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  1. All around us, it was as if the universe were holding its breath . . . waiting. All of life can be broken down into moments of transition or moments of revelation. This had the feeling of both. G'Quon wrote, "There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities – it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender." The future is all around us, waiting in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future, or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain. Big Why I have respawned more times than I can count. And I think the main reason is that my big why wasn't strong enough, or big enough, or revisited often enough. I always start out strong but then something happens to disrupt the routine, or I get distracted, or lose focus, and it all comes crumbling down again. I was having a deep conversation with my partner and he said, "I wish you could just be happy with yourself the way you are, and I think you would be happier overall if you just accepted yourself as you are, instead of constantly trying and failing." I understand what he was trying to say, but I think there is a fundamental part of me that says, "You could be better." It says, "You weren't always like this, and staying this way is a failure." There's a logical part of it that says, "A healthier lifestyle would be good for your mental health because endorphins are a great remedy for depression," and "Most of your depression and insecurity comes from being unhappy with the state of your health and appearance, your inability to buy clothes, the loss of looks you once had under pounds of extra flesh, and being too unfit to do things you used to be able to do so easily." So, while I appreciate that he was saying what he said from a place of love and with the hope that I would love myself as much as he loves me, and be happy with myself in who I am now, I think that I will respectfully disagree. I deserve to be in the best condition I can be. I owe it to myself to look after my body. When I know what the right choices are, it makes no sense that I keep making the wrong choices. SMART Goals/Quest list This is a master list; I won't work on them all at once but I will work towards these big goals with the challenges. Nutrition: 1. Eating planned meals according to macros: 33P/29C/38F 2. Weighing and tracking food on MFP for at least 30 consecutive days 3. Phasing out carbonated drinks (including diet soda) in favour of water, tea and black coffee. 4. Cutting down on sugar and processed foods over time. 5. Reducing take-out meals to 3 times a week. Mental: 1. Getting control of my depression through meds and therapy. 2. Improving self-care such as brushing my teeth at least twice a day for a month. 3. Meditating every day for a month. 4. Overcoming social media addiction. 5. Updating progress here at least once a day. 6. Using my bullet journal to manage my time effectively. 7. Doing deep thinking about relationship stuff to improve our communication. 8. Tidying the apartment for 30 minutes every day. 9. Completing a konmari of the apartment before we move to Ecuador. 10. Quit smoking. 11. Developing real life, sincere friendships. Fitness 1. Exercising every day (30 day fitness challenge app). 2. Building a regular workout routine (on paper and in practice). 3. Developing a yoga practice routine on my rest days. 4. Spending at least 30 minutes outside each day (once I have left China and its air pollution). 5. Swimming at least once a week. 6. Do a 2 minute plank. 7. Do a pull up. 8. Run a 5k. 9. Climb a volcano. And if anything pops up to throw me off track, I will be prepared. After all,
  2. I joined the NF Academy back in October. I tinkered around the forums for awhile, but I could never seem to make any of my goals last past a week. Back in January, I went on a purposeful hiatus to get my mind right. I feel like I'm ready to get back in the game now-- time to respawn! I'm guilty of using the phrase, "I'm for real this time, though!" without following through. I'm great at planning. I'm terrible at following through. Laziness? Lack of self discipline? Easily distracted, perhaps? Whatever the reason, I've really got to beat this monster if I want to achieve anything in life. My Main Quest THE BIG WHY: My husband and I are actively engaged in trying to reproduce again. I would like to have my second child sometime next spring-- which means that I will hopefully be pregnant by the end of the year. The first time around, I didn't adhere to much of an exercise regimen. While I tried to eat well, I didn't eat anywhere close to paleo. I was mostly healthy, but did experience some hypertension and swelling toward the end. I'm hoping to do it better this time (I'm also hoping to beat my previous labor time of 26 hours)!! In light of this, my goals to achieve by the end of the year include: Improve my diet (eating home cooked meals, mostly paleo, drinking lots of water)Regular strength training/yoga routine 3-4 times a weekSpend some time outside/go for walks/get about 20 minutes of sunlight a day6 Week Challenge Goals 1) Exercise 20 times in the next 6 weeks (3-4 times a week) using a modified version of the NF Bodyweight Brigade Level 2 workout. 