeteners are not good for the body. I'm unconvinced, and I think my experience has been that the kick of something sweet and caffinated helps satisfy cravings for high calorie food. Last time I tried to drink water instead of soda, and made myself finish a bottle of water before I could have any. I largely succeeded at this, but I'm not convinced it actually helped much - probably I just drank more later. There's good evidence that presentation/plates/glasses affect portion sizes, so I'm going to try to drink it from a tumbler, rather than from the bottle. My challenge is to see if this works, and if it doesn't, try something else instead. There's the danger that I'd pour myself more than I want, and end up finishing it in a way that I wouldn't if I only wanted a sip or two. +0.5 wisdom for each week of success = +3 available overall. This experiment didn't really work for me, and if anything I've gone backwards on this. Part of that might be because of the heat, but I don't think that's really an explanation, and it's certainly not an excuse. Goal 3: The awesomeness of the middle distance runner I'd love to beat my personal best over 5k, but I don't know how realistic that's going to be, given my injury problems. I'm not going to break myself for the sake of a challenge goal! So here are some running milestones for which I can earn points: 1) Run another 5k parkrun - +1 sta 2) If too injured to run, but not to walk there, volunteer to help out at the parkrun. They only happen because of volunteers, and I should pay it forward. +1 cha 3) Set a new 5k PB. +1 sta 4) Set a new PB for distance run without stopping (currently 6k). Would like to take this to 7k, and build towards 10k eventually. I'm delighted to pick off all four targets - another packrun with PB, volunteering when injured, and a new distance PB too. So +2 sta, +1 cha. Goal 4: Life goal - Roll your Charisma In my previous challenges I've set myself life goals related to getting to know people better, or opening up more, or turning acquantainces into friends. In the last two I decided to broaden things out and give myself points for times when I've taken a risk and "rolled my charisma" - to use a D&D term. Actually my charisma score isn't bad, especially diplomacy, but I tend not to take risks and introversion is my default setting. In challenge IV I scored well at this, kept it going but raised the bar for V and did much less well. I'm keeping the challenge, but I think I'm going to score it per situation rather than on a weekly basis.. Total +3 available, which I'll split evenly between wisdom and charisma. Adding up it's +1.25 for charisma and +0.75 for wisdom. Not bad at all. While I don't think I've solved the underlying issues here, gradually my default setting is starting to shift a little away from introverted.
  9. And belatedly, week 6... Goal 1: A shadow of my former self Lose 5lbs (average of just under 1lb per week) over the duration of the challenge. I'll do this by a combination of calorie counting and exercise and run a safe net deficit through, sustainable habits. This has been a constant goal for each challenge, but as I've less to lose (and it's harder to do) I've made it 5lbs rather than 6lbs this time. My starting weight is 83.3kg, 183.6lbs, 13 stone 1.6lbs Weight this week: 81.5kg, 179.7lbs, 12 stone, 11.7 lbs. No change this week, which is fine. A sub-goal of this is Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is to work out on at least 11 days of 14. This has been a regular goal that I've almost always succeeded at in full, so perhaps it's not a challenge any more. However, I'd like to track it here to make sure. I lost track of this a little last week, but this week I know I'm short of the right number of workouts. Part of the reason is to do with evenings out/social events, but it's also harder to work out in the mini-heatwave we have at the moment. I'm just not used to it! Goal 2: Drink water like water, and soda like soda One of the big changes I made when I first started out with weight loss was cutting out full calorie cokes/sodas. It wasn't easy, but I succeeded and now rarely have any liquid calories. However, I don't think I drank any less soda overall, but just shifted to Diet Coke and Pepsi Max. While I don't want to throw words around like "addicted", I drink more than is good for me and do get a form of "withdrawal" if I don't have any. This is not good. I understand there's some research that would indicate that diet sodas are nearly as bad as full calories and that artificial sweeteners are not good for the body. I'm unconvinced, and I think my experience has been that the kick of something sweet and caffinated helps satisfy cravings for high calorie food. Last time I tried to drink water instead of soda, and made myself finish a bottle of water before I could have any. I largely succeeded at this, but I'm not convinced it actually helped much - probably I just drank more later. There's good evidence that presentation/plates/glasses affect portion sizes, so I'm going to try to drink it from a tumbler, rather than from the bottle. My challenge is to see if this works, and if it doesn't, try something else instead. There's the danger that I'd pour myself more than I want, and end up finishing it in a way that I wouldn't if I only wanted a sip or two. +0.5 wisdom for each week of success = +3 available overall. I feel like I've pretty much abandoned this. Back to square 1. Goal 3: The awesomeness of the middle distance runner I'd love to beat my personal best over 5k, but I don't know how realistic that's going to be, given my injury problems. I'm not going to break myself for the sake of a challenge goal! So here are some running milestones for which I can earn points: 1) Run another 5k parkrun - +1 sta 2) If too injured to run, but not to walk there, volunteer to help out at the parkrun. They only happen because of volunteers, and I should pay it forward. +1 cha 3) Set a new 5k PB. +1 sta 4) Set a new PB for distance run without stopping (currently 6k). Would like to take this to 7k, and build towards 10k eventually. I mentioned above about my new PB distance run. Goal 4: Life goal - Roll your Charisma In my previous challenges I've set myself life goals related to getting to know people better, or opening up more, or turning acquantainces into friends. In the last two I decided to broaden things out and give myself points for times when I've taken a risk and "rolled my charisma" - to use a D&D term. Actually my charisma score isn't bad, especially diplomacy, but I tend not to take risks and introversion is my default setting. In challenge IV I scored well at this, kept it going but raised the bar for V and did much less well. I'm keeping the challenge, but I think I'm going to score it per situation rather than on a weekly basis.. Total +3 available, which I'll split evenly between wisdom and charisma. Another +0.5 cha this week for another staff social. The good news is that I'm finding my instincts becoming more social - earlier this week I was invited to go out for a meal with work colleagues, and generally my first reaction would be to look for reasons not to go. Didn't do that this time - just checked the diary, pencilled it in, and I'm off out tomorrow for post-work drinks and dinner.
  10. I achieved the last of my running goals this evening - 7.5k in 45 minutes is a new PB for longest continuous run, probably ever. Nice slow pace, and a fair bit left in the tank - though probably not another 2.5k worth, at least not without digging very deep. Puts me nicely on track for a 60 minute 10k, but obviously I'd like to go quicker than that in an official 10k event. I'll find out tomorrow how much of a toll it's taken on my ankle!
  11. Week 5 update: Goal 1: A shadow of my former self Lose 5lbs (average of just under 1lb per week) over the duration of the challenge. I'll do this by a combination of calorie counting and exercise and run a safe net deficit through, sustainable habits. This has been a constant goal for each challenge, but as I've less to lose (and it's harder to do) I've made it 5lbs rather than 6lbs this time. My starting weight is 83.3kg, 183.6lbs, 13 stone 1.6lbs Weight this week: 81.5kg, 179.7lbs, 12 stone, 11.7 lbs. This is the week the scales moved to catch up with what I'd been quietly confident about for a while. It's been an odd week weight-loss wise, because this is the week when either (a) everyone seems to have noticed; or ( everyone seems to want to tell me. Now granted, I've seen a few people this week that I've not seen in some time and a work social has also made those conversations more likely, but it's still been an odd week. I always try to take these conversations in the spirit in which they're intended, even though a lot of the time I'd really rather not talk about it at all. But in some ways it's nice to have my successes noted and acknowledged. A sub-goal of this is Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is to work out on at least 11 days of 14. This has been a regular goal that I've almost always succeeded at in full, so perhaps it's not a challenge any more. However, I'd like to track it here to make sure. Embarassingly I've lost track this week - it's either 4 or 5 out of 7. I'm making progress on pull ups - up to 3 or even towards 4 sometimes. Goal 2: Drink water like water, and soda like soda One of the big changes I made when I first started out with weight loss was cutting out full calorie cokes/sodas. It wasn't easy, but I succeeded and now rarely have any liquid calories. However, I don't think I drank any less soda overall, but just shifted to Diet Coke and Pepsi Max. While I don't want to throw words around like "addicted", I drink more than is good for me and do get a form of "withdrawal" if I don't have any. This is not good. I understand there's some research that would indicate that diet sodas are nearly as bad as full calories and that artificial sweeteners are not good for the body. I'm unconvinced, and I think my experience has been that the kick of something sweet and caffinated helps satisfy cravings for high calorie food. Last time I tried to drink water instead of soda, and made myself finish a bottle of water before I could have any. I largely succeeded at this, but I'm not convinced it actually helped much - probably I just drank more later. There's good evidence that presentation/plates/glasses affect portion sizes, so I'm going to try to drink it from a tumbler, rather than from the bottle. My challenge is to see if this works, and if it doesn't, try something else instead. There's the danger that I'd pour myself more than I want, and end up finishing it in a way that I wouldn't if I only wanted a sip or two. +0.5 wisdom for each week of success = +3 available overall. Still not going well. Need to get back on track. Goal 3: The awesomeness of the middle distance runner I'd love to beat my personal best over 5k, but I don't know how realistic that's going to be, given my injury problems. I'm not going to break myself for the sake of a challenge goal! So here are some running milestones for which I can earn points: 1) Run another 5k parkrun - +1 sta 2) If too injured to run, but not to walk there, volunteer to help out at the parkrun. They only happen because of volunteers, and I should pay it forward. +1 cha 