2) Follow my "Spring Menu" for the next 6 weeks (I developed a two week alternating menu featuring spring vegetables and meat-- it's not paleo at all, but better than what I usually eat. I need to practice cooking at home more!) 3) Kick my sugar addiction! Limit sugar consumption-- no sweet treats (i.e. candy, cookies, cakes, ice cream, soda and sweetened beverages). Exceptions include the occasional adult beverage and piece of dark chocolate. Life Side Quest Complete all daily/weekly household chores EVERYDAY! Grading Scale A = Exercise 18-20 times Follow Spring Menu 38-42 days Sugar Free 38-42 days Complete Chores 38-42 days B = Exercise 16-17 times Follow Spring Menu 34-37 days Sugar Free 34-37 days Complete Chores 34-37 days C = Exercise 14-15 times Follow Spring Menu 30-33 days Sugar Free 30-33 days Complete Chores 30-33 days D = Exercise 12-13 times Follow Spring Menu 26-29 days Sugar Free 26-29 days Complete Chores 26-29 days F = Exercise <12 times Follow Spring Menu <26 days Sugar Free <26 days Complete Chores <26 days
  3. Well, I'm finally back home! I wasn't able to focus on NF the last few challenges while I was going to school in Missouri. It just wasn't gonna happen. But I'm back now and itching for my next challenge! I originally planned this out without a theme or gifs... but where's the fun in THAT? My main goal is to reduce my body fat percentage to 25% (currently 29.9%) by April 1st, 2015. The old part of me is so tempted to start weighing every day again... but I really want the focus to be on losing fat and gaining muscle. Even so, I'm sure I'll drop some unnecessary weight in the process. Mission 1: Improve speed and awareness I will run 2x per week (4 STA) and walk for 5 minutes in the morning when I first get up at least 5x per week (1 WIS). Grading scale 12+ runs=A(4 STA), 9=B(3 STA), 6=C(2 STA) 30+ walks=A(1 WIS), 20=B(0.75 WIS), 10=C(0.5 WIS) I eventually want to get my 5k pace under 30 minutes, but for now I'd settle with reestablishing a regular running routine. I feel like I haven't had one since my last half marathon. Mission 2: Improve strength I will work out 2x per week (5 STR). I will start with a modified version of the bodyweight brigade workout through the end of January, then I will increase the difficulty. This one is gonna be the most difficult for me. I have a much easier time just getting out there and running than actually doing a full workout. It's not because I don't enjoy it! I really do. I just like to procrastinate. A lot. It's a constant struggle. Grading: 12+ workouts=A(5 STR), 9=B(4 STR), 6=C(3 STR) Mission 3: Improve fuel I will eat a primal lunch and/or dinner 5x per week (5 CON). I'm trying to ease my way back into healthy eating. I know I can do it because I've done it before. My biggest problem is that I try to give up everything I like to eat all at once and jump in too quickly and then I don't stick to it. So I'm trying to add healthy foods here, not necessarily take them away. That being said, I should probably still try to keep my sweet tooth in check. Grading: 30+ primal meals=A(5 CON), 20=B(4 CON), 10=C(3 CON) I only graded to a C on each one because that's the lowest I'll ever get. 'Cause I'm gonna rock this challenge. No life quest this time. I'm trying to keep it simple so I'll actually participate. Doing my missions isn't difficult, it's actually updating on NF. I'm so bad at following through but I have no excuse this time! I'm out of school, I'm unemployed and have all the time in the world. I promise to update at -least- weekly. Feel free to bug me with private messages if you notice that I'm not keeping that promise Cheers! Updates: Week 1 Summary Week 2 Summary Week 3 Summary Week 4 Summary Week 5 Summary Week 6 and Challenge Summary
  4. After dusting off the cobwebs from my workout gear for the last challenge and taking some necessary downtime during the holidays, I'm ready to get back into the swing of things this year because I've got goals, baby! Lots of goals! Even though I am a budding scholar, I need to be SMART with my goals (and short(er) with my posts), so I'm going to break it down real simple with reference to my previous challenge thread: Main Quest is still the same as the last challenge in terms of body and mind: Body, with the added motivation to be ready for a debate team reunion I have in late April; mind, with the hope that I'll be close to finishing up this damn dissertation already. Quest One: Do Bodyweight Brigade Level 2 (A and B, 3 to 4 times a week as cycled) or 21 workouts total. A = +3 STR, +2 CHA; B = +2 STR, +1 CHA; C = +1 STR, +.5 CHA Quest Two: Interval run (following Steve's recommendations, of course) at least twice a week or at least 12 times total. A = +3 DEX, +2 STA; B = +2 DEX, +1 STA; C = +1 DEX, +.5 STA Quest Three: Write a page and a half for my dissertation at least six days of the week—regardless of how good it is—and edit it the next day. Approximately 54-63 pages total (or roughly two dissertation chapters). A = +5 WIS; B = +4 WIS; C = +3 WIS I'm not doing any life quests this time around, but I will participate in any side quests that are running/biking/cardio related with the Scouts. I am (or was, more so) an avid runner, so I think I'll fit in nicely with the Scouts for this challenge. I'm excited to be more involved here and to connect with many of you! Now...time to wear the tread down on these running shoes so I can justify buying a new pair for the new year! Let's kick it off right! I'm hyped!!
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