3) Set a new 5k PB. +1 sta 4) Set a new PB for distance run without stopping (currently 6k). Would like to take this to 7k, and build towards 10k eventually. No more running this week... I think the physio exercises are probably slowing down recovery, although they're neccesary for long term strengthening. It's also very hot at the moment, which doesn't help. Goal 4: Life goal - Roll your Charisma In my previous challenges I've set myself life goals related to getting to know people better, or opening up more, or turning acquantainces into friends. In the last two I decided to broaden things out and give myself points for times when I've taken a risk and "rolled my charisma" - to use a D&D term. Actually my charisma score isn't bad, especially diplomacy, but I tend not to take risks and introversion is my default setting. In challenge IV I scored well at this, kept it going but raised the bar for V and did much less well. I'm keeping the challenge, but I think I'm going to score it per situation rather than on a weekly basis.. Total +3 available, which I'll split evenly between wisdom and charisma. I'm going to award myself a +0.25 to charisma for the work social. Might have made a new friend, and in general I think I did pretty well at talking to people and being social and pretending to be outgoing.
  12. Week 4 update: Goal 1: A shadow of my former self Lose 5lbs (average of just under 1lb per week) over the duration of the challenge. I'll do this by a combination of calorie counting and exercise and run a safe net deficit through, sustainable habits. This has been a constant goal for each challenge, but as I've less to lose (and it's harder to do) I've made it 5lbs rather than 6lbs this time. My starting weight is 83.3kg, 183.6lbs, 13 stone 1.6lbs Weight this week: 82.4kg, 181.7lbs, 12 stone, 13.7 lbs. Below the 13 stone mark for the first time in a very long time! Slow but steady progress, and I think I may have lost more that the scale is showing, as I've had to buy more new clothes. My trousers size is now comfortably 34", for t-shirts and shirts I'm a L rather than an XL or XXL. I probably have some more clothes shopping to do, as I seem to have a lot of stuff that doesn't really fit any more. A sub-goal of this is Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is to work out on at least 11 days of 14. This has been a regular goal that I've almost always succeeded at in full, so perhaps it's not a challenge any more. However, I'd like to track it here to make sure. 6 of 7 last week and 5 of 7 this week, so spot on. I'm making progress on push ups again - back to 2 or 3. Goal 2: Drink water like water, and soda like soda One of the big changes I made when I first started out with weight loss was cutting out full calorie cokes/sodas. It wasn't easy, but I succeeded and now rarely have any liquid calories. However, I don't think I drank any less soda overall, but just shifted to Diet Coke and Pepsi Max. While I don't want to throw words around like "addicted", I drink more than is good for me and do get a form of "withdrawal" if I don't have any. This is not good. I understand there's some research that would indicate that diet sodas are nearly as bad as full calories and that artificial sweeteners are not good for the body. I'm unconvinced, and I think my experience has been that the kick of something sweet and caffinated helps satisfy cravings for high calorie food. Last time I tried to drink water instead of soda, and made myself finish a bottle of water before I could have any. I largely succeeded at this, but I'm not convinced it actually helped much - probably I just drank more later. There's good evidence that presentation/plates/glasses affect portion sizes, so I'm going to try to drink it from a tumbler, rather than from the bottle. My challenge is to see if this works, and if it doesn't, try something else instead. There's the danger that I'd pour myself more than I want, and end up finishing it in a way that I wouldn't if I only wanted a sip or two. +0.5 wisdom for each week of success = +3 available overall. This isn't going brilliantly. Time to refocus, drink less, and drain the bottle of water each evening first. Goal 3: The awesomeness of the middle distance runner I'd love to beat my personal best over 5k, but I don't know how realistic that's going to be, given my injury problems. I'm not going to break myself for the sake of a challenge goal! So here are some running milestones for which I can earn points: 1) Run another 5k parkrun - +1 sta 2) If too injured to run, but not to walk there, volunteer to help out at the parkrun. They only happen because of volunteers, and I should pay it forward. +1 cha 3) Set a new 5k PB. +1 sta 4) Set a new PB for distance run without stopping (currently 6k). Would like to take this to 7k, and build towards 10k eventually. No more running this week... need another day or so to get over my PB run last week. I think the physio exercises are probably slowing down recovery, although they're neccesary for long term strengthening. Goal 4: Life goal - Roll your Charisma In my previous challenges I've set myself life goals related to getting to know people better, or opening up more, or turning acquantainces into friends. In the last two I decided to broaden things out and give myself points for times when I've taken a risk and "rolled my charisma" - to use a D&D term. Actually my charisma score isn't bad, especially diplomacy, but I tend not to take risks and introversion is my default setting. In challenge IV I scored well at this, kept it going but raised the bar for V and did much less well. I'm keeping the challenge, but I think I'm going to score it per situation rather than on a weekly basis.. Total +3 available, which I'll split evenly between wisdom and charisma. I'm going to award myself a +0.25 to charisma for a social trip out. Generally I hate organising social events, get very stressed, and tend to take things very personally if things don't go brilliantly, even if objectively it's not my fault. But this one went okay, slight hiccup, which I dealth with. And I'm also having +0.25 wisdom for being better at talking to attractive women - though to be fair, I've always been fairly good at this because I treat them as just ordinary humans. But I get the points partly for allowing myself to think about such conversations as even having a tiniest sliver of a hint of flirting... sign that I'm starting to move on from my last relationship.
  13. I went to see the physio today and it's good news - I can continue running when I'm able, walking and rebounding is also fine, I've got some exercises to do and another appointment in six weeks or so. Apparently I have a stability issue with my left foot/ankle, which makes a lot of sense, and explains the odd feeling I sometimes get that my foot is almost hanging loosely off my leg, compared to my right foot. Hopefully this is fixable through exercises, and there was no mention of surgery, whcih was something I was a little concerned might be needed. Right then... stretches then bed....
  14. Week 3 update: Goal 1: A shadow of my former self Lose 5lbs (average of just under 1lb per week) over the duration of the challenge. I'll do this by a combination of calorie counting and exercise and run a safe net deficit through, sustainable habits. This has been a constant goal for each challenge, but as I've less to lose (and it's harder to do) I've made it 5lbs rather than 6lbs this time. My starting weight is 83.3kg, 183.6lbs, 13 stone 1.6lbs Weight this week: 82.7kg, 182.3lbs, 13 stone, 0.3 lbs. Slow progress - no change from last week. A sub-goal of this is Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is to work out on at least 11 days of 14. This has been a regular goal that I've almost always succeeded at in full, so perhaps it's not a challenge any more. However, I'd like to track it here to make sure. 6 of 7 this week, plus a return to pull-ups and I'm getting close to where I was before I took the bar down when a friend visited. I've worked out a better grip (in the hand rather than hand and fingers) which has helped. Goal 2: Drink water like water, and soda like soda One of the big changes I made when I first started out with weight loss was cutting out full calorie cokes/sodas. It wasn't easy, but I succeeded and now rarely have any liquid calories. However, I don't think I drank any less soda overall, but just shifted to Diet Coke and Pepsi Max. While I don't want to throw words around like "addicted", I drink more than is good for me and do get a form of "withdrawal" if I don't have any. This is not good. I understand there's some research that would indicate that diet sodas are nearly as bad as full calories and that artificial sweeteners are not good for the body. I'm unconvinced, and I think my experience has been that the kick of something sweet and caffinated helps satisfy cravings for high calorie food. Last time I tried to drink water instead of soda, and made myself finish a bottle of water before I could have any. I largely succeeded at this, but I'm not convinced it actually helped much - probably I just drank more later. There's good evidence that presentation/plates/glasses affect portion sizes, so I'm going to try to drink it from a tumbler, rather than from the bottle. My challenge is to see if this works, and if it doesn't, try something else instead. There's the danger that I'd pour myself more than I want, and end up finishing it in a way that I wouldn't if I only wanted a sip or two. +0.5 wisdom for each week of success = +3 available overall. This isn't going brilliantly. Time to refocus, drink less, and drain the bottle of water each evening first. Goal 3: The awesomeness of the middle distance runner I'd love to beat my personal best over 5k, but I don't know how realistic that's going to be, given my injury problems. I'm not going to break myself for the sake of a challenge goal! So here are some running milestones for which I can earn points: 1) Run another 5k parkrun - +1 sta 2) If too injured to run, but not to walk there, volunteer to help out at the parkrun. They only happen because of volunteers, and I should pay it forward. +1 cha 3) Set a new 5k PB. +1 sta 4) Set a new PB for distance run without stopping (currently 6k). Would like to take this to 7k, and build towards 10k eventually. As above, I set a new PB on Saturday, which means I've done 1, 2, and 3. I might try and build towards 4 at the weekend, or early next week. Goal 4: Life goal - Roll your Charisma In my previous challenges I've set myself life goals related to getting to know people better, or opening up more, or turning acquantainces into friends. In the last two I decided to broaden things out and give myself points for times when I've taken a risk and "rolled my charisma" - to use a D&D term. Actually my charisma score isn't bad, especially diplomacy, but I tend not to take risks and introversion is my default setting. In challenge IV I scored well at this, kept it going but raised the bar for V and did much less well. I'm keeping the challenge, but I think I'm going to score it per situation rather than on a weekly basis.. Total +3 available, which I'll split evenly between wisdom and charisma. Done fairly well on being outgoing, but I can't point to anything that was a "roll".
  15. I know what you mean about struggling to fit the core strength stuff in alongside anything else. What I've found works fairly well is doing things just before going to bed, or just after getting up, and making it part of a routine. Most days I get my push-ups done while waiting for the toaster. I should be doing planks too, really....
  16. Full update tomorrow or Monday, but today I absolutely smashed my 5k personal best. Previously it was 24:55 - today 23:21. I run races without the aid of any kind of electronic tracking, but my split times for my training runs had shown consistently that I tended to be a slow starter. Today I just took the brakes off and let myself run at the pace my body seemed to want to run at, and tried to keep it up for as long as possible. I'm pretty sure that my time over the last 1-2k wasn't great, as I was hurting by then and coasting a bit on a downhill to try and get some breath back. But perhaps that's the strategy for the 5k - run at my natural pace and try and keep it going for longer. I think I've got a slightly slower pace for longer runs that I may also be able to default to. Setting a new distance PB is my final running goal for this challenge, but at the moment I'm struggling to run more than once a week because of my foot issues.
  17. Glad to hear that you're making progress on the weight loss - if memory serves that was a particular challenge. I actually used the "empty bottle of water" first method last challenge, and my worry was that it meant that I'd drink all that quite quickly and still get through a lot of soda afterwards, and usually later in the evening. But looking back that was more effective than what I'm doing at the moment! Week 2 update: Goal 1: A shadow of my former self Lose 5lbs (average of just under 1lb per week) over the duration of the challenge. I'll do this by a combination of calorie counting and exercise and run a safe net deficit through, sustainable habits. This has been a constant goal for each challenge, but as I've less to lose (and it's harder to do) I've made it 5lbs rather than 6lbs this time. My starting weight is 83.3kg, 183.6lbs, 13 stone 1.6lbs Weight this week: 82.7kg, 182.3lbs, 13 stone, 0.3 lbs. Slow progress, but getting there week-by-week. This week I noticed that some of my older trunks/pants/boxers are now too big. The XL size used to fit me comfortably, and now the L size is fine, but when I next need some new ones I might try M. I also took some of my old larger size trousers and shirts out of my cupboard and put them in the "donate to charity" draw. A sub-goal of this is Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is to work out on at least 11 days of 14. This has been a regular goal that I've almost always succeeded at in full, so perhaps it's not a challenge any more. However, I'd like to track it here to make sure. 5 of 7 this week and last, so I've missed it this fortnight. Mainly this is because I've been short of time this week for various reasons, but in with all this I've kept up the walking, so I'm not too downhearted. Less good is the fact that I've only just put the pull-up bar back up after taking it down weeks ago when a friend visited - it's on the spare room doorframe. I'm back to just one pull-up, though I'm sure I can build that up again quickly. Goal 2: Drink water like water, and soda like soda One of the big changes I made when I first started out with weight loss was cutting out full calorie cokes/sodas. It wasn't easy, but I succeeded and now rarely have any liquid calories. However, I don't think I drank any less soda overall, but just shifted to Diet Coke and Pepsi Max. While I don't want to throw words around like "addicted", I drink more than is good for me and do get a form of "withdrawal" if I don't have any. This is not good. I understand there's some research that would indicate that diet sodas are nearly as bad as full calories and that artificial sweeteners are not good for the body. I'm unconvinced, and I think my experience has been that the kick of something sweet and caffinated helps satisfy cravings for high calorie food. Last time I tried to drink water instead of soda, and made myself finish a bottle of water before I could have any. I largely succeeded at this, but I'm not convinced it actually helped much - probably I just drank more later. There's good evidence that presentation/plates/glasses affect portion sizes, so I'm going to try to drink it from a tumbler, rather than from the bottle. My challenge is to see if this works, and if it doesn't, try something else instead. There's the danger that I'd pour myself more than I want, and end up finishing it in a way that I wouldn't if I only wanted a sip or two. +0.5 wisdom for each week of success = +3 available overall. I said last time that this wasn't working and I didn't think that drinking from a tumbler helped. I'm going to return to my previous system of drinking a bottle of water at home first before any soda, with two bottles at weekends. But mainly just, you know, try to drink less rather than thinking about clever systems to fool myself. Goal 3: The awesomeness of the middle distance runner I'd love to beat my personal best over 5k, but I don't know how realistic that's going to be, given my injury problems. I'm not going to break myself for the sake of a challenge goal! So here are some running milestones for which I can earn points: 1) Run another 5k parkrun - +1 sta 2) If too injured to run, but not to walk there, volunteer to help out at the parkrun. They only happen because of volunteers, and I should pay it forward. +1 cha 3) Set a new 5k PB. +1 sta 4) Set a new PB for distance run without stopping (currently 6k). Would like to take this to 7k, and build towards 10k eventually. My foot still isn't right, but I can still run on the rebounder and manage one 5k-ish run every four or five days. My last 5k this week was just under 28mins, which was comfortable enough, but still required several days of rest before running again. So this weekend I achieved (2) above by volunteering to help out. This week I'd like to see if I can push to 6k, or I might go back and run another 5k parkrun - not sure yet. Goal 4: Life goal - Roll your Charisma In my previous challenges I've set myself life goals related to getting to know people better, or opening up more, or turning acquantainces into friends. In the last two I decided to broaden things out and give myself points for times when I've taken a risk and "rolled my charisma" - to use a D&D term. Actually my charisma score isn't bad, especially diplomacy, but I tend not to take risks and introversion is my default setting. In challenge IV I scored well at this, kept it going but raised the bar for V and did much less well. I'm keeping the challenge, but I think I'm going to score it per situation rather than on a weekly basis.. Total +3 available, which I'll split evenly between wisdom and charisma. It's been a good week on this front. I co-presented a session at my professional annual conference and managed associated networking and meeting new people. I'm going to give myself +0.5 wisdom and charisma for my efforts this week. That's a big score for a single week, but I think I earned it!
  18. I'd echo the couch-to-5k recommendation - it's a really good way to slowly build up. It works. Some people need to repeat a week here and there, but in general it's a tried and tested way of building up to running. When I first tried running outside to see if I liked it and see what I could do, I just wore my usual indoor sports shoes. Once I'd satisfied myself that I'd enjoy it, I got myself some proper running shoes which involved going to a local specialist shop and having a form of "gait analysis" - running on a treadmill and having my feet filmed. This enabled them to narrow down the range of shoes that would be suitable to three different pairs, and although the pair I bought cost more than I've ever paid for shoes before, they are the most comfortable shoes I own. Compared to running in normal shoes, well.... the metaphor I reach for is that my running shoes are at least a +3 magic item for fit, comfort, and minimising the effect on my legs and feet. If you don't have a specialist running shop locally, you can narrow down the range of possible shoes you could try the "wet test" to find out what kind of feet you have, and therefore what kind of running shoes you should be looking at.
  19. Pretty good, thanks! Hope all's well with you too..... Here's my belated week 1 update Goal 1: A shadow of my former self Lose 5lbs (average of just under 1lb per week) over the duration of the challenge. I'll do this by a combination of calorie counting and exercise and run a safe net deficit through, sustainable habits. This has been a constant goal for each challenge, but as I've less to lose (and it's harder to do) I've made it 5lbs rather than 6lbs this time. My starting weight is 83.3kg, 183.6lbs, 13 stone 1.6lbs Weight this week: 83.0kg, 182.9lbs, 13 stone, 0.9 lbs. Decent start - very happy with that. A sub-goal of this is Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is to work out on at least 11 days of 14. This has been a regular goal that I've almost always succeeded at in full, so perhaps it's not a challenge any more. However, I'd like to track it here to make sure. 5 of 7 this week, though a lot of walking as usual. Goal 2: Drink water like water, and soda like soda One of the big changes I made when I first started out with weight loss was cutting out full calorie cokes/sodas. It wasn't easy, but I succeeded and now rarely have any liquid calories. However, I don't think I drank any less soda overall, but just shifted to Diet Coke and Pepsi Max. While I don't want to throw words around like "addicted", I drink more than is good for me and do get a form of "withdrawal" if I don't have any. This is not good. I understand there's some research that would indicate that diet sodas are nearly as bad as full calories and that artificial sweeteners are not good for the body. I'm unconvinced, and I think my experience has been that the kick of something sweet and caffinated helps satisfy cravings for high calorie food. Last time I tried to drink water instead of soda, and made myself finish a bottle of water before I could have any. I largely succeeded at this, but I'm not convinced it actually helped much - probably I just drank more later. There's good evidence that presentation/plates/glasses affect portion sizes, so I'm going to try to drink it from a tumbler, rather than from the bottle. My challenge is to see if this works, and if it doesn't, try something else instead. There's the danger that I'd pour myself more than I want, and end up finishing it in a way that I wouldn't if I only wanted a sip or two. +0.5 wisdom for each week of success = +3 available overall. I don't think this is working. Time to re-think. Goal 3: The awesomeness of the middle distance runner I'd love to beat my personal best over 5k, but I don't know how realistic that's going to be, given my injury problems. I'm not going to break myself for the sake of a challenge goal! So here are some running milestones for which I can earn points: 1) Run another 5k parkrun - +1 sta 2) If too injured to run, but not to walk there, volunteer to help out at the parkrun. They only happen because of volunteers, and I should pay it forward. +1 cha 3) Set a new 5k PB. +1 sta 4) Set a new PB for distance run without stopping (currently 6k). Would like to take this to 7k, and build towards 10k eventually. My foot still isn't right, but I can still run on the rebounder and manage one 5k-ish run every four or five days. Get to see a physio in a few weeks... Goal 4: Life goal - Roll your Charisma In my previous challenges I've set myself life goals related to getting to know people better, or opening up more, or turning acquantainces into friends. In the last two I decided to broaden things out and give myself points for times when I've taken a risk and "rolled my charisma" - to use a D&D term. Actually my charisma score isn't bad, especially diplomacy, but I tend not to take risks and introversion is my default setting. In challenge IV I scored well at this, kept it going but raised the bar for V and did much less well. I'm keeping the challenge, but I think I'm going to score it per situation rather than on a weekly basis.. Total +3 available, which I'll split evenly between wisdom and charisma. Nothing this week, but I already know I have some good stuff for the week 2 update!
  20. Yikes... busy week! Update on week one to follow in a day or so....
  21. Hi Eric, Just checking that you know about the Couch to 5k programme - does pretty much exactly what you're aiming at, but in a structured, planned way with targets for each individual run. Can't recommend it highly enough!
  22. Hi James, I'm a big fan of c25K - it worked for me, but I've heard quite a few people say that sometimes they've needed to repeat a weak, or repeat a run, so I wouldn't beat yourself up over taking 6 weeks to get to week 4. It's much better to take a little longer to progress to the next week than to give it up entirely. The other thing I'd mention - if you're not already aware of them - is Parkrun, which organises a load of 5k runs across the UK (and in other countries) every Saturday morning. They're a great target to build towards, especially as you get to run with other people and get an official time. My other suggestion would to consider giving yourself partial success targets. For example, if you end up having a pint or two in week 2, you'll fail goal 3 if you have it only as a pass/fail goal. If you set it as a 100% target for an A, 7 weeks for a B, or whatever, you've still got something to aim at even if you don't meet it entirely. The danger of pass/fail all-or-nothing targets is that if something goes wrong, they're missed completely and that can be really demotivating. Best of luck with the job hunt.... and the rest of the challenge!
  23. This is my sixth challenge, and my second as a scout. My first, second, and third challenges were under the adventurer banner, and the fourth and fifth as a scout. My original goal was weight loss and fitness gain. I've lost 63lbs since I started counting properly back in May last year, of which over half has been since the start of my first challenge. I've probably got perhaps another 5-10lbs lose - I'm not entirely sure, but I'll know it when I get there or thereabouts. The person I see in the mirror isn't obviously fat any more, but I know I could afford to lose a little more. I've done this through calorie counting via my fitness pal, jogging on a rebounder indoors, bodyweight workouts, (first Steve's beginner workout, then my own modified version), circuit training classes and - from my second challenge - running outdoors. In my last challenge I finally managed to run a timed 5k and got a pretty good time of 24:55. However, a persistent, recurrent foot problem is hampering my progress. I rest, it gets a little better, then if I'm careful I can do a little, but usually I overdo it and set myself back. So far I've tried getting new orthotics and just waiting for it to go away (it gets better, but doesn't go away completely), and my next step is seeing a physiotherapist in a few weeks time. So, here are my goals. Goal 1: A shadow of my former self Lose 5lbs (average of just under 1lb per week) over the duration of the challenge. I'll do this by a combination of calorie counting and exercise and run a safe net deficit through, sustainable habits. This has been a constant goal for each challenge, but as I've less to lose (and it's harder to do) I've made it 5lbs rather than 6lbs this time. +0.5 con and +0.5 dex are available per 1lb of weight loss, for a total of +2.5 for each. My starting weight is 83.3kg, 183.6lbs, 13 stone 1.6lbs A sub-goal of this is Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is to work out on at least 11 days of 14. This has been a regular goal that I've almost always succeeded at in full, so perhaps it's not a challenge any more. However, I'd like to track it here to make sure. Goal 2: Drink water like water, and soda like soda One of the big changes I made when I first started out with weight loss was cutting out full calorie cokes/sodas. It wasn't easy, but I succeeded and now rarely have any liquid calories. However, I don't think I drank any less soda overall, but just shifted to Diet Coke and Pepsi Max. While I don't want to throw words around like "addicted", I drink more than is good for me and do get a form of "withdrawal" if I don't have any. This is not good. I understand there's some research that would indicate that diet sodas are nearly as bad as full calories and that artificial sweeteners are not good for the body. I'm unconvinced, and I think my experience has been that the kick of something sweet and caffinated helps satisfy cravings for high calorie food. Last time I tried to drink water instead of soda, and made myself finish a bottle of water before I could have any. I largely succeeded at this, but I'm not convinced it actually helped much - probably I just drank more later. There's good evidence that presentation/plates/glasses affect portion sizes, so I'm going to try to drink it from a tumbler, rather than from the bottle. My challenge is to see if this works, and if it doesn't, try something else instead. There's the danger that I'd pour myself more than I want, and end up finishing it in a way that I wouldn't if I only wanted a sip or two. +0.5 wisdom for each week of success = +3 available overall. Goal 3: The awesomeness of the middle distance runner I'd love to beat my personal best over 5k, but I don't know how realistic that's going to be, given my injury problems. I'm not going to break myself for the sake of a challenge goal! So here are some running milestones for which I can earn points: 1) Run another 5k parkrun - +1 sta 2) If too injured to run, but not to walk there, volunteer to help out at the parkrun. They only happen because of volunteers, and I should pay it forward. +1 cha 3) Set a new 5k PB. +1 sta 4) Set a new PB for distance run without stopping (currently 6k). Would like to take this to 7k, and build towards 10k eventually. Goal 4: Life goal - Roll your Charisma In my previous challenges I've set myself life goals related to getting to know people better, or opening up more, or turning acquantainces into friends. In the last two I decided to broaden things out and give myself points for times when I've taken a risk and "rolled my charisma" - to use a D&D term. Actually my charisma score isn't bad, especially diplomacy, but I tend not to take risks and introversion is my default setting. In challenge IV I scored well at this, kept it going but raised the bar for V and did much less well. I'm keeping the challenge, but I think I'm going to score it per situation rather than on a weekly basis.. Total +3 available, which I'll split evenly between wisdom and charisma.
  24. Sounds like a good set of goals to me. I'm sorry to hear about your rough two years, but your post oozes optimism for the future, which is terrific. I've lost a little over 60lbs over the past year and am now close to my goal weight, and a key weapon in that fight was logging calories on MyFitnessPal. Counting calories doesn't suit everyone and is hard to do accurately, but I've found that the greater awareness of the relative calorie content of different foods (some of which surprised me a lot) made a real difference in making better food choices. Even a "food audit" of tracking your calorie intake for a few weeks can be useful. While I'm sure that more home cooking and going to the gym more often will help a lot, exercise is only about 20% of the battle. Speaking of exercise, what will you do at the gym, and do you have any particular programme in mind? Welcome, and best of luck with your challenge!
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